NameCheap is More Popular Than GoDaddy Among HackerNews Users

One of the best decisions I made while developing Lean Domain Search was to ask visitors which registrar they use after their third search. By asking you which registrar you use, I can customize the interface to make registering domain names through that registrar easier for you which in turn leads to higher affiliate revenue for me.

For example, after your third search you will see something like this:

If you select Namecheap, the Register Now link you’re shown when you click on an available domain name is tailored to use Namecheap, making it easier for you to purchase the domain name:

Lean Domain Search stores your selection in a cookie so that you get that customized experience every time you use Lean Domain Search in the future.

If you select None of the above you are asked which registrar you use that way I can keep track of which registrars I’m not supporting and add them if they are popular enough.

All of this information is tracked using MixPanel, which makes it really easy to segment your data afterwards. In this case, I want to see which registrars people select when their initial referrer is HackerNews:

You can then export the results as a CSV file so you can perform your own analysis.

With more than 1,500 visitors from HackerNews this year who have selected a registrar, here’s the breakdown of which registrars they selected when prompted:

NameCheap comes in at 36% followed by GoDaddy with 27%, Gandi with 6%, and Dreamhost with 3%. The “Other” category is made up of the rest of the registrars that are displayed, all of which come in at less than 2% of the total: Hover, Moniker, Enom, Network Solutions, a123reg, Bluehost, Dynadot, and NameTerrific. 19% selected “None of the above” and 94% of those people did not enter a registrar when asked which one they use.

Because almost 1 in 5 visitors from HackerNews selected none of the above and did not enter a registrar, we can’t say with certainty that exactly 36% of all HackerNews users use Namecheap. There also might be some difference between the average HackerNews user and one who performs three or more searches on a domain search tool. It’s possible, for example, that the more tech savvy of a HackerNews user you are the more likely you are to use a domain search tool and the more likely you are to use Namecheap instead of GoDaddy, while less savvy users are less likely to use a domain search tool and more likely to use GoDaddy.

What we can say is that Namecheap is extremely popular among the HackerNews community, which won’t come as a surprise to many after GoDaddy’s initial SOPA support and HackerNews’s vehement reaction.

What do you use? Namecheap, GoDaddy, or something else? Comments on HackerNews here.

If you’d like to check out Lean Domain Search for yourself, click here to head on over to the homepage.

Orlando Has More Domain Names Per Capita Than Any Other Major US City

Orlando, Florida

It might come as a surprise to you to learn that Orlando has more registered domain names per person than any other major US city.

With 243,195 people and 21,877 .COM domain names that begin with “Orlando”, it has more domain names per thousand people (90) than any other major US city. Miami comes close with 87, followed by Reno with 75, Atlanta with 69, and Tampa with 59.

Orlando tops the list because it’s relatively small (it’s only the 78th largest city in the US) and because businesses have grabbed a disproportionate amount of domain names likely in an attempt to capitalize on the large number of people searching for Orlando on the web thanks to its close proximity to Walt Disney World just south of the city.

Here’s the top 40 cities:

You can download the full spreadsheet here (41 KB) if you’d like to analyze the data yourself. You can download a list of all of the 21,877 .COM domain names that begin with Orlando here (90 KB).

For anyone interested in replicating this analysis, here are the details:

  • The domain counts are based on the number of domains in .COM zone file that begin with the city name
  • The population figures are based on 2011 population estimates from US Census Bureau
  • The analysis only looked at major US cities (cities with more than 200,000 people)

As someone who lives in Orlando, these results were a pleasant surprise 🙂

Using Domain Name Registrations To Determine What Businesses a City Needs

captioned. | A screenshot from SimCity 2013.

Here’s an interesting thought experiment: if you were put in charge of planning a city from scratch, what businesses would you need to include?

To answer this question you might start by thinking about what businesses you interact with on a weekly basis and what dependencies they have. You need food, which means you need a grocery store. You need transportation to get to the grocery store so you need a vehicle which means you need a car dealership where you can purchase a vehicle. You need roads to travel on, you need people to take care of those roads, you need people to transport the food to the grocery stores, people to repair those vehicles, people to operate the gas stations. You can get pretty far using this technique but you’ll inevitably run forget to consider some things because of the limitations of your own knowledge.

