Still More Domain Tips and Tricks
Scott Clark <>

Domain Names for One and All

    Okay, so you're a domain-savvy buyer, and you know without a doubt that the specific domain or domains you need are taken. The owner isn't inclined to sell, or if they are, they want six figure amounts for them. What's a business owner to do?

    Let's say that you really wanted the domain "" for your skateboard business. Of course, is taken, along with all the possible variations. You don't want a country code domain (such as or, you want a .com domain. Problems, problems. But wait...

    Do a lookup for the domain "Your selection is available for registration." Check out Same thing, available. Check The list goes on...just put a number before or after the domain you want. You can use the URL in all your advertising, it's easy to remember, and still available at the normal cost for registering a domain.

When the "New" TLDs Become Available, Should I Buy "MyName".tld?

    We've all been hearing about the "new" gTLDs that will become available later in the year. The extensions .web, .sex, .shop, .biz, and many more are being discussed, though nobody is certain which will "make the grade." When they become available, should you rush out to grab them to go along with your dot com domains? In this author's opinion, no, you should not. The whole reason they are coming up with new TLDs is because the namespace market is getting bogged down. The new TLDs will open the market up to businesses that may have missed the boat initially. It remains to be seen whether the new TLDs will enforce copyright and trademark rights, so we can only guess at this point.

Domains and Search Engines

    These days staying on top of search engine strategies can be tiresome and ceaseless. Although sites such as provide invaluable details of what it takes to get to the top of the search engine rankings, even if you use all the recommended techniques you may have a hard time coming in on the first page of listings, let alone the top 10. Take a closer look at those sites that DO come in on the top 10, or at least in the first page of results, and you may find that many of them have the keyword that was searched for in their domain name.

    It may behoove online entrepreneurs to come up with the top 10 keywords for their product line or service, and buy a few domains that contain those words. For instance, if the product my site sold was speakers, it may be worth it to buy the domains "" and "" or some variation thereof. Continue to market your site just as you had, but point those domains to your site as well, and then submit them to the major search engines. While this won't guarantee that you'll get a higher placing, it certainly won't hurt, and will most likely help.

Should I Buy a New Domain, or Use a Secondary (i.e.

    Many times companies and corporations spend an inordinate amount of money on domain names they don't really need. After all, they spent a fortune on advertising, branding their domain/company name into the minds of consumers only to start using a totally new domain for a different aspect or division of their company.

    For instance, suppose that had started using the domain "" when they started their auctions. Not real easy to remember, and it's yet another domain name they had to purchase and market. They could have just as easily used "," which would be the logical URL for folks to type in (once they had been to the auction). This has finally started to become uses it for their regional sites, uses it for their regional auctions, etc. Use your domain practically like this, and you will be able to continue to push your brand *and* retain the use of your original domain.

Take Advantage of Previous Work

    When you're trying to come up with a suitable domain name for your company or business, often it can be difficult to both come up with a decent name and ensure that the domain in question will still be available.

Yet More Domain Tips, Tricks and Tactics

Is Your Domain Worth a Million?

    With the recent sale of for 1 million dollars, many of you may be wondering just what your own domain is worth. So many domains have sold for six figure prices that it's staggering to think about the prospects. So how do you know if your domain is top notch or second choice? Here are some clues:

length - how long is the domain; is it short, sweet and memorable?

characters - does the domain includes any numbers or hyphens? Certain names work well with hyphens, such as science-fiction, and others do not, such as do-it-now. extension - .coms are the most valuable, with .net next, then .org. Some country domains, such as .cc or .to, are increasing in value.

brand - is the domain or anything similar to it already being used in the industry? Is the domain likely to confuse visitors? A strong, clear domain free of ties to other sites/businesses is the most valuable.

generic or specific - is the domain name generic, likely to appeal to a wide audience (, or is it specific, and likely to only appeal to those interested in the subject/business (

Also, you may want to use a third party domain pricing service (appraisor).

