Monthly Archives: October 2018

Domain Appraisal Guide – 20 Factors That Decide the Selling Price

Domain appraisal route in the current diverse market situation is a big challenge. Sometimes it is hard or even impossible to leave out the subjective opinion and just stick to the facts and statistics.

However, it is dangerous to approach domain appraisal on “like it/don’t like” basis. That’s why an exact guide or checklist can provide a great help and make the appraisal process much easier.

Strictly speaking, there are 20 main factors in domain appraisal procedure. You will easily set the right value of your domain if you follow these steps.

1. Industry popularity. It is very important to answer a question “what is the market volume this domain applies to?” It may be a short and nice name but it will have less value if it cannot generate enough business.

2. Niche situation. It is sometimes a matter of fashion. Once you have applied the domain to a certain market, explore how wide or narrow is the niche it would fit in.

3. Keyword popularity. The best method of market prediction and one of the most accurate domain appraisal tools is the keyword popularity check. You have to find out the number of monthly searches for the keyword term your domain represents. Two of the all time favourites are Google AdWords Keyword tool and Yahoo’s Overture. If a domain name doesn’t contain any recognizable keyword, it should be brandable (see the point #10).

4. Substantiality. It is a domain appraisal criterion that evaluates if the domain name is serious enough to have business people showing any interest. Wacky names may be fun but they doesn’t attract enough business.

5. Top level domain value. Yes, .COM maybe is king but how about other TLDs? Top tier extensions are .COM, .NET, .ORG, .CO.UK and .DE. They have a potential of going for over $100,000. Midfield consisting of .NL, .US, .FR, .RU, .IN and .CN hardly ever reaches $100,000 but can go beyond that for the right name.
Lower end of .INFO, .TV, .MOBI, .FM, .AM, .BE and .CC are sometimes seen selling in $XX,000 region whereas the struggle TLDs .BIZ, .WS, country TLDs and .NAME rarely make a thousand. Yet the domain appraisers have to keep in mind that a great .BIZ will definitely make more money than a shabby .COM.

6. Phone test can determine if there is some off-line value in the domain. If you can dictate the name over your phone without spelling it letter by letter, you may add more dollars to the price.

7. Memory test is another method of domain appraisal that determines if it has a business potential. Test your friends – tell them the name and see if they would be able to recall it after a day or two.

8. Length of the name. There is still a strong demand for three-letter and four-letter .COM domains. However, the majority of these aftermarket transactions take place amongst domain name “flippers” or re-sellers. It is not necessary for a name to be short in order to be good seller – a longer name that can still be easily memorized and that makes a perfect sense, will do as good.

9. Product recognition. From the business point of view, it is important that the visitor would be able to predict the content of the web-site once he sees the domain name.
A name containing “telephone”, “mobile” or “games” and similar popular products would be likely to fetch more in the aftermarket. Whereas, a domain that resembles a popular branded product may prove a difficult thing to sell.

10. Brandability. In the situation when almost 100% of the English dictionary words are already registered as domain names or branded, if someone comes up with an interesting new word that can be turned into a trademark, domain appraisal has to consider and recognize that. It is essential to check both US and UK trademark registries before setting the sale price.

11. Exact keyword. It may be an advantage to have a single-keyword domain name, also two relevant keywords without a hyphen spells good selling price. However, when it comes to three or more keywords in a single domain especially when they are hyphenated, it will drastically reduce the aftermarket price.

12. Language. Top sellers are the domains in correct English language due to the worldwide audience and all the English-speaking countries. Also Spanish and German names sell quite well.

13. Clean grammar. Typos were popular some time ago. Now it is very important for business reputation to have a grammatically correct domain name.

14. Domain age. As the search engine algorithms deal with site ranking, domain age is quite important. Older domains tend to rank higher.

15. PageRank and domain appraisal. Initially PageRank was introduced by Google to rank web-pages by their importance. As webmasters still continue to fret about PageRank, it is still considered as a factor in domain appraisal.

