I purchase most of my .com.au domains via the drop platforms, aftermarkets and direct contact with domain owners; but I also ‘hand register’ quite a few domains, probably a dozen or so each month.
In fact, one of my first .com.au sales was a hand registration, I sold it in the same year that I registered it for over $3k. That’s a pretty terrific return on a $20 investment! These days I would estimate that about 25 – 30% of my sales are ‘reg fee’ domains.
I’ve written before about the importance of being picky when buying domains and this is particularly true for hand registrations. It’s often the case that “the domain is available for a reason” – i.e. no one else wants it (meaning it has no value as an investment).
However, given there are ‘only’ 2.9 million .au domains registered, there are still some fantastic domains to be found for reg fee. To put that in perspective, there are well over 110 million .com domains registered.
For example, a few days ago when I was scanning the .au drops I noticed ‘MySecretIngredient.com.au’. While that particular domain is not one I would go for, it did prompt me to check if ‘SecretIngredient.com.au’ was available. As it turned out, SecretIngredient.com.au had expired and was available for registration again – so I grabbed it. I think it’s a great buy at reg fee, as I’ve sold plenty of domains similar to this. It’s a name that would suit a catering business or even a ‘life coaching’ style businesses (e.g. the secret ingredient to success!). Just recently I sold a domain to a catering business and I’ve sold lots of food and beverage domains over the years, so it’s an area where I’ve done pretty well.
As another example, in the week prior I registered ‘LightningLoans.com.au’. Finance is a very competitive space and another area where I’ve had some sales success. It’s really hard to get good domains in that space, just try finding any ‘loans’ domains prefixed with terms like ‘fast’, ‘quick’, ‘rapid’, ‘express’, ‘lightning’ – they’re all long gone in any decent extensions. So I think LightningLoans.com.au is also a great buy at reg fee.
Quick ‘hand reg’ quality test
One of the quick tests that I do when I find a term available for reg fee in .au, is to check the availability of the term across a whole bunch of extensions. This gives me a rough overview of the popularity for the term. For example, if the term ‘home business’ was available for reg fee in .com.au (I wish I bought that one for reg fee!) – I would run a quick search to see how popular the term is across a heap of other extensions:
Now in that example, everything is gone, regardless of extension. The results suggest that it’s an extremely popular term, so if HomeBusiness.com.au was available to register, I would grab it (as fast as I could!).
So that’s a fairly obvious one, but now let’s look at the examples I gave earlier of my recent hand registrations.
Here’s the results for SecretIngredient.com.au:
As you can see, the term is taken in most of the ‘better extensions’, but there’s still some availability across the ‘low quality ‘ ones. This suggests that it’s a popular term and probably worth grabbing.
Now let’s look at LightningLoans.com.au:
It’s taken in most of the ‘better extensions’, but there’s still lots of availability across other extensions. This suggests that it’s a reasonably popular term, but based on these results I would often run a couple of other tests and consider my purchase more carefully. In this particular case, I just went ahead and registered it because I’m familiar with the area.
I’ve just included one example of a test to evaluate a hand reg domain, other tests could include looking at how many advertisers there are for the term on Google. If there are lots of advertisers for the search term this often indicates that the domain has potential (particularly if they’re local (Australian) advertisers).
Share your recent registrations
Have you found some great reg fee domains recently? Let us know in the comments!