Category Archives: Domain

Domain Name Questions You Thought Were Too Stupid To Ask

So if your site is mysite.com, you can be sure there’s no other site on the planet with the exact same title.

Computers talk to each other via numbers; in this case it’s called an IP number. You have probably seen or heard of it when setting up your e-mail program. It looks something like this: 209.15.63.7.

So when a user wants to access your site, what they basically do, is give their computer a signal to locate your computer’s fingerprint IP. You don’t see this happening; the computers do this whole process while you see the pages load on your screen. So every online machine anywhere in the world is programmed to recognize ‘mysite.com’ with its IP number and will take you to that site.

There are two (or more) parts to your domain:

· Top level domain

· Unique or second level domain

So in the example mysite.com, .com is the top level domain and ‘mysite’ is the second level domain. GOOGLE ADSENSE

The Top Level Domains

The previous example of .com as a top level domain is one of many. Consider:

.com = commercial . net = network . edu = educational .org = organization

Another thing you can do is state sub domains (commonly known as hostnames) of the domain mysite.com. An example would be mypage.mysite.com. This will direct to another section of your site.

Technical Information

All domain names registered are profiled in a database which details everything about the domain name and personal details like address, contact, billing details and your domain name server (DNS).

Here are the steps how accessing a website works:

1. User requests site via browser (a particular IP address) using a domain name

2. The local host queries the local name server

3. If the local name server does not find the IP address on its local database, then it will query other available name servers, which in turn will perform the same steps.

4. Finally, the user is given the IP address (website) or error message.

What can a Domain Name contain?

· Letters

· Numbers

· Dashes (-)

They can’t contain any spaces or symbols anywhere in the domain and they can’t start or end in a dash. Including the top level domain (like .com), you have 67 characters to work with which gives you lots of opportunity to register a keyword rich and audience specific domain. But try to keep your domain as condensed as possible as some browsers return error messages if the domain name exceeds 58 characters.

Example

Acceptable Domains:

þ mymarketingcenter.com

þ 1resource-marketingcenter.com

þ 1-stop-marketing-center.com

Unacceptable Domains:

X -mymarketingcenter.com

X 1resource-marketingcenter.com- –

X 1 stop-marketing centre.com-

Why Should I get a Domain Name?

If you want your site found on the Web, you need one. But apart from merely identifying your site, your domain name represents your business and is the first stimulus search engines use to draw visitors in.

Many people are misled thinking they will get their domain/s when they have a need for it or when the right time comes. The problem is when they finally get around to it, their domain has been taken long ago, and they start again from square one. Many have recognized this trap so they register their domains immediately to reserve them until they are ready to use them. So for a few dollars, they protect their next business idea.

If you are a company, its even more reason to reserve your domains immediately. If your company relies on a number of brands for its majority of sales, then it would be wasteful if not tragic to discover your best brands are being held hostage to a guy working out of his living room in hope you will pay him big bucks to get your domain back. Even if you win the legal battle, why have it in the first place?

On last count, there were over 30 million registered domain names with thousands more joining daily. You just know there are thousands of people glued to their computer screens searching the availability of every imaginable domain that could make them rich tomorrow. You can guarantee that as soon as somebody finds that undiscovered, potentially lucrative domain, they will instantly register it. So delaying even for a few hours already puts you behind the 8 ball.

Test this for yourself. Open your browser and think of your favorite hobby. Now type in the name of your favorite hobby followed by .com. So if your hobby was tennis, you would type tennis.com (it’s taken). You will struggle to find a domain name that hasn’t been taken.

Now considering the CIA (yes, the intelligence guys) projects online users to increase to 1.46 billion by 2007 (it’s now estimated at 945 million) your chances for getting the domain name you really want rapidly decreases by the day!

Your Personal Website

Domain name selection for your personal site is a whole lot easier. You can just name the site after your name like maggiebruce.com or after your profession like dryourname.com. You probably have a higher chance of getting your exact name as a domain if it is less common than Smith or Jones.

With software programs such as FrontPage you can build your own website with zero HTML skills, zero programming skills and not really have much of an idea about websites at all! These programs do the coding and programming for you. All you do is put in the text and graphics which you can easily cut and paste from other applications and it will automatically generate your site for you.

