Friday, February 16, 2018

Is it "silly" to invest in new gTLDs?

Introduction

A week or so ago Elliot Silver of Domain Investing published a post called "It's silly to buy something that is much harder to sell!".  After thinking about the points in his posts for a few days, I have developed the following response (I also posted a short version in comments on his website).

I don’t disagree with Elliot, whose writing on the domain industry I respect a lot, on the key points (domain selling is hard, the evidence supports the fact that generally selling .com is easier and more lucrative).  I do feel that calling those who invest in new global TLDs (ngTLD) “silly” is maybe slightly harsh 😼 (of course I am one of those politically correct Canadians!), although that is not the main purpose of my post. I also agree with his view that at least currently ngTLDs may be good for some end users and even the registrars in some cases, it is really tough to make much money from them in the resale market.

Reasons to Invest in ngTLDs

Nevertheless, I would argue that there can be good reasons to invest in ngTLDs.  Let me suggest a few of them.
  1. The investor is primarily interested in developing and encouraging use of domain name phrases, which don’t really work with .com but are ideally suited to some of the new gTLDs. If you are new to the idea of domain name phrases, check them out at NamesThat.win or Names.of.London
  2. The investor seeks to primarily serve end users who are in the NGO/organization space. While clearly .org TLDs are suitable (and most would say preferred), and .net to some degree, some small organizations will be looking for higher impact or more affordable domain names in the ngTLD space. Many organizations do not want to be associated with .com or .biz (I know some are OK with it).  While the domain market for business use will probably also be much higher, perhaps something like 10% of domain names go to non-commercial organizations.
  3. It is best to sell what you know, and it is natural for those with expertise in an area of one of the new gTLDs to include them in their portfolio. For example, my professional background was primarily in science and space, so it makes sense to consider investment in those ngTLDs (among others).
  4. If the goal of the investor is to set up a diversified, creative portfolio without risking too much money, this is more possible with new gTLDs if one selects carefully.  Some domain name investors like searching for good value in creative, overlooked domain names, yet don't want to risk more than hundreds of dollars total. Yes, the odds are probably better of making money from one medium value .com but then all of your work and risk is in a single name and you don’t have the fun of developing a creative set of possible names for end users. 
  5. You want to be part of an innovative change in domain name use.  Personally, I find many of the .com domain names available ugly (that is not surprising with well over 100 million registered), while there are sometimes available, even at registration cost, aesthetically elegant simple domain names.  

Final Thoughts

Most businesses fail (yes statistics show that clearly), but if everyone took the lowest risk, easiest route of never gambling on starting something new we would not have innovative businesses. Yes, for every Apple or Amazon there are thousands or tens of thousands of failed ideas, but occasionally one takes off! I think it is healthy and positive that some creative, idealistic people want to invest in new gTLDs.  And, well, let's not call them silly please!  

I appreciate the central message of Elliot's post - it is indeed hard to sell ngTLDs (in fact hard to sell any domain name other than the most cherished high value ones I would say). I think that those who say "It's easy, buy and flip for big profits" are misleading and bring into the industry those who are in it for all the wrong reasons.  Like those who start innovative businesses, the domain name industry will be best served when it is full of people who first and foremost want to innovate and serve (yes, it is important to make a little money, but you should be driven by the service side of the industry).

I personally think that if you have more than a very tiny amount invested it is probably not wise to invest only in ngTLDs.  Personally, although the majority of my portfolio is in ngTLDs, I also have about 10% in my own country code, a few .com names, and about 15% in "global" country code names such as .co, .me and .pw. In any form of investigation diversification is wise. But I will admit that it is the ngTLDs that I like personally best.  I would be over the moon if you would have a look at some of my domain names.  Some of my favourites are in the Features section of my catalogue here.

Image credit: Pixabay user 12019. The content of this post is intended as educational information and commentary, and is not to be taken as individual investment advice. The reader is solely responsible for any domain name investment choices he or she makes.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Thoughts on Domain Market Choices

Introduction

I recently wrote a long post on the Namepros site with my thoughts regarding options for listing and display of domain names.  In particular I look at Afternic, Efty, Namecheap Marketplace and Undeveloped as options, as well as your own web site.  I have slightly refined the post for display on the blog.  You can see the thread with my comments and those of others here.

I have recently listed about 15% of my domain portfolio on Afternic, and about 35% on Undeveloped. For a somewhat longer time had Efty landing/market for the majority of my domains. I have listed a variable number of my domains on Namecheap Marketplace, and I do have all of my domains on a personal website, and most in a catalog there. So far all of my sales (19 low value ones) have been on Namecheap Marketplace, either directly or after making communication via my website. Here are my thoughts on each of the options I have tried (I have not used Sedo or Flippa).

Afternic

Afternic is one of the largest networks of domain names for sale (about 13 million domains listed as I write this), and they claim that they reach the largest audience  (25 million or 75 million audience according to whether your domain name qualifies for the premium network).  (to get it need both be registered with one of the fast transfer supported registrars like Namesilo or GoDaddy) AND it be an extension they support (.com .net .info .org .biz .pw and a few others but no new gTLDs) and the price be BIN and within the supported range. Their commissions are (20%), and they have a $15 minimum. I have not had a sale so can't comment on how smoothly payout is via Afternic. 

