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13 Reasons Why A Domain Has No or Low Value

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Jeff Behrendt
October 20, 2008

Jeff Behrendt

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Jeff Behrendt has written 2 articles for DomainInformer.
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A lot of things can impair the value of a domain. Here are 13 of the most common reasons that I’ve seen for domains to have no value or a low value:

1. Weak Term in a Weak Extension. For domains that are not .com or strong .ccTLDs, the keywords in the domain need to be much stronger to compensate for the weaker extension. A weak term in, for instance, a .info domain, isn’t going to have much value.

2. Brandable Domain that hasn’t been Branded. A lot of people are good at coming up with clever sounding domain names. The problem is that other people generally will prefer to think up their own clever sounding domain name rather than pay a premium for your great idea. Google is a cool name - but without millions of dollars of branding behind it - it would be a practically worthless domain.

3. Redundant Terms. Having redundant terms in a domain can lower its value dramatically. For instance, is worth significantly less than as the already tells people that it’s a UK website - you don’t need the first UK in as well.

4. No Commercial Applications. People are generally only going to pay a premium for a domain if they can make money from it (an exception to this are “collectible” domains like 2, 3 and 4 letter domains). If there is no way to monetize a website using your domain, it is likely that your domain has no or little value. Do a Google search and see whether there are any sponsored ads for your domain keywords. If there are none, this is often a sign that your domain has little value.

5. Trademark Domains. While trademark domains can still be sold for high prices, each trademark domain you hold is a potential bomb that could explode into a large liability.

6. Typo Domains. Typo domains only have value if they actually get traffic and revenue. Without traffic and revenue, typo domains are pretty much worthless.

7. No Mindshare. If you search on Google for the keywords in your domain (using quotes around the terms) and get few results, your domain probably isn’t worth much. If, in all the billions of documents indexed in Google, hardly any one has thought it worthwhile to use these terms, it’s unlikely someone will decide to use these terms in a domain for their website or business.

8. “Free” Domains. While and have sold at really good prices recently, generally having the word “free” in your domain will decrease it’s value substantially. It’s notoriously difficult to run a profitable business that gives away its products for free (of course, there are exceptions to this).

9. “Forum” Domains. Forums are notoriously difficult to make profitable as well. And for a forum to be successful you don’t need a particularly great domain name. While “forum” domains do have value, it tends not to be very high, and these type of domains can also be very difficult to sell.

10. Domain Must Make Sense. While it might seem obvious, I’ve seen a lot of domains that just don’t make sense. For instance, after all the excitement about the (as yet uncompleted) sale of, domainers seemed to be registering any domain that had the word Pizza in it. For instance, just because domainers eat pizza, doesn’t mean that has any value (fortunately, this isn’t registered yet).

11. Too Narrow A Market. A domain may be commercially useful, but if the market is not all that large, the domain will likely not have much value.

12. A Domain That Was Registered Yesterday. While I still do fresh registrations all the time, the reality is that just because you’ve registered a domain, doesn’t mean it suddenly has value. Especially if the domain is a .com, the fact that the domain is still unregistered after all of these years, means the domain likely isn’t that popular a term. You’ll likely need to wait a bit to sell the domain, and even then it likely will only sell for a modest amount. Of course, domains about emerging technologies and the like can be an exception to this.

13. Keyword + Fanciful Prefix or Suffix. By this, I mean a domain like, well, These domains can be worth something. The problem with them is that your domain is competing against all the other domains with the same keyword and other prefixes or suffixed - like say, This large number of equally acceptable alternative keeps the value of the domain down.

I know that everyday domains that break these rules actually do sell for a decent price. But the reality is - for every one of those sales, there are thousands, and probably tens of thousands, of similar domains that don’t sell. With so many domains out there, and the value of domains so unclear to many people, there are always bound to be outlier sales and domain owners who get lucky. But it certainly isn’t a good business strategy to rely on luck to make profits - avoid the above domains and you’ll increase the chances of your domaining success greatly.

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Title: Domain values October 21, 2008
Comment by Stephen Douglas

Hi buddy,

Well, #4 is ambivalent because some domains are "maturing" domains based on future trends. If a domain name shows up 20,000 time in a google search, with no ads, consider the possibility of that domain as a product in the future, and if there may be ads later. It takes a close analysis to make sure this process works correctly.

Nice post, by the way!

Title: Domain Values October 20, 2008
Comment by George Riddick

Hi Jeff,

I enjoyed reading your "13 ways to acquire domain names with no value" article on

We have only been in this domain development business for about 18 months now and have made every mistake there is to make. But we have learned from our mistakes, and now own a sizable portfolio (over 6,000 domains) of valuable and appreciating domain properties.

Of course, we have a secret weapon. We also have exclusive access to one of the largest libraries of digital logos, design templates, vector-based illustrations, and animations in the world, and are branding our various domain portfolios with a unique and professional "look and feel". Many people forget that succesful new business ventures, and product lines, always require first class graphics appeal and appropriate professional branding.

Think of the branding you see on a Quisnos, Subway, Papa Johns, Dominos, and Best Buy and you'll understand my point. We provide the "graphics appeal" and the online franchise-like tools to make purchasers of our unique domain properties even more successful in their markets.

Our first "franchise" series of branded domain properties (all with their own unique professional logo and home page design) will be released in November, with a new series following every other month from there.

We have been building memorable brands for the past 25 years. We hope this helps people with their "value" equations. Like all markets, this doamin market is going to be a tough one to compete in profitably in 2009.

But even in this economy, and with the new small business financial incentives coming out of Washington, more and more people will be trying to implement new ideas on their own. That's where quality domain properties and first class branding will come into play.

We help create lasting "value". Your readers might be surprised when they see what excellent graphics can do for their new domain.

Georg Riddick
Islandview Domains

[email protected]



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