Here’s a relatively simple tip to see if a domain name is good: ask a third party that is not involved in the domain name business.
Several years ago before I was married, my wife and I spent quite a bit of time at her grandmother’s apartment. Her grandmother is very smart and as a former business / marketing professor, she understands domain names and their utility. She and I used to chat about domain names, including names I bought, names I was thinking about buying, and names she thought I should go after. When I mentioned a domain name that she didn’t like, it made me think twice about buying it.
It can be tough to ask colleagues in the domain space for their opinion about potential purchases. For one, everyone is competing on inventory. Sharing information about a domain name can offer more intel than a person would like to give up. In addition, domain investors might look at a domain name in a different way than someone who is out of the business. This is an attribute, but it can also be a detriment.
I have a number of friends and family members I ask when I am thinking about buying an expensive domain name. They might not know much about a particular business or field, but I think their gut instinct about domain names can be helpful. They would be able to tell me that XYZ.com is better than X-Y-Z.com or that a word I think is common is not all that well known. They can also help with the radio test, suggesting that a domain name would be tough to spell or sound confusing.
Sometimes I spend days or weeks (or longer) analyzing an acquisition, and I might fall in love with a particular domain name. Getting a third party’s opinion can bring things back to center and get good feedback from someone who doesn’t have a vested interest.