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Our client runs panabee, a site to help people brainstorm catchy names for domains, blogs, and mobile apps.

We are researching the best way to help people understand they can buy domain names by clicking on them.

We currently rely on tool tips.

Is there a better approach?

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Well, one idea that comes to mind is writing CLICK ON DOMAIN NAME TO BUY in a big fat font :) – Vitaly Mijiritsky Jun 28 '11 at 21:14
Echo that sentiment. Tooltips are hardly the call to action that users need to get starting on the purchase process! – Roger Attrill Jun 28 '11 at 22:04
Thanks! Any other feedback? – Crashalot Jun 28 '11 at 22:06
Well - yes. Any site that starts off immediately with 'Bummer, what you want isn't available' is surely going to put people on the wrong footing to want to buy anyway...? – Roger Attrill Jun 29 '11 at 6:01
I tend to assume anyone that posts their first and only question with a link to a commercial web site is spamming. – DA01 Jul 1 '11 at 21:58

When the user hovers the link, the text "buy it" can appear next to the link. This gives the idea that the link initiates the buying process in a simple fashion. I included an image below:

Buy it on hover

You can include the text "click on a domain to buy" in the page but I wont use the tooltip as it is because the tooltip is pointing to a specific element (which is not a link itself but an image).

You can also include (or replace the text with) a shopping cart image as suggested by Vadim.

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One solution would be to add a visual marker such as a shopping cart icon (or any other symbol mapping to purchase action) and place it next to the domain link.

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I see you're already writing 'Click on domain name to buy' in a pretty obvious 'popup' that only goes away when you click on it. It's not really a tooltip. The popup should go away after a little while I think.

People have a habit of waving the mouse in the general area of where they are looking even though they don't specifically intend to click. How about when you hover, a cute little animated hand comes out of the smiley face and shows an inviting placard that says 'click me to buy'. That would fit right in with the style I think.

Personally I think this site is perfectly... - oh well you didn't ask what I thought of the site so let's leave that...

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Such solution is broken by design: Users expect browser to OPEN the link (domain looks like link) when clicking on it, not to buy it.

Don't try to change this but instead use other well known UI-metaphor for buying, e.g. shopping cart symbol.

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