Another way to answer this problem is to look at what businesses most cities already have. Most cities have car dealerships and doctors so that’s probably a good indication that you will want to include them in your city. In practice though how would you accomplish this? You could grab a copy of the YellowPages and start flipping page by page, but you would likely give up long before you had a complete list. Is there a a better way?

Looking at domain name registrations

Each day a company called VeriSign publishes a massive list all of the registered .COM domain names in what’s called a zone file. Rather than look through the YellowPages to see what businesses are present in a city we can just check the list of registered domain names related to that city. Want to know if Arlington has a bath remodeling business? See if is registered (it is). Want to know if Dayton has an antique store? See if is registered (it is). These websites might not actually be in use, but the fact that someone saw fit to register them indicates that there is a market in that location.

Therefore to figure out what businesses a city needs we can use the zone file to look at which domain names are already registered for that city and then compare those to other cities and see which businesses they have in common.

The results

For this analysis I looked at domain names that begin with one of the top ten US cities by population: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas, and San Jose and then checked which domain name endings they have in common.

Not all of the results represent their own industry or business. For example, some names like “At a Glance” and “Pro” simply make good website names (think Dallas At A Glance or Houston Pro) but the majority are in their own industry. You’ve got everything from lawyers (abogado in Spanish) to Zumba, a popular cardio program, and everything in between. You’ve got business that take care of your car (Auto Repair Service), help you with your finances (Bankruptcy Attorney, Refinancing), take care of your house (Bath Remodeling, Window Cleaners), your body (Chiropractic, Orthodontist, Beauty Salon) and just about every other local business that you interact with on a daily basis.

A quick note on interpreting the results: the presence of, say, “adagency” means that,,, and so on are all registered domain names. Because it’s registered for all 10 cities, it is included in this list.

