WebRef Update: Featured Article: How to Create Profitable Domain Names | WebReference

WebRef Update: Featured Article: How to Create Profitable Domain Names

How to Create Profitable Domain Names

Earlier this year, I took time out in order to test the widely-held view that 'all the best names are gone.' In the space of two months, I registered nearly two hundred domain names - one hundred and ninety dot coms, and ten dot net addresses. I learned many tricks and techniques of the 'name creation' trade.

And before you ask, no, I'm not talking about 'cybersquatting' or trademark infringements. All the names I created were new, generic names, unconnected with current companies or their brands.

Before registering any new name, use a site like MarksOnline.com to perform a free trademark check. If there's any clash with a registered trademark, you're better off without the name. I'm sure you've got better things to do with your time than deal with corporate lawyers.

Today is your lucky day. Two hundred names is enough for me - I've taken early retirement from the name creation game. I've decided to pass on what I've learned so that everyone can have a go. And did I succeed in making a profit? You'll just have to read the article and find out.

Step #1 - Get The Tools For The Job

It won't take long to get tooled up for this particular job, here are the must-haves:

a) An Internet Account
b) A Text Editor
c) Whois ULTRA

A marvelous little freeware program that takes the hassle out of checking domain name availability, and really comes into its own when checking multiple domains. The latest version can be downloaded from the author's Web site:


Step #2 - Understand What Makes A Name Valuable

Unless you have a fair understanding of what makes names valuable in the first place, you will be wasting your time and money registering new ones. For a name to be valuable, it will normally possess the following attributes:

a) It's Short

The shorter the name, the easier it is to say, remember, spell, and type. The exception to this rule are well-known phrases, which can be quite long and still hold significant value. For instance, 'ForSaleByOwner.com' sold for over $800,000.

b) It Passes The 'Radio Test'

If a name is heard on the radio, would the average Net user be able to remember it, and then type it into a Web browser? If so, it's probably a good name. This means that using deliberate misspellings, shortened versions of words, or numbers, generally reduces the value of a name.

c) It's a Dot Com

Some specific dot net and dot org addresses are valuable, particularly one word names, but the most fruitful resale territory for now and the foreseeable future is dot coms.

d) It Has Commercial Application

Remember, you're expecting somebody to pay you hard cash for your name. If the name doesn't make money for the new owner, why would they pay big money to buy it from you? Always bear in mind the market sector when considering registering a new name. The bigger the market, the more valuable the name.

e) It Will Have A Large Degree Of 'Uniqueness'

Think of the pool of domain names as a pyramid, each brick being an individual name. At the top of the pyramid are the one-word names, then you move down a level to the two-word names, and the further down you go, the more words in each name. At the base of the pyramid, where the names approach sixty-three characters in length (the allowed limit), there could be ten or more words in each name.

As with any pyramid, the further down you go, the more bricks there are on each level, and for this particular pyramid, the bottom row contains an almost infinite number of bricks.

The trick with domain names is to find names which are as near the pyramid summit as possible, because there you will find the least number of unregistered names, there will be very few alternatives for a buyer to consider.

Next: Creating Your Own Names

This article originally appeared in the September 21, 2000 edition of the WebReference Update Newsletter.


Comments are welcome
Written by Lee Hodgson and

Revised: Sept 21, 2000

URL: http://webreference.com/new/domainnames.html