Crash Course Guide to Domain Name Appraisals

By on July 31, 2008

This is a guest post by Omar Aloyoun, Internet Marketing Specialist and Domainer.

Ever looked for new domains to buy in auctions, pending delete, or expired? I’m sure all of us have some difficulty appraising the value of domains. The process is both easy and hard at the same time, especially when considering the long term value and not necessarily the present value. Grabbing a domain name now that holds a potential-value in the future is a real-niche and requires some strategy. Though the remaining names market and especially the gTLDs (Generic Top Level Domain Extensions, e.g. .COM/.NET/.ORG) is saturated and sometimes impossible to get a nice ones but there are some techniques to grab excellent and superior names using some technique we had successfully put on trial and lead us successfully to acquire many domains such as EVERNET.com and PreLanding.com.

In this article, I will be highlighting some quick techniques to evaluate domains for the present or near-future resale value.

1. Dictionary Words (Generic Domains)
A single 1-word or 2-worded generic domain value is higher than a domain name containing a trademark term.
The owner of a domain name with a trademark can keep his domain as long as domain had been bought before the date of original trademark file by the trademark owner. Still, there are some restrictions for utilizing the domain, as they can’t use the domain name on the website for the same subject as the trademark covers. (Live example is: Nissan.com)

To protect yourself from mistakenly buying a trademark violating domain, search Google for the term: trademark “yourDomain.com” “YourDomain” (This will show you any historic claims over the name).

Generic domains are a long term investment.  One of the best investments in domains is the dictionary words. An excellent web 2.0 crash tool to check available dictionary domain names is Attainable.ws.

Some domains will have an immediate value if found under some professional or technical dictionaries such as the ‘Business Dictionary.’

2. Is the .Com-TLD of the Same Domain an Active Site?
The value for a domain is much higher if the same domain with .com-TLD, is an active website with live content.
On the other hand, the domain will have less value if the .com-TLD domain is a no-content-site or a parked domain. (In case evaluating a non .com domain)
This attribute is not a strong point but can be in a great deal of importance sometimes.

3. Number of Words in the Domains
A domain of 2 words is better than a domain with 3 words. (PhoneCards.com is more valuable than PhoneCardsBusiness.com)

The premium selection is a 1-word domain. Sometimes, a prefix before a 1-word-domain or 2-words-domain is having a value equivalent to 35% of the same domain without the prefix. (e.g. Abestweb.com, ALLinsurance.com, where prefix=A and ALL). We need not to forget that search engines respect the domain, no matter how many words the domain have, as long as the site main keyword is the same as the domain name; people then will reach your site using these keyword(s) via the search engine and your site ranking will be premium and mostly in the first page. (If your site is SEO compliant)
The value of a domain goes on 2-dimensions: Marketing-Oriented or Traffic-Oriented purposes. It depends on what you pursue.

Another aspect, in the case of 2-words domain, we can check the reversal order of the domain words. (Example: GiftsExpress.com vs. ExpressGifts.com)  If the reversal domain and website is unavailable and an active site, then the value of the original domain is higher.

4. Dashes or No Dashes
If there are dashes in the domain, then the same domain without dashes is better for sure. To know if your dashes-domain is more valuable, refer to point number 3 above as the same rules applies here with relation to number of words. Please check availability for the same domain without dashes. For SEO-Oriented purpose, the Name1Name2.net (e.g. PHONEcards.net) is with same value as name-name.COM (e.g. PHONE-cards.com).

It is even true that non-hyphened domain has more value if the same domain with dashes is not-available. Make sure you check all probabilities, they are all part of the appraisal process.

5. Does the Domain Have Numbers?
Domains with numbers are less in value than non-numeric domains. Numeric-only domains might have a value if the number is symbolizing a popular figure somewhere.

Some Name+Numbers domains have a great value also if the number represents another symbol, as Olympics2008.com where 2008 represents the year.

