.NINJA Domain: Pairing personality with technical know-how

Roshan Ashraf, founder of Hardware BBQ and Doohickey Ninja (www.doohickey.ninja) discusses the challenge of branding a tech-focused review site and the appeal of a .NINJA domain in this week’s My Side of the Dot®.

Where are you based?
I am based in Mumbai, India.

How and when did Doohickey Ninja get started?
I started with a PC hardware review website and I don’t have experience with tech journalism in the professional sense. I’ve seen a trend where websites start as PC tech magazines and websites, eventually turning toward gadgets. I wanted to start a separate website for gadgets [so I would have] two separate brands catering to two different type of audiences and advertisers.

Why did you choose the name Doohickey Ninja?
I couldn’t find a good name at all. All of the names I liked were in-use or kept as premium domains which cost an insane amount of money. I looked upon an alternative word for “gadgets” and there it was—doohickey. Sometimes we get things that we don’t know what it does but we eventually figure it out.

Ninja is just to point out we can do what you do—but more quickly and effectively so that you don’t have to. Since gadgets are used by everyone irrespective of their technical expertise, it had to appeal to the general crowd. So the word “ninja” implies that you are good at it.

What is your goal for Doohickey Ninja?

  • Good reputation among readers.
  • Large content base involving several type of gadgets and portable devices.
  • Known for its own niche.
  • Justifying the word “ninja.”
  • Money to make good quality content, travel to expos, hire good experts and writers.

What is Hardware BBQ and what is its relationship to Doohickey Ninja?
Hardware BBQ has news, reviews, guides, and recommendation articles involving PC hardware components. While Doohickey Ninja would do something similar, it would only focus onwith gadgets. This is not limited to phones and tablets, but also includes different devices and maybe some type of electronic appliances.

The reason why they are separate brand names is because these two topics under the tech genre have a different reader base. Often I’ve seen Indian websites transitioning to gadgets and alienating current users. Then publication decides to involve some part of PC hardware which doesn’t work. I could have done both but it would be no different than dumping food from all over the world in one plate. It works for some publishers. For others, it does not. So keeping them separate made a lot of sense.

How did you hear about .NINJA?
I couldn’t find a good domain under .COM and .NET. I didn’t want to limit my website to country specific domains because gadgets we get here are eventually distributed to other countries. So I figured why not select a TLD which becomes a part of the brand name? Ninja is catchy.

Why did you decide to register a .NINJA domain in lieu of something more traditional like a .COM?
.COM was overcrowded. Second is that .NINJA is the part of the name itself— “Doohickey.ninja” and “Doohickey Ninja.” It’s rare to see domain TLDs be used as a part of the brand name. But this was pretty awesome and I had to give it a shot.

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