16. Type-in traffic. If a domain name is short and obvious, it will attract traffic from direct browser type-ins. If you can prove a significant type-in traffic, you can set the selling price on a higher level.

17. Organic traffic. Again, it is necessary to provide a proof that the site receives free organic traffic from search engines and referrals. It is very difficult to build traffic and if the initial work is already done, you will expect the buyer to pay more.

18. Development value. Domain appraisal should also consider how the associated website is developed and optimized. On the other hand, an unprofessional site can harm the sales potential. There is nothing wrong with selling a domain with a web-site as a package deal, yet the quality of the site should be top-notch! The domain appraisal factors 14 to 18 are meant to deal with names that already have a web-site. If you are trying to appraise a blank domain name, you should not consider these points.

19. Total revenue generated from the site. A proof of regular revenue from different advertising and affiliate programs will drive the sale price up, yet a good site content alone will doubtfully make a good sale if the domain doesn’t meet at least some of the aforementioned criteria from 1 to 13.

20. Comparison. Before concluding a domain appraisal, you will want to compare the domain with previous similar sales from the aftermarket. Although it is true that each name is unique, there is fashion and there are trends. That’s why it may be useful to visit Sedo, Tdnam or any other aftermarket to see what domains attract more bids, explore the internet for previous sales. A good idea is to sign up for several web-master forums in order to explore the domain appraisal requests posted by members. You will be able to post a domain appraisal request yourself and compare your verdict with judgment of fellow webmasters.

This guide contained the 20 primary criteria of domain appraisal. Use them to determine the value of names you buy and sell. If you keep this guide as your checklist, you will probably find that domaining is an interesting and rewarding industry.

The Domaining Revolution – Lessons From The Domain Roundtable

“The Revolution will not be televised…you will not be able to stay home …you will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out…the revolution will be no re-run brothers…the revolution will be live.” … Gil Scott-Heron

I (along with fellow SEO´s John Andrews, Dustin Woodard, Aaron Wall, Chuck Price & Dave Bascom) attended the 2007 Domain Roundtable in Seattle . There has been a lot written about domaining recently by SEO´s…some of it complimentary, and some of it misinformed. I find domaining to be fascinating because I view it as an online extension of old-school business that just so also happens to reasonably immune from the shifting search engine algorithms. Even more compelling, the amount of money that successful domainers earn from their investments is downright scary.

Domain Names Are Assets

The parallels between Domain Names and Conventional Real Estate run deep. A domain name can be compared to “raw developable land” (which can either lay fallow or be developed). The domain name can be either “parked” for revenue or “developed” into a business.

Domain Parking

To park a domain, a domain owner forwards the Domain DNS to a parking company. He/she than tells the parking company what type of ads to show on the page (by category, by keyword or both). The domain owner can then “optimize” the parked page by choosing a user-friendly page design and advertising content for the page for ads that both map best to the topic of the website URL and also offers the domain owner the best EPC.

Typically, parked domains get visitors and earn revenue from “type-in traffic”, where a web-surfer types the search terms into the browser without spaces (followed by a .com or other extension). However, if the parked website has previous link popularity, it might also get traffic from people following those links.

Site Development

A domain owner might also do a cost-benefit analysis and decide to “develop” the domain name through site creation. Most domainers lack some if not all the skills for site development, so a true domainer will only do development with the strongest generic brands due to the cost involved.

The level of site development might somewhat depend on the intent of the domainer. Is he/she planning to hold the domain for the long-term or planning to sell? Either way, a developed site is all about “profit and loss”…that´s how a domainer evaluates the performance of his/her investment.

Some take site development one step further. For example, Mike “Zappy” Zapolin will, for some of his super-premium domains, form a corporation, hire a CEO, and build out a major business presence revolving around his generic name purchase.

Have you noticed on business shows recently that many of the interviewees are from “generickeyword.com”? Behind that business is likely a domainer trying to get maximum ROI from his/her premium domain investment.

