4 Awesome Tools to find the Perfect Domain Name

As the internet keeps growing and with new sites popping up everyday it is becoming increasingly hard to find the elusive ‘perfect domain name’ for you business, blog, service, or product.  While it’s becoming harder it is still not impossible to find an available good, great, or perfect domain name to register for only $10 to build your website with.

Here are some tools I use for finding domain names.  Some might use other domain finding tool, but overall I have found these are the sites and tools I always keep coming back to use when I need a new domain name.

LeanDomainSearch – Probably one of the easiest and most helpful tools I have seen on the web for finding a good available domain name.  Lean Domain Search is super easy to use and straightforward.  All you do is type in a word or a few words that you want to use in a domain name.  It will generate a list of available .COM domains using those keywords highlighted in green.  Hover over and click one of the domains and it will tell you if that domain is in fact still available and if the Twitter handle for the domain is available (Twitter handles must be less than 20 words or characters though).  I have used Lean Domain Search many times and have found some great gems through it.  Of course a lot of domains it will spin out may not make sense or will just be plain weird word combinations.  Still this is worth a shot if you have been having trouble searching or narrowing down a perfect domain name.  There is also a new brandable domain generator too, which helps you find short brandable domains.  These are not necessarily grammatically correct but would be good if you are a startup or want a catchy memorable domain name.  You can use Lean Domain Search for free but it does limit your searches to 150.  To see the full list of 5,000 domains you can pay $79 for two months or $199 per year ($16.58 a month).  Probably worth every penny but I have never paid for the service.

UPDATE: Lean Domain Search is now completely free to use.  In addition the developer, Matt Mazur, let Automattic acquire Lean Domain Search.  This means the company behind WordPress now owns the domain generator.  Also something to be aware of is before the Automattic acquisition Matt shutdown the brandable domains and domain name trends section he use to have on the website.

perfect domain name

ExpiredDomains.net – One of the best and most comprehensive domain finding sites out there I have found.  This site searches expiring domains that are in the process of deleting from the domain registry and deleted domains.  You can really narrow down specifics of a domain name like no other tool or site I have seen.  For instance if you want to find a domain with the word “tech” you can select whether you want it in the front, back, or anywhere in the domain.  It lets you select domain extensions, character length, pagerank, , DMOZ entry, different languages, and whole lot more.  One thing you should keep in mind is that it searches expiring domain lists and there are a lot of junk domains that people buy and drop.  The best way to utilize ExpiredDomains.net is to really drill down what words you are looking for and to use specific search criteria to narrow down results.  Get to narrow though and you search won’t turn up any domains.  ExpiredDomains.net also lets you search through GoDaddy Auctions, NameJet PreRelease and Auctions, Pool Marketplace and Dynadot.  This makes it very valuable all around domain finding tool.  You will have to sing-up for an account, but considering how useful it is I wouldn’t worry about it.

NameChk – This is not technically a domain finding tool, but it is extremely useful.  It lets you see what social media handles are available for certain words.  So if owned the domain “example.com” I could try to see if “example” is available on social media bookmarking and networking sites.  Since consistency is important on the internet it is a good idea to see if that domain name you want to use has a Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc. handles locked up or if they are all available.

WhoisRequest.org – My favorite Whois tool.  It will tell you how many times a domain nameservers have been changed, when, and how many times a domain was dropped, if ever.  If the domain was never registered before it will also tell you that. The data goes back to 2002 which should be far enough back for most people.  Most services that let you see a domain’s history you have to pay for but WhoisRequest is completely free.  Making it a great tool in my webkit.

FYI Lean Domain Search and ExpiredDomains.net make money when you click through to a domain name registrar and buy a name.  They seem to prefer GoDaddy but I recommend using NameSilo as I have never had a problem with them.  Read my NameSilo Review to get an idea about their services.  They provide free privacy and easy domain registration and management.

If I find any other domain finding tools or sites that lets you zero in on that perfect domain name you are looking for, I will be sure to let all my readers know.  Remember it is possible nowadays to get a that perfect domain name, you are just going to have to spend time finding it.

Know someone who needs to find the “perfect domain name” and can’t?  If so, please share this article with them so they don’t need to be tearing their hair out.  

Catch me on Twitter @AdamYamada … if you can!

Don’t Buy a Spam Domain

Google Webmaster Tools just released another video about buying a spam domain with Matt Cutts.  I think this is a good question and is something that people who are interested in buying any domain name from a private party should be aware before buying.

