What’s In A Name?

An age old question that carries a fair amount of import online. Domains are, essentially, real estate. And like actual real estate, you encounter a wide array of people trying to accomplish a wide array of goals.

Some seek to develop, wanting only a domain applicable to their needs, willing to look a bit to either side and focus on building their site. Some seek a broad collection, acreage, if you like. Owning as many as possible, while staying focused on domains that, they hope, will prove a reasonable return down the road. In some cases, this could be the hopes of millions upon sale, but by far the vast majority come in as final sales much, much lower than that.

But buying a domain for $8 and selling it for a couple thousand a few years later is still a healthy profit. Most sellers are willing to wait to ensure they get a reasonable value for their “realestate”. And often, buyers have a more pressing need for a domain: you’re ready to launch a new site, and THAT is the “perfect” domain, and you’ve just got to have it.

In those conditions, be ready to pay. And maybe you should. You’re launching a business after all. If you’re building a site, planning on hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue each year, is a one-time purchase of, say, $7,000 “too much”? That’s up to you to decide, but bear in mind…

  • You think it’s perfect
  • It allows you to execute on the plan you have, instead of changing anything
  • t’s a low cost when compared against expected revenue
  • It allows you to move forward quickly
  • It helps you avoid delays searching for the next most perfect domain

So maybe it is perfect, but then again, maybe you could work with a different domain and save a bundle, too.

Keep in mind the Internet is full of sites with domains that are simple words, made up words or not even words at all. Simple words are desirable because they’re just that – simple. They are all gone, long, long ago in fact, so the likelihood of finding one, and it being low cost are virtually zero today. And those made up names, don’t be quick to scoff them. A number of well-known sites were founded on domains that may not have even been words in their time.

The point here is that with a bit of creativity, you could find the perfect domain very cheaply. At the very least, it’s worth putting time into researching the space to understand what to expect and be ready with a multi-faceted plan when it comes time to buy.

Buying domains “on the drop” is perfectly fine, but keep in mind it might have a history. It pays to research that history, as some domains get abused in previous lives and are being dropped for a reason. While it’s not the only resource, The WayBack Machine is a useful way to take a look at what may have historically been showcase don a website. Expect lots of broken images in there, but even a few minutes of research can help you understand a domain’s history.

In the end, if you’ve got a business to run, or are starting a new one, don’t be held hostage and waste time fretting over your domain. Yes, it’s worth thinking about, and making a thoughtful purchase when you can, but that needs to be balanced against the bigger picture of your business.

Duane Forrester
Sr. Product Manager

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