You can get lots of help from free online sources and support from specialists who often give free tips and advice in exchange for their names being promoted to the network’s members.

Your Company

Trademarks

There are now tough regulations from ICANN and InterNIC that forbid you from buying other people’s trademarks and registering them as a domain name. For example, Wal-Mart is a trademarked name so anyone who owned the name previously would be forced to hand it back without any payout to Wal-Mart. The same goes for just about any trademarked name.

We strongly urge you to keep clear of trademarked names and costly legal battles.

Stick with relevant domain names for your business. You can buy as many as you like and they reinforce your company’s image as an industry leader. Your business is far better off buying its domains now rather than later which can cost several thousand dollars. Remember, the online community is exploding at staggering rates and won’t wait for you to make up your mind. Active-Domain has domains available from as little as $9.95 per year – a minute investment that could pay handsome rewards.

Your Products and Services

This is one of the most powerful ways you can unleash your brand name on the Web. Many companies reserve a domain name based on future projects not even completed yet. They rely on market research and forecasts to anticipate demand for their particular product or service.

So they name their domain name after their product or service. When it officially hits the market, it creates a buzz and people swarm from all over to buy it. Viagra is a great example. Search engines shoot it up to the top of their lists and keep it there as long as the traffic and search term requests are consistent.

So if you have a product or service you know is destined for success, buy its domain now and keep it hidden from the public eye until you are ready to launch. That way, you can focus on your project and not have to worry about if your perfect domain will be taken by somebody else.

Investors

It’s hard not getting excited and have $ signs glaze over your eyes when you see domains like business.com sell for $7,500,000.

We are not saying all domains will fetch huge sums of money but you may strike it lucky and get a good buyer if the domain has a high value.

Despite the potential for loss, masses of people still actively search to buy and sell domain names. One can only speculate that the relatively cheap cost of buying domains today combined with the moneymaking potential far outweighs the risk of not making anything at all. So people will still take their chances.

You will always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

7 Strategies to Choosing an Effective Domain Name

A friend of mine calls me the “Domain Queen”, since at one time I owned around 50 domains. I’ve let many of them go (I own only 22 now) as my business has changed and developed, or I’ve just simply lost interest in the project. I’m often asked how I go about picking effective domain names, so as the “Domain Queen”, I’ll share my thought process with you.

1.What’s the purpose of the domain name? Are you planning on using this name as the main website for your company, as a one page sales letter site, or squeeze page site? If the domain name will be your primary company website, try and find the closest version to your company name that you can. If you’re just starting out, choose your business name and domain name with care. When I started my virtual assistant practice, I chose the name SOHO Business Solutions, as I thought everyone knew that SOHO stood for Small Office, Home Office. I think I’ve run into 2 people in my 7 years in business who knew what that acronym stood for. If I had it to do over again for this business, I would choose a business name and domain name with virtual assistant in the title, like InternetMarketingVirtualAssistant.com, a name I just recently purchased.

If the purpose of a domain is for a one-page sales letter site or a squeeze page, think ahead as to how you might promote this site. Because content is king in today’s internet marketing world, there’s little chance that either of these types of sites would be picked up by the search engines on key words. Therefore, your best promotion strategy is PPC, or “pay per click”, where you’re buying keywords for placement in search engines. If you’re buying keywords from Google, for example, the paid listings appear at the top of a search in a blue box, or down the right-hand side of your screen. You want to be sure that the info displayed there is compelling enough to get someone to click and visit your site. So, for example, I’ve created a squeeze page, GetMoreClientsOnline.com, which has a compelling solution to a common problem that my clients have, as a side door gateway to my OnlineBizCoachingCompany.com coaching website.

2. Brainstorm a list of ideas of the problem you’re trying to solve or the solution that you have. A domain name that clearly indicates what you do, or a problem that you solve, or a solution that you have to a problem will give a visitor a fairly clear picture of what s/he’ll find on your website. What I typically do is go to my domain registrar, http://www.UltraNetDomains.com, and just start plugging in the names I’m brainstorming until I come up with 3 or 4 that are available. If the domain name that you type in isn’t available, the service will come up with 10 or so alternates for you to consider. I found this alternate listing quite helpful recently in picking the name of an article directory site that I want to create.

