With a mission to connect the world, this young startup has an ambitious project in mind, and fortunately, they have the domain name to match those ambitions.
Noun, a platform that connects you to people and businesses in your area, is a self-funded venture in its early days. Despite this, the company made the monumental decision to purchase Noun.com, upgrading from its original Noun.io domain name.
Here, I chat with founder Mark Habashi about Noun and the Noun.com domain.
Can you tell me about your journey as an entrepreneur and how you came to create Noun?
I've been building products for companies since my undergraduate days at UCLA. Creating Noun was a natural progression to building a product and company that are disruptive and differentiated. I knew I wanted to find new ways of connecting people and places and it only made sense to name the company Noun.
What does Noun aim to do?
We're working on creating an entire ecosystem inside the Noun app. Our beta is a mobile app that uses real-time geolocation to help you discover people, places, and things. As we build our user base, we plan on adding on-demand services and gig economy tools. Our grand vision is to be a cutting-edge platform with many services in a single super app.
How did you come up with the Noun brand name?
Each moment of the day, we interact with all types of nouns. I wanted to build an unforgettable product and brand. By being called Noun, we can be in the business of people, places, things and ideas. The possibilities are limitless.
What is your number one means of attracting new users?
We've been primarily focused on listening to feedback coming from our beta users - and it's a lot! We have an increasing amount of organic web traffic along with the app showing up under "Noun" in the iOS AppStore. It's enough traffic to keep us busy while in beta. Afterwards, when the app reaches 1.0 and is out of beta, we'll deploy a handful of strategic marketing campaigns in dense metropolitan areas.
You started life on Noun.io. Why did you opt to upgrade to Noun.com?
I wasn't satisfied with releasing a product that wasn't using the exact match .com domain. I believed that if we wanted to be taken seriously by our customers and obtain the appropriate brand recognition; I had to invest in acquiring Noun.com.
Could you tell me what Noun.com has for you that Noun.io didn't? I'm curious about your thought process - since some companies, like OpenSea, operate on a .io domain and are taken seriously, for example.
Competitors and target audience were the deciding factors. While OpenSea was built on a .io, so were many NFT and blockchain companies. They had plenty of latitude when it came to their domain because the competitor landscape is a mix of .com, .io, and .xyz.
However, our competitors have been around for over a decade and had plenty of opportunity to upgrade their domain name. Their users are most likely our users and if we were going to wave our hands saying, "Hey, we're a better, faster, easier to use alternative to..." then I'd rather avoid having users say, "what's an IO?", it helps us focus on other points-of-failure.
Noun is still a young company. Why did you feel it was important to upgrade your domain name early on?
We're self-funded and had to think carefully about incurring a large expense. However, we didn't want to wait for venture capital to take the leap and upgrade to Noun.com. If what we're building is going to work, we want all parts of our operations in the best possible condition as quickly as possible and our domain is a big part of that.
How important is the Noun.com domain to your overall digital strategy?
It's probably the number one asset required for a successful digital strategy. I imagine this will help reduce our marketing costs due to being an easy to remember four letter dot com.
As an app-based business, why is Noun.com such a critical asset to own?
We have plans on building a web application and Noun.com will be instrumental in extending the user experience and product offering.
You launched your iOS app in November 2021. Was it a successful launch? What did you learn from your launch that might help other entrepreneurs?
We're incredibly excited that we released the iOS app in November. We successfully launched the new site and iOS app, but we went right back to work. We'll always be in the process of launching new features and functionality and believe in continuously improving our product's capabilities and user experience.
What I learned was don't wait for a pixel-perfect product to launch. Focus on delivering core functionality that works moderately well as soon as possible. Even if you find yourself embarrassed at the number of bugs or that it isn't exactly how you envisioned it, you can keep iterating after the launch and gather valuable metrics/feedback along the way.
How does Noun.com fit into Noun's plans for the next 5 years?
It'll be the center of everything we do!
Thank you to Mark for participating in On the Record. You can find more about Noun by visiting Noun.com. You can also download Noun by visiting the iOS app Store.
These responses have been edited for clarity.