When I first started buying and selling domain names, my friend had no clue what I was doing let alone what a domain name was nor why I was wasting my time and money. It was not until my first sale that he truly got interested and started asking me some serious questions. You know the saying – “you never believe it until it happens to you”. So, what is a domain name? To put it simply – intangible property (with certain exceptions). I mention “with certain exceptions” because trademark domain names are not personal property if you do not hold rights to the trademark, even if you purchased the domain name. However, we will get to that in a later update. A domain name can be a combination of letters and/or numbers that create a certain keyword(s) or brand name. For instance, CAR is a keyword that refers to, well, cars…you know, that thing that usually has four wheels and an engine. What actually makes “car” a true domain name is the combination of the keyword and the extension. Wait a second, what the heck is an extension? Simply put, an extension is a letter-based acronym that points to a specific geographical region or organization. For instance, CAR.CA refers to the Canadian market, while CAR.GOV refers to a particular government site. In other words, a single keyword or brand is not restricted to a single extension. Each extension, therefore, clearly indicates what your future site will offer and/or what market you are aiming to capture.

The next question most people ask – is there a significant difference between these various extensions apart from what was previously mentioned? Definitely! Two of the most significant differences are monetary and traffic value. The popularity of an extension significantly increases the potential value of your domain name. For instance, CAR.COM is worth more than CAR.BIZ. This is true because a .COM extension is able to penetrate a larger number of internet users. Think about it, when was the last time you typed in .BIZ at the end of a keyword or brand name? Some of you may even be surprised because you never heard of .BIZ before. Having all this said, there are exceptions when the popularity of an extension adds little value to the keyword. An example would be if the keyword was specific to one geographical region. This exception, however, is EXTREMELY rare and therefore, .COM remains the most valuable extension. To give you an idea just how much of a difference an extension makes, let us compare Google.com with Google.co.uk. According to DomainIndex.com, Google.com receives ~ 250 million daily visitors compared to ~ 34.2 million with Google.co.uk. What does this tell us? Number 1 – .com extension will appear higher on a search engine (Google, Yahoo, Mozilla Firefox, etc). This means that if you own 1234.com and someone else owns 1234.cc, you are more likely to have your site appear on the first page of a search engine, assuming that the site is developed and receives traffic (visitors). Number 2 – greater traffic usually increases the monetary value. In other words, 1234.com will cost more than 1234.cc because of the extension popularity and the amount of visitors. Think of an extension as land and a keyword as a foundation. If you build a house (keyword) on expensive land (.com), then your property (domain name) will have greater value. Basically, if you plan to invest in a keyword rich domain name, always try to get a hang of .com over other extensions. As you gain personal experience, feel free to expand and invest in other extensions.

So then, what separates a valuable domain name from junk? Quite frankly, there is no one particular answer to this question due to the numerous factors that must be taken into account – i.e, latest trends, news, and even time period(s). There are, however, repetitive factors that do affect the value of a domain name. The first is AGE – the older the domain name, the more valuable it is. A domain name with 10 + years of history is far more valuable than a freshly registered domain name. This is true because an older domain name gains more visibility on the internet and thus receives a better page rank. An older domain name may also have a large archive of back links – the more back links, the greater the page rank. A rich keyword domain also makes a significant difference when it comes to value. For instance, News.com is worth more than CurrentEvents.com because News is a generic keyword. Generic keywords receive more traffic and therefore are more valuable. Although not true in all cases, singular keywords may be worth more than plural ones. For instance, Lottery.com vs. Lotteries.com. Another factor is the number of characters a domain name holds. Usually, a shorter domain name will possess more value than an extremely long version. There are several sub-factors that follow, too. For instance, CS.com (acronym for Coffee Spot) may be worth more than CoffeeSpot.com. Another sub-factor are numbers and dashes. For the most part, having numbers and/or dashes in your domain name actually reduces value. There are plenty more factors that determine a domain name’s value, but these are the mains ones you should be looking out for.

Now that you have a better understanding of the term “domain name”, you can go and impress your family and friends with your new knowledge. Before you consider investing in domain names, though, I would highly recommend doing more research. Find out what is in demand and why. Once you have acquired enough knowledge, only then should you plunge into the domain world. Remember to set yourself a limit and avoid junk domain names at all costs. Until next time, think positive and stay confident.

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Author's Bio: 

My name is Yevgeny and I am the founder of DnCrowd™, a personal website that offers quality information regarding buying and selling domain names, as well as, branding and developing your own niche website. I currently hold a BFA Honours from York University and work part-time with the Toronto District School Board as a Visual Arts instructor. When it comes to passion and enthusiasm, nothing beats teaching Visual Arts and Geography. I enjoy drawing, painting, designing, interior design, branding/logo and web design, and learning about past and current events across the globe. Over the past two years, I have been investing in domain names and offering advice. In the future, I hope to teach Visual Arts, Geography, and/or English at an intermediate/senior level while simultaneously continuing with my branding and investing ventures.