The 5 most common newbie domainer mistakes

By | September 22, 2007

Being a newbie domainer can be daunting, and confusing for some. Most of the time, beginners do a lot of stuff wrong before doing them right. The key is to realize that domain investment is fraught with risks. So before we proceed, let’s be clear – Domaining is mostly an activity akin to speculation. With speculation comes risk. So, how to minimize these risks?

There are very few market constants that determine a figure value of a domain. Even so, there are ways to avoid some common newbie domainer mistakes – before they actually happen. Mistakes can be costly, resulting in wasted time, effort and money; not forgetting losing a few hairs along the way!

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Here are 5 of the most common newbie domainer mistakes in my opinion.

  • Getting the registrar wrong. It’s irresistible – a domain for 4 bucks a year. A lot of people will give in to the “cheap” temptation. Yes, getting a domain for $4 is a bargain. But these registrars are in fact forced to compensate for that elsewhere, either by charging extra for other services, or cutting corners when you least expect it. Bearing in mind that a registrar has to cough up around $6 per domain/year to ICANN, the profit margin from this business isn’t large when a .com is priced at $7. I think 7-8 bucks is about the bare minimum for domains. If you must buy them cheap, be sure that your registrar will still be around the next year! Read all about the Registerfly fiasco.
  • Registering their domain with their site webhost. There are many cases of web hosts stealing domain names, or holding the name for a ransom when the owner wants to transfer them away. You’d be better off registering a domain with an established registrar who only specializes in domains, and buying a web hosting separately.
  • Registering tons of domains with no value in the hope of getting a single lone gem which hopefully will sell for $100,000… This brings us back to the speculative aspect of domain investing. Yes, domain investment is risky, but you can lessen the risk by being cautious and learning what makes a domain valuable before opening your wallet. Otherwise you end up with a large amount of cash down the drain, and domains that no one’s interested in.
  • Buying domains with fake traffic. What usually happens is the seller places links to the domain from one of his popular websites, or redirects traffic to it. The buyer sees the traffic, thinks it is good deal, and buys the domain. 5 months later (when it is harder to prove anything shady went on), the traffic dries up. Moral of the story – be very careful when buying a domain sold for its web traffic. Traffic stats are easy to fake with Photoshop.
  • Paying high prices for LLLL or NNNN .coms. Just like low value dictionary domains, there is an assumption that short and meaningless domains comprising letters or alphabets are great investments; to the extent that all the three character number and alphabet combinations are sold out today (the LLL/NNN dotcoms)…and mostly hoarded. Just imagine if every site you see on Google is named after some numbers, wouldn’t you have a hard time remembering them? The vast majority are hoarded with nothing but speculation as the premise. I think some LLLL or NNNN with connotations are good, but mostly, I wouldn’t bother with numeral or random letter domains. I’m more interested in domains with solid words; did you know non English domains make good choices as well?

As someone who wasn’t spared from these mistakes :D, I’d suggest the best strategy for a newbie domainer is to read and learn as much as they can, before even spending a single dime. The domaining industry has changed so much these days compared to even 5 years ago, it would be naive to assume the same variables and constants apply today, just like they did back then. There are no hard and fast rules, but having on some prudence, patience, and knowledge, goes a long way in avoiding a bunch of dud domains, and a hole in the wallet.

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