In order to generate traffic and make money online, you must have a domain name. Why is that? When people think of your company; they think of your domain name. A domain name gives you control over how people see you, whether it be your individual image or company name. If you don't act quick, someone else can easily purchase the domain name of your dreams, leaving you regretful. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been made off of top-level and revenue generating domain names. Here is partial list of some of the world's most expensive domain names:
- Vacationrentals.com ($35 million in 2007)
- Business.com ($7.5 million in 1999)
- Diamond.com ($7.5 million in 2006)
- Israel.com ($5.88 million in 2008)
- GiftCard.com ($4 million in 2012)
From the mid-1990's through the mid-2000's, there was a hypothetical treasure chest of domain names to have. Of course, with all of that action, there was bound to be a limit.
Looking to the Future
While the most popular generic top-level domains include .com, .net, .edu, .org and .gov many businesses are having a much more difficult time finding appropriate domain names with the available set of endings. Studies have shown that 45 percent of North American small businesses do not have a domain name, and those that do aren't happy with the name. However, there is good news. On February 4, approximately 1,000 new generic top-level domains, or gTLDs are set to be released. How is this significant? Well, currently there are only 22 working gTLDs. This means innumerable opportunities for anyone who can get their hands on them.
How This Changes Things
Now that 1,000 new gTLDs are being set up, thousands of businesses and individuals will have the choice to pick domain names that they want instead of using the leftovers or coming up with a nonsensical title. The new gTLDs have endings such as:
If your company sells coffee grounds, you want your clients to have the ability to find your site by name. What if your business was called "Socks for Cats" but that domain name was already taken? So, you have to come up with a domain name such as "Uniquesocksforcats.com." Unfortunately, your customers will probably type "Socksforcats.com," then end up at your competitor's site, and you are left with a lost sale. Your entire online identity is wrapped around your domain name.
Some domain names may target specific industries. The gTLD .build would work for builders, .wedding for engaged or married couples and .college for places of higher learning. There are geographic gTLDs such as .london and .nyc. There are even brand-name domains such as .kpmg and .bmw. Furthermore, rumors are swirling that BMW wants to assign a unique domain name to every car model it sells.
It is critical to note that large companies such as Google, Amazon and Donuts have already applied for a couple hundred of the new gTLDs. That should be an indication enough that there will be mass amounts of gTLD purchases. According to ICANN, about 100 applications have been approved out of over 1,900 so far.
Putting together top-level domain name presents multiple income stream opportunities. It is an intangible way of creating tangible funds. The total cost of an application can add up to $1 million dollars, which includes the $185,000 ICANN fee and the rates for lawyers. But, if you're able to win a gTLD such as .coffee, you then have the ability to sell a second level domain such as fairtrade.coffee and make substantial profits. If you can auction a million second-level domains at $10 each, that would rake in a $10 million dollar revenue stream. An example of this is Juan Diego Calle. In 2009, he won a contract, from the country of Columbia, to run the .co domain. Since it went live, in 2010, he has received 1.6 million registrations. Even though ICANN takes $.25 of every domain sold, that is still a 90 percent profit margin.
Of course there will always be the naysayers. Some believe the web is dead and domain names are a thing of the past. They claim that applications are the future, and mobile apps don't need domain names. The other argument is domain names are no longer useful as a result of URL shorteners like bit.ly. Moreover, David Ulevitch of OpenDNS says, “I think there is some risk of confusing people. People have been trained to go to their banking websites only if it ends in .com or .co.uk and now if you get them to go to .secure or .bank it could create a false sense of security." To get a .edu name, you need to meet specific qualifications. The .college name will be open even to registrants who wouldn't normally meet the requirements for a .edu. Nonetheless, the increasing number of domain name registrations still tell a different story.
While Google changes its search engine algorithm almost every year, your domain name can weigh heavily on whether or not people find you. If people are looking for tall boots, they may first see the site titled, "Tallboots.com." Since the new gTLDs have endings that are more like words, there is a greater chance they will rank highly on the search engine indexes.
Any private or public organization can apply for a gTLD. However, applications from individuals or sole proprietors will not be accepted due to potential issues with the necessary resources required. Icann.org is where the applications can be found. In addition, there is very specific technical and operational criteria that need to be met.
The release of these new gTLDs may have the power to transform the web as we know it. We expect almost all of the popular domains to end with .com, .org, .gov or .edu. When those change, it may be surprising at first. But, it might also be a welcome and more segmented adjustment. So, with this exciting news, have you thought of your new domain name yet?