Gambling on gTLDs |
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Gambling on gTLDs


During some free time at the  TRAFFIC conference last June in Las Vegas,  I won a bit of cash at the Bellagio playing blackjack. A few hours before my flight took off, I played blackjack again at Aria, and I went on a nice run. I walked away after winning a big hand, and the entire trip was financed by my blackjack winnings. I enjoy playing blackjack, and this was one of the few times I left ahead.

Although I think it will be difficult to pick out the winners when it comes to new gTLDs, I do believe there are going to be some domain names that have aftermarket value. Because I initially said I wouldn’t buy any gTLD domain names, I felt it was appropriate to re-address my public position and share that I am planning to gamble on some hand registered / pre-reserved gTLD domain names.

Maybe I will be in the minority when it comes to domain investors pre registering these new domain names, but I don’t want to look back and regret sitting on the sidelines.  I am going to put some skin in the game and see what happens. Just like when I play blackjack, I will hope to make money but expect to lose it.

The reason I am telling you this is because I hadn’t really planned on buying any at the outset, and I want to be transparent. I wouldn’t recommend that someone plays $150/hand blackjack in Las Vegas unless they can afford to lose the money. Likewise, I am not recommending that others buy gTLD domain names unless they can afford to lose the money. I like to gamble, and buying these new domain names is a bit of a gamble for me.

Right now, I have the  same feeling I get when I walk into a casino with a wad of bills in my pocket before sitting at the blackjack table. I know I will probably lose, but the potential is exciting.

About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.

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Comments (38)

    Donna Mahony

    I’m glad you’re buying, Elliot. I feel confident that we’ll have this blog to give us the real deal on the process and the success or failure of at least your domains.

    December 15th, 2013 at 11:56 am

      Elliot Silver

      This may be more of a long term play for me depending on ongoing costs.

      In reply to Donna Mahony | December 15th, 2013 at 11:58 am


    Hello Elliot,

    When you hand reg the domains will you be posting what you have acquired? It will be interesting to see your registrations, the right of the dots you like and also the quality of first word DOT second word associations you are able to find.

    I am expecting a lot of the “good” combinations to be reserved, pre regd or auctioned off separately but for a few very good combo to slip through the gaps.

    December 15th, 2013 at 11:58 am

      Elliot Silver

      Probably not for a few reasons:

      1) I don’t want anyone to think I am “pumping” a specific extension or certain domain names.
      2) I don’t want anyone to think I am being paid to promote specific extensions.
      3) Assuming some of the names I pre-reserve will go to auction if there is more than one pre-reservation, I don’t want to increase the acquisition cost or decrease the likelihood of my getting the domain name.
      4) If I decide I want to add more to my holdings down the road, I don’t want to give away my ideas and have to pay other domain investors rather than the registrar. One instance of this is related to a .com name I sold last week to an end user. I went to find other, similar domain names, and one of the names I targeted was hand registered the same day I blogged about the name I bought in a “recent acquisition” post a few months ago. I could have bought it for $10 and tried to re-sell it, but now someone else has it. Live and learn 🙂

      In reply to Anthony | December 15th, 2013 at 12:05 pm


      Thats’s fair enough Elliot. Your reasoning is sound.

      In reply to Elliot Silver | December 15th, 2013 at 1:16 pm


    I like your blog and read your posts everyday but it’s getting boring. Guess it’s your 50th post about gTLDs in the last 60 days or so…lets try to find some other “hot topics” 🙂

    December 15th, 2013 at 12:28 pm

      Elliot Silver

      If you find it boring, there are plenty of other blogs to read 😉

      In reply to Marius | December 15th, 2013 at 12:30 pm


      Thanks. Don’t know why but I expected this sort of reply. Glad to see how much you care about your readers 🙂

      In reply to Elliot Silver | December 15th, 2013 at 12:38 pm

      Elliot Silver

      How would you have expected me to reply to a comment like that?

      “I am terribly sorry that my blog posts about new gTLD domain names are boring you. Although posts like these usually draw many comments and hundreds (or thousands) of pageviews, I am going to stop writing about new gTLDs because the topic is boring to you.”

