You must verify if your brand name or a similar one is taken.
A. First, Google the name and see what pops
A similar brand might be using the name. Or perhaps you find another reason to not use it. We were about to call our dog-food business “Dogler” when we discovered this was a meme for dogs looking like Hitler. Don’t believe me? Google it yourself.
B. Use a tool to check if it the name is already
Similar names can result in someone mistaking your brand for another. This will get you in trouble, as the owner of the name will cease-and-desist you to protect his brand.
If there is any doubt, you can apply for a trademark and hope the owner doesn’t object within the time limit. When a fuss is made, you can then refer to your established rights.
But when venturing into grey territory, always consult a legal person. He will tell you what all conservative professionals will tell you: better don’t.
Yet the cowboys amongst you might try. If your competitor neither has a war chest nor a legion of lawyers, you might get your way.
C. Check if the .com name is still
Use a tool to check if the .com name is still available.
Probably not, since the majority of letter/number combinations are taken, as well as the entire dictionary. But if you’ve been creative enough, you’ll have a chance.
Naturally, you can use different extensions like .net and .org, or the more hip .app and .io.
But the .com gives your brand a lot more authority. You can always buy a domain, as I did for toby.nl and brandbuilding.com. Often, this costs thousands of dollars, even after brisk negotiation. So always evaluate if the authority and brand power you gain is worth the money.
Theoretically, it is possible to displace ‘domain squatters’ in certain jurisdictions, but this can be a costly and uncertain legal fight. I recommend you spend your energy on building a brand.
D. Check for availability on the social media channels you plan to
If your domain or social media handles are unavailable, this should be taken into consideration when choosing a name. Check online .
However, it doesn’t have to stop you. You can try adding prefixes to the brand name until you hit a word that is available across all the channels:
Toby > gotoby.com, trytoby.com, mytoby.com, etc.