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3 most dangerous trends facing domain name owners

Dangerous trend #1 – .com scarcity

Although TheNextWeb article “What’s in a startup’s name” suggest that: “While the necessity and buzz around yourname-dot-com domains have indeed died down in the past few years” and that “the trend for misspelled words and -ly won’t go away” there’s a whole lot going on behind those two statements. I find it extremely hard to believe that the buzz around .com domains have died since by now we are past 113.700.000 registered .com domains. That number is so insane, I am just going to write it down again. 113.700.000.

If you think the tide is shifting, you should know that this number grew 3.7% since last year and that there are over 100 000 .com domains registered every day. Oh yeah, the buzz is dead… “100 000 per day” dead. This number was pretty much constant for months, and growing for years, and it’s still a lot bigger than all other TLD registrations put together. Sure a lot of them gets deleted daily, (probably like the one I registered because of this research “Most expensive keywords in Adwords” CompareCommercialVehicleInsurance.com ), but a lot more get registered. Generic words on .com? Sure, get the world bank to help you finance that purchase.

Most expensive keywords in Google Adwords
Back in 2012 CPC was as high as $54.91 for some keywords. The rising of CPC can easily be a fourth dangerous trend.

There are a lot of potential domains out there, but since we know that there are no 4 letter domains, one thing’s probably not going to change anytime soon. We are running out of .coms.  It’s not getting better anytime soon.

By now you are probably saying; OK, Goran, I got it. No good .coms. Are you telling me I should register a new gTLD like .ninja? I don’t know, are you a ninja? I am still waiting for McDonald’s to do their rebranding to McDonalds.burger or Coke.drink. I’ve read so many books on vision, “the why“, and I am sure those brands would avoid being boxed in at any cost! As soon as you admit you are just about “burgers” or “computers”, you get slaughtered by your competition. Getting a .berlin if you are a brick and mortar shop or a hairdresser around the corner makes sense. But if you are doing business globally, I am not willing to bet. Are you? Is anyone?

There’s one thing I am sure, every company online should own more than one website, and definitely more than one domain name. With 280 million registered domains out there, if you are one of those with one domain for your company, change that today! There’s a research that domain names impact your success on Adwords and when it comes to “keyword rich domains for SEO” each year there’s an article explaining how those domains are loosing value, but (it always comes with a “BUT”) there is some value in them.

To help you find those secondary domains for Adwords and domains for SEO, my team built a tool that I haven’t seen anywhere else, and with it I was already able to find some interesting domains, while having fun in the process.

The service provides domain lookups in a new innovative way, and making it easy to do thousands of lookups, and finding geo domains (such as PlumberLondon.com, PlumberSheffield.com, PlumbingLondon, PlumbingSheffield) or finding brandable five letter domains by combining vowels and consonants. (ProVa.com, TroVa.com, ProVi.com TroVi.com). Naturally, I would suggest trying hundreds of combinations, not just 2 like described here.

Solution: Find great domains and invest

Dangerous trend #2 – The bigger the brand, the bigger the threat

Check this one out. Anyone can register a domain name containing a certain brand name. Lets say someone registers duracellbateries.com (an actual domain that’s available for registration for $10, and I officially advise you not to purchase that domain), and that someone builds a website, and offers to sell knock-off Duracell batteries in bulk. Sends spam, or optimizes quickly for a certain niche keyword, and does any kind of social media or viral promotion. Just in the matter of hours, the person could potentially harm Duracell’s brand in thousands of dollars.

Until there’s a fail safe, that prevents anyone from registering a trademark domains (not anytime soon) or some sort of notification inside your browser (not anytime soon), we could be scammed, and trademark (domain  name) owners could lose are loosing money!

There are companies like Lexsynergy that can protect your brand, and you could use our API to check the ownership of certain domain names (and proactively check new domains) but I fear that’s not enough, and that we will have to build new tools and services to help companies protect themselves online.

Also, the above example is just one scenario. Imagine if the domain name is imposing as a bank, trying to get your login details? Or email details (and with that, effectively get everything else). As an end user, you REALLY have to pay attention to what domain name exactly are you accessing! Is it gmail.com or gnail.com or a hacked folder.

Solution: Protect your brand before it’s too late.

Dangerous trend #3 – Online junk

I don’t have the data to back this one up, but after being online for 20 years (oh yeah I am online since 1995) and working intensely on my online businesses for 10 years (founded my first online business, a hosting company in 2005) I am going with my gut feeling on this one. In the past 20 years of the Internet we had tremendous growth of the Internet. Back in 1995 there were 9005 . com domains and today? Here’s that number again, 113.700.000. There are over 280 million domains registered globally.

.com domain stats for past 30 years
.com domain stats for past 30 years

I found out that back in April 2013 there was a total of 252 million domain names, and a total of 121.1 million .com and .net domains. Out of the 121.1 million 15% had no website, and 21% had a one-page website. Wild guess and speculation on my end, 36% of those registered domains were useless to the end user. And what about the remaining 64%? Well, there are thousands of websites that were generated with automated content to game the search engines, and there are content farms like the one created by Demand Media (and dare I say killed by Google?). Among the 64% there are gems like this one, and even though it’s 2015, some websites still have music. Music that I don’t like. And after you see this one, you begin to think that e-how’s content farm is actually providing real value. Worst website of the year.

Sadly enough, all that competes with your website on Google and on social media for the browser’s attention. If you hope that someone else will solve this problem for you and that you will come at the top just by doing everyone a favor and building a decent website, you are mistaken. You would think that Google is working hard to remove the junk out of their results page, but I can tell you they are equally busy with Google glass, Google driverless car, and who knows what else.

We better start helping each other. If you see an ugly, useless website, tell the owner, and point them in a direction on how to make a great website. We better start building and using the tools that improve the SERP rankings of great companies and not the ones that do black hat SEO. If you see a great article, share it and blog about it so that you create the ripple effect. We are all in this together, and the Internet isn’t going anywhere, and it is up to us to make it great. If we don’t, 10 years from now, we will realize how much we messed things up.

Solution: Make Internet Awesome

Written by Goran Duskic

I am the founder and CEO at WhoAPI. Entrepreneur for more than a decade in the hosting and domain industry. Sold my previous company. 500 Startups and StartLabs alumni. Author of a white paper "Domain Disclosure: Dirty Dozen" and eBook "26 Fundraising Questions for Startups".

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