“Brandable” vs. Generic Domain Names

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I frequently see people trying to sell “brandable” domain names. To most experienced domain investors, brandable suggests that you need to explain what the name means and why you think it is valuable, which usually means a difficult time selling it. In most cases, brandable names aren’t good buys, especially as a short term investment.

By nature, copywriters, art directors and others involved in the creative process are very attached to their ideas. Deep down, almost every creative person wants to win a Cannes Lion, Clio or an Echo, and they want to win because of their idea. They want to be inspired from deep within themselves rather than developing someone else’s idea. I don’t think it makes sense that some domain investors think that a cool/hip sounding domain name will help inspire a marketing campaign or product name, which would seem to be the reason to register it.

On the other side, some people register these names hoping that a company will use that particular term or phrase in a new product and then seek them out to buy it. While I know of a couple people who did have success with this, there are many more brandable domain names registered than companies willing to buy them. It’s like buying a lottery ticket. Sure, once in a while it may be a good idea or even pay off, but more often than not, you will end up wasting your money.

In my opinion, if you can’t afford to buy a high value keyword name and choose to register new names instead, I recommend sticking with generic keyword phrases. Put two or three related keywords together to try and create strong sounding names. Use “quoted Google searches” to see how many references that term has in Google. Generally, the more references, the more interest in that particular topic. State specific keywords can be good, too.

Registering new names can be a thrill. Knowing what to register is what can save you hundreds of dollars.

5 COMMENTS

  1. “Brandable” has to be the domainer euphemism of the decade. For domain names that need explanation, the only ones worth anything are those of 3 letters or less… and good luck getting one of those! 🙂

    ***UPDATED BY ELLIOT***

    Brandable and premium are two of my least favorite descriptive terms!

  2. Unfortunately many new domainers register a lot of sheer garbage and call it brandable. Stuff like, goragachoogoo.com. I am a big believer in real words, dictionary words.

  3. Personally, I love 5,6,7 “brandable” names and own a couple handfolds and have been buying more. I view it more as a collectible (not an investment).

    ***UPDATED BY ELLIOT***

    I think most people do (I have a couple). It’s fun, but I just wouldn’t advise buying a ton of them when just getting into the business.

  4. If you want to cash in on ‘brandable’, specialize in niche markets, since ‘brandable’ are mostly being sold for development, not for its traffic or ppc domain parking. It’s profitable fun when you know how to sell ‘brandable’. I can sell them for up to thousand$ each because I have the expertise and experience, however, most will likely find it a struggle at the beginner stage.

  5. One class of “brandable” names would be short popular phrases, which can sometimes describe or hint at what you might find at the site – like iftheshoefits.com – could be used for, uhhhh, shoes? I believe these short-phrase names are becoming more popular and valuable, and many of mine get some (not a huge amount, but significant) traffic. In the case of “iftheshoefits,” most of the extensions have been registered.

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