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Pronounceability (does it pass the radio test?)

Discussion in '"Short" Domain Discussion' started by Corey, Jan 5, 2017.

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  1. Corey

    Corey Business Member Business Account VIP

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    The “Radio Test” really is the best way to get a good idea of whether your LLLL.com is pronounceable or not. If your LLLL.com was mentioned on the radio, would listeners be able to spell it without difficulty? It’s better to ask other people than to try and determine this yourself — most of us will be inherently biased towards our own LLLL.coms.

    Is passing the radio test still valid today? your thoughts

    Cheers
    Corey
     
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  2. Asfas1000

    Asfas1000 Business Member Business Account VIP

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    Being pronounceable and passing the radio test is not exactly the same thing.
     
  3. gilescoley

    gilescoley Top Member PRO VIP

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    The radio test is very important when it comes to short domains, especially when selling to end-users, it makes a domain for brandable and desirable when its hard to spell incorrectly. Yahoo is a great example of passing the radio test with flying colours
     
  4. aramyus

    aramyus Established Member

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    Radio test is definitely a better indicator to measure the attractiveness of a domain than pronounceability

    There is no clearcut border between a pronounceable and a non pronounceable word/domainname (examples include tumblr, trst for trieste and more generally many words with foreign origin or abbreviations)

    I've done some research on pronounceability. I thought that if a word was composed of known syllabs/diphtongs/groups of letters, it would be automatically pronounceable and vice versa. But I found many domains that do not obbey these rules and are reasonably pronounceable. For example: afpot is pronounceable (at least I can pronounce it), yet, there are no english word that contains the group of letters afp. Similarly, tlaro or axtix can be pronounced eventhough there are no subsets of english words that can be easily related. Incidentally, my examples would have a hard time to pass the radio test.


    Probably a pronounceability index (from 0 to 100% rather than a flag pronounceable/non pronounceable) taking in account how frequently it appears within english words could be a better alternative. I am not too sure if it would relate simply to a radio test.

    If anyone has ideas on what makes a word pass or fail the radio test, I'll be happy to try to automate.
     
  5. Eric Lyon

    Eric Lyon Community Admin, NamePros Administrator PRO Business Account VIP Trusted Contest Holder

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  6. Silentptnr

    Silentptnr PRYCR.COM Business Account VIP

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    Actually, it doesn't really pass the radio test. Google is a better example of passing with flying colors.

    Yahoo could be interpreted as YA WHO. Google is GOOGLE no matter what.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2017
  7. Silentptnr

    Silentptnr PRYCR.COM Business Account VIP

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    Maybe its why yahoo got beaten by google. Google passed the radio test better. :)
     
  8. johnn

    johnn EnameMart.com VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Everything for sale here is pronounceable. You just have to use your tongue wisely.
    Don't believe me? Post in the wanted section and you will see what you get from PMs.
     
  9. gilescoley

    gilescoley Top Member PRO VIP

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    @Silentptnr

    Or Googil, Googel, Googill etc...I prefer Yahoo but there are short names out there even better than both of them when it comes to the radio test
     
  10. hookbox

    hookbox Active Member VIP

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    The radio test is totally BS now. We are bombarded daily by visual marketing and being memorable is far more important. I can't even remember the last time I listened to the radio. Radio? What the hell is that? :)
     
  11. NameOmnia

    NameOmnia alea iacta est Business Account VIP

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    Actually neither Yahoo or Google pass the radio test. We say they do because we know them as brands; if we did not we would not guess the spelling at the 1st/2nd attempt imo.

    Memorable and catchy is what we should me after over radio test etc. We are in a visual era and we are visual beings that's why places like BB are able to sell below average brandables for x,xxx or xx,xxx just by adding a cheapo logo to them.

    Think about this for a moment

    You see a name posted here in B&W Arial and you go..meh..not good..You see the same name on BB with nice colours and a logo and you go...eff!..why didn't I register that?
     
