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I've seen the "zip-code" method of ultra-local domaining, so there is maybe some hope?
An example: I registered a .net of a district of a smaller north-american city (approx 500k population, only 20k in the district itself). The city authorities is investing loads for attracting high-tech companys. Can I make something of this kind of purchase?
Anyway, why not go street level with the .st extention.
Every city has got that one top st. You know the one that is more than a mere place to live but much much more.
Wall street Beale st.
With a .st even with absolutely no type in traffic or any prospect of making money from it whatsoever you can still have a very cool email address.
[edited by: Durham_e at 8:58 am (utc) on June 3, 2008]
Passive value (parking, etc) requires that the PPC topic pays a decent rate, some natural traffic exists, and the topic of choice is not a trademark (otherwise you're likely to lose the domain to the trademark holder).
Active value (development) requires you have a development topic for the domain that is not trademarked, the options for monetization are good, and you have avenues for securing cheap (hopefully free) traffic.
Active value (end-user sales) requires you have a domain that is not a trademark, is a desirable industry specific name, and has some competition.
Active value (reseller) requires you have a name that has value in the eyes of a speculator. Shorter is generally worth more (DE.com better than DEF.com better than DEFG.com). Extension is valuable (.com is king). Useful dictionary words are valuable (telephone.com is, lubitorium.com not so much). Useful keywords often sell (french-horn.com). Even non-words that are short and pronounceable can fetch a good price (think joomla, google, bebo, etc).
you'd better targeting local service providers like attorneys, dentists & plastic surgeons rather than mechanics, grocery stores, etc.
[edited by: Webwork at 3:39 am (utc) on June 22, 2008]
[edit reason] Exemplified and removed blog reference per Charter and TOS [/edit]