Dan.com
NameSilo
In the early years of domain names, the extension was meant to have meaning. For example, .com for commercial oriented businesses, .org for organizations, and country codes representing a site based in that country.

Over the years most restrictions were dropped, and many extensions can be used for anything. That does not mean that there is not power in having a match, with meaningful coherence between the top level domain (TLD) or extension, and the term, the second level domain (SLD).

The arrival of the new global TLDs (new gTLDs) represented opportunities for strong across the dot matches. Names like vacation.rentals and web.hosting sold for good amounts because they represent strong matches across the dot.

Certain legacy extensions, like .net, are also suited to across the dot matches. It’s not surprising that baseball.net sold for $15,100 in 2018.

Some country code extensions, like .me, .us, .in and .it, offer a great fit with many terms to create a catchy across the dot expression. For example, meet.me sold in 2011 for $450,000.

But how does one differentiate a great across the dot match from one that is just okay? Here are a few approaches that I find helpful.

An Evaluation Form

I put together the following evaluation form to summarize ideas from this article. While it may look imposing, it actually is pretty fast to perform and record all of the tests indicated.
Image-BlankForm.png

Keep in mind that the form is intended for names where the match across the dot is meaningful. Some extensions, such as .xyz and .com, are not normally suited to across the dot matches.

While I suggest metrics to help with each rating, you should complete the ratings based on your expert opinion. Take the metrics into account, but not in a way that dominates your thinking.

How Strong Is The Term?

Let’s first look at the term to the left of the dot, the second level domain (SLD). Not yet considering the extension, or the match across the dot, how strong is that SLD term?

There are a few metrics that can help. Generally speaking, a term that is registered in a large number of different extensions, whether by domain investors or potential users, is more likely to have value. You can use dotDB to easily find the number of extensions for the SLD term.

As well as the number of registrations for the exact term, dotDB also gives the number of associated domain names. That means longer names that include this term. Indicate that number on the form, as that is also an indicator of value.

Another check on the strength of the SLD term is sales data. One could do more, but I suggest considering at least sales of the Exact term, as listed on NameBio. From the data fill in how many sales are above $1000, and the highest recorded sale.

How Strong Is The Extension?

Sometimes with strong and trending SLD terms, like ‘eth’, we see great sales even with a generally weak extension. But that is an exception. In general, a name with both a strong SLD and a strong TLD, as well as a great match, is needed for high value.

Let’s look at strength of the extension alone, concentrating on whether names with this extension have sold. There are various sales indicators possible, but I suggest using NameBio to find the total dollar sales volume, and the number of sales above $1k, for the extension over the past two years. I also have a space on the form for the highest-value sale in the extension. I use the two most recent years because the strength of extensions may change significantly over time.

While many sales are not on NameBio, the data can still help differentiate stronger and weaker extensions.

Evaluating Match Across The Dot

Now we are ready to look at the core idea of the match across the dot. Part of this is subjective, say the term, write it down, perhaps ask others outside the domain world, and form an opinion.

A few questions to ask yourself.
  • Is it correct in a grammatical sense?
  • Is it a word combination people would remember?
  • Is the meaning clear and significant?
  • Is there something catchy or elegant in the combination? Factors like alliteration or a play on words can make an expression even stronger.
Considering those and other factors, use your expertise to rate the match. At this point don’t particularly consider the SLD or TLD individually, you have already rated those, but only how well the two combine.

There are a few metrics that may help your evaluation. If the term is example.EXTENSION, first simply do a Google search on example extension, and record the number of results.

Number of web results by themselves offer little definitive indication on domain worth. Sometimes there are tons of results for a term, but it is not particularly valuable as a domain name. Nevertheless, search results are helpful in deciding if a word combination is natural and in widespread use.

Google use intentional search, so the search results are what the Google AI considered relevant to your search, rather than only results with the specific terms. If you include the search expression in quotation marks, Google will only give results that include those exact two terms in that order ”example extension”. This will yield a much smaller number of search results, in most cases, but is usually a better indicator of the strength of the across the dot combination.

Check whether the related name ExampleExtension.com is registered, and also whether that combination is registered in additional extensions. You can readily find that out with a DotDB search, now using the combination expression for the search.

How Strong Is Business Use Case?

Even a great match across the dot, with a strong SLD term and a solid extension, may still not have a lot of value as a domain name. Value will also depend on how valuable the domain name is to a business or organization.

Many combinations are clever and memorable, but simply don’t have a lot of commercial value.

Consider the sectors and niches that could use the combination, how lucrative and active those applications are, and whether they are likely to pay a reasonable amount for this name. Based on all of that, complete the ‘use case’ rating on the form.

