Have you thought about why users go to Delicious, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, About.me and other sites? Is it because they want to share? It must be, since they have so many friends on there. But what if users visit social sites like the upcoming Just.me because they actually value content and features which are inherently anti-social and personal. In an open, networked web, how does a user’s own value precede the value of the network even when looking at the domains of sites they visit?
Don’t know about Just.me? No worries. It’s just a web startup backed by Google Ventures, True Ventures, SV Angel, Betaworks, Don Dodge, Patrick Gannon, Michale Parekh, Steve McArthur and Four Horsemen LLC. Oh, lets not forget that Just.me was founded by Keith Teare, the co-founder while one of its other shareholders is Techcrunch’s Michael Arrington.
It’s pretty obvious something very hot is cooking on the servers where the Just.me domain name is pointed at. For now, it’s just a placeholder website. What Just.me will do with the $600,000 in seed funding is yet to be seen, but I did ask Mr. Teare on why he chose this domain name for his new venture. His answer has more to do with how a domain is beneficial to a product like Just.me:
I chose .me because I am building a product for individuals to easily capture, and if desired share, their life. Just.me is a perfect name for the product.
That’s it. It’s the perfect name for a project made for individuals, your users, your consumers. People are using the web for everything and anything today and what they’re looking for is a benefit for themselves. Networking is fine, but give your users what they want for themselves.
In his book Designing for the Social Web, interface designer Joshua Porter mentions Delicious and a simple lesson this popular bookmarking site can teach any website or web startup founder. Personal value precedes network value. Porter writes in detail:
What this means is that if we are to build networks of value, then each person on the network needs to find value for themselves before they can contribute value to the network. In the case of Del.icio.us, people find value saving their personal bookmarks first and foremost. All other usage is secondary.
So while your startup might have every fancy sharing option in the world and let us play with our friends or work with our colleagues, it may be all for not. Lets look at some examples of sites whose names and domain names influence your perspective of them:
If your users doesn’t see the benefit for themselves and if you don’t make it painfully obvious, they’ll leave. We know users value their own stuff on your website, but why not experiment with the domain name of your next web project? So while Teare is building of all things a social network, he knows he has to make the benefits for each users obvious, so obvious it’s even in the domain name.