Tyler and I have both been writing quite a bit lately on domains and the domaining aspect of web business. I am really quite inexperienced with this dimension of the web so I’ve been reading a lot and visiting a lot of web site and URL for sale sites. There’s one very obvious mistake I’ve come across … one I have made myself … and the absolute easiest (or at least the cheapest) one you can avoid making for yourself.
A huge percentage of the URLs out there for sale are absolute crap names. They are not of much use for building a highly successful web site on and the owners often can’t even sell them for the cost that they paid for registration. I can’t even count the number of times in the past couple weeks I have felt the almost irrepressible urge to click over to my GoDaddy account and buy yet another “loser”. Fortunately I have resisted recently and here’s a few thoughts on why you should too.
First of all … when that little “light bulb” turns on in your head with a stupendous, unique, great idea for a URL turns on … it’s very, very likely just some kind of stray voltage. Many of us kid ourselves that the secret to success is that one great idea. The true facts of life are, good ideas are not rare … they are literally a dime a dozen. Actually, they are even less valuable than that old saying would indicate. (ask me about “satviz” or “zipfirst”) It is the implementation of a good idea that’s valuable, and that, my friends, is what separates those who succeed from the rest of us. A couple rules to live by:
- Cute Is Seldom Profitable: If you have to explain to another person why a URL name is a killer name, it isn’t. I see listing after listing when some guy with good intentions but flawed thought processes grabbed up a name that is really interesting … after it gets explained in 25 words or less. Nobody sticks around for the other 24 words.
- Copycats Seldom Succeed: Let’s look at money from blogs right now … an interesting subject. A year or so ago a fellow named Darren Rowse hit the on-line news big time with a site called problogger(dot) net … he was the first, or one of the first … bloggers to make a six-figure (USD) income from blogging. At the time “pro blogger” didn’t resonate well with many people and at the time Darren was making his real money off several blogs hosted on subdomains of a site called “livingroom(dot) com”. No “pro”, no “blogger”, no “make money” … just a name your grandma might have picked. How many blogs, web sites and URLs are now out there with “blogging” and “pro blogging” and other blog money terms in their names … I can’t count that high. But wait … Darren’s certainly not the top earner of today, is he? One of Tyler’s near-neighbors is right at the top of the hot properties in the pro blogging space …. raking in well over $10K per month from a blog … yep, John Chow. Now really, how “cute” “John Chow” is that and how suggestive of making money is johnchow (dot) com?
So, the next time an idea pops into your head, and you run out and spend time and money on searching for that one perfect domain name … and buying the darn thing … figure out first how you will make money from it. Since I hardly know one poker hand from another I pretty much doubt I could beat Tyler if pokerforums.com suddenly became available … but there is always a “new thing” coming on the ‘Net … figure out how to make the money first then find the domain name. And if you have to explain it … even to your grandma … it isn’t the right name.