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What will happen in domain investing in the coming year?

Will the market continue to surge? Will different extensions or sectors emerge? What will be the hot keywords?

While no one can predict the future with certainty, being receptive to a variety of views, while at the same time exercising critical judgement, has been shown to help make better predictions.

In that spirit, I asked NamePros members to share their responses to the question What Will 2022 Hold?. I also solicited responses on social media.

Due to space limitations, by no means all contributions are incorporated in this article. In some cases, I did light editing of quotations, but hopefully the original intent has been retained in all cases.

Incredible Optimism

As we saw last week, 2021 has been a banner year in domain investing.

The vast majority of the 175 who responded in the recent poll expect things to be even better in 2022. More than 68% said that 2022 would probably or definitely be stronger than 2021, while another almost 22% thought it would be about the same. Only 9.8% thought that 2022 would be weaker than 2021.
Image-Optimism.png


D Haynes summarized the situation.
I see the domain industry as a while gaining strength. The pandemic is forcing more people to work from home, whether for their existing employer or starting a business anew. I think this will see an increase in demand for good domain names of all kinds (EMDs, brandables, 4L's etc). Simple supply and demand. I also see extensions other than .com fetching higher prices as good coms become scare and over priced.

Based on changes in business starts, see next section for more details, @BrandableDomain took a bit more reserved outlook.
I think 2022 sales will be a little better than 2021 due to normal growth, market forces and supply and demand, but don't have any reason to believe there will be a big jump in growth as happened 18 months ago.

The Pandemic and The Economy

Several see the future of the domain market as tied to the health of the economy in general. After a drop in business starts during the the first few weeks of the pandemic, a sharp rebound produced record high numbers of business starts in many regions.

For example, see the charts of US business formation data in this post by @BrandableDomain. He summarized the situation:
So business formations seem to have now settled at a consistent rate about 43 percent higher than pre-pandemic. Since the pandemic is ongoing, it's likely business start-ups will continue at this new elevated rate, which means the accelerated demand for domain names should continue. The new normal.

Existing businesses upgraded their digital footprint, so demand for domain names was strong across the aftermarket due to both startup and established businesses. Government incentives helped to foster the expansion, as did loss of some traditional jobs.

@CS85 had a positive outlook.
I think 2022 could be an excellent year for domainers IF the pandemic is brought under control. Much of the stimulus funding government’s provide to kickstart their economies will, in my opinion, go to ‘future tech’ startups. They, of course, need branding, domain names and the like.

The stability of the economy was central in the thinking of @FolioTeam.
Right now, there are too many startups, reminiscent of years leading to the 2008 financial crisis, and I see that number growing in 2022. Now, whether that's a good thing, only time will tell. If things go well, that means more sales domain-wise. On the other hand, the global economy might see a retraction or an outright crash next year.

On social media, there was mention of the impact of changes in government policies. For example, in several regimes the limits on crowd-funding have been raised, and increasingly some startups are using that for initial funding.

Meta, Eth, NFT and More

2021 witnessed eye-popping sales in terms like meta, metaverse, NFT and eth. Do we think that will continue in 2022? Will terms like omniverse be the stars of 2022?

@redemo is bullish on those sectors.
Meta, metaverse and XR related domain names will be become more popular, as will sub-categories including VR, AR, MR and other gaming-related domain names.

Some, like @tmos1985, see the surge continuing, but not for many more months
I expect to see some more ridiculous sales of meaningless meta domains. I expect the meta domains to die off in the next 12 months.

@Catalyst01 reminded us that it is not simply the terms meta or metaverse, but the underlying technologies.
As meta takes the center stage, I see more organizations adopting or using meta. We should not forget that there are several innovations surrounding the META rush, so, it's not just about meta. AI, 3D, VR, AR, robots, remote working, and several virtual-related innovations will get some good attention as we transit or adjust to the several demands of Covid.

A somewhat similar opinion was expressed by @Reyginus:
I see the VR and AR domain names getting hotter as a consequence of the development of the metaverse. The omniverse will experience a rise at the middle or late end of the year.

@karmaco made the observation that just because so many extensions are listed for sale in desired terms, there may eventually be competitive downward pressure on prices.
We had some breakout stars in 2021, with the NFT explosion and now meta and metaverse related terms. This will carry over and we will continue to see some high figure sales in these areas be it meta, spatial, haptic, gamefi, immersive etc

I do think overall holders will have to temper their price expectations a bit. Not everyone is going to or is able to fork out mid 5 figures. With many extensions registered in the best terms, pricing will have to be very competitive and checked more often than usual and adjusted If you want sales sooner than later.

What Are People Planning To Invest In?

On social media, I recently polled to see how domain investors are planning to direct their funds this year. Not surprisingly, more than 64% plan to emphasize .com.

Motivated by the strong rise in high-value .xyz sales, just over 23% intend to expand the new extension segment of their domain portfolio.

Image-Intentions-Overall.png


I ran a different poll, comparing interest in 4 extensions that had solid growth in 2021. From these four choices, almost half of respondents picked .xyz with another 37.1% planning to increase investment in .io.

Image-Intentions-4 Choices.png


A number of respondents mentioned increasing investment in decentralized domain names.

@karmaco reflected a view expressed by several,
.net, .co, .io and .xyz will continue to be viable options for a higher priced .com in my opinion. While .com remains king, more and more consumers are turning to other extensions as acceptable alternatives and pricing structures should be taking that into consideration.

@Reyginus said
I don't see .io, .co or .xyz dropping off. Considering the merge of crypto and metaverse, the .xyz extension will experience a rise.

TonyNames, who has shared impressive first year sales success, shared his plans for the coming year.
No specific niche or TLD. Good two-word .com that I can score for a bargain, and double down on one-word .co, .io and .net.

