How Much Does a Domain Cost?

Don’t Pay Lots of Money for a Domain

I wanted to buy a domain today. I found that both the domain I wanted, 123.com let’s call it, and a variation, the123.com, appeared to be available. The former was for sale from a brokerage, the latter through any registrar.

Though I’m perfectly content with the123.com, I contacted the domain brokerage out of curiosity, to see how much it would cost. I was expecting a silly quote, in the $100s, possibly even in the $1000s. Instead, I got this reply:

Hi Riley,

My name is [redacted], and I am a Broker with [redacted].com. I represent the current owner of [example: 123.com].

I was able to speak with the seller and based on many criteria they have determined a value of $95,000.00 USD.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

I laughed out loud – seriously – and nearly fell off my chair.

What did I find so funny?

Well, I was laughing at the idea that anyone in the world – especially an individual but even a large company – would pay 5 figures US (6 figures Canadian!) for a domain name in 2018. Now, I don’t doubt that there are people out there who would do this, but they are foolish.

Why?

Your domain name does not determine your traffic to your website.

Sure, it’s helpful for branding to have a domain name that is exactly-your-brand.com, and there is a very minor SEO benefit, but if your domain isn’t an exact match, it’s hardly the end of the world.

Websites succeed with different urls all the time, and there is now a trend of getting cute with your url, such as the podcast platform tryca.st, to pick but one example.

The point is that your exact url does not matter all that much and so many other things do, so to spend 10s of 1000s of dollars on a url is bonkers.

What is perhaps more bonkers is that this brokerage thought that a random person contacting them could be bilked into spending that much money on a url. It suggests that there are still many people – and companies, no doubt – who are foolish enough, or rich enough, to think that paying US$95,000 for a domain name is a good use of money.

It’s not. Don’t do it.

YouTube

For a long time, people lumped in YouTube with the other social media networks. This was an odd thing to do because YouTube is extremely different from social media in a couple of ways. Marketing on YouTube can be incredibly effective but it is also expensive and requires a lot of trial and error.

What is YouTube?

This might seem like a silly question, but since people have long referred to it as a social media platform its worth talking about what it really is. YouTube is at least three things:

  1. A video hosting/viewing service
  2. A forum
  3. A search engine

It is all of these things rolled into one. What that means for you, the small business owner, is that you can market on YouTube in at least three different ways:

  1. Video marketing
  2. Social media marketing
  3. Search engine marketing

All of these methods involve cost. It costs a fair amount to make a decent video, though the price can go down over time once you develop a process. (Take it from me, I have supervised a YouTube channel with thousands of videos, tens of thousands of subscribers and millions of views.) The other two ways spending time or money on participating on YouTube, and spending money on ads. Basically, if you’re going to use YouTube, you’re going to have to spend money.

Is it worth it?

Well, that really depends. You may have heard about people making tons of money on YouTube, but those people are the minority. And the math just doesn’t add up for most people; it takes millions of views to generate thousands of dollars and it takes a very long time (and luck) to get to the point where you are getting millions of views. Nearly everything you do in marketing terms on YouTube is internal, meaning that you’re usually paying to send someone to a different part of YouTube. This means that most of your efforts on YouTube are more for branding than they are for actual clients. (Getting the clients from YouTube to you is one of the big hurdles with marketing within a network.)

But with the right commitment of money, you can dominate branding among younger clients, and with the right calls to action in your videos, you can get clients to contact you. Successful YouTube campaigns can be very successful. But they will cost a lot.