How Would You Advise Someone Close About Domain Names?

Many people struggle to find a domain name that not only resonates with their business but is also affordable for them to purchase. It can be a challenge to buy a domain name that will not only last the test of time but won’t break the bank. I am occasionally asked by friends and family to assist with their domain name needs, and I thought I would open the floor to see what readers think. I will share some of my thinking, too.

On one hand, I am a proponent of short or brand match .com domain names, both for investment purposes and development. A business with a long and unique name will have less trouble buying their brand match .com domain name. They might be a bit creative and use an alternative extension (like .Solutions if the brand is Something Solutions), but I think it could be somewhat confusing depending on the target audience, so getting that matching .com would be important.

For shorter brand names, I would recommend inquiring about the exact match .com domain name to get the price. If the brand matches the .com but the .com is not affordable, I would recommend trying to do an affordable lease to own, lease with option, or some other sort of future purchase option to be able to acquire the brand match .com domain name when possible. If the matching .com is simply way too expensive or not available (ie owned by a major bank), I would recommend reconsidering the brand if it has the potential to become very well known because the matching .com might get more expensive or not being able to acquire it could become a stumbling block.

If the person is set on the brand even without the matching .com, I would recommend either adding a word before the brand (like Get, Buy, See) or adding a word after the brand, like Online or Website. Depending on growth plans and the target audience, I do not have an issue with using an alternative extension, but I would strongly recommend that the business embrace the extension in their branding – both logo and other branding. They should also try to get the brand+extension .com domain name to avoid confusion.

I think it is important to recognize that a fledgling business may not be able to afford a valuable .com domain name and other options are viable. When offering advice, I try to recognize that my friend or family member may not need a super splashy (and expensive) domain name to successfully run their business. If they’re asking for help, it’s best to offer pros and cons about different options rather than tell them they need to spend six figures on a one word .com domain name or their business will fail.

One thing I make clear at the outset is that I am not a domain name consultant or branding expert. While I buy and sell domain names, I would never consider myself an expert at naming brands or choosing domain names for brands. There are many factors that go into choosing a domain name, and I try to offer insight from a domain name perspective.

How do you advise friends and family when it comes to domain names?

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. All the premium domain names are gone
    Do not invest in crap gtlds
    If you want to purchase a domain to use as an end user And do not have 100k + you will have to finance it like a mortgage but it’s all over as far as investing goes.

    • Off course premium domains are gone but you r looking only negative side . In these days all world r operate digitally . Yes, research , hard work and patience required in domaining.

  2. First off, the odds that ‘friends or family’ are going to build a billion dollar brand is almost zero – therefore, the ‘need’ for them to go with a dot-com in mid-2020 is nonsense.

    Of course dot-com should be their first choice; but to think that they’re going to find some available dictionary word or 3-4 character memorable name is something we all know won’t happen.

    Nor will (or should) they bet the ranch on buying a six-figure name for their plumbing or fruit stand business.

    There are already many stories and examples of large, well-financed companies leveraging a non dot-com for their online businesses — so our friends’/relatives’ plain vanilla use-cases will do just fine with a logical dot-whatever.

    Every proponent on the the various domaining blogs seems to consistently talke about the whole “…one day they’ll be sorry if they don’t buy the dot-com…” argument. But the reality is that the vast majority of businesses fail,regardless of their domain name.

    In this incredibly uncertain world in which we’re living, other than some VC-financed SaaS startup which just banked $40mm, who’s really going to worry about some “lost traffic,” “wrongly directed emails,” or “having to pay-up 5-years from now for the dot-com.”

    Just tell them to get a logical domain name, and build a great looking site: Then they can see how, and to what extent, their web presence enhances their business.

    After being in this space since 1997 I can tell you that the biggest mistake I see people make is the fact that the sites they build are total trash. There’s no understanding of UX or beautiful aesthetics. Ninety-five percent of sites look like they were built by someone’s unemployed sister-in-law, whose claim-to-fame [was] that she used to build ‘wonderful’ sites back in 2002; and ‘she’s’ still using the same templates and tools – 18 years later.

    So, IMO, tell friends and relatives to worry less about the domain name and more about the look and feel of their website.

    • I don’t agree with all of this, but I do agree with the final message:

      “tell friends and relatives to worry less about the domain name and more about the look and feel of their website.”

      I have had a good friend who got really stuck on the domain name aspect. We spent hours talking, debating, discussing…etc. He ended up casting the project aside, and although it was good chatting about domain names with him, it was a pretty big waste of time. I think developing the business comes first and the naming of the business should play a lesser role, especially if the website and online aspect is complementary.

      • Then we’re fundamentally in agreement, Elliot.

        I’m all for having a premier domain name – especially dot-com. But if someone’s going to finance a $100K name, then save money and devote $5K – $10K on their site because ‘funds are tight’ they’re doing thing backwards, IMO.

  3. No money no Talk-plain and simple.
    You can give all the free advice you want but it all boils down to having MONEY$$$

    Magna cum laude
    Graduate of Domain King Academy

    MBA-My Big Ass(all of you have one)
    PHD-people having dickheads

  4. It’s all part of the puzzle. A good domain helps complete the puzzle and go full speed. You can still have a shitty domain and have a good business but it will not run as well maybe 75%. To actually measure this is another thing. I would not drive around with a leak in my gas tank knowing full well I could fix it for a few grand. Same goes for a domain name.

    Trying to measure results based upon how people hear your name, how trustworthy the url looks on adwords, how you hear it on the radio, or how someone says it to another person is impossible to put in numbers.

    IMO- For the majority- Selling the idea behind the name is the most important. Once that is established then it is all about the price, which then comes down how to do you measure this or how this will improve my business. If one can’t paint that vision for the buyer then it will be a difficult to help them. But some people just can’t be helped. lol


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