Being Candid on .AI Domain Names

Andrew Rosener and Andy Booth are two domain investors whose opinions I respect. I have known Andy and Andrew for many years, and I know both have had considerable success investing in domain names.

When it comes to .AI domain name investments, it looks like their paths are diverging. Andy was recently on the Domain Sherpa show, and .AI was a topic of discussion.

In addition to this, a recent Twitter exchange between Andrew and Andy show their differing thoughts on .AI domain name investing:

I have recently made a few attempts at researching .AI domain names to buy as investments. In looking at platforms like Sedo and Dan, the names that appeal to me – names I feel would be good for artificial intelligence applications and businesses – are priced well above my comfort level. The registrants, it would seem, know their domain names could have value and have priced them accordingly.

I also spent some time researching .AI domain names to hand register. From my vantage point, there is very little that is appealing to register. My feeling is a Founder looking specifically for a .AI domain name could find something equally meh that is unregistered rather than paying me a premium for one that I buy.

The fact that I have to spend $150+ on each 2 year hand registration is an entry point that does not appeal to me. If I were to register 30 domain names with the hope of selling one of them (3% STR), I would need to spend about $5k just to get my foot in the door. That doesn’t appeal to me right now.

Domain investing, by its general nature, is a fairly risky endeavor. My extensive research and knowledge helps to mitigate some of this risk, but a level of risk exists regardless of the domain names I buy. I am not going to risk tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars speculatively buying .AI domain names. I would rather land on a handful of good .com domain names than scattershot that amount on .AI domain names.

Early registrants of .AI domain names may be rewarded handsomely. People like Andy Booth who appear to be taking big risks with the top .AI domain names (like Art.AI and Home.AI) may also be rewarded. When I read some of the .AI sales reports, I have some FOMO. I would rather have this FOMO than spend a substantial amount of money speculating on .AI domain names. There’s always a chance I end up buying some names, but I am on the sidelines right now.

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

18 COMMENTS

  1. Cool post Elliot. Another important point is, I am coming at this AS THE END USER.

    While I do think there are great potential returns on high-end .ai domains, I wouldn’t mess with lesser quality strings. Both Andrew and myself have made this point, time and again. Generics like Home and Art in .ai work, they’re clearly offer a distinct product to a conventional .com business.

    Just heed caution!

  2. “I would rather land on a handful of good .com domain names than scattershot that amount on .AI domain names.” ~ Silver

    Agreed.

    Early movers will cash in this year on .ai, but the rest will be worse off than if they never speculated on .ai, but that is the nature of the investment game.

    2024 will a good year for smart investing.

  3. I did DB programming for Coors, Carrier Air and other fortune 500’s in the 80s and 90s when my proprietory mainframe screen scrapers and barcoding (now QR codes) did the “thinking” for the consumer.
    Mainframes just thought someone was just filling out (and scraping off from) dataentry screens real fast.
    Cridicts said I was eliminating jobs and consumers would not “trust” barcodes – bullshit.
    Back then those processors were not fast enough identify a song after 3 seconds like Shazam.

    “AI” is nothing more than a bullshit marketing buzzword for faster processors “thinking” for the consumer.
    And from that you probably get a good idea of what I my view is on “DOT AI”.

    I met a young New Zealander marketing guy at the AVS Islanders game last nite – where I was rather shocked when he emphatically said it has all come full circle back to DOT COM.
    Bri

  4. Interesting points on both sides and both are correct.
    There’s also still room in dot com aiming for terms that could fit for an AI company, “chat” being the obvious one.
    Thinking outside the box with terms like “bot”, “robot” and “machine” could be a value play.

  5. Andy Booth has the money to risk 6 figures on a .Ai and then tries to talk down on .Com but doubled down on his tweets . I am sure he would accept five times what he paid for it and switch tones again,lol.

    Yes people can make 7 figures on .Ai but it doesn’t give it the authority to make it universal. It is on the news and everywhere but the public knows Ai not .Ai extension. You will always remind customers it’s .Ai extension, the confusion will always be there .

