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Behind the name: vs.

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The company would have been named differently if the domain was available.

Logo for Mailchimp showing a chimp and the word mailchimp

I was listening to How I Built This with Guy Raz this week. He recently interviewed Ben Chestnut, the founder of Mailchimp.

At 24:57, Raz asks Chestnut about the name Mailchimp. Chestnut explains that he was going to name the business ChimpMail but the .com domain was taken, so he settled on Mailchimp. (The company subsequently acquired

This goes to show how much of a role availability of .com domains has on company naming. This is still the case today. It also shows that companies can find alternatives to their first choice.

It also shows how names can be limiting. Mailchimp has expanded well beyond email these days (much to the chagrin of people like me who just want a good email service). Maybe is in the company’s future?

I enjoy listening to How I Built This to hear the up and down stories of successful businesses. There’s a selection bias in the stories because Raz only interviews successful founders. But he ends the episodes asking how much luck played into the eventual success story.

Oh, and GoDaddy should buy Mailchimp.

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