Last week I reasoned why Life After Domains... begins with... well, domains. That is domains done RIGHT.
Today I want to discuss critical success factors... an a litmus test to evaluate names BEFORE purchase to ensure that you are making more informed and prudent decisions.
This applies to US-based buyers only.
==> Before you do anything have you read the service agreements of the various registrars and chosen to register your name with one based on the protections it offers you versus price?
==> Is your name is dictionary word that is easy to spell, pronounce and describes what it is and what it does.
==> Can you point to a simple object or illustration that upon seeing, the first words(s) that pop to mind are the ones you've registered (photo of moon+ moon; map of california with gavel evokes "california lawyer"; black is black, night is night, day is day)
==>Can you take this domain and put it on eBay and close a $50-100 sale within a day?
==> Do Frank Schilling, Rick Schwartz or Kevin Ham stay up all night thinking about what a bargain you got for this name and waht they can do to make it theirs?
==> Is it a dotCOM extension. If you are in the US and unless you are a gizillionaire in dotCOM name already, or are buying another extension to protect your brand or surname, if you don't own a dotCOm please look in the mirror and repeat "I am a fool and I've erred. Repeat again, "I am a fool and I've erred."
==> Does it earn $10 a day in revenue or tax leverage? If not, the guy who delivers pizza for an hour is making a better living then your domain and your domain is n not worth keeping,
==> Has a domain specialty lawyer vetted this domain and given a legal opinion
==> Does this name in its exact wording describe matching words that can be found in your local paper's classified ads for something being offered or desired (jobs, autos, 1967 corvette parts)?
==> Are thier advertisers on Google paying money for this word or word combination on the results pages (and do you know whom they are and how much they are paying)? Can a parking page monetize this domain with those SAME advertisers?
==> Have you done a business plan? Do you understand the size of the industry this word represents, its role in it? Who its biggest players (prospects) are? What is the total value of advertising for the industry? The average cost to acquire a new customers? The vale of an average order? Referral? Lifetime customer value? Annual 800# costs?
==> What call to action media exists now using a derivative of these words (bus, billboards, direct response, radio, TV, packaging, infomercial)? What is the cost of a a motivated prospect lost due to inability to recall their call to action?
==> Is your name registered and or parked with trsutworthy sourcves? Sources that are whitelisted, sources who will not use your domain in an illegal manner with you bearing full responsibility wheteher known or not? Sources who are not subjecrt to merger, acquisition or indictment where your assets may be frozen?
==> Have you secured rights to this name by filing for a business license, having it appear in the phone book, making a corporate website explaining your intentions with an about us page that clearly identifies yourself, claims and credentials for being in this business with full and open access for contact? For example, if it's a medical domain "addictiontreatments.com" are you either an addict or doctor? What is your claim to this domain?
Now once these questions are answered it's time to think outside the box. The best inspiration can come from a trip to Las Vegas. Not gambling and drinking, but locked in your room watching the infamous retail television commercials the city is known for.
Here's an example I shared with "Numeric Names" enthusiast, Scott Smith recently, What do I see on TV last week in Vegas as I type this?
Breast Enhancements only $49.95
"Yes you heard right.
Call us at 1-800-4995-Breasts
Wouldn't that be more memorable at 4995.com and then shared among the advertisers wanting to a landing page for a $49.95 offer???
Unbelievable the next spot was the $9.95 store
Every item, every day on $9.95
Never pay more!
At the corner of sterling and 7th next to Rexall just go to Yahoo.com and type in Vegas $9.95 store
Of course on 995.com anyone could sell anything for 9.95- an ebay flea market with a different idea
Ideas are my stock and trade.
You can die broke waiting for all the the 777Casino to realize they need 775.com and call you
Or invent success with the power of a great idea and the value it creates.
AND the best strategy I've heard in a while on this is what Elliot blogged. Winnow your portfolio down to a level you can handle and make a five year plan. Include domains for kin or friends or church that they might not have the foresight to see. Make them yours by developing a product that's scalable across other domains- like Elliot's geo formula as opposed to one in plants and another in animals and another in bedspreads-- you'll never get there.
And as they said at Traffic giving this same warning and advice two years ago already-- if you develop just one domain and really dedicate your resources into making it a viable business, you can have more potential then you've ever had with all the domain baggage you carry now.
And remember the words of Frank Schilling from this classic interview: "A good domain name reduces your lifetime marketing costs and increases marketing opportunities. Mark Twain said: "History doesn't repeat but it rhymes" .. The past may not be a true indication of the future, but domain names 'are the Internet'. You need a domain for email, in fact the only constant since the dawn of the commercial internet in 1993 (Netscape 1) has been the domain name. If you feel comfortable investing in anything related to the Internet it should be a generic domain name.