Dictionary domains in .COM/.NET/.ORG – Sure winners!

Ever since I started registering domains with the intention to develop or resell (the option to monetize was added much later) I decided to stick to the same basic principle: if it’s in the dictionary, it’s something I can use. If I can use it, others can. If others can, then I have established the motive to register or purchase it.

I can honestly say that the selling potential of dictionary .com, .net, .org domains – the original TLD triad – is a sure winner. As long as I don’t need a dictionary to establish what the word means! Of course, there are dubious spellings or common typos, but the bottom line is that a positive dictionary word serves its purpose well, in real life and in the online commerce world.

I recall buying Gravity.org for a mere $105 on DNForum, at a time when everyone else was looking to buy domains with type-in traffic or typos. I’ve stuck to my guns of picking up dictionary domains as often as I can and this principle has paid off in the long run, more times than I can recall. Four years ago, Gravity.org was sold to a nice guy, who has since then developed it into a beautiful web site depicting his literary work.

Later on, I discovered a great source of such dictionary domains in the form of a well-known parking guru who decided to do what was best at that time, having had thousands of domains that generated little parking income and had renewal fees to be paid. I managed to pick up a lot of these domains in private transactions or via forums; others I bought on eBay and via direct communication with their owners.

There were so many dictionary domains in these days between 2002-2005 that could be had for as little as $20 to just over $100 – I became more organized when such sales would occur, by keeping Notepad open to paste into it the entire list and then I’d delete quickly the names I did not want. I found that to be faster than pasting over the ones that I might want.

It’s shocking even to me, that one such domain that I picked for $50 at a “feeding frenzy” sale on DNForum three years ago, was just sold for a whopping $6,000 via Sedo. Then again, I’ve had other such large sales of dictionary domains in the past – but none resulted in such a high return on investment. I will have to thank my traffic guru seller for this. By the way, it’s an .ORG!

It’s often frustrating trying to sell dictionary domains with inherent potential at reseller forums; the expected responses immediately inquire about traffic stats. When the brand is built around a domain that cannot be misspelled or mistyped, the traffic shall come. What won’t come again, is an abundance of dictionary words in the original three TLDs.

Frank Schilling, in his last blog post in months made this monumental statement:

A few years back I was approached by a company and encouraged to place my domain names for sale through their marketplace. I was given a host of reasons why this was a good idea. “These names don’t make any money”.. “ Selling the names will actually improve my overall portfolio’s value”.. “Selective pruning is just prudent”. Shortly thereafter, a second domain marketplace called. They suggested I sell my names through ‘them’ and that I should cap my purchase prices at $5,000 because that was the limit of automated credit card processors in their scenario.. They even sent me a list of names that I should sell.. tens of thousands of them that don’t make enough to cover their renewals.. and If I could get $2,000-$5,000 each wouldn’t that be Fabulous?! The problem as I looked through my list was that many of the names they suggested I sell were pretty good. I’d pay more than 2-5k for many of these names if they were dropping at auction. I politely declined their offer.

One should employ additional means of measuring the potential value of a domain, other than its visitor figures, and dictionary domains maintain a strong reselling potential regardless of the existing traffic. An experienced domainer will soon acquire a “gut feeling”, an “on-the-fly” evaluation ability that only comes after several successful transactions – and a few monumental failures.

At the same time, one should ensure that a solid business plan is in place; for which I recommend the services of a qualified Certified Public Accountant (CPA) so that every dollar earned or expended is accounted for. I know that I will paying a whole lot more in taxes next year.

What is the domain that resulted in an 120-fold ROI ? You’ll have to keep your eyes peeled on Sedo‘s sales for that, in the next few days 🙂


  1. I totally agree with you. Dictionary .com, .net and .org are here to stay. Screw parking, flipping dictionary 1-worders pays the biggest bucks. 🙂

    Another great article Theo!

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