With the world moving to the internet via computer, TV, or phone, domain names are as becoming more important than ever. Once you own a domain name, all you must do is pay for its renewal each year, and you’ll own it forever. Domain names that receive a lot of traffic are similar to a popular mall or tourist destination; they get access to a lot of visitors, and their wallets as well.
Early-adopters known as domain investors or ‘domainers’ have made a living off of owning premium domain names. Premium generic terms such as credit, jobs, and law reign supreme. Originally based on the core of .com, .org, and .net, the internet is rapidly expanding, creating many more opportunities to own a corner of the web.
Here’s a few key terms:
ICANN- Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. Non-profit formed in 1998 to basically run the internet. The U.S. government previously controlled the domain name system online.
Domain Registrar- Company that sells and keeps records of domain names. Examples include GoDaddy, Colorado based Name.com, and Paul Goldstone’s DomainIt.com.
TLD- Top Level Domain, this refers to anything right of the dot such as .gov and .edu.
gTLD- Generic Top Level Domains such as .com, .net and .org
ccTLD- Country Code Top Level Domains such as .co, .tv and .me. These are assigned to a particular country, but can often be purchased by anyone in the world.
Domain Squatter- someone who registers a domain name in bad faith to profit off of the trademark of another.
UDRP- stands for Uniform Domain Name Resolution Policy. If you believe your trademark is being used in bad faith, you can file a UDRP to win legal control of a particular domain name. These are popping up with increasing regularity. Cost is $1,500 plus attorney fees.
Domain Hack- Word spelled out with the dot in the middle such as Chro.me, Bra.in and Lemona.de.
Most of us are familiar with the basics, but here is a brief explanation of some TLD’s you might not have heard of:
.CO- official ccTLD of Columbia, anyone in the world can register one. Huge advertising budget to get the word out. It’s gaining popularity but many believe it is too similar to .com to succeed long term. $9.99 on Godaddy.com is the cheapest online. Google owns G.co, Twitter owns T.co, Overstock owns O.co.
.XXX- gTLD introduced in 2011 for adult themed websites. It has faced a lot of scrutiny, being deemed unnecessary and opposed by adult companies and global brands alike. Criticized for causing businesses to register expensive names to protect their brand from squatters. Can be purchased for $84.99 on Name.com.
.TV- official TLD of the Polynesian island nation of Tuvalu. .TV’s can be purchased by anyone in the world. They are becoming hugely popular because of their affiliation with television. Can be purchased for $10.99 on Name.com, but after the first year, it’s $25. CNN.tv is live right now.
.IN- ccTLD of India. Anyone in the world can register one. Can be had for $3.99 per year on Name.com. Very popular TLD for domain hacks including Doma.in and JeremyL.in.
.ME- official ccTLD of Montenegro, very popular because of their personal nature. The fastest selling domain name of all time. The official site for the founder of GoDaddy.com is BobParsons.me. Can be purchased for $7.99 on GoDaddy.com. Yahoo owns me.me, Time owns ti.me, Facebook owns Fb.me. Over 350,000 .me’s have been registered.
.CA- official ccTLD of Canada. Popular, but can only be purchased with a Canadian address. Over 1.7 million names have been registered. People in California have tried to get their hands on these as well.
.DE- official ccTLD of Germany. DE stands for Deutschland. The most popular ccTLD in the world. Has about 15 millions registered names. You need a contact in Germany to register. Some of the biggest domain sales of all time have been in the .DE category.
Through April 12, 2012, applications are being accepted for individuals and businesses to own their own gTLDs. Applicants must demonstrate the infrastructure, resources and capital to securely manage customer information, sales data and finances. The application itself costs $185,000, but estimated total costs to own your own gTLD will be in the $500k range. Tiebreaking procedures are in place for multiple applicants for the same gTLD. Expect to see names such as .green, .law, .bank emerge and be available to register within a calender year. The gTLD holder will get to determine the prices for every single individual name, and can even withhold premium names from the public.
With every new TLD, popular company and celebrity names are being registered and held for a king’s ransom. UDRP’s have enabled trademark holders to get their names for a few thousand dollars. Despite the threat of a UDRP, the problem still persists. With all of the new gTLD’s coming out soon, it remains to be seen how businesses, individuals, and brands will be able to protect themselves from squatters. Things could get real expensive.
There is a growing debate as to how long .com domains will remain king. There are major players in the domain industry with conflicting opinions on both sides. The consensus is that, in the short term, .com will prosper as the public will be confused and intimidated by the abundance of new domain names. Similar to the case of the 1-800 number though, we could see the .com start to blend in with the pack in a decade or two. Only time will tell, but things are getting very interesting in the industry. The savvy ones could get rich overnight, and many more could lose it all in the same span.
If you’re interested in domain names, check out the latest in domain name news at Domainsville.com, NameTalent.com and iGoldrush.com. If you’d like to research reported domain name sales of the last decade, check out DNSalePrice.com.
What do you think about ICANN allowing an unlimited number of gTLDs? What effect do you think it will have on the internet? Do you own any domain names? Do you plan to buy any after reading this article? The going rate of a .com is $9.99, if you’d like to purchase a name, Astounde.com has an exclusive GoDaddy coupon for $7.99 .com’s below.
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