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Domain Name Buying Strategies

In today's world of e-business, one of the biggest advantages you have as a domain name buyer is control. The industry is chock full of companies offering domain name registration services, empowering you to seek out precisely what you are looking for.

But although you are ultimately in control, buying a domain name still requires careful con­si­dera­ti­on. After all, you want to buy a useful domain that is backed by a reliable registrar.

Obviously, the first step in purchasing a domain is to think of a name. When searching for a name, forget about purchasing a single-world .com, .net or .org domain name; virtually all of these have already been snapped up. Instead, try to think of word variations or word combinations that are easy to remember and spell.

If you can't think of a suitable name on your own, there are several tools available that can help you. (Nameboy is one of the most powerful and popular tools; simply enter two keywords in to the site's interface, and it will return several dozen domain name ideas.)

Once you've settled on a domain name, be sure to shop around for a reasonable price before committing to a registrar. The days of the $100 domain name are over; many reputable companies now offer domains as low as nine or ten dollars. When shopping, keep your eyes peeled for any value added services you may find useful, including:

  • Domain name parking/­temporary one-page sites
  • URL forwarding
  • Free e-mail forwarding
  • Technical support
  • Online control panel

Remember, the industry is so saturated that you are in control. Therefore, shop around for a deal you feel best suits you prior to registering. You'll want to make the right choice the first time, as transferring your domain to a new registrar is rarely a pleasant experience.

When shopping for a domain, it is also important to keep an eye open for domain name scams. The surging popularity of domain name affiliate programs has created countless "fly by night" operations; dozens of domain name resellers worldwide cease operations every month, often leaving the ad­mi­nis­tra­tive status of the domains they leave behind up in the air. Making a purchase from a reseller is not a bad decision, but make sure to research the company's history and credentials. There are less than 170 ICANN-accredited registrars (that is, non-resellers) for .com, .net and .org domains worldwide; a full list is available here.

Once you've picked a domain and a registrar, you will need to decide how long to purchase it for. While shorter lengths of time can initially appear cheaper, they also require more frequent renewals, and can therefore be more expensive over the long haul - so consider the future of your domain before you buy it. Will you still like the domain name in six months? How about a year? Do you ever plan to use it? Is it worth buying at all? These are all important questions to consider before committing funds.

And finally, keep a record of everything. Make sure you know when your domain will expire, who you registered it with, and even the name(s) you registered (you would be amazed at how easy they are to forget). The last thing you want to do is scramble to renew a domain you forgot about.