Should you keep a domain name?

I have just written an email reply to a client where they asked "whether they should keep a domain name. If a domain name is parked, or you have changed brands and have no further need for it, should you keep a domain name for ever?

If you are to have any domain name:
  • Keep it for domain name protection, so others won't have it
  • Keep it for brand name protection, so others wont build a website on it and there possibly be confusion as to who is who. A person may see that domain expire and build a site on it for adsense, or to benefit from any brand name you had built up for it.
  • Keep it to build a website on so you divide and conquer - ranking for many domains, brand names and search phrases
  • Keep it if there is offline advertising relating to it so you capture type-in traffic
  • Keep it if there are any links to it, these links are links that you don't have to find for another website, and can be 301 redirected to your new website. You certainly should be checking who links to the site, and seeking to change these links to be linking to the new website.
  • Keep it because the per year cost of $10 to $50 per year is nothing compared to the cost/benefits of any of the above


There are many reasons to keep a domain name, but if on balance the above reasons are not relevant for you, then you might as well not renew a domain name, and clear out the closet for even if the cost is small it is one less complication in life that we don't need.