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I contacted a number of prominent domain industry people to ask what they saw for the year ahead. I suggested ten questions, ranging from Overall, are you positive about domain investing in 2020? to Is there an important topic that is being overlooked? I asked each person to choose one question, or a few questions. I also searched NamePros discussions for member predictions on the same topics. The result is this compilation of views from twenty-five different people. The respondents include domain investors, brokers, leaders, service providers, analysts and others.

Overall. most are optimistic about the market for quality domain names. Fractional domain name ownership, as well as increasing use of payment plans, were noted trends. A number of people commented on consolidation within the industry, as well as concerns over regulatory control of domain names. Increasing wholesale prices, along with limited inventory of quality names, were raised as issues going forward. Several interesting niches to watch were suggested.



Are you positive about domain investing in 2020?

There was general optimism for a strong 2020, at least for high quality domain names.

In a NamePros poll, about 60% of respondents predicted an outstanding 2020 for the domain industry. Only about 5% saw a domain market recession in 2020.
Shane Cultra said:
I think there is going to once again be an incredible opportunity for people to make money in domain names. There are many different ways to get your domains in front of buyers. It's not difficult, you just have to put in the time. It's difficult to make a living, but not to make some side money. It's the perfect side hustle if your work hard
Abdul Basit said:
I see more domain investors coming in, which will create more stiff competition. At the same time, there will be more end-user awareness of the value of owning quality domains. Overall, I see it's going to be an exciting and great year for domain investors who hold top quality domains.
James Iles said:
I’m positive about the prospects of for top domain names. This hasn’t changed for a couple of years. I believe that we’ll continue to see growth in the top 5% of names. For lower quality names, I’m bearish.

Dave said:
It depends on inventory quality. Premium and highly liquid domains will continue to rise in value.
Dave
Silentptnr said:
I predict that in 2020, short .com domains (3L, 4L, some 5L) will increase by 25% or more in value. End User sales of short domains will increase substantially.
Braden Pollock said:
As the new gTLD's still aren't catching fire, I see two-word .com and one-word .net increasing in value.
Mister Funsky said:
Early 2020 will have an increase in sales over previous years comparable period. This will be in all extensions, but primarily in .com. Late 2020 will see a decrease in sales over previous years comparable period due to uncertainty in politics (setting us up for a stellar 2021).
Eric Lyon said:
Prospects will always be there. The faces may change, but the demand will remain the same.
Matt Wegrzyn said:
I am very positive about domaining, not only for 2020, but forever. I am a strong believer that the URL address bar will exist for at least our lifetime. Domain monetization in some form (even if it evolves), will exist for our lifetime as well.


What other extensions will be strong?

A number of respondents see a strong 2020 for .io, .co and .ai. A few other extensions received mention in the replies.
Doron Vermaat said:
I predict the rise in demand for brandable one-word .io and .co domains will continue into 2020 along with a healthy aftermarket for .ai. New gTLDs will see growing adoption but it remains a challenge to make money with them as an investor in 2020.
Dave said:
.gg domains will become the next .io/.co.
Dave
Brands.International said:
I see increasing acceptance of new gTLDs, and that is the reason I invest exclusively in them. There is enormous room for their further growth in my opinion.


Are there particular niches to watch?

A wide variety of niches were mentioned including AI, distributed technology, 5G, gaming, shared resources, medicine, and many others.
James Iles said:
I’m not a trend investor, but I’ve been fascinated by sports betting in the USA. I read an article in Business Insider earlier this year that said 42 states are moving towards legalizing sports betting. That would be huge for domains in that niche.
Dave said:
Gaming. By 2024 gaming is projected to be the largest market in the world.
Dave
Doron Vermaat said:
Trends to keep an eye on in the year ahead are aerospace and autonomous driving technologies.

Eric Lyon said:
As populations burst at the seams and housing prices soar, it's my opinion that some very niche travel sectors and small town living may experience an increase of interest as people seek to escape the overcrowded metropolises. This should also create some demand for related digital assets.