3. For SEO (Search Engine Optimization) purposes, it helps to have your keywords in your domain name. Marla Regan, who’s a professional organizer, has put two keywords in her domain name, OrganizedTime.com. Retirement Coach Lin Schreiber has her keyword niche in her domain, RevolutionizeRetirement.com. Consultant John Reddish has the desired outcome keywords in his domain, GetResults.com. I own a domain that I haven’t yet developed for house sitters, BecomeAHouseSitter.com. Before buying your domain, make a list of keywords that someone might use to find you online. This list could include your industry, your target market or niche, a problem your target market has, or a solution that you can offer.

4. Shorter is better, if it’s to be your primary domain. I haven’t always followed my own rules here, as I tend to have business names that are quite lengthy. If the domain name is going to be your primary domain where your primary email address will be housed, you want your domain name to be as short, catchy, and memorable as possible. After a few times of spelling out your lengthy email address, you’ll come to appreciate the beauty of a short domain name. Your domain name can contain up to 67 letters and numbers, although I would encourage you not to have one of this length, and can contain no special characters other than hyphens.

5. Purchase your your given name as a domain name. I typically tell my clients not to try and brand their given name as their business name, as that takes many years, much money, and lots of hard work to have the name recognition of Oprah, for example. However, it still pays to purchase your given name as a domain name, as well as any common misspellings of your name. Many people think my name is Donna Gunther, with an “h” in the last name, but I’ve been unable to register that common misspelling of my name, as a photographer in Venice, CA, has owned in since 2000. Once you’ve purchased your name as a domain, you can redirect it to your primary website. This means that when someone types in a domain, they land at the website to which you pointed that domain. So, currently DonnaGunter.com redirects to OnlineBizCoachingCompany.com because I don’t want to use my name as a website, although that might change in the future.

6. Buy the .COM version of the name if it is available. When people hear a domain name, they “hear” .COM whether it’s .NET or .BIZ or .ORG or whatever. So, it pays to find a domain name that you like that is part of the .COM family. If you just can’t get the name you want, try a hyphenated version of the .COM name. For example, when I was seeking a domain name for my Self-Employment Coaching Gym, I really wanted SelfEmploymentSuccess.com, but it wasn’t available. However, Self-Employment-Success.com was available, so I grabbed that. Many SEO specialists state that search engines like hyphenated names, and many online business owners use hyphenated keywords in their domain names to be more attractive to search engines. I don’t have a clear answer as to the validity of this theory, so I just advocate going this route before having to resort to the .NET or .BIZ of the name you desire. Some domain name holders may be willing to sell you the domain name that you want. You can find out who owns a domain name by checking the WhoIs Registry at Internic, http://www.internic.net/whois.html. For info about country codes (two-letter) top-level domains (.UK or .CA, for example) visit http://www.uwhois.com/cgi/domains.cgi?User=NoAds

7. Consider owning other versions of your primary domain name. If you are registering the .COM version of a domain for your business, you may also want to secure variations of the name, alternate spellings, common misspellings, and the .NET and .ORG versions of your domain and repoint them to your main site to keep them out of the hands of your competitors. You can also go broke very quickly by purchasing all of these variations, so exercise some restraint in your purchases and don’t go crazy with purchasing every single variation of your domain name. For my coaching company site, I own both the OnlineBizCoachingCompany.com and OnlineBusinessCoachingCompany.com and decided that was good enough.

Your domain name is the beginning of the establishment of your presence online, Take some time and put some thought into the process so that the domain name serves you well in the years to come, and is an effective tool for helping you get more clients online.

Various Aspects to Domain Management

Domain registration is generally very easy. In fact you can simply contact your local domain registrar and give your details like name, address, contact info and of course the name of the domain you want registered and your domain gets registered. Alternatively you can simply go online to your domain registrar’s website and if the facility is provided just fill out a simply online registration form with your name and other details and submit to register your domain. It’s as simple as that.