Domain Values

Hopefully, most SEO´s now know that the intrinsic value of a domain name can far exceed the slight search engine benefit accrued from having the targeted keyword present in it. Each generic keyword dot com domain is unique and can have only one owner. Each will also control a consistent level of type-in traffic. Formerly, many domain owners believed domain value to be 5 to 10 times its yearly PPC revenue…however, this rule of thumb has been mostly discredited. A domain is worth what a willing buyer will pay for it and domain appraisal seems to be an inexact science.

The desire of many businesses to brand themselves with a generic dot com domain combined with the incredible scarcity of quality premium names is driving the value of them sky high…

…and yet, there is plenty of room for newbies to make money in the marketplace. Learn the ground rules, be perceptive, take a 5 year nap, and you might be able to cash out quite handsomely.

What´s A Domainer Conference Like?

Low-key. Mellow. Relaxed. Welcoming. The business and social acumen of everyone I met was extremely high. There aren´t any Jason Calcanises in the domaining world…everybody I spoke to was very interested in SEO and how it could help domainers earn more from their investments. Also, I could not possibly imagine a group of people who were friendlier to newbies and would answer the type of questions that would have gotten me the brush-off at an SEO conference. Even when I obviously approached booths just to pick up the goodies (thanks for the t-shirt Michelle), people would still offer themselves as resources to help a domain newbie learn the industry.

Also, having been to SEO conferences, it was hard to fathom that the stars of the industry seemed so “normal”. Just from observing Frank Schilling at the conference (his keynote was extraordinary…please watch or listen to it), I would never be able to guess how incredibly successful and influential he is. Even more surprising is the level of respect and deference that attendees gave the top domainers. Sure, people chatted with them but they didn´t attract mad throngs of people looking to network or for tidbits of advice. They were allowed to orchestrate their own maneuverings during the conference and conduct their business. Could Danny or Rand walk the conference floor without gathering a crowd? I don´t think so.

Conclusion #1

Domainers know that SEO´s can add value to their investment and our overall reputation in the domaining community seems to be quite good. Even Frank Schilling mentioned in his keynote that his “Fall Traffic Initiative” would likely include an SEO component. However, we need to learn their needs and talk their language. They want to hear about ROI and Profit/Loss…they don´t care about “SEO-Speak”. An SEO also needs to know that a premium domain name isn´t just the online presence of a business…it is the business. The first premium domain screwed up by an SEO firm will kill our reputation in the domaining community…let not have this happen.

Conclusion #2

The domaining industry now is like SEO back in 2000 when I started learning search. There is still plenty of opportunity to jump in, learn the ropes, and make spectacular profits. Domain name articles are hitting local newspapers, publicizing the industry and bringing conference attendees like Trader Wayne who perceive domaining as a natural extension of web entrepreneurship. Domain conferences will soon become as crowded as search conferences if not more so. SEO´s do have a built in advantage over other industry entrants if they are willing to adapt to the rules of a new game…the high levels of intuition and perception common to top search marketers will translate well to domaining.

Conclusion #3

SEO is an excellent vehicle to get to a destination, but is rarely a destination unto itself… don´t be afraid to leverage SEO knowledge for something bigger and better.

Turn Domains Into Dollars – 10 Hot Tips

Check out these recent ‘colossal’ domain name sale prices! Massive Profits are well and truly back in the news. (Truth be told, they’ve never really been out of it). With ‘big’ money at stake, it’s no wonder the Domain Name Barron’s prefer to keep an extremely low profile. Here are 10 Hot Tips to turn ‘your’ domains into dollars.

Tip 1. (More a ‘revelation’ than a tip). Did you know that there are now businesses specially set up to ‘finance’ those looking to buy domain names? Were you aware that there are multi-million dollar companies, whose sole activity is buying, selling, parking or leasing domain names? Why is this relevant? Well, these ‘major players’ are not in it for fun. They know (for sure) there’s ‘big bucks’ to be made from domain names.