Yet More Domain Tips, Tricks and Tactics, Part 2

Multi-Year Domain Registrations and Renewals

    Has this happened to you? You're sitting at your computer, enjoying the Web, thinking life is grand, when all of a sudden you receive an email telling you that your domain registration has expired!! Or you get a renewal letter telling you that your domain is up for renewal, and you have to pay the fee within so many days or it will be deleted? It happens all the time. Many domains are returned to the database each week.

    One thing you can do to ensure that this won't happen to you is to register or renew your domains for more than one year. Most registrars these days allow you to register your domain for periods up to 10 years, often at substantial discounts. So if it's time to renew your domain, consider the option of renewing it for multiple's nice to be able to sit back and relax, knowing you won't have to renew your domain name for 10 years!

Why Doesn't That "Perfect" Domain I Own Sell?

    You may have a domain that you think is perfect for a particular business to use for their web site, yet nobody has even approached you about buying it. What could be the problem?

    If you're like most of us, you're a bit lazy when it comes to actively promoting the sale of your domain names. Maybe you listed them in a couple of after-market domain reseller sites, and you may have even tried to sell them via an auction site--with no results. What can you do to find the interested parties that you *know* must exist?

Yet More Domain Tips, Tricks and Tactics, Part 3

First, you should consider creating a basic site to go along with the domain, and actually point the domain to the site. Yes, it may cost you a couple dollars, but even a single page that promotes your domain will inevitably bring you inquiries about selling that domain. The first thing potential domain buyers do is to type the domain into their browser to see if it's already a valid site. If these buyers find a page that says, yes, the domain is registered but the owner is interested in selling it, bingo! you've got the interest of the buyer! Do a decent job on that single page--it may be the only contact you'll initially make with the potential buyer.

Second, have you submitted the page/site to the search engines? You should at least do it with the top 10 search engines...more access to your page means more potential buyers will know the domain is for sale.

Third, have you listed the site with as many domain resellers as possible? If the resellers do not force you to sign an exclusive contract--and some do--then you are free to list your domain(s) with as many resellers as you wish--the more the better. You may want to start with DomainNotes' domain Brokers/Auction Listings.

You may also want to get a valid opinion of exactly what your domain is worth. At DomainNotes you can view a list of domain pricing services.

That should get you started on the road to selling that domain name and getting started on your retirement. Well, perhaps not, but it will at least get some prospective buyers to realize that the "perfect" domain is for sale, and that'll start the ball rolling.

Yet More Domain Tips, Tricks and Tactics, Part 4

Domain Hijacking: Can It Happen To You?

    Over the last couple weeks, and especially over the weekends, we've seen a number of web sites, included, get hijacked. The owner, admin, technical, billing and zone contacts were changed, and in some cases the DNS was routed to a different site. If it can happen to us, can it happen to you?

Network Solutions <> is telling folks that as long as they are using one of the more secure methods of authentification, such as PGP encryption, you should be fine. Should be is the key phrase, as the administrator of the domain *was* using PGP, and yet the transfer still occured--even the transfer of the entire domain to a third party--a transfer that should only occur after Network Solutions receives a notarized form letter from both of the involved parties. Anyone that's transferred a domain can testify to the pain in the yang that the process entails. But yet it went through with the hijacker simply pushing requests through time after time. There are several things you can do to lower the chances of this occuring to you:

use one of the more secure authentification methods--although it didn't stop the hijacker in this instance, in most cases it does

check your domain's status every now and's often more difficult to get it back if it's been changed some time ago

pay for your domain several years in advance (i.e. register it for a longer time period)

be sure to keep copies of your domain records, including copies of proof that you actually paid for the domain

if your domain *is* hijacked, be persistant, notify the press, and don't stop until your domain is back in your hands

Even More Domain Name Tidbits, Tips and Tricks

Domains on Hold, Deleted Domains, and Otherwise "Taken" Domains

    You've finally come up with a perfect domain for your business, but you checked and it seems to be taken by some other genius. You noticed that the whois record says that the domain was purchased in April of 1998, and the last update to the domain was also in April of 1998. Hmmmm...that means that they haven't yet paid the recurring bill for that domain.

