$7,500,000 - 1999 - business.com
$5,500,000 - 2003 - casino.com
$5,000,000 - 2002 - asseenontv.com
$5,000,000 - 1999 - korea.com
$3,500,000 - 1996 - worldwideweb.com
$3,350,000 - 1999 - altavista.com
$3,300,000 - 1999 - wine.com
$3,000,000 - 1999 - eshow.com
$3,000,000 - 1999 - loans.com
$2,750,000 - 2004 - creditcards.com
All of these with the exception of eshow.com (computer networking) should get address bar traffic, because people who type will type in the descriptive names ó if Iím looking for sex-related stuff, Iíll type in sex.com. Where my mind gets boggled is in ROI. If youíre selling something on asseenontv.com that nets you $25, youíll need to sell 200,000 of those George Foreman grills just to pay for your domain name.
It also dawned on me that if you pay $12,000,000 for sex.com, the free publicity generated is probably also worth millions.
So now everyone gets dollar signs in their eyes and thinks they can make a million with their domain name. Here are some examples of asking prices from Ebay:
6usiness.com (yes, thatís a 6) - $7,000,000
ajobformom.com - $3,500,000
Exbay.com - $1,000,000
What does this mean for you? Well, thereís some good news and some bad news. Remember back a few paragraphs when I said that everyone starts on the same square? Thatís really the good news. You can choose a pretty good domain name, put together some terrific content, employ some simple Search Engine Optimization and buy some keywords or exchange some links and you have a pretty good chance of getting people to your site the first time. Since most of them are coming via a search engine theyíre not going to notice your domain name until they get there anyway, so your domain name means the same thing (nothing) to the majority of people using the search engine.
One last thing: if youíre hoping to be close to the top in the search results (the so-called organic SEO), having your keywords in the name of your website gives you a huge boost. For example, if youíre looking for affiliate blog, we will be in the top five search results. In this case, Google ignores TLD unless you tell it otherwise. Affiliateblog.info will come up before us because their pagerank is higher (thatís a discussion for another day). So if you think getting near the top of the organic search results is more important than having someone type your name directly into the address bar (and you very well could be right), then grab yourkeyword.cc or yourkeyword.to. Iíve done it, and Iíve suggested it to others.
Once the user comes to your site the name just needs to be memorable enough so they type it in to get there the next time. Or they may forget and Google you again. I do it every day. No matter how great your name is, if the content is lousy they wonít come back anyway.
So should you buy a domain name? I donít know ó I bought this one. And I made honorable mention in the Domain Name News for the price I paid ($2500). I bought the name because I liked it, I liked the number of incoming links to it, and I felt comfortable paying for it. Iíve never paid more than a couple hundred dollars for a domain otherwise, and I have more than 200 of them. My favorite by far is Blozzo.com, which I just bought for $25. I have a pretty terrific idea in mind for Blozzo too.
I would try to come up with my own name before I bought someone elseís. Here are some tips:
1. Try to go with a .com. Itís the name everyone associates with the Internet. Any other Top Level Domain (TLD) like .org or .net is just going to confuse people, unless it sounds better than the .com. For example, if you are about networking or a network, a .net is more natural. If your site is informational, you should use .info if it sounds okay. One of my favorite $10 domains is seosecrets.info. I think it sounds good. Hands down the most ingenious use of a TLD is del.icio.us, the social bookmarking site. The use of the .us TLD is absolutely brilliant.
2. Leave out the dashes and meaningless numbers. If itís a choice between this-domain.com, thisdomain123.com and thisdomain.net, take the .net. No one remembers to put the dashes or the numbers in, unless they are an integral part of the name like studio54.com or e-books.com.
3. Use the fewest letters possible to describe what you do. I own Purple Monkey Media Group. Purplemonkey.com would have been perfect. Itís taken, of course. Purplemonkeymedia.com was not. I grabbed it. I could have taken purplemonkeymediagroup.com, but it would have been too long. Remember, every additional letter is a potential typing error.
4. If you have a domain name that needs to be reinforced, get a good logo and sprinkle it liberally on your web site, along with some slogan that will reinforce the name in peopleís minds. You would be surprised at how inexpensive this can be.
5. If you can save a few bucks with your own domain name or by buying a cheaper domain name, do it, and use the money to get yourself placed higher in the search results or Adsense placement.
6. If you canít come up with a descriptive domain name, go the other way. Depending on your siteís focus, pick a memorable short name that will stick in peopleís minds, get a great logo and include the name prominently in your advertising and marketing. Itís called branding, and itís tried and true.
7. Ask your wife, friend, boyfriend, husband, dog, lawyer, associate, Mom, Dad, cousin, uncle, Police Chief, blog writer. Theyíre smarter than you anyway, and they are going to be the one looking for the site, not you. Some of my best ideas have come going to or from somewhere with my wife and just brainstorming.
Hereís the bad news: it may take you a while to come up with the right name. Thereís more good news though ó in the real world most domain names sell for $1,000 or less.
Canít get started? ó Go to a site that sells domain names, and put in a word that describes your business. See if the name is taken (it probably will be). Open your word processor or go to thesaurus.com and put the word in. Get a few more words. Check those. If thereís a .com available and it looks good, grab it. If not, add the word site or blog or online to your word, and see if that works. Donít wait. If you think it might be useable, spend the $9.00. I came up with blogduck.com. I liked it. I decided to think about it some more. Someone grabbed it that afternoon. Just chisel loose the nine bucks (or less) and buy the domain.
If you want something a little more sophisticated there are several sites that are good for helping you come up with a name, like DomainsBot and Nameboy.
If you draw a blank, go over to Sedo or Afternic and see whatís for sale. Search for a word that describes what you think people will associate the name of your site with, and see what pops up. That may give you some ideas.
These sites and more can be found in Tools section of http://affiliateblog.com.
Domain Name Journal tracks domain name sales. Going there is always fun.
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