The question a lot of us have on our minds in the domain industry is who’s registering domain names and why?
Also known as domainers, there are tens of thousands of users in this market. They invest in domain names and profit from selling them. Domainers anticipate future needs of businesses and brands and register domain names they believe individuals and companies will pay good money to build their online presence. Some factors that influence how much a domain will sell for are how much someone wants the domain name, the domain extension, and keyword density. Domain names can sell anywhere from a few dollars to a whopping $35.6 million (insurance.com in 2010). Being early adopter of the domain industry, domainers make up a large majority of the New Domain sales. The new TLDs are an exciting market that hasn’t really exploded in the general public yet. Once exposure of the new gTLDs infiltrates the general market domainers will begin to see their investments paying off.
Enterprise and Large Business
There are also tens of thousands of users in this market. Brands understand the significance of a good domain name and are willing to pay for it. Large corporations use domain names for marketing campaigns, as a defensive measure, and when expanding their brand into foreign markets.
Domain Names are one of the best indicators of what is happening in the market or what is about to happen. People and brands strategize with domain names way before they start making public moves. Keeping an eye out for what domain names large brands (or competitors) are registering is one of the best ways to anticipate trends and changes in the market. Basically, domain names predict the future!
Small Business and Start-Ups
There are millions of potential domain name users in the small business market. Ranging from tech-savvy start-ups run by millennials to technically-challenged family-owned businesses. Many small businesses are settling for long and complicated .COM, .NET, .ORG website addresses because that is all they know, but the younger generation start-ups are capitalizing on the advantages of the new gTLDs in branding and differentiation in the market.
Still today, many small businesses are not online, but every year the case for having an online presence is becoming more of a necessity to a brand’s success and survival and less of an off-hand priority. Domain names are imperative to small businesses because without a customer searching online they may never stumble upon a small business brand. Customers are searching on the go, in-the-moment, and in real-time (increasingly on mobile devices), and it’s a matter of whether small businesses are willing to do what they have to, to be where their customers are.
This market has the greatest potential with 3+ billion users. These domain names are used for a number of reasons including content promotion, personal branding, defensive protection, socially and aspirationally. Sometimes the new TLDs are referred to as “vanity domains” which is exactly how individuals are using them. These users are looking to build a very specific and sometimes idealized profile for their personal brand online. They are chasing their dreams and turning their goals into a reality. Whatever message or look they are trying to represent to the world, they want it to be uniquely theirs. The new gTLDs give them a lot of creative freedom in this sense, but many people are still gravitating to .COM because it is considered the online standard – something comfortable and reliable. Although .COM is a great starting place for new users you can expect to see the rise of new gTLDs soon.
Everyone needs a domain, Registries know it, we know it, but does the mass market know it? Some users make a living off of domain names, others grow their brand, no matter what your individual goal is- there’s a domain (or a few) out there for you!