Tip 2. When it comes to turning domains into dollars, names ending in .com are still ‘king’. The two word domain name DataRecovery.com went for a whopping $1,659,000.00 in the first half of 2008, whereas the one word Fund.com when for a simply staggering $9,999,950.00 in the same month / year. OK, your chances of getting hold of a good ‘one word’ domain are slim, but bear in mind that, as the price of such exclusive domains increase in value, a knock-on effect occurs. Down the road, sales of this magnitude can influence prices paid for good ‘two-word’ (and even ‘three-word’) domain names.

The best domain names are those consisting of generic terms / expressions (and ‘keywords’). ‘Anti Virus’ is an example of a generic expression, as is ‘Poker Tournament’.

Tip 3. Understand, it’s not just dot com domain names that sell. There’s money to be made from other Top Level Domains (TLD’s) too. i.e. .net, .org, .info and .biz.

FilmSchool.net and WallStreet.info sold in 2008 for $49,501.00 and $25,500 respectively. If you had discovered either of those examples as an ‘unregistered name’, you would probably have been asked to pay no more than $10 to secure your prize!

Perhaps more appropriately, numerous sales in the $0000 and $000 price range occur every month.

If the .com version of a domain name is already registered, you must take care to avoid identical domain names (with different name extensions) where ‘brand name’ or ‘trademark’ infringement might be an issue.

However, if the dot com name is a pure generic name (e.g. Christmas Tree) then it may be safe to snap up one of the other TLDs or a Geo / Regional version of the same domain name as (to the best of my knowledge) it’s still the case that obvious ‘generic’ terms cannot successfully be protected by trademark registration. (But don’t rely on this, always investigate and take professional advice).

Tip 4. When it comes to domain names with ‘country’ or ‘region’ specific extensions, exciting 6 figure sales are occurring. Don’t believe me? Well note that FreeCreditReport.co.uk sold in 2008 for a very healthy $300,000. (Wish I’d turned that domain into dollars).

Tip 5. Domain Names don’t have to be short and memorable to warrant a fantastic 6 digit purchase price. Demand is steadily increasing for sensible names, comprised of one or more words that clearly describe a marketable product or service. Why? Every year the number of businesses goings online increases dramatically. (Work it out for yourself).

Tip 6. Don’t for one moment think that ‘flipping’ (i.e. buying in the hope of immediately reselling) is the only way to turn your domains into dollars. If you acquire several domain names, you should investigate developing some into websites that you can then sell, along with the domain name. Doing this can add a lot of value to the domain. It also gives you more opportunities to make a sale, as you can look to attract not only those looking for a good domain name, but also folk simply seeking a website with a decent name.

Even if you know nothing about website development, you can get a freelance to build one for you quite cheaply. Web Developers frequently advertise their services through elance.com, guru.com (or a whole range of other Outsourcing Websites).

Many domain names are suitable for ‘Free Parking’ via services willing to share revenue generated by visitor traffic. Simply type ‘Domain Parking’ into your favourite search engine, then compare offers. Such services effectively host your domain name for free, and can make your domain look more appealing to a prospective buyer.

If a Free Parking Service makes you just $5 each year over and above the annual cost to register your domain name, you’re ahead of the game. OK, $5 a year is not much (unless, that is, you’ve got 100, 1000, or 10,000 domains that are all earning you a $5 profit annually). Do the math! Decent domain names will increase in value overtime so, by parking names to cover their renewal costs, you can afford to sit back and wait for a decent offer. (Win, Win!)

Tip 7. While there are no ‘absolute’ rules, consider carefully before you buy an ‘already registered’ domain name that contains a hyphen, a numeral, or both. In some instances, you can come out on top, but in most cases you’ll be wasting your money. Also, beware of those offering domains that appear to be really great one or two word names until – that is – you realize that the person who registered the name (not necessarily the seller) has used the number ‘0’ (zero) rather than the letter ‘o’ as part of a word. There are other text variations that can create a misleading impression. (So be careful!).

