This morning I was sitting on my couch thinking of all the many mistakes I’ve make over the years while earning my stripes in the domain industry. Some were funny, most were painful! I think a list of the top 5 pitfalls might help someone that is new to the domaining business to avoid the common mistakes and hit the ground running. So without further explanation or delay, here’s the list/countdown in reverse order:

5. Too quick on the draw: Get everything in writing! Before you post at  Twitter/Facebook about you first big sale or brokerage deal, make sure you have the deal wrapped. Furthermore, read the agreement’s fine print. For various reasons, many buyers (and sellers for that fact) do not wish to disclose the terms of a domain purchase. By doing so you could be in breach of contract and might lose the deal entirely!

4. Over-zealousness: Less is more. Thinking ahead about domain inventory obligations and planning for costs associated with them is necessary! If your domain inventory costs $x,xxx in renewals each year but you only generate $xxx between sales and ad revenue, you are operating at a loss! Invest more money in fewer, high quality names. Your bank account will thank you.

3. The Maverick Syndrome: Don’t go it alone. There have been many before you that have fallen on their faces, why repeat their mistakes? Seek out domain industry veterans, ask questions, see if they are willing to share some insight. The domain industry as a whole is pretty supportive. If you are humble and willing to learn, chances are those in the know will be willing to teach!

2. Poorly Defined Priorities: Get a pen and do this now! Clearly define your priorities/objectives in list form and put them somewhere they will be seen everyday. I have a whiteboard in my home office that is divided into 6 categories that are important to my business, if I am doing something that does not fall into one of those six categories I know I am wasting my time. Whether you are working part time or full time at this, it is critical to make sure you are getting the most value out of the time you spend.

1. Trademark Violations: If it looks like a trademark, smells like a trademark or is a misspelled version of a trademark or famous name, RUN THE OTHER DIRECTION! In UDRP hearings favor is most often found for the brand/corporation/famous person. What is the litmus test? If you knowingly purchase, register or develop a name with the intent (c’mon now, don’t lie to yourself) of benefiting from someone else’s good reputation, you are in effect acting in bad faith (see: What is a Generic Domain Name?). Generally the aforementioned individuals and corporations have deeper pockets and a fierce desire to protect their good name. Avoid the headache and stress, act in good faith at all times!

I can say that I have made every one of these mistakes in some form, don’t do the same!