list. abogado abogados ac academy access accident accidentattorney accidentattorneys accidentlaw accidentlawfirm accidentlawyer accidentlawyers accidents accommodation accommodations accountant accountantguide accountants accounting accountingjobs acls aclspalsbls aco activities acupuncture ad adagencies adagency addictionmed address adoption ads adulted adventurepark advertising advertisingagencies advertisingagency advisor afterdark afternoon agent air airconditioning airconditioningcontractor airconditioningcontractors airductcleaning airlines airport airportcarrental airporthotel airporthotels airportlimo airportparking airports airportshuttle airportshuttles airporttaxi airporttransportation airtravel alarm alarms alarmsystems alfaromeo allergy alliedhealthschools allstars amateurgolftour amateurtour ambulance angels animalcontrol animalhospital annuities annuity answeringservice answers antiques apartment apartmentbuildings apartmentbuildingsales apartmentforrent apartmentlocator apartmentrentals apartments apartmentsforrent apartmentsforsale app appdevelopment appliance appliancedealer appliancepros appliancerepair appliancerepairs appliances appraisal appraiser appraisers apps apt aptrental apts aquarium arborist architect architects architecture area areacondos areaguide areahomes arearealestate arearealty art artcollege artist arts artschool asbestosattorney asbestoslawyer asbestoslawyers assistants assistedliving ataglance atnight attorney attorneyatlaw attorneybankruptcy attorneyfordivorce attorneyjobs attorneys attorneysfordivorce attractions auction auctions audio auditjobs auto autoaccidentattorney autoaccidentlawyer autoaccidentlawyers autoads autoappraisers autobody autobodyrepair autocenter autocredit autodealer autodealers autodetailing autoglass autoglassrepair autoinjuryattorneys autoinsurance autoinsurancequotes autoliquidators autoloan automall automobile automotive automotiveschool autonet autoquotes autorecyclers autorepair autorepairs 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biz bjj blackjack blinds bling blog bmw bmwonline bnb boat boatinsurance boats boatstorage bocce bodyshop bodywraps bonds bookclub bookings bookkeeper bookkeeping books bookstores bootcamp bootcamps botox boutiquehotels bowling boxes boxoffice braces braininjuryattorney braininjurylawyer breakfast breast breastaugmentation breastenhancement breastimplants breastsurgeons brewers brewery brewing bridal bridalguide bridalshow bride brides brief broker brokers builder builders building buildingsupplies burglaralarm burglaralarms bus buses business businessattorney businessattorneys businessbroker businessbrokers businesscard businesscards businessconsulting businessdirectory businesses businessesforsale businessforsale businessincubator businessinsurance businessjournal businesslaw businesslawyer businesslawyers businesslineofcredit businessloan businessloans businessschools businessyellowpages buyers buyorrent buzz byday bynight byowner cabinet cabinets cafe cake cam camera cameras camp 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childcare childcarecenter childcarecenters childcareservice childcareservices childcustodylawyer childdentist childsupportlawyer chiro chiropractic chiropractor chiropractorguide chiropractors chocolatebar christian christiancounseling christianfoundation christmas christmaslights chrysler church churches circles city cityattorneys citygirls cityguide cityhall cityjobs citysbest citysearch citysite citytours clasificados classes classified classifiedads classifieds cleaners cleaning cleaningservice cleaningservices clearbraces click clicker clinic clinics clipper closets clothing clothingstores cloud club clubs cnajobs coffee coins collectionagencies collectionattorney collectionattorneys collectionlawyer collectionlawyers college collegeloan collegeloans colleges colocation comedy comedyclub comedyclubs commerce commercial commercialappliancerepair commercialproperties commercialproperty commercialrealestate commercialroofing communitycollege communityservice companies company compass composites computer computerrecycling computerrepair computerrepairs computers computerschools computerstores computersupport concerts concierge concrete condo condoguide condoinsurance condomanagement condomania condominium condominiums condorental condos condosforsale conferences connect connection connections connects construction consultants consulting consumer contactlenses contacts contracting contractor contractors convention conventioncenter conventions cooking coolbody copier copiers cordbank cordblood corporateapartment corporateattorney corporateattorneys corporatehousing cosmeticdds cosmeticdentist cosmeticdentistry cosmeticsurgeon cosmeticsurgeons cosmeticsurgery cosmetologyschool counseling counselor countertops county coupon couponbook coupondirectory couponer coupons courier court courthouse courtrecords courtreporters courts cpa cpas cpr craigslist creative credit creditrepair cremation cremations cremationservice crimescenecleanup criminalattorney criminalattorneyblog 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One in Seven Registered .NET Domain Names Have an Unregistered .COM

It probably won’t come as a surprise to you when I tell you that there are more registered domain names that end with .COM than with .NET. After all, the .COM Top Level Domain (TLD) is still what most non-technical people associate with websites so if you’re planning on starting a new website then you are putting yourself at a disadvantage if you don’t use the .COM. The numbers support this: .COMs outnumber .NETs by almost 7 to 1 (106M registered .COMs vs 15M registered .NETs).

Given the importance of owning the .COM, you would think that hardly anyone would use the .NET version of a domain if the .COM was available to register at no extra cost. As someone who has spent a lot of time thinking about how to come up with domain names, I was curious: how many .NETs have an available .COM and are they any good? This post is about how to figure it out.

If you’d like to skip the nitty gritty technical details, you’re welcome to scroll down a bit and download the full list of .NETs with available .COMs for yourself.

Sampling the zone file

VeriSign publishes something called a zone file each day for both .COM and .NET which contain most of the registered domain names for those TLDs. I previously wrote about how to apply for access if you’re interested in downloading the zone files yourself.

The simplest way to estimate the number of .NET domains with an unregistered .COM is to take a random sample of .NETs from the zone file and then check to see which of the .COMs are still available using a WHOIS query.

There are about 15 million domain names listed in the .NET zone file. By testing the availability of just a few thousand of those domains we can estimate with a high degree of certainty what the overall proportion is.

