Back in the 1990s we experienced a virtual gold rush with the coming of the internet.
With the introduction of the World Wide Web, people snapped up valuable internet real estate in the form of .com domain names. Because the web was new, businesses often had to claim domains from early domainers who beat them to the domains they wanted.
As a result, many domains later sold for millions of dollars.
Because most businesses now have an established web presence, we’re unlikely to see a new gold rush in domains. However, for intrepid domainers, there’s still an opportunity to make a lot of money in the domain ‘Bronze Rush’.
Let’s take a look at the current situation and explore how you can stake your claim on new domains that could pay off in the long run.
What Do We Mean by ‘Bronze Rush’?
Twenty years ago you could register almost any word or phrase as a .com domain. If you invested wisely, you could make a lot of money. These days it’s a lot harder to discover new .com domains that will have a high return.
However, over the past couple years, things have started looking bright for domaining with the coming of a ‘bronze rush’ in domains.
Hundreds of new domain extensions, also known as top level domains (TLDs) have arrived. These include everything from .blog to .toys to .ninja.
All of these new TLDs offer thousands of potential opportunities for domain prospecting.
So are we experiencing a new period of domaining just like the 1990s?
Not exactly. It’s not what I’d term a gold rush, but enterprising domainers can still strike it rich in the future.
The World is Different
While it’s tempting to see another gold rush happening, it’s not quite the same. Let’s examine some key differences between the .com gold rush and today.
- The internet is much, much bigger than it was in the 1990s, and people are more savvy about domains. People recognize the importance of good domain names, and .com has become the most widely accepted top level domain.
- We need to keep supply and demand in mind. Literally hundreds of new top level domain names have been released in the past two years. Each of these TLDs compete against .com, .net, and hundreds of two-letter country code domain names like .us and .uk. This means there are now lots of competing top level domain names. Economics 101 tells us that this huge supply of domain choices will limit values.
- Many of the registries that provide these new domain extensions are themselves playing the role of domain investor, jacking up the price on what they perceive to be the best domain names. For example, the domain name win.online seems like a great domain, and one that you could probably sell for more than a standard registration fee. But the registry for .online has added an annual premium to the domain. If you wanted to register win.online, it will cost you about $5,000 per year!If you want to learn more about the role of registries in setting domain pricing, check out our previous post on the topic.
Great Opportunities Still Exist
Despite the differences between the 1990s and today, the good news is that you can still make money with the new TLDs.
For example, in November I sold a .cloud domain name for $1,000 that I bought for less than $20. A one lucky investor snapped up Luxury.estate for under $200 and sold it for $50,000. And another sold NewYork.estate for $9,000.
Gold rush material? Maybe not, but people are still making a profit on domains.
So the bronze rush is on!
Join the Bronze Rush
If you want to get started in registering new TLDs, here are a few suggestions to get you started.
- Go for targeted niches. I like .cloud because it’s a very big business right now.
- Be careful with generic domain extensions. Names like .online are good, but someone who is interested in buying your .online domain name is probably willing to substitute a .site, .website, or similar domain choice.
- Consider the cost. Namecheap sells new domain choices for as little as 88 cents for the first year but other new options cost $50, $100 or more. Those renewal fees add up! It’s common to hold onto a domain for many years before selling it, and that’s lot easier with domain names that don’t cost much to register.
- Look for hidden gems. Even though registries are charging more for some of the best domains, they didn’t catch them all! Look for great domains in each extension that the registry overlooked.
If you want to see examples of sales in these new top level domain names, NameBio.com has a searchable database.
So, while this isn’t the same opportunity that .com domains offered in the 1990s, there’s still an opportunity for savvy domain investors.
Want to get started? You can register hundreds of new domains at Namecheap.com.
Andrew Allemann is editor of Domain Name Wire, the longest-running blog covering the business of domain names. Domain Name Wire has covered the business of domain name investing for over ten years.