Do you envision new products or services?
Brands.International said:
There are many initiatives, most interesting are probably those related to fractional domain ownership, some powered by blockchain. Those can bring liquidity for some domain investors.
Embrand said:
I think 2020 will be the year where many more transactions will be done with payment plans. Especially if the best .com domains keep on becoming more expensive, paying in instalments should be a good option for many smaller and mid-sized companies.

James Iles said:
I would like to see the idea of fractional ownership of domain names explored further. Aron Meystedt recently tested the waters here, and I think that with the right regulations and processes, it could be promising.

Alvin Brown said:
With aging domain investors and an eye on digital estate planning for generations to come, I'm hoping for domain registrars to provide a digital service targeted at the untimely death or disability of domain owners. This service should go beyond simply adding account managers, and delve into the intricacies and complexities of what actions should be taken for specified domains within a portfolio (working in conjunction with Last Will & Testament).
See also the Things On The Way section below for additional answers.


What changes do you see in domain investing?
Rob Monster said:
Digital brands, not simply domains: I believe during 2020, we'll see a big pivot from selling naked domains to selling integrated brands.
Shane Cultra said:
Commission reductions. It may not be this year, but it will be coming. Similar to the real estate industry and stock brokers, I think the commissions of various entities that help you to sell domains will come down. Brokers work for their money in most cases, but I think you will see a gradual reduction of what is charged to sell a name.
Rob Monster said:
Emerging markets set the outbound pace: The industry onboards 100,000 new domain investors in 2020 alone.
Brands.International said:
I do not see any major change. Since we are in the new domain extensions era now, and there are lot of possible alternatives in the domain space, it is all about quality over quantity. In my personal opinion it is better to invest in few high quality domain names (be it .com or new gTLDs), rather than having large portfolios of mediocre domain names.


What storm clouds threaten domain name investing?
Brad Mugford said:
One of the biggest issues is ICANN itself and their revolving door. Are they still acting as the multi-stakeholder, public benefit organization that they were created to be, or are they subject to regulatory capture? Will they put the interests of the many stakeholders over those of the few?
James Iles said:
The high acquisition costs for lower-quality domain names at auction houses will surely have an impact on investment strategy. Will investors be comfortable holding marginal domains with inflated purchase prices?
tonyk2000 said:
Marketplaces will have to increase prices. There is a lot of fraud already, and it will be growing.
Dave said:
Trolls and scammers who shed a bad light on the domain industry and give us all a bad name.
Dave
Bernard Wright said:
Overreach by a governing body, or an unfair/inconvenient mistake or ruling imposed by some other prominent entity, will shake the foundation of the domain market (gently, but strong enough), resulting in folks making more-discerning choices with respect to where and how they hold their portfolios.
Shane Cultra said:
Lack of quality inventory will be a bigger problem each year.
Ivan Rasskazov said:
First, I worry about de-globalization further moving into the Internet and domains, where governments will put increasing emphasis on perceived national interests by emphasizing both domestic TLDs and local investors, over the industry as a whole. Second, I wonder if the methodology of registries selling more directly to end users will become the norm. This has been the model with some new gTLDs and has affected domain investor profitability there.
Eric Lyon said:
The .org ordeal was a reality check that no extension is exempt from new contracts being written under different ownership through acquisition. This created a ripple of fear that the last of true legacy extension contracts may also be rewritten and acquired. If that's not a dark cloud hovering, I'm not sure what is. It may not ever happen to .com, but it can't be ruled out either.


Is there an important topic that is being overlooked?
Shane Cultra said:
The scope and size of the social media handle market.
James Iles said:
It has been discussed on the blogs, but I feel that more publicity should be given to the Internet Commerce Association fighting for the rights of legitimate domain owners. Once I repopulate my portfolio, I’m hoping to join the ICA and would encourage others to do so if they have the funds, and are actively investing in domain names.


