Buy a vowel? How Twttr became Twitter

Coming up with a brilliant new Web venture is easy, compared to the next challenge: Buying a great dot-com name for it.

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Too broke for the I and the E
Too broke for the I and the E

Twitter
Launched:
2006 as Twttr.com, moved to Twitter.com within six months

While brainstorming names for their microblogging site, founders Evan Williams, Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone wrote down a number of options and dropped them in a hat.

"They were words like 'jitter' ... we knew we wanted to have this instant mobile, SMS, tech-space thing," Biz Stone says.

One of the names in the hat was "twitter."

"I immediately recognized it as a word that references nature, because twitter is the sound that birds make," Stone says. "All technology is ultimately just people trying to communicate anyway with, basically, nature."

And from there, the choice was easy: "Everyone loved it. There were two or three of us, so it wasn't like it was a big democratic thing."

But a bird enthusiast already owned Twitter.com -- and the site's creators didn't want to shell out big bucks until they figured out if their venture would catch on. So they bought the domain name without the vowels: twttr.com.

Within six months of publicly launching, the crew was confident their concept would catch on and coughed up the cash to add in the "i" and "e" and land the Twitter.com domain.


NEXT: 48 hours to find a new name
Last updated November 23 2010: 12:13 PM ET
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