2010 Domain Industry Predictions

I was asked by the editor of Website Magazine to give some domain industry predictions for 2010 for their Web Trends for 2010 article. My quote from the article is below, but I am also interested in hearing what your predictions are for the upcoming year.

“As reported in the December issue of Website Magazine, businesses have increasing opportunities in the domains industry. Elliot Silver, president of Top Notch Domains and Silver Internet Ventures agrees. “High-value keyword names like toys.com and candy.com, which sold this past year, will continue to command high prices. Companies will continue to invest in their own businesses and will acquire high-value keyword domains names for growth and for competitive reasons,” Silver says. “With PPC revenue down and not looking like it will increase in the near future, some domain owners will make top domains available for acquisitions that haven’t been available in many years.”

In addition, the Microsoft-Yahoo! deal will affect the domain industry, according to Silver. “The Microsoft and Yahoo! deal is going to be impactful on domain name values because Microsoft’s Bing tends to rank developed keyword domain names higher than Google and Yahoo!,” he says. “Right now, impact is minimal because of Bing’s relatively low market share. With the deal, Bing will manage search results for Yahoo!, bringing the market share to 30 percent of search from around 8 percent. This is significant.”

What are your predictions for the domain business in 2010?

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. Several factors will emerge that enlightens the small business community about the value of owning quality domain names. This movement will begin as changes to the Google search engine, and the transition from Yahoo to Bing, result in a premium being placed on domains that match competitive local search keywords. The result is the start of a mini-bubble in the geo long tail market, as small business owners scamble for quality domain names that pertain to each geo + market.

  2. I agree with your prediction and it is nice to hear a realistic perspective.

    One thing I am noticing is that Google and Bing/Yahoo are pushing the natural search results farther and farther down the page, so I question the mini-bubble that George references. Why pay top dollar for a “long-tail” when the best you can do is show up half way down the page. People will say I want to show up at the top!

    Go to Google and search for “Baltimore dentists”.

    Google is providing answers to searches and I don’t think that benefits domain owners. This will also reduce direct navigation, because people will type “Google.com” in the address bar when they want to find a “Baltimore dentist”, not “BaltimoreDentists.com”.

    Premium generics will always be valuable, but domainers need to be realistic when it comes to all other domains.

  3. 10 for ’10:

    1. Rick Schwartz will sell another of his domains for over $1,000,000 … with 36 blog posters quickly claiming he was just lucky.

    2. 4692 “want to get rich quick” folks who’ve never owned a domain before will buy an average of 87 domains each with the intent to immediately resell … and discover to their horror that they can’t sell any of them for more than reg fees.

    3. WIPO will issue another 134 unsound and unjustified decisions taking domains away from bona fide owners … just because they can.

    4. Verisign will announce another price increase for 2011 … just because they can.

    5. ICANN will invite proposals for the launch of an entirely new Internet … for the bargain-basement non-refundable submission price of just $1,000,000/proposal … just because they can.

    6. The US Federal Government outlaws PPC, affiliate commissions, and Adwords; forcing us all to develop our doamains … just because they can.

    7. The critical importance of generic domains will finally “infect” the minds of millions of companies of all sizes … leading to the instant minting of 937 new millionaire domainers.

    8. Frank Schilling and Kevin Ham sell all their domains, pool their proceeds, and buy the state of Alaska … just because they can.

    9. Everyone finally agrees to stop calling their junk domains “premium.”

    10. President Obama announces a new national holiday: Domain Day … because we all deserve it … and just because he can.

  4. If you can’t afford to show up at the top, paying a couple hundred for a geo long tail in the long run is a cost effective alternative to paying $2-$4 a click. How many dentists are in Baltimore? Google is only showing a handful of results.

    A cost effective alternative for dentists who don’t do PPC advertising or who aren’t able to pay for top slots on Google – because Google inventory is sold out – would view geo long tails as an attractive alternative to get placement on the first page. That is better than showing up on page 2 or worse. Today, 98% of all dentists in Baltimore don’t show up on the first page when searching for “baltimore dentists”. That is a large untapped market.

    If the small business owner doesn’t grasp the seo advantage of geo long tails, then aggregators like Einstein Medial, Leads.com, Locateadoc, and Local Experts will provide a market because these company have national reach and are able to maximize value from top placements on free results.

    Either way, considering quality geo long tails are dropping like flies at snapnames – I believe they can provide 5X-20X ROI within a 24 month timeframe. That is better than the stock market.

  5. Remember, one booked wedding from BaltimorePhotographers.com would generate $1,500-$3,500 booking. If BaltimorePhotographers.com gets 10-20 people a month and 1-2 convert into a booking.

    Then how much is that domain worth for a photographer who could re-coup their costs with one job.

    As a domain investor, I got that domain for $59.

    That domain is worth alot more than $59 because one job pays for the domain.

    That is the message that will start to get delivered to the small business community in 2010.

