One Exceptional Name or 10 Excellent Names? |
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One Exceptional Name or 10 Excellent Names?


I’ve generally been an advocate of owning one name of significant value than ten domain names that cost the same as the single name. However, in thinking about my business model, I think I would rather own ten excellent domain names than one exceptional domain name that costs as much as the ten excellent names.

When selling exceptional (high value) domain names, there are often many interested parties. Companies usually want to own the exact match domain name for SEO purposes, vanity reasons, to make it easier for customers to find their website, and for defensive reasons in order to keep it away from a competitor. However, even though there have been hundreds of millions of dollars in domain name sales on the books, many companies are reluctant to spend six or seven figures on a domain name.

If you need a very high sale number to profitably sell an exceptional domain name, it might take quite a bit of time for the market to yield that. You can then spend money and time investing in a development project or business, but unless you are passionate about the topic, you could end up turning potential buyers away, tying up more cash, and wastefully throwing good money after bad money.

On the other hand, if you have ten excellent domain names in your portfolio, you can probably have better luck with sales. You’ll have ten domain names to pitch to end users, hopefully in different markets. An excellent domain name will still command quite a bit of money, but it’s probably money that can be more easily spent without scrutiny from the board of directors, venture capitalists, C-suite, or other high level decision makers that are needed for very large purchases.

For me, I think I would prefer to own ten excellent .com domain names rather than one exceptional domain name, unless I planned to build a fully operational business on it. One domain name is tying up significant funds in one investment, and I think it might be better to have a more diverse portfolio.

Would you prefer to own one exceptional domain name or ten excellent domain names?

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 sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.

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Comments (23)


    It’s really almost a meaningless question because only domainers define the difference between exceptional and excellent. By that I mean to an end user many factors can make a so-so domain by domainer standards a must-have one thereby making it “exceptional”. The circumstances of the end user determines the quality of the domain. DNJ’s weekly sales reports will attest to that.

    To answer your question, I’d rather have ten shots at a bullseye than one.

    August 2nd, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Adi Weitzman

    I do not think this is a meaningless question. I think the caveat here is what your business model is and what your long term plans or strategy is for the domain name. Consider the following: Would you rather own alone or,,,, etc…? It is a tough question that domain investors need to answer and I think if building a business is what you want to do than the one category defining name should be what you go for.

    August 2nd, 2013 at 1:15 pm


    If you throw development out the window and do not take any aspect of development into the equation and your business is selling names and not investing in names than it is a no brainer to take the 10 names. One incredible name can take many years to find the perfect buyer at the perfect price but 10 great names you can flip pretty consistently.
    Elliot your own business has been the perfect experiment for this. You have had excellent names and great names and probably if you research all the names you have bought and sold you can come up with the ultimate conclusion. If you could look back through your own records and post your experience that would make a great story.

    August 2nd, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Great post. I will be responding to this post in detail tonight.

    We have domain experts lined up on our program schedule at to tackle these issues. You will have to consult our program TVguide for times. Meanwhile our line up today includes, Monte, Rick Schwartz, Doamin Sherpa, Skip Hoagland, Simon Johnson, Mike Berkens, Epik, Andrew Rosener, Jeff Gabriel, News Channels…

    Do it Live!

    August 2nd, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Jeff Edelman

    If there’s no plan to develop any of the names and you’re just dealing with the domain names, then I’d much rather have 10 than 1. But if you’re planning to spend much time to develop one or more of the domains, then you’re better off with 1 great domain. People totally underestimate the time, effort and money involved in development and maintenance of a website.

    August 2nd, 2013 at 2:59 pm


    I would want to own 10 excellent names over 1 exceptional one anyday. Diversification is a key factor. Not to mention that all domain names are potentially subject to a UDRP and being seized: what if someone filed a UDRP on that single stellar domain of yours and won it?

    August 2nd, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Domain Shane

    If only domainers knew the difference between a good and bad name. According to the emails I receive is an “once in a lifetime” type of name

    August 2nd, 2013 at 3:47 pm

      Elliot Silver

      Did you buy it? 🙂

      August 3rd, 2013 at 10:14 am


      I agree with the seller: a once in a lifetime opportunity to waste money 🙂

      August 3rd, 2013 at 10:40 am


      lol”once in a lifetime” — maybe for it’s existence 😉

      August 7th, 2013 at 2:48 am

    Brad Mugford

    It really depends what you mean by exceptional vs excellent, but in general I would go with 10 high quality domains.

    Domains are not liquid assets. Having quality & quantity is what can help bring liquidity. Tying up too much money into one asset (for resale) can lead to a dead end.


    August 2nd, 2013 at 3:52 pm


    Elliot, What would be the dollar tipping point for exceptional (high value) domain names, what price? You mention many company’s reluctance in spending six or seven figures. I am curious so I know in what context your posting was written?