    How can you find out if that is indeed the case? Simple--visit Network Solutions Payment page <> and type the domain name in the form field. Hit enter, and bang! you can see if they owe anything for the domain, and precisely how much they owe. So should you drop them a note and ask them if you can buy the domain from them? Sure, if you want to pay an inflated price. First thing anyone will do if you ask them about the domain is to pay anything they owe on it so they can sell it to you. A better thing to do is to note when their renewal period came up, and figure two months from that usually takes two to four months for a domain to be put back in the "available" domain pool, just be patient and keep checking the domain using a whois tool.

.to, .md, .tv, .mp, .ws, .cc...Are They New TLDs??

    If you do business on the Internet, you've probably seen press releases or news items about supposedly "new" Top Level Domains, or TLDs. Some that come to mind are .to, .md, .tv, .mp, .cc and .ws. These domains are ccTLDs, or country code TLDs, NOT regular TLDs. That means that, despite what the marketing folks from the registrars trying to sell you one of these domains tell you, they are merely country code domains.

.to is the country code of Tonga

.md is the country code of Moldova

.tv is the country code of Tuvala

.mp is the country code of N. Mariana Islands

.ws is the country code of Samoa

.cc is the country code of Cocoa Islands

    So that said, is it worthwhile to use a country code domain for your company? Of course this is a matter of opinion. Some will tell you that a domain is a domain, as long as the end user can get to your site using the domain. Others will tell you that .com is the standard, and any other will result in less marketability. Both are right to a certain extent. If you can market your site using the .tv ccTLD, because your company is directly involved in the television industry, then go for it. Likewise with the .md ccTLD, etc. but keep in mind that the countries that ultimately have control over the domains may not have the same policy covering their domain a year from now, and that could put you or your business in a risky situation. And remember, they are NOT new TLDs...we're all still waiting for those to appear.

    The "experts" will tell you that the only domains that count are the .com domains. A couple of years ago, that was probably true. These days it's all about branding. The .cc domains, well, when I think of "cc" I think of sending an email to someone other than the main person it was intended for, not a domain or Web site, so to me, the branding for that domain will take a while to sink into the public consciousness. .tv, that's another story--everyone knows what TV is, and it won't take much to get folks to figure out what a .tv domain is supposed to be. Of course, it all depends on your site's primary business or concept. Anyone could pretty much figure out what would be about, same with But what about Or It's not readily apparent what you would find at those sites.

    What about all those other country code domains and the .us domains? Again, branding. If you have sufficient resources to publicize the fact that your business is at, then you stand a chance. If the site will only be listed online, and you won't be advertising on the TV or radio, you can probably get away with using a country domain, including a .us domain. Keep it simple, and try to retain your own brand, whatever that may be.

Even More Domain Name Tidbits, Tips and Tricks, Part 2

Looking for the Perfect Domain for Your Business? Use the Wizards!

    If you've ever spent a frustrating hour or two using the whois search to look for a domain, you     probably found that most of the good domains are already taken. And you also found that it's difficult to come up with a compelling name to use that isn't taken. At this point, you may be ready to throw in the towel, but don't give up yet. There are many tools popping up that can help you out, including:'s Domain Wizard <> - Use the Domain Name Wizard to find an appropriate and available domain name for your web business!

DomainSurfer <> - "Surf the Internet's namespace with DomainSurfer! DomainSurfer is the fastest domain name search engine in the world. Its wild-card and drill-down search mechanisms add unmatched flexibility and make DomainSurfer a unique and powerful tool."

NameFind <> - This tool lets you choose several keywords, and it suggests potential domain names that could be valuable to you or your business.

NameBoy <> - NameBoy has a cognitive linguistics engine that creates names, including names that rhyme, as well as domain names that are currently available for sale or auction.

Domain Name Transfers: How Can You Make The Process Easier?