They seem to have an unusual approval process for adding new domain names - I never handle poor taste, adult themed, drug, political, or get rich quick type domains, or those with obvious trademark issues. When I list at Afternic about 90% get approved instantly, but the other 10% often sit for a week under review. I have given up and listed elsewhere several of these domain names, so I am not sure if they would eventually be approved.  Afternic really need to provide better feedback on why a name is under review and when it is likely to be approved. 

I tried parking a few domain names with Afternic, but I really dislike that even though the domains have a buy it now price, all the person entering the domain name in a web browser first sees is a page telling them to phone Afternic and they will give them the price. I think a lot of potential purchasers would like to see the price, before deciding whether to telephone an agent.  Another issue is that the user does not see any of the description of the domain name even though one is entered (and can be seen if they do a search on the domain name on the Afternic site, rather than entering it exactly in a browser).  So I no longer park with Afternic. 

With Afternic you can readily create a link that will take the purchaser to the domain names you have for sale in your portfolio - e.g. my current Afternic listed domain names are at this link

You don't pay fees with Afternic until your domain name sells, so why not give it a try if you have some domain names to sell?

Efty


Efty is great for handling your portfolio (note that it is not a marketplace in the sense of the others, although you can make your own personal Efty marketplace).  When you add domains to your Efty portfolio they automatically use Whois to fill in the details of your registration settings such as where registered and expiration date.  Efty is a great way to keep track of a large domain portfolio, and as such has no real competitors.

Efty allows you to have buy it now prices, and also to accept offers, with a range set for those offers. You can direct a domain name so that it acts as the central place for all of your Efty listings.  For example, mine is www.frugal.bid. Note that they only show a few recently added names at the home page, but if you scroll to bottom of page you can find see all that are available, and can search by extension, subject or other ways.

Efty recently offered a secure option for your marketplace if you have all but their most basic type of account.  

When you sell a domain via Efty you are essentially handling the sale yourself, even though escrow options and PayPal are integrated with the platform. The plus side of this is that you don't pay any commissions (Efty do have a monthly fee, however). On the down side, there is not a third party acting as an intermediary for the transfer (unless your escrow choice does that). 

The PayPal integration with Efty is smooth. However, when you have a sale, it is not like the others with a third party handling it. So far I have not managed to get a legitimate offer via Efty. I like the choice of themes, and their landers are fast compared to Undeveloped. I like somewhat the text plus multiple bullet points display format at Efty, but find it too restricted on length of text (and once you implement BIN with Paypal link the bullets no longer show). You can add logo to make the market look more attractive, although the resolution is limited. 

People won't find your domain except by entering the exact name in a web browser (and being directed to Efty viat domain name server settings), or directing them there with links from your own website. 

If you have domain names to sell and have not tried Efty you should, and they have a 30 day free trial period. The people who run Efty are very responsive and the system is very easy to use.

Namecheap Marketplace

I like Namecheap a lot as a registrar, and when you have names registered with them it is very easy to place them for sale on their marketplace. I really like how fast and automatic the purchase and transfer is for both buyer and seller.  I have explained the transfer process in a previous post that you can read here. 

I have both bought and sold domain names via the Namecheap Marketplace numerous times, and without exception the process has been fast and smooth. You find a domain name that you like, add it to your cart, sign up for a free Namecheap account if you don't already have one, pay for the domain and you are done.  They will automatically move the domain name from the sellers to the buyers account.

Namecheap handle everything, which makes the transaction secure for both buyer and seller. The seller will get an email saying that the domain name was sold, and the funds are released 5 business days later (you can only take out into PayPal after you have $100, but can put any amount into your account to purchase new domains). The commission is a straight 10% (the price per domain must be between $5 and $1000). 

There are two big advantages to buying on the Namecheap marketplace. ICANN have a 60 day transfer restriction in general - after a domain name has been newly registered or changed ownership normally you can't sell it to someone else for 60 days.  However, you can sell it during this period on the Namecheap Marketplace as the ownership transfer is all done via one registrar. A second big advantage is that when you purchase on the Namecheap Marketplace ihe new owner does not need to add an extra year of registration (normally when the name is transferred to the new owner at a different registrar in addition to paying the cost of the domain name sale, the new owner needs to add a year of registration at the new registrar). As many of my domains are registered already for multiple years, this is a big advantage. 

For those buying a domain to set up a first website, the excellent hosting at reasonable prices that Namecheap offer make it easy for purchasers to buy your domain and be up and running quickly. I think we underestimate how important this is to new end users. 

You can easily make a single link that will always be updated with what you have currently listed - e.g. mine is here. You can only list domains registered with Namecheap on their marketplace.

All that being said, the Namecheap Marketplace has a $1000 limit, and the amount of traffic you will get will be limited to Namecheap Marketplace users and any others that you direct there.  In summary, I find the Namecheap Marketplace an excellent place to buy and sell domain names, but not a good place to find available domain names.

Undeveloped

One of the fastest growing sites for resale of domain names is undeveloped.com.  For sellers undeveloped have a really simple commission structure,  just 9% of the sale price with no minimum. They offer purchaser assurance by handling transactions as a third party and most of the time the transfer is done within 24 hr.  They claim that since 2014 there has not been a single transfer with problems, which is an incredible record and one that gives potential buyers confidence.  They have recently made the currencies shown adapt to the region of the seller.  

