Photo 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:
- ICANN New gTLDs: http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/
- WhatDomain.org: http://www.whatdomain.org/
- dotWhat.co: http://www.dotwhat.co/ICANN
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.