Do you see value in domain names?

Enrique Homs @ehoms: Do you see value in domain names?

ANSWER:

In the past few months different people have approached me to help them sell their “.com” domain names. Many, many people have made millions on domain names. I kick myself now (like many do) for not thinking in 1993 more about this, when you could register whatever names you want for free. I thought that in order to register a domain like “sex.com” you actually had to have a company called “Sex, Inc”. Nothing could be further than the truth.

Plus, I was too busy with girls, writing unpublishable novels, skipping work whenever I could, getting thrown out of graduate school, etc. I was too busy being stupid to be smart.

(I once had breakfast with the guy who first registered sex.com. Perhaps material for another blog post)

But, alas, things come and go. The day of the “.com” is disappearing. Several of the domain names I was asked to sell were very common word names and yet proved to be unsellable. How come?

Because if I want to find out about “asbestos” for instance, I won’t go to “asbestos.com” anymore. I’ll just type “asbestos” into Google and see what all of my choices are. Asbestos.com might not even exist or get the highest traffic (I haven’t checked on this one, nor was this a domain I was asked to sell).

Another thing bringing down the value of domain names has been URL shorterners like bit.ly and goo.gl, t.co, and fb.me. Or even, nyt.ms. Note that they aren’t “.coms”. The URL shorterner in just the past two years has shown people that the most common links these days are not “.coms” at all but all sorts of extensions from 100s of countries. It’s now acceptable to be a “.me” or a “.ly” and build an entire business around it without anyone even using the .com extension.

In fact, if you use compete.com to compare “bitly.com” with “bit.ly” you can see a huge difference. Nobody even cares about the “.com”. So if you were thinking of going into the domaining business I’d say you are ten years too late. And if you are in that business, I’d begin unwinding now.

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