Miscellaneous Domain Name Statistics

One of the feeds I monitor is a website called DotWeekly.   It is one of a large number of domain blogs that have shown up over the past year, but I like it because it offers some interesting incites from time to time.

Todays post is a compilation of off the wall domain stats, which I really enjoyed.   Here is a bit of the information provided:

Godaddy.com continues to rule the registrar league with a positive gain of 560,423 domain names over the past 30 days and now with a total of 25,260,275 domains under it’s control

NetworkSolutions.com continues to Lose domain names and has had a negative lose of 11,099 domain names over the past 30 days. NetSol still holds the # 3 spot for the most domains under control, but it looks as if Tucows will gain that # 3 spot within a month or two.

There are currently 987 ICANN domain name registrars.

Sedo Parking gained 3,473 domain names.

Click over to view the rest of the statistics.

Brandable or Media Domain?

Since the beginning of 2008, I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve made a lot of really good domaining decisions that have resulted in a good amount of generated income.   Add that to my affiliate income, which has at least tripled since the first of the year, and things are really starting to look up!

One thing that came with this success was my decision to form an online business to keep everything under.   This has obvious benefits come tax time and will make it a lot easier for me to calculate earnings vs. expenses, etc.   If things go as planned, this business will eventually become a LLC and be operated completely separately from my personal interests online.  

Anyway, as I’ve begun to make this transition, I quickly realized that I had a VERY important decision to make before I get started.   That is of course selecting the name of the business (and the corresponding domain name).  

Of course, I felt that finding a good name shouldn’t be a problem as I have a huge portfolio of brandable domains that would work great.  The problem I’m running into is that I would like the name to include the word “Media” at the end of it, but that kind of goes against my instincts as a domainer.   An example would be something like using FireballMedia.com instead of Fireball.com. 

Obviously we all know which is better and more valuable, but if you were starting up your own media company, would you rather use the media version?  All input is appreciated.

Excuse Me? Your Registered That Domain Name?

Hopefully anyone who reads this post will take it with a grain of salt as I will be venting a little bit, but has anyone else noticed the really poor choice of domains registered lately?  Check out any of For Sale sections of the domain forums and you are in for a real treat.  

I’m sure we’ve all had those “What was I thinking?” moments on ocassion, but many of these domains are really bad.   I mean really really bad.  In many cases, they are so bad that I wouldn’t take them off their hands for free because it would just clog up my accounts.  Do these people just have unlimited money to waste?  Do they even try?  Is any research completed prior to the domain purchase?

Unfortunately, domainer ettiquette requires me to refrain from posting a “WTF?” type of response to their posts, so I figured I would put it here.   I would really like to know what some of these people were thinking when they register their domain names.  Has anyone else noticed this trend getting much worse over the past few months?

As a quick footnote, I thought it would be fun to mention our worst domains ever registered.  It is never a good idea to register a domain just because it sounds cool, but I was guilty of that when I registered ShadowOrb.com.   Yikes!   What was the worst domain you ever registered?

Domaining in a Recession

With the current recession in the United States (despite what people say, I live here, and it is), domainers have started to place a lot of attention to their portfolios and many are trimming them down as much as possible prior to renewal to save some cash.   I know this because I am one of those domainers. 

My approach was to re-evaluate my portfolio about a month ago and figure out which domains I do not plan to renew, then go out and try to get whatever I can for them.  $7.00, $5.00, $3.00?   It is all better than just letting them expire and getting nothing out of them.   I’ve still got a few names left that I’d like to move, but I must say that I’m pretty happy with what remains of my portfolio and I’ve now got a little money to play around with in the aftermarket. 

So, what other factors should domainers consider when investing during a recession?  

  1. Renewal Prices – Domain renewal rates appear to be going up about 7% a year, and this will likely continue for the immediate future.    Keep an eye on registrar rates and don’t be afraid to transfer your domains to a more affordable registrar when that domain comes up for renewal.   This does not mean go to 1and1 of course, but there are always domain coupons to consider and special offers that you take advantage advantage of with the main 7 registrars. 
  2. Look for Deals – The domain message boards are filled with all sorts of great domains going for next to nothing.  Monitor this area and get some steals from struggling domainers. 
  3. Develop Domains – As I trim my portfolio, I’ve been digging through my names to see which ones I could easily develop.  This is generally a smart method to protect your investment for a domainer anyway, but with parking income down lately, it has almost become essential.  I use a few techniques including keyword sniping (form of niche blogging) and BANS to easily monetize these sites and produce a steady income.   My goal is to find methods that require a minimal amount of upkeep, but will generate comparable or additional income vs parking the domains.

What methods are you using right to continue to grow your domain portfolio?

Domain Preference: Net or Org?

It is inevitable that every week at some point the question appears on every domain-related message boards.   That question is which is better: dot net or dot org?  

I find this to be a very good question, as it is widely accepted that dot com is king across most of the world, and certainly in any relevant country.   If dot com isn’t the standard in your area, you probably use a ccTLD.  Either way, it still leaves domain investors with a question that needs answered.  Should I invest my money into dot net or dot org domains?