As a seller I find the landing pages more elegant at Undeveloped compared to Efty.  It is easy to point your domain name servers so that those entering the domain name are pointed to your undeveloped listing. However, at least from North America their landing pages are slow to launch  (they apparently are working on improving this). Undeveloped allow you to add more text than Efty.  You can readily have offer or buy it now prices, and they provide some research on what things facilitate sales (e.g. having a buy it now price and showing who you are rather than just using a username). 

You can make a single link that will go to your portfolio of names on Undeveloped, although only a few will show up at first (my Undeveloped portfolio is here). 

There is no doubt that Undeveloped is becoming more popular, with both sellers and purchasers. If you look at the Namebio high value sales so far in 2018 they are solidly represented. I hope they will become the goto place for potential purchasers to look for domains, as I think they treat domain sellers and buyers really well. Since you don't pay until your domain sells, why not try out Undeveloped for yourself, if you have not already?

Your Website

I have recently started going back to pointing my domains at my personal website (NamesThat.win).  I think this has advantages.  I can control how the domains appear, and also highlight other domain names in the similar category.  I provide a section that lists all available names alphabetically, as well as a catalog that has them divided by theme.  Depending on the domain name I sometimes make the domain name when entered go to the alphabetical list, while at other times it directs to a catalog category . For example, if you click on www.nanodevice.co you can see how this works - you go to a catalog page with all of my nanoscience related names.

Other Options

There are of course other options, the most obvious being Sedo and Flippa, as well as selling domains to other domain investors on Namepros.  Since I wanted to restrict my remarks to sites I have actually used, I am not providing comment on them here.  Another option worth considering, especially since it does not have fees if you have only a small number of domain names to list, is Tough Domains. One of the other posters on Namepros pointed out that Namesilo have a marketplace that is similar to that of Namecheap - I may well try that out in the not too distant future, but have not done so yet.

Final Thoughts

If you list a domain name at more than one place, it is safest to have a buy it now price at only one place, so there is no chance that it can be simultaneously purchased by two different parties (and then take down the buy it now when you have an offer you plan to accept).

I think those of us in the domain community need to think carefully from the perspective of a potential end user.  That person wants a simple and attractive way they can find good options with price information available up front.  They want a purchase process that is both smooth and trustworthy and relatively fast. Finally, since most will want to establish a web presence with the domain they have just purchased, the steps to go from obtaining the domain name to hosting should be easy and reasonable in cost. 

That leads me to believe that the best option, even though it is a bit of work, is to have your own website with a wealth of attractively presented information, but have links where the actual purchase can be done through a third party such as Undevelped or Namecheap. I have done that now for many of my domain names (see the alphabetical list here) ad will complete the process soon. 

I also plan in the months ahead to launch user services that will provide assistance with both the purchase and followup.  That is, if desired, I will help the purchaser individually with the steps in buying the domain through a linked marketplace (and make it available for a BIN at their preferred place), and also provide follow up assistance with getting the DNS settings right, and getting a hosting package, again if desired.  

Monday, January 15, 2018

New Sections for the Catalog

We have recently added some new sections to our catalog. Please check them out, and we hope you find what you are looking for!

Catalog image for NamesThat.win domain names

New Sections

  • Blockchain and crypto-currencies (okay we finally got on the blockchain and crypto bandwagon, at least with a few domain names!)
  • Family Life (most of these domain names are also in another section, but we wanted a section promoting family activities)
  • Fun (every website needs a section devoted to good family-friendly fun, right!)
  • Makerspaces (for those who are members of the vibrant maker community, and those who support them)
  • Psychology (especially positive psychology and mental health)
  • Shopping (for both store owners and shoppers)
  • Startups (this used to be our Names section, but now expanded and revised)
  • Writers (names for authors, publishers and avid readers; some of these are general, and some are suggestions for book titles and sites)
  • Other (a set of miscellaneous domain names that don’t quite fit in the other categories)
We have expanded most of our other sections. Note that the segment that was called investment is now called finance. The discounted price name section is now called Special Offer; while these are some of our most deeply discounted domain names, we feel that we offer good value in all of our domain names - see the complete list here. Thanks for checking out the new sections, and all of our catalog!


Why Is A Catalog Important?

When you purchase shoes you don't expect to have to paw through them in a pile of different sizes and types; when you buy a house or car you expect the salesperson to efficiently and attractively present the property or vehicle, when you buy online you expect objects to be presented in a way that you can quickly find what you want – why should domain names be different?  We have put a lot of effort into our domain name catalog.  Thanks for checking it out, and as always we welcome your comments and advice.

Friday, January 12, 2018

What Names Will Be Strong in 2018?

I posted some of these thoughts on NamePros the other day, but thought I would refine and expand my thoughts in this post.  The original post was in response to a poll about which types of domain names would be popular in 2018. The poll listed crypto, AR, VR, AI and other (I voted other). So what other do I think will be important? 

I think it is fair to say that 2017 was the year of Bitcoin and crypto-currencies in general.  If you look at the top 100 sales of the year on Namebio, eth.com took third place at  $2,000,000 and crytpbank.com and cryptotrade.com are also on the Top 100 of 2017 domain name sales list.  The daily Namebio reports for the year indicated many other significant sales throughout the year.

