13 Reasons Why A Domain Has No or Low Value

May 20, 2008 · Print This Article

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, UkParties.co.uk is worth significantly less than Parties.co.uk as the .co.uk already tells people that it’s a UK website – you don’t need the first UK in UKParties.co.uk 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 Free.info and Free.mobi 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 Pizza.com, 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 DomainerPizza.com 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, DomainBits.com. 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, DomainWorld.com. 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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20 Responses to “13 Reasons Why A Domain Has No or Low Value”

  1. Kellie on May 20th, 2008 10:42 pm

    From your fingertips to the domain god’s ears. Great tips.

  2. admin on May 21st, 2008 2:08 pm

    Thanks Kellie!

  3. Russ on August 29th, 2008 1:24 pm

    I like your approach. Very balanced. I think your tenacity and the knowledge you post here will help everyone. I have been a domain observer since the mid ninties. In the past few years I have started aquiring some domains. This article is a great help. Thanks.

  4. Steve on October 21st, 2008 12:17 pm

    Pretty much to the point – I think we all bought a few domains we wish we didn’t pickup.

  5. admin on October 21st, 2008 12:30 pm

    Yes, unfortunately, a lot of this was learned the hard way.

  6. Domain Offerings on December 24th, 2008 2:07 pm

    I hear you but I still like play on words. I have been laughed at in forums for liking names like i1tu (I want you) and DearMeet (as a dating platform) but I am still attached to them. I guess I am a sucker for trying to make something out of nothing.


  7. admin on December 24th, 2008 3:58 pm

    The problem with creative names is that generally if that’s what someone is looking for, they will come up with a creative name of their own, rather than pay a premium for one that’s already registered. Also, DearMeet has some problems with DeerMeat 😀

  8. KT on December 24th, 2008 6:42 pm

    Thanks for the response. I do completely understand where you are coming from. it is like a hoarder who can’t let go of what they perceive as valuable regardless of reality. I am confused, is there a trademark on DeerMeat? I couldn’t find any.

  9. admin on December 24th, 2008 9:05 pm

    I know what you mean – I’m the same way and don’t like to let go of my domains :D.

    I don’t know of any trademark on DeerMeat, I just mean that if people hear DearMeet on the radio or TV, they may be thinking you’re cooking up a deer rather than a dating site.

  10. Domain Offerings on March 19th, 2009 12:16 am

    Now that I have gained a bit more experience in domaining I can appreciate your post much more. My problem was that I was basically an end user and not a domainer. My mentality seems to still be that of the end user to a great extent but I am slowly starting to be able to separate the potential of a domain for development and the inherent value of the name on its own. Reading blogs has helped clear things a great deal.

  11. Shabu Anower on May 16th, 2009 3:29 am

    Great point on DearMeet.com, sound is most important in domaing.

    I’ve made a few sale on brandable domain like: Casidia and iPressive, both is .com

    Not that much I got from them but it’s good for me and I was quite happy with the price.

    IMO, Good to listening and easy to remember domain has good value if you can generate a new word.

  12. LSM on June 22nd, 2009 11:12 am

    I quit reading when you said that Google was a “cool sounding name” and without millions in branding behind it, it would be ‘practically worthless’.

    You do know that “Google” isn’t just some random, made-up web2 name, right? That it’s an actual term for something? A dictionary word?

  13. admin on June 22nd, 2009 11:21 am

    Just because a domain is a dictionary word doesn’t mean that the domain has much value.

  14. Reliablewebhosting.us on October 6th, 2009 9:00 pm

    Very nice and informative post. I wonder how are ccTLDs viewed compared to popular extensions like .com, .net and .org by search engines. Are they ranked equally or its different? It would be interesting to hear some view points.

  15. Steve Nutt on December 18th, 2009 11:46 am

    How many of us that had a couple of “punts” in the late nineties wish we had bought up so many more domains ?
    Even if the old domains we did buy back then have little or no value, their age helps improve their ranking in the search engines 😉