There are metrics that can help. First simply enter the SLD term in OpenCorporates, and record the number of active businesses and organizations with that term. To get just the active ones, make sure you check the exclude inactive box The default setting includes defunct businesses, some from a number of years ago.

Also do a second OpenCorporates search with both the SLD and TLD terms, separated by a space. This will give you many fewer results, but they will use both terms in their name, also-known-as name, or some other business descriptor. Note they do not take order, or placement without intervening words, into consideration.

It takes a bit of time to search, but the strongest measure of use is to see if the SLD has been developed in some of the more common TLDs.

How Strong Is Search?

Expressions formed by matches across the dot are generally valuable as a shorthand for a product, service, concept or something else. Search volume and cost-per-click (CPC) are usually relevant for this kind of domain name.

I find Estibot an easy way to get this data, but there are numerous alternatives in various SEO tools. You get two free searches per day on Estibot.

Estibot shows two search volumes, each with a year history, one for broad, and one for exact search. For example, if my term was hotels searches for beach hotels or luxury hotels or other combinations are all included in broad search. Exact search means searches only on the single term, hotels in our example. Record both broad search and exact search volumes, along with the cost-per-click data for each.

When dealing with new extensions, Estibot sometimes makes the exact search term a combination of SLD+TLD, and other times just the SLD. It will show you in the search section which it used for a particular domain name. I include a check box to record the setting.

Overall Rating

While I find it helpful to look at the SLD, TLD, match, use and search information separately, sometimes breaking things down can mask other considerations necessary for a unified evaluation. Therefore, the final task is to think through the name and give the domain name an overall rating.

While number of views and domain sales seem not strongly correlated, it can be an indicator of the popularity of the word combination. if you have had the name listed for a month or more at a venue that tracks views, that number is probably related to popularity of the term and combination.

Example

It’s not appropriate to share publicly the specific domain name, but I tried out the form and technique on one of my names to illustrate the process. Prior to the analysis, I considered this name a solid across the dot match.

A point on notation: I use k to mean thousand and M to mean million, so $1k means $1000, $2M means $2,000,000, and 4.1M would mean 4.1 million results.
Image-FormCompleted.jpg

The SLD term is strong according to the metrics, registered in 255 extensions, with more than 33,000 longer domain names that include the term.

The SLD term alone is also strong in sales. NameBio shows 9 sales of the exact term at more than $1000, with the highest sale of the exact term $301,000, and that was not in .com. Given that the majority of retail sales do not get listed in NameBio, this is a strong record.

The TLD is weak though. Only about $18,000 sales volume over the last two years, and more than half of that in one $10,000 sale. Just 3 sales above $1000 over the past two years. Sure many sales don’t make it to NameBio, but this is a weak record for an extension.

I love the match across the dot. It is an easily remembered expression that sounds right. The numbers largely support that view, with more than 500 million search results on an open SLD TLD combination. When you add the quotation marks, that shrinks Google search results to just 393,000. However, having done a lot of quotation searches on two and three word combinations, that is still a decent number.

Although the .com of the term and extension combination is registered, the combination is not registered in any other extensions, a negative.

Before looking at metrics, I felt the use case was very good, but not outstanding. I tried six or seven extensions, and the .com and .net are developed.

The number of businesses and organizations with the term is high according to OpenCorporates, 5116, although when one insists on both the SLD and TLD terms that shrinks to 8. Usually including both terms in an OpenCorporates search will show only a few, if any, results.

I see the domain name as best suited to use by a business or organization as a domain name for a marketing campaign or social media use. While that limits the upper price range, it means there are many potential purchasers.

I am not an SEO expert, but the search numbers seem strong to me. The broad search volume is over 6 million monthly, and the exact search volume more than 90 thousand. Cost-per-click is a solid $2.04 for broad, and $3.04 for exact search. You may also want to record the number of ads shown in the analytics section of Estibot, in this case 3.

The domain gets about 73 visits a month according to my current lander at Sedo. Good, particularly for an unpopular extension, although not outstanding.

Overall I rated the name as just under 7 out of 10. I have held the domain name a few years, and probably will hold it another couple at least. I have not yet had offers on the name.

As mentioned earlier, looking up much detail for one domain name might seem daunting. Once you are used to the various instruments and sites it really is pretty fast – I timed myself and it took about 14 minutes to do the tests and complete the form.

Making good acquisition choices can save you time and money down the road.



Thanks to NameBio, dotDB, OpenCorporates, Estibot and Google as the main tools used for this article.
 
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The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.

