Tag Archives: Domain

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.

Choosing Domain Names for Your Business

Let’s say that you’re creating a website for Barb’s Specialty Pet Products. Should the domain name be barbsspecialtypetproducts.com?

Perhaps — but don’t stop there. Having the right domain name, or domain names, can bring more traffic to your site.

Why more than one domain name?

One domain is all you need to set up a website. But with more domains directing to your site, you can have these additional benefits:

– Bring site visitors who type variations of your domain name

– Acquire traffic that might otherwise go to your competition

– Harness the marketing power of keyword domains

Your primary domain name

If it’s feasible, use your business or brand name in your primary domain. People will remember it and associate it with your business. Also consider the following factors when choosing your primary domain.

Domain name extensions

Should your primary domain end with .com, .net, or .biz, or with a country-specific extension such as .ca or .co.uk?

If your website is aimed at people in a specific country, having a country-specific domain can help:

– Site visitors will recognize right away that the business has a presence in the country of the extension. They may therefore be more comfortable buying from you.

– Some country-specific search results include sites with the relevant country-specific domain extension even if the site isn’t hosted in that country.

On the other hand, if you’re targeting an international audience, a country-specific domain could work against you. People from outside the country of the extension may be less inclined to buy if the business looks foreign to them.

If you want to attract both people within your country and those in other countries, have both. Each domain could direct to the same site, with each audience seeing the domain intended for them. For country-specific search results, the primary domain should be the country-specific one.

Chances are that the .com domain you want is already taken. If you use the .net or .biz version, you risk having potential site visitors go to your .com competition instead. Be sure to use the full domain name on all promotional material to reduce this risk.

Domain name length

A short domain is easier to remember, it has less risk of being mistyped, and it’ll fit easily on your business cards and correspondence.

Conversely, if a short name doesn’t represent your business, it’s more difficult for people to remember. The short names you like may already be taken anyway.

If your business name is up to three easy-to-spell words, it’ll probably work as a domain name. For a longer business name, the initials or just one or two words may be easier than remembering a combination of words.

Secondary domain names

Secondary domains directing to your site are for online use:

– For people who type your primary domain name incorrectly

– For people who search for your products or services online

Typing and spelling variations

How many ways can people spell and type your business name?

barbsspecialtypetproducts.com

barbs-specialty-pet-products.com

barbspecialtypetproducts.com

barbsspecialitypetproducts.com

barbsspecialitypetproducts.com

barbspecialtyproducts.com

barbspecialtyproduct.com

Hyphens aren’t recommended for your primary domain. When people tell others about your site, they’re likely to omit the hyphens. They may also forget to type them.

For secondary domains, hyphens make long domains easier to read. Each word stands out when people see your domain. However, domains such as buy-keyword-product-now.com make some people view hyphenated domains, especially those with more than one hyphen, as spam-like.

Having the words in domains separated may help some search engines recognize keywords. With Google, though, hyphens don’t make any difference.

Consider all of these variations for secondary domain names:

– With and without hyphens

– Different ways of spelling some words

– Singular and plural versions of nouns

– Extensions with .com and .net as well as a country-specific extension if relevant

What people search for

If you want to find the website for Time magazine, you might do a search for it, or you might try typing in time.com. If you do the latter, you’ll find yourself at the Time site.

This type of search behavior extends to generic words too. Searching for dog collars? Try dogcollar.com, for example, and you’ll be redirected to dogidcollar.com. Do you want life insurance? Lifeinsurance.com redirects to nmfn.com (and so does northwesternmutualfinancialnetwork.com).

While having keyword domain names may not draw a lot of site visitors, using them is a technique to consider.

How to use more than one domain

Set up your website with your primary domain, and use that domain on your correspondence and with your customers.

Point secondary domains to your site using URL forwarding (also called domain forwarding, domain redirect, or URL redirect). To have the secondary domain appear in the browser, use domain masking. You can set up these features when you log in to your account with your domain registrar (if your registrar offers these services).

With domains that are simply variations of your primary domain, you can expect additional traffic just from having set up these domains. With domains that contain keywords, you can get more from them by using them to list your site in online directories. When these domains appear in search results, searchers will see the keywords.