      In reply to Marius | December 15th, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Mark Hershiser

    LOL, I started writing a post a few weeks ago that I didn’t finish in which I predicted that even Elliot would probably get a new gTLD at some point, I’ll have to get it posted now before it becomes old news:

    “I am sure many domain investors will be getting new gTLD’s, even those of us that say we won’t, probably we will, OK maybe not Elliot, it could happen though, he might see Great.Idea is on auction or expiring and have to get it for one of those great ideas he has…”

    December 15th, 2013 at 12:45 pm


    Everybody and their mother is going to buy into the new GTLDs but the real question is how much do you plan on spending because that will truly determine how you really feel about them. Can you at least give us a ballpark?


    December 15th, 2013 at 1:04 pm

      Elliot Silver

      Not sure right now, but most likely under $10k.

      December 15th, 2013 at 1:05 pm


      I am setting aside 5-10k. Just curious how many names do you think you can acquire for that amount? I know it’s hard to pinpoint but an educated guess is fine.

      In reply to Elliot Silver | December 15th, 2013 at 1:20 pm

      Elliot Silver

      Haven’t thought about it to be honest. I’ll probably jot a bunch of ideas down and see if they are available to pre-register (not set aside by the registry).

      In reply to todd | December 15th, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    David J Castello

    The Aftermarket for these names is going to be horrendous because the market will be glutted with an overwhelming ratio of names to buyers like we’ve never seen. However, if there is any money to be made it will be in the early stages before word gets out that these names are tantamount to sucker bait. On the other hand, in the last 90 days we’ve received the highest offers on our premium dotCOMs since the glory days of 2006. At first we thought it was a fluke, but now it’s becoming consistent. I can only speculate for the reason, but it’s not rocket science to see it’s related to the incoming gTLDS. Two have been monster sales. One has an NDA, but the other does not. Will be announced shortly 🙂

    December 15th, 2013 at 1:23 pm

      Elliot Silver

      I am obviously still bullish on .com.

      I wouldn’t even consider a new gTLD purchase to be a shift in strategy as much as I would consider playing blackjack a strategic business decision 🙂

      Looking forward to hearing about your sale.

      In reply to David J Castello | December 15th, 2013 at 1:25 pm

      Jeff schneider

      Hello David,

      R. E. = ” The Aftermarket for these names is going to be horrendous because the market will be glutted with an overwhelming ratio of names to buyers like we’ve never seen. However, if there is any money to be made it will be in the early stages before word gets out that these names are tantamount to sucker bait. ”

      We have always respected your visionary insights, and this is Dead Balls On!

      We might add that the very active secondary market is pummping out lots of .COM Franchise Start up Foundations to End users who will develop these .COM Franchise Addresses over the next few years, further reinforcing and catalyzing the .COm Franchises Strategic Market Penetration capabilities. Isn’t it nice to be on the right side of the growth curve? Congratulations on your pivotal sucesses.

      Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)

      In reply to David J Castello | December 15th, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Jeff Schneider

    When you gamble on the very Foundation on which you build your Online business on, you will not be taken seriously by any major Institutional Investors. If you are dead serious about your Online business future, We suggest you get out of the Gambling Pits.

    gTLD Derivatives Traders, Options will run out as the Smart Money builds on the already existing extensions with SubDomains.

    Gamble or Invest ? Buffet or F.S.

    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)

    December 15th, 2013 at 1:31 pm


    Who the fuck is we Schneider and who the hell do you think you are ? Please post your successful sales no NDa bbullshit back it up or shut up. Buffet or Frank ? It’s not either or Elliot said this was gambling money not his main focus. To Castello no it doesn’t make sense you got these offers because of newgtlds. Are things boring on tour ? Notice you are taking the offers so you are not sticking with metal tigers com profit centers.

    December 15th, 2013 at 4:25 pm

      David J Castello

      Curious – why all the anger?
      Why would you ask me if it’s boring on tour? For one, we haven’t left on tour yet, but I can assure you it will not be boring.
      Are you the owner of Always like to know who I’m dealing with.

      In reply to Deano | December 15th, 2013 at 5:54 pm

      Elliot Silver

      Please take it down a notch…

      Judging from some of the photo’s I’ve seen from David, things aren’t boring on tour 🙂

      December 15th, 2013 at 7:23 pm


      No anger toward you David I am getting tired of the n

      In reply to David J Castello | December 16th, 2013 at 2:46 am


      Sorry hit the button by mistake. I am getting tired of metal tiger with no backing up what he has done and criticizing others. No I do not own I can give last 4 digits of SSN.

