Top 10 Myths About Domain Names

By on October 14, 2010
domain-name-myths

Of all the people using the internet and browsing websites everyday, the domain name industry is still a mystery to the majority of people.

In this article I will do my best to educate you on the little known aspects of the domain industry and debunk some of the most common misunderstandings and myths about domain names.

1. All the good domains are taken.

According to the latest VeriSign domain industry brief, there are over 80 million .COM domain names registered. So, there is some justification for this prevalent myth, but I’m here to tell you it is far from being completely true!

It is still possible to use keywords to create great quality two and three-word domains. Additionally, millions of the domains that have been claimed are destined to expire and become available again. Tools for researching and filtering through expired domains will forever prove this myth false.

2. Social profiles will replace domain names.

There has been some talk in marketing and advertising circles that the huge attraction to social networking will cause businesses to skip creating actual websites all-together. While this may be true for a very small number of poor souls, the benefits of a self-hosted website far out-weigh the popularity of social profiles.

If anything, social networking is leading to more websites and more internet consumers. One common and prominent feature of social profiles is a place to highlight a website address.

3. .COM ranks higher than .NET, .ORG, etc. on search engines.

This is another tricky myth that has some grain of truth, but needs clarification. According to Google spokesperson Matt Cutts, the domain extension does play a small factor in the ranking algorithm, but only for defined countries.

Because .COM is commonly associated with the United States, it will have some priority over foreign country-code domains (such as .LY, .CO.UK, .CO.ZA, etc.). However, it does not have priority over other approved extensions that are also used in the United States (such as .NET, .ORG, .TV, .INFO, .CO, etc.). All of these extensions have an equal opportunity to rank highly for desired keywords.

Each country-code domain has the equivalent advantage over .COM on their own Google international search engines.

4. There are no affordable .COMs for sale.

There is a stigma placed on .COM domain names because of uneducated sellers heavily inflating the valuations of their common domains. Take a look on eBay for domains for sale and you will see what I mean.

If you can be patient and search out the right places you will find reasonable sellers offering great quality domain names for sale. These legitimate sales can be found at popular domain marketplaces or at private portfolio websites. Another option is to contact a seller directly. It does not hurt to look-up a domain and email the domain owner to negotiate a good price.

5. Common domains are worth hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Domain valuation is not easy. Because each and every domain name is unique, the only way to accurately gauge the value of a given domain is to compare similar sales, market size, potential end-users and size-up keyword statistics. All in all, not an easy task.

Most individuals simply do not have the experience and understanding of the industry to accurately price their domains for sale. A lot of domains are not worth anything because better options may are readily available and because they have a yearly renewal fee.

The chances of a domain registered yesterday being worth thousands of dollars to someone is very slim, unless you know what you’re doing and have found a gem or are very lucky.

6. Selling domain names is easy.

This is far from the truth. Well, there is an easy way to sell domain names that involves listing them on major marketplaces and kicking up your feet. But if you want to increase your odds of a domain selling in the next 10 years you better get proactive.

Selling domains effectively involves marketing, networking, research, people skills, negotiation and much more. If you learn the skills, you can improve your chances of selling and earning more profit.

7. GoDaddy is the best domain registrar.

GoDaddy is simply the biggest and frequently the cheapest domain registrar. Massive advertising campaigns and expanded product offering have made GoDaddy the world’s most well-known domain registrar.

There are many other registrars that have comparable prices and expanded features such as more security, support and customer service. Off the top of my head some of the most respected registrars include Name.com, NameCheap, Moniker, EuroDNS and Fabulous.

Check out the Top 100 Domain Websites for more good industry companies and resources.

8. Registering lots of domains is unethical or “squatting.”

There is often negative view of the domain industry mainly stemming from spiteful web developers who can not find the perfect domain for their own project. We also get a bad reputation from a small number of people who register domains based on business trademarks or close typos. That is who the real cyber-squatters are.

The overwhelming majority of domain investors today are keenly aware of the risks of owning domains containing trademarks.

Just because someone owns a few hundred or even a few thousand domain names does not mean they are squatting. Domains have been freely available to register since the 90’s and many wise investors had the foresight to stake their claim. Anyone is allowed to buy up and resell as much real-world real estate as they like, domain names are no different.

9. Searching for available domains is the only option.

This is a major pet-peeve of mine. Sometimes it seems as if the world has it’s blinders up to the industry beyond domain registrars.  Some may be on a very tight budget, but there is a HUGE aftermarket of quality domain names available to purchase.

Check out the Top 20 Places to Buy Domains for a sampling of the many great outlets for acquiring a great domain that will pay for itself over a lifetime of use!

10. Keywords in domains do not affect search engine ranking.

Keywords absolutely have a beneficial affect on search rankings. It has been proven over the years and is well known in the SEO community that using keywords within a domain provides a tremendous advantage in ranking highly for those terms.

Both non-hyphenated and hyphenated domains can gain this advantage. More often than not, an exact match keyword domain is able to claim the #1 position on Google with very little effort. This is one of the top reasons for owning a generic keyword domain and it’s what makes them so valuable.

Keep on Busting Domain Myths

The domain industry has a lot of work to do as far as educating the public, now more than ever. Please help share the truth about Domaining.

What do you want to know about domain names? Ask a question on the DotSauce Q&A Forum and our community of experienced domainers will do their best to help.

Did I miss a common domain name myth? Please leave a comment below with any additions you would like to add. The more knowledge shared, the better!

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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.