While I think crypto-currencies in general will remain hot in 2018, I think more interest will focus on the underlying blockchain technologies.  Blockchain is applicable to much more than just crypto-currencies, and will revolutionize real estate, financial transactions, investing, identity products, international trade, etc. While the prime crypto-currency names will command huge prices, I see a glut of crypto-currency registrations will help cap prices for the run of the mill crypto-currency names.

So what do I think are domain names that will see a big rise in popularity in 2018? On the list below I have after each indicated some of the common hashtags on Twitter and other social media, although of course the list is not complete and there is no real standardization of hashtags. The order that I list them below is not meant to imply relative importance.


(a) Blockchain technology (#blockchain, #BCT)  Blockchain is society changing in importance, and I think that good blockchain domain names will sell for large amounts.  An indication of blockchain attention is that stock prices on Kodak doubled overnight simply based on an announcement that they would use blockchain technology in image tracking and authentication. I see most of the blockchain attention in .com and .io TLD extensions, although some country codes will also do well and here and there new gTLDs like .trade and .fund may find sales. There will be a mix of modest sales to small startups and big sales to major players.

(b) Internet of Things (#IoThings, #IOT) The Internet of Things and the general idea of connected devices of all kinds will continue to grow. Clever names in good extensions, or brandable options, will find customers. Both .com and .io will be good, some of the country codes, and possibly a bit of traffic in the more generic of the new gTLDs such as .online, .site or .xyz. I think words directly IoT, IoThings, InternetOfThings will sell of course, but even more so ideas that use connected or synonyms in a clever and memorable way. Creativity will pay off for those who can come up with a memorable startup name for the connected era.  CISCO is a big player in the Internet of Things - you can find some of their plans and projections here. The following article makes some predictions for the Internet of Things

(c) Nanomaterials (#nano, #nanoscience, #nanomaterials, #nanoparticles, #nanotech, #IONT) While nanotech and nanomaterials have been around for years, I think many of the most exciting applications, in particular building really tiny and smart nanodevices for things like medicine (to precisely deliver pharmaceuticals) and smart material science. More than just experts will begin to combine these two ideas in an Internet of Nanoscale Things. (#IONT). This Scientific American article looks at the transition to nanoscale objects in the Internet of Things.  This article looks at IONT from a business perspective.  I think that while .com will as always command many of the sales, .io will be very popular in this area perhaps even more than .com. There will be some interest in a few of the new gTLDs, particularly .site, .tech and .science.

(d) Genetic Medicine (#genetic, #DNA, #CRISPR, Both in terms of editing to cure or prevent genetic related diseases using things like CRISPR, and genetics broadly and generally (e.g. consumer things like the ancestry services) is I think the sleeper that no one is talking much about (in the domain community - lots of talk in the world of science and medicine!). Unsure what CRISPR is? Here is a good short article including some potential applications, while this article from New Scientist describes 20 human trials either in place or about to start.   I don't think there will not be a huge number of sales, but some of them will be at very good prices. While CRISPR has many applications outside health, I think medical applications will drive most of the domain name interest.  The most obvious CRISPR name extensions are held in a few hands currently, only some of which are listed for sale. The golden era for CRISPR domain name sales is still a few years away, but 2018 will see some movement.

(e) Psychology/Healthy Mind (#PositivePsychology, #Happiness, #HappinessAdvantage) The idea of positive psychology was popularized  through The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor (see this link to learn more, including links to both the book and TED talk). The essential idea is expressed this way: "When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive." This means that the first step in becoming more productive is to work on your happiness level. I see various combinations of positive, psychology, happy, happiness and advantage in domain names as finding customers, both at the moderately high end and particularly at prices modest enough for a single consultant or counsellor. Positive psychology has clear implications for successful schools and businesses, although the impact is much broader than that. Of course this is just one topic in the area of mental health, and I see topics such as meditation, mindfulness, counselling, etc. all finding interest. Overall I think 2018 will be a good year for .org, and I see some of the big players here choosing .org, .net or possibly .site, .club or .online, instead of .com. There is probably room for some of the new gTLD to have an impact here too.

(f) Design I think design of various kinds will be popular, selling at amounts ranging fro tens of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. It is encouraging that big names like NPR, Facebook and Kohler have meaningly used the .design TLD, and I see this helping get the new gTLD finding a market among smaller companies. I don't see many sales of $1000 or more, but I think there will be a number of sales in the hundreds of dollars range. Those with good .design names will be able to make modest profits, or hold for another year for better returns.

(g) Environmental For good reason there will continue to be lots of international attention on issues of climate change and the environment more generally. Of course many of the players here will already use existing organizational or educational sites rather than purchase new domains, but I think media, non governmental organizations and others will be willing to pay small but significant amounts for a descriptive domain name.  This is one area that I think .com will not be the best option. I think many environmental organizations will select TLDs like .site, .space, .website and .online, as well as the environment centred .eco TLD that comes with controls on who can use it.