Here is the question that Matt Cutts answers in the video;

Can I buy a domain name on the secondary market that has a lot of spam on it and still rank? How can I reset the SEO of that domain ? Thousands of root domains coming from spam.

Johan Tavard, Hua Hin, Thailand

In my opinion you should NEVER BUY any domain name that you know has previously been used for spamming purposes.  “You don’t want to be the person left holding the bag” commented Matt Cutts in the video.  That is a pretty good analogy as you would have a lot of work to do get the domain off of Googles blacklisted domain list and not be recognized as a spam domain.

You can submit a reconsideration request to Google if you have purposefully (most of the the time people buy domains not knowing) bought a spam domain.  Cutts mentions in the video though it would be kind of a pain to take and document everything so can Google take a reconsideration request seriously from it’s long list of blacklisted domains.  (If your current domain name has been marked as spam domain you can also file a Google reconsideration request.)

If Johan could get the spam domain in question for free, then I wouldn’t see a problem with it.  He would have a lot of work to do though.  In the video Matt Cutts mentions that the domain in question Johan is interested in purchasing is $5,000 dollars!  I wonder what drugs that blackhat spammer was taking when he quoted that price?

I personally would never buy a domain that has been blacklisted, let alone one for that amount of money.  If you register a brand new domain name you are starting at the ground floor and it is easier to work to make the domain and site into what you want.  (Of course it is still a pain to get ranked and have good SEO on any site.)  Cutts says, “When you start out you are already in that hole” meaning it is going to be hard and a lot of work to get the domain unmarked from being a spam domain.

If you are really interested in the domain that has been used for spamming, I would recommend just waiting until the spammer drops the domain name.  Once it gets dropped and you can hand-register it Google will no longer be on Google’s blacklisted domain list.

Anytime your purchase domain names on the secondary market from well-known company or private seller it always a good idea to check the DNS Blacklist to see if any of them are blacklisted domains.

 

Matt Cutts doesn’t recommend ccTLD Domain Hacks

In a Google Webmaster video that was released today Matt Cutts seems to suggest that using what is known as “Domain Hacks” is not necessarily a great idea.  Here is the question that he responded to in the the Google Webmaster video.

We have a vanity domain (http://ran.ge) that unfortunately isn’t one of the generic TLDs, which means we can’t set our geographic target in Webmaster Tools. Is there any way to still target our proper location?

Aaron D Campbell, Phoenix, AZ

I am glad Aaron asked this as using a vanity domain, aka Domain Hacks, is something I was curios to know since I have thought about registering a few.  For those don’t know, Domains Hacks or a vanity domain is when a person, business, or site decides to utilize a country code top level domain (ccTLD) to complete a word or phrase.  This is instead of using a more generic top level domain (gTLD) such as a COM, NET, or ORG.  A good example of a Domain Hack would be Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WordPress, using Ma.TT for his personal blog.  The .TT domain extension is technically for Trinidad & Tobago but Matt Mullenweg isn’t using it for a business for Trinidad & Tobago just his personal blog.

Over the past couple years vanity domains and domain hacks have really grown in popularity and use.  Most domainers, internet marketers, and web professionals know that finding a good .COM domain at a reasonable price is slim nowadays.  Even finding a suitable .NET  and. ORG domain these days that has not been taken can also be a challenge.  I felt lucky when I was able to get the domain for Singing Dogs.

A lot of savy internet entrepreneurs have turned to using domain hacks and vanity domains like Aaron and his business partners with Ran.GE which I think is a smart domain.  (In case you didn’t watch the video that is the ccTLD for Georgia. No, not the the US state the country.)

While there are quite clever domain hacks and vanity domains in use, Matt Cutts warns that Google categorizes ccTLDs as being for the specific country that they were originally intended for.  So if you are using .ES, the ccTLD for Spain, Google will assume you are targeting Spanish traffic since that is mainly what the domain is for.  So unfortunately Aaron and his buddies can’t tell Google specifically that, “Hey, this domain is not for the country of Georgia.”

There have been a few successful ccTLDs that have gone mainstream in the past few years.  This includes .ME the original ccTLD for Montenegro, .CO which was originally for Columbia, and .TV which was the ccTLD for islands of Tuvalu.  A lot of internet start-ups really like .ME and .CO which I don’t really understand honestly.  The domain extension .TV is somewhat popular due to the fact it can be used for video and show purposes.  (Keep in mind though that since these were adopted for use globally they are treated differently by Google now.)

