I exclusively buy domain names that I deem generic / descriptive. These are common words or phrases that are meaningful to people who use them and the customers that visit their websites. One downside for prospective buyers of descriptive keyword domain names is that they may be too generic.
I was in a negotiation with a buyer’s agent during the past week or so, and the prospective buyer opted to not buy my one word .com domain name. The buyer’s agent told me the reason the company passed was its lawyers advised them that the company would have a very difficult time registering the trademark they would need because of the broad usage of the keyword in the market. Essentially, there were so many other companies using this keyword in their businesses, that the prospective buyer might not be able to get trademark protection.
There are many great reasons for why a strong keyword domain name can be great for a business. There are also quite a few big brands that use keyword .com domain names as their brand, including Hotels.com, Cars.com, Apartments.com, Diapers.com, Soap.com…etc.
Even as someone without a legal background, what the buyer’s agent said to me makes sense to me. For the same reason my company can own and monetize keyword descriptive domain name with industry-related PPC links, the prospective buyer would have a more difficult time creating and protecting its trademark rights.
I would rather build a brand on a great keyword .com domain name rather than having to create a business AND a brand on something unrelated. However, some companies that are very concerned about creating and protecting their trademarks may shy away from using a descriptive keyword domain name. I am sure I lost out on potential sale opportunities for this reason before, but I don’t recall being told that it was the reason.
It is something to consider.