.com etc

1) Choosing a Name for your Domain/Brand

  (a) Relevance to Product or Service
        Most companies want their website name to be the same as the company name/brand, and will pay dearly for that privilege.  On the other hand, a dot-com company might prefer to create or buy the DN first, and then use that as the brand name for the company. But what type of name should you choose, for your Brand/Domain?

       Descriptive Branding:  If you are marketing a new soft drink, you might want to register "".  This type of name will be very helpful for a startup seeking to attract new customers:  it serves both as an advertisement platform for the company's specific product or service, and as a way to remind customers how they may get in contact.

        Flexible Branding:  For well-funded businesses, the Brand/DN need have no apparent relationship to the product.  What about that billionaire who chose to name his book company "", instead of ""?  What do books have to do with the Amazon river (other than books about the Amazon river)?  And yet, the name caught on, because the company had the deep pockets to make the company and its DN famous. is another example.
          This site, "" is an example of Flexible Branding:  the term is peculiarly vague and nuanced:  it CAN refer to  physical orientation, but also to fickle or zany or disoriented.  It could make a great brand name for an edgy fashion company, or for a magazine or TV show which explores the unexpected or the unusual. The producers of the Hollywood movie "Upside Down" liked it.  As did the producers of this Music Video.

   b)  Brief is Better
        The idea is to make it easy for customers to remember and type out a site.  That means, the fewershorter, and more familiar the words, the better.  But don't be discouraged just because all the "good" ones are taken, and are expensive:  there are literally billions of potential letter and word combinations still available, for $10 each.  And plenty of "taken" ones whose cost is dirt cheap relative to their potential value for companies and organizations.  As far as "Familiar" is concerned, you can test your candidate domain names by using Google or Bing:  If  you type in the DN's source term/s -- in this case, "Upside Down" (include the quote marks) -- Google will show nearly 100,000,000 results.  This confirms what you already knew -- that this is a very familiar term and ought to be easily remembered by potential customers.

    c) Try Variations
            If you can't find exactly what you want (e.g., try something similar:  Or, of course, settle for the .ORG instead of .COM extension.  Here is a site that will help you think of all sorts of variations.

2) Preferences: Extensions and use of Dashes
The .COM extension is universally considered the most highly valued and prestigious, usually valued on resale at 10-20 times as much as the almost as familiar .ORG, .NET, and .CO extensions.  But the extra oomph you get from .COM only matters for big businesses or those in the DN resale market.  For a small business just starting out, there's nothing wrong with using those far less expensive (and far more available) extensions -- there'll be plenty of time (and money) available later on for buying fancy names and gold fittings, if things work out .
         Use of dashes in a name is discouraged because those dashes make it harder to remember when a customer sees it flashed on the TV screen.  And you can obtain the same effect which use of dashes provides (making a long series of letters immediately legible) by instead using capitol letters or spaces in your advertising:  e.g., instead of "", use the undashed version this way in your advertising: "".

3)  Acquiring Your a Domain Name

    a) Creating a Brand New Name
        Once you come up with a catchy Domain Name(s), you may want to open an account with a registry service and submit your DN for registration:  if a quick search determines it is available, you can register it immediately, so congratulations.  
        HOWEVER, things get more complicated if you want to determine availability but you DELAY REGISTRATION to give it some more thought.  While you are thinking, your DN may be getting stolen.
        It is well known that since the beginning of the internet, the problem of domain name "FRONT-RUNNING" has existed, and may be a potential threat to you being able to register your DN.  The problem occurs if you use some compromised registry or other "whois" services to determine if the name is available: unless you register immediately once the registrar confirms its availability, hackers may have time to intercept your DN search, and buy "your" DN cheaply to hold for ransom.  
        But if you DO want to take your time, there is a safe way to determine its availability: use a pristine pure link directly to the official Internic Whois database  (once there, just enter the basic name and extension, such as:  This locks out any middlemen from peeking. More discussion and solutions can be found HERE.  Even so, it's best not to wait longer than necessary -- and not share your new DN even with a friend who might quite innocently check it out on the internet.
        If you're feeling lazy, you COULD just google the proposed website, in quotes:  ""  (use the quote marks):  there may be lots of false negatives (ie, actual websites may not show up), but lots will.  It's doubtful even hackers have the resources to cull out such searches, from all the other millions of searches per minute.

    b)  Buying an Existing Name
        If it turns out your desired domain is not available as a new registration, it still may be available "For Sale".  Usually the best way to pursue that is to enter the DN in the address bar of your browser and navigate to the site.  If the DN is not actually being used in a business, you will usually see a For Sale template with contact information and  possibly a price.  Alternatively, the internic Whois database provides an email link to all listed sites.

4) Estimating the Market Value of Existing Domain Names
         a) Comparative Shopping: The most inexpensive way to estimate value is side-by-side comparison to prices other DN's have sold at.  For instance, at this site, one sees that sold for $250k, and and sold for about $60k.  Looking at the entire list may give you a clue as to where the domain name you want to buy or sell might fit in.
         b) Appraisal Services:  These sites (some free, some by subscription) attempt to do the impossible: to ascribe a accurate monetary value to what will ultimately be decided entirely by human emotion.  Some sites are better than others, and they may be quite useful in filtering out the few winners from thousands of candidates, on the basis of site data.  Note that some appraisal sites may drastically undervalue (or overvalue) DN's:  for instance, the DN "" recently sold for $1.2M, but was listed by one free appraisal site as being worth $56.  That's because computers have no gut feelings!
        c) Domain Name Brokers:  These are the only true "experts", and this option is really only going to be available for high-priced premium names.
        d)  Patience Multiplies Market Value:  You will probably come out much better if you aren't in a hurry.  For those trying to "flip" a domain name (like "flipping" homes), profit margins may be very thin or non-existent because it takes time for a new domain name to make the rounds, especially on auctions:  there are so many DN's for sale that the odds are tiny that your's will even be noticed by someone actually wanting to buy it for business purposes (i.e., willing to pay top dollar) -- unless you  or your broker have the time to make contacts, and so potential buyers have time to run it by the CEO and CFO, etc.

        Once you buy or create a domain name, you'll need to set up a website: here is a super-helpful link.  If you are just starting out, remember that it is possible to create/buy your own domain name for $10.  Purchasing an already existing DN (like will be more expensive, but for an existing or new business, it might be the cheapest way to expand through brilliant marketing.

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