My Question on the DomainSherpa After Show

I submitted a question for the DomainSherpa show last week.  To my surprise the host, Michael Cyger, accepted the question and it was asked on the DomainSherpa After Show this week.

For those are not aware or have not heard about DomainSherpa it is a great resource for domain names and those looking to learn about buying, selling, and acquiring them.  Michael Cyger, the publisher and host, has interviews with top domain name investors, people within the domain industry, and web entrepreneurs.  People that he refers to as “Domain Sherpas” because of their knowledge and skill with domain names and the internet in general.

Recently they just started doing portfolio reviews with several Domain Sherpas.  They analyze portfolios and decide whether a domain is great, good, or needs to be dropped.  It's quite interesting to listen to the shows and hear what these pros have to say about certain domains.  In the After Show they discuss domain industry news and take questions from the audience.

In last week's DomainSherpa After Show they had discussed the fact that PC.org was up for auction and what value it had.  Since PC obviously stands for “Personal Computer” it can be used for many different things but the fact it is an ORG domain, what does that help or hurt it for a potential buyer?

This was the question I asked;

What are the Sherpas opinions on 2 letter and 3 letter .NET and .ORG domains?”

domainsherpa after show

What the Domain Sherpas said

There was talk about the 2 letter .NET domains sell in the past week.  According to DNJournal for the week of October 7th – 13 for domain sales there were the two .NET sales he was referring to I believe;

  • FN.net – $15,050
  • OC.net – $14,500

With regards to 2 letter .ORG he thought they could go for in the same ballpark.  They also mentioned for 3 letter domains he thought they could sell for a couple hundred unless they have a particular meaning.

It was mentioned that Public Interest Registry (PIR), the domain registry for .ORG, recently tried to auction off 1 letter ORG domains with extremely high reserve prices.  However all those domains failed to find buyers.

“The gap, to be honest with you, doesn't seem like it's shirking it actually seems like it is getting further away.” said Rich Schwartz regarding the price disparity between the .COM domains when compared to .NET and .ORG domains that are the same.

Michael Cyger was pretty perceptive since he asked the Domain Sherpas whether the values of .NET and .ORG 2 and 3 letter domains will go up or down with the new generic top level domains (gTLDS) that will be rolling out soon.  This is kind of why I asked the question.

After Cyger threw this additional question out there for the Sherpas, Rich Schwartz did say, “I think they will go up.”  Additional Schwartz said the thought that .NET could become the “Black Horse” in the domain and internet world as he referred to it as an “Orphaned extension.”  Of course when you have all these new gTLDs joining the party, that .NET doesn't look so bad.

“I'd love to see the values fall to where we could buy some.” commented Page Howe.  He also thinks there are a lot of functional benefits to owning and using 2 letter domains, which I agree with.  In addition he mentioned, “You are borrowing some prestige from every other person that's had one.” about .NET and .ORG domains.

“There are only 676 combinations of .NET and .ORGs… but then you add all the new gTLDs and you've got 676 of those.” said Adam Dicker.  “Personally I think they are going to go down.  I'd much rather have a 2 letter from one of the other gTLDs than .NET or .ORG, that's just me.”

UPDATE – I don't agree with Adam Dicker and apparently he is a criminal.

My Thoughts

Mulling over what the Sherpas said and from what I've seen over the past few months it seems like NET and ORG prices have fallen. I've seen many quality domains fail to find the right buyers.  Whether this is due to startups using .IO domains or people waiting for the new gTLDs, I'm not sure.  Since Google said .IO domains are good for global use startups seem be to flocking to them even faster now.  Personally I don't get it but if you want to find a good .IO domain I would checkout Short Domain Search.

With regards to .NET being an “Orphaned extension” I don't agree with Rick Schwartz.  I use NET for Singing Dogs and feel comfortable using the domain for email.  Like Page Howe said you borrow prestige from the millions of people and companies already using the NET extension.  I kind of see what Schwartz is saying though.  If you choose to use .ORG that usually has meaning that your organization is non-profit and gives them a certain identity.

If I can pickup any 3-letter NET or ORG domains cheaply I probably will.  Honestly though I see a lot of people bid like crazy on these.  What a lot of them don't realize is that they are bidding up to end user prices and wont' get back their money.  I guess I will just have to be patient and smart! 🙂

If any of the Sherpas read this I appreciate the time they took to answer my question.  I also appreciate that Michael Cyger accepted my question for the DomainSherpa After Show.

If you want to watch or listen to the Domain Sherpa show here is the link to show with my question.

Domain Sherpa Portfolio Review – October 17th, 2013

The question gets asked around the 54 minute and 13 second mark in the DomainSherpa After Show if you want to skip ahead to it and listen to what the Sherpas said yourself.  If you have any comments or opinions about my question I'd be glad to hear it.

Google revists Country Code Top Level Domain usage

Matt Cutts via the Google Webmaster Help channel released another video discussing country code top level domain (ccTLD) usage  a few days ago.  The title of the video was “Should I use ccTLDs for sites not targeted to those countries?” and this was the question that was asked.

As memorable .COM domains become more expensive, more developers are choosing alternate new domains like .IO and .IM – which Google geotargets to small areas. Do you discourage this activity?
Andy, NY

Matt Cutts says in the beginning of the video, “I want you to go in with eyes open.” which basically means you should be careful buying a random ccTLDs to use for your website if your intention is global use.  Later he said, “Most domains do pertain to that specific country.” when he was talking about certain ccTLDs.

