If you believe in the "All the good domains are gone" hype that the majority of grossly outdated domain resource sites keep spewing, than you'll probably want to chalk this up as another domain rant coming from that domainer with the geeky looking kid pasted on his blogs logo.
All right, I'd be lying if I said prime one word billboards for dot com are in plentiful supply, but that's where stepping out of the TLD bubble begins.....Valuable domains are out there......you just have to know the "how" and the "what" to look for.
This obviously plays out differently between website start up owners looking to actually brand their fledgling sites and resellers hoping to cash in on secondary market sales, but the following guidlines apply to both.
What are you selling specifically? Is there a target based service your providing? What terms do you want your user base to find you with through juggernaughts SE's like Google and Yahoo?
If you can (still) find variations of keywords that reflect what your site signifies...you're already ahead of the game.
A domain tool that's helpful is the keyword suggestion module found on the right hand side of the blog. The actual variations that output from this word scrambler are taken from Yahoo, MSN and others of the bot crawling kind. The actual terms and numbers reflect the previous months type in searches by web users looking for sites that matched those specific words and phrases. It's similar to Overtures (recently rebranded) notorious keyword device, only your CP's I.P. address won't get banned by overuse; a little tidbit many "in the know" forget to mention.
Another great word spewer is helmed at WordTracker.com. Using both tools are a must have, even though the latter mentioned only gives out top ten selections, it also has the bonus of choosing similar based categories of words and terms users are searching for eg. input domain....Wordtracker outputs URL, registration, address and other similar themed offerings.
Find a niche.
This puts the bullseye closer on the reseller looking to catch the next wave of domain speculation.
An example of a niche domain type sector is a blog domain (fictionblog.com) or a podcast domain (podcastnews.com). Domain names which favor a particular market by a brand, service and section of sorts. Very hit and miss.
The pod and blog domains examples are two such categories that have both flourished under new registration and secondary market evaluations. For instance in 2003 blog domains registrations were hovering around the 10,000 mark. Novice and business journalists using these applications ended up branding their "online diaries" with the popularised blog, weblog, and blogger terms that have become synonomous with the blogosphere. Skip ahead to 2004 and over 8,000 blog domain names are scooped up in the first quarter of 2004....their popularity increases. BTW freeblogs.com and freeblog.com were just sold on one of the larger domain boards. Asking price was over $15,000.....personally, the buyer got them for a steal.
What's the next wave? Not telling, but no doubt a new mainstream focused hotbed will rear it's head and some will no doubt cash in.
Other extensions...besides the dot com.
Many have laid claim to the newer extensions as the promisland of riches, all while the secondary market dominance and pricing of the 20 year old dot com increases.
By the numbers, the new namespace featuring .biz,.info and cctld .us, (as well as the old timers .org and .net) do have a broader abundance of the keyword base.
The pro's are that you're more likely to find great word nest eggs with these extensions than you would with the 38 million registrant heavy .com.
The others collectively make up under 50% of that figure....now the con.
Can we say branding?!?!
The uphill battle is much more intense in terms of marketing any other TLD to the North Amercan dot com friendly populace.
To a webmaster and SEO guru this quagmire doesn't pose that much of a problem. To the other statistical 95% one man shows setting up online businesses...it can be.
But some are in a position to gamble...VOIP.us just sold for $25,000.
Providing some evidence that there'll always be someone willing to try to beat the odds and show that a domains value isn't always based on extension alone.