DYDAS Professional Website Design

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. Visit MarkFulton.com for information on freelance website development, SEO and consultation services.