Apr 30 2008

Let go of your JUNK domainsThere has been some talk lately about the need to trim the portfolio, but few specifics about how to do that. Well, I would like to offer some specifics. Keep in mind that these are just some guidelines, and I do not suggest you listen to everything I say. I don’t even follow all of these suggestions all the time 😉 . Hopefully this list will help you with the decision process, but the bottom line is that there are no strict rules when deciding on what to keep and what to let go (or what to not register in the first place).

PPC Names: Parked names that make more than their renewal fees are generally worth keeping. Keep an eye on the renewal prices though, because they will likely increase by 7% a year for the foreseeable future.

Trademark and Trademark Typo names: These names are often more trouble than they are worth. Dump them now.

Non .com Names: Many people will tell you to primarily invest in .com names, but that does not help you if you already own non .com domains. If you own domain in an extension other than .com, check to see if the other extensions are also taken. The best names are generally registered in .com, .net, .org, .info, and even .biz. If you own the .biz and the .net is still available, consider dropping the name. If you own any extension and the .com is available, consider dropping the name.

Do you own all of the extensions? Some people like to own the series, or every extension of a domain name, including the .com, .net, .org, .info, .biz. .mobi, and the .us (or other country code). First, if you own all the extensions, chances are there is a reason they were all available. Second, sometimes it is better if you own the .com and other people own the other extensions. Sometimes they will develop a site and inadvertently increase your visitor count, and sometimes they will just want to buy your .com name. If your main business uses the .com name, then it is ok to register the other extensions to protect your name, but if you are simply registering all of the extensions because you think it will make your .com name more valuable, consider dropping the non .com versions.

Country code names: Keep the name if it is a strong keyword in the cctld of the country you live in. Avoid cctld names that try to brand themselves as something else. For example .Bz. .cc, .la, .im, .me names. A possible exception is .tv, but be sure to invest in a strong generic domain and watch out for high and potentially uncertain renewal fees.

Brandables: These names are called “brandables” because they are currently meaningless and must be heavily promoted or advertised by a company before they make sense. Why would a company pick the name you own instead of just making up another meaningless and available “brandable” name. Consider dropping all but a few of your favorites.

Does the name receive any visitors, or does the name have a heartbeat? According to Frank Schilling, these are “names which somebody will either type into their address bar because the string means something to them, or names which people look-up the whois record of, to see who owns it. Names which compel other human beings to take some form of action.” This is perhaps one of the most important concepts that you should apply to your entire portfolio.

One character makes a difference. Atlanta.com is extremely valuable, Atlanta7.com is not. Order makes a difference. PetFoodSupplies.com is in the correct order, SuppliesPetFood.com is not.

New domain extensions such as .mobi, .asia, etc.: While it is possible to profit from any extension, it is also important to note that the majority of investors in extensions such as these will be stuck with renewal fees for years before they will simply drop the name without an offer. There is very little or no traffic coming to these names, so you will either need to develop or sell to an end user before renewal fees eat away all of your profit.

Short domain “sellouts” like the “The official final countdown for L-LL and LL-L.” Most of these types of names appeal to newer domainers, and the potential for a good end user sale is very low. You will be lucky if you make your money back, and this will likely be a very expensive lesson for quite a few people. I am not talking about quality LLLL.coms or shorter names here, I am referring to names like N-N-N.com, L-L-L.net, NN-N.com, N-NN.com, LLLLL.net, etc in the current market.

Are there advertisers? If you go to Google and type in your domain name without the extension, are there advertisers for that term or terms? Ideally, you should see three advertisers at the top before the search results, and quite a few advertisers in the column on the right side of the page. If there are no advertisers, consider letting the name go.

There are many other factors to consider, and sometimes you have to just go with what you believe in, regardless of what anyone else tells you. So, what do you think, and what criteria do you use when deciding if you should register or renew a name?

5 Responses

  1. Etab Says:

    Great post! I definitely agree with all of these. I know I’m harvesting a few “brandables” that I should probably drop. The renewal fees are not fun to pay, especially when I don’t have a development plan and the names don’t make anything through PPC!

  2. Ryan Says:

    Thanks for your comment. I have some “brandables” that I should drop as well. In fact, I probably have a name that would fit into almost all of these categories.

  3. Chris Says:

    Great post and advice. Thank you!

  4. Flaming Biz Says:

    Thanks for this post, very interesting and great advice!

    Highlights the need for a review of some of my CCC other than .com and definitely some of my “brandables”.


  5. GeoDomain Investor Says:

    No doubt I still have some domains from my early days that will be tossed overboard, but instead of simply not renewing them, does anyone know of a company buying these junk domains, even for much less than the reg fees? I assume it would be a huge affiliate advertising network or something similar???

    Jay Lohmann
    Geo and Keyword Domain Investor

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