Looking past the dot

Stuart Fuller

The new gTLD programme has had its second birthday and slowly but surely organisations both big and small are seeing the branding opportunities both to the left and right of the dot within domain names.  We’ve worked closely with a number of our clients to secure opportunities for them to register relevant generic names which tick all three boxes of the Google search mantra to be meaningful, memorable and relevant.  Examples such as www.street.lighting, www.sports.bet and our very own www.brand.protection underline the opportunities that exist within the new gTLD programme in terms of sector registrations.

If you look back at secondary market sales of high value, generic keyword domain names from the past decade you will see how valuable some of these terms can be.  Quin Street paid $16 million to buy www.insure.com, Toys ‘R’ Us paid over $5m for www.toys.com and Hotels.com bought www.hotels.com for$11m.  Insure, Toys and Hotels are all Top Level Domains within the new gTLD programme and now offer significant opportunities for brands to develop their online presence with the right keyword domains to the left and right of the dot at a fraction of the cost. 

Rightside Registry has recently published some data that underlines the current hidden value the new gTLDs have.  They took a bunch of keyword-rich domain names that are currently listed for sale on the secondary market and compared the cost to domain names that used new gTLDs.  For instance:-

  • Homelive.com is listed for sale on the secondary market at $100,000 whilst the domain home.live can be purchased for $1,250.
  • Mobilebroadband.com is listed at $150,000, mobilebroad.band is £18.75.
  • Bingosoftware.com is $30,000, bingo.software is $1,875.

 I noticed this for myself last week when I saw that waterfiltersdirect.com had been sold for over $3,000 whilst the domain waterfilters.direct was actually still for sale for just $5! 

Last summer Google’s John Muller answered a number of questions about how the search giant would treat new gTLDs.  The most relevant answer he gave was “Overall, our systems treat new gTLDs like other gTLDs (like .com and .org). Keywords in a TLD do not give any advantage or disadvantage in search”.  So not only would buying names like waterfilters.direct give the same search value, it is significantly cheaper and easier for consumers to remember as they are shorter in length!  Three or four characters might not sound like much but according to a recent study published by Dr. Thies Lindenthal from Cambridge University, the more someone has to type, the less likely they are to go to the domain.

There are still thousands of keyword domain names available within the new gTLD premium lists.  A starting point should be to understand what are the key search terms used by potential customers to reach a website.  Good analytics software can tell you this and from there it makes drawing up a list of relevant, generic keywords easy.  Not all of these domain names will be premium either – the example of Mobilebroad.band or waterfilters.direct proves that there are some great domain names to be had for very little investment at all.

Read more about Rightside’s research at http://rightside.news/rightside-premium-domains-comparison