There are many websites offering great advice from successful people in the domain industry, with tons of tips for beginners. I haven’t had as much success as some seasoned domainers, but as a beginner, I think I'm in a unique position to help others like me learn the ropes. Here are some tips written by a beginner, for beginners. We were all beginners at one point, but time and experience alter our perception. I think it's easy for experienced domainers to forget what it was like to get started in this industry. I was a kid once, but for the life of me, I can't understand what my three-year old son was thinking when he gleefully jumped off of a seven-foot play structure. So even though I do not know as much as some of the top domainers in the industry, there is still value in sharing the perspective of a beginner that I don’t think you can get from listening to seasoned domainers. Having recently taken my own great leap into the domain industry, the pain from my rookie mistakes is still fresh. I may be a toddler in the domain industry, but luckily I have better language skills than an actual toddler, which will allow me to share some of the lessons that those mistakes have taught me. Be Wary of Things You Don't Understand A few weeks ago, I started reading about numerical domain names (numeric domains, for short). I believe that these domains have a higher value in the Chinese market because of the universal understanding of numbers across cultures and the relatively limited supply of short and finite domains. People have been buying them in large quantities, hoping to hold them as investments and sell them for sizable profits months or years from now. In fact, these domains have become so popular in recent years that it is now impossible to hand-register a .com domain that is six numbers or less. To me, that means that any six-number (6N) domain, like 712856.com, has significantly more value than a longer alphabetical domain that is available to hand register, like FancyClothesForSale.com, even though the latter domain has a meaning that makes sense. How bizarre is that? I reasoned that if all of the 6N .com domains were taken, then seven-number (7N) .com domains would soon become a hot commodity. I started to search for 7N .com domains, and even they were scarce, with good patterns and repeating digits, like 8866688, already taken. So, I searched for less popular patterns until I found one that was available: 8080860.com. I registered it and decided to register a few more that had all of the same digits except for the sixth one, e.g., 8080820.com. I registered names in this pattern with the numbers 2, 3, 4, and 5 as the sixth digit. My reasoning: These domains have patterns, or something pretty close to patterns, which I thought was good. They contain 8’s, which is often considered the most desirable number in China. Even though they have zeroes, they all end with a zero, which I believe is good. The same pattern with the numbers 0, 1, 7, 8, and 9 in the sixth digit were already gone - registered by someone else. What I've learned since then made me realize that buying these domains was a mistake: While the supply of 6N .com domains is limited, with only one million possible combinations, 7N .com domains have ten million possible combinations. More supply often leads to less demand. There are still a lot of 7N .com domains available for registration, while 6N domains are rarer. While domain investors are buying 7N domains, they aren’t able to sell most of them as often or quickly. A quick look on GoDaddy Auctions showed me that the only 7N domains that are selling on the aftermarket are the most premium ones, with many repeating numbers and/or great patterns. The 7N domains that are selling don't seem to contain multiple zeroes. Unlike keyword domains, business users are not driving the value of these numeric domains. Domain investors are the ones buying them by the hundreds and sometimes thousands. I believe that at some point, investors will realize that there aren't enough customers who want to use these names, and the bubble will burst. At that point, I think it's entirely possible that even six-digit domains will have little to no value. I am not suggesting that anyone should or should not buy 7N domains. Maybe 7N domains will rise in value. Maybe they won't. Maybe I'll even sell the ones I bought for a few bucks one day. But for my initial investment, that is irrelevant. I was uninformed about the market I was investing in. I didn't understand how to value numeric names. I still don't know how to sell them and get top value for them. I made a decision because I was following the masses, even though I didn’t understand what I was investing in. Thus, it was a mistake for me to invest in them. That won't happen again. From now on, I'm going to study the value of a name before I buy it. If It Seems Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is Maybe you've scanned lists of deleted .com names and noticed some beauties sitting there. Domains that get a million exact search hits or more per month. These “gems” could be names like GoogleDocs.com, Facebok.com, or T-w-i-t-t-e-r.com. Great domains, right? How did everyone miss out on these winners? Clearly this is your lottery moment. Think again. Domainers must concern themselves with trademarks. While some investors have apparently found ways to make a decent penny from cybersquatting or typosquatting, it is a risky game that can lead to consequences ranging from getting one’s domain name taken away to getting sued for a lot of money. It’s best to focus on domains that aren't attempting to profit on an already-established company's brand. Along the same lines, I think it’s important to double-check the spelling of any fantastic-looking domain name before paying for it. I recently salivated onto my keyboard upon seeing "FristClass.com" among the deleted domains list on ExpiredDomains.net. I misread it as “FirstClass.com” and typed the name into GoDaddy's search bar only to be told that it was already registered. Only then did