The problem arrives generally for most of us after the domain has been registered. We keep hearing all these words like name servers, domain pointing and forwarding, domain locking and other things which make it all a nightmare. But it is not as bad as you think. Domain management, once you understand the various aspects to it, is actually a very simply task. We look at some of the aspects in domain registration and management which you might have to go through while setting up your website.

Name Servers

Name servers are probably the most common words used after you have registered a domain. Your hosting company will tell you to change your domain name servers to their address in order for your web hosting service to function properly. So what are name servers?

To put it in simple language, name servers are the name of your server. It basically tells a domain where your website files are located so every time someone types your domain name in their browsers, the domain exactly knows where to go to show your website files – your homepage etc.

Name Servers generally look like this:

Assuming you are hosting with xyz hosting company then your name servers should generally be:

NS1.XYZ.COM

NS2.XYZ.COM

Note the NS could be followed by 3 or 4 depending on your hosting company. Your hosting company will generally provide their name servers to you when you register with them.

Domain Forwarding / Domain Redirect

Domain forwarding or also know as Domain redirect means if you have multiple domains registered and you want one of your domains to quite simply point to another domain that you have as an active website.

This technique allows you to have a single website be available under multiple domains. For example you can register your domain in both .com and .net format and then make the .net domain address forward to your .com website. That way you don’t have to spend on having two different websites hosted for each of your domain extensions.

Domain Locking

This is quite new to the world of domains but is a very important one and you should always be aware of your domain’s status – i.e. whether it is locked or unlocked.

Now, how does domain locking make a difference to you? Firstly if your domain is not locked, then malicious software or hackers have the ability to shift the domain in to their name or shift the domain’s name servers on to their web site which could cause lot of embarrassment to you. Not just that in some cases, hackers can pull the domain from your domain registrar to theirs, giving them full control of your domain.

In general you should always make sure your domain is in locked status. Of course when you need to change the domain’s name servers etc for your own use then you can unlock a domain. But always make sure moment your work is done and the name servers or any other information you are trying to change has been completed, immediately lock your domain. If you can’t lock or unlock your domain, please contact your domain registrar regarding this.

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.

Domaining and Domainers – Residual Income Through Domain Parking

Domaining is a fascinating business and investment vehicle because once the initial investment is made, it is a business that requires minimal attention. This makes it one of the best models of a residual income business on the web. However, this is not to say that domaining is easy. Working as a domainer simply means that you have to invest all your attention, effort and money up front, while researching what domains to buy.

Definition of Domaining

Domaining is basically the business of buying domain names as an investment. When thinking about this business, a good approach is to think of domain names as real estate. Think of them as pieces of virtual internet-land that have some intrinsic value, where the majority of that value stems from their location and from their degree of development. Their “location” is akin to their visibility on the web. Short recognizable names have the best location, and so they are also the most expensive. The buildings on a piece of land are akin to a website developed at a domain name. The website is likely to attract visitors either through it’s content or functionality, and therefore increase the value of the domain name.

Like any mature property business, most of the valuable names have already been snatched up and are only available at a premium. Speculative names are still available, as are names with unproven extensions (.info, .biz, .us, etc.) A big difference in the domain world though is that new names with potential are available all the time, as new phrases and trends become popular, as old domain names expire, and as new technologies emerge.

Monetizing a Domain Name

There are a million way to monetize a domain name if you are willing to develop a website on it, but since this article is about the purest form of domaining, I will only address ways to monetize domain names without developing them.

Reselling Domains – As with any piece of property, your domain may be worth more to someone else than you paid for it. This may be the case if you develop a knack for coming up with brandable names ahead of time (ie. google, digg, myspace, zappos), or if you manage to snap up names related to a developing trend or idea (ie. bird flu, wimax, AJAX). This is a speculative way of making money from domains, but your initial investment of $6-9 per domain won’t break the bank and might create a hefty return. Once you buy a few domain names, list them for sale on websites such as Sedo and DomainState to see if any of them get picked up. Remember, patience is a virtue.

Parking Domains – On the web, targeted traffic is worth money. Targeted traffic are simply visitors interested in a specific topic. If your domain names get traffic (more on this later) you can monetize that traffic by parking your domains with a domain parking service such as Sedo, DomainSponsor or Fabulous. You simply register with the service for free, point your domains to their DNS servers, and voila, you’re done. The service puts up a simple one page website on your domain that has advertiser links and information based on the keywords and category associated with your domain name. When visitors follow those links, you share the revenue generated with the domain parking service.

