Domain Recognition - Buying Domains Smartly |
101 Domain

Domain Recognition – Buying Domains Smartly


After spending two weeks in Europe and the UK, and now thinking about the industry with a new “set of glasses,” I really think that relevance is more important than the extension – when it comes to developed domain names. With the current domain parking and monetization options, domain names that receive traffic will typically have some value, but as PPC revenue continues to decline, the safest and smartest domain acquisitions are those that are usable and recognizable by Internet users.

With few exceptions, no matter what the extension is, I think domain usability and visitor recognition are two of the most important things to consider when making a purchase. If you or someone else would be willing to spend thousands of dollars building a website on a particular domain name, it might be one in which you would want to invest at the right price. Intuitive names like (wine bar in Italian), (maps in Spanish),,…etc are all great domain names on which to develop a website as people will presumably type them in searching for something familiar. People know the words, and if they are familiar with an extension, they will have no problem visiting a website on that domain name.

Sure, a domain name that receives traffic may be good, but a usable domain name with little traffic may be much more valuable. While some may argue that a name with inherent traffic is the most valuable, I would argue that a usable domain could be more valuable. If PPC continues to drop as it has, direct to business advertising and/or domain sales to end users will be the best way to make money on a domain name in the future. While names that receive traffic for unknown reasons may have value now, down the road, when they are more difficult to monetize, they may be worth less.

I always think it is smart to buy non-trademark, product-related, service-related, geographical, descriptive and other similar generic domain names. People will always want to build on these domain names (if you don’t), and they will always be salable. In tough economic times, it is important to make wise investment decisions. The deals you make now will allow you to be successful in the future.

I am still recovering from the trip, so please excuse typos or if this doesn’t make complete sense :-)

About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.

Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | | Facebook | Email

Comments (9)

    Jamie Parks

    Very insightful post-honeymoon post. Looks like married life has already started making you a wiser domain investor.

    Congratulations to you and Mrs. Silver!

    August 19th, 2008 at 2:32 pm


    I should add that just like English is generally considered the universal language, I believe .com is the universal extension and I would generally take the .com over a cctld. The only exception would be something like over – but this would depend on the price and a couple other factors.

    August 19th, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    George Pickering

    Excellent post. I agree this is critical when acquiring domains to understand your position on this issue.

    August 19th, 2008 at 9:27 pm


    I am absolutely thrilled to see someone else pick up on something I have been preaching about (and practicing) for years.

    A few points bear repeating:

    “…relevance is more important than the extension – when it comes to developed domain names.”

    “People know the words, and if they are familiar with an extension, they will have no problem visiting a website on that domain name.”

    “If PPC continues to drop as it has, direct to business advertising and/or domain sales to end users will be the best way to make money on a domain name in the future.”

    Even a strong foreign generic in a .com or .net can be a good investment.

    People fail to forget that although there is still this perception that English is the preferred international business language, there is also a great sense of national pride and using their “own” internet, such as .de and .jp.

    I will always look for and buy strong .com’s. But I do not limit myself to English only. And some ccTLD’s are at times a better hedge investment just like currency.

    Domaining is not as simple as 123 and ABC any more. Yet there are many out there still offering the advice doled out 5-8 years ago. An equal number of domainers do not realize that this is not the same market as 2006 and 2007.

    Shrewd domainers study international markets, emerging markets and trends just like forex trading. It does not have to be in-depth, time consuming, or complicated. Much of it is common sense.

    August 25th, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    Dr Altaf

    If we agree with you that ext is not important than name itself, then I do not get any organic traffic to name I got like :
    television.ext , bankloans.ext etc. than .com.
    I did not develop those as I did not see any organic traffic.
    Please comment.

    August 26th, 2008 at 2:59 am


    @Dr. Altaf:

    good points but consider just because you reg it does not mean people will come to it.

    Naturally some country’s ccTLD are much more successful than other countries.

    Many foreign languages are tough to determine the precise “most popular” word at times. A language may have many variations to mean the same thing but ultimately one will reign above all others as the most common.

    Also, keep in mind that search results on will greatly differ from country to county such as,, and so on.

    Here are a couple of added aides in determining the popularity of a word. If it is German, go to and enter the word. For Chinese, try,, or Japanese, Italian, Spanish etc can all be reached but, .it, .es and so on. Arabic use or

    Also, the infrastructure of that country and region for internet assess will play a big role in determining popularity of the extension and just another tool to use for an estimation of the success.

    Simply go to and enter:

    I use these two as an example.

    With the .de extension there are 1,830,000,000 for (heading towards 2 billion) whereas with .ms the results are 1,310,000 for – just a little over 1 million. The difference is nearly 2000:1 in terms of popularity.

    As in any domain name, simply creating it and regging it does not guarantee success and natural type in traffic. But knowing which ones have a better chance of success will help in making that determination.

    But using a few tools to assist

    August 26th, 2008 at 9:54 am

    Andrew Rosener

    Ok, coincidentally, I own (an alternative to Enoteca) and I can tell you personally that I get virtually NO traffic to this site which is simply parked. If I owned .it most likely I would be getting traffic.

    I spend a great deal of time in Germany as my wife is German. No matter what a German is looking for the first thing they will type at the end of domain name is .de. If you want to do business or represent your brand in Germany you had better own .de. (even .com is a distant second). Even an english word with .de on the end is likely to be typed in before a .com with a german or english word.

    First hand I’ve seen it with my wife’s company. Stirrings (all natural cocktail mixers). Last year they launched their products in france and Germany but were late to pick up the .de version of Now some other guy or company owns it and totally gives a bad rap to their brand. It is a major problem for them.

    If anyone wants to buy from me…you can contact me through

    November 1st, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    Chris Nielsen

    I completely agree with this post, but most buyers don’t seem to share our opinion. We have a LOT of nice domains with traffic, yet buyers only seem to care about .coms. And we do have a number of those as well, but they too are not selling well. I think the economy has to settle down some before sales will pick up.

    We are starting to drop some parked domains that are getting traffic but not earning much. We have too much inventory to keep many that don’t earn the reg fee, no matter how much traffic they get each month… :-(

    March 11th, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Dr. Altaf

    I have many 1 word domains with ccLD,but no type-ins. Will any day the potential prospect will come if I develop?or should I drop? a plural .TV could be gained at better deal. What prospect? Thanks.

    March 26th, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Leave a Reply

Name *

Mail *