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((((((((((((((((( WEBREFERENCE UPDATE NEWSLETTER ))))))))))))))))) September 21, 2000

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http://www.webreference.com http://www.webreference.com/new/ http://www.webreference.com/new/submit.html New this week on WebReference.com and the Web:

1. CONTEST: Signup and Win! 2. FEATURED ARTICLE: How to Create Profitable Domain Names 3. NET NEWS: * Dell Showing Off Laptops With Wireless Networking * Free Net Calls ... For a Price * Fox Video Unit to Take Stake in Kozmo.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1. CONTEST: Signup and Win HoTMetaL Pro 6 and PhotoImpact 6!

Want to win some great new software? Signup for our newsletter today and you could win Softquad's HoTMetaL Pro 6 and Ulead's new PhotoImpact 6. Tell your friends!

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As always, we are looking for articles to publish written by our readers through our Open Publishing Initiative. Submit an idea today and your words could be here next week!

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This week, writer Lee Hodgson gives us the inside scoop on creating and buying domain names - for a profit. He's giving away his tried and true techniques for free! Read on to find out how you can get started.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 2. FEATURED ARTICLE: How to Create Profitable Domain Names

Earlier this year, I took time out in order to test the widely-held view that 'all the best names are gone.' In the space of two months, I registered nearly two hundred domain names - one hundred and ninety dot coms, and ten dot net addresses. I learned many tricks and techniques of the 'name creation' trade.

And before you ask, no, I'm not talking about 'cybersquatting' or trademark infringements. All the names I created were new, generic names, unconnected with current companies or their brands.

Before registering any new name, use a site like MarksOnline.com to perform a free trademark check. If there's any clash with a registered trademark, you're better off without the name. I'm sure you've got better things to do with your time than deal with corporate lawyers.

Today is your lucky day. Two hundred names is enough for me - I've taken early retirement from the name creation game. I've decided to pass on what I've learned so that everyone can have a go. And did I succeed in making a profit? You'll just have to read the article and find out.

>Step #1 - Get The Tools For The Job

It won't take long to get tooled up for this particular job, here are the must-haves:

a) An Internet Account b) A Text Editor c) Whois ULTRA

A marvelous little freeware program that takes the hassle out of checking domain name availability, and really comes into its own when checking multiple domains. The latest version can be downloaded from the author's Web site:

http://analogx.com/contents/download/network/whois.htm

>Step #2 - Understand What Makes A Name Valuable

Unless you have a fair understanding of what makes names valuable in the first place, you will be wasting your time and money registering new ones. For a name to be valuable, it will normally possess the following attributes:

a) It's Short

The shorter the name, the easier it is to say, remember, spell, and type. The exception to this rule are well-known phrases, which can be quite long and still hold significant value. For instance, 'ForSaleByOwner.com' sold for over $800,000.

b) It Passes The 'Radio Test'

If a name is heard on the radio, would the average Net user be able to remember it, and then type it into a Web browser? If so, it's probably a good name. This means that using deliberate misspellings, shortened versions of words, or numbers, generally reduces the value of a name.

c) It's a Dot Com

Some specific dot net and dot org addresses are valuable, particularly one word names, but the most fruitful resale territory for now and the foreseeable future is dot coms.

d) It Has Commercial Application

Remember, you're expecting somebody to pay you hard cash for your name. If the name doesn't make money for the new owner, why would they pay big money to buy it from you? Always bear in mind the market sector when considering registering a new name. The bigger the market, the more valuable the name.

e) It Will Have A Large Degree Of 'Uniqueness'

Think of the pool of domain names as a pyramid, each brick being an individual name. At the top of the pyramid are the one-word names, then you move down a level to the two-word names, and the further down you go, the more words in each name. At the base of the pyramid, where the names approach sixty-three characters in length (the allowed limit), there could be ten or more words in each name.

As with any pyramid, the further down you go, the more bricks there are on each level, and for this particular pyramid, the bottom row contains an almost infinite number of bricks.

The trick with domain names is to find names which are as near the pyramid summit as possible, because there you will find the least number of unregistered names, there will be very few alternatives for a buyer to consider.

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Now that you have a good idea of what makes a name valuable, it's time to think up some names of your own. Use the following techniques as a starting point, I'm sure you'll add some of your own along the way. Listed at the bottom of each section is one or more examples of names that I registered using the technique described.

1) The Future

It stands to reason that new technologies require new domain names. And the further away the technology is from commercial application, the better chance you have of finding unregistered names for it.

