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Maximizing the value of your domain name

By Staff

Promoting your domain to search engines

Once you have configured your domain to point to your Web site, you will need to ensure that search engines are aware of it. If they aren't, your site will receive very few visitors - even if you have managed to find a memorable, snappy domain name. With a little bit of effort and a lot of patience, however, you can garner a significant traffic base from search engines. One thing to keep in mind when choosing search engines is that some of them take 3 or 4 months to spider those spiffy "doorway" pages that you made. You’ll have to be patient for them to work for you.

Without letting everyone in the world know that you have a website with products or services to sell, no one will even know that you exist. That’s where search engines come in. You have to tell as many as possible that you have an Internet business and search engines are an effective marketing tool to help you do just that. With search engines the goal is to achieve the highest-ranking possible to get more “hits” to your site. Search engines are “key-word sensitive” meaning that when you register with a search engine you will be asked to put in certain words that define your business. For instance, if you sell cats for a living, some keywords that you may use are cats, felines, kittens, etc. When someone is looking for information or products related to cats they would search the net using a key word. If it’s a match to one of your key words on the search engine, your business will come up on a list that they can choose from and be taken directly to your site. Now that’s how to drive traffic to your site.

Registering your domain

Until 1999, there weren’t many choices of registrars to register a domain name. There was a monopoly in the domain registration business by a company called NSI. In June of 1999 things began to change as several new companies were granted registrar status. Among them were Register.com and CORE. By January of 2000 things had changed dramatically with the increase of registrars to over 80 and about 100 additional CORE registrars. This dramatic increase broke the stronghold that NSI had on the registration business, they were a monopoly no more. The choices among registrars improved significantly. This was obviously good for those seeking to register domain names

The Registrar XE "Registrars"  is important to website owners. They can’t resister their domain names to do business on the web without them, and they can’t do business without first registering their domain name. It’s a real catch-22 situation. The function of a registrar is therefore extremely important. They are the people keeping track of who owns what domain name and what server the name points to. However, simply buying a domain name doesn’t mean that you own it. There are registrars out there that will actually take ownership of your domain name in the process of registering it for you. While official ownership is usually irrelevant, it can be key in a legal dispute. When an ISP or Web host registers a domain on your behalf, they will sometimes register themselves as the official owner of the domain but they will grant you usage of it. In the event of an ownership dispute because of trademark or other reasons, the decision about whether or not to relinquish ownership of the domain will ultimately reside in the hands of your service provider instead of you.

Make sure that this doesn’t happen to you. When you choose an ISP or Web Host make sure it is clear that you will be the ultimate owner of the domain name not just the registrar. If the ISP or Web Host refuses to do this, search for another, you will eventually find one who will. Another thing to be aware of is that it usually costs between $10 and $35 a year to register domain names.  You don’t get it for free unfortunately. When you have your domain name registered, make sure that you’re not over charged for this. To get all the facts on domain name registrars read the “Domain Name Buyers” guide found at amazon.com, outstanding.com or nameguru.com. Like anything else, always check around for the best price.

Selling Your Domain Name

Selling your domain name will take a lot of negotiating. When you negotiate to sell your domain name, you first need to find out how it will be used and just how interested the buyer is to that particular name. For example, Compaq purchased the domain name for the popular search engine altavista.digital.com. They were anxious to replace the domain name quickly with altavista.com, which would be more suitable to them. As luck would have it, a small Oregon company already took the domain name altavista.com. Compaq entered negotiations with this company to purchase the domain name. After long negotiations, Compaq paid $3.35 million dollars for the domain name (reported by the SF Chronicle, July 1998). You may never have the opportunity to enter into such financially large negotiations when trying to sell your own domain name but you still need to try to get the most money possible that you can. In order to give you a broader spectrum of negotiating power, you might want to consider using a domain name auction service. You can leave your asking price “open” to see how good the opening bid that you get is. If you get too many low offers with this method, you can easily change your offering to include a minimum asking price. Bids for less than $500 or $1000 are usually not accepted by most domain name auction services. Which is a good starting point for you. On the bright side, domain names are increasingly being priced for tens of thousands of dollars. For instance: TV.com sold for $15,000 and Business.com sold for $150,000 (reported by CNET - News.com June 1997). It all boils down to supply and demand. If you’ve got something that someone else wants, in the end they will pay for it.

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