Domain names are ordinary words, letters, or numbers that signify the location of a website on the internet. Domain names are easily recognizable and therefore, powerful. In e-commerce, name recognition can be the difference between success and failure. Thus, domain names have become hot commodities. From company names to generic and catchy terms, domain names have become very valuable assets of the business. That said, since competitors can use similar descriptive and generic business names and terms, developing a distinct, memorable brand is often very difficult.
Descriptive Domain Names
A descriptive domain name is a domain name (for example: www.lawyer-chicago.com for Chicago Business Lawyers
) that features a word or words that describe what a internet user or internet searcher will find on that particular website. These domain names are typically products or services but can also be categories, processes, phrases, job titles, and dictionary words. Descriptive domain names are the most valuable domain names in the market. For example, the starting auction price for XXX.com was $5 million. See this article
for a list of recently sold descriptive domain names.
Descriptive domain names featuring a word or a combination of words generally cannot be trademarked on their own. However, descriptive terms can be obtain trademark protections under certain circumstances.
Generic Domain Names
Closely related to the descriptive domain names are generic domain names. A generic term is one that refers, or has come to be understood as referring, to the genus of the particular product or business service. It cannot be a trademark under any circumstances.
Generic domain names may exist in two possible forms. They may be inherently generic or may otherwise acquire generic qualities. An example of an inherently generic designation would be the domain name Chair.com to designate a seat. The best known example of a designation that once has a very strong trademark but through common usage acquired a generic label, is Aspirin. Generic domain names
are also extremely valuable.
Some other examples of generic and descriptive domain names include: Business.com reigned as the world's most expensive domain name after its 1999 sale for $7.5 million. However, in 2006, Sex.com sold for $14 million dollars. But the record for the most expensive domain name, Insure.com, sold for $16 million dollars to marketing firm QuinStreet. Other top dollar domains sales of 2009 include Toys.com, purchased for $5.1 million, Wine.com for $3.3 million, and Candy.com, which sold for $3 million.
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