    The economics of geo long tails.

  6. I prefer the economics of reality, but I wish you the best of luck.

    My wedding photographer was booked through a friend’s recommendation, next we would of tried TheKnot, or maybe sent out a question on Facebook for trusted recommendations.

    Long-tails rely on search engines that care less and less about sending users to unpaid sites. This is the reality of long-tails.

  7. Microsofts 30% search market share is definitely a big factor and I totally agree that this will have a positive impact on keyword domains.

    The inter domainer domain market (which has been very poor for two years or so) will continue to struggle imo.

    2010 will be a continued flight to quality. Speculative domain registrations based on brandability will continue to dip as the marketplace increasingly seeks strong geo / traffic / keyword domains. For me the downturn has made us all reevaluate what has value and what doesn’t.

  8. 2010 prediction: A couple of high rolling brand-hijacking domainers will be kidnapped and held for ransom while in Kenya for the March 2010 ICANN meetings.

    The gangster Kenyans will tell the domainers, “We’re just following your business model. Isn’t this how you make money – by kidnapping domains from businesses?”

  9. I will inform the wedding photographer who alerted me to long tail geo possibilities and shared his booking stats from a network of long tail geo sites surrounding his metro area, that he needs to see you. Maybe then, this guy can stop bidding against me for long tail geos and I can lower my cost of acqusition.

  10. Well, on a personal note, I’m staging Jan. 2nd as the day I start working as a domain investor (part-time for right now). I will be launching over eight businesses this year (4 are ready to go now). One of these business is not yet done in the domain industry. So, something new is coming. I will provide the details when I go live.

  11. Next big wave is Wireless, not cell phones, umm I mean smart phones, but wireless internet cheap and easy to integrate into your home entertainment systems is the next big thing, yes its been out, but as technology gets cheaper and easier to use markets evolve and new market opportunities are realized, kinda like all the people making apps now for smart phones now. Smart phones do a lot, but really how many people want to watch a movie or play the hottest games on a small screen, the smart phone will adapt and be forced to be easily integrated with home entertainment. imagine watching a movie on your cell with your friends and one of em hasn’t showered 🙁 In a nutshell I see home entertainment and the internet picking up steam then taking over kinda like how quickly the internet changed with streaming videos. Off the subject google one year for its april fools day prank actually got me to believe they were going to be an isp by having wires run down the toilet into the sewer systems, I thought yeah, more competion levels the playing field and the only thing that can change that are gov regulations. isps are the true powers that be, but even comcast will find itself in aols position if isps are forced to deal with competition, look at aol they had quality content, but they chose to compete with the public internet, and when they realized they couldn’t, they opened to the public, too late imo. There is no match to the content the public internet provides. sorry for my hurried and scatterred thoughts.

  12. ooops my bad, I tend to scan things too quickly sometimes, kinda like responding to someone after only half listening. Future of domains, I remember talking to an seo guy a few years ago about domain names and his response like soo many others was, “Why should I care when I can get my sites listed high on google regardless of the domain name” me slightly annoyed, guess Im sensitive when it comes to domains,.anyhow I tell him whats he going to do when google says no more free lunches, “Google will never do that” he says and kept saying it , (instead of Denial he should prepare cause his future depends on it) google is a business, and has to act more like it because its a public company (What do you think the shareholders would say if google told them ” We would’ve made alot more money, but we didn’t want to be mean and make them pay), business has to come first, . And the day it happens ppc will skyrocket, the costs that is not the payouts. domain names will skyrocket as people look to other sources of traffic.

    Google caffeine – biggest change to search in years

    shorter term – I don’t understand why I haven’t heard more people talking about caffeine, Its supposed to be widely implemented after the holidays,.Those that tested it say that it will give preference to domain age, and if my memory proves correct preference also for those targeting multiple keywords,…

  13. My 2010 predictions:

    1) Spanish market will keep exploding and is the best language to invest in.

    2) My wife will hate me when I buy domains and will love me when I sell domains. Been like that every year since 1998.

    3) I will be called an “idiot” for renewing my premium .tv domains.

    4) I will be called a genius for registering, ForclosedHomes.com in 2000.

    5) My CTR on Google adsense will drop from 2% to 0001%.

    6) My neighbors will talk about what a bum I am for not working for 4 years (since I left the corporate world) to do this full-time. They still don’t understand what the hell I do:)

    7) I will listen to Elliot because he is most honest guy in the industry.

    8) I will get another Ipod from a parking company as a gift.

    9) My 2 year old twins will love me even though I just spent there college funds on buying more domains. (I got 16 more years to fund that )

    10) The Lakers will win another championship.

    Merry Christmas, Jim Holleran

  14. t,

    The value in a domain name allows you to do certain things with the website. If you have something called News Media Accuracy, you can touch on any topic in the media. If your website is called Health News Accuracy, well, you can only deal with health news according to your website name. That is the main thing.


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