Dominion.Domains

The NEW 21st Century Paradigm for Domaining

Discussion in 'General Domain Discussion' started by stub, May 12, 2018.

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  1. stub

    stub Top Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Could you please expand on what you mean by this? What should we forget about the old paradigm and what do we have to learn to be successful in this new paradigm.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2018
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  2. BrandableDomain

    BrandableDomain Established Member

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    Here is my opinion of what it means.

    Brands are valuable for obvious reasons that everyone knows, such as being memorable and can be trademarked.

    But less obvious, they are also future proof. If you own Diapers dot com that’s great for selling diapers, but if you branch out to baby blankets, and you find that 80 per cent of your profits now come from baby blankets, you will be at a disadvantage in advertising against someone who owns BabyBlankets dot com.

    A customer will click on their ad, not yours.

    However, if you had started your company as BabyWorld dot com (a broad, generic brand), you could have started selling diapers then branched out into baby blankets and other products.

    Now, in your advertising, your BabyWorld brand can still compete equally against BabyBlankets (if you are running a campaign for baby blankets).

    You could also go with a completely made up name that sounds slightly “babyish” like CuddleWuddle dot com or something, You are still keeping your brand flexible no matter what you sell in your industry.

    Of course, if you want to cover everything in the universe, you would try to think of a name like UnitedCorp dot com or something.

    Like GeneralElectric, they can provide just about any product or service with a name like that.

    Going back to the name BabyWorld, say you started out selling diapers. You’ve sold quality diapers so you have built loyalty and trust and memorability.

    Now, when you branch out into baby blankets, people already know your name and reputation, and will trust you to try one of your blankets. You’re building a brand.

    The more narrow your product name, the more this theory applies. Diapers is pretty narrow, a young parent won’t want to go to Diapers dot com to buy diapers, to BabySoap to buy some baby soap and to BabyFood to buy baby food etc.

    They want the convenience of going to a generic branded company like Amazon or Walmart or BabyWorld to buy several different products in one go.

    The value of domain names trails the value of businesses and their brands and how they want to name themselves.

    (This theory doesn’t apply so much to huge industries like Cars dot com where it isn’t relevant, you might go to that site to buy a car or tires or repairs etc.)

    So if you have a really non-specific generic brand like Ebay or Amazon, you can buy diapers there, not sure about hosting yet, probably in the future.

    Hence, the value of brands like these and their matching domains which are intertwined can be explained. You have to provide the domains that the companies want and these are in demand.
     
  3. stub

    stub Top Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    @BrandableDomain - Thank you for your reasonably clear and lengthy explanation. I'd like to keep this conversation rolling if I can, by relating it directly to how we invest in domain names.

    So. The big change here is we should be investing in broad based brandable domains, or made up words, not keywords. Is that the correct assumption to be taken from this? Haven't all the great companies always done this? Like Expedia for travel for example? But I have a hard time thinking that when Expedia was born, how we, as domainers, come up with such a great name for a travel company. Expedia.com could just be any old domain (well almost) languishing for sale on BrandBucket for a few thousand bucks.

    Forgive me If I'm wrong but it seems, in your example, we should be going off and registering domains like BabyWorld.com, when there could be a hundred words to replace the "world" part of the domain name. Is that what you are saying? That seems like a pretty big risk that we might choose the wrong words for both the product/industry and the generic word to go with the product/industry word, and that some company looking to broadly brand their company has many multiples of domain options to choose from. How do you reduce that risk?

    And I assume because of the greater risks, we can expect greater rewards, should we make a sale?

    It sounds a bit like we should we be looking at domains like brandbucket are selling? (Well at least their better domains). Or is that a waste of time. Because they don't have high enough sales prices, IMHO, for this kind of strategy.

    My mind is only about scratching 1% of what you are saying here. So I hope we can have a full and fruiful lengthy discussion about this. I'll stop for now. But I've got a lot of bubbling questions.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2018
  4. BrandableDomain

    BrandableDomain Established Member

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    @stub - very glad if my opinion is helpful, and since I’m a bit of a brand fanatic I’ll watch your post in the next few days when I have a bit more time.

    “The big change here is we should be investing in broad based brandable domains, or made up words, not keywords. Is that the correct assumption to be taken from this?”

    No, I’m not suggesting to switch from keywords (or exact match etc) to brandables, your post is about generic branding so that’s what I’m trying to talk about.

    If you decide to expand further into brandables I hope this helps.

    To note, I think it’s very important to focus on your specialty, there’s a guy called Rob Grant who has done very well in real estate domains because that’s his background, and there is a Cadillac dealer who has done very well with auto domains.