(h)  Startups  Certainly 2017 was active for the TLD extension .io  for tech startups, and the first couple of weeks of 2018 shows that trend continuing. Each year many startups begin (and end), and each wants a name that will feel unique. With limited budgets in some cases, I think we will see a small rebound of .xyz as a very low cost option for tiny startups and I see some cost-conscious startups with global hopes will go with .gdn (global domain name). Environmental startups may select .eco that brings credibility and the possibility to get a really short domain name.

(i)  Freelancers  I saved for last what I think will be the largest market for domain names - individuals starting single person companies, many of them part time.  They will be looking for a domain name that is simple and catchy, but not be willing or able to pay a large amount.  While many will use .com and .net (or a country or region extension), I see .pw, .site, .online, .top and .xyz finding some sales here. I also see good potential for the more specialized new gTLDs such as .design, .guru, .tech, .agency, studio and many others, as well as legacy extensions such as .pro and .biz (although overall I think .biz does not have a bright future). While the rebranding of .pw as professional web has had fairly modest success so far, I see 2018 being good for .pw including some sales in the tens to hundreds of dollars on the resale markets.

Clearly the above list reflects my own interests and biases.  Please feel free to expand the list with your ideas through the comments section here, or through interacting with me on Twitter. There is no doubt that 2018 will be an interesting one in the world of domain names!

Disclosure:  This report presents the views of the author, and is not intended as professional individual advice on which to base business decisions. The author has domain names for sale in several of the areas mentioned here, so bias is possible (or probable!).  The complete list of domain names I own is available here.

Photo credits: The images used to illustrate the article are from Pixabay and believed to all allow commercial use.  If you spot an issue with an image please let us know and we will remove it immediately. The images we use here are provided by Pixabay users Tumisu, geralt, TheDigitalArtist, qimono, CreativeMagic, stux, stevepb, StartupStockPhotos and OvidiuTepes.

Note:  This report is presented both on the author's blog and as a white paper on NamesThat.win.  The white paper version will be updated, and should be regarded as more authoritative. In particular the author owns CRISPR in various TLD extensions and a number of nanotech related domain names.

This article may be reprinted in whole or in part provided that a credit of the original source is given, ideally with a link.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Guide to Namecheap Marketplace

In this posting we walk you through purchasing domain names on the Namecheap Marketplace.  This is a great place to find some good domain names at reasonable prices, and to transfer them with a minimum of hassle in a risk free environment.  The folks at Namecheap handle the payment and transfer process, making the process safe and you are sure you get the domain name.  Note that the Namecheap Marketplace does not have a process for making lower offers, so the price is the one you see.

How do I find one?

Head over to to the Namecheap Marketplace.  To make it easy we made a link with just our Namecheap Marketplace listings.  If you click the Buy Now button on the top right of the listings, and it will order them from the lowest price, so you can see at a glance what is available.



How long are they registered?

When you purchase a domain name on the Namecheap Marketplace (or most other ways) the remaining period that the name is registered goes with it. Therefore it is important to know how the current registration period.  If you click on the domain name, it will show that information (don't confuse the amount of time the domain is listed on the Marketplace with the time the domain is registered for).

Do I just own it until then?

The way domain names work is that you own (or perhaps lease is a better term) the domain name while it is currently registered to you.  But you also own the right to renew the domain name, so you can keep it as many years as you want as long as you annually pay the renewal rate.  So by purchasing a domain name you are purchasing the rights to own it forever, if you want.

Namecheap have a great article on how to renew domain names here. If wondering which registrar offers the best rates for renewing or transferring a domain name, the folks at TLD List have a great service where you just enter the top level domain (such as .me) and they show you the best rates currently available.

How do I buy on the Namecheap Marketplace?

The process is simple and protects both parties. Here is how it works.
  • Go to the Namecheap Marketplace and find the domain name(s) you want.
  • Click on the domain name and add it to your cart.
  • When finished, select Checkout.  If you do not already have an account with them you will be prompted to make one (creating a Namecheap account is free, and you only need one for both new registrations and Marketplace purchases).
  • Select your payment method.  The options include credit cards, PayPal, Dwolla, account funds (if you already have money on deposit with them) and Bitcoin. Pay for the domain purchase.
  • Confirm your order, and any other details like your contact information for the domain registration.
  • Namecheap will automatically move the domain from our name to your registration name and details. Congratulations on your new (to you) domain name!

Why are only some of your domains on the Namecheap Marketplace?

We offer several choices in most of our domain names, including Undeveloped.com and our Efty Marketplace (at www.frugal.bid).  You can also complete a contact form to start a discussion on our main website at NamesThat.win. We also have a selection of our domain names on Afternic. If you want to see everything that we have, arranged alphabetically, including a link to where that domain name is for sale go to this page.

We only offer a domain name with a buy it now price on one market to prevent any possibility of two people buying the same name simultaneously.  For this reason, if a name is listed on the Namecheap Marketplace it will be "Make an offer" on any other markets.  If we get an offer we plan to accept we take down our listing with the price prior to confirming acceptance, so no chance that two people buy the same name.

We can only offer on the Namecheap Marketplace those names that are registered at Namecheap, and where the price is in the range from $5 to $5000.  If you prefer to purchase a name on the Namecheap Marketplace that we don't have listed there send us a note and we will see if we can take it off the other listings and list it there.

Are these extensions valid?

