Friday, December 5, 2008

Gyaanama: Steve Baba on Domain Names

The name Steve Baba has something going for it. It makes him seem like a realised soul with a 10-foot blonde beard and a 10 mega watt aura. Jokes apart, Steve is a Ph.D in Economics and the reason why we've featured him in Namasutra is his free and very handy ebook titled How to Select and Buy an Elite Domain Name. The book makes some interesting observations. Sample these extracts:

A domain name can either make you look like a fly-by-night email spammer or an established company. A company with a domain name like, tells people that they could not obtain the .com, could not obtain or

Generic names such as are not entitled to any trademark protection. Ownership of the .com name can only prevent people from using the same exact domain name. Others can use Hotels.NET, (singular) and so on. On a positive note,
since no one owns generic names, trademark lawsuits are unlikely.

When buying a used car, one could look in the paper for the prices of similar cars. There are publications summarizing the price of used cars. Both buyers and sellers know the prices of similar cars. In contrast, a domain name speculator is comparing your offer with what he thinks someone may offer him in the future. This is often
optimistic, wishful thinking. A speculator may have read that a domain name sold for $100,000. But this is like a beginning novelist hearing that another novelist earned $100,000 and expecting the same, when most novelists get a tenth of that if anything.

Amateur do-it-ourselves naming often leads to discovering "fool's gold" domain names. "We found this great name, and it was free." This reminds me of someone who had his wife make his TV commercial for free, but wasted $100,000 broadcasting the third-rate commercial. An inferior domain name is a drag on all your other efforts.

Assume that you are only going to spend $1,000 to $5,000 for a domain name. If someone else had trademark rights to the name – in a different industry – and really wanted the domain name, they should have been able to obtain the domain name by paying the same $1,000 to $5,000. Or they could use a legal procedure to recover the name from a cybersquatter for $1,000-$5,000. One would assume that no other trademark owner wants the domain name, but this is only an assumption. But as long as you have legitimate trademark rights for one industry, another trademark owner in a different industry can’t take the domain name from you.

If a great domain name compared to a good domain name will increase sales 2% and the margin is 50%, then a great domain name is worth 1% of sales.

Piqued enough to read more? Go here.