6. Typos
A typo is the misspelling of a word not necessarily by mistake. A semi-typo can also be a British version of a word instead of an American word, or vice versa. (Example: center/centre).
Now, if the domain is having a word being replaced, with a typo or a semi-typo, from multiple-words domain can lead to a worthwhile domain.

7. Registration Date
The older the year-date a domain has been registered for the first time, the more valuable it is.

8. Other TLDs Extensions Availability
The more non-available domains from same name’s other extensions, the more the value for a domain.
One of the best tools to quickly check other TLDs is directnic.com which shows us visual indicators about availability of other extensions such as .NET .ME .TV .CC .ORG .INFO .WS .EU .US

9. Google Search Results Count (Words)
Search non-broadly for your domain words on Google. (Example: “phone cards”) The more results showing, the more the value is.

Another tip to search non-broadly, without spaces or dashes, for the full domain name in quotes. That will give you some valuable information for sure. (Example: Search in Google the term: “SleepTime”)

10. Way Back Machine
Have a look at what was the content on this domain name back on time. The previous design, content and heritage will be co-inherited with your domain.  You can find this tool at http://www.archive.org/web/web.php

11. Is the Name Trendy?
Sometimes you can summarize the domain to one word that describes a trend you believe the domain is covering. It is even that the trend word will be part of the domain itself.  Example: ebike.com. Trend in words=bike, bikes, electric bike.  Have Google Trends help you determine how strong your domain name is by checking the trend strength.

You can use Facebook Lexicon also for the same goal. For more Information about Google’s Trends and Facebook Lexicon, check this blog post.

12. Historical Sales Data
Many websites can help you determine what the history of specific domains was in the past. You can search on mixed criteria by keywords or gTLD or ccTLD. Some popular history portals:

By applying these measures, a domain buyer will emulate building a system of weighted values that can by time make sense to judge the domain instantly, depending on each domain category.

There is no pre-designed domain appraisal benchmark up to now, but your experience can make a difference in your domain targeting.

About the Author: Omar Aloyoun is an Internet Marketing Specialist working currently as a Product Marketing Manager in a new startup called EVERNET.  Omar has more than 8 years of Telecom, Databases and Product Marketing experience in many Multinational companies.

Omar has proven to highly utilize the Web, Technology and Social Networks as a Marketing vehicle. He will be launching soon a dedicated e-Marketing blog called PreLanding.com.

Some Facebook Groups administered by him are the Internet Marketing Strategies Group, Facebook Domain Name Network Group and Jordan Real Estate

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.
  • Francois

    Strange…

    The most important domain metric is missing:

    SEARCH POPULARITY

  • Francois

    Strange…

    The most important domain metric is missing:

    SEARCH POPULARITY

  • http://www.prelanding.com/ Omar Aloyoun

    Francois,

    Thank you for your comment but I have mentioned this potential search popularity in point #9, as I suppose and articulate in this guide the guidelines to evaluate non-active domains and domain names for sale. The google page rank of any active website starts to decline since the first moment the domain expires or when the content evolves to a parking page, etc.

  • http://www.prelanding.com Omar Aloyoun

    Francois,

    Thank you for your comment but I have mentioned this potential search popularity in point #9, as I suppose and articulate in this guide the guidelines to evaluate non-active domains and domain names for sale. The google page rank of any active website starts to decline since the first moment the domain expires or when the content evolves to a parking page, etc.

  • http://namecake.com/ James

    Great list and very interesting.
    I think it’s worth mentioning that the hyphen isn’t penalised by the SE’s either, and if you’ve a developed site that’s where most of your traffic will be coming from.

  • http://namecake.com James

    Great list and very interesting.
    I think it’s worth mentioning that the hyphen isn’t penalised by the SE’s either, and if you’ve a developed site that’s where most of your traffic will be coming from.

  • Francois

    Point 9 is term frequency and ot search popularity, it’s different.

  • Francois

    Point 9 is term frequency and ot search popularity, it’s different.

  • http://www.Prelanding.com/ Omar Aloyoun

    James, you are absolutely right as the hyphen between domain words isn’t penalized by Search Engines at all. In the contrary, if the names in your domain is equivalent to a popular search term been quested by users, then that’s where the most of traffic will come from. (as you have mentioned). Thanks!

