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2017 Domain Name Predictions & Trends…


With 2016 coming to an end, we’ve already begun setting our sights on next year and how 2017 will look for domain names. To help with our forecast, we asked the experts to weigh in on what the big trends in domain names will be.

There’s a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get straight to it!

Domain Name Trends for 2017

Konstantinos Zournas

OnlineDomain

Emerging Trends

“Good domain names are the new trend to follow — the oldest and newest trend at the same time. Buying hundreds or thousands of worthless domains and treating them like penny stock is out of fashion. Solid names are the only way to go. Names that people can understand, names people can use and can build something on. Back to the basics.”

New Top-Level Domains

“New extensions will become more popular, but I am not sure what their peak is going to be. It is only natural to see more usage, but I think their market share increase (in domain name registration numbers) will stop being so fast at some point in the next year or so.
The industry is now looking forward to the next big launch: .WEB from Verisign. .WEB and .MUSIC (still in contention) are the new top-level domains to watch in 2017.”

Investing

“People should invest in what they know, whether it is a .COM, a new gTLD or a ccTLD. They should invest in a niche they have a passion for or have deep knowledge in. For new buyers, I always say that they should start local and with what they know; start slow with money they can afford to lose and then reinvest some of their earnings and grow from there.”

Other Thoughts

“Although the big Chinese boom has finished, China is nowhere near gone. I think we will see Chinese buyers making more sensible domain name purchases in the future. They are still learning what works and what does not. Other emerging countries in the domain name space will soon follow.”

Andrew Merriam

Top Level Design

Emerging Trends

“We’ve seen huge, trend-setting brands jump on .DESIGN. Facebook is using both facebook.design and origami.design, and Airbnb is using airbnb.design. These join other sites, like TMobile’s telekom.design, where the design departments within an organization are able to share their story, provide free resources, or pitch their design departments as great places to work, or all of the above! These all happened within the past few months, and I think this is the beginning of a trend certainly in .DESIGN, and hopefully other TLDs, where major companies are understanding that they can supplement their main .COM sites with content aimed at other audiences, and in these cases, create recruiting tools.”

New Top-Level Domains
“I think we’re all excited for .BLOG, which just launched, and also .APP, which Google is launching soon. To be real, I think we domain industry evangelists and general domain nerds have learned that the explosive growth we had hoped for just isn’t going to happen, at least not immediately or, probably, within the next year either. As advertisers, companies, and average users begin to show off and use their new domains, we can expect growing popularity and awareness. They certainly aren’t going anywhere, and obviously some will do much better than others, but they’re live on the Internet and are staying there and so for most domains, growth and acceptance is inevitable. Widely applicable TLDs like .BLOG and .DESIGN will enjoy much faster growth and popularity, while fun niche TLDs like .INK and .NINJA will gain acceptance if not the same demand.”

Investing
“Investing in new TLDs is difficult but could certainly be lucrative. There are a lot more great names, that’s for sure, but should a legal domainer invest in .LAW, .LAWYER, .LEGAL, .ATTORNEY?! The fact that so many different registry companies are behind TLDs means that an investor should look for a company that put some great names out at good prices. Many of our premium domains in .design are affordable, and, unlike other registries, we didn’t have a gigantic premium list. So, there are simply more domains available for the base registration price and our premiums tend not to be inflated.”

Other Thoughts

“I’ve noticed all registrars telling the story this year about why customers, especially businesses, should have good email address supported by their own domain names rather than free accounts, like Gmail addresses. We’re entering an ever more savvy digital world, with digital literacy coming at a younger age and the use of online presences ever expanding. So, the role that domains play will continue to grow and our ability to talk about that and show off their power is being ever honed as well.”

Jamie Zoch

DotWeekly

Emerging Trends

“Tech terms like AR and VR will grow more with bigger companies like Apple joining the mix. I have been seeing more sales containing those two and I expect AR to be the winner over VR.”

New Top-Level Domains
“I think some will do ok (.CLUB) but in general, all of the new gTLD’s have the huge hurdle to overcome, that they even are domain names. The more new gTLD’s are released, the worst it saturates the market and confuses people further.”

Investing

“Domain names that simply makes sense for a brand name, advertising message, product or service. History and data show that the majority of the highest domain name sales are: .com and eight characters or less!”

Other Thoughts

“Domain investors need to heavily educate end users about the true value of owning domain names and using them. They are some of the most powerful tools in the world.”

