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I would like to know how people initially react to web sites whose domain name does not have a vocabulary/dictionary meaning, such as wadja and other strange names I can not think now.

Let's say news.com and babibo.com are both 24/7 news portals. Even if they have the same report quality, what are the reasons that a user will choose one over the other? What if they have a similar design?

So, does a non-sensical name affect users? Or as of 2011 (where all domain words are bought), will people have a positive reaction?

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Google doesn't have a specific meaning (apart from Googol...) –  GUI Junkie Sep 4 '11 at 22:42

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

When they first see the site in search results, on a billboard, or in text, I'd expect most to be more attracted to a website with a clear simple name like news.com

However upon visiting the website for a few times, a more distinct and original name may provide better branding opportunities and so serve to attract repeated visits from users who don't have any more reasons to avoid a website with an unclear name (as they already know what exactly it provides)

Also, nowadays, names such as news.com may look suspicious to the more seasoned of surfers who are used to such domain names being occupied by squatters or low quality websites trying to capitalize in their domain alone.

I'd say that if you're thinking long-term, it's better to choose an original, interesting, yet easily pronounced and written name. That may not benefit you in the beginning, but will provide you with many more opportunities in the future.

It's often good to choose names that are cognates of commonplace words as overly original names tend to be difficult to spell and read. For example, in your case, how exactly is one supposed to read wadja?

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Thank you for your valuable info. I must say that I agree and cleared my mind. In my case I don't know if I say wadja correctly :) One last thing though, I found a name weezz.com (it's taken), do you think that one should avoid using let's say double ee and double zz like this ? –  Nikolai Sep 4 '11 at 23:35
    
The double E may not be a problem as it is a common feature in the English language. The double Z, on the other hand, may create some unnecessary confusion. (I don't think there's a single English word with a double Z at the end) Note that according to the Urban Dictionary weez is slang for "to steal." By the way it's worth checking the meaning of your website's name in languages of all countries you're planning to operate in. –  Philip Seyfi Sep 5 '11 at 7:24
    
Keep in mind that weezz would probably be a homophone of wheeze, which probably isn't what you want your customers to think of. –  Joe May 2 at 19:33

I think the most important thing is your audience, and whether the name fits the content. I'll compare Huffington Post and Fark.com, not entirely comparable niches but good examples of different naming paradigms and audiences.

Huffington Post sounds like a newspaper. They're trying to be a newspaper (less the paper). You see the name and it sounds like a reliable institution, you can infer that it is infact a news source. If someone gave you an article from Huffington Post you might assume it's just another periodical news thing; you're supposed to.

Fark.com however is a silly headline site/news aggregation, their whole market is in being silly and moderately naughty. What usually "gets" people when the first hear the name is that it sounds like the F-word. It's a little inappropriate, it's silly, it requires more reading in to figure out what it's all about. And that's what it attracts.

If what you want is a simple news site, people should probably be able to infer that from the domain and name of the business. If you want people to look more into it a more whimsical name might be okay, but they should still be able to tell what it is from finding the site.

Twitter and Google are great examples of whimsical but not strictly news related sites; their weird names are fine because they're defining a service (though Google has grown well beyond one service). I'd say it's different if it's "just" a news site though, and hence why most news sites still sound, well, newsy. If I'm just reading one article and finding it from a Google search, I'll trust Newspapername.com, but if I'm going to be using a service and making an account whimsicalname.com might be appealing as well.

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Really valuable info, thank you –  Nikolai Sep 13 '11 at 12:02

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