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The Domain Name Land Grab

How do Domain Names Work? 
Click here for an overview

What's in a Domain Name?

Since the advent of the World Wide Web, domain names have assumed an increasingly important role in bringing order to the wide-open spaces of the Internet. A veritable land grab, the likes of which has not been seen since the great western migration in the mid-1800's, is now upon us. Conservative estimates suggest that well over 30 million generic top-level domain names have been registered worldwide - a number which grows by the hour. Industry experts predict that this number could reach 120 million within 2 to 3 years. About 60-70% of these are dot.com names. However, as the supply of quality dot.com names dwindles, there has been a resurgent interest in other top-level domains, such as dot.net, dot.org, dot.biz, dot.info, etc. as well as country specific domain names - such as dot.tv (Tuvalan) and dot.cc (Cocos Islands).

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Domain names that are memorable and easily recognizable, such as Amazon.com, Yahoo.com and AOL.com have facilitated enormous flows of traffic to their respective sites - and created astounding wealth for their founders.

These domain names have become powerful Icons of the information revolution, and are now numbered among the strongest brand names in the world.

What Makes for a Valuable Domain Name?

Of course, the ultimate test of value is determined by a domain name's ability to attract traffic to a site.

However, there are five primary attributes that have been shown to determine the value of a domain name. To maximize value, a domain name should be:


Relatively Short




Consider the following examples:

Business.com sold for over $7 million on the secondary market.

This name seems to have everything going for it. Now, of course, it is up to the new owners to build a web site filled with compelling content to keep visitors coming back. Will the name ultimately prove a good investment? Time will tell.

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eBusiness.com is not as strong as Business.com because it is not as intuitive or memorable and it is slightly longer. However, it may be considered a close second, and it's value would undoubtedly reflect that fact.

AllAboutBusiness.com is a solid name that will attract its share of traffic. It is intuitive, descriptive and memorable. However, it is also lengthy. As a result, it is not in the same league as Business.com. A sharp drop off in value will be seen due to its length.

There are literally hundreds of thousands of variations on the business theme - many of these names are for sale on the secondary market - at varying prices - most of them too high. These range from names such as: "aBusiness4u.com" to "TexasBidness.com". But there is and always will be only one Business.com. It occupies a unique and valuable piece of web real estate. Web addresses, like physical addresses, can have very different relative values. Comparing "Business.com" to "aBusinessForAllSeasons.com", for example, would be analogous to comparing a prime Park Avenue location to a seedy strip mall off the beaten path.

Why dot.com?

The dot.com moniker has become the de-facto brand of the Internet. Tens of billions of dollars have been pumped into dot.com advertising in recent years, and money continues to pour in. For better or for worse, the Internet experience is now strongly identified with the dot.com brand image. Most marketing brand experts will agree that the momentum of the dot.com brand will be difficult if not impossible to overcome. There are simply too many well-financed companies with enormous investments in the dot.com brand to allow it to simply fade away. While the other Top Level Domains (TLD's), such as dot.net and dot.org are perfectly capable of serving their intended purpose of conveying traffic to a site at the click of a mouse, when it comes down to making a choice, most people are now programmed to click through to a dot.com. Unfortunately, this often leaves dot.com's poor step-sisters dressed for the dance but with few willing suitors.

How Does the Domain Name System Work?

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