Owning the generic .Com is Like...
If you are involved in the domain market, you sometimes find yourself having to explain to someone the benefit of owning the generic .com. Often the analogy to real estate is made. Having the generic or best .com for any given business is like owning the penthouse in Manhattan or waterfront real estate, and other domains move you further away from the town center or optimum location. The center of town has the most traffic, and the waterfront is where people want to live (and often pay more to do so).
Another common analogy of owning the perfect .com is made to sailing, in that it's like operating a sailboat with the wind at your back instead of against the wind. For example, if your online business was going to be selling skateboards, you'd have a much easier time starting the business and making impressions if you owned Skateboards.com, instead of a name like GreatSkateboards.biz. Brands that were around before the internet with wide recognition (e.g.: Coca Cola, Honda) or companies that took over a space quickly when the internet started (e.g.: eBay, Amazon) don't necessarily need the generic .com's for their products, but they could help their business plus keep a potential competitor from using them. Whenever I see a generic .com used by a company for a product or service I'm after, I make the assumption they are a leader in the space and they have instant credibility in my eyes. I'm sure many other people think the same way.
The real estate and sailing analogies are good ones, but I've thought of another that I've never heard used before.
Owning a generic .com is like having a Royal Flush in a game of Poker.™
(No, I don't really have a trademark for the term)
As most people know, the Royal Flush hand in a game of poker can't be beat. The sooner you get this hand in a poker game the better because it allows you to strategize for the remaining rounds of betting. You can move forward in the game matching any bet and raising if you think other players will stay in the game and add to the pot. It doesn't matter how long the game goes, you know in your mind you have the winning hand and cannot lose. You can afford to wait the game out and continue betting.
For fun, here are some examples of domains and poker hand groups I'd equate them to:
Royal Flush = Poker.com, Cloud.com, Stationary.com
Straight flush, 4 of a Kind, Full house = PokerHands.com, CloudServices.com, Stationary.ca, Poker.de
Flush, Straight, 3 of a Kind = PokerGuru.net, CloudSpace.com, BestHotels.co.uk, BadBack.org
Two pair, One pair = BrandonPlumbers.com, BestPokerPlayers.com, CloudFun.org, RobsBlog.us
High cards = ReallyGoodHeadphones.mobi, TargetPractice.tel, My-best-toothpicks.com, freecharityawards.biz
I found the two categories above High Cards really hard to select domains for. It's usually easy to see if a domain is really bad, or really good, but the in between stuff that might have potential is more difficult. I'm sure others would move some of the domains into categories above or below the ones I chose.
The other analogy with poker and domains is that you can do well with lower poker hands and lower quality domains. In poker, if you're dealt a bad hand you can work the other players and use bluffing to get them to fold. I've often seen professional poker players on tv lay down winning hands because another player has used bluffing techniques successfully. With domains, you can still 'win' by building a quality website that attracts users and/or sales, even if your domain name is sub-par. Granted, some domains are so bad there is no hope for them, but there are lots of examples of websites using 'one or two pair' type domains that are successful.
So next time you are trying to explain the value of domains to a non-domainer, try using the poker analogy if they are familiar with the card game, and it might create that 'Aha' moment for them.