    I happen to be a designer who has worked with some big brands so have some understanding of how they work.

    “Haven't all the great companies always done this?”

    Yes, the great companies have “always done this” and will do into the future. For some reason many domainers didn’t understand this until 3 or 4 years ago. New companies want to be like the old companies, so they want comparable names (and domains).

    There will always be a big role for keyword domains, numerics, new GTLDs etc to play on the web.

    It is incredibly hard to find a great name for a travel company to use your example.

    “Expedia.com could just be any old domain (well almost) languishing for sale on BrandBucket for a few thousand bucks.”

    Sorry, strongly disagree with that statement. “EXPEDIA” is a terrific brand name, mainly because it sounds like “expedient”. And it sounds crossed with "encyclopaedia".

    That’s a great positive connotation for a travel company to have.

    BTW - completely meaningless brands can be equally good, like “BLUESTAR” or whatever - but see if you can find a top domain available like that! You can't.

    My favourite definition of a brandable domain is something like:

    "It is a word (or two) that should be in the dictionary, but isn’t."

    - - -

    A DEFINITION

    ‘ “We’re surprised at how many names we can make up that sound like they should be in the dictionary, even if they’re not,” says Athol Foden, founder of Brighter Naming, a corporate naming consultancy. He’s also impressed by how many really good names come out of creative combinations of common nouns and verbs. ‘

    “The Bizarre Naming Trends That Modern Startups Follow”

    Joanna Glasner, CrunchBase

    - - -

    So Expedia is a terrific name. Made up names that are top notch are probably just about as rare as real words. Which is why certain domains are worth heaps and others are worthless.

    Try AXPEDIA, IXPEDIA, OXPEDIA and UXPEDIA - ugh, they are all awful. (Apologies if anyone owns them!)

    …More in the next day or two. Let's hope @DomainRecap hears about this!
     
  5. DomainRecap

    DomainRecap Established Member

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    Exactly, these old school EMDs like Diapers.com, Beer.com, Soap.com, etc. really paint you in as corner when you want to expand your business outside the small niche that your name allows.

    Plus, you never know if something like Diapers are going to be a thing in 10-15 years - but then every toddler could be wearing CrapHuggers, a space age pantsuit that bio-degrades baby poop into methanol. Ooops, there go Diapers.com into the scrap heap.
     
  6. garptrader

    garptrader Top Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I recall someone say about five to six years ago who was a big name in the domain space advocating buying things like Blue-socks.net because it was an EMD which could rank easily given Google's exact-match preference. Then you could put up an affiliate or made-for-adsense site and make a lot of money. I disagreed with that logic and didn't follow the newbies over cliff when Google changed its search engine algorithm to no longer give ranking preference to exact-match domains.
     
  7. DomainRecap

    DomainRecap Established Member

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    It also needs to pass the phonetics test, in that when verbally expressing the domain name, the recipient will automatically be able to spell it.

    Like Expedia, you can spell that immediately with no issues and no confusion.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2018
  8. Kate

    Kate Domainosaurus Rex VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    The corner like you put it is still very large. With these names you dominate whole industries.
    For example Johnson & Johnson own baby.com but they own other great domains. The large corporations usually own plenty of domain names, each cater to a different market segment. These names are still great for advertising and solidify your brand.
    So if you own beer.com, you can still expand your business in any direction you like, the domain name is not holding you up and it has not become worthless. What is true is that the name alone can no longer describe your entire business. That is not an obstacle though, large corporations often spread their operations across smaller, independent entities. Those generic names are usually part of a bigger corporate portfolio.

    I am a big fan of brandable names too. But even brandables are limited in purpose. Expedia is a terrific name for the travel industry but if you decide to branch out to the food industry or something else, it is less appealing. A name like Zalando on the other hand is more neutral. In theory it could be used for pretty much anything. End users like brandables because if you want to build a brand you need something that is somewhat unique.

    Even generic keywords can be branded, Virgin.com is a good example.
    I don't think there is a new paradigm, there are different approaches.
     
  9. DomainRecap

    DomainRecap Established Member

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    But they're not selling virgins, and that's an important distinction.
     
  10. NameSplice

    NameSplice Established Member

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    I do like two word brandables and made ups.
    But I also agree with Kate as generics can be branded.
    Look at Target. I'm sure they sell targets on top of the multiple products that they offer.
     