Do you plan any major change in focus?
Josh Reason said:
In 2019, I've learned more than every before, and my strategy in 2020 will be reflective of those lessons. The main thing I'd emphasize is that buying 2 or 3 stellar one word .com's will yield better results than investing the same amount on 250+ mediocre .com’s. The mediocre level .com’s are now competing very heavily with premium .co and .io’s. Quite frankly in today's end-user market I'd prefer to a have a premium one-word .io or .co over a mediocre .com.
James Iles said:
Over the last year, I’ve focused more on other projects within the domain industry, so I look forward to continuing collaboration projects as well as acquiring new names, aiming for quality over quantity.

Braden Pollock said:
If/when our economy takes a dip, investors will start selling off their highest value domains at wholesale pricing to extract equity. I plan to improve my cash position in preparation for this buying opportunity..


What do you predict for high value sales?

I encouraged respondents to speculate on whether we will see another sale in the $30 million range this year.
Rob Monster said:
Super-broker Andrew Rosener sells Clear.com for mind blowing $10 million: Sure, it sounds like a crazy moonshot, but Andrew does crazy deals like few others!
Brands.International said:
I think we might see the first reported and verified sale of a new gTLD domain name with price tag over $1 million, and I think this will come from a private investor.
James Iles said:
I predict that the largest sale of 2020 will not be disclosed publicly. We only get to see the tip of the iceberg when it comes to domain sales. There are numerous names out there that have the potential to be $10 million+ sales (one-word .com, or two-letter .com). Perhaps one of these will come to fruition in 2020.
And one respondent gave us a very precise domain sale price prediction!
Shane Cultra said:
Biggest public sale in 2020 will be $8.53 million.


What other topics are important?
Edward Zeiden said:
An interesting trend in technology is the proliferation of virtual assistants and the devices that house them, e.g. phones and smart speakers. Some domain investors believe that these devices are chipping away at the relevance of domain names by removing them from the user's field of view in a browser; however, I think they expand upon "word-of-mouth marketing" for domains. When I ask a Google assistant long-tail questions, it usually serves up an answer from a niche site that dominates Google's search for those long-tail keywords. The key is that it prefaces each answer with, "According to [domain name],..." Anyone within earshot of the answer will hear the domain name and potentially visit it later. In this respect, I think virtual assistants will make the domain test, and basic radio test, play a more vital role in niche investing and end-user acquisitions..
Rob Monster said:
WHOIS makes a comeback: After 18 months of emasculation, WHOIS makes a triumphant return with the launch of GDPR-compliant WHOIS.
Bookman334 said:
1. Short one word domains in unwanted extensions will increase in value
2. Others like myself, who may have experimented with domains in the past will return to the game. After making mistakes earlier, we will look for education, leading to increased interest in domain courses and use of educational resources
3. Financing/ rent with option to buy domains will increase as more become aware of the option
4. Large established domain marketplaces will start to slowly lose marketshare to younger, more flexible competition.

James Iles said:
Education is certainly a relevant subject when it comes to all aspects of domain names. For investors and end-users alike, continuous education on the subject of domains should be prevalent in 2020. I believe investors should constantly be looking to learn.


What new is on the way?

As part of their responses several respondents indicated planned or new initiatives.
Matt Wegrzyn said:
There is a lot of misinformation regarding domain parking and domain monetization which is actually a thriving ecosystem. I am launching ParkingBlog.com next month, which will try to be as neutral of a blog as I can make it, to promote domain parking in general as well as to provide information regarding the ins and outs of domain parking. I hope to resolve a lot of issues and questions regarding domain monetization with the blog and to provide tips on how to acquire the proper domains that perform well with domain parking.
Shane Cultra said:
I'd like to start a podcast, but I've said that 3 straight years.
DAN.COM said:
We expect the domain industry to continue to professionalize in 2020. At DAN we've worked hard to create a new backend infrastructure in 2019. In 2020 we're going to utilize that infrastructure to introduce new services and features that will modernize the industry and create a more efficient and liquid domain market.
Macit said:
At Dofo, we will both add new features to Dofo and also launch new services for domain investors to reach the correct buyers. We have two main goals: First, to show end-users how easy it is to search, find and buy the domain name they want. Second, to provide powerful tools to domain investors to help them to reach buyers. We are doing our best to solve this two-sided problem with the support of domain industry players.


