Generic Domain Names

Your Domain Name is Perfect for my Business

Good Afternoon,

I was driving on South Ocean Drive in Palm Beach the other day when I passed your undeveloped land. I noticed you don’t have a house built on the land, and I think the location would be perfect for the home I am planning to build. It is on the Intracoastal and across the street from the Ocean, which is exactly what I am looking to buy for my family’s new home. For your undeveloped land, I would be willing to pay you $50,000. Please call me if you are willing to sell it. I will even pay for the escrow and legal fees.

Regards,

Anne I. Diot

Imagine if a property owner received hundreds of letters like this a month. While this letter is far fetched for a property/land owner, this parody is very similar to emails domain owners receive every day. People assume that just because they see an undeveloped domain name, they should be able to buy it for a fraction of the value. Developing a website on a domain name can take years to complete. Just because a domain name hasn’t been developed, doesn’t mean the owner has no plans for it.

When will people learn?

SanJuan.com Available for Acquisition

The owner of SanJuan.com is looking to sell this fantastic geographic domain name.

San Juan is the capital of Puerto Rico and has close to 450,000 citizens. It is a popular tourist destination, with hundreds of hotels and attractions. Many of the largest Caribbean cruise lines have a port of call in San Juan. In 2004, San Juan played host to 4.9 million tourists, a number which has certainly grown since then. The capital city boasts the most luxurious hotels in Puerto Rico, and some of the nicest resorts in the Caribbean.

As I said in an earlier post today, there may be only one time you are able to acquire a premium domain name like this one. Once the new owner begins developing this gem, the price will increase exponentially, if it’s ever on the market again. I’ve worked with the owner before, and he is known to be a reasonable seller. If you are interested, drop me a note and I will put you in touch.

PS: Speak with your accountant for confirmation but I would imagine all “research” done in San Juan would be tax deductible!

SanJuan.com Available for Acquisition

Image courtesy of these people.

Generic Domains: Informational vs. Transactional Websites

In many instances, having a generic domain name as a standalone brand, or forwarding a generic domain name to an existing brand’s website can play a large role in the growth of that online business. This is especially true for informational websites, and may be less important for transactional websites.

When the sole purpose of a website is to give information, and there are a number of sites that provide the same information, the consumer may be more likely to simply navigate to the generic domain name. Why bother to remember a complicated domain name when you can find the exact same information on the generic domain name?

However, when a website is transactional, whereby a visitor makes (or considers) a purchase, a generic domain name is important, but less so than for an informational website. With a transactional site, there is much more to the customer experience than simply finding information. The visitor pays close attention to brands, pricing, fulfillment and customer service. Because of this, consumers are more likely to remember the site that gives the best all around service.

The bottom line, in my opinion, is that if you are developing a business around the domain name and plan to generate revenue by selling products or services, the domain name may be less important than the other attributes in building a positive customer experience. If your website is informational in nature, and you plant to generate revenue  from advertising/ppc links, having the generic domain name may be critical.

Why a Generic Domain Name is Important

In the process of emailing a group of friends today about figuring out plans for Friday night, I included my friend’s girlfriend. Unfortunately, I forgot to include her middle initial in the email address and ended up sending it to a nice person with the same name. An excerpt from our email this morning:

“On 11/29/07, Elliot Silver wrote:
I think we should get together for dinner on Friday before Adam’s
birthday party. Maybe Sushi Samba or somewhere in the area of the
20s-30s on the east? Are you guys up for it?”
———–

On Nov 29, 2007, at 10:55 AM, xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx wrote:
Sorry, you’ve got the wrong person.
———–

On 11/29/07, Elliot Silver wrote:
Two xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx? Sorry about bothering you.
———–

On Nov 29, 2007, at 11:03 AM, xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx wrote:
Don’t worry about it. ūüôā I think there’s one girl in NY, possibly in a dental program, with international friends, and I keep getting her emails. Enjoy your party and dinner.
———–

On 11/29/07, Elliot Silver wrote:
Shoot… there must be a third xxxxxxxxx. The girl I was emailing dropped out of high school and doesn’t have many local friends, let alone international friends. I was emailing her out of pity.

If you are free, you are more than welcome to join us – especially if you are cute and single. The guy who is celebrating his birthday is a single Jewish doctor. Hot commodity.
———–

On Nov 29, 2007, at 11:12 AM, xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx wrote:
Ha! Thanks for the invite, but I’m in Boston. Single Jewish doctor, huh? Hot commodity indeed. I may be cute, but I’m married to my own Jewish hot commodity (though not quite a doctor). ūüėČ
———–

On 11/29/07, Elliot Silver wrote:
I love Boston. Die hard Sox and Pats fan. My brother lives in Boston.

My friend isn’t really into married ladies (even cute Jewish ones), so I guess that’s out of the question. Your hot Jewish husband commodity must be a lucky man.
———–

On 11/29/07, Elliot Silver wrote:
Wow… I just found out you aren’t my friend’s girlfriend just messing with me. I am in fact looking for the dental student, and I am sorry for bothering you.