What I took away from the video was that it is better to stick with a gTLD (com, net, org) since there won’t be any confusion with Google or more importantly site visitors.  So you might want to think carefully before registering  domain hacks or vanity domains.

5 Reasons Why Domain Parking SUCKS

domain names

For most web entrepreneurs, internet marketers, and anyone that has built websites or online businesses you have experience with domain names.  Talk to a lot of internet professionals about domain names and you hear this a lot, “I have tons of domain names I am not doing anything with!”

Something a lot of people do with those extra domain names is something known as domain parking.  However, domain parking is not a good business model if you want to make money online or if you are planning to build a legitimate business or website on a domain name.

For those that are reading this that are not aware of what domain parking is, I guess I should explain.  Domain parking is when someone “parks” a domain name by putting ads on it instead of a website with content.  The ads are generally served based on what the domain name’s category is or if it is some random odd word or combination or words or numbers it will just show ads.  You make money on parking a domain when a visitor to your “website” clicks on one of the ads.  The revenue is split with a domain parking company and you get a portion of that money.

1. Google does not Like Domain Parking

Google does not like parked domains as they do not provide value or content that a user would find useful.  As a web user why would you want to see ads instead of good content about the subject you are searching for?  Therefore parked domains do not get indexed by Google.  This Google Webmaster Video from Matt Cutts illustrates why domain parking is not a good plan for someone who wants to build a website or business on a domain.

2. Type-Ins?

Parking domains and the domain parking industry rely heavily on the fact that someone will type-in that specific domain. Since Google won’t index parked domains to be in included in the Google search index, it is hard to generate traffic and revenue from parking.

The domain parking model is great for a domainer (a person who buys, sells, or parks domains) that was lucky enough to buy “Computers.com” or some premium generic domain back in the day.  The majority of domains most people buy might only receive a small number of type-ins and let’s be serious, most people are not going to be clicking on those ads.  Users will be navigating… away!

3. Revenue Sucks

If you talk to most domainers nowadays they will tell you that parking revenue generated from the few site visitors that dare click on parked domain ads has gone waaay done over the past couple years.  Most of the time even if you are earning revenue on a good parked domain, if you make $10 bucks from parking your domain name to pay the yearly registration fee, consider yourself very lucky my friend.

By the way, personally I have never clicked on a parked domain ad and never intend to.  (Unless it is by accident.)

The days of great domain parking revenue are slowly slipping away.

4. Google It

Internet users are getting smarter and smarter these days.  While a lot of people still don’t use bookmarks (why people, why?) and will in fact type-in domains they know and trust, they are not typing in generic domains as much as you would think.

Most people use Google to find what they are looking for and if you go back to my reason #1, you understand why the domain parking model doesn’t work so well.  If you are not going to show-up in a Google search or other search engines it is very hard to make money on a parked domain.

Most people “Google it” nowadays.

5. It’s Not Interesting

If you are around a group of your friends and you tell them about domain parking, even if you are making a lot of money, are they really going to be interested?  They might ask questions about it and be curios for a little while because you are making money on the internet and let’s be honest who doesn’t love that?

Killer web content or a web business you are trying to launch it’s going to catch someone’s attention a lot more.  Wouldn’t you rather appear to be a slick entrepreneur than a guy praying for users to unintentionally type-in your parked domain?

Building a legitimate business on a domain will always be better than hoping for traffic on a non-existent site.  Event the big domainers out there have good web businesses built on domains they own.

That’s my opinion but I am sure some domainers would disagree.

Domain Parking… Sucks!

If you have spare domains I recommend you try parking them for a few months and you can see what I am talking about.  Some domain parking companies you might want to look into are ParkingCrew, VooDoo, Bodis, RookMedia, and InternetTraffic.  There are a lot of other ones too but I am pretty sure you will come away disappointed even if you have generated some revenue, like I have.

If you have a lot of domains that you are not doing anything or that are being parked, I would recommend you take a hard look at your domain portfolio.  Consider what you do and don’t have time to develop.  Think of what you future plans are and what you what sites you would build under certain domains.  If some don’t fit try to find a buyer and get a reasonable price for the domain.  If you do want to do something with a particular domain name make sure to do what Matt Cutts suggests and put a paragraph or two up on the site so that you will get indexed.

What do you think of my list of 5 Reasons Why Domain Parking SUCKS? If you like or don’t like my list or have something to say, leave a comment below.  Tell me I am a#@hole or say I give great advice. Let’s hear it!

Catch me on Twitter @AdamYamada … if you can!