Domaining can be a great investment strategy or a giant money pit leaving you with a collection of domains that “sounded good” to you at some point in time. Like most Domain Name Bloggers I get my fair share of emails from people who have bought a ton of names that aren’t making any money, and they want to know where they went wrong.
Like any business, Domain Investing is all about finding a repeatable model. Sure, you can get lucky and make a big sale out of the blue, but building a real business means finding a model you can repeat over and over again, while turning a profit.
I see far too many new investors continue to buy domains even if they haven’t made a dime off of the domains they’ve purchased so far. This is where you can quickly go from a Domain Investor, to a Domain Collector. So before you buy your next domain name, consider the three key points below to make sure what you’re buying is something that will make money for your company, rather than something that will simply cost you $10/year to keep:
- What are you going to do with the domain? If you have no idea what you’re going to do with the domain, don’t buy it. This should be an investment so you need to have a good reason for every purchase you make. If you’re going to flip it to an end user make sure you know potential buyers. If you’re going to develop it, make sure you’ve researched the market, different affiliate program options, and other leaders in the space. If you plan is to sit and wait for offers, great, but make sure you have examples of similar names that have sold in the past or at least some data behind why the name might have some value to someone at some point in time.
- Has the domain been involved in any illegal activity? Just like you wouldn’t want to buy a stolen car, you don’t want to buy a stolen domain. You can easily check if your domain has been listed as stolen by referencing DomainTheft.org. Next take a look at the WHOIS History which is available in Domain Tools, this will show you who owned the domain previously, couple this with data from Screenshots.com and you’ll know if the domain was used for anything illegal in the past that could get you in trouble in the future.
- Does the domain contain a Trademark? This may seem incredibly obvious to some people but many beginners make this mistake, and a mistake like this could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix. If you think the domain you’re buying might have a Trademark in it, head on over to USPTO.gov and check it out, it takes only a minute and it could save you a fortune.
So when you’re up late this weekend looking at some new domains to add to your portfolio, make sure to consider these factors and you will make better investments. Of course there’s a lot more than three, please share some of your own rules or guidelines you follow when buying domains. Comment and let your voice be heard!