    This tip comes to us from one of our regular readers. If you've ever transferred a domain from yourself to a new owner, you know what a pain it can be. Get the forms from your registrar, notarize them, send them to the new owner, have them notarize them, send them to the registrar, and FINALLY the domain gets transferred. Now, if you registered the domain to use with your business, this won't apply to you--but if you registered the domain with the intent (or hope) that you'll sell it to someone at some point, you may want to consider using this little trick.

    When you register the domain, in the place where you are supposed to put the name of the individual or company that will own the domain, simply use the domain name itself, i.e. the owner of would be "" That way, if you ever decide to sell the domain, you can simpy change the address of the owner, along with all the contact names. The "owner" of the domain, according to the registrar, is still the same, "" That way you do not have to get anything notarized, and you can affect the transfer within a day or so.

Editor's note: If you own a valuable domain such as "," you should not consider doing this, as it increases the possibilities of someone hijacking your domain. Also, be sure to set your domain account up so that you are notified of changes BEFORE they occur, and you must concur that the changes are authorized.

Keeping Up With the Jones (Domain Lists and Why You Should Read Them)

    Often, even with sites like DomainNotes, it is impossible to keep up with the latest information on the subject of domain names. There are several email-based discussion lists out there that you can join to stay more fully informed. Most of the "leaders" of the domain industry are represented on these lists, and you can get some great tips and information from them. Realize that these lists are not the place to ask "how do I register this" or "what's a TLD." Also realize that some of these lists are quite topical, and the threads can get quite heated at times. That said, here is a list of some of the better domain-related lists (and if you know of others, please send a note to <> so we can include it/them later).


Domain-Policy List <>

InterNIC Guardian Objects Discussion List <>

InterNIC Registration Services Info (RS-INFO) <>

InterNIC Registration Services Talk (RS-TALK) <>

Uniform Resource Names <>

Nc-tlds -- Non-Commerical (Internet) Top Level Domains <>
A public list to discuss the creation of new Internet top level domains, for non commercial purposes. Additional information regarding list management and privacy policies in on the web at <>.

Even More Domain Name Tidbits, Tips and Tricks, Part 3

Better Get In Before the Gold Rush

    Don't you wish that you had a crystal ball, so you could have known the value of domain names back when all the good ones were available? I know I do. You may have that opportunity now if you move fast. The .web Top Level Domain will become a working domain by the end of the year if ICANN keeps its word. The .web registry <> has been accepting registrations for five years now, and was set up as an example that would be followed by the other new TLDs (such as .biz, .per, .art, etc.), and as such, will be the first to be implemented. Thing is, there are still a slew of great domains in that TLD that are available (at the time this was written, in March, 2000). Domains like:






and more. They are starting to take off, and with the recent news about ICANN's meeting in which they said they plan to implement 10 new TLDs by the end of the year, it won't be long until they're all gone. They cost $35 per year to register, just like other domains. This is your chance to get in before the mad rush...good luck!

Editor's note: There is no guarantee that .web will ever become a TLD, nor that IOD, the company that runs the site, will be the official registrar. Remember, the new TLDs are coming, but there is still an element of risk if you invest in them before they are approved and activated by ICANN..

Domains, Then and Now

    In May of 1985 there was only one .com domain registered ( In October, the second .com domain was registered. By October of 1991, there were 165 .com, 22 .org, 20 .net, 285 .edu and 3 .us domains registered. Two years later, there were approximately 600 .coms registered. By 1995, the number of registered domains was at 6000, and two years later the number topped 22,000. Now, fifteen years after the first domain was registered, there are more than 12 million domains registered.

Registrar Politics

    Until 1999, NSI held a monopoly on the domain registration business. In June of that year, several companies were granted registrar status, among them and CORE. CORE passed the accredation down to many smaller companies, which at that point could themselves register domains through CORE (i.e. they become CORE accredited registrars). By January of 2000, there were over 80 ICANN accredited registrars, and about 100 additional CORE "Reselling Members" registrars.

Are All the Good Domains Taken?