  12. gilescoley

    gilescoley Top Member PRO VIP

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    Its mainly domainers that use the "radio test" phrase, but you only have to ask end-users about this concept and you will see its very relevant and important to companies when picking a domain. Just beause its called the "radio" test, it doesnt mean its on the radio, its more verbal face to face stuff or talking on the phone. Its like saying to someone "Go and have a look at my website wwww.shonky.com and whether you would need to spell it to them or would they go away and type it in correctly first or second time..or would they struggle to get to the site at all..or would you feel the need to spell it out to them after mentioning the site. Thats all the "radio" test means, its not about the radio.


    Not sure how you figure they dont pas the radio test? I know I would probably spell them both correctly first time if I had never heard of them before.

    I know most domainers dont bother with logos, good names sell themselves. I dod know a lot of new domainers who struggle to sell their names, will add a logo to try and make it more appealing, and most time it wont work. Im not saying it never works, it certainly will work on occasion, but it will be primarily the domain that will sell and not because of the logo.

    If a company doesnt like the look or sound of a name, a colorful logo wont convince them to buy it. Personally, I love a good logo, but I have tried this in the past and had no luck at all, and I know a lot of other domaienrs who have tried as well...Just my 2 cents worth
     
  13. NameOmnia

    NameOmnia alea iacta est Business Account VIP

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    Interestingly enough 2 comments ago you said this

    Given that Google is an alternative spelling of “googol” I guess it is a bit of a stretch to think that you would guess the spelling at the first attempt without having heard it before; same applies to Yahoo like someone else has pointed out..but hey..if you are a genius good for you.

    "good domains sell themselves" .... except that the definition of good domain names becomes much more grey than what we all would like it to be once we remove the obvious great and category defining domain names. Daily sales prove it.

    If adding logos hasn't worked for you it does not mean it does not work on a general level and I would not dismiss it as the thing that new domainers with crappy domains do; million dollar marketplaces that specialize in brandable / company names wouldn't have made "the look" of the names such a major aspect of their selling otherwise.
     
  14. gilescoley

    gilescoley Top Member PRO VIP

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    Exactly, but 3 ways is not a lot, and most people would spelt it the correct way, this is what the radio test is


    Go and test the logo theory out, and if it sells, ask the buyer why he purchased the name, I can tell you what the answer will be.
     
  15. carob

    carob Active Member VIP

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    It's essentially whether the user can successfully transcribe what they hear and the transcription exactly matches the written domain name.

    In the best case there should be no alternate spellings the user could try
    . Think bong.com or dog.com.

    A user with mastery of phonetic symbols can transcribe anything accurately - but the problem arises because English allows you to represent the same sound in writing in different way.

    You could rank things by the number of phonetic variants they risk: so splunk.com loses a point because k is replaceable by c. It might lose fractions of points because within that variation there are sub-choices: c or ck.

    Variants for available deliberate mis-spellings could exist - using 2 for to/two or omitting e before r as in Flickr. IMO those are - as people have said here - very dependent on being seen written so you get a graphic memory. People's memories work differently - we know some are more responsive to graphic or audio inputs.

    A weaker version of the radio test is memorability - can the user recall the sounds? At least then they can use search to find the item and can mention it to others. So a radio test score could return a basket of ratings - audibility, memorability, number of syllables, and also the feel of the word. Is splunk attractive?

    All the more reason to use emojiz for domains.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017
  16. NameOmnia

    NameOmnia alea iacta est Business Account VIP

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    3 or more attempts in the brandable world are a lot and those are typically names that require a lot of marketing and advertising to be recognized and stick in people's head and that's where marketing agencies play their role with the strategic use of colours, shapes ( and slogans etc )

    Not even BB according to their rules (rules which they break all the time but that's another story ) would list a name that takes more than 1-2 attempts.

    From BB site

    "What kind of names do you accept for listing?

