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Domain Name Basics

Here are some qualities that you should keep in mind when selecting a Domain Name.


A name that sticks in the mind is what you want. Your exact business name is a good choice. If someone knows your name, then they already know your web address. Another choice is a phrase or sequence of words that describes your product. Domain Names that evoke a visual image can make them easy to remember. Shorter names are better than longer ones, but if adding length increases memorability, go for the longer one.


Once your business is on the Internet, you will find yourself telling people your Domain Name several times a day; in conversation, on the phone, or in radio ads. Avoid any name that only works in print, and needs to be spelled out when spoken aloud to be understood. This rules out almost all abbreviations, or the use of single characters to represent words (like 'U' to mean 'you', or '4' to mean 'four'). With the new 63-character length, all words in your name can be fully spelled out. Be wary of choosing a Domain Name that contains homophones.,, and all sound exactly alike, but are three different websites (unless you own all three). Names using digits will always require explanation ("that's the digit 3, not three").

To find out whether a Domain Name is already registered, visit the website of Network Solutions or IDR. Near the top of each page is a link to 'whois', which will be a form to test Domain Name candidates. Simply testing a name by typing it into the location bar of a web browser to see if anything comes up will not work, since many names are registered but not active.

Registering Your Domain Name

Once you have a name selected, the next step is to register it. Annual fees for registration are $35/year or less, depending upon which registrar you use, and how the registration is done. Registering your domain is fairly straight forward. Remember, you do not need to own a website or even be an Internet user to own a Domain Name.

If the name you want is already registered to another, it is possible to purchase it from the current owner. Prices can range widely, depending on the name and your skill in negotiating. There are no price-guides, so buying a Domain Name is pure haggling at it's finest, with the sale price determined by comparing your desire to buy versus the owner's desire to sell.

Pursuing a legal path to challenge and gain an existing Domain Name has been growing in popularity. Few precedents exist, and new laws are being written in this area.

If you considering staking a claim on a domain name, do so immediately. With the incredible growth of domain registrations, odds are that the domain name you see available today, will not be there tomorrow.

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