Domain Flipping: Bad Advice from Business Insider

It’s almost always nice to see a mainstream publication covering the business of domain name investing. Many of these articles focus on the ease of domain investing for the average person to make some extra money, and while it’s not usually as easy as is implied, I do think there are opportunities for people to make extra money if they spend some time learning about domain names and what makes a good domain name investment.

This morning, I saw that Business Insider published an article that mentioned domain name investing. 7 things the average person can flip for a profit discusses how someone can register a domain name to resell it for profit. Of course I agree with the concept of flipping domain names (or longer term investments), but I do not agree with an aspect of the strategic approach the article suggested.

Here’s the excerpt that I think is partially misguided:

“Watch for memes that become popular, celebrities or politicians that explode onto the scene, or other sudden cultural phenomena, and try to secure some domain names that relate to the latest talking points.”

I added emphasis around the aspect that I think is misguided and can get someone in trouble. In my opinion, buying the exact full name of someone famous in order to resell it is unwise. It can lead to legal trouble, such as a UDRP or even a lawsuit. It can also lead to accusations of being a cybersquatter. In fact, buying the exact .com name of someone famous or who will become famous to sell to that person is pretty much cybersquatting. I don’t think it’s a nice thing to do either.

I think buying a domain name because it’s the exact match of someone famous is a bad idea. A very bad one, in fact. I think the risk far outweighs the reward. I am surprised Business Insider suggested this.

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. It is troubling that mainstream publications can publish such misguided, ill-informed information to the general public. Most people do not know a lot about various topics, especially domain names, and accept what is published in these “authoritative” publications as being accurate advice from experts. Wrong. In this case, Business Insider is just advising their readers to throw away their money and open themselves to legal action.

  2. First, I could be wrong but I don’t think politicians have the same rights, under current laws, as entertainment stars. Maybe that’s why Rand Paul paid $100,000 for instead of filing a UDRP. Or maybe, as something of a libertarian, he agrees with me that no one should have a right to a domain in a current public extension.

    Why should Julia Roberts have a right to when 1) there are plenty of other people named Julia Roberts who would love to use the domain; and 2) the domain could be legitimately used for a site about her, as long as it was made clear and conspicuous that there is no affiliation. I don’t think she should have been allowed to take the domain away from Russell Boyd, who had a very funny site there (offering to give her the domain if she’d ask him for it on the phone, however she ignored that and had her lawyers file a UDRP).

    At least Boyd got to be on the Howard Stern show, and I think he still owns, with Pacino never filing any action to usurp the domain, to the best of my knowledge, I imagine because he has class.

    • Agree with Jon, who the F are these so called “famous or celebrities”?
      without us, they are nothing in this world. All human beings are the same but sadly , like any business like this monkey “BullS’ business, all it takes is money.
      Only people who has the discretionary $$$$ can partake in this business. All it takes is where you are born and and born into…

  3. Yes, bad advice. Also memes come and go. Where there are opportunities: registering and/or buying domains in areas that are in the early adopter stage — I did extremely well in buying over 50 cloud names in 2006, and .ai domains in 2015. I don’t rec buying celeb names — that’s really bad advice.

  4. I agree that buying a celebrity name is bad business, unethical, and possibly illegal. However, i think like Jon Schultz that it’s different. I just so happen to own IconicTrump.con and that I hand registered a few months ago. I’m an xNeverTrumper who supports him now. GD appraises each of these names for $1,350, and I would take that for them in a heartbeat. Besides going directly to his campaign person, anyone else have an idea how I could sell them? If your idea works and it doesn’t cause me to much work, I’ll make sure you get a 15% commission.

    • Richard.. go attend the july4th in DC tomorrow, wear your domain name on your cap.
      Trump will buy it from you and you will get the VIP seat.

      • Not a bad idea…i was born and grew up in DC and it’s just a four hour drive. That’s a lot like how John Daymond of Shark Tank got his start. In his own eyes Trump thinks he’s both Iconic and Epic, as do many of his followers. Happy fourth and thanks for the tip.

      • No…not really. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder Snoopy. IconicTrump and EpicTrump are more than just good names considering the market for them☺

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