Business · Domain names

What should founders know about buying domains?

Maja Rašić QA Tester

March 9th, 2017

I’m helping a friend buy a domain for his business. Neither of us are that experienced in the domain space so we wanted to ask you all for some advice. We know there can be serious players in the domain business. We’re hoping to secure a domain for the least amount of money AND with the least negotiation. What are some things we should definitely know about the process, and where are some good places for no-nonsense domain sales?

Jon Schultz President, Blue String Ventures, Inc.

March 12th, 2017

What you should know is that your domain will be the center of your online presence for as long as your business lasts, and you want something that is easy to read (i.e. on a billboard as people whiz by), easy to remember, easy to spell, easy to communicate verbally, and not too long so people aren't discouraged from visiting your site multiple times.

Probably trillions of dollars have been spent advertising .com websites and that is what most people are most familiar with, so a dotcom domain definitely has its advantages. Plus, if you use a brandable name - i.e. Americamera - if you have the dotcom you can just refer to yourself as Americamera in press releases and on your website, but if you don't have the dotcom and your site is at the .net domain, for example, you always have to refer to yourself as That's because if you just say "Americamera" people will look for your site at the .com.

You may want to consider the "Ten Percent Rule for Domain Names in Advertising":

"If you allocate 10% of your advertising budget towards memorable and/or traffic-producing domain names, you will achieve 10 times the results for your advertising."

That's from:

For those inexperienced with buying domains on the secondary market, you may want to consider hiring a domain branding adviser and buyer broker, such as myself, to help you pick out the best name you can afford and obtain it as cheaply as possible.

The first thing you have to decide is if you want 1) a meaningless brandable name (i.e. Xerox, before it was used), 2) a semi-meaningful brandable name like Americamera, or 3) a generic brandable name like, which has its SEO (search engine optimization) and "more likely to click on" advantages.

If you choose Options 1 or 2 you must have the dotcom or you will lose traffic (and emails, perhaps more importantly) to the dotcom domain. If you choose Option 3 you can consider another extension but the entire name should be distinctive. I wouldn't choose .co, as people will confuse it with .com, and I wouldn't choose .io, which most people don't even know what it means. You may want to consider .tv if you're going to put video on the site; when people see a .tv domain advertised they are more likely to visit the site as they expect to find a video presentation. Dot-tv domains should also increase in value over time as the Web is only becoming more videocentric. Eventually, the Internet and TV will converge.

Dane Madsen Organizational and Operational Strategy Consultant

March 9th, 2017

Unless it is crucial to your brand, don't spend time on it. If it is a name change, change the name.

Rob G

March 9th, 2017

first of all, if i understand what you want to do, you are not "buying" a domain. You are merely renting exclusive use for a period of time. You can have exclusive use as long as you continue to pay the registration fees. sites such as Godaddy and Network solutions are 'brand name' markets for domains, but even their practices can seem a bit 'sleezy' at times. At least you know your registration will actually happen. With godaddy and there is no negotiation - they will tell you if the domain you want is available or not and how much it will cost to register it for 1 year+. typical fees are $9-17 USD/year, often with a discount for the fist year if you register multiple domains. If someone else 'owns' or is sitting on the domain and they wish to 'sell' it these sites can help you negotiate with the seller. I've only tried it one time and it was a waste of time and money.

Gabe Fried CEO at Hilco Streambank

March 9th, 2017

I would look at buying a domain with a new extension rather than .com as a way to save money. If you can't find what you are looking for, then it's best to make reasonable offers that expire quickly and pursue multiple names to hedge yourself.

K. Robbins Head Moose at Moose WorldWide Digital

March 10th, 2017

Rent a domain that nobody else has, and don't fret it. In the early days of the Internet, before Search dominated, a domain name - especially a short, catchy one - was really worth something. Today they are worth NOTHING unless they are five or six letters and have some meaning.

The Marketing Funnel begins with Google. when customers find you they click your page's <meta> description not the domain.

Lots of people have bought lots of domains and want exorbitant sums for them, spend your money on other things. For those folks that have vanity license plates on their cars, hey, go for it... But that's what a domain name is.

That being said I foolishly bought a dozen or so domains years and years ago that I was certain would be worth big bucks, so if anyone out there is looking for catchy domains like or then please call me!

Michael Borowski Analytical Entrepreneur Interested in Online Stuff

March 10th, 2017

Buying the Domain is the cheap part (if it isn't taken already). Make a list of names, check them on something like GoDaddy, buy a few if you're not decided just to hold the potential URL for your friends business.

I've always used GoDaddy to purchase my domain names, I just never sign up for any of their "extra" junk that I personally don't believe you need considering you'll probably will be hosting it on another site anyway.

Ugur Cirak A New Journey Starting From Japan:

March 14th, 2017

All internet startup dreams start with a domain name you think of, and probably it is already taken. Then you start thinking to buy it because you are already obsessed with the name thinking that the domain would take care of the marketing and everything else actually. But the reality is domain does not mean much unless you end up with a very difficult domain to remember or spell in which case domain may mean to lose or frustrate customers. I have seen many founders who paid a lot of money to the domains but did not follow up the business with the same enthusiasm and shut down. The lean startup starts with a $10 /year domain name I think.

Javier Mendonça

March 15th, 2017

I found this article very useful: Before naming your business, read this.

It explains what good names and bad names are and typical mistakes people do. Helped me a lot when finding a name for my *future* startup.

William Morgenstein 20+Yrs Business/Finance Consultant | Funding Broker | Construction/SBA Loans | Author | Autobiography by New York Guy

March 9th, 2017

If you buy an existing domain, make sure that the seller is legitimate and actually owns the domain. Also depending on your companies specialty you might consider .org as an extension, which as Gabe Fried said will save you money.

Mason Richardson Founder/Owner and Engineer

March 15th, 2017

To reiterate on everyones point here. Domains are generally cheap, and Id go on the route of using one of the newer popular domain extensions. '.io' for example is extremely popular for startups, and is being picked up now by larger companies. Those are usually a bit more expensive, around $60 a year. Also with wherever you're getting your domain from there wont really be any negotiation, it'll cost just what it says.

Google now has domains listed you can search and pay for

among other reputable sites. If you want it to be easy, you can choose the hosting service you want for your site, and pay for the domain right through them. keeping it all in one place. Like Hostgator for example.