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Review: "The Insider's Guide to Domain Name Speculation" by Lee Hodgson

Most ebooks consist of a skimpy twenty or so pages advertising the author’s website.  This one is somewhat different.  With a title like this, you might expect it to be full of hype on how to make your fortune selling domain names, but open it up, and you find 120 pages (at my screen resolution) of solid information and a hard-nosed assessment of the domain name speculation business (or hobby!).  I therefore make no apology for the length of this review!

Who is it for:

Although the book is primarily aimed at readers interested in acquiring valuable domain names and selling them for profit, it is also essential reading for anyone in the domain name business, anyone looking for a domain name for their own site, or anyone who just wants to know what it’s all about.

What it covers:

Lee’s introduction first makes the important distinction between speculating and cybersquatting, then looks at what you need to be a speculator and how much money you can make.  Chapter 1 then starts off with the history of domain name speculation, from the absurd frenzy of 1999 and 2000, through to the more shrewd strategy of grabbing expiring domain names that emerged in 2001 and is maturing in 2002.

Chapter 2 takes a thorough look at how to select valuable generic domain names, with a detailed rating of the value of each of the Top Level Domains (TLDs) – com, biz, tv, etc., followed by a careful analysis of what makes a Name valuable.  It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that any short nice sounding domain name has value, but Lee provides an excellent method of determining whether it has real commercial value, and provides a link to the essential free tool needed for this.

While chapter 2 concentrates on the inherent value of the domain name itself, the next chapter goes on to examine the additional value of domain names with residual traffic.  Again, Lee provides a rating for each of the different types of residual traffic and describes a number of tools available that enable you to locate these valuable domain names.  Lee also describes the two methods available of generating income from the residual traffic, and provides a detailed formula for forecasting the lifetime income for the domain name.  This forecasted income also of course determines the price at which it is worth selling the domain.

Chapter 4 gets down to the nitty gritty of how to grab the best names.  It first looks at the tools available for identifying valuable expiring domain names, and then goes on to look at the different name grabbing techniques and services.  It finishes with a number of strategies to suit the time and budget you have available.  There is more information and advice in this chapter alone than in almost anything else previously published.

Most readers will then race ahead to how to market, negotiate and sell names for maximum profit, but don’t be tempted to skip Chapter 5, as it provides vital advice on how to manage a domain name portfolio safely.  The next chapter then describes the different strategies for selling to other speculators and to site owners, and the section on marketing contains some surprising but illuminating advice.  As by now you expect, Lee’s thorough approach goes on to cover negotiating the best price, the sales process itself and the transfer of the domain name.

Chapter 7 ensures the important pitfalls of trademarks, domain name disputes and legal issues are not ignored.

Chapter 8 includes Lee’s complete series of groundbreaking “Domain Goldrush” articles, providing detailed coverage on the inside workings of the evolving expiring domains industry and its future direction with the proposed VeriSign Global Registry Services (VGRS) Wait Listing Service (WLS).

Finally, Lee provides a comprehensive set of links to domain speculation resources and a glossary of domain name terms.


I can safely say that you will not find this much information on domain names and expiring domain name resources anywhere else on the Internet.  But just as important is the absence of hype from Lee Hodgson’s advice and commentary.  If you are new to domain name speculation, then there is little doubt that this book will save you its price of $37 many times over.  Even if you are a seasoned domain name professional, you will find this book a mine of valuable information and comment.

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