Survey on TLDs and the Secondary Domain Name Marketplace

[news release] According to a report issued by Hudson Crossing Advisory, a strategic advisory firm specializing in venture capital, the secondary domain name market, toll free numbers and the internet industry, very few domain names other than .com command 6 and 7 figure sale prices on the secondary market.

The internet blossomed in the mid-1990’s with the almighty .com registry. All of the world’s most popular sites ended up being in .com primarily because the .com registry was the building foundation to the internet world. Throughout the last decade other registries such as .net and .org have tried to make it big, but could never come close to .com while it has been the more favored ending for most of our favorite words such as Jobs.com, Dictionary.com, Answers.com, Sex.com, Date.com, YellowPages.com, Hotels.com, Travel.com and others.

“While the .com version of these very popular words have already dominated their specific market, why would anyone pay a premium for the same popular keywords in .net or even .ws or any other of the TLD’s that are available,” states Kirk Bradshaw, owner of Bradshaw consulting. “Registries like .net, .pro, .ws, .aero, .mobi, and many others are just plain meaningless. They simply have 0 meaning. Dot com domain names will always bare the most fruit simply because they were the first to do it.”

The study shows that very few domain registries actually have any meaning whatsoever such as:

.jobs , .museum , .travel , .asia , .info , .name

As the .com domain name rush has ended with most, if not all, keywords being taken, investors and internet entrepreneurs are looking to other registries that could provide valuable real estate for much less. The survey showed that 7 domain registries out of hundreds worldwide actually have a real meaning in the English language. Out of these 7 registries that represent 7 different keywords used in everyday life, only 4 had value as far as significant sales in the marketplace. Those are:

.travel – Registrar by Trailliance Corporation. The online travel industry in the United States was $66 billion in 2007, Canada is estimated to be $11 billion in 2009, UK was $5 billion in 2005, and Australia was $780 million in 2005.

.tv – Registrar by Verisign Corporation. The television and online media industries in the United States were over $78 billion in 2006, Canada was $22 billion, UK was $48 billion in 2007, and Australia was $6 billion in 2007.

.jobs – Registrar by Employ Media, LLC. The online job search industry is estimated to be $200 to $400 million across all 4 English speaking countries.

.museum – Registrar by Museum Domain Management Association. Museum advertising is very minimal and not much public information could be found. Estimates are $25 million to $100 million in all 4 English speaking countries.

With each having their own registration rules and requirements, most individuals cannot register the following domains unless:

.jobs – Verification of corporation required. The registrar requires the user to provide evidence that the domain will be used for job search related content.

.museum – These domains are only sold to official museums and museum employees. Evidence must be submitted along with pictures of the museum. Obtaining a .museum domain name is highly unlikely if user is not a licensed physical museum.

The 2 remaining domain names, .tv and .travel, carry far more value than other TLD’s in that each is a commonly used word in the English language. In particular, .travel carries even more perceived value considering “travel” is a word used all across the world, even by non-English speaking natives. The online comparison travel industry is as big as online comparison shopping. Furthermore, the world’s official domain registry for travel uses the actual word “travel” as its extension. Some cities, states, and countries around the world are early adopters of .travel and continuously advertise it as their official homepage in the United States marketplace such as: LasVegas.travel, Utah.travel, Canada.travel, Greece.travel, and many others.

Recent acquisitions such as www.Answers.travel for an unconfirmed reported price of $3.3 million could be the initial signs of this young registry. The .travel registry launched in 2005 and only sold .travel domains to verified travel industry professionals. In 2008, the .travel registry opened the doors to the public and allowed non-travel industry professionals to buy as well. With the .com market at its saturation point, this opens the investment opportunity to specific domain names such as .travel that provide valuable intellectual property. As the largest e-commerce category on the net, the .travel opportunity is staggering and far surpasses .jobs, .tv, .net, .biz, .aero, .mobi, .pro, .ws and other TLD’s.

According to John Marshall of Travel Domain Partners, “I asked my 15-year-old daughter what service she thought Answers.pro, Answers.aero, Answers.ws and several others provided, she paused and perplexedly gave multiple unrelated responses. When asked what Answers.travel provided, she immediately responded, ‘a site that answers your travel questions or travel answers’.” Moreover, “travel answers” is a highly searched term on Google. Consequently, Answers.travel appears as the 3rd result from the top simply because “travel” is recognized as a word on the major search engines and not just a domain ending. Marshall goes on further to say, “The right single, concise, short word like Answers or Compare or even Shop put in front of .travel would be a very expensive and worthwhile piece of real estate.”

Early adopters of anything usually pay the least and get the most criticism. Most thought buying an acre of land in desert Las Vegas 25 years ago for $10,000 an acre was a waste of money and time. An average acre of land now in Las Vegas is $1.5 million. Buying .tv and in particular .travel domain names now is no different, as .travel is an undeveloped oasis of opportunity. We feel these two registries are gems in the rough that have been overlooked in the marketplace. Select single, short, concise words on either of the registries are highly valued.

Domain investors and internet entrepreneurs are urged to do their own research. Registries that use a short concise word as their domain ending will be worth far more than meaningless ones. Eventually, registries that represent significant industries like: .sex , .porn , .shop , .movie , .cars , .money , and others may come to market in the future in which their domain ending is a real word in the English language. Specific single, concise words on these registries will automatically carry significant perceived value. The first player to do this for a significant market is .travel. It is anticipated that many more high level acquisitions will occur in the years to come.