@DomainGaze.com is sticking with domain hacks, but also shared other possibilities.
More delicious domain hacks! A few others in promising TLDs.I plan on keeping fewer higher quality names so as to limit my time commitment.Identify technology trends in early stages.

@Corey, who has been a very active NamePros member since 2008, plans to
continue to invest in liquid domains, LLLL.com as a long term investment.

Sectors and Niches

A few commented on sectors they see getting stronger in the years to come. For @Reddstagg that was wellness interpreted broadly:
Health and wellness and the way we live our lives will continue to rise year on year for at least the next 5 years as we try to address the abuse of our bodies. Eat better. Sleep better. Be better. Be fitter. Be less stressed. Be less. Anything that can contribute to this worthy cause will be generating billions every year.

In a set of predictions for 2022, Elie Eweka feels that DAO and Web3 will have strong momentum.

Many expressed plans to concentrate on metaverse and related technologies such as AR VR, XR, collaboration, AI, blockchain, simulation, and digital art.

NameAndMark added a couple of niches not mentioned by many, digital fashion and digital twin.

@redemo mentioned Li-Fi as a technology to watch.

@Lox mentioned crypto mortgage as an emerging niche.

There was not much comment on branding trends, other than increasing acceptance of .io, .co and .xyz. However, @Lox sees
More quirky names (back to the 80's) versus disruptive/messy/amateurish names, less "skills" and permanent related names.

Storm Clouds

As expressed earlier, many saw the state of the economy as the biggest concern.

Other concerns with respect to the health of the domain aftermarket going forward include the impact of front running, confusion introduced by decentralized domain names, and rising costs to acquire and hold names.

@HappyW expressed the concern that in the longer run the development of the metaverse may make domain names unimportant.
The full popularity of metaverse applications requires smart hardware, which will replace Internet access. Unless the IP address of every device can be bound to a domain name in the future, this will completely wipe out the domain name industry.

@Reyginus expressed concern that artificial intelligence may increasingly replace the role played by domain investors.
My biggest concern about domaining is AI. Obviously, in years to come, except for the good names we are holding today, the AI will take over curating names and they will do it with so much perfection that marketplaces will invest in AI curators to compete.

Each year legal challenges seem more frequent, as @redemo commented with some specific statistics.
The number of WIPO. domain name UDRP cases will continue to rise in 2022 as it has for the past three years. 2019 saw 3693 cases, 2020 had 4204, while in 2021 there were 5051 cases. Over 90 % of UDRP complainants will continue to win their cases and have domain names transferred.

@fatter, who has been a NamePros member since 2007, expressed concern about the future of domain investing.
Sad to say, domaining will be pretty much a thing of the past, like the dot-com era. I believe this because for 9 dollars and a good name you could make some good money in the past. Now, instead of registering 100 domains, you can buy 100 startup crypto coins and make a killing in crypto market. There will still be a domain industry, but I think there will be few newcomers, because crypto is much easier to strike it rich. I will let a bunch of my names where i was waiting for the technology to advance, or legislation to advance, expire. There will still be a market for the best in this industry, but for the average domainer like myself, doesn’t look like it. I learned a lot and made some good money but won't put much time in it anymore.

What You Want

A few expressed opinions on what they want to see in 2022:
  • @Lox spoke for many when he asked for a “rock solid verification process at Sedo, Afternic, Dan, etc.”
  • Others hope for payment plan options to come to Afternic.
  • Increased clarity around regulations and procedures in the industry.
  • New opportunities to sell, whether that is micro-marketplaces with a sharply defined clientele or something else.

Final Thoughts

@Lox expressed the view that tier 2 and 3 names will fall in price, or while tier 1 names will increase in price. He also stressed the importance of voice-friendly names in an era with increasing use of voice activation commands.

If you like to look in the longer term, check out the views in Predicting The Future of Domain Names, that considered how things might be in five years.

Here is the article from last week that outlined how strong 2021 was in various extensions.

A year ago, I asked 55 people to predict what would happen in 2021. It is interesting to review their predictions at What Will 2021 Be Like In Domain Investing?

I end with the positive outlook expressed by @Reddstagg:
I am optimistic for the future...mine and yours. Never stop learning...never stop believing.

May 2022 be a good year, both in your domain investing and in life in general.

Please share your own opinions in the comments, as well as what TLDs and sectors you intend to concentrate on in 2022.

My sincere thanks to everyone who commented and voted. It is truly an incredible community we have at NamePros.
 
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The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.

J.R.

Established Member
Impact
200
Great post.

The biggest impact to domain prices will come from decisions at the Fed Reserve.

The Fed has made it clear, they are focusing on tight money policy in 2022 to lower inflation. The U.S. economy will see the Fed increase interest rates at least 3 times, possibly 8x in 2022. These interest rate increases will gradually shrink the money supply, banks will cut credit extensions to consumers, and businesses will layoff workers.

A recession is likely by Q4 2022, finance and government insiders are already moving accordingly.

On the bright side, prices on the wholesale aftermarket may see a decrease after Q2 2022, as credit starts to dry up. A lot of the high prices on the wholesale market was due to loose fiscal and monetary policy, stimulus monies and PPC from 2020-2021. All those monies have dried up as of Q4 2021

Keep an eye on the Fed this year.
 

topdom

Top Contributor
Impact
1,332
Economy will get bad during fake Biden presidency, because otherwise not enough people will wake up. But it can't get very bad. We need 80 percent awake people one way or another. Some will be against bad economy, some will be against vaccine mandate, some will be against fake antiracism. People need to get hurt without being harmed.
 
biix