Elena Novitskaya, Nikolay Shpakovsky
December 3, 2002
What to do when good domain name for site is occupied?
It is very important that a new site should be based on a new attractive idea. It is necessary to devise such an idea, to find or create interesting and well-illustrated materials and to put them on the site; to give your site a short, but concise and catchy name.
How shall we choose a name for an Internet project? The name should be short, one-word, if possible, and easy-to-remember both visually and by ear. Easy-to-remember is a name which is a little bit unexpected and paradoxical as regards the site content, but which does not fully coincide with it. It should be euphonic for ear and graphically expressive (for creating a logotype). It is to be wished that this word be associated with some vivid image. If the project is realized in different languages, then the name should be universal for all the languages. There are many various requirements, sometimes even alternative.
The mission of our site is to promote inventive activities and to generate new ideas. That is why we have chosen the name “GENERATOR”.
But this is not enough. It is necessary to select and register the domain name for the site address. It would be better if the domain name fully coincided with that of the site, in our case it is "generator.***".
How shall we fill the first part of the domain name? Unfortunately, good domains are often occupied. This is just what happened to our “GENERATOR”. The ***.com zone headed the list of our preferences. But the adequate address generator.com was occupied. We tried other popular zones (***.org, ***.net, ***.info). The result was the same.
So we had to try our fortune in the Russian zone of Internet. To tell the truth, using national domains was the last thing we intended to do. You may ask why. The thing is that our site is bilingual. The main function of the site's domain name is to be easy-to-remember. The site address must include at least two parts – the name itself and the domain zone. The first part is unique and is not easy to memorize. If the name of the domain zone also sounds strange, additional difficulties arise while memorizing the domain name. That is, by choosing the ***.ru zone we make the process of memorizing even more complicated for a user of the English version of our site. But those were needless fears – the domain name generator.ru had already been occupied.
What is to be done? We decided to modify the name. But how?
In choosing the name we considered the version “Generator of solutions”, then the second part was rejected because the name was too long. And why not to add “-s” (generator-s.com) thus implying the full name? It is quite acceptable for the English version, but for the Russian one it is just an unnecessary make-weight.
And suppose we are writing a full form: generatorsolutions.com? Rather lengthy. Let us try just to change the number by adding "s" without a hyphen. Generators.com: occupied. Generators.org: occupied. Generators.net: occupied.
At that point we ceased our efforts as regards the domain zone and bethought ourselves. We were obviously using the trial and error method. Choosing a domain name for a site is about the average PROBLEM. We have a good methodology for solving such problems so why not to use it in this case taking advantage of the “Christmas Tree” algorithm?
The starting condition is turned into a concept model of the problem: an easy-to-memorize site address is an address that is 100% adequate to the site name. We cannot use such an address. Modifications of the site name are accidental for a user, so they are not easy to memorize. How to choose an easy-to-memorize address?
What resources are available? Letters of the Roman alphabet, Arabic numerals, some punctuation marks, and special symbols.
Ideal Final Result: Modifying the name makes it easier to memorize as compared with an adequate name.
Let us formulate the contradiction:
Changing the parameter “Form” (the name's form)
worsens the parameter “Reliability” (reliability of memorizing).
The Altshuller's table of resolving contradictions gives four recommendations: principles 24, 2, 40, 39.
24 – The principle “Mediator” (attaching another, easy-to-remove object to the object)
Concept 1. Since we can use the resource of the Roman alphabet and of some other symbols, we obtain a concept that corresponds to our previous solutions. Advantage: possibility to choose a vacant name. Disadvantage: random character of modification.
2 – The principle “Skipping”.
Concept 2. Using not all the letters but every other letter of a word. For instance, removing all the vowels only leaving “g n r t r”. Advantage: a very simple and easy-to-remember regularity of modifying a word. In addition, similar spelling – with the omission of vowels – is used in some alphabets. If a user knows this noteworthy fact, it will be easier for him to remember our address by associating it with this information in his memory. Disadvantage: there is a chance that a user does not notice this regularity.
40 – The principle “Using composite materials”.
Concept 3. Making a homogeneous material (word) inhomogeneous, for instance, by mixing it with numerals and punctuation marks. Advantage: possibility to choose a vacant name. Disadvantage: it is not easy to find an obvious regularity.
Concept 4. Transposing the letters in the word thus creating an anagram from the name (rogenetar.com, nerogater.com, nerogaret.com and other nonsense). Advantage: an amazed user will possibly remember this address. Disadvantage: an amazed user will shrug his shoulders and will leave for ever, the more especially as it is not easy to create a catchy anagram in two languages.
39 – “Using inert medium” (changing the medium in which the action takes place).
Concept 5. Finding a domain zone which is not less popular than ***.com, but which has a vacant address for “generator”. The concept is unrealizable because there is no such a zone.
It should be stated that the second concept satisfied us fully, while the remaining three concepts were formulated for love of the game.
Solution: The site address is formed from the consonants taken from the site name (GNRTR.COM). As you have already understood, this solution proved to be suitable and the domain name http://gnrtr.com was successfully registered.
Supereffect: The solution to this problem suggests a possible graphic move towards the creation of a logotype – the vowels are much smaller than the consonants.