    August 2nd, 2013 at 3:58 pm


    With 10 names it is amazing how just just one can move from the excellent to exceptional column overnight just based on practiced foresight.

    August 2nd, 2013 at 5:13 pm


    A good strategy is to have both levels.

    There is nothing as exciting as owning and selling a domain name for 6/7 figures.
    But not everyone who has these ultra high value names gets to experience a million dollar sale.

    So it’s a good strategy to also have a nice portolio full of 3/4/5 figure domains which have way more liquidity to keep the cash flow rolling.

    August 2nd, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    I promised to contribute to this great post, therefore I am.

    Couched in this post are four critical points:

    1. What is an exceptional domain and what is an excellent domain name? The author gave us no examples therefore we have to improvise, just to make sure we are on the same page. Going by Elliot,s previous posts and comments, I will assume, for the purposes of this dialogue, that such as, or, and super generic one-word high demand products and services such as, are exceptional names, whereas exact-match names such as are excellent ones. (I will be focusing my discourse on the latter, later).

    This in my opinion can only be determined by the market. I believe it is fluid. It depends on individuals and their budgets, business plan, and locus.

    2. Are domaining names selling in predictable manner?

    My answer to this is NO! You can buy one exceptional name, and be stuck with it for years. In a surprise post end of 2012, Rick Schwartz indicated that he had made no sale whatsoever, in terms of domain names, the entire year! And he owns some of each category.

    3. Does it matter if end-users who purchase, end up with, and deploy these domain names actually experience what is touted by domainers, in terms of success with these names in the market place?

    To me it makes all the difference. Domainers could be leaving in their own rose-colored world. Google analytics, and other data could reflect what it wants, but unless end-users realize sustainable results from use of domain names, we never get to grow as an industry. Type-in traffic is basically all one can reliably count on. If you sell someone a domain name based on Google traffic, you are bound to disappoint the buyer, and his expectations.

    4. What has been the real life experience as far as examples?

    I will direct this part to Elliot. I have seen Elliot point to his business model numerous times. The gist of it is that he buys excellent, exact key-word names in the aftermarket between, say $1,000 to anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000. As opposed to registering numerous names. I therefore will liken him to operation. They developed many excellent names, the type that Elliot speaks about, and did so as well as anybody could. You can see those names/sites at the Wayback Machine archives here

    Names such as:

    ..and many more excellent names. However, a lot of those names are now parked for sale. So, the question is two fold, why? And, why doesn’t Elliot ever address the success, the numbers, relating to use of excellent names in business, and why are they better? Pointing everyone to Google exact matches, and data, in my opinion is not sufficient to compel end-users to lob out thousands of dollars to purchase names that yield as much a result for good names. Therefore, in the question at hand, I will add a third category, so that we are not mired in the fallacy of false choices between Exceptional, and Excellent, the choice of Good names.

    August 2nd, 2013 at 6:35 pm


    I would rather own one exceptional domain name rather than 10 good domain names. When I mean exceptional domains, I would suggest any of the following domain names below:

    – and many more

    There are too many excellent domain names to consider. I would want to own one great name that gives includes many business opportunities.

    I see some commenters who think all domainers lack common knowledge about premium domains. One e-mail does not speak for the rest of the domain crowd.

    August 2nd, 2013 at 8:19 pm


      remove “gives” from second sentence.

      August 2nd, 2013 at 8:32 pm


    The following are some cool names:


    I would rather any of these domains than 10 good domains. Easy to make a bundle of money until a buyer comes around to make a substantial offer. You don’t have to worry with excellent domains.

    August 2nd, 2013 at 8:30 pm


      meant “rather own”

      August 2nd, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    anjan bhushan

    Liquidity is key, unless you have million dollar in bank. High priced domains generally have less liquidity than comparatively lower priced domains.

    August 2nd, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    stu walker

    Tony summed it up in one easy sentence

    “To answer your question, I’d rather have ten shots at a bullseye than one.”

    August 3rd, 2013 at 6:42 am


    Totally depends on the domains and what they cost you.

    In general though owning domains is a numbers game. The more domains the more of a chance that someone will come along and want one of the domains and, and this is important, be able to pay for the domain.

    I have a longer term perspective on this having domains since the mid 90’s. So I know exactly how long you can wait before an offer comes along.

    I’ve had domains of no obvious value but holding long enough someone comes along and wants that domain and can afford to pay a decent number for it (relative to the cost).

    August 3rd, 2013 at 12:53 pm


    My business model has been built on the “ten excellent domain names” philosophy since my venture into this industry.

    For me having too many egg’s in one basket is an option I cannot afford to take and realized from starting out that the “goldilocks zone” for after-market purchases resides in the middle market.

    This is where the majority of sales seem to be comming from in domain sales history aggregators.

    August 6th, 2013 at 3:42 pm

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