The Value of Domain Names
(or How to Pick Successful Domain Names for Your
A domain name is your doorway to the Internet. A good domain
name brings more traffic to your site and reduces the cost of
advertising. In fact, a well-chosen domain name that may cost
more initially will more than pay for itself in advertising
dollars you will save in the long run.
When choosing a domain name for your business, think in terms of
how you could market yourself with the domain name. You should
be able to easily generate catchy slogans that incorporate the
domain name and would convey what is offered at your web site in
a memorable, non-offensive way. If you (and marketing
professionals) can't do that, the domain name is not going to be
worth much to you or others.
Keeping that in mind, there are at least 8 rules of thumb to
follow when choosing a domain name for your business or
determining the value of a domain name.
1. The .com extension
Pick a .com if possible. The .com extension is much more common
and more accepted currently than any other extension for most
business applications (since it means "com
mercial enterprise"). While the .net
extension is sometimes used and is the second most common and
accepted extension, it rarely commands any price above the
registration cost unless you also have the .com to sell. A good
.com domain name is typically valued and priced at 10 times a
.net extension with the same words and letters. The .org
extension is typically used by non-profit organizations and is
avoided by most for-profit business. The new extensions like .to
or .cc are too new for any value to be placed on them. The .us
extension is not commonly used by for-profit businesses in the
On the World Wide Web domain names with fewer letters, fewer
syllables, and fewer words will be preferred over more difficult
domain names. The more letters people have to enter, the more
mistakes and frustrations they will encounter when seeking your
site. Those domain names made of one or two words with 6 or
fewer syllables and fewer than 15 letters are the best and
command the highest prices.
Sometimes, the simplicity rule can be thrown out the window when
you combine words in a memorable way (e.g.
Typically, though, memorable and simple can combine to work for
your benefit even more (e.g. Amazon.com). Memorable combinations
of words or syllables present an easier job to market your site
to the public. In addition, a domain name that is unique can be
an advantage in memorability (e.g. Webergy.com) if it combines
elements of words used often in everyday speech ("web" +
"energy") in new ways.
4. Must Flow Well
A good domain name must flow well when you say it. It isn't a
good name if other people stumble when trying to say it.
In addition, various consonant and vowel sounds and combinations
can evoke specific good or bad reactions in potential customers
because of their prior associations. Examples of sound clusters
to avoid in combination with other sound clusters would be "con"
or "old". Good clusters would include "new", "pro", or "tron".
Rhyming or alliteration also help make for a good domain name.
This is one area where having a friend who majored in English or
Linguistics and who understands root words and embedded meanings
may be able to help you in very important ways.
5. Avoid Auditory Confusion
Good domain names have a lack of auditory confusion and are
spelled as they sound. Try to avoid domain names that could be
spelled many different ways.
Think of the marketing problems you would run into using
different advertising modalities - radio, TV, print, banner ads,
etc. If you ever use radio advertising, ads will be quite
ineffective if there are multiple ways of spelling the domain
name. An example would be cyborg - it could be sciborg, psyborg,
syborg, or siborg as well. Sound out the domain name, say it to
friends and family and see what spellings they come up with. The
more the alternative spellings, the poorer the domain name.
Avoid cute alternative spellings - like jobz.com. Again, when
you start using auditory advertising like radio many people will
go to the jobs.com site (think of the confusion that may exist
with "NewMoney.com" and "KnewMoney.com").
The same auditory confusion problem occurs for numbers which can
be confused for words - 4jobs.com, forjobs.com, fourjobs.com
(unless you own all three and refer people who get to the wrong
site to the right site).
Similar marketing problems occur when a domain name has a hyphen
in it. Imagine having to advertise "Star-Eyes.com" when an
already existing web site "StarEyes.com" exists. Advertising
dollars spent for "Star-Eyes.com" will also bring people to
"StarEyes.com". As a result, domain names with hyphens in them
are rarely worth more than their registration price.
Validity refers to the truth value of the domain name. The
domain name should have something to do with the services or
goods you sell and it should be fairly easy for the general
public to recognize it as such. A domain name that has validity
improves its memorability as well. If you sell electronic toys,
a domain name "HairbowSales.com" is not going to be good unless
you only want to sell locally in a town called Hairbow.
7. Ability to Trademark
A major consideration in a website domain name is to examine its
ability to be trademarked. You can check the status of the
domain name and who owns the trademark at the United States Patent and Trademark
. Even if a name is trademarked or pending, you may
still be able to trademark the name for another class of goods or
services than what it has already been trademarked for. If you
get a domain name which is already trademarked and plan on
providing the same types of goods or services which the trademark
protects you will be infringing on the holder's trademark
8. Domain Area Popularity
Last, but not least, is the consideration of domain area
popularity. Good domain names in areas which are quite popular
like auctions, power, web design, banks, job-search sites,
internet telephony, stock market, etc. are harder to come by and
therefore command a much higher price than domain names in
relatively obscure or minor areas of business on the
Although every rule is made to be broken, following these 8 rules
will generally give you the best domain name for the purposes you
seek. At MAXdomains.com we try to list only those domain names
which follow these basic principles.