The next step

Once you decide on the available domains that you want, register them immediately. They might not be available tomorrow.

If you don’t already have a business name, you’ll find it easier to market your business online if you choose a primary domain and a business name together. If your first choice for a business name doesn’t work well with any available domains, consider a business name that you can easily market with an available domain. Once you’ve registered that domain name and your business name, register secondary domains and put them to use.

Is it worth registering multiple domains for one site? That depends on your site, but any variations that you don’t register will be available for competitors to register and use. If a domain is valuable to a competitor, it’s valuable to you.

Is Your Domain Name Safe From Theft?

Your domain name is registered somewhere out in cyberspace through an authorized domain name registrar. Do you know which one? Do you know who is listed as the registrant/owner of your domain names?

A domain name registrar is the organization or company responsible for providing domain name registration services to the public. A domain name registrar is either authorized by ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, an organization dedicated to Internet governance) to provide registration services or is authorized by its respective government to register domain names within a specific ccTLD (country code Top Level Domain name extension). A registrar must also be authorized by the registry of a Top Level Domain to act as an agent of the registry to process domain name registrations, where the agent is not a reseller. The registrar is also responsible for creating and maintaining a WHOIS database for its customers. The number of registrars has exploded in recent years, with some being more reputable than others. Examples of domain registrars include GoDaddy, Network Solutions, Register.com.

God Helps Those Who Protect Their Domain Names: You know the sayings – an ounce of prevention – God helps those – a stitch in time. Nowhere are these sayings truer than in cyberspace. The internet is still akin to the Wild West. Lawlessness and chaos still abound. You would be shocked by the number of calls and emails everyday from established well-run companies who have lost control or ownership of their domain names. The cause of domain name problems is, more often than not, a failure of the company to protect its domain name from its own employees, third parties, vandals and scam artists.

Here are some tips that will help keep your domain secure from third parties, hackers, cybersquatters, pornosquatters, add-site squatters and other domain name leaches.

1. Control your domain registration information: You must be listed as the domain registrant with correct contact information in order to control your domain. Many companies hire web developers or internet service providers (ISPs) to secure its domain names and develop its websites. I can not state this more strongly. Never let third parties register your domain name without oversight and instruction. You must control information at the registrar level in order to control your domain name.

2. Control your domain account number, login name and password: The domain account password with the registrar is set by the domain owner at the time the account is created with the registrar. Keep your domain account number, login name and password secret at all times. If you forget your password, every registrar has a system to send your password to the listed email account. In fact, all changes to your domain registration account occur through the registrant email address. Hackers sometimes use their tools on registrar login screens to hack into your account and change your registrant information. Make sure your password contains both letters and numbers and both upper and lowercase characters. The registrar will not treat you as the domain name owner/registrant unless you are the email address who controls your username and password.

3. Control your employees: What happens when the IT person you hired leaves for another company? If that IT person’s email was provided at registration and you don’t control that email address, you may be in serious trouble. The same is true of business partners. When company founders have a falling out, domain disputes often occur. Also, be careful about using free email services such as email at msn.com or email at hotmail.com, which you do not use regularly. Many of these services will discontinue your account if you do not log in on a regular basis.

4. Lock your domain name: Every authorized domain registrar is required to allow you to “Lock” your domain name. Domain locking is critical because registrars who receive a transfer request from any third party will send you an email. If your domain is not locked, the failure to respond to the registrars email request for change is an automatic “approval” of the transfer. Locking your domain prevents this from occurring. You will know if your domain name is locked if you see the words “Registrar-locked” when you view your domain name at the registrar or Whois database level.

5. Regularly check your domain registrant information: Check the Whois database on a regular basis to ensure you are listed as the registrant with all the appropriate contact and email information. Whois information is listed through your registrar or through http://www.internic.net/whois.html

6. Beware of spam emails, which pretend to be your registrar: You will receive spam from companies pretending to be your registrar, or mail asking you to sign papers again purporting to be your registrar. You must be extremely careful when responding to any request for information or authority about your domain by mail or email. Ninety percent of what will likely come into your inbox is essentially fraud. If you are not absolutely certain that the email is from your registrar, you should not respond. Many people sign or respond to emails, which provide authority to give your domain name up to someone else.