Specifically he mentioned the extension .LI, which is the country code top level domain for Lichtenstein.  Some people in Long Island, New York have started to use the .LI extension for “Long Island.”  Cutts confirmed in this video thought that Google doesn't view .LI for use on Long Island or global use and still considers it a ccTLD for the country of Lichtenstein.

Back in February, 2013 there was a Google Webmaster Help video discussing ccTLD hacks.  In the video Cutts specifically mentioned the domain extension .IO, for the Indian Ocean, which was still considered targeted for that area of use in February.  What is interesting is that in this video he said that Google had looked at who was using .IO extension and it mostly wasn't people from the Indian Ocean.  For a $99 renewal fee I doubt many people in the Indian Ocean will spring to use .IO anyway.  This should make any startups or websites that are using the .IO happy since this is the first official confirmation of this from Google.

country code top level domain

Here is a list of ccTLDs that Google has confirmed are for global use.  If you are interested you can find a lot of short domains for these various extensions using Short Domain Search, which I wrote about.

What Google should do is allow people who buy a country code top level domain that isn't on that list to be able to go into Google Webmaster Tools and geoselect if it is for the country or global use.  So many new companies and start-ups seem to be using ccTLD domain extensions due to the lack of good available .COM, .NET, and even .ORG domains these days

Since this issue is not going away and I suspect that more and more people will pester Google about this I wouldn't be surprised if they changed their minds in the future.  If Google allowed webmasters to geoselect it would actually bring down the cost of ccTLDs for people to use in those specific countries since the more registrations you have the lower the annual domain renewal cost is.

There will be a lot of new global domain extensions that will be available for registration soon but I doubt the ccTLD craze will go away even with these new extensions on the horizon.  People really seem to like domain hacks and .IO for some reason.

Still most webmasters, including myself, would prefer to have the widest range of possible sources of traffic.  So in my opinion it is preferable to go with a global top level domain (gTLD) if you can.  I have Singing Dogs and that is a .NET.  A lot of good gTLDs are still out there and it still seems Google and Matt Cutts recommend you go with that anyway instead of choosing a country code top level domain which might confuse Google and users.

Short Domain Search

short domain searchJohn Forsythe, the creator of Impossibility.org, has just launched a new free domain search tool called Short Domain Search.  The goal of Short Domain Search is to help people find a quality short one word domain name for their new website or startup.

UPDATE – John has sold Short Domain Search to a domaining company.  He informed me that, “they're better positioned to profit from the traffic than I was (hence the sale).”  The Short Domain Search service and site is still active and useful for those looking for short domains for a web project and business.  They've added many features to it since I wrote this article.

This tool is different from Impossibility.org in that the focus is on short single world domains.  Virtually all of the good short single world .COM domains are taken and go for big bucks nowadays.  Short Domain Search focuses on mostly country code top level domains (ccTLD) which includes .CC, .CO, .IO, .NU, .ME, .BZ, .TV, and .US.   The only global top level domain (gTLD) that it includes is .BIZ.

John explained, “The extensions [were] chosen based on two factors: 1. The domains are easy to check for availability (sadly, not all TLDs are easy to check for various reasons), and 2. I started with TLDs that Google says can be geotargetted.  In other words, can work the same as .com, and show up for all users, not just for the particular country the domain represents.”

His reasoning for including these specific domain extensions for Short Domain Search makes sense since in Google Webmaster Support they have a list of ccTLDs they consider are ok for global use.  Although back in February of this year Matt Cutts shot a Google Webmaster Help video saying he isn't so crazy about domain hacks and vanity domains that use ccTLDs.  Regarding startup domains he specially mentioned .IO which is for domain extension for the Indian Ocean.  The .IO extension is popular with startups these days since in computer talk I/O stands for input-output.  Kinda geeky.

How Short Domain Search works is that the server has a group of 2948 hand-picked words it searches for.  All the words are short between 3-5 letters.  As soon as a domain becomes available (expires) it gets added to the list. Once someone buys a domain name, it will be automatically removed within a few minutes, “The list updates every 60 seconds, and all the domains are checked at least once every 10 minutes, so the list should be very fresh.” commented John.

Short Domain Search allows you to sort domains by length, alphabetically, or by extension.  If you only want to see domains available from a specific extension type in a “dot” plus the domain extension in the search bar.  For example if I want to check .IO domains I would type “.io” for all the available short .IO domains.  (Don't capitalize “.io” or it will not work.)

Playing around with Short Domain Search I think it is a good tool for startups that are searching for an extremely short domain name and are not concerned about using a ccTLD.  For those that are super tech-savy using a non-COM seems to be all the rage nowadays.  While I did find some good short domains I would personally prefer a .NET, .ORG, or .INFO over a short ccTLD.  I do own a few .US domains though.

In my opinion it can't hurt to try these 4 tools and Impossibility first.  You would be surprised by some of the quality 2-word .COM domains you can find still and other gTLDs.  Hey, ShortDomainSearch.net was still available to register.

John informed me he has plans to expand the domain extension offering for Short Domain Search.  “I plan to add more extensions in the future, particularly as some of the crazy new ones come online (like .app).”

Since the tool is called Short Domain Search John wants to concentrate on short domain names for now.  “I wanted to make it easy for people to find short, single word domain names. I think most people don't realize there's still lots of good ones left.” said John about his new domain tool.

If you have any questions or recommendations for Short Domain Search you can email – John AT blamcast.net.