Any domain extension can be used to host a website. For example, our main website is at www.NamesThat.win - you can check it out as an example. Obviously some are more popular than others.  For the new domain TLDs (top level domains), you can see current statistics here. For example, at the time I am writing this just over one million .win domain names have been registered, and well over two million .top and more than 500,000 site domain names. Strictly speaking .co and .me are country code TLDs, although they are widely used for company names and personal names respectively, and those country codes are open to anyone to registrar.

Can I resell it?

Yes, of course.  If you continue to hold it at Namecheap you can resell it on the Namecheap Marketplace right away, or according to ICANN restrictions if you want to transfer it to another registrar you normally need to wait 60 days after the last change in ownership. You can also choose to sell it from many different other marketplaces.

Final Questions

If you are new to domain names, you may find our FAQs at this link helpful. You can also use the contact form on that site if you want to get in touch with us directly. 

Monday, July 31, 2017

How Many Domain Names Does the World Really Need?

Note: The official version of this white paper is available here.  While the one shown below is substantially similar, it is the website version that will be updated to reflect any additions or corrections, and we suggest that you use it for reference purposes.

It is easy to find how many domain names are currently registered. An interesting question to ask is how that compares to the number of domain names that are needed globally. While it is not possible to calculate a precise number, we can make an educated estimate. We provide that analysis in this paper.  This gives us an indication of the growth prospects for the domain name industry, including what component of the market are likely to see the most growth. This analysis may also help inform whether additional new global top level domains (gTLDs) are needed.

How Many Businesses Globally

We start with the premise that the majority of domain names will be utilized by businesses. The number of companies registered on the major stock exchanges is only about 50,000 (you can see the statistics from the largest stock exchanges here).  But most businesses are small and private, not registered on any stock exchange, so we must dig a little deeper for the relevant number of businesses.

For many countries information on how many businesses are registered (at different dates) is given in this resource from the World Bank. For example, in 2007 (the last date with data provided) there were 2.5 million businesses registered in Canada.  In 2005, the last year with data for the United States in the directory, there were 5.2 million businesses registered there, while the United Kingdom had 2.5 million businesses registered in 2007. The population of Canada in 2007 was about 33 million, the USA in 2005 about 300 million, and the UK in 2007 about 61 million. These data suggest a ratio of one registered business per 12 to 60 people.

It is likely the ratio will be less in developing countries, but the goal of this analysis is to predict the number of domain names needed in the medium term future, when development levels become more equal.

If we take the larger value, and assume it could be applied to the entire world population, this would suggest that, with a global population of about 7 billion people, the number of businesses globally might be about 120 million.

Alternative Method

We could estimate the number of businesses in the world another way.  It might be argued that the number of businesses should scale as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), rather than according to population.  Data on the GDP of different economies is given here.  Applying this method, the Canadian economy represents about 2.3% of the world total, so if we scale the 2.5 million registered Canadian businesses to obtain an estimate of the world total number of businesses, we get about 106 million businesses globally.  If we use the USA figures of 5.2 million registered businesses in an economy that (by GDP) represents 24.7% of the global total, we scale to an estimate of about 21 million businesses globally.

These figures agree to an order of magnitude with those obtained in the previous section, although suggest a slightly lower value.  Therefore, considering both techniques, let's revise our estimate of the number of businesses worldwide to about 100 million. The advantage of the second method is that it should more properly handle the mix of developed and developing economies.

How Many Domain Names Per Business

While many businesses will use a single domain name, larger companies use additional domain names, both for different facets of the business (and/or specific product lines), and in multiple countries in which the business operates.  I could not find good statistics on the average number of domain names per business, although a response on Quora estimates that a typical large technology company owns thousands of domain names, many of them unused. A lot has been written lately about domain names owned by the Trump organization, and it appears that the number is at least 3000. Many large companies now operate in a hundred different economies, or more, and need at least that many domains to protect their brand with country specific domain name.

On the other hand, the majority of businesses are essentially a single person, or a few people, engaged in one activity, such as a local contractor or an independent professional.  Most of these need only a single domain name, or possibly two with the second used in marketing and directing to the primary company domain name.

It is probably safe to argue that the average number of domain names per business is higher than 1 and less than several thousand. I think the range is not really as wide as that though, and surely it is at least several, but on average, not more than several dozen.  Let's somewhat arbitrarily assume that the average number of domain names 'needed' per business is 10.

Number of Business Related Domain Names

If we combine data from the previous two sections it suggests that the number of business domain names needed globally would be about 10 times 100 million, or about 1 billion domain names. It should be stressed that we have implicitly assumed that businesses in all regions have reached a technical, marketing and communication stage similar to that of major developed market companies.

But What About Non-Business Domain Name Needs?

Of course many organizations that are not businesses register and need domain names - professional organizations, educational institutions, etc.  It is perhaps even more challenging to estimate this number.  One way to get an estimate is to consider the number of .org domain names relative to the number of .com.  At the current date there are about 128 million .com domain names registered, and just over 10 million .org domain names. This might suggest that the needs of other organizations is of the order of 1/10 the number of domain names needed by businesses, although other organizations disproportionately use country code and alternative gTLDs, so it is likely the 10% estimate is too small, perhaps significantly so. We will assume that organizations that are not businesses might use 20% of the number of domain names utilized by businesses. Therefore we estimate the total number of domain names needed, both for businesses and other organizations, is of the order of 1.2 billion domain names.

