Finding the right name for your business can be a headache. Even if you find the right domain name, you may find that the identity is already taken by another business or that someone else has the username on Facebook or Twitter.
This is where a service such as Formal Founder can be useful.
Formal Founder searches through hundreds of millions of records to see if the name you desire is available.
In this article, I would like to explain why a service such as Formal Founder is necessary and how you can use the service to find the perfect identity.
Why is Finding Your a Good Name So Difficult?
After finishing university in 1999, my friend Eddie and I looked into registering some domain names, fueled by articles we had read about others registering domain names and selling them later for a lot of money.
Even in the 1990s, the domain market was highly competitive and since neither of us knew what we were doing either, we both registered some awful domain names in the beginning.
Over the following years, I did manage to make money from selling domain names, but the domain name market continued to get busier and busier. Therefore, finding a good domain name became even more difficult.
Hundreds of domain name extensions have been added over the last two decades. The .com domain extension remains king, but for most good keyword names and brandable names, even lesser known domain extensions have been snapped up.
This makes it an absolute nightmare to find a good domain name for your business.
When I first got started, we really only had to focus on finding a domain name.
Today, things are even more difficult.
In addition to finding the right domain name, you also have to find the right username for multiple social media services and be careful that you do not register a domain name that has an existing trademark.
The whole thing is frustrating and makes the process of finding your online identity time-consuming.
How Does Formal Founder Help?
Formal Founder was created to help you search through millions of records to see if the name you desire is available.
The tool was created by Michael Arciola, a Florida based developer who is currently in an engineering program within Google Cloud.
The concept of Formal Founder is simple. You enter a word, or multiple words, and the search tool will search the web to see if a presence already exists for it.
Formal Founder will check domain names, social media networks, registered companies in the USA, trademarks and patents in the USA, mobile applications and search terms.
Formal Founder is free to use, however there are references to a pro service on the website which will allow you to download data to a PDF file and access additional marketing data.
At the time of writing, Formal Founder Pro is not currently available.
Using Formal Founder to Find the Perfect Identity
To demonstrate how Formal Founder works, I searched for “Little Red Shoes”.
This is a name which could be suitable for an online shoe shop or brand of shoes.
The tool quickly showed me that LittleRedShoes.com was already taken and linked to the whois page that showed who the owner is.
It also highlighted that the name is available with the .net, .org, .co, .io and .us domain extensions. The buy now button that is displayed on the page will take you to NameCheap to purchase the domain.
The search also showed that the name was available for Facebook and YouTube, but not for Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat and Pinterest.
Therefore, if I was to register LittleRedShoes.net, I would have to find a different username for those social media networks.
No company or brand information was available for “Little Red Shoes”, so I searched for “Handbags”. As you can imagine, a generic term such as this is more popular.
Formal Founder showed no available domain names or social media usernames for the term, but listed dozens of businesses who have the word handbags in their name. It shows the location of the business, type of business, business ID and current operating status.
A link to their corporate listing, if available, is also displayed.
The next tab shows results from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
It displays the name of the trademark, owner, trademark type and current listing. It also links to the trademark information page so that you can read more about it.
Formal Founder discovered several iOS apps that used the term handbags too.
It shows the name, price, app creation date, app category and developer. A link to the official app page on Apple is displayed too so that you can learn more about the application.
Results for Android apps are also displayed.
The Android search results page similar displays the same information as iOS apps, but also displays the total number of downloads for each application. This gives you a better idea of how popular competing apps are.
The last tab shows the top fifteen search results for that term and the domain that is associated with the result. A link to the URL that has the search engine ranking is displayed too.
Overall, I was impressed with Formal Founder, but I would like to see its functionality expanded in a few ways.
For example, Formal Founder only checks six domain extensions and six social media services, whilst many other online name checking tools check dozens.
As someone who lives in the UK, I would also love to see the tool expanded to include company checks and brand name checks from other countries. Hopefully Michael does make this feature global as to this as something that is missing in most other name checking tools.
Your identity remains a vital ingredient of your business's success, but finding the right name remains a major headache. For some projects, I have spent weeks researching possible domain names and social media usernames, which is why I find tools such as Formal Founder so useful.
I hope you have enjoyed this look at Formal Founder. I recommend checking it out if you are looking to launch a new business, website or mobile app.
Thanks for reading.