Domain Finder Tools Do Not Work Anymore! Search the Aftermarket for Quality Domains

By on September 7, 2010

The best programmers on the planet can no longer help you find a good quality domain name for your website.

I’m always interested to hear about a new available domain finder tool, but my interest is usually followed by disappointment. With each query I am let down by the poor quality domains generated by these services.

Take for example a new tool called Brute Force Naming that was just featured on AOL’s popular DownloadSquad blog.

The tool looked promising, providing an advanced method of creating prefixes with vowels in the middle followed by suffixes. That should work, right? Unfortunately it doesn’t.

The results are similar to other tools for researching 5 letter or short domains. They look something like this: Coufo, Blole, Twafo, Twume, Plole, Clule. Terrible.

The domain names generated by many tools today are nonsensical strings of characters. Good quality made up words and “brandable” domains do exist, but they have all been claimed. Just as four letter domains have all been registered, so have gone quality short domains.

Truly quality brandable domains can really only be found on the aftermarket.

So, what are the alternatives?

Keyword Domains

I am a big fan of keyword domain names. Yes, even for branding. I consider good quality keywords to have huge advantages over made up brands that may just sound cool. The advantages are that these types of domains are often very memorable and easily readable.

You’re not too late. There are a lot of keyword domains available to register and many are still affordable on the aftermarket. While you may not be able to get a one-word domain, there are still descriptive two and three-word domain names that have inherent value beyond your modest registration fee.

To find the best names I recommend using data to support the popularity of your keywords. SEO and SEM tools like Google AdWords can provide further insight.

Expired Domains

Every day hundreds of thousands of domain names are allowed to expire by their owners. A few months later these domains make their way back to general availability.

You have two options when going after an expired domain.

Backorder – Find out which registrar the domain name was claimed at. If a domain was previously managed at GoDaddy then you should place a backorder for the name at GoDaddy for the best chances of winning the expiring domain.

Catch the Drop – Approximately 2 months after a domain expires it will “drop” from the registry and become available again. This option usually works for less popular domains. DomainerIncome’s blog has a detailed look at the expiration process.

You may be able to find a quality brandable names by researching expiring domains, but I wouldn’t hold your breath! This is a good place to look for keywords though.

For further reading, I’ve previously written some pro tips for researching expired domains.

Shop the Aftermarket

There are a lot of great marketplaces that are not getting nearly enough of the attention they desserve. The largest domain aftermarket site is Sedo, because of the sheer quantity of listings from around the world. There are less known marketplaces, privately hosted portfolios, and auction services like Flippa where gems can be found.

Earlier this year I shared a list of the top 20 places to buy domains in 2010. The list features the top marketplaces, forums, conferences, auction houses and other options.

Private Inquiries

So, that perfect name has been taken! It happens to thousands of people every day. Why give up on it? You can contact the owner of a domain by looking up their WHOIS information, but you’ll need to pray it isn’t private.

The bookmarklet below will let you quickly view WHOIS data when browsing any domain in you browser. (More useful bookmarklets here)

BookmarkletDomainTools (Drag & Drop link to your toolbar)

Email the owner a brief, polite message expressing your interest in the domain and make an offer to purchase. Your offer should be close to the final amount you would be willing to pay if you expect to receive a response.

How do you find quality domain names?

Are there available domain finder tools that actually work?

Thanks for taking the time to read my suggestions for finding quality domains. Please share your thoughts in the comments area below.

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About Mark Fulton

Mark is the Founder of DotSauce Magazine and a full time web developer, domain investor, SEO and online marketing professional residing in North Carolina, USA. Visit MarkFulton.com for information on freelance website development, SEO and consultation services.