  11. DomainRecap

    DomainRecap Established Member

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    Yeah, and Beer.com could be used by Beer & Sons Litigators.. and I'm sure they drink BEER after work. :xf.rolleyes:

    They key is that any dictionary word or term can be used for anything, but the days of selling Diapers on Diapers.com are long, long over and resale prices are much lower because of this. Beer.com is certainly a valuable domain in 2018, but it's worth exponentially less than the $7 million it sold for.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2018
  12. stub

    stub Top Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Is this what you see happened to the iPets.com pricing and why it dropped 75% in 10 years? Or was that purely because of the "i"? Which is no longer desirable in 2018? Anything else, apart from "e" prefixes, which are no longer desirable in 2018?
     
  13. Premiums

    Premiums Top Broker

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    "e" prefix is an outdated..
     
  14. stub

    stub Top Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Sorry. My bad phrasing. I meant "e" was out :)
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
  15. stub

    stub Top Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    What has occurred to me so far.

    a) We are not all branding for the next multi-billion dollar business. Just as an example. A plumber in a medium sized city in the US, probably wants "cityname"plumber(s).com not some brandable domain name. He probably would not register Apple.com (if available) for his business

    b) Using a dictionary word for the dictionary word definition, is so 1990's. But as a brandable? Great.

    c) Using first or last people's names make great brandables too.

    d) Getting a great made up word(s) is a bit like shooting for the stars without much of a rocket. Difficult. No obvious potential sale (correct me if I'm wrong).

    e) Single letter prefixes are so passe. What about suffixes? Single letters, abbreviations, or words?

    f) Try to use any domain, creatively.
     
  16. HotKey

    HotKey Made in Canada VIP

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    ^ @stub

    g) The human mind. This is the biggest paradigm of all. The variables at play can be seemingly infinite in our decision-making process. Sure we can try to apply new theories to figure it all out, but there are big risks in doing so. Invest with caution in this area. In the meantime tested and true patterns should be used as the underlying framework for any sort of "new paradigm".

    Are we moving away from quality names? Is the focus on the content? A domain name is a domain name is a domain name. So many start-ups come and go now, you can almost assume their longetivity by the name they've chosen.

    Whereas old-school names or many aged brandables that have a developed presense and trust, be it in a traditional extension or ccTLD really don't have a concern. An aftermarket purchase for them is just icing, or perhaps an attempt at an even broader reach.
     
  17. garptrader

    garptrader Top Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    It is not difficult to find end users with crappy domain names. However, most just don't care. Even small businesses spend a chunk of change on office rent, accounting, legal & IT costs. A domain purchase is often considered the equivalent of buying a trashcan for the break room. Ask $349 for a domain name and they think they are being ripped off. Then they send their attorney a check for five figures without questioning the billable hours or trying to negotiate the rate.
     
  18. DomainRecap

    DomainRecap Established Member

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    There are no hard and fast rules, and there are always a few outliers, but for the most part, names like iPets.com, Diapers.com, Beer.com, (i.e. undeveloped 90's-era domain names) are viewed as quaint relics of a long-lost past. For example, look up the top domain sales of all time, and then see how many are actually developed into functioning and updated sites in 2018. Very few, but lots and lots of redirects, spam ads, offers, for sale signs, etc.

    Other undesirables include domain names longer then 12 letters, hyphens, mixed character domains > 3 characters (i.e. NLLNL).
     
  19. DomainRecap

    DomainRecap Established Member

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    This is probably the best one for future exploration, and I know a CO suffix is very popular alongside a short word, as are words like Media, Online, Solutions, etc. Using SY at end also has a hipster appeal with some words.
     
  20. BrandableDomain

    BrandableDomain Established Member

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    “I’d like to keep this conversation rolling if I can, by relating it directly to how we invest in domain names.” (@stub)

    This is a great topic. I completely agree with what @Kate says about the value of domains like Baby.com and @NameSplice says about Target.com and other commenters.

    But all these great one word real names either based on large industries like baby, target, beer, games, travel, loans and sport and so on, (or other sought-after aspirational or symbolic domains like horizon or invent) were all registered by 1999 or whenever so no longer have much to do with most of us as domain investors.

    With the exception of course of a small number of specialist domain brokers who deal in these one word names. But as @DomainRecap implies with the example of Beer.com, they don’t seem to have appreciated and may even have declined in value, and not many individual sales records seem to have been set for years.

    Brandables seem to be an appreciating class at the moment so seem to be a good area to invest in, but not the only one. Diversification is still a good principle.

    “Forgive me If I'm wrong but it seems, in your example, we should be going off and registering domains like BabyWorld.com, when there could be a hundred words to replace the "world" part of the domain name. Is that what you are saying?”

    It’s true that there are 100 suffixes like “world” you can add to “baby”, but they vary greatly in prestige, catchiness, the radio test etc and hence in value.

