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The Value of Domain Names
(or How to Pick Successful Domain Names for Your Business)

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 "commercial 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 United States.

2. Simplicity

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.

3. Memorability

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. 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. 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 Again, when you start using auditory advertising like radio many people will go to the site (think of the confusion that may exist with "" and "").

The same auditory confusion problem occurs for numbers which can be confused for words -,, (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 "" when an already existing web site "" exists. Advertising dollars spent for "" will also bring people to "". As a result, domain names with hyphens in them are rarely worth more than their registration price.

6. Validity

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 "" 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 Office. 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 rights.

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 Internet.


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 we try to list only those domain names which follow these basic principles.

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