What About Domain Phrase Needs?

Recently there has been interest in using domain phrases in marketing campaigns and redirections. For example Names.of.London and NamesThat.win both offer these services (and undoubtedly many others as well).  It appears likely that creative uses of domain name phrases will increase significantly in the near future. Will this significantly increase the demand for domain names? The answer is probably not, since a single domain name is used with multiple first words, so the total number of new domain names is limited (essentially numerous sub-domains are used to support multiple phrases concurrently). While we see extensive growth in domain name phrase/expression use in the coming years, it will probably contribute only slightly to the total domain name market.  Nevertheless, this is an example of the use of domain names in ways that were not foreseen even a few years ago.

What About Personal Domain Names?

In the near future will most people claim a personal domain name?  If this were to happen, the potential market for domain names would be much larger, of the order of the global population of 7 billion.  Clearly at the current time many people have no ability, or interest, in acquiring and using a personal domain name.  Some promote the Montenegro country domain name (.me) as a personal website extension, and that TLD has grown in popularity driven largely by the personal domain market. There is a significant market for personal domain names, and it will probably continue to grow strongly in our opinion.  However, we do not foresee a time when essentially everyone will have a personal domain name. We estimate, somewhat arbitrarily, that perhaps 1 person in 25 globally will want and have the resources to obtain and utilize effectively a personal domain name. This would suggest a need for roughly 280 million domain names for this purpose, or the total number of domain names needed globally for all purposes would be almost 1.5 billion by our analysis so far.

Other Uses for Domain Names

Will applications for domain names emerge that we don't even foresee now? For example, will one or more large retailers assign a domain name to each individual product, or will the ISBN system assign a domain name to each book product? Will advances in biotechnology, or other areas of science, lead to big data situations which are most efficiently handled by assigning a large number of new domain names? Will the structure of the Internet of Things emerge to assign individual domain names to each connected product? It really is not possible to meaningfully estimate the domain name market related to new technologies, but it probably makes sense to include some factor even though it is highly uncertain. We arbitrarily suggest that there might be a need for 300 million new domain names for use in ways not currently conceived and related to modern science, technology and innovation. Therefore we increase the total to 1.8 billion domain names.

So How Many Domain Names are Currently Registered?

A recent report shows that the total number of domain names registered is of the order of 330 million domain names currently registered, with .com and .cn being the most widely held TLDs. Of that total, there are about  27 million new gTLD based domain names,

A good question is how many of these domain names are in active use, rather than simply being held for resale, and what fraction of these are potentially useful in meeting the market need for new domain names. One way to estimate this is to look at what fraction of domain names are parked.  Among the new gTLDs the parked fraction is typically a bit over 60%.  The parked fraction is less for country code and the traditional gTLDs. Of the 330 million registered domain names perhaps 100 million are not actively used and it could be argued that many of these will not be attractive for future use and therefore do not contribute to the future domain name need. That is, perhaps 200 million useful domain names are currently registered.

How Many New Domain Names Are Needed?

Therefore this analysis suggests that there is a need for almost 1.6 billion additional domain names. This will be driven primarily by business uses (about 60%), although non-business organizations, personal domain names, and future domain needs related to technological developments will all play significant roles. The market will decide how this need is met, through country code, traditional gTLDs, existing new gTLDs, closed TLDs, and not yet released newer gTLDs. We summarize in the next section the key results of this analysis.

Executive Summary

  • We estimate the number of businesses globally currently at about 100 million.
  • If on average each business utilizes 10 domain names, this suggests a business domain need for about 1 billion domain names.  
  • Domain name needs of organizations that are not businesses might require about 200 million domain names, bringing the total to 1.2 billion.
  • The growing tendency for personal domain names may add another few hundred million to the potential market.
  • While the domain phrase/expression market will grow significantly, the total impact on number of needed domain names is limited.
  • Future uses, not specifically predicted, related to advanced science, technology and commerce may add another few hundred million domain names.
  • This analysis suggests that the total domain name market is about 1.8 billion domain names.
  • There are currently about 330 million domain names registered, but probably only about 2/3 of those are potentially useful.
  • The analysis suggests the need for about 1.6 billion new domain name registrations.
  • This analysis would suggest that the number of domain names to be registered can increase from current levels by roughly a factor of 5.


Final Notes

This analysis is based on the concept of Fermi Problems, first popularized by physicist Enrico Fermi. He famously used the method to accurately estimate the number of piano tuners in the city of Chicago, and to estimate the energy of a nuclear blast from the displacement of a paper at considerable distance from the blast. The Drake equation, that estimates the number of intelligent extraterrestrial civilizations in our galaxy, is another well known application based on similar principles.

The technique cannot provide a firm number, but does provide a more reliable estimate than simply proposing a figure, and makes the assumptions of the components which go into an estimation. It would be possible to use Monte Carlo methodology, based on uncertainty estimates for each component of the analysis, to express likely uncertainty ranges in the final result. Given the difficulty in assigning the component uncertainties, I decided that at the current time the precision of the analysis does not warrant an attempt to use Monte Carlo techniques to estimate overall uncertainties.

