Can I Imagine a Business Using The Domain Name?

When I am evaluating a domain name to purchase, one of the most important questions I ask myself is this: Can I imagine a business using this domain name? It seems like a pretty elementary question, but I think it is important to ask. When I deploy capital on a domain investment, I want to be sure the domain name will be desired by someone and that it will then become a matter of price for a prospective buyer.

From my perspective, if a domain name needs to be explained (in my head or to someone else), there is probably a lower chance of selling it. Industry specific (ie technical) domain names may be an exception. I don’t think I have ever sold a domain name that has a meaning that wouldn’t be understood by the majority of people who might see it.

Some might argue that there are plenty of terrible domain names that don’t make much sense being used by companies of all sizes. I would imagine that if a company is using a bad domain name, it is probably using the domain name because of convenience rather than preference. It is likely they chose the name because it was cheap and available. Essentially, they don’t value the domain name as much as they should – or as much as a domain investor thinks they should value it.

The first question I ask myself – and maybe the most important thing I consider – is whether I could envision seeing a business use a particular domain name. If the answer is yes and I think the price is reasonable enough that I could sell it for a profit, I will pursue the opportunity. It’s not easy to sell domain names that don’t really make much sense 🙂

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. I think visualization works on all fronts, however, not everyone visualizes unique brandables the same that aren’t real words. Some people are creatives with great visualizations that come naturally and other people are more detail oriented doers that need more instruction and guidelines to follow, or they tend to get lost.

    In short, not everyone will be able to identify a business model as easily or the same as the next. This is where “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder (End-user)” comes into play.

  2. Yes agree that is fundamental question. Exact match searches nice to have but ultimately if keywords don’t make much sense from business marketing/advertising standpoint, especially radio test, very hard to assign long term value.

  3. That is absolutely the first question to ask. You have to be careful though because there are a lot of domains that may only be useful to a handful of businesses. Best to ask the question and make sure you come up with multiple company uses if not you will have a bunch of names that may be great but only have one or very few possible business uses. Nothing more disappointing then sitting on great names that maybe only a couple people can use. You end up dropping and learning.

  4. Asking this question is one way to appraise a domain but not the only way. There are companies that already buy domains not to rebrand around but to redirect to their own or augment their businesses. See Walmart with and Amazon with Also, the majority of sales reported on dnjournal fail this test.

    I have found that the most reliable indicator of value or even predictor of future sale is the number of extensions taken. Those that disagree, I welcome you not use this advice so I can get my domains cheaper.

  5. whats with domains like i was at my desk and the commercial came on the TV and the girl said “HOLLER” and at the end said holler . com so i went to heller . com and not Hollar . com so whats the deal with that. good luck Hollar dot com advertising on the radio.

    • CEO can’t build a new business! remember that! 🙂 what CEO do is increase profit! most CEO basically sales person! their mindset always, and always! can I make more profit from this domain 🙂
      so the proper question is!

      “can multiple CEO’s think this domain are profitable ?”

      and do you think Bezos, will change their brand ? from amazon to diapersdotcom ? I don’t think so! if they do, I will laugh hard that CEO’s! build a business are not easy! ask Mark, or larry, or even billgates, are they capable to repeat double success ? the answer simply no!
      can warren repeat his success not really! bu he buy cheap stock!or company that can be rebuild! he knows starting from scratch are wasting of times and money! that’s why most of his project are to fix broken company instead build from scratch!

      just like domain biz, you can’t make decent profit from handreg 😉 remember that! but you can make profit if buy low sell high! 🙂


  6. It is my contention that, in the case of the new gtlds, the answer is always an astounding “NO” (ie, NO, I would not want to use that URL as a name for my business).

    I agree with the guy who said that using anything other than a .com is a sign of vulnerability and weakness.

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