In order to get in early you'll need a news source that has in depth, up to date news coverage. Start by subscribing to one or more daily newsletters that cover hi-tech, try the 'Wired News Daily' for starters.

You could also use Web sites that have live newsfeed on them - two of the best are Moreover.com and Yahoo.com. Both have an enormous range of newsfeeds, and they also use other Web sites as news sources, and turn up lots of interesting stories and articles because of it.

You'll be facing a lot of competition though, especially from industry insiders. It's no coincidence that the majority of good WAP names are registered with Scandinavian individuals, since Scandinavian companies pioneered a lot of WAP technology. To beat these people to the punch, you'll have to get in early and take a risk or two.

My Examples: LiquidTrading.com, SmartphoneTV.com

2) Dictionaries

Most of the usable English language words have now been registered, but there are many salable foreign language words still up for grabs, not to mention longer English language words. The Spanish language in particular is attractive, since it is the second most widely used language on the Web, but has many fewer domain names registered.

WhoIS ULTRA will come into play here. Instead of logging onto the Net every time you find an interesting name, just type the name into a text file. When you have a hundred or so interesting names, load the text file into WhoIs ULTRA and check them all at once.

Specialized dictionaries are another good source of names. The key here is that they don't just contain single words, but subject- related terms as well.

Try scanning a dictionary of business terms, marketing terms, real estate terms, even tax or banking terms. Don't forget to jot down interesting terms so you can upload them later for checking.

My Examples: Cambiste.com, TaxMeasures.com

3) Generic Terms

A generic term is simply a term that represents a particular subject or industry, without referring to individual brands. For example, 'credit cards' would be the generic term for the credit card industry, and the generic Web site name would be 'creditcards.com.'

Web users are getting increasingly domain name savvy. Instead of attempting to locate a Web site for their topic with search engines, they are guessing at Web site names by typing a generic name straight into their browser.

This makes generic domain names very valuable, because once a Web site owner has the name pointing to their site, there's no other expenses involved in attracting a steady stream of site traffic for years to come - a rare form of promotion indeed!

You might guess that since generic names have such value, that they would have all been registered by now. This is not the case at all. I used WhoIS ULTRA to search for *Language.com. I found around ten of the names were still unregistered, even for languages with many millions of speakers. I'm guessing that some of these names are still not registered today.

My Examples: ThaiLanguage.com, Swedish Language.com

4) Buzzwords / Hot Topics

Sometimes subjects that have been dormant for ages get picked up by the media and become white-hot topics of debate, at least for a short while.

One great example was the furor that was created last Christmas over the lack of security on high profile Web sites. A day didn't pass without news that another Web site had been a victim of a 'Denial of Service' attack, or had thousands of credit card numbers stolen. Such bolts of publicity lightning create a great opportunity to cash in on domain names.

My Examples: SecureDealing.com, SecureDeposits.com

5) Prefix popular words with single-letter abbreviations

This is a fairly simple way of generating new names. Just find popular words, phrases, and prefix them with any of the following abbreviations:

'i' - Internet, Interactive,Instant,I 'e' - Electronic 'u' - You 'v' - Virtual

The most valuable names are normally 'e'-prefixed, but it just depends on the word you are trying to prefix. For instance, both 'ePhoneBanking.com' and 'iPhoneBanking.com' work - 'uPhoneBanking.com' doesn't. As with all names, say them out loud before registering them - if it doesn't sound right, its probably not valuable.

My Examples: eSideload.com, ePhoneBanking.com, eSecureDeals.com, iSecureSolution.com

6) Combine Keyword With Popular Web Site Suffix

There are several hundred suffixes that are popular across a spectrum of Web sites with two word domain names - here are just a few:

*Auctions, *Bid, *Biz, *Central, *Deal, *Exchange, *Find, *Guide, *Index, *Market, *News, *Search, *Secure, *Submit, *Watch, *Web, *World, *Universe

Use the wild-card feature of the domain name search tool at Marksonline.com to find out just how popular they are. If you type in '*World' for example, you will get a list back of all the domain names that have been registered using that suffix.

My Examples: FashionAuctions.com, FreewareNews.com, HolidaysGuide.com

7) Combine Keyword With Popular Web Site Prefix

This method is identical in principle to (6) - except that you are looking for popular prefixes rather than suffixes. Here are a few popular Web site prefixes:

4*, Cheap*, Click*, Free*, Go*, Instant*, My*, Search*, Secure*, World*

My Examples: InstantGaming.com, 4SQL.com, SecureTraining.com, ClickSubmit.com

8) Benefit-Based Names

This is one of the most creative and little know ways of producing new domain names, and hence is a great source of new dot coms for any inventive person.

