We’ve shared our industry-insider tips for buying a high-quality domain and explained the benefits of choosing a short domain name. But every bit as important as getting the right domain is avoiding the few fatal mistakes that can shoot down your chances of bagging yourself a premium domain.
Here’s what you SHOULDN’T do once you’ve set your sights on a premium domain.
Don’t rush headfirst into buying a domain on impulse
You’re excited about your business idea. You don’t really want to waste time following advice from ‘how to buy premium domains’ guides. We completely understand. But remember – buying a domain is a big decision for your business. It should be considered as an investment.
Ultimately it pays to take your time. Don’t simply buy a premium domain on the spur of a moment. Research your options thoroughly and create a list of possibilities.
Don’t overlook the importance of researching the seller and the premium domain
Researching a premium domain seller – who is the seller – are they a serial premium domain seller? Does the person have social profiles that you can research?
Researching a premium domain – Ask:
- Does the premium domain have any undesirable backlinks associated? Use a tool such as Open Site Explorer or Majestic SEO to find out.
- Has it been penalized by Google? Always ask for a screenshot of the domain’s Webmaster backend before considering a sale (any penalties will be shown under the Manual Actions > Search Traffic tab).
- Does the domain name include a trademarked name? Head over to the USPTO to double check that you won’t invest in an unusable domain name.
- What does Google say? Search for the premium domain name in quotes “” – e.g. “glitzyshoes” – are any concerning listings returned? (i.e. Glitzy Shoes Rip Off Reports)
Don’t try to buy premium domain names through trickery
Some domain buyers try to trick their seller into selling at a lower price. Using two (or more) different profiles they’ll send in two under-market value offers. The aim is to mislead the seller into believing that they’ve overvalued their premium domain. But the last laugh is usually on the seller as, more often than not, it leads to the seller thinking that there’s plenty of interest (so they then go on to hike the price even further!).
Don’t ask a domain owner whether you can buy their premium domain name
Think of this as a strategic negotiation – and what should you NEVER do when negotiating? That’s right – reveal your position. By contacting a domain owner of your own accord, you tell them who you are, and they gain a full understanding of how much you may have to spend.
They may also assess your competitors and create a bidding war between you and them (the worst possible situation you can find yourself in when buying a premium domain).
Don’t think you can get away with masking your identity
Those that offer premium domain names for sale are usually seasoned negotiators. They’re not easily fooled by potential buyers who attempt to hide their identity through a new email and a fake name (so don’t even try it!).
Don’t use either the domain landing page or a domain registrar to submit an offer
First, you may give away your identity (something that you don’t want to do for reasons explained in tip four).
Second (and far more serious) is the fact that you may unwittingly be obliging yourself to pay a fee to the registrars should you go through with the sale.
Don’t get ahead of yourself by filing a trademark (you could give the game away)
Don’t think that you’re being super diligent by registering your trademark before you’ve purchased your premium domain. All trademarks are listed on websites that are freely searchable.
Domain hijackers will closely watch these websites, and quickly register a range of associated domains before the trademark owner has had a chance to. You’ll then be effectively held to ransom, while they place your premium domains for sale.
Don’t imagine your online future with your targeted premium domain before the deal is signed and sealed
We know how it is – you’ve found the PERFECT domain and the website looks like it was abandoned long ago. This is the premium domain for you, isn’t it?
Don’t do it. Always keep your options open with a list of possible domains, rather than setting your heart on only one. That way you can remain objective and won’t fall into the trap of either paying over the odds, or being so short-sighted you miss other great potential premium domains.
Don’t drive up traffic to the premium domain by visiting it over and over again
With every trip you take, you should hear an ominous ‘ka-ching’ in the background, as you’ll be adding to the traffic of the website (and therefore also adding to the asking price).
Premium domains typically already attract a good amount of traffic (either that or they are short, highly competitive words).
Worse still, the run the risk of waving a big red flag that your repeat visits are due to you considering buying the domain. All they need to do is analyze the IP addresses that have been visiting the web page and bingo! They instantly know exactly who’s interested in buying their premium domain.
Don’t register ANY similar top-level domains (TLDs) before planning to buy a premium domain
Registering similar TLDs signal to the domain owner that you’ll soon be making an offer. After all, what other reason could there be for you buying the .co, .ltd and .uk TLDs.
Already made this mistake? You can attempt to limit the repercussions, by ensuring that your domains are obscured with private Whois information.
It’s difficult, we know. You want to get up and running. You may even have a website on a test site ready to go live. But being impatient is the worst mistake you can make when it comes to buying a premium domain.
Don’t eagerly pay up – ensure that you’re protected
Domains are officially classified as digital goods, so it can be difficult (if not impossible) to seek a refund should things go awry. If you aren’t using a broker or another middle man you need to ensure that you’re using a bona fide service (i.e. escrow.com).
You’ll also need a legal document in a place known as a purchase agreement. This will detail the legalities of the deal and list the terms of the sale.