    There are still a lot of great names out there! One of the ways you can find these domains is to use searching tools and services which look for domains that are on hold, such as <>. You can also use fee-based newsletters that tell you about newly available (i.e. recently dropped) domain names each week, such as Unclaimed Domains <>.

    Another approach is to use "wizards" which let you choose a name based on several keywords. There are several such tools available, including DomainNotes' DomainWizard <>, <>, and NameSpin <> at <>.

    Also, don't hesitate to use good old fashioned whois tools to look up common names--every once in a while, you'll find a great one that for some reason is available. And if you want to be able to grab the good ones that come along, you must also keep up with the latest domain news to stay informed about the latest trends (such as the introduction of 63 character domain names, the availability of the so-called "dirty domains," the availability of domains with foreign characters, etc.). You can also go to and use their "dropped domains" search tool. You'll want to use the advanced version <>. Using this tool, you can search for dropped domains using wildcards. Spend an hour looking up some terms and you'll find at least one or two really great domains.

Domain Registration Prices

    In 1985, when NSI <> (Network Solutions, Inc.) took over domain registrations from SRI (Stanford Research Institute), domain names were free to register. In 1995, NSI started charging $100 per two year period of registration. In 1998, they lowered the fee to $70 per two year period. Then in 1999, when several alternative registrars were granted the rights to register domain names, the price started to vary from registrar to registrar, ranging from $50 per two year period to as much as $100 per two year period.

What You Need to Know To Register a Domain

    You'll need to know several things in order to register a domain on your own (i.e. without your ISP holding your hand). First, you'll need to know the primary and secondary DNS (Domain Name Server) that you'll be using. If you don't have two already in mind (yes, you'll need two DNS), most registrars provide a service in which they'll let you use their DNS when you register a domain. Some charge for this service, while others don't. You'll also need to know the IP addresss of the 2 DNS you mentioned above.

    If you intend to be the admin, technical, billing and zone contact for your domain, all you will need to know if the above DNS info. If you don't know this info, but you plan to use your web host as the host for your domain, you can use whois to look up your host's domain name, and use the DNS entries from that domain name.

The Domain Business (Domain Sales)

    Domains are not just an easy way to point folks to your site, they're a virtual real estate property now. In the last couple years, many domains have fetched some amazing prices. Here's a list of some of the more impressive sales:

Business.Com -- $ 7.5M

AsSeenOnTV.Com -- $ 5M

AltaVista.Com -- $3.25M -- $ 3M -- $ 3M -- $2.2M

WallStreet.Com -- $ 1.03M

Drugs.Com -- $ 823K

Question.Com -- $ 175K

Vote.Com -- $ 250K

Rock.Com -- $ 1M --$ 530K

BlackJack.Com -- $ 460K

eFlowers.Com -- $ 1M

Computer.Com --$ 500K --$ 100K

Domain Name Tidbits, Tips and Tricks, Part 3

Do You REALLY Own Your Domain?

    Picture this: You finally found the registered the ultimate domain name for your business, and you've set the site up. Things are going well, and you sleep at night, assured that your domain is safe forever (or as long as you pay the yearly registration fee). Along comes unscrupulous domain grabber Joe...he finds that the domain name he wants is already taken by you. So he checks to see if you have a copyright on the domain name. You don't, so he registers the name as a trademark. Two years pass, and then you get a note from your domain registrar saying that someone else owns the trademark for the domain you own, and they promptly pull you into a legal dispute, the outcome of which is ultimately that you have to turn the domain over to the trademark holder, Joe the domain grabber.

    Could it happen? Yes it can. But you can do something to stop it from happening--just trademark your domain before someone like "Joe" does. It'll cost you about $350, and you can do it yourself. Start by checking to see if the name is already trademarked, something you should have done even before you registered the domain name in the first place. One of the best places to start the procedure is MarksOnline <>.

Changes to Your Domain Name Registration Without Your Ack?

    Imagine this: you wake up from a restful night's sleep, start to enjoy the morning coffee while you check out your web site, and--whoa, what happened to your site? What used to be Ed's Local Yokal Shop has been replaced by--geez, I didn't even think two human beings could squeeze themselves into that position. Can your site be replaced by someone else's content without someone hacking into your web site? Sure, if you're like everybody else and have not changed the default security features of your domain registrar.