The first thing we need to do is take a random sample of domains from the .NET zone file. To do this we can run the following Perl command on Mac OS X to randomize the file:

terminal. $ perl -wl -e ‘@f=<>; for $i (0 .. $#f) { $r=int rand ($i+1); @f[$i, $r]=@f[$r,$i] if ($i!=$r); } chomp @f; print join $/, @f;’ >

And to grab the first 2,000 of the now-randomized zone file, we can run the following:

terminal. $ head -n 2000 >

Now that we have a list of 2,000 random domain names from the zone file we can run a WHOIS query on the .COM of each domain to determine which are still available.

When I ran a WHOIS script on the 2,000 random domains from the .NET zone file, I found that 280 of them had available .COMs. In other words about 14% or 1 in 7 registered .NET domain names have an unregistered .COM.

Determining all of the unregistered .COMs

You could run a WHOIS script on all 15 million .NET domain names to check which have available .COMs, but that would take a while and it would also violate VeriSign’s WHOIS service Terms of Use. Fortunately there’s a much easier way to accomplish the same task without executing a single WHOIS query by performing some analysis on the zone files.

Here’s how to do it if you’re on a Unix-based machine:

1. Use diff to determine how the .COM and .NET zone files differ

terminal. $ diff >

Here’s the start of the file (and yes, these are actual domain names):

textfile. < 0—0———————————————————-0//< 0—0———————————————————-2//< 0—0———————————————————-3//< 0—0———————————————————-4//< 0—0———————————————————-5//< 0—0———————————————————-6//< 0—0———————————————————-7//< 0—0———————————————————-8//< 0—0———————————————————-9//< 0—0———————————————————-A//…

Most of the differences are domain names that appear in the .COM zone file but not the .NET (denoted by lines that start with <), but as we will see there are more than a few .NETs which don’t appear in the .COM zone file (denoted by lines that start with >).

2. Extract the unregistered .COMs

Because we only want to look at the domains that have a registered .NET but not .COM we can use grep to extract just the lines that start with >:

terminal. $ grep ‘^>’ >

textfile. > 0—X//> 0-0-0-1//> 0-0213//> 0-0NET//> 0-0V//> 0-1LIFE//> 0-24GYORSSZOLGALAT//> 0-255//> 0-2LIFE//> 0-3LIFE//…

3. Remove the leading > so that just the domain names remain

We can use the cut command to split each line by the space after the > and return just the second section, the domain:

terminal. $ cut -d ‘ ‘ -f2 >

textfile. 0—X//0-0-0-1//0-0213//0-0NET//0-0V//0-1LIFE//0-24GYORSSZOLGALAT//0-255//0-2LIFE//0-3LIFE//

Analyzing the results

To count the number of results you can run:

terminal. $ wc -l> 2215883

According to these results there are 2.2M registered .NET domain names whose .COM is available.

One thing to keep in mind is that the zone files are not 100% accurate which means that you can’t rely on the exact number too heavily because some of the domains will actually be registered. I ran a WHOIS script to check 1,000 random domains from the results and 78 were actually registered. The total number of .NETs with available .COMs is probably more like 2.05M. Since there are 15,327,645 in the .NET zone file, this represents about 13.3% of all the .NET domains, about the same proportion we came up with when we sampled the zone file above.

You can download the results here:

button. Download List of 2.2M .NETs with Available .COM (ZIP, 12.3MB) |

When to consider using one of these domain names

If there is an established website using the .NET you probably don’t want to use the .COM for your own site. Not only will it be hard for you to outrank the established site, but you could get yourself into legal trouble for cybersquatting:

Cybersquatting (also known as domain squatting), according to the United States federal law known as the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, is registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name with bad faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else.

However, the odds are good that if the .COM is not registered then the .NET is either not being actively used (otherwise the owner would have started with the .COM or registered it when it became available).

For example, if you are interested in starting a software company and are looking for ideas, you can run the following command to get a list of .NETs with available .COMs:

terminal. $ grep ‘SOFTWARE$’


Scrolling through the results, you’ll find some decent names such as, which is indeed available and is not being used.