Hope you have a nice day, and hope you see another victory parade in a few weeks!
———–

On Nov 29, 2007, at 11:33 AM, xxxxxxxx xxxxxxx wrote:
No problems. When you do find her, tell her I keep getting her emails. I can pass on that international one if she wants.

Have a good day.”

Although email addresses are very different than domain names, I believe this perfectly illustrates why one needs to have a generic domain name. Had this been a case of mistaken website instead of email, and I was looking for a type of product, I may have ordered it from a different website out of confusion. If that website provided the same or similar product with a good customer experience, they may have turned my one time mistake into a new customer.

As I’ve said many times, a generic domain name is worth much more than a brandable domain name for much more important reasons than PPC advertising. People instinctively use the generic domain name, and if that website offers what they want, they will usually have no problem using the new provider.

My apologies to the other person I inadvertently emailed!

Domain Speculation Pointers

Throughout the past several months, I’ve had many conversations with a fellow domain investor about different speculation strategies focusing on newly registered domain names. He and I frequently share stories of new registrations along with the motivation behind speculating on certain new names. ¬†I want to share a few brief pointers for registering relevant domain names on a speculative basis. ¬†

Travel and geographic-related domain names may be worth speculating on, as their value has climbed and always seem to be in high demand.  Sometimes you can create a relevant domain name by combining a travel destination with a travel-related keyword to form a new name with some value. The key is that the new domain name must make sense, and the keyword should have some click value (be it a large ticket item or an expensive service).

Example:

When I am planning a vacation, there are several things I search for prior to departure:

  1. Hotel
  2. Transportation
  3. Sites
  4. Restaurants
  5. Etc…

To make the most of #3, I frequently search for a tour guide online, in order to visit attractions that will be most interesting to me and my fiance. With that in mind, I believe the terms “tour guide” and/or “tour guides” could add value to a travel destination. ¬†Turns out, CroatiaTourguides.com is available to register. ¬†Whether it has much value, I don’t know, but I like the name for under $10 because there are plenty of ¬†tour guides in Croatia, ¬†and there are many people looking to find them online.

Other types of speculative domain registrations I ¬†occasionally ¬†take a chance on are ¬†relevant health related domain names. ¬†With most health or wellness related issues, there are cures or forms of proactive products. ¬†Oftentimes this is in the form of creams, pills, shots, patches….etc. ¬†Sometimes newly discovered and/or trendy plants and herbs are publicized, causing great demand for their related products. ¬†

Example:  

One way to speculate on this type of domain name is to stay on top of these marketplace trends and buy relevant domain names. ¬†Using the herbs or the health issue, you could add keywords to the end of the domain for potential products that may be developed and marketed. ¬†Recently, I’ve heard quite a bit about fish oil. ¬†I know the pills have become popular, but maybe there will be another application. ¬†Perhaps a cream could be in the works? As of today, FishOilCream.com is available to register. ¬†Maybe this name (and product) stinks, but if it does become popular, it will cost under $10 to secure this name.

The final type of name I would like to discuss are state/local professions and activities. These are my favorite types of speculative purchases because they are less about speculation and more about hunting for unregistered gems. ¬†You can search through the yellow pages or various online directories to see if a particular profession exists in a specific area, and if it does, there is probably at least a small amount of demand, and certainly the ability to add content. ¬†This topic is something that ¬†Frank Schilling ¬†discussed a while ago, and it’s something I like. ¬†Personally, I own WashingtonDoctors.com, NewJerseyDoctor.com, and VirginiaMortgages.com among others I bought in the aftermarket, and I am a big fan of this type of name.

Example:

One way to become inspired is to search through your local phone directory to see what professions exist where domain names don’t. ¬†Let’s say you live down in Palm Beach, Florida. ¬†When I was down there last, I noticed nearly every home had a swimming pool. ¬†These seem to be high value commodities, so presumably there are people who would pay quite a bit for a lead. ¬†PalmBeachSwimmingPools.com is available to register.”Relevant” is the most frequently used descriptive term in this post. ¬†In order to make a wise speculative purchase, the domain name must be relevant. ¬†You probably wouldn’t find much value in registering FloridaMountainClimbing.com for example. ¬†If you stick with relevant domain names, you may come across something of value. ¬†

You should stay away from registering names that contain the trademark of another company. I would advise that you do a search of the  USPTO database  before registering a potential trademark infringing domain name.  

Again, please keep in mind this is purely SPECULATION! ¬†Just like investing in the stock market, I would only advise a small amount of domain names in your portfolio be of the speculative nature – although some might argue that most domain names are speculative if they aren’t developed. ¬†Owning too many speculative names may be cost prohibitive and wouldn’t be something I would advocate. ¬†

“Brandable” vs. Generic Domain Names

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.

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