    You could list them ranked by value (though no two people would agree!). A name like BabyWorld should sell for a lot in an auction, while Baby247 probably not much.

    “World” would be one of the best, but similarly to single words as mentioned, just about every domain in big industries like babyworld, travelworld and sportworld would also have been regged more than a decade ago. Further down the list would be domains like Baby360 or BabyTown, you have to form your own opinion and judge what end users will buy.

    The ranking also varies depending on the adjacent keyword, for example BabyHero doesn’t make much sense while CryptoHero would be a very good brandable. My opinion only.

    So this is where your skill as a domain investor comes in, you find an undervalued name on the drops like BabyLuxury or something that with your expertise and experience you believe you can resell higher. Or invent something yourself that nobody thought of like BabyPlanet or ContentedBaby.

    The important thing is that the brandable niche seems to be appreciating strongly at the moment but it requires a different set of skills to investing in keyword based names or 3Ls or numerics.
     
  21. DomainRecap

    DomainRecap Established Member

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    Lots of companies will also let themselves be sold absolute junk as long as it's by a "Branding Expert".

    A year or so ago I was looking through the top sales on DNJ and there was some crazy domain like bestplumbersinnewjersey.com (or similar) that sold for some godawful amount, and the branding company was being congratulated on "selling" a domain for 5-figures they had just hand registered.

    These are not domain sales, they are scummy hard selling like hawking a knockoff watch in NY.
     
  22. nomen

    nomen Active Member VIP

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    Interesting conversation. A few thoughts:

    First, the sale price of beer.com was what it was because of the elaborate scheme that was executed near perfectly by the guys who sold it. There were a lot more to it than just the domain itself.

    That said, I don't think that ultra premium generic domains like beer.com, candy.com, diapers.com and so on have gone down in value. They still would be superb assets for companies selling those things. The money that gets spend on developing new sales channels is huge. For many, an ultra premium generic domain name would definitely lower those costs in a long run.

    But.

    It's hard to get those kind of domain names anymore. Many are already owned by mega corporations who understand their value. Think Amazon that owns a huge portfolio of generic domains (new g's too) that cover many product categories they're selling. Try buying, say, industrial.supply from them.

    ---

    Not everything is going to be a platform like Amazon (referring to @DomainRecap's quote in OP). Because a) Amazon (or FB, or Google or whatever) will eat you alive, b) it takes years to build those kind of systems, c) it's not exactly easy.

    People, businesses will still be selling the stuff they're producing, manufacturing or importing. And they still go after the best domains for their industry when someone in the management figures out the importance of good domains. Any restaurant supply company would want to operate from restaurantsupply.com. And there are many of those companies.

    Yes, catchy brandables are great for savvy tech startups who want to look like the next hot sh#%. How many of those companies gets to be that is a different question.

    Meanwhile, hundreds and hundreds of 'normal' businesses are founded every day and they're more than happy with natural language names and domains like bestrepair.com, aluminumproducts.com, topseeds.com etc.

    Btw, naming and domaining are not the same thing, and different rules apply. Do you want to buy domains that MIGHT become a name of some company or buy domains that are better versions of existing company (domain) names and thus an upgrade for them?
     
  23. NameSplice

    NameSplice Established Member

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    Good point,
    So say there's a tire distributor startup.
    They would definitely want to get tires .com but can't cause its taken and redirects to discounttire .com. So now they need to look for an alternative which I'm sure there are many to choose from.

    TireRack .com (established brand)
    ShoeCarnival .com (established brand)

    As an investor am I supposed to invest my money on something like
    TireCarnival .com in hopes of one day a business may want to call themselves TireCarnival? (Avalible for reg fee btw if anyone wants to take that chance)
     
  24. bluemeteor

    bluemeteor Established Member

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    I think the big Corp would choose a brand new name to differentiate themselves from the others. They don’t have to rely on keywords, they have the budget to make their name into a keyword. Industry emd would make them average.

    Starups Who don’t have the marketing budget have to stick with some keyword as part of the name, for people to understand for one glance.
     
  25. stub

    stub Top Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I kinda agree with this thought. I've got a phobia about registering hundreds of great domains which might never become companies. And I like the idea of registering hundreds of domains which are upgrades for companies.

    If I could give only 1 piece of advice to startups. It would be to secure your domain name BEFORE they register the company name. Of course there is much more advice I could give, but as a domainer, this would be my first piece of advice. Coming along at the same time would be for it to be phoenetically pronounceable, and as short as possible. I'll stop there :)
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2018

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