Paul Graham is a name many of you may be familiar with. He’s the founder of Y Combinator, the startup incubator, and is generally regarded as one of the key figures of the Internet era. Graham’s brainchild, Y Combinator, has been responsible for helping thousands of startups gain traction including the likes of Stripe, Airbnb, and Coinbase.
As such a widely respected figure, Paul’s opinion matters. He has become known for his intermittent essays on his website PaulGraham.com. Those essays offer a wide range of thoughts and advice.
One of the essays Paul wrote was entitled “Change Your Name,” and it started with a pretty powerful opening line:
“If you have a US startup called X and you don’t have x.com, you should probably change your name.”
That affirmation from Paul reinforces the widely held belief that a company should be operating on their exact brand match .COM domain. He goes on to give the prominent example of Stripe, a highly successful company that Y Combinator was instrumental in developing. Before naming Stripe, the founders made a list of potential domains and ultimately acquired Stripe.com. They also found Parse.com, which is now used by a company unsurprisingly named Parse.
Even though this advice from Paul was written in 2015, it still rings true today. If you’re a US company and you don’t own your exact-match .COM domain, you are “signaling weakness”, in the words of Paul Graham.
Companies that Paul has invested in have heeded his advice on domain names, with a recent example being Aesthetic (using Aesthetic.com), who rebranded from Plato Design after it became clear that they wouldn’t be able to acquire Plato.com
Last Updated on September 5, 2020 by James Iles