Finding Domain Names

There are many different strategies for coming up with and researching domain names to buy. There is plenty of (well researched) speculation out there, but there are also many domainers buying names with the intention of creating passive income. For this, the domainers buy domains that receive traffic that can be monetized.

The simplest way that a domain receives traffic without having a website on it is through type-ins. We’ve all been responsible for type-ins before when we went straight to the address bar and typed yahoo.com or money.com or bored.com. Sites such as cellphones.com and business.com get hundreds or thousands of targeted visitors a day through type-ins. Often, people will type their search terms directly into the address bar with .com, hoping to find information of interest. This behavior is characteristic of an internet newbie, but keep in mind that there are more newbies on the internet every day, and as broadband becomes more widely available, this is a trend that is going to continue.

Research time is the biggest investment a domainer makes before buying a name. A great free tool that I use for domain research is Domain All-in-One from DomainState. It allows you to quickly check the availability of domains, as well as look up keywords on Overture and domain popularity via Alexa. Below are a few strategies for picking and finding domain names.

Speculation – If you have a good head for names and can come up with catchy ones that might one day be a company’s next product or brand name, give it a try. Also try to spot upcoming trends and catch phrases, and register names related to them. Names in other languages, and names in other Top Level Domains (TLDs) such as .info, .us, .biz, etc. are also quite open to speculation. Remember though that speculation is just that, and there is no guarantee of a future payoff.

Type-in Traffic – Most obvious keywords and phrases have already been registered, but new ones are coming into the public consciousness all the time. New music trends such as reggaeton, new global scares such as bird flu, and new technologies such as wimax present the early bird with an opportunity to register keywords and phrases that are likely to get more and more type-in traffic. Keep your eyes and ears open and do a little research every day to see what is available.

Typos – Misspellings of popular domains get traffic through type-ins. This includes domains such as gogle.com or yahooo.com, but also less obvious ones such as celphones.com and homelaons.com. These domains can be lucrative because you can park these domains using the right keyword and create instant revenue. For coming up with likely typos and determining their likelihood, I’ve found SearchSpell to be a very useful tool.

Expired Domain Names – Domain names expire every day without their owners bothering to re-register them. Expired domains may have hosted websites, portals, blogs, or businesses beforehand, and as a result they may have incoming links from other sites and they may come up in the search engines. This means that they are likely to get some traffic, which you can monetize through Sedo or other means. Since this is a such a profitable strategy, you most likely will have to go through a drop-catcher such as Pool, SnapNames, or NameWinner and pay a premium for the expired domain at an auction. Also, keep in mind that the traffic numbers at these sites are likely to drop over time as they fall in the search engine results and users realize the old page is no longer there.

Buying Proven Domains – If you have some capital laying around and are willing to pay a premium for an income stream, then you can buy domains that already have establish traffic and income. These domains can cost anywhere from the 1999 bubble price of $7.5 million for business.com, to more reasonable 5- and 6-figure prices of proven domains today, to a few hundred dollars for a domain with a minor income stream. Good places to start looking are SnapNames, Sedo, and the For Sale forum at DomainState. In this case, your investment might take a few months to a few years before you generate a positive return, but the security of an income has always been an expensive commodity.

Next Steps

If you are new to domaining, take time to learn the business and hold on to your wallet for now. There is a lot of great information out there at resources such as DomainState and DNJournal. Their articles and discussions are a great way to avoid many costly mistakes yourself and to learn where to invest your time and eventually your dollars.

Once you have a grasp of the business and enough confidence to get going, go ahead and start experimenting! Don’t spend large sums of money up front or buy hundreds of domain names at once. But do get started buying a few; one of the beauties of starting in this business is that you can register a domain for the price of a burger. Check out 1and1 and NameCheap. Put them up on Sedo, advertise them for sale, see what you get. And if you want to take the development route, go ahead and put a website up on them.

Be consistent and have fun. Learn about the business daily and try out new strategies until you find one that you’re comfortable with. Play your cards right and you too could soon be making money while you sleep.