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Commercial Usage of a Domain Name

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People often ask me what I look for when buying a domain name. While there are many factors that I consider, I think the single most important thing about a domain name is its potential commercial usage. When evaluating domain names to acquire, I ask myself, “how can this domain name be used, and would it make sense to build a website around this domain name?” If you are able to know exactly what will be on the website before even navigating to it because it’s a category killer name, you probably have a good name.
I hardly ever buy a domain name based on traffic or revenue numbers. There are too many non-controllable factors when buying based on these statistics, so my buying decision is not determined by these stats. Yes, I do ask about a domain name’s traffic, but that is to make sure the name “has a pulse” to get a feel for whether it is worth sinking money into a development project. The single most important thing to me is commercial usage.
Whether I am planning to build a website on the domain name or whether I plan to sell the domain name to someone who will build a website, I want to know whether the domain name makes sense to have a website. Sure, there are plenty of great “brandable” domain names out there, but why do I want to spend my time trying to convince someone about how great it sounds or why that particular domain name would be great for a particular site? I would rather be able to contact someone in the industry or someone in the domain industry and say, I have the category killer name for this particular niche, and the domain name is actually the name of a particular category or niche.
A person should never have to say, “this domain name would make a great xyz website.” A great, commercially viable, generic domain name shouldn’t need any explanation. For example, my newest acquisition is EstatePlanners.com. I believe this domain name needs no explanation, and that’s why I like it.

Tracking Domain Names for a Competitive Advantage

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There are many companies that track domain names to get a competitive advantage over their competitors or to monitor another company’s strategic initiatives. Previously I discussed the use of IP address monitoring to track new domain purchases, but some companies simply track new domain registrations to essentially do the same thing.
I read a blog post in Boston Magazine where they speculated about where a Boston-based news outlet wanted to expand (prior to their demise). Because of domain privacy, they aren’t able to know for certain that the company bought those other names, but based on the date of registration and the registrar, they could get a pretty good idea about who registered the domain names.
There are many types of information a company can use to track a competitor. They are able to monitor trademark and patent filings, follow business license applications, watch city/state filings…etc. A company’s domain registrations are another tool to allow outsiders to look ahead and make predictions or assumptions about another company’s strategy.

Change Your Passwords!

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It seems obvious, but it’s never a good idea to use the same passwords for different email accounts, domain registrar accounts, bank accounts…etc. Whenever you need to log on to an account online, it’s best to have different complicated login passwords. If you use the same password and that is stolen by a thief, they will have access to all of your private information and can easily log into your account and take control of everything:
From the Boston Globe,

Using the same password for multiple Web pages is the Internet-era equivalent of having the same key for your home, car and bank safe-deposit box.”

Whenever it is offered, I strongly advise that you get a security fob to add an extra layer of protection to your accounts. I have a Paypal security key (which costs just $5.00), and I have recommended that at least one domain registrar implement this level of security to protect our digital assets.

Historical Thumbnails – New Feature at DomainTools

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Looks like DomainTools introduced a new feature/tool today. When performing Whois searches, you are now able to see historical thumbnails in addition to historical Whois changes. After exchanging emails with Jay Westerdal, I found out the difference between this new tool and the Wayback Machine at Archive.org, is that this tool takes real pictures, while Archive.org only takes HTML and possibly stores some of the pictures. This new tool will allow people to see exactly what previously existed on the home page domain name at various points in time.
According to the site, DomainTools Gold Members are the only people eligible to see the full set of thumbnails.

Deal of the Day – Metabolizers.com

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Today’s domain deal of the day is for Metabolizers.com with a sale price of just $4,500. I’ve noticed several diet supplement commercials touting various metabolizers to help lose weight. From the little I know, metabolizers supposedly speed up a person’s metabolism to help metabolize fat and lose weight. I’ve been seeing more and more of these types of commercials lately.
According to one site I read, “Fat metabolizers or fat burners are a group of over-the-counter diet pills with active ingredients that theoretically raise metabolism and help burn body fat.”   There are many questions about whether these pills work or not, but there is no question that they are being actively marketed on television, on the Internet, and at dietary supplement shops.   As a special offer, I will also give the buyer FatMetabolizers.com for FREE, although this name must be pushed to a Moniker account.
The price is very firm and the name(s) won’t last long at this price. The first person to post “sold” in the comment section will get these two names for cheap.

Auction Note Humor

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I took a quick glance at the just-released preliminary list for the Domain Roundtable live auction next week, and there are a few pretty good names listed at reasonable reserves. Just on a very quick glance, the few that strike me as well priced include:
Sirloins.com – $10k
Tuscan.com – $15k
Renewals.com – $25k
Dangers.com – $6k
Bicyclists.com – $5k
Moral.com – $10k
Anyway, maybe it’s just me, but I found some of the owner-included descriptions to be particularly humorous (in no particular order):
1) “huge potential over next few months. Huge ROI.”
2) “Country in the Middle East. Pizza.com sold for more.”
3) “Paramedic students and people interested in Paramedic courses will be flocking to this domain.”
4) “Old people are always looking for solutions to this huge health problem.”
5) “Priced and an extremely great price. It is catchy and easy to remember. This is a deal!”
6) “Alcohol is a confusing subject. There are thousands of recipes for types of alcoholic drinks.”
7) “There is literally a Park St. in every city. Only one company on all those streets in all those cities can claim their street name as their domain name. Great investment.”
8) “Mothers are ordering these like crazy”
9) “The First Club! There are literally tons of clubs that use this name. This is so generic and a great investment. You will have people begging you to sell it to them.”
10) “Extremely common last name. Several Williams have companies. There are hundreds of Williams Family Companies that would repurchase this one.”

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