The Domain Name Upheaval

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Wukoki window view to SoutheastPhoto courtesy of  Al Hikes

Do you want to buy and sell domain names to make a profit? Of course, you do. Well, here’s your chance.

Starting as early as this fall, hundreds of new domain name extensions beyond the .com will be made available to the general public in the single biggest expansion of the Internet namespace to date.

This offers exciting opportunities for you to buy new valuable domain names. Let’s have some fun and look at what this means to you and your business.

A Brave New World of Descriptive gTLDs

With over 1,400 new gTLDs (Generic Top Level Domain extensions) expected to be introduced over the next 12-24 months, Website and email addresses will no longer be confined to the relatively narrow choice of .com, .net, .org, and a handful of other existing gTLDs.

Instead, we are about to enter a brave new world of descriptive gTLDs such as .app, .art, .blog, .shop, .music, .web, .news, .hotel, .baby, .game, .pizza, and hundreds more. There will also be new geographic ones such as .nyc, .quebec, and my personal favorite, .vegas., along with a whole slate of “dot-brands” like .nike, .bmw, and .fedex.

The Players behind the Internet Evolution

Some of the big players behind this namespace evolution include familiar names like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, but other players who have bet large on this are relatively new companies you’ve probably never heard of (yet) such as Donuts, Top Level Domain Holdings, and Uniregistry that have ambitious plans and access to plenty of capital.

All told, over 500 organizations around the world have been given the green light by ICANN to operate these new gTLDs.

These new gTLDs will eventually be available to purchase from popular domain registrars, such as GoDaddy, Enom, Network Solutions, and Hover or directly from the new gTLD operators themselves, with prices ranging from $0 (yes, free) to hundreds of dollars apiece. In some cases, the rarest and most valuable of these new domains will be classified as “premium” inventory and put up for auction and sold to the highest bidder.

How These Changes May Affect You

If you develop websites, this means a whole new world of domain name choice is about to open up for you. Instead of registering and building a site on billsgourmetpizza.com, you might choose to go with billsgourmet.pizza or perhaps the even shorter bills.pizza.

If Bill’s Pizza is located in Miami, for instance, you might opt to use billspizza.miami or gourmetpizza.miami. You’d even be able to get really creative with naming conventions and URL syntaxes, for instance pepperoni.pizza, deepdish.pizza, and ordersome.pizza.

For you Web marketers, there are some really profound SEO opportunities and implications here. If (and I must emphasize “if”) the search engines start to treat .vegas domains as being more authoritative for Las Vegas Websites than a .com domain that merely has the word “Vegas” in it, then domains and websites like hotels.vegas and nightclubs.vegas might rank higher than hotelsvegas.com and nightclubsvegas.com.

You and your clients are really going to want to evaluate whether you should obtain some of these new domains for the keywords – to the right of the dot – that are important to you.

And if you buy and sell domain names (as an investor or “domainer”) then you need to seriously consider what impact, if any, these hundreds of new domain extensions will have on the value and liquidity of your existing domain name portfolio.

Some people think that the introduction of these new gTLDs will only drive up the price of the “classic” .com domains. Others are not so optimistic.

What new opportunities does this present?

If you’ve always wanted to obtain a shorter or better domain name, this could be your big opportunity. Instead of being stuck with the very long hotelsimpsonlondon.com your new choices could include simpsonhotel.london or thesimpson.london or even simpson.hotel.

Just be mindful of the SEO impact of changing your domain name as well as the fact that your customers and prospects are likely used to the notion of your domain name ending in .com. It may take years or even decades for consumers to get used to these new domain names.

If you’ve always wanted to get into domain name speculation, the release of this new inventory could be your once-in-a-lifetime chance to amass your own empire of virtual real estate.

Just make sure you go into this with your eyes wide open and are aware of the considerable risks involved. As wiser men than me have pointed out, during the fabled Gold Rush of the 19th century, it was the vendors of the tools and supplies that made most of the money. Very few of the gold prospectors themselves made a profit at all.

No one knows for sure how the introduction of all these new domain extensions is going to play out, but one thing that is certain is that it will cause a ton of confusion in the global marketplace. Whenever there’s confusion there’s also the opportunity to help people resolve that confusion.

This is going to be like the late 1990s where everyone was asking for help “getting online” and people and companies that knew how to build websites made a fortune.

If you are entrepreneurially-minded, think about what role you might be able to play in this evolving domain name world. Opportunity might be knocking, and perhaps there’s an exciting business idea waiting on the other side of the door for you.

Where can you learn more about these new gTLDs?

Here are a few recommended resources where you can learn more about this big change to the Internet namespace:

Over to You

What do you make of this brave new world of domain names? How do you think it will affect businesses and auctions online? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

P.S. Of course, remember to check out our domain listings to get started on your new venture today. 

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Comments

  • IllinoisMike

    I have about 500 names in my domain portfolio (not a lot, by industry standards), and have been domaining since 1996.