Daniel Scocco

Daily Writing Tips

Emerging Trends

“One trend that is growing and I believe will become more prevalent is the use of alternative extensions like .AI, .CO, .IO and so on. Tech startups are driving that trend (e.g., Wit.ai, Angel.co), and since the number of tech startups is growing (on AngelList alone there are over 2 million), I believe we’ll see more of such domains in the future.”

New Top-Level Domains

“I think the relatively new domains like .AI and .IO will see good adoption. The latest additions like .CLUB, .BLOG and so on, not so much.”

Investing

“I am a big fan of premium .COM domains. I only invest in those, and I only recommend investing in those.”

Maddy Osman

The Blogsmith

Emerging Trends

“Two things I’ve noticed:

    1. Newly available domain extensions (like .BLOG) have been emerging rapidly in 2016, and people are getting creative with how they link to their main company website.
    2. A reduction in vowels for what many consider to be a more “trendy” spelling mechanism.”

New Top-Level Domains

“I consider .COM, .GOV, .ORG, and .NET to be the gold standard with regards to domain naming (in that order), and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. In the best case scenario, you secure a .COM for your domain, THEN perhaps register more “vanity” domain extensions.”

Investing

“Definitely your .COM! I think everything else is more or less for fun. An exception to this rule would be domains used for the purpose of link shortening (goog.le, for example).”

Other Thoughts

“I think domain extensions are a fun way to be creative, but if you’re going to make an investment on a domain, secure your ideal .COM”

Bruce Marler

Vegas Condo

Emerging Trends

“I believe you will continue to see specific domain investors finding niche areas in gTLDs investment working, for example .CHAT has been very good to me in specific areas this past year, but overall a shotgun approach to gTLD name investment will leave a bad taste in peoples mouths who did not plan their investments properly. .COM will continue to be the golden standard, but gTLDs will be profitable for many. ”

New Top-Level Domains

“New gTLDs will keep growing in popularity, and quite honestly, they are more popular than people realize already. Domain investors tend to be very myopic in their view of the world, being popular, or not, with domain investors does mean gTLDs are or are not popular. Also, one gTLD being low on usage does not mean the group as a whole are bad. To not step back and look at that is a bit short-sighted.

I travel, a lot, and virtually every trip I see gTLDs on billboards, on telephone poles, on buildings, etc. This shows me that actual grassroots usage is happening, it’s literally impossible to argue that. From Tokyo to small-town Missouri I have seen it in action. So yes they will continue to grow, but domain investors will continue to measure the success of a gTLD on a .COM metric range, rather than thinking what success means in niche and localized markets. I have continued to buy, and am developing, .VEGAS domains because I can see the usage in the local area. Do I expect .VEGAS to ever have 500,000 registrations, no. Do I think a five figure registration range for a metro based extension would be a solid success, yes.”

Investing

“gTLDs that make sense, once again I have had great success with .CHAT, as well as .COACH and a few others where they make sense. But to buy WashingMachine.coach would make zero sense, but solid, targeted, gTLDs and as always value priced .COMs are the answer. I no longer personally look at .NET or .ORG, a quality new gTLD or .COM is where I head, but I do not pretend to have anywhere near all the answers.”

Other Thoughts

“Step back and think about the difference in how end users use domains, the capital they have to invest in their name, and not like a pure domain collector and you can easily start to determine what areas make the most sense.”

Andrew Allemann

Domain Name Wire

Emerging Trends

“We will continue to see novel uses of country code domain names such as .AI for artificial intelligence. But companies will still prefer the .COM domain name when they can get their hands on it for an affordable price.”

New Top-Level Domains

“I wouldn’t pay much attention to the top line number of total registrations because there’s a lot of noise in it. But I have no doubt we’ll see more and more companies use new domain names. Already, on my way home from work, there are signs on two neighboring businesses that use new domain names (data.world and arc.clinic). Growth in usage will be slow and steady, but definitely up.”

Investing

“Good, short .COM domain names are always my favorite. Longer .com domains seem to be losing value. I’d stay away from generic extensions that haven’t made much of a brand for themselves because the values on these will remain low.”

Other Thoughts

“2016 was a mixed year for domain name investors with some of the bubble in China for short domain names popping. Hopefully, 2017 will be an upward year.”

Michael Cyger

DomainSherpa, DNAcademy

Emerging Trends

“Technology is rapidly improving. New areas emerge every year that allows diligent and disciplined investors to find nascent investment opportunities. In just the past few years we’ve seen big data analysis, virtual reality, drones, 3D printing, bots, cloud-based activities, and many other areas go from nothing to hot markets. Shifting social norms, such as the legalization of medicinal and recreational marijuana in the United States, also provides a massive opportunity for business growth. In all of these cases, new businesses that sprout-up to offer products and services will need a fantastic brand and matching domain name.”

