Helpful hints on how to buy and sell domain names.
Anyone who has started an online business or done research to start one, has had to ask themselves this question, “Where have all the good domain names gone?” And its a very important question. After all, you do not want to have to settle for “MyWidgetsarebetterthananyoneselses dot com” just because everything shorter has already been registered.
Unfortunately, all the very good domain names have been taken for a long time. The short and memorable ones became very valuable right away. Names like Loans.com and Business.com sold for around a Million dollars back in 1999. Now those names are worth much much more than that. The dotcom bust brought domain name values down for a short period, but they begin rising again around 2003 and are now high above the Dotcom bubble levels.
It was not long after that, that all of the single word dictionary words had been registered. At first it was mainly the dot com extension that was being bought up. Dot com is still King and considered the most valuable, but other extensions are gaining ground. Of course now, all the good domain names are registered in ALL extensions.
So how are these names being used? Are they all pointing to a website business? Why would someone register a name and not use it?
Most very good domain names are being used for Online business models. Domain names can be used to attract traffic on a parked site like DomainSpa.com DomainSpa lets advertisers put ads, relevant to the domain name, on the pages they build for the name. When someone goes to your parked page and clicks on an ad, the advertiser pays DomainSpa for that lead and then DomainSpa splits that money with the domain owner. Many good domains are being used to monetize direct navigation traffic from parked pages.
The best of these are the kind that you would naturally type into your browser navigation bar, rather than do a search for. If you were interested in finding information on “Widgets” would you just type that into your browser, or would you do a search? What makes domain names really valuable are the ones that are so easy to remember that you would use the direct navigation method rather than a search.
The main reason for the direct method is that you are pretty sure if you type in “Widgets.com” that you will end up on a site that has good information on widgets. If you do a search, who knows what you might find. We have all been there, you get to a list of sites on Google or Yahoo and say to yourself, what is all this crap? Did you notice that I typed in the dot com for widgets? Why not dot net or something else? That is why the dot com is still considered more valuable, its what you think of automatically. Dot com was the first extension widely used and originally was intended for “Commercial”use. The dot net was for Internet type services, if I remember right, and the dot org was to be used for “Organizations” mainly charities. Since then ICANN, the organization that oversees the domain name process, has added dozens of extensions. To name just a few, .info, .biz, .name, .us and so on. The .us is considered a cctld “country code top level domain” like .de for Germany .fr for France.
So, as you can see, even with all those extra extensions, good domain names are hard to find. Unless you know where to look. You should realise by now that a good domain name is a very valuable asset to your business. In some cases it can make or break a business. If you have a difficult to spell or hard to remember domain name, a lot of your customers will end up at a competitors website when trying to get to yours. You could also end up spending a lot of money on Google AdWords or Yahoo search ads to get people to your website. It is a Great benefit to have a easy to remember and RELEVANT domain name.
How do I get a good domain name? Now that you have a good idea what makes a good domain name, lets try to find you one. Keep in mind that the cost of your domain names is probably going to be much higher than you originally thought. You can still find reasonably good after market names (Ones that some already owns, but is willing to sell) for as little as $500, on average good domain names fall in the $1000 to $10,000 range.
The very best names are going for tens to hundreds of thousands or even Millions of dollars. Vodka.com recently sold for $5,000,00.00 I believe. Also keep in mind that whatever you pay for a name it is likely to become one of your most valuable assets. The more you pay, the better the name (usually) and the more natural traffic you might get for free. Some very good names might not have much natural type in traffic but still be the perfect fit for your business. If your selling mainly Mystery books then GoodMysteryBooks.com would be a perfect name. This name might not get much type in traffic, but it is so easy to remember that it could be promoted easily.
Now, pick a name that most relates to your business. If it is a short one word name it is surly already taken. Try adding My,i,e,go, or any short phrase that would make sense, to the front of the name. When you have a selection of possible names, go to a Registrar like GoDaddy.com, there are hundreds of these, where you can register names for as little as $8.99 Try the ones you have selected. If none are available keep working on other combinations.
Remember, you want one that is easy to spell and remember. Once you have gotten to the point that you realize your not going to find an acceptable one to register, then you are faced with the reality that yow will be paying more for a after market domain name(One that is already registered but the owner is willing to sell). While your still at the registrar you might check the “WhoIs” information on the names you wanted the most.
All registrars have a Whois link or you can go to Whois.net. Once you find the current registrants info, there should be an email link. Drop them an email and ask if the name is for sale. If the registrant info is not available in Whois then that name is probably not for sale. Once you have gone through this process and still have not found a good name try the Auction sites. Afternic.com has a huge inventory of high quality after market domain names. Most auction sites have any easy to use interface with escrow services that protect the buyer and seller throughout the buying process. Usually you can make a low offer on any name and start a negotiation process, or just pay the sellers asking price (if you think its reasonable) and be done. There are also drop catcher sites like SnapNames.com that grab expiring domains and auction them off to the highest bidder. Even eBay has gotten into the domain auction business, although I do not see many quality names there.
Most of the very good domain names are still available for purchase. You just have to contact the current owner. It may take a little time and some negotiating, but acquiring the perfect name for your business can be invaluable. Usually it will pay for itself many times over.
Some good resources for information on the value of domain names can be found at DNJournal.com This is the best NewsZine on the domain name industry and keeps up with all domains sold week to week. You can get a good idea of the value of different names and extensions from this site.