Guest Post

You Don’t Have to Live in India to Invest in Indian Domains


While I am away for DomainFest Global, I asked a couple of industry friends to write guest posts for my blog.   My preference was to write about something with which I am not familiar, to help me learn as well.   Today’s guest post is from Jeff Behrendt of, the leading Indian domain forum.   As I mentioned previously, I don’t own any cctld domains, but after my honeymoon in Europe, I learned how widely used they are, and I think .in domain names are at the very top.


I think that for many domainers who got into the industry late, country code domains are an attractive investment. The development and use of many of these ccTLDs is at a similar stage to where .com was several years ago. Unlike hyped extensions such as .mobi or .asia, country code domains really have endusers who buy them and use them. Plus, many country code “brands” are widely marketed in their respective countries and appeal to people’s patriotic feelings.

I invest in several country code domains, but the one I am most excited about is India. After years of heavy restrictions, in 2005 the Indian domain space was liberalized and it became cheap, easy and open to people internationally to register Indian domains. Since then there has been rapid growth: in February 2005 there were about 75,000 Indian domains registered, in November 2006, there were about 200,000 registered, in June 2007 there were about 250,000 registered, and in February 2008 there were about 400,000 registered.

Several other things make me excited about Indian domains. The first is the low Internet penetration in India. Right now there are over 60 million Internet users in India, which sounds like a large number. However, Internet penetration is only 4% – compared to 72% in the US. This leaves room for incredible growth and indeed Internet penetration is growing rapidly.

Another exciting thing about Indian domains is the large population of India. With a population of over 1.1 billion people, over the next few years, there will be more Internet users in India than in the United States.

One other big advantage of investing in Indian domains is the fact that English is the main language of business and government in India. This makes it a lot easier for most Americans (and Canadian, Brits, Australians, etc) to invest in than most other country’s domains. It is important to be careful though – the English spoken in India is somewhat different than standard American English.

As well, it is still early days. It is still possible to spend some time doing research and hand registering a decent Indian domain. This makes it easier for new domainers to get started.

Finally, the economy in India is booming. While economic growth has slowed over the last year, as it has across the globe, there is no recession in India and the economy there continues to grow at rates faster than American boom times.

Even Godaddy has noticed all of this, and recently they started offering Indian domain registration.

If you do choose to invest in Indian domains, there are two main extensions that you can invest in: .in and is the one that had been traditionally used until 2005. Since then .in has gained traction and appears to be the more popular of the two. I have found that both .in and domains receive type in traffic. However, reseller and end user sales tend to be dominated by .in.

It is harder to monetize Indian domains than .com domains. There is actually a fair bit of type in traffic received on quality Indian domains, and I have found that over time the type ins are increasing. However, the CPC from parking Indian domains is abysmally low. Many Indian domainers build out minisites on their domains. Ranking minisites in Google India is significantly easier (by an order of magnitude) than ranking in Google and can create a good source of traffic and revenue. As the Internet economy develops in Indian, the value of the traffic will increase.

You are not going to get rich overnight investing in Indian domains. Several of the domains that were registered in 2005 are now selling for low $x,xxx. Sales of Indian domains are gradually increasing over time. However, the market, both at the reseller and end user level, is not nearly as liquid as it is for .com domains. While I am seeing more and more interest by people looking to purchase Indian domains, I think that it is best to approach these investments as longer term investments.

All in all, if current trends continue, the future prospects for Indian domains are very bright. For anyone doing business in India – be it a small or medium sized business or the Indian branch of an international business – using a .in or domain is a logical choice. Over time, people in India are increasingly turning to this ccTLD, and there is still plenty of opportunity there for domainers.

P.S. If you are interested in learning more about Indian domains, feel free to join us at, the Home of the Indian Domain Name Industry. We enjoy talking not only about Indian domains, but also about anything to do with Indian business, culture or the Internet in India. We have an active buy and sell marketplace as well.

Guest Post: Keepin It Real & Keeping The Money Coming In

The following post is courtesy of a friend and well-known, but private domain investor. He gives some strategic advice which he adheres to, and it makes him quite a bit of money. When I first started out in the domain industry, my strategy was to sell as many names as possible for thin profit margins. It takes a lot of $30 domain sales to make good money. My friend has generated PPC revenue (correction from earlier) for a few months, and then sold his names for a revenue multiple.