New Top-Level Domains

“Yes, some will become more popular. And, yes, some will become less popular. Every industry goes through growth, consolidation, maturity, and maybe decline. I’d usually say, ‘look at the data’ but promotions ranging from one cent to $1.99 are becoming commonplace across many TLDs and are artificially — and likely temporarily — bolstering numbers. Registries are relying too much on discounts to drive sales in place of an inspirational strategy to win customers. Durability over a decade or longer will provide for a better analysis. In the meantime, look for consistency in TLD aftermarket sales to find new TLDs with strength.”

Investing

“People should invest in domains that:

a) Are selling,

b) They understand how to value, and

c) Their budget allows.

A quick run through the DNJournal or NameBio sales lists will show that businesses are buying domain names, so the domains you purchase must have a commercial appeal. Strong nouns, verbs and adjectives and short acronyms and numerics will always have value. The investor’s job is to find undervalued assets to purchase. They exist. We hear about them on DomainSherpa shows almost every week. More speculative investors can play in the longer-length acronym, numeric and alphanumeric markets where liquidity increases but volatility is high in lower-valued assets.

Finally, as with any type of investing, investors should only invest money they’re willing to lose. Most investors lose money when they first start investing as it takes time to figure out which area of the market most appeals to them in terms of buyers, understanding and budget.”

Alan Dunn

NameCorp

Emerging Trends

“The only valuable ‘trends’ we see are around a continued flight to quality. More brands understand the value of (and investing in) upgrading their domain name to the best dot-com version. More companies are also considering branded URL shorteners, which can add significant value (and consistency) to the overall brand experience, as well as a high interest in short, pronounceable domains with a creative spelling (such as trakk.com or kreate.com).”

New Top-Level Domains

“While many companies seem to have found positive marketing value for some of the new top-level domains, the overall ‘popularity’ can only be scaled by broad adoption. I believe we will eventually see more of these become ‘popular,’ but it will take time.”

Investing

“I think it’s critically important to invest in proven markets and understand the difference between ‘speculation’ and ‘investment.’ Right now, the dot-com market is the proven market with the most consistent liquidity, and even with that, in my opinion, only about 2% of dot-com domains have any reasonable liquid value within a reasonable amount of time. In many ways, most domain name investment is better labeled as speculation.

With respect to the China wholesale market, there are a few other extensions which also have liquidity. However, buyers are primarily traders, which contain a higher level of risk in itself.

Less is more – quality over quantity. Don’t invest unless you understand the quality of a domain, and your options to cash out.”

James Iles

NamePros

Emerging Trends

“I’m not a trend investor. In most cases, I buy and sell domains that I think will have real world use at some point down the line, so naming trends aren’t really my forté. I believe that Chinese investors will continue to strategically acquire short domain names when they can, and that brandable domain names will continue to be a popular form of investment for many domainers.”

New Top-Level Domains

“I think the majority of new TLDs will show diminished popularity in the years to come, but there are a couple that could become commonplace. .BLOG is one of my favourite extensions and will receive mainstream coverage thanks to WordPress’ ownership of this extension. NamePros conducted an interview with WordPress CEO Matt Mullenweg earlier this year, in which Matt explained exactly why WordPress had chosen to own and operate the extension. Some investors are a little disappointed at some of .BLOG’s pricing decisions in terms of reserving premium domain names, but I don’t think this will affect general usage too much.”

Investing

“The great thing about the domain industry is that there’s plenty of room for everyone, at various price points. Brandable domains, short domains and one-word domains are all very popular, but investing decisions should all be personal and tailored to individual budgets. The only thing I would suggest is to stick with .COM unless you’re truly confident in your investment decisions.”

Other Thoughts

“For those who are fairly new to the industry, or even to those who are considering investing in domain names, NamePros is the best place to learn and expand your existing knowledge. The amount of information shared there is incredible. ”

Marko Saric

How To Make My Blog

Emerging Trends

“One emerging trend is emoji domain names. The signs for it happening are here. Everyone is on mobile devices all day long, and emojis are becoming a very regular part of communication. As many other more standard domain names are difficult to get, I believe emoji domain names are a viable alternative that people should consider seriously.”

What do you think 2017 will hold for domain names? Let us know in the comments!


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