Four Domain Industry Predictions for 2017 from RightOfTheDot President Monte Cahn

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Domain consultancy RightOfTheDot and NameJet are running their highly anticipated premium domain auction at NamesCon for the third year in a row. The domain name sales of this event have exceeded $350 million in total, and this auction will be the biggest one yet. It takes place January 23, 2017 at 3pm PST.

Want to know what trends are driving the industry? On DomainNameWire’s podcast this week, RightOfTheDot president Monte Cahn gave an overview of the domain trends he’s anticipating in 2017.

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Big players will buy up smaller ones

We’ve all been experiencing the trend of consolidation, which will continue in 2017. Cahn said it may realistically take 5 to 10 years for a new TLD to mature and develop traction. Also, like any sector, some businesses will succeed, many will fail; some are run poorly and are bought by someone who can run them better, and others will be run well and get bought.

Cahn said, “A lot of new operators of TLDs are realising it’s a challenging road and if they didn’t have experience in the past or the benefit of having multiple strings to consolidate costs and spread efficiencies across multiple TLDs, it makes it that much more challenging.”

Smaller players testing the waters, of course, helps larger companies who can wait and buy TLDs that show the most potential.

New TLDs offer shorter semantic domain options

“Longtail” .com domain names (think “importedusedcarsseattle.com”) might have worked 10 or more years ago, but Cahn says it’s often better to get a one or two-word new TLD domain (like seattlecars.shop). If there’s a new TLD that would be shorter and semantic, it could be more valuable than a longer .com.

Don’t ignore the Chinese and Indian markets

Over the past few years, China and India have played an even greater role in domains as awareness of domain investment has grown in those countries. Domains have been especially interesting to Chinese investors, many of whom see domains as a more value in premium domain names than the volatile stock market, and because domain investments essentially circumvent China’s limits on foreign investment.

But now, Cahn says, many are choosing domain investments not just based on things like the number of letters (3L, 4L, 5L, etc.) but with actual end-uses in mind. “Chinese investors are buying names they think will increase in value… which is making the market more realistic.” This means the market is less driven by the bubble of speculation, but by the actual value of these domains.

New TLDs will raise the tide water of all domains

The new domain extensions provide more domain possibilities, but .com is still the primary domain many people think of. Cahn says even with the additional options for domains, a .com domain is a more rare and prestige property.

What do you think about Monte Cahn’s predictions? What are your predictions? Let us know in the comments, and also remember to register for Namescon 2017 in Las Vegas, January 22-25.


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