Ahhh the 'goto tool'... Old timers in the domain industry still ask "What's the goto" when trying to determine the popularity of a given search-phrase with spaces between the words (apart), with spaces removed (together) and as a complete domain name (with extension). What these folks are asking is "How many times has this term been searched over the past month across the goto, (later called Overture and currently called Yahoo) paid search network? The answer to that question will determine whether a given phrase will garner organic, generic-intent type-in traffic when registered as a domain name.
I'll never forget the day when Garry Chernoff showed me this tool for the first time. My eyes lit up with wonderment at this window into the hearts, minds and souls of the Internet browsing public. Want to know what the most popular types of pie are? Just enter the word "pie" and see how many people search for apple, blueberry, cherry etc.. "American Pie" and "Pie Theory" always seemed to be the most popular pies.. but after a while you learned why that was..
It stood to reason that if some portion of the browsing public was so determined to find pictures of dolphins that they simply typed dolphinpictures.com into the search box at yahoo (recording one search in the suggestion tool) that those same people (and others) would type the domain-name in their browser address bar looking for the non-existent website that this powerful name describes.
I acquired the name when it dropped and was surprised to see 25 visits a day.. The people still come back, half a decade later.
That goto suggestion tool faithfully turned back billions of queries over the years and helped guide countless novice domain investors as they mined for untapped traffic veins. Many of those folks became "Fabulous"ly successful and created vast fortunes in spite of being late to the domain game. As word about this open software tool made rounds on the Internet it became much slower as parties ran monster lists against it, trying to harvest data. Surprisingly, Yahoo kept the tool open and unrestricted even after acquiring Overture.
Those days now appear to be "over" .. Several folks have reported the demise of the tool's monthly update and results appear skewed since last week. Thanks for the memories goto tool. We'll always have Wordtracker but you will be missed by many.