7. Don’t forget to renew your domain registration: Some companies simply fail to renew their domain name registration when it expires. If the email for the contact person is bad, the company never gets notice that its domain name is expiring. Many cybersquatters, or worse yet pornosquatters, have already paid money for rights to the domain name if it expires. They want your domain because it already has built-in traffic that they can turn into money by replacing your web site with an advertisement or link site, or a pornography site.

8. Establish your domain name as a trademark: Most of the domain name laws are designed to ensure that the proper company has the right to its domain name. These domain laws are tied directly to your trademark rights in the words used for your domain name. Registering your company or domain name with the appropriate trademark office gives you tremendous leverage in protecting your domain name in cyberspace.

9. Call an attorney: If you do lose your domain name, contact an attorney who specializes in this area. There are laws and remedies available which might help you get your domain name back. Domain names are valuable property and should be protected no different than a company’s customer list or its trade secrets. Many companies rely on their domain names and web traffic for substantial revenue. While domain name law firms can help your company get its domain names back once lost, it is rarely without serious business interruption and the investment of significant resources. The best course is to protect your domain name on the front end. An ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure.

How to Register an Online Domain Name

If you want a website you should consider the possibility of registering the domain name, rather than using a free site where your name is a sub-domain of another. Domain names such as the sitebuilder.com, or the domainwhiz.com are a good way to announce your online presence.

Choosing a name that fits your business or presence online is a great way to get the news out about the service that you’re offering to the public. It also tends to lend legitimacy to your online endeavors.

How to Choose a Good Domain Name

As a rule, there is no perfect domain name. There are some guidelines that you ‘re going to want to use, such as naming the domain something that is related to your online business or service. A few tips on how to name your domain that may help you to choose:

Try to name the domain closely to the service.i.e. if you offer jewelry and the name jewelry.com is gone, try for glitteringgems.com or something that fits.

The alternative is naming your domain something you might type into a search engine to find your service. If you’d use the search phrase..cheap jewelry online, then try the domain names, cheap-jewelry, cheapjewelryonline, or some variant.

If you can’t get the names that you want, try variations with hyphens or underscores. Google sees the hyphen as a space and according to Matt Cutts, his preference is first for the hyphenated and then the all in one terms.

A good rule is to keep the domain name as short as you can get it and still make it reflective of your service.

Finding a Registrar

Generally speaking, a domain name that cost you 19.99 a month is no more secure and no more legitimate than one that you pay just 9.99 for. Every domain is registered through a registrar which is an employee, if you will, of ICANN.

You pay for the domain name for one or two years, which gives you the right to use it for that period of time. Prior to the expiration you are required to re-register it if you want to keep it for another time span.

Overview of Registration

You are often given the choice of receiving a lower cost domain name or a free one with a hosting purchase. My own preference is to use a registrar rather than to register with the host. In the past, using fine print that many of us don’t read, domain hosts registered the domains in their own name rather than the customers, effectively making them the owner of your domain. While this isn’t the norm, it’s better to be safe than lose your domain.

Registering with your own domain registrar assures that you are listed as the site owner, that other contact information is just as you wish it to be. Keep the domain locked to transfer as a rule of thumb when you are finished registering.

Domain names go fast. You need to register as soon as you think of a name. Some people actually wait for others to search the names and if they aren’t purchased immediately, they will register them. We’re not sure how true that is but it does seem that you can check out a name to register today and it will be gone tomorrow.

Some people claim there are no good names left. Thats doubtful. One mans meat, as they say, is another mans poison. You will quite likely find what you’re looking for if you try variants of it.

To actively register the domain.
Log into your domain registrar.

You will need either a PaPal account or a credit or debit card to register your name. Domain registrars don’t normally permit the use of any other type of funding.

The domain name that you’ve registered will go through and an email receipt will be sent to you. At this point you will need to go back into your domain registrar and change the DNS information to point to your hosting service so that your domain will show up online.

