There is no guarantee that a purchaser will come forward for your particular domain name(s). Thus, the maximum exposure is 100% of your original investment.
The cost of maintaining your
investment is $35 or less per year after an initial one or
two year period covered by the registration fees paid when
acquiring the domain name.
There is no "sure" thing in any investment, no matter what certain advertisements may want to lead you to believe. But if you have a few hundred dollars to spare, that you don't mind losing in exchange for the chance to parley them into a much larger sum of money, and to be at the forefront of the world's latest gold-rush, go ahead. Dip in a toe, buy a couple of domain names, and see what happens...
Of course, you will want to maximize the commercial value of your domain name, which leads us nicely onto...
5 Golden Rules for creating Domain Names
Domain names are being registered at such a furious rate that it is becoming more and more difficult to come up with good domain names. These rules are designed to help you in the process of creating new domain names. However, please remember that your domain name many not catch fire and light up the 'Net, even if you follow all these rules scrupulously.
It is probably better to consider these rules as guidelines. If you want to break these rules, be my guest. There are no absolutes in the domain name market. Please choose a rule and get stuck into dreaming up domain names.
1.) Avoid Clever Puns
A joke often sounds great when you hear it from a friend after knocking back a few beers in a bar, and positively side-splitting when recounted for the second time during a futile quest for pizza, a taxi or the way home after a few more beers. The same joke turns the stomach when heard for the third time the next morning, over the hammering in your head. Equally, a "clever" pun or catchy play on words may well come back to haunt you later.
Many domain names have popularized the "minimalist spelling" approach in an attempt to differentiate themselves from the morass of similar names. Usages such as "2" for "to", "4" for "4", "U" for "you" and dozens more have all been deployed in the quest for a good domain name. I am not sweepingly condemning this practice, but please, please, seek a second opinion. And a third! What seemed like a
great domain name on the spur of the moment may prove to be far less clever after the second or third visit to a web site bearing that name.
2.) When investing, think like an investor...
A good commercial domain name must be able to distinguish itself from the crowd of pretenders to the throne. Some ways you can try and distance yourself from this crowd include:
Consider the target audience
Try and aim a domain name at a specific, but broad, market. Use search tools and other resources to narrow down categories of businesses, and then try and find domain names that would be of interest to such businesses. To revisit the travel industry, for which I seem to have an unexplainable passion, sites such as "departure-lounge.com" or "holidayweb.com" would seem to offer a certain attraction. Hackers might like "cypherpunk.com", or possibly even "cryptofascist.com."
Follow trends... or create them
If you are serious about picking good domain names, try and follow the trends on the Internet. There are thousands of sites that provide information on the latest net developments -- make use of them. Even the daily newspaper may prove a fertile source of information. Current hot topics include on-line banking and stock trading, intranets, on-line marketing and sales and more. Remember that if it is good to catch the edge of the current wave, it is positively wonderful to be the first to paddle out to the next
Act on a whim
Creativity does not lend itself easily to logic. If you are hit with a great idea, and nobody else has noticed its potential yet, go for it. Don't hesitate, have second thoughts or dither. The exception to this is any domain name that might fail to pass muster under Golden Rule 1.
3.) Buy up all the alternatives to a domain name
This Golden Rule applies especially to companies, or to individuals with very deep pockets. Remember to check the singular and plural forms of your domain name, and to make liberal use of the "-" in forming domain names. For instance, the domain name catsnack.com might foster the following:
catsnacks.com, cat-snack.com & cat-snacks.com.
Use a thesaurus, and a little lateral thinking. If a domain name containing the word "money" is already taken, how about "cash", "credit", "finance"...?
Protect your trademark against similar domain names. A dispute is currently going on between Yahoo and Ya-hoo cakes, for instance.
If you have a great idea, don't let somebody ride your tail. Equally, please see Golden Rule 4 before parting company with thousands of dollars to register lots of permutations of a single name.
4.) Don't "tailgate"
If you are a serious investor, you should be leery of "tailgating" on another domain name unless you feel that it has enormous potential. A company is hardly likely to snap up "ABCDEF.com" the week after its main competitor grabbed "ABC-DEF.com" for its own.
On the other hand if you hear of a really fantastic domain name, you could try skirting around the edges of the same name. For example, mail.com could give rise to mail.org, mail.net, mailer.com and more. Although the "clones" will be worth less than the original, they may well have some intrinsic value of their own.
Beware: Never try to tailgate on a registered trademark!
5.) Don't rush, but don't dawdle
Don't be lured into buying up the first domain name you can think of. Think some more, sleep on it, ask your friends for their opinions. Although the supply of domain names is running out, it is better to expend a little more thought at the beginning of the process to save money later. After all, an unmarketable name that you would not want to use yourself if nothing but a liability.
At the same time, don't sit on a good idea forever, because I guarantee "forever" will never come, as somebody else will stumble on the same idea sooner or later and take it away from you.
How painful is the buying process?
Let me put it another way: how much pain can you take? Actually, it is remarkably easy to buy
domain names, as long as you use the services of an accredited registrar. You will have to provide the addresses of two name servers if you like but we provide it for free if you don't have one for yourself right now. If you already have access to the required two name servers, the extra effort involved in submitting your application direct
to InterNIC will save you in the order of $50++ per domain name. On the other hand, if you don't have access to two name servers, or if you are currently wondering what on earth a name server is, it is probably easier to pay a small fee and let a company do all the legwork on your behalf.
There are many companies in the business of registering domain names. Some are listed on this links page, and a quick search on any search engine will yield many more. They vary widely in price, ease of registration, and additional services offered. I would expect the following to be standard for any domain name registration service: use of two domain name server addresses, simple on-line purchasing procedure, fire-and-forget handling of the registration. [Just send in the details, and the money, then relax.] Check that the company you are considering offers these standard services.
Buyer beware: I would suggest that, as long as you only want a domain name registered, why pay more for the same thing? There is no such thing as a branded, or no-name domain name. All domain names are created equal. When all is said and done, what you will receive is exactly the same: a domain name registered in your name. Let me repeat myself: the only way that a company can add value is by providing an additional service, such as web page design, web site hosting or trademark-related work. Phew! Now that I've got that out of my system, let us proceed on to the thorny issue of money...
How much will a domain name set me back?
There are three costs to consider.
1. The fixed InterNIC fee of $70, which covers the first two years' registration of your domain name. You cannot avoid paying this fee, as currently InterNIC are in a monopoly position, controlling the supply of all domain names. Essentially, therefore, the minimum cost of a domain name is $70. But if you register with us, you will have the chance of getting your own domain name for only $18 or P800 per domain per year
2. An additional fee to use the services of a domain name registration company. While we offer our services for free, most companies are charging between $25 and $250, with many variations in between. If you are not sure how much you should be paying, why not have a quick look at the "How painful is the buying process?" section of this document.
3. Domain names are like food: they come with an expiry date. In the case of a newly registered domain name, that expiry date is one or two years from the day it was registered with any registrar. Luckily, unlike food, a domain name can be revitalised by an additional payment: InterNIC currently charges $35 per year after the two year period covered by the initial $70 payment. Domainphil.com only charges $18 or P800 per year extension. If you are buying the
domain name to keep and use, you will want to bear this extra cost in mind, as essentially the value of a domain name registration are now more affordable. And don't think that InterNIC will let you keep the domain name without paying!
In summary, a domain name will cost you $18 for the first year, plus a renewal fee of $18 every year