    IMHO, new TLDs will, indeed, only drive UP the value of good .com names.

    On the other hand, if you had billsgourmetpizza.com, it would be smart to grab bills.pizza, as illustrated in the story. But grab it in ADDITION to your longer .com. Do not let your .com expire. Ever. Believe me, once you see someone else’s website on “your” .com, it’s like seeing the football captain taking the ex-girlfriend who broke up with you to the prom.

    To the folks who are encouraged by the prospect of grabbing up pizza.pizza, or some such: your customers–the consumers who will be visiting the website– will not know what to make of a pizza.pizza domain name, at least for a while, so the early effects could be a lot of head scratching. “Where’s the website address?” is what they’ll say until/unless YOU take the lead on branding that address, HARD, for a long period of time.

    It is a common phenomenon: Tell someone your website is at billspizza.co, or billspizza.info, and universally, they will go to billspizza.com. They hear one thing, but their brain makes the correction in the subconscious–like reading those leet-speak paragraphs on Facebook.

    • auctions@guybk

      Great comment! I personally agree that the .com value will go up and that
      consumers will need time (years) to adjust to the new gTLD’s. Without a doubt the biggest winners at this very moment will be the huge brands and deep pocketed investors. The little guys may win down the road.

    • Bill Sweetman

      Hi Mike, you are bang on correct in that anyone hoping to drive traffic to their non .com (noncom?) is going to have to work, and spend, that much harder. And it is going to take years if not decades before consumers adjust to all these new gTLDs. Thanks for your comment.

      • IllinoisMike

        Thanks Bill. I really enjoyed the article, and will be looking for more from your proverbial pen in the future.

        Seems like there is “contention” for a lot of the primo gTLDs. How will they resolve that? Also, any idea how much it costs to start-up a gTLD all your own?

        • Bill Sweetman

          Hi Mike, sorry, I somehow missed your questions here. TLD contention will be resolved privately by the affected parties (i.e., they work out a deal among themselves) or their competing TLDs will go into an auction and the highest bidder wins. The application fee for this recent round of new gTLDs was $185K per TLD however that is just the start of the investment. It would be safe to say that you’re looking at a $500K investment minimum, so not a cheap endeavor or for the feint of heart.

    • Arvixe

      the new gTLD’s will actually bring a lot of change to the domain flipping community … by adding new parameters into the game, new products on the market, you change it. I think these are being added just so people will start downselling their .com’s because of the lack of customers

      i really liked you comment and to be honest while i was reading the article and saw the .pizza one i thought “I should register a.pizza or hut.pizza” but then again as you said the .com’s will always be king and after these gTLD’s become stale (i really like the fun factor behind them) .com’s will come back stronger than ever

  • Max

    No matter how many new TLDs be availabe. I thinks it’s obvious that .Com is the most important TLD and It will be forever.

    • Bill Sweetman

      Hi Max, there’s no question that .com is king today, but “forever” is a long time… Thanks for your comment.

  • Chris

    .com forever. People talked up the .me thing too and the .co thing. .net still feels cheesy. Everything underneath that feels even cheesier. I think the uniformity of .com will still prevail. These other extensions will be dust in the wind. I think people who sell domains have it in their best interest to make it seem like the market is excited about this or there are big opportunities here. Keep in mind that the exact match keyword domain has lost its luster and its SEO potency. This is sort of on that level.

    • Bill Sweetman

      Hi Chris, not sure about the “forever” thing, but for now .com’s are still the gold standard. In regards to .me and .co, you’d be surprised just how successful those two extensions have been. They may feel “cheesy” to you, but that hasn’t stopped millions of individuals and companies from building their brands on them. Personally, I have a soft spot for [verb].me domains, and startups are snapping those up like crazy. Thanks for your comment.

    • Sam Kumar

      Wants .com domains at just $4, cantact me at summyplay@gmail.com

      f

  • John

    I doubt the length of the .com’s reign as well. Just as the article mentioned, .com will stay on top for a while (quite possible for a few years as well) after the release of these new TLDs. But there *will* come a time when people get used to the fact that you can get to a corporate site without having to type “.com”.

  • IllinoisMike

    I liken a .com to having an “one-thousand” phone number or an 800 toll-free number. Other formats may come along, but the .com will be the standard for credibility, IMHO.

    Just like when I get occasional side-props for the xxx-9000 phone number I have had for 23 years. It establishes you as a stable, long-standing business.

    • Olle Lindholm

      I’ve never thought about a .com domain like that. Thanks for pointing it out.

