Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Domain Descriptions: Pro and Con

Imagine for a moment that you wander into a new car dealership.  You look around and see several cars that appeal to you.  Do you want to know more than simply the price of these cars?  For example, are specifications, fuel efficiency, resale value, warranty, etc. of any interest?  Most of the time car dealers are only too happy to place glossy brochures in your hands that will both help associate the model with positive emotional feelings and also answer questions that might arise when comparing the vehicle to those offered by competitors.  In the domain world, the majority of sellers do not do a corresponding thing, rather taking the view that good domains sell themselves.  I look at arguments on both sides of the question of whether you should include a description with your domain listing.

Pro Arguments

First, let's make an argument in favour of including descriptive information.
  1. You have obviously thought and researched the domain name, and it is good to share some of this background to help inform and persuade the prospective buyer.
  2. You may provide ideas regarding use of the domain name that the potential purchaser would not have considered. This may help turn those browsers into purchasers.
  3. As a convenience to the potential buyer you provide key information (such as registration period and renewal cost) in one place.
  4. It may be an opportunity to counter potential negatives with respect to your domain name (e.g. it is a plural, but in this case the plural is the more frequently used form).
  5. An attractive presentation may engage and encourage people to spend more time browsing your domain names, and some will become purchasers.
  6. It shows that you see value in the domain name, since it is worth the time to provide a detailed presentation.

Con Arguments

I believe the majority of domain investors generally are not in favour of including descriptive material.  The thinking might be summarized as follow.
  1. A good domain name speaks for itself. If you explain the virtues of the name, it is saying you don't really have confidence that it is truly a great name.
  2. Any serious potential buyer will do her/his own background on the domain name, so there is no need for you to provide the information.
  3. If you outline how the name might be used, and that is not consistent with the ideas that the prospective buyer has, that may limit how they view the name.
  4. If you include a balanced view of the domain, it might bring up negative aspects that the purchaser had not considered, and their view of the domain name will go down.
  5. By including  some items (like automated appraisal values or advertiser data) it may turn off some potential purchasers that place no importance on such measures.
  6. I have a huge portfolio.  I don't have the time to put into a detailed description for each domain name. 
  7. I prefer the standard description provided, for example by Efty, since that has been researched and is better than anything I would write. 

One More Advantage

There is one more advantage in providing a description. I show below a screen capture (click on image to see higher resolution view) of a domain search from my Efty Marketplace.  I searched on the word CRISPR (a gene editing acronym important in health and agriculture fields).  If I did not have any descriptive content, then it would only have yielded my domains that included the acronym CRISPR.  However, with descriptions Efty the search engine includes all domains with the term in the title or the description.  Therefore domain names like editDNA.co and medit.life appear.

This is an important advantage of descriptions, and you should write them accordingly, making sure that any keywords are included somehow in your descriptions. 

What to Include

I think there are strong arguments against descriptions, as well as a convincing case for including them.  If you do decide to include descriptions, what might you include. Note that not all of these are applicable to all domain names, and depending on your potential audience some of them are perhaps unwise to include.  Nevertheless, here is a list of ideas you might consider.

  • Possible uses for the domain name.
  • If an acronym, some of the possible meanings.
  • Advantages (e.g. short, memorable, trending term, etc.).
  • Prior sales of similar words.
  • Period of current registration (particularly if already registered for extended period).
  • Automated estimates of worth, including commentary if necessary
  • Multiple language suitability if relevant.
  • Search and advertiser statistics for the domain name.
  • Commentary on the TLD extension.
  • Renewal cost.
  • Age of domain.
  • History in actual website use, if any, including backlinks information.
  • Possibly other related domain names (in case the potential purchaser does not quite like this one, but would be interested in one of those).


There is no single correct answer regarding this question.  Personally. I usually do include descriptions, but at the same time I understand why many others choose not to do so.  As with most aspects of domaining, you should decide for yourself what works for you and you feel comfortable with. However,  I would urge you to be informed on both sides of the argument, prior to making the choice.

I also would stress that this is not necessarily an all or nothing issue.  It may make sense to include descriptions with some domain names or venues, and not others, and if you do include descriptions what to include in them depends on the domain name.

If you do decide on the description route, there are some practical points to make the task easier.  The main one is to keep all of your descriptions in a text file in some organized (e.g., alphabetical) form so you can easily copy and paste when you list the name on a new marketplace.  While I see advantages to the Efty approach of using a very short description along with additional bullet points, it is certainly easier to deal with the single text field of Undeveloped  and other sites that allows a longer description.

One final point: always be honest and fair in your description.  It is probably unwise to list a single high NameBio database comparator if multiple closer comparators are much lower in value. One difficulty of including automated appraisal information from GoValue is that these may change fairly dramatically from month to month in some cases.  Therefore, you might want to include a disclaimer alerting the reader to that.  Fortunately, it is easy for them to check this information without cost to them. Most of the time we only deal with any particular client in a single sale, but treat each as though you were building a long term relationship based on openness and honesty.

Even if you do decide on a comprehensive description, also be alert to the value of concise writing.  Try to keep it informative and engaging, while also short!  I look forward to reading your domain descriptions, or not!

Original post Aug 28, 2018.

Fine Print

This post is offered for informational and educational purposes only, and should not be considered domain name investment advice. While an attempt has been made to be accurate, there is no implied or explicit warranty, and you are responsible for verifying any information of importance to you. You also accept full responsibility for any domain investing decisions you may make that use data from this post.

I try to be fair, balanced and objective in my analysis.  If you feel this post does not meet that standard, please express your concerns to me.  

In a very few cases there may be affiliate links on my blog. This means I receive a small amount if users visit or make purchases via the link. You do not pay any additional charge due to using an affiliate link, and in some cases your cost will be below the normal price. I receive no identifying information about who clicks, or does not click, any link. I never accept compensation to provide favourable review of any particular service or product.

The text of this posting is ©R Hawkes, all rights reserved. However, you may, without permission, use reasonable length portions of the post as long as a link to this post is also provided. If you wish to use the complete contents of a post, please request permission. I am normally open to reprinting, but will consider each request individually. 

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