Ideas Are A Dime A Dozen … So Are Domain Names

June 4, 2007 Posted by ROI_Guy
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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.

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Posted: June 4th, 2007 under Guest Posts  

13 Responses to “Ideas Are A Dime A Dozen … So Are Domain Names”

  1. Dave says:

    It’s amazing when you go to a site like tdnam.com and see the millions of expiring domain names and you think that there was a “great” idea for a site behind every one..

  2. Mike says:

    Nice article, but I still don’t think it will stop people like myself from being a compulsive domain purchaser

  3. dingle says:

    Domain names are actually not a dime a dozen. Depending– they can actually be quite expensive.

    I get your meaning, but that’s one of the dumber post titles I’ve read in a while. At least since ‘Monkey Videos’.

    • ROI_Guy says:

      You are certainly correct that there is no place I know of where you can buy domains for $0.10 per dozen. (although I have seen some MFA “messes” on eBay that come close.

      Is the headline “dumb”? Without a doubt you are not alone in your opinion … and your opinion is at least as valid as anyone else’s.

      Dingle, thanks, I value your thoughts.

      Tyler asked me months ago to furnish some guest posts and I have, on an irregular basis (I’ll get with the program again, Tyler, promise). Look back and observe:

      a. how many total comments any of them received
      b. how many comments were favorable
      c. how many comments actually added to the discussion
      d. how many pingbacks any of them received

      Since the headline (or slug) is known to be a huge factor in whether or not a post gets read and whether it “resonates” with the blog readers, and the readers of other blogs as well, it appears this headline is my best ever. Or so I would opine ;-)

  4. Dan says:

    This is a very very good post. I have one domain name that was one of these “great” ideas.

  5. Tom LeDree says:

    I agree it’s not the name so much as the website site and/or the idea attached to it. Like most things in life its all about “1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”

  6. [...] of Kortaz makes me think of posts by Tyler Cruz and John Chow. I’ve fallen into the trap of buying domains after I had an idea in my head and [...]

  7. Kyle says:

    Well, there is inherent value in a domain name regardless of whether or not you have a business plan ready for it. For example, there are many single word dictionary dot coms that you would struggle to come up with an immediate monetization strategy for. However, I doubt anyone would hesitate to pick up one of these at cost if there were any available today.

    So I wouldn’t necessarily say “figure out how to make the money first then find the domain name”. By finding the domain name, sometimes you make the money.

    Saying that, I think your advice isn’t actually related to domains, its more related to rubbish online business ideas. When you think you have a good idea, the first thing you do is rush out and find some semi-suitable domain name and buy it. Once you’ve realised the idea is rubbish, you then try offload the domain name but it’s unlikely to have much scope outside of your original intention.

    “And if you have to explain it … even to your grandma … it isn’t the right name.” – I’m sorry but this is rubbish too. :) My grandma would never understand why ceilingfan.com is a great invesment. But ask Frank Shilling, etc, look at Overture searches for the phrase, or evaluate the type-in traffic, and you’ll understand the value.

    Just because granny wouldn’t pay $185,000 for FreeHoroscope.com doesn’t mean that someone else wouldn’t…

    • ROI_Guy says:

      Good thoughts Kyle, thanks. You are absolutely right that a one or two word “dictionary” name is still likely to be a good investment without any prior planning. But, especially thanks, there are perishingly few of those left. to Mssrs. Ham, Schilling, et al, there are perishingly few of those left. Almost _any_ single dictionary word is worth $8.95 or less to pick up just on speculation.

      You would not have to explain “ceilingfans.com” to anyone, summer is coming on in the northern hemisphere and people type those words in very day. But “MyGreatFanBargainStore.com” might not do so well, the point of the exercise.

      “bigassfans.com” though is worth a visit ;-) … the perpetrators of that site knew exactly what they were doing when thye ordered up their domain.

  8. trignet says:

    ROI_guy please start your won blog….ur posts are too good to be on this blog…

  9. [...] is a nice thing to be subscribed to on RSS. He’s written some nice tips on there such as, Ideas are a dime a dozen… So are domains, where he talks about picking out a nice quality domain name. I may need to read that sometime soon [...]

  10. [...] over $23,000 brokering the sale of someone else’s domain.  He has a great perspective on domain name values, which I take to mean that very rarely is the value of a domain in the name.  Rather it is in the [...]

  11. Great information and great site, I have added this to my favorites, do you have an rss feed I can subscribe too?

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