One of the biggest uncertainties in the analysis is the number of domain names per business.  Should that number be at the lower end of our suggested range (about 2), this analysis would suggest that the total number of domain names needed is much lower, with business needs almost met by current domain name registrations.

This analysis is offered to the community without any implied or explicit warranty with respect to accuracy or applicability. We welcome comments and corrections to the analysis presented here.

The author, Dr. Robert Hawkes, MSc, PhD, P.Phys., is a physicist and author who has employed data intensive analysis techniques in physical sciences. He operates several websites, including NamesThat.win, a site specializing in science, space and technology related domain name sales and use of domain expressions for marketing.

This paper is ©R. Hawkes, all rights reserved.  If you would like to reprint the article please contact the author for permission and conditions. You may quote small sections in news or review articles without specific permission.  You may also freely link to this site without prior permission.








Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Free Expression Offer for Nonprofits (NOW OVER)

Note that the time period for this promotion has now ended so we have deleted the links in the article for application.  Follow us on Twitter or this blog to be informed if we offer the promotion again in the future.  Thank you.


The Contest

Earlier today we announced a contest in which up to two nonprofit organizations can win an absolutely free 3 month domain expression rental from us.  The procedure to apply is simple: just fill out this form (link deleted since contest over) telling us a bit about your nonprofit organization, what phrase you would select, and how you would use it in a campaign.
Free offer for non-profits to rent an expression without cost or obligation.


Imagine an expression such as young.innovators.win, we.redefine.fun or help.diversify.science pointed to any web page you choose (it can be on your own website or a Facebook page, your Twitter profile, a book on Amazon, etc.). Just to show you how they work, we have made the above links live, but at the moment they point to our own Rent an Expression page.

Technical Requirements

The beauty of Rent an Expression (RaE) is that there are essentially no technical requirements for you - no domain to register, no new website to develop and host.  You simply tell us the URL, and we direct it to your designated page.

Rent an Expression in a Campaign

What you do, is for the period of the expression rental promote the phrase through means such as Twitter, Facebook, word of mouth, publications, etc. This can be useful for time specific marketing, such as for a contest or event, or as a way to highlight a feature of your business or organization. Anyone who clicks on the expression in your campaign materials, or who enters it as the URL in a web browser, will go to your designated page.  Since the expressions are simple to remember, and don't involve any domain hacks, they are effective in promotional campaigns.

Yes, Virginia, This Contest Really is Free

The contest offer for non-profit organizations is really free.  You are not signed up for something you need to later unsubscribe from, and there are no hidden charges. You don't provide us with any payment information.  Our privacy policy says we only use your email address for information related to your entry (and administration of the expression).

Why are we giving this away? 

Partly, after having assisted various non-profit organizations we know that funds are often tight, and any assistance can make a difference in you meeting your goals. Non-profits make real differences in lives, and they deserve our help.  Of course we also hope that the promotion of the contest will help make our Rent an Expression service better known, and will lead to us getting some paying rentals.

How to Win?

We plan to select up to two organizations to win a free expression. Each organization can only submit one entry, even if their are multiple people involved, so coordinate so only one entry is made.  Our selection of winner(s) will not be entirely random.  We will consider the nature of your organization and your proposed use of an expression.  So make best use of that line or two describing your organization and how you would use the expression! If we rate several entries as approximately equal in worthiness, we will do a random selection between them.

How to Apply

How do we apply again?  OK it could not be much easier! Head over to the form here (link deleted since contest over), fill in all required fields (make sure you select your desired expression using the pull-down menu). Perhaps browse our expressions and ideas before filling out the form.  The contest deadline is Aug. 2, 2017.  We will notify winners by Aug. 4, 2017 and the link should be live shortly after that.  The free link is available for a 90 day period and will automatically cease after that time (if you want to extend it beyond that you of course can do so with a paid rental, and we even will give you 20% off the current prices for that).

What Does The Question About You Promoting Link Mean?

This is totally optional, but if you click yes we will list your link on our namesthat.win website, on our Twitter stream, here on this blog and possibly in other ways.  This will help your phrase get known in search engines, and probably help with your campaign. Your chances of winning the contest do not change if you select yes or no with respect to us mentioning your campaign.

What is a Non-Profit?

We do not require that you be a registered charity, simply that your primary purpose is not to make a profit. So most NGOs would qualify. Maybe you are a youth organization, science or children's centre, environmental group, etc. You can be large or tiny. If in doubt about if you qualify, just tell us about your organization in a query.

Is This Contest Only Open to Certain Regions?

No, you can be based anywhere, or everywhere!

How Long Has Rent an Expression Been Around?

We have been in the planning and domain acquisition stage for more than a year, including technical testing, but only went public with the program and website in June 2017.

But We Are Not a Non-Profit!

While the free offer is only available to non-profit organizations, our overall Rent An Expression program is certainly open to businesses! You can see the prices here, most of your questions about how it works should be answered on this page, see the available expressions here, and when ready sign up for the service with this simple form.  Up until 7 days after an expression is up and running you can cancel it without obligation and owe us nothing. Please don't confuse the two forms - the links in this paragraph are for a paid rental, while the links in the previous section are for non-profits entering the free contest.

Do You Give Away Other Things?

Occasionally.  Check this page where any new discounted and free offers will be listed. Some day we plan to give away kindness, really.



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