A few more quotes
John Berryhill said:
You don't want me to predict the future!
Rob Monster said:
Namepros' Alexa rank clears 10,000.
Brands.International said:
The key to domain investing success is often in very subtle details.
Recons.Com said:
Nothing. Absolutely nothing new will happen in 2020 that is distinguishably different from 2019.
oldtimer said:
NamePros will have its first AI member, capable of interacting on the forum just like everyone else.


Find more predictions and leave your own

For additional predictions check out the 2020 Predictions Thread started by Silentptnr. Please feel free to add your own predictions, either in that thread or in the comments section here.

Rob Monster started a domain forecast for 2020 thread, and many NamePros members added their own predictions there as well.

May 2020 be a fantastic year for each of you!


My heartfelt thanks to all who took the time to provide insights for this article.
 
The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.

Samer

Top Contributor
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Are there particular niches to watch?

“A wide variety of niches were mentioned including AI, distributed technology, 5G, gaming, shared resources, medicine..”

Cannabis, Illinois became 11th state New Year.

also like cryptocurrency “cryptos” and...

VR Oculus, HTC Sony more mainstream 2020

good list and “technology” encompasses many, except recreati Cannabis, not legal federal yet, good niche, not mentioned, beyond medicine.

Samer
 
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Internet.Domains

Account Closed (Requested)
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My prediction is some of those that were interviewed for this post will continue to avoid NamePros and will continue to not be part of any discussion here.

To those that converse and are active on NamePros, Thank You. Thank You! You are the ones who's opinion is valued.
 
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29,383
Thanks for the additions to niches, @Samer. The individual responses seemed so varied on niches, that I just listed a few and then said many more.

My prediction is some of those that were interviewed for this post will continue to avoid NamePros and will continue to not be part of any discussion here. To those that converse and are active on NamePros, Thank You. Thank You! You are the ones who's opinion is valued.
While I realize the levels of involvement at NamePros vary a lot, I did only include in my list I sent out requests those who had some presence on NamePros with an account, so every respondent is at least occasionally on here (and some as you cite on a lot). In retrospect I should have sent out my request earlier, as it was too near holidays, and I should have simplified it to a smaller number of questions. Thank you for your comment.

Also any who want to add their predictions, please everyone don't be shy, and add them in the comments! I would like to have included more, but the article was already getting long. Share with us what you think will happen in 2020.

Thanks so much Bob!
Thank you for starting the thread that helped me fill out the content with the breadth that I was seeking.

Thanks for the post Bob. I am sure that took a lot of time and effort to put together.
I am gradually learning that if I plan that an article will take x amount of time it really takes 10x! Thanks for contributing and also for your comment.

Thanks everyone for reading and commenting.

Bob

PS I should also have mentioned that in some cases I did slightly edit for length, etc.. a few contributions, but I certainly hope that I maintained accurately the intent of each quote.
 
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oldtimer

SaveThyWorld.com Let's not leave anyone behind
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@Bob Hawkes , you sure put a lot of work in to making these interesting articles about domaining and the domain Industry,

One more prediction by me:

Thanks to Oldtimers like Bob and his gentle, caring, and professional attitude towards others all hostilities, animosities, and negative competitions will end in the domain Industry and everyone will work together to make domaining a more fun and profitable experience in 2020 for all involved. :)

IMO
 
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everyone will work together to make domaining a more fun and profitable experience in 2020 for all involved. :)
If we could somehow achieve that it would be amazing (and the vast majority of interactions on NamePros we do achieve exactly that). I wish everyone in domaining was active on NamePros, and true harmony for everyone was achieved.

Thanks for the innovative thinking and respectful discourse you bring to NamePros every day, and I love and share your interest in keeping things fun.

Bob

PS I love your AI robot as NamePros member prediction. I wonder, even with today's technology, if we would realize it was a robot. I bet not, at least not for a long while. It is an interesting idea and i actually don't think that far-fetched. But if one robot got on, then everyone would question if others were real people.
 