If you don’t yet have a hosting service then you can leave the domain parked on your registrar until you find one to use.

Domain Name Registrars

Some great domain name registrars are out there which are very reputable and offer great pricing. Several of those are listed here for your convenience.

GoDaddy.com-the largest domain registration operator in the world, prices are a little higher than you may pay elsewhere

Hostingdude.com-smaller operation but still offers five emails and domain parking until you have a host. Average domain cost is 7.99 for dot com’s and 6.50 for dot net domains.This is for the first year prices. Second year the prices rise to about 14.00 per domain.

Dotster.com-relatively popular, still a bit on the pricey side for a domain. Prices are about 15 dollars per domain.

Register.com-9.99 per year domains with one free email address.

Don’t Overpay For Your Domain Name – 5 Steps to Paying the Right Price

Your domain name can have a large impact on the success of your web presence. A domain that is easy to remember, enter and search for can increase the amount of traffic to your website. Although you still need to have valuable and relevant content when a visitor makes his or her way to your site, the domain name you purchase is a vital piece of your web strategy. You can think of your domain name as your property, and just as in purchasing a traditional piece of property, you need to take steps to make sure you are not paying too much.

Chances are high that your first domain name ideas are already taken by someone else. There is also a good probability that a domain name that you really like will be up for resale. When searching on one of the top domain selling websites, such as GoDaddy.com, the site will only tell you that that particular domain name is already taken. It will not tell you if the domain is actually for sale.

Do not give up quite yet — there is still a chance that you can get the domain name you really want, and there are tools out there that you can leverage. First, enter the desired domain in your web browser address field and see what comes up. You will either get an existing website (and thus you will know that the domain is already in use by someone) or you will get a parked site. A parked site looks very similar to a search engine results page. Owners of domains that are not currently being used, or may be up for sale, will often park their domains in an attempt to earn money off of them. If the domain name is parked, there is a high likelihood that the domain is actually for sale.

Next, check to see if your desired domain name is for sale is by entering it into the search field at a resale site, such as Sedo.com. Sedo.com specializes in domain reselling and auctioning. It is free to register, which you will need to do in order to see the asking price for your desired domain name. As a registered user, you have the choice of purchasing the domain at the asking price, or presenting an offer of your own. Now is when you will need to do your homework so that you can determine what is a fair selling price for your desired domain. Just as in the process of purchasing real property, you will need an appraisal. The domain appraisal will provide you important information about the domain’s history, as well as the dollar value of the domain name.

The good news is that there are several resources available that provide a domain’s appraisal report, and the reports are instantaneous. Even better news is that several of these resources are free.

A few of the websites that provide free domain appraisals are Estibot.com and Smartpagerank.com. The Estibot.com site only allows you to do up to 50 searches each day at the free account level.

The domain appraisal report will provide you with valuable information about the domain, such as the age of the domain (when it was first registered), traffic history, if the site is registered with any directories, the number of links and indexed pages by the major search engines and the estimated dollar value.

Now that you have appraisal reports, you can determine if the current asking price is reasonable, a bargain, or too high (most likely they start too high). Domain reselling sites and services allow you to make an offer, and then you will go back and forth with the current domain owner until you either come to an agreed upon selling price, or you decide to walk away and go after a different domain name.

Following these few steps can help you make sure you are paying a reasonable price for your domain.

1. Search for the availability of your desired domain name.

2. If your desired domain is listed as unavailable, enter it into your web browser, or enter it in a resale site such as Sedo.com

3. If your desired domain is for sale, determine the asking price.

4. Obtain at least two domain appraisals.

5. Leveraging the appraisal report, determine the price you are comfortable with, and make an offer.

David Akers is the President of Akers Consulting Group, LLC.

Akers Consulting Group, LLC is a boutique consulting organization, providing affordable, professional consulting services to small and medium sized businesses. Our list of services includes: Business Strategy, Marketing, Ad Campaign Design and Placement, Website Development and Optimization, Public Relations and Training Development and Delivery. Please visit our website to learn more about our services and to schedule your FREE Initial Consultation. Akers Consulting Group Helps Businesses Excel.