Tip 8. We’ve touched on this point earlier, but it’s very important you avoid names that have been trademarked or – through passage of time – come to be recognised as ‘known brands’. Just because a dot com name is available, don’t jump to the conclusion that the fantastic name you’ve identified is a safe bet.

OK, you may well decide that – for the risk of just a few dollars – you’ll register it while you can, and investigate later. (That’s probably what I’d do!). But subsequently, always remember to do your ‘due diligence’ before using such a name, or offering it to someone else.

Bear in mind that some business may (for whatever reasons) chose to go with the .net, .org or some other extension. In many cases where this applies, those businesses will have taken the sensible precaution of purchasing the .com version too. But not always!

So, irrespective of the extension of any domain name you might be thinking of buying (e.g. .com, .net, .org, .us etc) check to see if anyone has registered / is using the same domain with an alternative extension.

Also bear in mind that there are still some businesses without an internet presence, who may be using that fantastic name you came up with ‘off-line’. Where this applies, they may well have Trademark or similar rights over it.

You can also get your fingers badly burn if you register a deliberate misspelling or ‘sound-a-like’ of a famous brand name. My advice? Don’t bother (or check with your lawyer first!)

Tip 9. When it comes to using ‘brand creation’ as means of converting domains into dollars, some businesses deliberately choose (or dream up) domain names with a vague / nebulous quality. This means that, later, they have the option to change what their business does, or move into additional fields, without having to alter their name.

For example, although we all associate Amazon or eBay with what we currently known them for, there’s a chance that – in fifty years time – they could have morphed into new enterprises (which may have nothing to do with the activities we associate them with right now).

You might sometimes be offered, or dream up, domain name ideas that don’t describe or indicate a specific business or interest area. Such names can be valuable if you can locate someone with cash, who agrees with you. However, more often than not, they will prove very hard to sell, compared to those that give a clear indication of what an internet user might reasonably expect if he / she decides to visit a website with that name.

Tip 10. In this article it’s only been possible to uncover the tip of the iceberg as far as domain name ‘buying & selling tactics’ are concerned. Tip 10 is to realize that, in order to buy and sell domains like a ‘pro’, you need to get serious about increasing your knowledge, and start planning your strategy. Invest some time and energy in learning all you can from ‘experts’ to give yourself that essential ‘edge’. Then formulate a campaign to turn those domains into dollars.

What Next?

For anyone looking to get a head start I can do no better than point you in the direction of my recommended Knowledge Base

Never forget, just one good idea gleaned from an ‘expert source’ can make you a great deal of money if applied wisely. I take the view that – with a bit of luck – the profits I stand to make by arming myself with ‘inside knowledge’ should more than compensate for any up-front investment of time or money I might choose to make in my future.

Even if you decide that the ‘Knowledge Base’ mentioned above is not for you, you’ll probably pick up some great insights, just by reading the introduction.

In my ‘Resources Panel’ – which immediately follows this article – you’ll find a link to my website (dedicated to the subject of domain names). Once on my site, you’ll find links to a vast number of useful domain name resources that you really ought to be aware of.

Thanks for taking the time to read this article. Now it’s time for you to turn those domains into dollars.

Best Practices Guide About Domain Names

Domain names are the first step in implementing your Internet marketing business plan. Domain name represents your brand. Many people know very well the importance of brand in the “offline” but even those can make mistakes in their Internet brand management. Domain name is the first step in successful Internet brand management.

Choosing a domain name

It is not easy to register a good domain name (especially dot com), these days. According to domain name statistics on the most popular web site for whois searches Whois Source there are more than 57 million active generic top level domains registered as of September, 2005. Majority of these domain names are .com names. You can view this statistics if you visit http://www.whois.sc/internet-statistics/

It is sure that you can’t register a classy one-word domain name but with a little knowledge and appropriate services you can find a decent one, especially if you are not interested only in .com names. Useful site for finding decent domains is above mentioned Whois Source – http://www.whois.sc There you will find a free service that will give you 20 domain suggestions based on your keyword. Also, on the Internet you can find software that focus on domain names. Using free software Domain Name Analyzer you can make a list of domain names and this software will check availability of all included domains so you won’t have to check one-by-one which is time-consuming. Also this program will give you useful suggestions.

