I think many of these rules have changed, largely because of the way people use Google. If you want Jet Blue or ikea or some other brand, you're just as likely to type the brand into google as you are to guess the domain name. In essence, we've actually added a step in the process of finding someone online. (How else would anyone find Del.ico.us?)His advice: try to find a brand name which comes with a built-in SEO strategy - meaning: close to zero Google matches!
This means that having the perfect domain name is nice, but it's WAY more important to have a name that works in technorati and yahoo and google when someone is seeking you out.
And Seth makes another point: the very structure of the word now communicates meaning.
Altria and Achieva and Factiva and Kalera all sound like companies invented by naming firms. Which is a fine signal to send to Wall Street, but nothing you'd want to name your kid or your web 2.0 company.Btw, Seth got these ideas while trying to find a name for his new company. What name did he come up with ? Squidoo ! Hmm....
The shift, then, is from what the words mean to what the words remind you of. The structure of the words, the way they sound, the memes they recall... all go into making a great name. Starbucks is made of two words that have nothing at all to do with coffee (except for their profits!) and the reference to Moby Dick is tenuous for most of us. But over time, the shape of the letters, the way they sound and the unique quality of the word makes it close to perfect.