    When you registered your domain, you selected the method of authentication you will use when you make changes to your domain. Generally, if someone requests changes to your domain name, a note is sent to the admin and technical contacts, and once they respond, the changes are made. Two problems with this: a lot of domains are set up so that when a change request is made, the change is completed and THEN the admin and technical contacts are contacted. Worse yet is that sometimes, even when the admin and tech contacts are asked about the changes before they are made, and they reply with a NACK (no, do not make the changes), the changes are still pushed through, and the domain can be re-routed to a different DNS, pointing your prized domain to a different web site.

    To fix this problem, change the method of acknowledgment so that you are asked first, then the changes are made (or better yet, you can even set it up so that you will be required to use a password to make changes). Second, do not ignore any messages you receive asking for your ack to make changes (you'd be surprised how many people do). Third, periodically check the details that are listed in the domain database for your domain to make sure that the correct information is still listed.

Domain Name Tidbits, Tips and Tricks, Part 4

Do You Have a Domain for Sale? What Have You Done for PR?

    Perhaps a few years ago you bought a couple domain names, thinking that sooner or later you could sell them for a profit. You may have even listed them at one of the domain brokerage sites out there. And even though you think the domain is valuable, it's not getting any bids--not a bite. What gives? Simple...lack of promotion.

    I see press releases from folks who've done their homework every now and then. These are the folks that are actually selling their domains. Just like a great web site with no links to bring folks to it, the best domain name in the world won't sell if nobody knows about it, or it will sell for substantially less. Here are several things you can do to promote your domains that are for sale:

actually point the domain to a page that indicates the domain is for sale, and provide contact information

submit the "for sale" page to the 10 largest search engines

list the domain on the various domain brokerage sites

put a small note about the domain being for sale in your email signature

finally, consider submitting a press release to one of the PR news companies that submit it to thousands of jouralists, such as Internet News Bureau <> or Internet Wire <>.

What Exactly is a Google or a Yahoo? Domain Names and Branding

    As well all go through the process of choosing a domain name, we tend to try to find the shortest, most easily remembered domain. Unless you are trying to find a domain with the same name as that of your business, you may have tried to find a generic term that would apply to your business, or perhaps a very short phrase. Just make sure that you understand that a generic term is not necessarily the best name you can choose for you business.

    Think about this: just what exactly is a google or a yahoo. I could guess that a "yahoo" was a slang term for idiot or jerk, or something similar. The word "google" might sound like a non-technical word for a technical apparatus, as in "could you hand me the google, Smithers, it's on the floor next to the thingamajig?" Neither word brings to mind any sort of computer web site, at least they didn't used to. Almost everyone now knows that Yahoo refers to a famous web directory, and a lot of folks now realize that Google is a search engine. That's what effective branding does, it sticks in your mind. When you look for your domain name, don't be afraid to try some quick, easy to remember phrases, perhaps something your child may have babbled to you. You may be the next "Yahoo."

Keeping Up With the Jones (Domain Lists and Why You Should Read Them)

    Often, even with sites like DomainNotes, it is impossible to keep up with the latest information on the subject of domain names. There are several email-based discussion lists out there that you can join to stay more fully informed. Most of the "leaders" of the domain industry are represented on these lists, and you can get some great tips and information from them. Realize that these lists are not the place to ask "how do I register this" or "what's a TLD." Also realize that some of these lists are quite topical, and the threads can get quite heated at times. That said, here is a list of some of the better domain-related lists (and if you know of others, please send a note to <> so we can include it/them later).


Domain-Policy List <>

InterNIC Guardian Objects Discussion List <>

InterNIC Registration Services Info (RS-INFO) <>

InterNIC Registration Services Talk (RS-TALK) <>

Uniform Resource Names <>

Nc-tlds -- Non-Commerical (Internet) Top Level Domains <>