Taking chances buying Domain Names

Getting a domain name seems easy at first. You come up with a good idea or two, head to a domain registrar and sign over some money. Except when someone beat you to your perfect name. And you can’t think of any others! You can spend hours, or days, or weeks generating name ideas before you come up with one or two you like.

Nope, buying domain names is easy. Buying domain names you want isn’t so easy!

Not an atypical story

Last May, I was struggling whether to re-name a site with too close a resemblance to one of the big girls in the field. After playing with ideas and checking keywords, I was finally inspired with an idea for a great new domain name. I quickly went to GoDaddy, typed in the name and – yes! it was available.

Then I got cold feet. Would the name work for my audience? Did I need it right now?

I already had dozens of domain names and buyer’s remorse over many of them. So I hesitated.

For about a day and a half. From prior experience, I knew I couldn’t wait to nab a name I liked. It was Memorial Day Weekend–what could happen over a holiday? (I hear you already: Slow learner!)

I then tried out the name on my mom (she’d be close to the target audience and I figured it she got it, I was golden). She liked it without any explanation on my part.

Drats! (note that potty-mouth is under control here)

What happened next? You already know, right?

The domain name was gone.

Nobody was using it. The domain registrar had just figured it out as a good name. I think that’s what happened anyway.

I bought a second-best name, but always kick myself when I go to use it. It’s been about a year, so I decided to check to see if the name I really wanted had been abandoned. That rarely happens, in my experience, but you never know.

Are you kidding me?

That name now has PREMIUM stamped on it.

Last year, if I had bought it when I thought of it and checked on it, it would have cost me about ten bucks.


Two thousand, five hundred and eighty-eight dollars.

Lessons learned (or re-learned):

  • Buying domain names is a competitive game
  • The deck is totally stacked in favor of the registrars
  • Better to have a few domain names you don’t want
    • Corollary: I don’t know how many “a few” really is
  • Don’t search availability for good names on registrars unless you will buy immediately
  • Don’t get too attached to a domain name before it’s yours

Don’t you love how we can inspire the registrars? I wish I could sell one of the names I DID buy for that price!




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2 Responses to Taking chances buying Domain Names

  1. Patricia May 15, 2012 at 8:45 am #

    I did get ONE that was free and let it ago after a couple of years since I didn’t like the hosting and I’d moved away from working on what it was used for. Wasn’t particularly a good name either.

    I didn’t realize selecting a name was such a competitive game.

    It’s probably not helping that I don’t have one or two to help with my Zazzle business! SHRUG

  2. Right Brain May 15, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

    LOL, it really can be. And people agonize over whether to get the .NET version or some alternative instead. Have you ever tried getting you name as a domain? It’s a great idea for photographers, especially, but impossible for those of us with fairly common names!