I notice the very subtle typographical error. Not only does “FirstClass.com” have strong commercial potential, but a quick check on Google's Keyword Planner tells us that it gets about 110,000 searches per month. Meanwhile, its poor misspelled cousin gets around 480 monthly searches, and no one knows what it means. A few other “beauties” I recently saw: vldeo.com, iphone--6.com, and p-a-y-p-a-l.com. There’s a reason these domain names are available, and it’s not because they slipped past every other domainer in the business. Stay away from them. If you're unsure about the legal implications or potential consequences of registering a particular domain name, you might want to post a question on the public or private Legal Discussion pages to see what others think. Stick With What Works This goes hand-in-hand with the first lesson. There are many ways to make money in the domain industry, but they might not all jive with what you're good at. Maybe you'll really take to numeric domains, or maybe you’ll do better with keywords. Maybe you'll be great at getting a feel for your local markets and selling geo-specific domains to those businesses. Perhaps you'll become a master of quick-flipping domain names, or at intuitively holding some for years until the market is ready for them. You might learn or already have web-developing skills, and use them to create great lead-building or affiliate business sites. Maybe you’ll blog about something you love and gain a following. Or, you could be so comfortable talking to strangers that you'll excel at peddling domains to end-user executives around the world. Whatever your strengths are, there are ways to apply them to domaining. I truly believe that those are the areas where you'll eventually see the most success. And when you do find your strength within the industry, you might want to stick with it. If you love what you're doing, you'll probably do it well and keep coming back for more. For the record, I'm still looking for my domaining strengths, but I know they're there. I can feel it! Quality Over Quantity: Patience Is a Virtue Say you only have $200 to plant a garden. You want the garden to grow and expand under your care, eventually producing food for your family to eat. How do you envision accomplishing this plan? Do you see yourself walking into the garden center, buying $200 worth of seed packets at random, sprinkling them haphazardly on your garden bed at home, then sitting back and waiting for nature to take its course? Probably not. In fact, that plan is rather flawed. However, that's essentially how a lot of domainers, such as myself, get started. Registrars and domain auction sites make it so tempting these days to make the wrong bets, especially for someone with a gambling spirit and a glimmer of hope. We throw our budget all over the place in the first couple of days, picking up all kinds of cheap, "interesting" names without considering why they're cheap and easily accessible. Instead of sprinkling random seeds and hoping for the best, you may find it valuable to learn how to garden before plowing through your entire budget. Learn what works best in your climate and how to mix your plants in the most beneficial ways. Spend your money on a select few of the right plants, rather than buying a bunch of random cheap ones. Talk to other gardeners. Nurture the soil. Fertilize. Then plant the vegetables. I believe this analogy applies to domaining. If you've never read about domain names, you may not make the best investing choices. Learn about the industry first! I wish I had studied the business a bit more before buying my first domains. Granted, I never would have waited six months to start investing, like some suggest, as I'm impatient. Still, it is important to learn first so that hopefully you can buy a few of the right domains and nurture your investments, rather than spending your money on a bunch of the wrong ones. No One Is an Island I'm just starting to realize this: while sitting alone at your kitchen table, looking at your computer screen, it's easy to forget that there are countless people who have done and continue to do this successfully. There are some pretty tight and friendly networks of domainers out there, and I've found that most of them love helping out the new folks who are sincerely trying to learn. The NamePros community is a great place to start chatting with some of these folks. They're an invaluable resource for domainers that want to improve their skills. I can really see the value of establishing a network of domaining peers as early as possible. They can give you feedback on your ideas and advice on things you've never attempted. They may send potential customers your way and might even alert you to investment opportunities that may interest you. Maybe most importantly, they can give you a sense of community in what could otherwise be a very solitary and isolated pursuit. People are good. Success Won't Come to You. Go Out There and Get It. This is true for most things in life. However, I think it's especially important for domaining. I know that when I started looking into this industry, I had real expectations of finding some great names rather quickly and somehow convincing people to pay me a lot of money for them. I soon realized that it just doesn't work that way. I believe that the great names are already owned, and I don’t think there's any more quick money to be made in domains. It will take a lot of work and passion to become successful in this business. Some people seem to develop a knack for domaining very quickly, but if you learn a bit about them, you’ll probably see that they put a lot of time and work in to get started. It can take years to get established in domaining, and many will fail. Even for those that put in the work, like myself, failure is still a possibility. Be that as it may, I don’t think there is a way to succeed in any industry without working hard. Putting the time and passion will give you a chance at success, and I hope these tips that I have provided will help you get there.