In the long run, this really comes down to a matter of opinion.   You’ll even find some that argue for dot info as the second best TLD you can get.   In my opinion, dot org is the 2nd best, but here are some positive and negative things to think about for each:

Dot Net

  • Seems to have the highest resale value on the market. 
  • Gives the feeling to users that you couldn’t find the dot com.

Dot Org

  • Can  be a first choice extension for many organizations or websites that that are informative by nature.
  • Most orgs were registered by endusers that wanted them.   Investors have a tough time reselling them due to lack of demand.

Dot Info

  • Many feel this is second best for geo domains.
  • Four digit TLD
  • Not commonly known among the non-power users of the internet.

In my opinion, if you are investing to flip/resell the domains, dot net will probably get you the best results.   If you are planning to develop or hold for an end-user, dot org is the best way to go and the way I go more often than not.  It just sounds good and is easy to remember.  If it wasn’t for the dollar promotion on info domains I probably wouldn’t own more than just a few.  It is probably just personal preference, but I really dislike four letter TLDs. 

So, as you can see, dot org is my preference.  It also helps that domainers have largely ignored dot org, leaving a bunch of very high quality domains available on the registry.  Just yesterday I picked up GeoDirectory.org which I hope to develop sometime in the next few months.  

Which do you prefer?  Dot net or dot org?

Guide to Backordering Domain Names

If you are new to domaining, you will probably start out where most of us started, and that is the public registry.   Even today you can still find some good domains available for registration and you can often make some quick money flipping these domains to resellers on eBay or message boards.   With that said, eventually all domainers come to the realization that the money is minimal and you will be forced to either quit domaining or enter the world of backordering domains.  

I know when I started it was pretty intimidating.   Not only does the money involved go up significantly, but you will often find that you are going head-to-head with other domainers who have a lot deeper pockets for premium domain names.   With that said, you can often find great domain bargains on good domains that aren’t worth the attention of high-end domainers.  When you first enter the world of backordering, this is going to be your bread and butter and will determine if you are successful or not.

So, where do you start?   You’ll first need to setup some accounts.   You’ll need an account with the following companies:  Pool, SnapNames, and Namejet.   You’ll probably also want a TDNAM account, but that will be the same as your GoDaddy login information.   If you don’t already have a GoDaddy account, I recommend you create a GoDaddy account (even if you don’t plan to register domains there). 

Now you need to work on developing a list of keywords you are looking to target.  If you don’t go this route, you will spend a good part of your day mindlessly digging through lists of expiring domains which is inefficient and mindnumbing.   Once you’ve picked the names you want to go for, I recommend setting up email alerts each day for domains containing your keywords.  Most services will offer this and it will make your life much easier. 

Each day you will want to dig through the lists of domains coming available and pick which ones you’d like to backorder.  For SnapNames, Pool, and NameJet, you just add them to your backorder list and if there are multiple bidders, you are entered into an auction.   Only the winning bidder pays, so you are out nothing if a great domain goes to auction.  If noone else bids, you get the domain!  Keep in mind that the minimum bid on with each of these services ranges from $29.00-$59.00.

For TDNAM, backordering works a little differently.   You’ll want to search their expiring domains lists and “Watch” the domains that you are interested in until the last half hour if possible and then place your bid (2 minutes before it ends is the most ideal).   Bids here usually start at $10.00.  You will need to add $9.95 to any winning bid to cover a year renewal, so keep that in mind when you are bidding.

Sometimes you may have an interest in a domain and the Whois shows that it has or is going to expire soon.   If this is the case, you’re probably better off just waiting and going after it through backorder.  This is especially true when the domain is not one that is going grab a lot of attention.

You’ll want to look on the WhoIs to see where it is registered and determine where you need to go to backorder the domain.  Most registrars have deals with backorder companies, which gives these companies first crack at any expiring domain names that they have.  This can be confusing at times trying to figure out where you need to go, so I’ve thrown together this list of the top backorder companies and the registrars they have relationships with:

  • TDNAM – GoDaddy, WildWestDomains
  • NameJet – Network Solutions, eNom, BulkRegister, ClubDrop
  • Pool – NameScout, DotAsia
  • SnapNames – Register.com, Moniker.com, Answerable.com, MyDomain.com, Dotster.com, DotRegister.com

Have any other questions about backordering domains?   Let me know in the comments below!

What Time of Day Do Domains Expire?

If probably doesn’t matter in most cases because you’ll want to use a dropcatcher, but have you ever wondered what time of day domains actually drop?

I recently ran across this information so I figured I would share!

Domain Drop Times (all Central Standard Time)

  • .com & .net = 1:00-1:30 PM
  • .org = 8:30-9:00 AM
  • .info = 3:30-4:00 AM
  • .biz = 1:30-2:00 AM
  • .us = 12:00-12:30 AM

Tips For Contacting Domain Name End-Users

The way the world of domain names has been going, if you aren’t one of the top dogs who started grabbing names a decade ago, you probably either need to start developing your domain names or starting pursuing end-users for your domain names.

