Generic Domains to Drive Traffic and Increase Profits

By Jeremiah Johnston, COO of SEDO

More and more, consumers are bypassing search engines and typing terms relevant to their searches directly into Web browsers. As a result, many businesses are using generic or descriptive domain names to capture these prospects - they generate tremendous natural type-in traffic and are highly relevant to searcher intent.

In fact, the value of these domains was validated by the results of Sedo's Q2 Market Study for 2009 which revealed ongoing, strong demand with more than $15 million in sales for premium generic domains.

These domains provide an effective way to maximize Web presence, drive traffic and ultimately bring more customers to a company's doorstep. For example, if you type "" into your browser, you will be immediately redirected to Bank of America's website. Bank of America purchased the domain to encourage loan seekers to use their services. Not only does the company profit from being associated with loans, it's receiving a large amount of additional traffic to its main website. Another example is the domain "," which redirects to CNN's financial page.

This growing interest in acquiring additional domain names has been encouraged by new and easier methods of attaining them - most domain registrars help businesses navigate the secondary domain market, even if those domains are already owned. Many top generic domains will come with a lofty price, but with a little keyword research and creativity there will be many domains available that can help drive qualified, type-in traffic to your website.

When considering a generic domain online marketing strategy, consider these tips:

Think like a Web surfer. People type generic terms expecting to find goods or services related to that subject. Try to stay on-target with your generic domains so that users feel secure when being redirected to another domain.

Consider using quirky names that are also relevant to your business. Examples might include slang terms or catch phrases. Like CNN's, might attract a particular audience.

Don't be afraid of the long tail. While single-word generic domains like are the most desirable, there is plenty of value in longer variations. Catchy long-tail domains are easy to market if they are memorable.

Flip that domain. Just because you don't sell a product related to a good generic domain doesn't mean you can't profit. A good domain is attractive to many buyers who didn't take advantage of the opportunity. There are many places to sell domains including,,, and even eBay.

About the Author: Jeremiah Johnston is chief operating officer of the online domain name and website marketplace, Sedo. Johnston oversees a variety of responsibilities for Sedo including marketing, legal and strategy. He represents Sedo as a founding member of the Internet Commerce Association (ICA) and sits on the Board of Directors in the role of association president, helping to shape the future of domain names in the political space.

Go Global Quickly

The Web has few borders, so take advantage of the widespread opportunities. Country-level domain extensions such as (United Kingdom) and (Mexico) are available for purchase and present an excellent opportunity to brand your business internationally. This becomes even more important if you have a product of value in a particular country or region.

Do a little research before purchasing generic, country-level domains. Find out what items or services are popular there, and watch out for any regional dialects or differences in meanings of particular words. Also, a website in the native language or at least the ability to translate the site into that language is important.