  • http://www.europeandomaincentre.com/ Christopher Hofman

    Great Article. Regarding “if” the search engines will take up the new geographic domains, I am 100% sure that it will happen. A .paris domain name is certainly someone in Paris, and Google has to provide the most relevant results, so…

    The future of .com is a very interesting discussion. What TLD will new businesses go for? How big an impact will the dot brand have on user perception? You can either argue that .com will be THE trustworthy identity of a website in a jungle of TLDs, or on the other hand you can argue that .com will be seen as a dinosaur. Only time will tell

  • http://www.hotelstreasure.com/ Carl Wathne

    Buying and selling domain name is a serious and big business. If you are low in capital to jump-start your dream business, the cheapest and easiest place to start and earn a reasonable seed capital is in Domain Name Business.

  • MC

    Everyone who says .com will reign supreme is only saying that to convince themselves. In the end, the deciding factor will be whether the Internet’s youngest demographic–the Instagram Generation–catches on to gTLDs. If they bite, then after a short while .com TLDs will become akin to what VHS is now in recordable media.

  • tj123

    it’s called evolution. Sorry guys, I know how much you want to believe that .com is here to stay but it’s time to come to grips with reality. I know some of you have invested tens of thousands of dollars in your .com’s and you want to believe that it will stay on top forever, but sorry to tell you, it will not. This is a huge game changer.
    remember when myspace was king?
    remember when desktop computers were king?
    remember when blackberry was king?
    remember when blockbuster was king?

    EVOLUTION GUYS. EVOLUTION!

    • Virtualab

      all of the above were products that were surpassed by other better
      products. new gTLDs are not so much better from a consumer point of
      view. if I am to select between a .com or .info I will surely go to
      .com. sorry .info just looks like a losers’ alternative.

      new
      gTLDs don’t bring any new experience to the customer. nothing changes,
      just an address. just a few keystrokes among thousands I make per day.
      it doesn’t make my day any better. all of the products you mentioned
      above changed people’s lives and competition changed it further to the
      better.

      it’s like saying the new way of linking is
      through the URL shorteners. you use them as a webmaster or you don’t. it
      doesn’t bring anything to the table for the user in such a magnitude
      that now all of a sudden everyone should start using it.

      different
      gTLDs are just different gTLDs. and we grew up with .com to be the
      universal king of kings and there is no other universal king to replace
      that one. all the rest will sound like mom&pop stores in side alleys
      compared to your faviorite mall.

      the only reason we have these new gTLDs is so webmasters late to the game can have the crumbs and so registrars never run out of new tools to sell to new webmasters. period. amen.

  • Karen

    Certainly thought provoking. Think this is the start of another new age and you are pointing out the leading edge. We can believe it or not. Thanks.

  • Bob

    only an idiot would think this could drive up the price of .com. Seriously, instead of having to pay a squatter hundreds or thousands of $’s to get the right domain name, you will have hundreds to choose from. This should kill all that stupid domain squatting that has been driving up the prices of .com.

  • clinton

    I don’t see why people think .com is so valuable. I have been using .net in the last few years and have had exactly the same results as .com. Most customers don’t seem to notice the difference. This move will make .com even less valuable. It will be just another domain name.

  • Scott Hall

    I think .com is important, but it’s not what I/we think, it’s what the generation moving into the workforce thinks. These same ones that never email, or pick up the phone to speak, but merely to text. Things will change…faster than we believe they will.

  • tldfarm

    Every domainer I know, talk to, or read about pounds the same message as our friend IllinoisMike. But I think this whole URL thing is a little more multi dimensional. I have a dot com portfolio myself and have been domaining for close to ten years. For some odd reason I really like the dot biz extension, don’t ask me why, I’ve never promoted to say like “hey dot biz is like the coolest thing ever”, I just personally like it. At this present moment yes it is a must to have the dot com, if I tell someone to go to dot biz, they’ll automatically remember dot com a few days down the road, but I’m not too sure about the future, if anything I see my dot coms devaluating with the launch of the new GTLDS.

    I work in IT, and deal with end users on a regular basis, I’ve met people who thought Yahoo was the internet. You’d be surprised at how many people never punch in a URL on their browser and simply use the pre configured search engine that happens to install itself via some spyware. Think about Coke as a brand and from the marketing department stand point, why pay a domainer thousands if not millions every time you dream up a campaign, if you own the .coke extension, you’re free to dream up whatever, no more negotiating prices. So yes dot com super important in the present day, not so sure that’s the case 2 years from now. Just my speculation.

  • ProfessorGT

    Worst idea ever. Its not evolution its a sales gimmick to bilk companies out of more money to protect their brands.

  • sam

    Wants .com domains at just $4, cantact me at summyplay@gmail.com

  • http://compra.tv Jorge Rios

    Consider the domain like stocks that are independent. The first ones like .com will have one of the greatest values, few digit domains, will have the most value.
    The internet will make newspapers, magazines and several shops will dissapear from the physical and be placed and based on the web. But, google controls the preference of TLDs and furthermore, gives preference to advertizing. My advice to you all, when you think on selling a domain, think your possible buyers and if they will have the money to spend and if the key person to buy it has access to know is for sale.