The idea behind a benefit-based name is to express some benefit to the customer in the domain name itself.

As an example, a language school might choose to register its company name - nothing wrong with that you might say. But when a user is confronted by a list of 50 Web sites in a search engine, they will choose a name that offers some benefit to them, something that fulfills a need - given the choice, would you click on 'FluentJapanese.com' or 'IZCJapaneseLanguageSchool.com'?

My Examples: FreeGoldCard.com, ExoticThailand.com, FluentJapanese.com

9) Put Two Short Keywords Together

This is one of the more risky ways of producing new names, but it's fun, creative, and also has the potential for big rewards.

This technique is beloved by branding firms. They combine two short, powerful words (or partial words) to create a new name. Often, the name makes little or no sense as a phrase in its own right. The name has to be branded, but that actually increases its value rather than reducing it. If a name is going to cost $1 million to brand, what's another $20,000 to purchase it in the first place?

If you can come up with a couple of good, short keywords that fit nicely together, you might have a real hot name on your hands.

My Examples: EarnShare.com, PostSecure.com

10) Acronyms

Now that all the 3-letter acronyms have been registered, the battleground has moved to the 4-letter acronyms.

Cross-check any interesting 4-letter acronyms you come across at acronymfinder.com to see whether they have a standard usage. If so, they will be much more valuable than a random 4-letter assortment.

My Examples: 4SQL.com

11) Growth Areas

It makes sense that those areas of the Web that will expand the most will also need the most new domain names. If e-commerce is involved, so much the better.

Research firms such as IDC and Forrester Research are a great source of pertinent information surrounding the Web, and particularly, the expansion of e-commerce on the Web.

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>Final Tips:

1) Only register names for a year at a time. You can always renew the registration at year's end, if you haven't managed to sell it before then.

2) Not all the names you register will have value. At the end of the first year, review all your names, and decide whether to 'keep them or dump them.' Don't consider dumping a small percentage of names as a disaster. It just demonstrates how much you have learned in the past year.

3) Domain name speculating can get very addictive, but keep the potential earnings in perspective. There are thousands of other people round the world trying to do the same thing as you. Don't spend more money on names than you can afford to lose.

4) Find a friend you can trust to give you an honest opinion on your names, *before* you register them. It will save you a lot of money.

5) Think about specializing in one particular industry - this is particularly important if you have very limited time available. You're less likely to succeed trying to be a jack of all trades, better to be a master of one.

I nearly forgot to answer the question at the top of the article. Did I make money registering two hundred domain names in two months? The short answer is yes. I have already sold ten names, more than earning back the registration money in the process. I've also turned down offers for another twenty or so names.

Some names I will never be able to sell, most I will sell for a thousand dollars or less, but a few names have real potential value. It hasn't been easy, and certainly not the instant gold- mine some domain speculators would have you believe.

Speculating on domain names is a lot of hard work, but it's enjoyable, an intellectual challenge, and far removed from the 'geeky cybersquatter' image that is commonly portrayed. Give it a go, you've got nothing to lose, except the registration fees of course.

About the author:

Lee Hodgson runs a site called DomainGuideBook.com, (http://DomainGuideBook.com), which offers discount domain registrations, daily domain news, domain name guides, and other domain related resources. Contact him at lee@DomainGuideBook.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 3. NET NEWS: Dell Showing Off Laptops With Wireless Networking, Free Net Calls ... For a Price, Fox Video Unit to Take Stake in Kozmo.com

>Dell Showing Off Laptops With Wireless Networking

Taking a cue from Apple, Dell released plans for new notebooks outfitted with antennas capable of connecting to computer networks and the Internet wirelessly. Dell hopes to boost sales in the education, government, retail and health care markets, where the technology is a hot-ticket item. http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1003-200-2825785.html CNet.com, 000921

>Free Net Calls ... For a Price

Free Internet phone calls are on the horizon, but telecom industry experts warn that next-generation broadband service charges will mean they still won't be cost-free. http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,38887,00.html Wired.com, 000921

>Fox Video Unit to Take Stake in Kozmo.com

Kozmo.com said on Thursday Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, a unit of Fox Entertainment Group Inc., is taking an equity stake in the Web home delivery service, which agreed to buy and lease Fox videos and DVDs directly from the studio. Along with other agreements, Kozmo.com now stands to make a bigger profit margin on video rentals. http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20000921/wr/kozmo_fox_dc_1.html Yahoo.com, 000921

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That's it for this week, see you next time.

Andrew King Managing Editor, WebReference.com update@webreference.com

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