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The Psychology of Domaining: How Registering Makes You Rationalize

By on April 19, 2011

When I first started delving deeply into online marketing several years ago, I heard about this powerful psychological effect that purchases have on consumers. When we buy products and services we are more inclined to like and recommended them to others.

The act of spending our hard earned money causes us to rationalize our decisions as good choices. A recent article on FastCompany discusses this rationalization effect (Cognitive Dissonance) as it applies to Facebook’s like button.

“Every opportunity to reflect on our choices is an opportunity to reconstruct a past view of ourselves as flawless decision-makers.”

The simple act of “liking” a brand on Facebook causes us to feel more positively about it.

Rationalizing Registrations

I believe that registering domain names has any even stronger rationalization effect on domain investors. When we decide to register domain names we are committing to ownership, management and yearly renewal fees. Once the checkout has completed at your favorite registrar, or likely even before, we begin to rationalize our decision.

Sadly, to their own detriment, many inexperienced domain investors take these rationalizations to the extreme. They will hold on to low quality brands or non-sense keyword phrases that they may have registered on a whim in the hopes a perfect buyer will come along and offer a premium.

A lot of domain sales marketing copy looks a lot like used car dealership TV commercials. Loud and obnoxious, siting stats and potential uses for the name; the more exclamation points and CAPS the better. This is just one reason why your domain name won’t sell. Most people filter out the noise.

The best marketing copy should be the domain name itself.

Psych Yourself Out

Rationalizing a poor domain name happens to everyone. I stopped counting how many domains I’ve let expire over the years, but the number is quickly diminishing as I am able to discover more domains with plenty of potential.

When you look back over your portfolio now, you may be able to view some domains in a different light.

Next time you register a domain, try to rationalize your decision with concrete information before the purchase is made. There are a number of questions you can ask yourself about a potential investment to discover real value. Tip #1 in my article, 5 tips for selling domain names, can help you choose domain names that have obvious selling potential.

You may also be interested in a related article about psychology as applied to domain sales and marketing. My post on Right Brain Domaining shares how creative personal attributes can help you succeed online.

Have you found yourself rationalizing a poor domain registration? Do you feel sorry for people when they advertise low quality domains for sale as premium? Please leave any comments you might have below and consider sharing this article to spread the word.


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.