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When I first started surfing the internet, there wasn’t really such a thing as website spidering. There were only hand-indexed sites like yahoo. In my quest to explore the mysterious depths of the web, I discovered something. The easiest way to find what you were looking for was go to the address bar, and type http://www.{what you’re looking for}.com.

Want to ask a question? Lonely teenager (admit it) looking for a little skin? Want to download shareware? So EASY.

Then, two events transpired which made this infinitely more difficult.

*The internet evolved. The services it provided evolved, and the things you wanted to do became more complex than just looking something up.

*The dot-com bust hit, several of the websites we visited disappeared, and internet vultures swooped in and grabbed up all the domains.

Now that the next generation of the internet has found us, how can we duplicate such a feat? Not to mention, how can we pull this off in the web 2.0 era, with sites like flickr, jabber, zooomr, fleck, flock, tabber, jyte… all with practically zero correlation between the sites’ names and their purpose.? Brace yourself- I never thought I’d say this with a straight face. We can look to MySpace for guidance.

I’m not saying we peer pressure 4 bajillion teenagers into setting up sites and adsensing the crap out of all of them. Specifically, I’m looking at the name. They have a semantic domain name. “My” clearly implies that it’s a service that they provide to me. I go there, I register, and something is put there that represents me. “Space” implies, at least in the context of the internet, a little bit of webspace. Some place to call my own. And really, adsense and friend-request spam aside, that’s its point. That’s its purpose. Ditto myopenid. “My”… They’re providing something for you. Something that will stay there after you log off. “Openid”…. Well, you combine the two. That’s where you go to get your own openid.

Obviously the second half, the what-you’re-getting, can be an infinite number of things. Really, I’m all about that “my”. What other sites use “my”? What other prefix-type words can be used there? Some ideas.

*”our” – Obviously, like “My”, but implies some degree of community or collaboration.

*”adult” – I’ve seen plenty of this in the advertising columns of otherwise legitimate websites (adultfriendfinder, for instance, seems to be everywhere), and never had to go look. Why? ‘Cause that little a-word at the beginning tells me precisely that going there wouldn’t make me any friends (Not to mention, strongly implies NWS).

*”wiki” – Quite flexible, can be used on either end of the domain. lifewiki and wikipedia are both excellent examples.

Think about it- If you were looking for a place to stash (and maybe show off) your photos online, what would you type into the address bar during your search? (Troll cutoff: Google is not an answer.) “”? Or “”?

What other prefixes, suffixes, and other naming paradigms could be used to make the web easier to traverse?

Discuss in comments below.


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I would type
If you are thirsty and looking for something to drink, would you rather have a ‘Something to Drink’ or a ‘Coca-Cola’?
It’s all about strong branding, not obvious naming. Strong names (like flickr, or google, or yahoo! – with the ! sign on it) always sound better/safer/more reliable than generic names like ‘monster domains’, ‘my bookstore’ or ‘our photos’. That’s a very basic principle of marketing (those things from that guy called Kotler)

Did a comment just get eaten?

I totally agree that sites names need to become more specific.

Ill admit that I hadn’t looked into Migratr to see what its functions were, I just kind of assumed it was following a general trend of “fancy” names. It makes sense when related to flickr and zoomr.

Too many websites are becoming so out there that sometimes I dont even bother remembering the website.

Websites should follow the naming convention of the kitchen. Name what it does, fancy names just confuse people.

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