If you are looking for an additional method of finding available .COMs, you just might find a great unused name using this technique.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. As always if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to drop me a note: or @mhmazur on Twitter.

Lean Domain Search Partners with Sedo to Help You Find the Perfect Domain Name

I’m thrilled to announce that Lean Domain Search has teamed up with Sedo to make it even easier for you to find a great domain name for your next website.

In the past when you performed a search on Lean Domain Search it paired your term with 5,000 other keywords commonly found in domain names and instantly showed you which were available to register. If a domain name was registered though, regardless of whether it was for sale or not, it would not be shown to you.

By partnering with Sedo, the world’s largest domain name marketplace, Lean Domain Search can now automatically check to see whether a registered domain name is for sale or not. If it is for sale, its details are included in the search results so you can consider that domain name when deciding on one for your website.

Here, for example, are the search results for ‘task’. Notice the premium domain names are in orange at the top followed by the available domain names in green below it (click to enlarge):

Of the 5,000 .COM domain names that Lean Domain Search checked for this search, 3,294 were available and of the remaining 1,706 registered domain names, 213 of them were for sale on Sedo.

Here’s a close up of the premium results:

Most, but not all of the premium domain names have prices associated with them. The ones that do have a price include in next to the name so you can instantly tell whether it’s in your price range.

Lean Domain Search only shows the first section of premium domain names by default but if you’d like to view all of the results you can simply click the “show more premium domains” link below the first section of premium domain names:

The premium results, like the available results, are ordered by default by the popularity of the keyword your term is paired with so that the ones most likely to form good domain names appear at the top of the list. You can also use the built in sorting features to sort by price so that you can see which are the most and least expensive.

Here are the same results sorted by price:

With the exception of a few outliers, most are in the several hundred to several thousand dollar price range.

You can check out the results for ‘task’ or start your own search.

If you’re looking for a good keyword-based .COM domain name for your website, the new Lean Domain Search should by far be the fastest way to find a name for it regardless of your budget.

I want to thank Sedo’s technical team for providing support during the integration as well as Chris Joseph with Namecore, a provider of handpicked domain names for startups, for providing his portfolio during the pilot program that’s been running the last few weeks.

As always, if you have any questions or feedback please don’t hesitate to drop me a note: or @mhmazur on Twitter.


Available “Black Friday” Domain Names

There was a really interesting post published over at SEOMoz this week title How I Made $13,490.50 With Adsense Last November where the author, Scott Offord, explains how he crafted a site,, to bring in thousands of dollars in AdSense and affiliate revenue each holiday season.

Scott explains:

Recognizing a profitable opportunity, I created a website that gives people what they want: early intel about Black Friday discounts and hot items.

The domain name — ThanksgivingBlackFridayAds — was clearly chosen to rank well for Thanksgiving/Black Friday search terms. That got me thinking (and probably many other folks too) whether there are other good Black Friday domains still out there.

A quick search reveals that there are still a lot of great available domains containing “Black Friday”:

While not all would make good website names, there are more than a few gems including:

Buyer beware though: Scott notes that ranking for Black Friday can be difficult, even with a great exact match domain name:

It doesn’t help either that Yahoo/Bing decided to globally deindex almost any site that had the words “Black Friday” in its domain name too.

New Registrar: NameTerrific

A few days ago the founder of a new domain name registrar called NameTerrific emailed me to inquire about adding it to Lean Domain Search’s supported affiliates list. I checked it out and was immediately impressed.

It’s tag line is “Domain names for geeks” and it was built from the ground up with an emphasis on simplicity and ease of access. NameTerrific offers a full API for managing your domains, supports OAuth for login, and is powered by Route 53, a DNS service provided by Amazon. Ryan, its founder, also did a length Q&A on HackerNews where he goes into a lot more detail about the service.

Check out to read more or you can switch your preferred registrar through Lean Domain Search to make NameTerrific your default registrar from now on.