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oldtimer

SaveThyWorld.com Let's not leave anyone behind
Impact
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PS I love your AI robot as NamePros member prediction. I wonder, even with today's technology, if we would realize it was a robot. I bet not, at least not for a long while. It is an interesting idea and i actually don't think that far-fetched. But if one robot got on, then everyone would question if others were real people.

It doesn't necessarily have to be a Robot, it could be an AI Entity that exists in the Cloud.

Although eventually maybe in a few years we might have Intelligent Robots living and working amongst us, but by then they might be called Artificial Lifeforms instead of Robots.

I bet that the future AI member at NamePros can teach us all a few new things once it learns everything about domaining. ;)

PS: eventually the World has to find some common ground and come to an agreement as to how it's going to deal with AI (and Automation), I assume an AI Entity will be required to introduce itself as being AI when interacting with others.

IMO
 
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My prediction is some of those that were interviewed for this post will continue to avoid NamePros and will continue to not be part of any discussion here.

To those that converse and are active on NamePros, Thank You. Thank You! You are the ones who's opinion is valued.

We all have a limited amount of time and different areas that we find rewarding. Lets be thankful that Bob took the hours to put this together and those that took the time to answer. Concentrating on the negative that they don't spend enough time here is perhaps one of the reasons why they don't.
 

Internet.Domains

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We all have a limited amount of time and different areas that we find rewarding. Lets be thankful that Bob took the hours to put this together and those that took the time to answer. Concentrating on the negative that they don't spend enough time here is perhaps one of the reasons why they don't.
Thanks for joining the conversation and Happy New Year to you. Please feel free to join conversations throughout the year, anytime.

Like life, you get out of NamePros what you want. If you feel its negative, I am sorry to hear that. If you find it mostly positive and enjoyable, great! We all have different lenses. Keep the glass full!
 

Captain Dane

Explorer
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We all have a limited amount of time and different areas that we find rewarding. Lets be thankful that Bob took the hours to put this together and those that took the time to answer. Concentrating on the negative that they don't spend enough time here is perhaps one of the reasons why they don't.

Thanks again Bob
 

oldtimer

SaveThyWorld.com Let's not leave anyone behind
Impact
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Concentrating on the negative that they don't spend enough time here is perhaps one of the reasons why they don't.

There is always going to be differing opinions and interests in the domain Industry, the important thing is to keep all interactions on the forum and on the blogs at a respectful and professional level even when people disagree on a subject.

In the past a lot of discussions ended up a little on the rude and hostile side even amongst the Industry veterans and leaders and the existing environment of the forum in a way encouraged that kind of behavior, but I believe that things have changed for the better and it is now possible to engage in a conversation without being attacked or demeaned and as such it would be of great benefit to everyone if some of the Oldtimers in the Industry returned here to share their experiences and expertise with others.

If people don't agree with someone's point of view they should start their sentence with:

With all due respect, but . . .

instead of saying:

That's BS, or Crap, or talk down to others by starting with "You just don't get it" or "How many times do I have to repeat this"


IMO
 

NameSellingcom

Established Member
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Great article Bob.

I agree with Braden about two-word .COM's and one-word .NET increasing in value. But only if the global economy holds up and the markets don't crash.

.ORG is still up in the air right now and .CO is being pressured by other ccTLD's (.io .ai).
New gTLD's (non-coms) will continue trend lower.

AI and machine learning are the future, unfortunately. Virtual assistants I'm still on the fence (privacy issues).
Cannabis, sports betting, gaming and gambling will stay hot.
Stem cell therapy will continue to grow.

My biggest worry is ICANN and other entities trying to regulate domain owners names and domain extensions.

Mark Thorpe
 
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4,474
Some predictions summarized here, as well as published in 2 related threads, do reflect personal or business preferences of the writers. Not all predictions, but some. It is human nature. Or, to some extend, it may be considered as a programming of the future. However, when I posted comments in 2 related threads, I tried to do this without my personal preferences. Not an easy task indeed :)
 

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