  • http://www.Prelanding.com Omar Aloyoun

    James, you are absolutely right as the hyphen between domain words isn’t penalized by Search Engines at all. In the contrary, if the names in your domain is equivalent to a popular search term been quested by users, then that’s where the most of traffic will come from. (as you have mentioned). Thanks!

  • http://messagecarriers.org/ kennnk

    Great article thank a lot

  • http://messagecarriers.org kennnk

    Great article thank a lot

  • rikplus

    What about alexa rank on old domains and the backlinks?

  • rikplus

    What about alexa rank on old domains and the backlinks?

  • http://www.Prelanding.com/ Omar Aloyoun

    @Rikplus:

    Your contribution and opinion is appreciated. Thanks.
    Alexa rank will show you the popularity of the site and not the domain name popularity.
    BusinessDirectory911.com can have a better Alexa rank than Business.com. The content of the site and finally the traffic is the major determinant of Alexa’s score.

    At the end, there is no preset domain appraisal benchmark up to now, its something rationale and depends on x-dimensional attributes!

    @Kennnk:
    Thank you for your comment.

  • http://www.Prelanding.com Omar Aloyoun

    @Rikplus:

    Your contribution and opinion is appreciated. Thanks.
    Alexa rank will show you the popularity of the site and not the domain name popularity.
    BusinessDirectory911.com can have a better Alexa rank than Business.com. The content of the site and finally the traffic is the major determinant of Alexa’s score.

    At the end, there is no preset domain appraisal benchmark up to now, its something rationale and depends on x-dimensional attributes!

    @Kennnk:
    Thank you for your comment.

  • http://www.drjohnlehman.com/ Office

    Great article. I’ll use this information on future websites.

  • http://www.drjohnlehman.com Office

    Great article. I’ll use this information on future websites.

  • http://healthyland.blogspot.com/ Health

    Veri good article! Thanks :)

  • http://healthyland.blogspot.com Health

    Veri good article! Thanks :)

  • http://logishempire.com/ Logen

    You might want to add that one can check the popularity of his domain name’s keyword through Google’s Adtool. The more searches for it, the higher the domain’s value.

  • http://logishempire.com Logen

    You might want to add that one can check the popularity of his domain name’s keyword through Google’s Adtool. The more searches for it, the higher the domain’s value.

  • Steve

    I would not really use an Alexa rank, everyone knows how easy it is to manipulate that data. For the general business person who is not that technical and has no clue, then showing a hyped up alexa ranking might bring in more money for that domain name.

  • Steve

    I would not really use an Alexa rank, everyone knows how easy it is to manipulate that data. For the general business person who is not that technical and has no clue, then showing a hyped up alexa ranking might bring in more money for that domain name.

  • Zach

    Excellent article midFlux also has some cool Domain Appraisals too.

    Here’s some other important appraisal factors.
    http://midflux.com/domain-appraisal-guide.php

  • Zach

    Excellent article midFlux also has some cool Domain Appraisals too.

    Here’s some other important appraisal factors.
    http://midflux.com/domain-appraisal-guide.php

  • http://prelanding.com/ Omar Aloyoun

    @Logen,

    You are absolutely right, the new google keyword popularity checker in Google Adwords is similar to the classic Overture scores. This one is a very strong indicator. Thanks.

    @Steve,

    I totally agree with you that Alexa rank has no indication at all in appraising any domain. Alexa rank will show you the popularity of the site and not the domain name.

    @Zach,

    Thanks for the links. Your domain appraisal offer for $3.95 is cool.

  • http://prelanding.com Omar Aloyoun

    @Logen,

    You are absolutely right, the new google keyword popularity checker in Google Adwords is similar to the classic Overture scores. This one is a very strong indicator. Thanks.

    @Steve,

    I totally agree with you that Alexa rank has no indication at all in appraising any domain. Alexa rank will show you the popularity of the site and not the domain name.