Bob Hawkes

Top Contributor
NameTalent
Impact
31,623
Here is a pdf copy of the blank form should any readers wish a copy.
 

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  • MatchBlankForm.pdf
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Vivere

Established Member
Impact
343
Your commitment to knowledge sharing is outstanding @Bob Hawkes. I hope you know your efforts and generosity are greatly appreciated. Thank you.
 
Impact
1,625
@Bob Hawkes - Great article (as yours invariably seem to be :xf.smile:).

I of course agree that 'across the dot' can have tremendous value, especially as you point out in the advertising field or indeed the marketing sphere, memorable novelty is a huge aspect of advertising and marketing and something that both industries are constantly on the look out for. Letting the major players in these two fields, i.e. 'Agencies', might well be a worthwhile investment in time as that then makes them aware for their clients just what is available and therefore possible. The great thing here is that should your domain indeed be deemed both 'memorable' and 'novel' then those agencies will put it out to their client base and therefore you are effectively letting someone else do the leg work of letting companies know about your domain - and they are doing it gratis as far as you are concerned for they will earn their money by selling the idea to their client and therefore running the advertising / marketing campaign on the end users behalf.
 

Bob Hawkes

Top Contributor
NameTalent
Impact
31,623
How is baseball.net an "across the dot match"?
Because baseball nets of various kinds, from the sort that protect the audience, to batting cages, practice screens, etc. are a thing. Google "baseball net" to see some commercial examples, or enter baseball net as a search on Amazon.
 
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Bob Hawkes

Top Contributor
NameTalent
Impact
31,623
Sounds far-fetched to me
Maybe. When the name was developed around 2017 it was not used for that purpose, but to sell baseball team branded clothing and merchandise.

If you like it better, a famous domain investor currently owns butterfly.net.

I have no idea who owns it, but neural.network or with the net would be one of my favourite matches. Powerful and perfect match for a key AI concept.

Perhaps as you feel my example was not the best, but I wanted to stress that matches across the dot are not just a new extension thing, and work well with some country code and with .net in particular of the legacy extensions.

Bob
 
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Future Sensors

78% of human domainers will be replaced by robotsTop Contributor
Impact
13,561
Thanks for the article @Bob Hawkes :)

I agree that "Baseball + net" may not have been as suitable as an example.

A word like "inter" --which in itself means little-- makes a great combination with .net or .com:

inter.net
inter.com
 

Daomaining

New Member
Impact
20
Thanks for great analysis @Bob Hawkes!

Open question to the thread.
Where would one find the best places to sell these types of across dot domains:

1 Wholesale/auction?
2 Landers?
3 Outbound brokers?
 

forge

h8d dmnrTop Contributor
Impact
8,317
For years I had a "backwards" across the dot match: anic.org

I softened on .org and allowed it to expire. I did have an offer at some point, nothing special.

I suppose it's actually a backwards hack.
 
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WNC HOLDINGS

wnc.holdingsEstablished Member
Impact
-1,410
@Bob Hawkes,

Simply taking a moment to commend you on covering this particular subject. It’s apparent you have the foresight to see the increasing value in names with cross-the-dot correlation. Needless to say, we took a great deal of heat in the forum for merely endorsing the idea anything other than .com could have a strong future. Wild times right? (Smiles) Nevertheless, you’ve covered the subject in a way we’re sure those with foresight, and a flexible bias, can truly appreciate. Kudos to you @Bob Hawkes!

In support of your “baseball.net” example, here are some others:

am.today (Indicator of a particular time)
pm.today (Indicator of a particular time)
24hr.today (Indicator of availability)
24hrs.today (Indicator of availability)
24hours.today (Indicator of availability)
flawless.gold (A quality of gold)
vibrant.skin (A quality of skin)
nextlevel.fun (Experience declaration)
rentavan.today (Call-to-action)
rentatruck.today (Call-to-action)
rentabike.today (Call-to-action)
yell.wtf (Call-to-action)
say.oh (Call-to-action)
1080.p (Visual Quality)
rhinestone.design (A popular form of design)

and many more......

This is merely to reiterate your post is infused with logic. Hopefully it’ll help convince others that increased utility is the next frontier for domains; and the names leveraged will soon reflect this. Hence, Identity Digital Inc’s (Formerly Donuts) recent “Don’t Stop At The Dot” campaign launch. Does this mean “the throne” could be up for grabs? (Smiles)

Don’t fret. We’re not looking to agitate the tribe....again. Kudos on the post!

-Chris
 

jhm

Top Contributor
Impact
10,417
I'm not as hardcore as this, but love the analysis. I'm sure its relative. Hope you're enjoying the weekend Bob!
 
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