Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

Freedom from the URL

One more lesson from 37Signals before I officially become a paid subsidiary of the company.

When naming a product or service, don't be a slave to what domain names are available. Time after time, you see companies limit themselves to whatever DOT.COM address is available, leading to words and names that cannot be found in the dictionary (see Odeo for example).

There are very good reasons for making up an original name, of course, but domain name availability shouldn't be the deciding factor.

37Signals has two primary products: Basecamp and Backpack. Whenever you hear the products referred to online or in conversation, these simple, clear words are used.

What are the domain names?

www.BasecampHQ.com and www.BackpackIt.com

Huh?

Despite this seeming conflict, there's no indication that the success of these products has been harmed in the least, and in fact they are wildly popular. Can you imagine if they had sat around their offices and said, "Well, since Backpack.com is taken, we won't be able to call it Backpack. But look at this, BackpackIt.com is available! We'll just call it that. 37Signals is proud to announce BackpackIt.com, the new site that allows you to..."

Or imagine the customer conversation: "Have you ever used BasecampHQ? It's this great project management tool that..."

Instead, we have words that match the simplicity of the software, rather than conflict with it.

Basecamp. Backpack. Simple. Clear.