Domain-NamesSelecting a domain name is an integral decision that should be highly strategic for all businesses. Domain names are words, letters and sometimes numbers used to identify a business or a website on the internet. Strong domain names are easily recognizable and are powerful from a consumer perspective. Especially for e-commerce businesses that look to the internet as their primary source of revenue, selecting a domain name name can be the difference between success and failure. Thus, domain names have become very valuable commodities. From business names to generic and catchy terms that identify a product or service, domain names have become very valuable assets to businesses. That said, as competitors cannot prevent one another from using descriptive and generic business names and terms – because these words and terms cannot function as trademarks – developing a distinct, memorable brand is often very advantageous.  It all depends on the company’s business strategy in the particular target market.

Descriptive Domain Names

A descriptive domain name is a website name (for example: for Freeze Dried Food) that features a word or words that describe what an internet user or internet consumer will find on that specific 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 because the expense of branding is minimal and, more often than not, cannot acquire federal trademark protection. For example, the starting auction price for was $5 million.

Descriptive domain names featuring a word or a combination of words generally cannot be trademarked on their own.  However, descriptive terms can obtain trademark rights under certain circumstances – but it is extremely difficult and requires a significant amount of marketing dollars.

Domain name selection should be a highly strategic consideration for any entrepreneur or business owner. Domain names have become hot commodities. From company names to generic and catchy terms, domain names have become very valuable assets of the business.

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 – a business that sell chairs. Aspirin is a well known example of a designation that once was a very strong trademark but through common usage acquired a generic label. Generic domain names are also extremely valuable.

Some other examples of generic and descriptive domain names include: reigned as the world’s most expensive domain name after its 1999 sale for $7.5 million. However, in 2006, sold for $14 million dollars. But the record for the most expensive domain name,, sold for $16 million dollars to marketing firm QuinStreet. Other top dollar domains sales of 2009 include purchased for $5.1 million, for $3.3 million, and which sold for $3 million.

In summary, selecting a domain name is an extremely important step in establishing a successful business and ensuring its future value. This is especially true for ecommerce businesses and internet businesses that rely on search engine results and rankings.