Lean Domain Search Upgrade Price Reduced to $24

I’m happy to announce that it now only costs $24 to upgrade to a premium Lean Domain Search account so that you can view the full set of available search results.

Previously there were two plans: $79 once and $199 per year. A number of people contacted me and said “Hey, I’d love to sign up, but the $79 is still a bit high. Can you do any better?”

The new pricing scheme eliminates the $79 once plan and replaces it with a $24 per month plan. For many of who have been eager to upgrade but hesitant to pay $79, this will save you a bit of money as long as you cancel your subscription within the first three months. If you’d like to use Lean Domain Search longer than that you can maintain your subscription for as long as you’d like. If you know up front that you’re going to use Lean Domain Search for a while you can sign up for the $199 per year plan and save yourself about 30% over the course of a year.

To upgrade, check out our Plans and Pricing page.

As always, don’t hesitate to drop me a note if you have any questions.

Matt Mazur | @mhmazur

Improving the Search Result Formatting

A small but kind of cool update today:

In the past when you performed a search Lean Domain Search would convert your search term to lowercase before combining it with the prefix or suffixes so that the results looked something like this:

With today’s update, all of the results retain the proper casing:

This not only makes it easier to browse the results but it also helps you visualize how the domain name would look if were to use it throughout your marketing efforts.

Pricing Updates

Last Monday I released Lean Domain Search’s new business name generator, a tool aimed at helping prospective business owners come up with a professional name for their business.

Just about everyone who tried it agreed that it came up with fantastic results; Domain Name Wire even wrote an excellent post titled Lean Domain Search adds business name generator the day after the launch.

However the more people I spoke to the more I realized that it wasn’t clear to folks what that difference was between the old website name generator and the new the business name generator. The business name generator helps you come up with website names too, right? Yes, I explained, but the domain names the business name generator comes up with are more geared towards offline businesses. I gave an example or two, they would ask some follow up questions, I’d answer, and after a few minutes of back and forth most folks kind of had a better idea what the difference was. If it took someone I was speaking with several minutes to understand the subtle distinction between the two tools, the casual web visitor was probably not going to get it at all (and this is not their fault or a matter of me writing better copy… it really is confusing).

The second problem was that it would be very difficult to reach the right people at the right time who could really benefit from the business name generator. The scenario I laid out in the launch blog post was that you wanted to start a construction company and were having trouble finding a name. That is a good example as far as my ideal customer goes, but reaching someone trying to start a construction company at that crucial stage where they still needed a business name was going to be extremely difficult. With some heavy marketing I might be able to reach some of them at just the right time, but even if I did I’d have to get them to understand the previously mentioned difference between the website name generator and the business name generator.

All of this is a long way of saying that I decided scrap the business name generator so that like before, there’s just one section for searching for domain names. However instead of completely getting rid of those results, I merged the domain names the business name generator created with the old website name generator so that the site now checks a whopping 6,188 domain names instead of 2,500, giving you an even wider selection of domain names to choose from.

A new pricing model

In order to continue devoting time to Lean Domain Search, I do need to find an income stream on top of affiliate revenue to support the site. So what I’ve done is this:

Lean Domain Search is still free to use, but the number of available search results that you can review for free will be limited to a few hundred. These are the best search results and should give most of you an adequate selection of good domain names to choose from. If you’d like to explore all of the search results (up to 6,188 max) for an even wider selection of domain name ideas, then you have to upgrade to one of the paid plans.

Similar to the pricing model for the business name generator there are two paid plans: one if you want short term access to the full search results (typical if you use Lean Domain Search infrequently and just use every now and then to name a website) and one for long term access (typical if you use it year round to name a lot of websites or businesses). If you’re interested in signing up for one of these premium plans, I encourage you to check out our new Pricing and Sign Up page. I hope you’ll agree that for the time and money that you save by using Lean Domain Search, the new pricing is a pretty good deal.

As always if you have any feedback on the changes please don’t hesitate to drop me an email ( or say hi on Twitter @mhmazur.

Thanks —