Web Profile: LeaseThis - Test Driving Domains

It's no secret that prime top-level domains (TLDs) are getting harder and harder to find. And, as domain names continue to fly off the shelves, purchasing an existing name can be a costly proposition. But the rewards of a well branded domain are immense.

Statistics vary, but a good portion of website traffic comes from users typing a topic or keyword, adding .com and searching for it or simply entering the term directly into their browser. Additionally, as search continues to evolve (or devolve, depending who you ask), the benefits of a recognizable and memorable domain name are clear - including spending less time and money on your search marketing campaigns and the hassles that follow. And, of course, there are the advertisers. From their perspective, advertising on a recognizable TLD is much more attractive than a garbled or lengthy name - top domain names bring in top advertising dollars.

There is a solution, and it doesn't involve shady practices such as cybersquatting, typosquatting or domain tasting. Incorporated in July 2006, LeaseThis.com provides current and prospective website owners with the option to lease or rent a domain name for a flat monthly fee for a predetermined length of time. In doing so, website owners can test the name for traffic and branding purposes without risking a large investment. For some, it's a sensible alternative to paying large amounts of money upfront before seeing results. It's also a way to avoid the headache of branding an obscure or lengthy domain name.

LeaseThis.com currently lists more than 534,000 domains in their online inventory and 3.5 million domains in their offline inventory available for lease. They also boast exclusive partnerships with top domain owners and advertising agencies. Leases range from one month to 24 months and prices vary from as little as $20 per month to several thousand, with an option to lease to own. The lessee is also given the right of first refusal to renew a lease when the term expires. Pricing is largely determined by current advertising revenue.

Some of the categories available for browsing include real estate, gambling, shopping, finance, travel and entertainment. Can't find what you're looking for? Send LeaseThis your search term, a note explaining what you are looking for and your price range and they will start searching for you.

On the other side of the equation, if you own a portfolio of domains, LeaseThis offers a way to monetize, aside from parked pages and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, where large amounts of revenue can be lost. LeaseThis will work with a domain owner to set pricing and lease terms, while running PPC campaigns on your domain when it is not being leased.

LeaseThis does have some restrictions, including the requirement that a lessee use the domain for the express purpose that the name implies. There are also security measures in place, including constant monitoring for those abusing leased domains and legal support in the event that a conflict occurs. If you are in the market for a domain with better branding potential than what's available or if you have a portfolio of domains that you would be interested in leasing, visit www.leasethis.com for more details.