Surprisingly, this is a very controversial question. It plays a central part right now in a big lawsuit, where Verisign (they run the .com domain system) is suing XYZ.com (they run the .xyz domain system) and its CEO Daniel Negari for among other things talking badly about .com domains. Verisign specifically takes issue with the promotional video XYZ.com posted on their site where they say “With over 120 million .coms registered today, it’s impossible to find the domain name that you want.” Obviously it is not really “impossible,” but the question at hand is how true that statement really is. Is XYZ.com just exaggerating a little like many ads do or are they being disparaging?
I consider finding the right domain name to be a skill. Like Googling is a skill. Many times people will search for something in a search engine and not find what they are looking for, but I can find it within seconds. The same goes for .com domains. You just need to know how to look.
Just recently I set up a bunch of new sites (they each aggregate content from many other websites, all on one page), and I needed .com domains for them. I spent anywhere from 5-30 minutes making a list of available names I liked for each site, and this is what I ended up using:
TechGrapevine.com – The latest technology news from dozens of leading tech sites.
HearPodcasts.com – Listen to podcasts from dozens of different sites.
BadFails.com – Thousands of epic fail videos, updated daily.
BigCashflows.com – Business wisdom from the leading entrepreneurial blogs to help you get rich.
WildLists.com – Fun, crazy, and amazing top 10 type lists updated daily.
HugeStartups.com – A constantly updated list of new products and services from startup companies.
Also, I was trying to register a domain for weird news stories and happened that same day to get an email from JustDropped.com (sign up for their free daily list of domains) that had TotallyOdd.com for sale for $69 so I bought it and set up the site. That same week they had the domain Wordisms.com for sale for $99, and although I was not looking for a word related domain, I bought it anyhow because it was short and catchy. I used it to set up a site listing funny, made-up words. I also purchased UltimateRiches.com from them for $69 but nine months later (the day I started working on making the site) I discovered it was no longer in my registrar account (at Moniker.com). I knew it would take a few weeks to find out what happened, and I did not want to wait to get the site started, so I spent 15 minutes looking at alternative domains to register instead and settled on BigCashFlows.com. It turns out that when the JustDropped.com Moniker.com account rep pushed the domain to my Moniker.com account on their behalf, it either did not transfer like it was supposed to, or it did transfer but by mistake kept the JustDropped.com’s ownership/contact info. When JustDropped.com did a bulk transfer of all of their domains a few months later, this domain got accidentally included. Moniker.com has had huge technical problems over the past few years, so none of this surprises me. Dan at JustDropped.com was great about it and offered to give me the domain back, or a comparable domain to replace it.
Here’s an example of the process I go through when trying to think of a domain to use. When I was looking for a domain for my tech news site, I created this list of domains that were all available to register:
I ended up choosing TechGrapevine.com.
Sometimes I use a domain name generator site to help me find available names. You just type in a keyword (like “flowers”), and it will suggest dozens of flower domains, all of which are available for registration. Some free sites that do this include:
Below is another example of my domain name registration process. Last year, I bought the domain BrainTumors.com for $6,600 and set up a site on it with brain tumor diagnosis and treatment info, but it made no money. I eventually gave up and decided to use a different name, so I could try to sell the BrainTumors.com domain. I came up with this list of replacements that were available to register:
Sometimes the name I want is for a topic where lots of good domains are available. For example, I am working on something related to noise cancellation technology (a type of soundproofing), and in 5 minutes off the top of my head I found all of these good domains were still available:
I chose StopSounds.com.
I also recently changed my OfficeHumor.com site so it instead uses the domain OfficeJokers.com (which I hand-registered), so I could sell the OfficeHumor.com domain. And I replaced LocalArea.com with LocalRecap.com (which I hand-registered) for the same reason. Neither site had any significant traffic, so changing the domain did not cause any problems.
Here are some other new sites I registered domains for:
CelebStartups.com – A list of companies started by celebrities.
BingeShows.com – A list of recommended TV shows for you to binge watch.
WatchBackwards.com – Upload a video and watch it backwards.
Precrastinators.com – About people who have an urge to get everything done in advance.
ShakyVideos.com – Upload your shaky video and download a stabilized version.
BingePodcasts.com – Links to thrilling and amazing podcasts you can binge listen to.
CryptoConversions.com – A currency converter to let you know how much cryptocurrency is worth.
It is pretty clear from all the examples I gave in this blog posting that it is still possible to find good .com domain names. You just can’t usually get the exact one you want. It will be interesting to see what happens in the upcoming Verisign/XYZ.com courtroom battle.
11/20/15 Update: Verisign lost their case against .XYZ, see details at http://www.thedomains.com/2015/11/20/judge-in-1st-verisign-vs-xyz-case-publishes-15-page-memorandum/.