Another useful thing in find decent domain names is using expired domain name or back-ordering services. Using the first service you will get the list of expired domain names where you can find some really nice names with a little luck. However, it is not easy because many people use those services and some companies have special infrastructure that check availability of certain domain names every second and register them. You will have better chance to get your desired domain using back-ordering services. These services will monitor for domains you want to register and once they expire they will make register them on your behalf. Popular services are SnapNames.com and Pool.com.

It is recommended that your domain name be short, catchy, brandable and most important – easy to remember! You can register a domain name that has no obvious connections with your business but that is cool. Then you will have to invest more money in branding. With good domain name you will save thousand and thousand dollars in advertising, especially in TV advertising. If you are an email marketer domains are also very important because getting email subscribers without well designed web site is not recommended. It is recommended that the name of your domain be the same like your email newsletter name. You can make “teaser” articles in your email newsletter so that your readers will have to visit your web site in order to read complete articles and vice-versa. You can put “teaser” articles on your web site and require that people subscribe to your email newsletter to read complete articles.

Also, in order to find out popularity of certain keyword combinations you can use keyword suggestion services. We can recommend you these services:

Google AdWords Keyword Tool

https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordSandbox

Keyword Suggestion Tool

http://www.digitalpoint.com/tools/suggestion/

You can use Google, enter your keyword combination and see how much results you will get.

If you are in process of registering a domain name we can suggest you these two great companies:

Go Daddy – http://www.godaddy.com

Namecheap – http://www.namecheap.com

Internet brand management

We will take our company Infacta, Ltd. as an example. Infacta is Ireland-based company so it is logical that we registered http://www.infacta.ie. However, although we are Ireland-based company we focus globally. This can prove the fact that we have clients in more than 130 countries world-wide. So, it is also logical that we have a domain name in .com extension, too. Dot com domain name is considered as a global domain name for companies. Many people think that it is enough to have 2 domain names. For successful Internet brand management it is not enough. Beside, .ie and .com domains, Infacta owns domains in all major generic top level domain extensions (gtld) like .net, .org and .info. This is to prevent people or companies to use other Infacta name in other extensions that can confuse our customers and make harm to our brand. Beside that, we registered domain names for our products GroupMail and GroupMetrics in different domain extensions. Other famous companies have literally hundred and even thousand domains in their portfolio for each country where they have a presence and for their services. That is called a professional brand management.

There is also one more thing that can show how serious one company is regarding their domain names and Internet presence, in general. That is domain expiration date. Domain names expire. After that (preferably before that) date domain owners have to renew them. When you make whois inquiry about certain domain name, for example at http://www.whois.sc , beside registrant info you will see an expiration date. Imagine that you want to see an expiration date of your email marketing software company and you see that the expiration date is the next year or even this year. This doesn’t sound promising if you want a reliable business partner that will be in the business in the next 10 years, too, that you can count on. It is not only important because of whois searches and credibility, it is important because of search engines. Google gives better placement for companies that have domains registered for longer period. It is a sure indicator that it is a stable business and that they won’t go anywhere. Infacta domain name http://www.infacta.com expires in 2011.

There are some services that can help you in Internet brand management, to monitor that someone else is not using your trademarked names. One of those companies that offer brand monitoring services is NameProtect, Inc. at http://www.nameprotect.com Also, it is highly recommended that before you register your domain name to visit http://www.uspto.gov to check if your name that you want to register has been trademarked to avoid possible problem and law suits later. USPTO is official web site of the United States Government for patents and trademarks. Here you can also register your patent, trademark or service mark.

If your company’s name has a good, generic name and you want to register a domain, it is most likely that the .com domain will be taken. Sometimes, it is good choice to buy it from the actual owner. Also, you can buy domain names that are highly connected with your products and services and that will help you in Internet marketing.