    This quote below sums it all for me 👇

    “I am not going to risk tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars speculatively buying .AI domain names. I would rather land on a handful of good .com domain names than scattershot that amount on .AI domain names.-Elliott Silver

    • Huh? I have made a decision to go with .ai for my businesses. That isn’t a joke. Way more exciting for me building generic names I could never dream of owning in .com. And .ai gives a word a very different meaning and feel.

      People are free to do as they like. I am not trying to push an agenda like it’s factual. Just based on my own observations and GENUINELY smart founders in the AI space. They invariably went with .ai domains. I trust intelligence.

      • If you are in the Ai space ,those are smart moves..Ai gives .Ai vibes and it’s easy to know the business is all about Ai.

        A brandable doesn’t need to own a .Ai but can work perfectly better in .com and it is easy to expand more globally .Your business will do well but remember it’s about execution.

        Wishing you success.

    • I hope you’re right.

      So far, I’ve made circa 600 K on .AI domain sales. All registered in late 2015 or early 2016.
      Some companies that bought my .ai domains rebranded, for example, this company SHERPA.Ai.
      A few others got acquired by bigger fish. Two companies have yet to even change the nameservers on the .ai domains they purchased from me via brokers. One, a large telecom. Another, a pharma company in the UK.

      I have no idea whether .AI domains will go up in value in 2024 or decline. My ROI already is fine. I’m sure Rick or Andy Booth could have sold those .ai domains for over million usd, rather than the approx 600 K I managed to wrangle.

      I missed the boat on .com when I was flush with cash after my first startup was acquired in 2001. So I got lucky on .AI — this extension could have bombed if not for all the tech advances in AI over the last 6 years. If AI had gone into another winter as it had in the past, those .AI domains would have gone the way of .MOBI.

      But 34% of the top 1500 AI companies in the world are using .AI. 61 percent use .com. And the remaining 5 percent are split among .IO, .CO and “others”

      If a company branded as, for example, CREDIT.AI, is making major bank and has substantial funding, should they go after the .COM — as in CREDIT.COM, yes, by all means, and if that’s not possible, maybe CREDITAI.COM or AICREDIT.COM or CREDITBOT.COM or at the least, CREDITGAI.COM (GAI = Generative Artificial Intelligence)

      • “But 34% of the top 1500 AI companies in the world are using .AI. 61 percent use .com. And the remaining 5 percent are split among .IO, .CO and “others”

        This is the most important point made in this article.

  6. By the way, I chose to use CREDIT as the keyword in this example, as I did not want to use one of my own one keyword .ai domains, as that would not be cool — to promote your own domain(s) in this manner. But I do have similar one keyword .AI domains as “CREDIT” …:)

  7. I checked in with the founder of an AI startup who purchased a 4 letter word .ai domain taken in over 300 extensions from me in 2020… we didn’t have an NDA, but I’d rather not list the name, but the price was 27500 USD… the company closed a series A round before the startup funding crunch in late 2021and it’s doing well… a broker contacted me in 2022, thinking I was still the owner, as the whois, at least on whois.ai had not been changed … I put him in contact with the founder… they offered him first 50K, then 100 K and after they offered 125 K, he informed them the domain was NOT for sale as this was their established brand – and this also was a rebrand … they had been using an .IO with a completely different word

    Another case where I left money on the table …. but seller remorse gets you nothing but an ugly hat and no cattle

  8. well folks i see where microsoft just announced a new “AI” key on the keyboard next to the ALT button. firstw addition since 1994.
    Another key to sell Microsoft products and bing ads as well?

  9. Just like “gtld” stands for Great To Lose Dinero, “ccTLD” stands for Can’t Conceive Top Level Dollar.

    Either get the actual .COM yourself …or… prepare to perpetually lose a large percentage of your precious traffic, backlinks and email to the guy who was smart enough to buy it.

  10. I have a strong conviction regarding the value of .AI domains. I believe that they offer both domain owners and companies a significant edge in terms of innovation and relevance in the evolving tech landscape. Additionally, I believe that .AI domains hold added value from an SEO perspective, particularly when searches are related to AI-related topics and technologies.

    I have personally invested a substantial amount in .AI domains, and you can explore my portfolio at Webname.ai to see the domains I’ve acquired in this exciting space.

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