With nearly 235 million registered domains as of 2009, it’s a feat finding names that are memorable for customers, satisfy the requirements of a business and are simple to promote. Practically every word in the English dictionary is now a domain. Spelling teachers must be groaning at the way gibberish gets to be the face of businesses.Squidoo. Blekko. Mahalo. Qoop. Zimbra. But that’s not all. The logic used to derive some of these names is revealing. Some word combinations are truly memorable – in the wrong kind of way. All three letter words, whether they make sense or don’t have been registered under dot com. Every time you search and get a domain that is halfway acceptable, grab it, or someone else will. It’s a lot like driving around the block several times looking for a parking space and if you dither, a smart aleck will squeeze in – in this case, the smart alecks are the automated bots.
In the early days of the web, domain squatting was common. And it is still a profitable business for those willing to bide their time. Tata got a squatter off its name only after a long court case and intervention by WIPO. The highest priced domain in the world? Sex.com. That wasn’t so hard to guess – the last transacted price was $14 million. But considering that it’s one of the highest searched terms, the price may just be right. Select virtual properties are proving to be as valuable as real world properties. As the numbers on the net spiral upwards, the rates for common words defining a business will maintain the upward trend.
MillionDollarHomePage.com got an enterprising student, Alex Tew the money to pay for his university education. Launched at $1 per pixel in 2005, it quickly sold out as the number of businesses making it their ‘gateway’ page to the internet bought in. Now, word domains are being used to build businesses rather than just traffic. A couple of perceptive entrepreneurs bought chocolate.com, got Chocolatier magazine as their main sponsor and have built content, recipes and traffic. They paid $300,000 to buy the domain and it’s already worth a couple of million. But they are holding out since they think it can grow into a $100 million business. They know because they bought beer.com for less than $100,000 and sold it a few years later for a cool $7 million.