Domain names on keyboard

The power of the .com, even during Covid

In case you missed a report back in May 2020, domain name registrations compared to Q1 in 2019 were up 14.9 million or 4.2%. It seems that even during situations like global pandemic people and businesses love to register domain names.

Some domain registrations are probably Covid related, in fact “over 90% of the nearly 100,000 pandemic-related domain registrations have been registered by domain speculators” says Chris Melka a Program Manager, Domain Services at Clarivate.

Over 90% of the nearly 100,000 pandemic-related domain registrations have been registered by domain speculators.

— CHRIS MELKA Program Manager, Domain Services Clarivate

Domain name registrations report by Verisign

Malicious domains during Covid-19

Unfortunately, there have been reports that among many domain registrations, some were registered in pure malicious intent. Zoom was targeted in particular due to its rise in popularity during the “Stay at home campaign.”

But not all is doom and gloom! E-commerce is on the rise, and many businesses are using the power of the .com to rise to the challenge!

Amazon and Shopify have seen some amazing growth, but so have the website builders such as Wix and Squarespace!

.Com is strong, but so are the ccTLDs

Earlier this year I was reading the InternetX global domain report and besides solid growth in .com, they also saw growth in some ccTLDs like .de, .UK, .TW, .NL and .BR.

They published this report during Namescon conference and received some positive feedback. Inside you can find a lot of data not just from InternetX domain registry business, but also from Sedo!

What about 4-letter .com domains?

As you may know, we love to give some attention to the 4-letter .com domains and it seems the market feels the same way. According to Sedo stats, 3-letter and 4-letter domains (not just .com) are the most listed in their marketplace.

Obviously, 1-letter and 2-letter domains lack in supply just because there are not as many combinations. But the graph is very telling! Could it be that domain owners don’t know how to sell these domains, so they are forced to sell them on the marketplace?

Or is it the inherent value of an extremely short domain, that makes it valuable and therefore a great asset to be selling on a marketplace? In 2019, 4 out of 10 highest domain sales were 2-letter and 3-letter domain names.

InternetX reports ccTLD registrations are growing, but are they?

Here’s an interesting statistic. We’ve seen the numbers for ccTLDs on InternetX, but, compared to the ZookNIC global numbers, it seems that Q1 of 2020 there was a 0.2 million domain name registration decrease!

One could say that not many really care about the largest ccTLD (.tk), but the decrease was there. Honestly, when was the last time you opened a website that actually resolved on a .tk domain name. However, these numbers include .cn, .de, .uk, .nl and other popular country TLDs!

Which domains you should be selling?

It seems that about 50% of sales happen on Sedo are for domains that are 6 to 10 letters long, probably one or two words depending on the language. Also, more than 50% of these sales go to buyers located in the USA or Germany. And yes, more than 50% of these sales are for .com domains.

  1. 6-10 letters long
  2. USA or Germany
  3. .Com

Com domains are strong, but are there any dangerous trends out there that are threatening its power?

Dangerous trend #1 – .com scarcity

Although TheNextWeb article “What’s in a startup’s name” suggests 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 has 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 get deleted daily, (probably like the ones we mention in our research that’s explained in this article “AdWords vs SEO“), but a lot more get registered. And how about registering 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 of, 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 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 losing 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. Let’s 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 a 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 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 losing 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

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