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August 16, 2018

Domain Names Represent Brands and Virtual Destinations and Can Have Huge Value

(Second in a series - Series From Dot Com to Not Com in the Age of Dot Anything)

Your domain name is an asset of your business, and is the address of your brand online. It is the fundamental component of your web site address and your email address. Every time you give a prospect a business card or marketing piece with your email and web site address, you are reinforcing your brand. New opportunities in the domain world are coming next month, but first…

What is a Domain Name?

A domain name is a unique internet identifier. It allows computers that are connected to the internet to locate other computers connected to the internet quickly and easily, by using a “name” instead of a series of numbers. Without domain names,  internet users would have to type in a string of numbers such as  209.25.24.84,  each time they wanted to access information or communicate with another computer on the internet.  

A domain name is simply a language-based address system (i.e., InternetCrusade.com) in which each “name” or word, or series of words or initials, refers to a specific number-based address or “location” on the internet (i.e. 209.251.24.84). 

Just about every business needs a presence and availability on the internet today, and your domain name is the core of your internet marketing strategy.

Why register a domain name now?  Because it might not be available tomorrow!

Domain names are issued on a first-come first-served basis and may be registered for periods of up to 10 years. Once a name is taken, it is gone, unless the current owner wants to sell it to you, usually for a hefty fee. As a general rule, do not register a domain containing someone else's federally registered trademark-- you may be challenged by the trademark owner and risk losing the domain, and there is potential for being fined under U.S. Anti-Cybersquatting regulation. 

In the early days of the internet, it was a “land of scarcity,” and the .com names were the prime real estate. Starting around 1992 a number of visionary people registered lots of .com domain names. Some of these domain names turned them into millionaires when the domain names were later resold. And then there was a land-rush for.com domain names, and if you found out that all the domains you wanted were taken, well, there wasn’t much you could do except compromise on the name. And if you made out, perhaps you were insightful enough to register realestate.com or property.com, then you acquired an asset that would ultimately appreciate tens of thousands of times its original value.

Domain Name Investment and Speculative Opportunities

Back in the .com hay day, there were many domains that originally sold for $50 and then $35 per year, that were resold (aftermarket sales) for much more:

HappyBirthday.com - $55,000
PhoneCalls.com - $120,000
Business.com - $150,000
Fruits.com - $160,000
Question.com - $175,000
Drugs.com - $823,456
ForSaleByOwner.com - $835,000
Rock.com - $1,000,000
WallStreet.com - $1,000,000
Seniors.com – $1,800,000
Express.com - $2,000,000
AltaVista.com $3,350,000
Business.com - $7,500,000
Uber.com – 2 percent of the company! (Approximately $1B for the domain with a $50B valuation of Uber)

Those .com days of domain name speculation are long gone, but what if the future of the internet called for the segmenting of top-level domains into topics, businesses, professions and things?

Technological advancement and innovation create the need for systems and platforms to evolve.

Domains and the internet addressing system is changing.  Are you taking advantage of the opportunities that the new top-level domains offer? Be the master of your own domain.

In September, you may have the opportunity to participate in the next domain land-rush, the rush for .realestate. Make sure you are prepared.

There is a period of time between the discovery of a great idea, and that moment when “the masses” are aware of that great opportunity, sometimes referred to as “Lag.” The closer one is to discovery, the greater the opportunity.

The world of domain names continues to expand and the amounts invested to scale the internet are staggering. More on the latest rounds of TLDs in the next article.

You can read more from our series: From Dot Com to Not Com in the Age of Dot Anything.

Saul Klein and John Reilly are the Founding Principals of InternetCrusade®, an early Network Solutions Domain Partner, and one of the first domain affiliates of Melbourne IT. InternetCrusade® created the first secure domain transfer systems in the world when ICANN approved five testbed registrars in 1999. InternetCrusade.com has been a provider of quality email and domain services to the real estate industry since 1997. 

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