There are a variety of ways to go about this, but I’ve always felt it was best to examine Google’s search results for your keyword domains and attempt to contact various sites that are competing under those keywords. You may also want to pay attention to what sites are paying to advertise under those keywords, as they might be the most likely to have interest in the domains.

Before contacting end-users, you’ll probably want to spend some time working on drafting up a generic e-mail where you can just fill in the blanks with the companies information. Here is an example of an e-mail I’ve used in the past:

Hello, My name is <<Your Name>> and I am the owner of the domain name <<Domain Name to Sell>>.  I am currently in the process of selling this great domain name and thought you might be interested. You have a very impressive site and I’m sure that you can see the value in having a premium domain name when competing for the best search results, especially in the competitive <<keyword>> industry.

If your company is interested in bidding on this domain name, please feel free to contact me with any questions or for any additional details.

Thank you for your time and consideration,
<<Name>>
<<E-mail Address>>
<<Phone Number>>

How do you go about approaching end-users?

Protecting Yourself from Domain Fraud

We’ve all heard the stories about domainers who sell via Paypal, push the domain after receiving payment, then receive a chargeback removing the payment from their account. Despite proof that the transaction went through as agreed, Paypal will not back the seller in these situations because their is no physical merchandise or service involved.

Unfortunately for domainers, this is not your only concern. What about stolen domains? According to Domain Bits, it looks like we’ve found yet another case where I deal was “to good to be true,” and it turns out that was in fact the case. Despite using Escrow.com to complete the transaction, the domains turned out to be stolen and are in the process of being returned to their rightful owner. That is great news for the victim, but terrible news for the person that stands to lose the thousands of dollars spent for the domain names.

The part of Jeff’s post I wanted to mention is at the bottom, where he gives tips to protect yourself from domain fraud:

1. Escrow Isn’t Enough. All escrow does is ensure that the transaction goes through as agreed – the seller gets paid his money and the buyer gets his domain.

2. Research the Domain History. Before purchasing a domain, check the whois history (on DomainTools.com). Be especially suspicious of changes that occurred recently, particularly a change of the administrative email contact. For a larger domain purchase, pick up the telephone and contact the previous owners to verify the pedigree of the domain.

3. Don’t Rush A Transaction. People are likely to notice that their valuable domains are stolen pretty quickly, so a thief want to unload the domain quickly. Be particularly wary of someone who seems to be in a big rush to close a sale.

4. Buy From Reputable Buyers. Research the person you are buying from. Find out more about them, and particularly about any past domain dealings.

5. Too Good to Be True. If the deal is too good to be true, it probably is. When Alexa the Top offered an $XXX,XXX domain for sale at DNF for $X,XXX this raised alarm bells for several members.

6. Keep Your Domains Safe. Make sure your domains are with a registrar that cares about domain security – Moniker and Fabulous are the two that everyone states are good in this regard. Apparently, neither registrar has ever had a domain stolen.

7. Don’t Use Free Email Accounts. Free email accounts should not be used as the contact for your domains. The normal way that a thief gets control of a domain is by getting control of the email account of the administrative contact. Free email accounts are generally easier to hack than ones that you control.

Sadly, even following these steps does not guarantee anything, but it is a great step towards protecting yourself.   Great tips Jeff!

Number of Domains Registered

While doing some county code top-level domain research yesterday, I was doing some investigating to see what countries have adopted their country codes.  Having this information can help figure out which ccTLD is best to invest in.  After finding a fairly current list, I figured why not share it here!

Domain Amount Registered Country
.com 71.619.962 Global Generic
.de 11.673.388 Germany
.net 10.623.637 Global Generic
.cn 9.001.993 China
.uk 6.486.829 United Kingdom
.org 6.373.837 Global Generic
.info 4.948.539 Global Generic
.eu 2.715.101 European Union
.nl 2.695.568 Netherlands
.biz 1.903.406 Global Generic
.it 1.456.787 Italy
.us 1.375.779 United States
.br 1.230.870 Brazil
.ch 1.056.751 Switzerland
.ru 1.030.951 Russia
.au 1.007.458 Australia
.jp 988.886 Japan
.fr 988.421 France
.ca 943.341 Canada
.kr 930.485 Korea
.dk 864.845 Denmark
.es 805.327 Spain
.mobi 799.551 Global Generic
.pl 762.503 Poland
.be 736.499 Belgium
.at 722.193 Austria
.se 702.199 Sweden
.cz 370.642 Czech
.no 361.118 Norway
.nz 314.053 New Zealand
.mx 231.047 Mexico
.pt 184.650 Portugal
.fi 165.252 Finland
.hk 152.405 Hong Kong
.tr 146.083 Turkey
.sk 140.319 Slovakia
.ie 91.353 Ireland
.lt 65.944 Lithuania

It looks like Germany and China have really adopted their ccTLD well.   How much of your portfolio is invested in ccTLD’s?