“This past week I sold a total of 9 minimal income domains for $2,450. I paid a total of $61.85 for them (all were reg fee). In the year I had them they made about $800 in ppc income. So my total return on a $62 investment was $3,250 with a net profit of $3,188. That works out to a 5,142% ROI. Sure I could have held them instead of selling like others try and wait till they find a 10x buyer, but odds are I’d be waiting a much longer time and would have to invest more of my time in continued marketing which has a cost factor to it and if you do that you don’t keep cash flow coming in. You want your resell domain properties to flip fast. Time is money. There’s nothing wrong with pricing to sell at 2x or 3x. It works. It moves inventory quickly. It’s the way to keep constant high profit cash flow coming out of your portfolio with enormous ROI’s.
The strategy then is to not be greedy if you want to make money in the domain biz. Make a profit, but make it possible for the next buyer to make a profit too. Where else can you make a 5,000% ROI??? I know of no investment that can do that kind of number on a reliable continuous basis week after week, but domains can if you keep your prices reasonable to sell quick. That’s the secret!”

While I plan to keep the domain names I build into mini-sites, I think my friend has a smart strategy to produce a growing revenue stream. The buyers of his names/sites will benefit from his legwork – it’s a win/win for everyone.

Rob Grant Guest Post: The Domain 'Slingshot' Theory

I wanted to let you know that Rob Grant will be offering guest posts on my blog from time to time. Rob is the man behind and is a pioneer in the geodomain business. I am looking forward to more guest posts!

Steve Morsa Guest Post: When City.orgs Make Perfect Sense


While the debate over whether building city/community sites (at least in the US) should only ever be built on .coms might continue for some years to come, let me share one particular situation–though very rare it be—where doing so on an extension other than .com (and more particularly, on a .org) makes perfect sense:
Earlier this year, I picked up a (San Marcos; just north of San Diego) for a 75,000 population city in California with excellent demographics, an extensive and broad-based commercial/ business community; and not one, but two top-rated colleges; including one of the highly desired Cal-State campus’.
In my pre-purchase analysis, I discovered via search on the city name that there were not one, but in fact no fewer than two of these identically-names cities in the US (plus a number in other countries); and that the .com version was already an operating city site for the Texas city with this same name.
What I realized is that it would be not just O.K. to build out such a .org, but actually smart to do so; for no less than these four reasons:
#1: Anyone visiting the .com Texas city site looking for information concerning the CA city; regardless of how they got there (type in or search engine); would quickly realize that the .com was clearly not the place they were looking for; leading them to click away and keep looking (this is where good SEO comes in) for the correct city (once I begin build-out; probably in 2009; I’ll request reciprocal homepage button/ links; me to the Texas version; Texas version to me; to further insure that any confused visitors will quickly find their way to the city they were looking for; whether CA or Texas).
#2: Relatedly; since this is not a big-name “touristy/vacation-type” city, most of the site visitors (who will be seeing the local/ area businesses’ ads) will be the actual residents of this California city, and not vacationers from outside the area. Because this is so, remembering that the “official” (it’s official if you make it so) city site is located at and not will not be anywhere near the problem it is/ would be with well-known, high-visibility cities like Palm Springs, Chicago, and San Diego.
#3: As others have pointed out as well, the .org is well-known (at least in the US) as the extension where you can expect to find usually useful, valuable, unbiased facts, information, and other content from government and (non-profit) organizations.
Additionally, many 100’s (1000’s?) of city/ town/ county governments throughout the US already use .org as their official “city hall” address.
These two deeply ingrained perceptions of .org sites fits right in with what you may/ likely want your city site to “feel” like to Internet visitors anyway; they already come with built-in trust and authority.
#4: While “experts” debate on whether this is true or not; and/or how much difference it makes in the search engine positions if it is; the .org sites may be receiving a greater weight than .com due to their “unbiased/ government” reality/ perception.
And while the .com version of this city could have cost perhaps as much as $30,000-50,000 or more even if they’d sell it to me (no; I didn’t ask), I was able to negotiate the .org down to less than $1,600 due to its–mistaken in this rare case—perceived great inferiority to the .com.
This approach can also work for popularly-named communities/ “area designators” like Apple Valley, Happy Valley, and Sun Valley (it’s a real eye opener how many valleys there are in the US with the same name); each of which valley (name) are readily able to support multiple extension city/ community sites, since each are in different states.
So; while in the overwhelming majority of cases the .com is clearly the way to go assuming one can afford it (though I agree that those that say that a successful, “can make a very nice living from it” city/ community site can be created on probably most any extension [ though I’d personally only use a .com or .org in the US ] ); a .org can still be a great, more affordable way to create something worth having…and someday selling.
Bottom line? If you can’t afford the cost of a (or even if you can but want to buy cheap/ risk less), see if you can find yourself a nice (I’d recommend 25,000+ population; especially if it’s not a resort-type city) where the is a built out, in-use site…in some other state/ area/ community.
So; while they certainly remain the first choice if money is no object; expensive sites are not the only path to successful city/ community website businesses.
Happy hunting.

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