    To accept or not accept a domain is often a tough decision. Many very good and "brandable" names are submitted, but because we try to keep the marketplace small enough for a single buyer to browse in an evening, we've created some basic guidelines:

    We are looking primarily for non-keyword, short and catchy names. For these types of names, we mainly focus on:

    • If the name is based on a dictionary word -- and sounds the same as that word -- it should have no more than one spelling variation or "error" away from the original word. This makes it easy to explain to customers. For example: Digg is "dig with two g's".
    • Pronunciation should be straightforward.
    • Spelling should be as expected.
      • Ask your friends to spell your name -- can they get it in one or two tries? "

    At BB 40,000 domains must mean a small marketplace that can be browsed in one evening.. >>> funny side note <<<
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017
  17. Corey

    Corey Business Member Business Account VIP

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    I'm really enjoying hearing everyone's valued opinion, much appreciated folks.

    Cheers
    Corey
     
  18. gilescoley

    gilescoley Top Member PRO VIP

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    BB is not a good example....most of those names sit there and don't sell...and the ones that do sell are primarily to fellow domainers
     
  19. NameOmnia

    NameOmnia alea iacta est Business Account VIP

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    Come on Giles..now I am not a fan of BB either but to affirm that BB is not a good example when it's the number 1 site for that type of names ( whether we like it or not ) and to affirm that the majority of names are sold to domainers ( also considering the price tags ) it is to say the least incorrect.
    You know it, I know it, we all know it.
     
  20. aramyus

    aramyus Established Member

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    @carob

    If I understand well, you suggest 2 criteria for passing 'easily' the radio test:

    - no alternative spellings for each syllabs/subsets of letters
    - memorable

    For now, I can't think of a way to measure memorability (afterall: ImproveYourCreditRatingNow.com is memorable)
    It also reinforces me into the idea that a pronounceability index may be a good lead: if a word is composed on frequently used syllabs/groups of letters, it will more easily pass the radio test

    Anyhow, thanks for your suggestions
     
  21. gilescoley

    gilescoley Top Member PRO VIP

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    @photonmymind

    Im only referring to end-users here, not domainers...try and email an end-user and convince them of your theory, it wont work, at ;least most of the time

    Check the whois of most of the BB names after they are sold, even better, check how many of them are developed in a year or 2, that will answer your question

    Go and asked most of the people on here, and I mean the people that know domains and have been on here a while, not people new to the game, see what answers you get?? I wont debate this anymore, but check the stats of BB names....its good to get these opinions out in the open though, some valid points coming out
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017
  22. carob

    carob Active Member VIP

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    Hi I wasn't clear enough about what I had in mind for memorability - a narrow definition, so it would be better to give it a different name really:

    What is heard corresponds to known English words so that the user can remember it and link it to a known set of spellings. Eg Fissure - corresponds to fisher and fissure and fish your.

    It would be interesting to see a tool that maps this stuff out. In fact it might get people to want variations of their domain name.

    Establishing criteria for memorability is so hard I'd almost say forget it! But we all know memorability counts, whatever it is.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017
  23. Kuffy

    Kuffy Established Member

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    The radio test is dependant on the broadcaster's preception. Take one of my old names for example - it was "Girls Cat.com". Looks like a nice name for a site performing the primary function of the internet - the exchange of cat pictures. Take out the capitalisation and the blank, and some people would give the site a totally different perceived use - not one that would be accepted by Mum's net.

    I'm sure we all know loads of similar examples.
     
  24. Eckhart

    Eckhart Eckhart.net VIP

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    That seems like a good starting point for building a script that measures pronounceability, although you should check some of the previous algorithms on this matter. For example using it on 5-letter strings would be great for us domainers and we could adapt this code. Although in practice I got decent results just using pronounceability patterns filtering random 5L's. But if you come up with something let me know, maybe I could add something to it.

    From an automation perspective, the focus should be on pronounceability instead of passing the radio test (this would also eliminate some unnecessary rules) because, for example, funy.com doesn't pass radio test (you'll have to also say it's just a single N) but it's pronounced with ease and it makes a great brandable nonetheless, so a script needs to rate it high regardless of failing the radio test.
     
  25. Asfas1000

    Asfas1000 Business Member Business Account VIP

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    Context (and proper English) also helps with the radio test.
    Anyone would spell "cell phone" vs "sell phone" although the sound is the same.
     

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