The Best Domain Names Have “Sticky Factor”

As a web consultant I am often asked what makes a good domain name. The simple answer is “sticky factor”. The best domain names are short, easy to spell, and often contain descriptive keywords. This makes them catchy and easy to remember, and that’s sticky factor.

Here’s what you do…

Tell each domain name you are considering to a group of family or friends then change the topic of conversation. An hour later ask them to repeat the domains to you. The ones they can remember have the most sticky factor. Try this with several different groups of people. Be sure to change the order in which you say the domain names. You want to make sure they remember it because it’s sticky, not just because you said it first each time.

How Professional Domain Brokers Choose Business Domains for Clients

  1. Avoid hyphens and numerals. The shorter and more concise your domain name the easier it will be for people to remember it. Symbols and numbers confuse people (i.e. home4rent.com, homeforrent.com, home-4-rent.com, etc). If you buy a domain name with a symbol or number you need to buy all the different versions or your customers will get confused and go to on the wrong website.
  2. Avoid abbreviations, unless they are universal. Your company name abbreviated might mean something to you, but to the vast majority of people it means nothing. It also means nothing to the search engines, unless the abbreviation is already common (i.e. USA for United States of America).
  3. Location does matter for businesses. People often search local terms (i.e. state, city, etc) when looking for businesses. For example, someone in Seattle would probably search something like, “Seattle auto mechanic” or “auto mechanic in Seattle” rather than just “auto mechanic”. Having your city, state, or county name in your domain name is one way to help boost your local search rank.
  4. Do not register trademarks or misspellings of trademarks. Just because a domain is available does not mean that it is legal for you to buy it. It is not the responsibility of your domain registrar (domain name supplier) to tell you if a domain is trademarked. Even if the sales representative tells you it is okay and sells it to you, YOU are still responsible. Use TESS ( Trademark Electronic Search System ) to search the United States Patent and Trademark Office for conflicting trademarks before you purchase a domain.
  5. Your domain name registrar (domain name supplier) should be; inexpensive, always available by phone, and located in the same country as you.
    Inexpensive: Domain names should only cost about $10 per year. If you’re paying more then you’re paying too much. If you’re paying less then you’re probably stuck in a contract and/or not getting the support you should.
    Open 24×7: The internet never stops and your website never stops, so your tech support should never stop either. If your site goes down at 11:30 PM on December 31st then you should be able to speak with someone in person to get back up and running quickly. After all, you might be running a marketing campaign or contest that starts during the oliday.
    Local to You: No offense to non-English speakers, but tech stuff is hard enough to understand without a spoken language barrier. Too many tech companies outsource customer support to countries that don’t speak the same language.
    If you’re in the US I recommend NerdWarehouse.com. They also offer Spanish language support.
  6. Choose your company name and domain name(s) at the same time. Ideally you want the main domain name (usually the.com) to be identical to the business name. This is not always an option, so read the next point.
  7. In some cases a generic domain name is better than a specific title. If your business name is made of generic industry terms the domain is probably already taken. Not to worry. You can always buy a keyword rich domain name. Think of the word combinations that people will search when looking for a product or service like yours and use those words to make a custom domain name.
  8. Select domains with both the.COM and.NET available. This prevents competitors and “domain squatters” (people that buy domains and hold them ransom) from buying the other versions and leading your confused customers to a website that is not yours. Since.com and.net are the most popular domains it is usually good enough to get just these, but some companies choose to buy several (i.e..com,.net,.org,.info,.me, etc).
  9. Even if you are not ready to setup a website you should still buy the domains now. Every day great domain names become available because someone forgot to renew them, or couldn’t afford them, or just decided they didn’t want them anymore. Good domain names do not last long and finding the right domain is hard, so if you find a good one buy it. If you find a better one, buy it. Who cares if you end up with several domains you never use? At least you got the one you wanted. It is more expensive to talk someone into selling you a domain name than it is to buy a dozen available domains, so act fast or you may loose your opportunity.