    @Zach,

    Thanks for the links. Your domain appraisal offer for $3.95 is cool.

  • http://www.forextutorialvideos.com/ James Duffy

    Great article its probably going to save me some money next time I have to value my domain!

    BOOKMARKED!

  • http://www.forextutorialvideos.com/ James Duffy

    Great article its probably going to save me some money next time I have to value my domain!

    BOOKMARKED!

  • http://www.ozelcan.com.tr/ bebek malzemleri

    I’ll use this information on future websites and blogs. Thanks.

  • http://www.ozelcan.com.tr/ bebek malzemleri

    I’ll use this information on future websites and blogs. Thanks.

  • http://www.DNKitchen.com/ Patrick – DNKitchen.com

    Very informative article, I think this is a good guide for giving value to a domain.

    One thing I consider is the amount of google ads in the search. I like to know how many people are adveritsing. If no one is advertising it may mean there is no money to be made in that area.

  • Patrick – DNKitchen.com

    Very informative article, I think this is a good guide for giving value to a domain.

    One thing I consider is the amount of google ads in the search. I like to know how many people are adveritsing. If no one is advertising it may mean there is no money to be made in that area.

  • http://www.Prelanding.com/ Omar Aloyoun

    Dear Patrick, Thanks a lot.

    The point you mentioned is really a determinant valuable factor; but lets remember that Google Ads are geo-targeted. If you resides in USA and search for a keywords like TESCO INSURANCE, then no result will happen to appear to you, while a lot of these will appear if you initiate the same search from UK, and vice versa of course for other parts of the world. When appraising the domain, you need to determine if the domain belongs for a specific region. Google Adwords by the way allows you now to see sponsored results for other geo-locations even if you don’t reside there! I guess by using this, your point will work 100%.

  • http://www.Prelanding.com Omar Aloyoun

    Dear Patrick, Thanks a lot.

    The point you mentioned is really a determinant valuable factor; but lets remember that Google Ads are geo-targeted. If you resides in USA and search for a keywords like TESCO INSURANCE, then no result will happen to appear to you, while a lot of these will appear if you initiate the same search from UK, and vice versa of course for other parts of the world. When appraising the domain, you need to determine if the domain belongs for a specific region. Google Adwords by the way allows you now to see sponsored results for other geo-locations even if you don’t reside there! I guess by using this, your point will work 100%.

  • http://www.networks-by-design.com/New_York/Long_Island/Computer_Repair/Long_Beach_Computer_Repair.html NBD

    Very Good. We have been selling and buying for a while. This article works very good to think about minimal value. Good job!

  • http://www.networks-by-design.com/New_York/Long_Island/Computer_Repair/Long_Beach_Computer_Repair.html NBD

    Very Good. We have been selling and buying for a while. This article works very good to think about minimal value. Good job!

  • http://www.fitnessguruz.com/ Free Fitness Tips

    Good points that you’ve made there.

    Older the domain names are, the more their value is. I have personally experienced that. Plus dashed seem to reduce the value of a domain name by quite some amount.

  • http://www.fitnessguruz.com Free Fitness Tips

    Good points that you’ve made there.

    Older the domain names are, the more their value is. I have personally experienced that. Plus dashed seem to reduce the value of a domain name by quite some amount.

  • http://www.webmasterarts.com/ Cesar

    I have domains but it’s hard for me to know what the value is since I never learn about domain appraisal. This article has help me, thanks.

  • Cesar

    I have domains but it’s hard for me to know what the value is since I never learn about domain appraisal. This article has help me, thanks.

  • bisiklet

    Good

  • http://www.atechmachinery.com/ vinyl machinery

    Thanks. I’ll use this information on future websites and blogs.

  • http://www.atechmachinery.com/ vinyl machinery

    Thanks. I’ll use this information on future websites and blogs.

  • manifestmoneytalks

    Great article thank a lot

  • bebefix

    great. thankss

  • Kimmy5150

    The Hyphen is actually a great way to buy good domain names.

  • Bikes

    Thanks for your suggestion. I have also something to share with all of you.