I own a fair amount of geographic keyword domain names. I don’t know how many I have right now, but I would guess the number is around 30+/-. I have only sold a few of them in the last few years, but I want to share some thoughts I consider before purchasing them (typically in auction or hand registrations).
Most of the geographic keyword domain names I own have the following attributes:
- Medium to large US city
- Keyword is relevant to city
- The keyword industry is large enough that there are many prospective buyers
- Solid keyword sales history
One of the more important aspects is the relevance to the city. Buying snow related domain names might be good for northeastern US cities, but they would not be good for Florida cities. This is probably common sense, but it is something that needs to be considered at the outset.
When evaluating domain names, I want to be sure there will be a large enough field of prospective buyers for the domain name. My gut also needs to tell me that they can pay what I need to make it worthwhile. Smaller towns and smaller cities have fewer businesses and there might not be enough money in the field to make a premium domain name purchase worthwhile. For instance, a plumber in a small town might not be willing to pay say $3,000 for [Town]Plumber.com or something along those lines.
I like to check to see how many businesses and/or people who do that keyword there are in the city by doing a Google search as if I were in need of the service. Even if the city is large, if there are just a handful of businesses in the field, I most likely won’t buy the domain name because there are few sale prospects and I don’t want to buy an exact match of an existing business where that business is the only prospective buyer. It may be legal to do this because the keyword is generic, but I don’t feel comfortable doing it.
Typically, I think singular is better than plural for these types of domain names because I would imagine a small business owner would prefer that. This depends on the keyword though. A plumber, for the most part I think, works alone so GeoPlumber.com would be good and GeoPlumbers.com might be less good. Attorneys and doctors tend to work in larger practices more regularly, so GeoLawyers.com or GeoDoctors.com might work. There is quite a bit of nuance to this, and I may be oversimplifying.
NameBio is also a good resource that I use to ensure that there have been some decent public sales for keywords I am considering. Typically, I will enter the keyword rather than the city to see if there were other public sales reported. It is also important to note the date of the sale. I believe geographic domain names were more popular several years ago than today, so a $5,000 sale from 2011 could be less relevant today.
I would not advise people to buy this type of domain name because they have been picked over pretty well. In actuality, I would not and do not really advise people on what to buy or not buy because everyone has a different business strategy. There are many factors that go into making domain investments, and much of that is learned over time. That being said, I want to share what I consider when buying this type of domain name.