      In reply to Deano | December 16th, 2013 at 2:48 am


    1. I like you spending time on gTLDs, the more the merrier. It’s an important topic and there’s certainly no “last word” yet, though I too agree with .com being #1 and no likelihood of anything changing that any time soon. In fact, it’s some of the other topics lately that haven’t really interested me much, but that’s just me. I like your blog overall and check it often. It’s the only one I do go out of my way to check. (Now there’s a half decent endorsement, lol.) 🙂

    2. I’d like to see a thread on the best way to go about trying to preregister, where the best options are, etc. I realize some might not want this kind of thread, though, as it may tend to “help” the competition. Having been through new .TLD releases in years past, though, I’m not in the mood to spend much time on it again now myself, but I too want to probably pick up only just a few if the price is acceptable. (Okay folks, hit me with your best shot about how I’m not willing to put much work into it now. Or not. lol.)

    3. Which brings me to the consideration of price I just mentioned above. As far as I’m concerned, to me price makes all the difference for this. Having been through one TLD release after another over the last ten-plus years, as far as I’m concerned even if I could get a desired domain in some of the (most likely) infinitesimal few new gTLD’s I may consider desirable, if I don’t like the price then I intend to pass. So far it’s sounding like a lot of the prices are going to be frankly ridiculous. I like blackjack, too, and I’ll take blackjack instead if the reg or pre-reg prices are too high.

    4. As far as blackjack goes 🙂 – do you normally use a “basic strategy” such as the kind you might normally see published as such that one can memorize and then run with, or do you play on all instinct and intuition, or both, or other? I’d like to ask you if you also try to count, but I won’t ask you in this “public forum” because I wouldn’t want anyone trying to get you banned from any casinos over some little online post like that, whether it’s extremely unlikely or not. But “basic strategy” is harmless. Just curious. 🙂

    December 15th, 2013 at 4:56 pm


      P.S. It’s actually been a number of years now since I did any blackjack, but I still like it too. 🙂

      In reply to John | December 15th, 2013 at 4:59 pm

      Elliot Silver

      1) Thanks
      2) I’m not going to put that much time into it either 🙂
      3) I don’t plan to spend more than the registration fee (and maybe the nominal pre-registration or reservation fee). I don’t have plans to buy any registry reserved names. Frankly, those will probably be end user prices, and I am not going to be an end user.
      4) I use basic strategy 99.9% of the time, and it pisses me off when 3rd base feels like he should stand on 15 or 16 against a 10.

      In reply to John | December 15th, 2013 at 5:16 pm


    “Maybe I will be in the minority when it comes to domain investors pre registering these new domain names, but I don’t want to look back and regret sitting on the sidelines.”


    I doubt you’ll be in the minority.

    December 15th, 2013 at 11:55 pm


    The enormous risks of the new gTLDs mean only one thing to me: one-word domain names that go well with the extension, and at dirt cheap prices.

    December 16th, 2013 at 12:25 am


    i will be investing in only a few handpicked per-registrations.. i do think there will be some big winners however there always has to be the losers as well.. I think the key is picking the main 3 – 5 new gTLD that have the best chance of success.. We probably all have different opinions on which ones we think will succeed and why. Like Elliot says if you cant afford to lose the money don’t invest, if you can afford a little gamble why not 😉

    December 16th, 2013 at 6:05 am


    It’s Elliot’s money and he can do whatever wants with it, including investing in GTLD’s that have less of a chance of success than .mobi had.

    I say let the Domain Sherpa’s blow their money on as many GTLD’s as they can, it will give the rest of us something to laugh at a year later when the bottom fall out, like this one;


    December 16th, 2013 at 6:54 am

      Elliot Silver

      I am not a domain sherpa. Just a guy who has done ok for himself by investing in domain names.

      As I said, I am not “investing” in gTLDs – I am gambling. If I lose the money, I lose it. Same thing as when I go to Vegas or Atlantic City to play blackjack. I am not gambling with money I need to eat or live.

      December 16th, 2013 at 9:56 am


    I think it’s a wise choice Elliot and I’m surprised you didn’t reserve some selective premium names, moreover, that is where the money will be in the extensions that make sense (unlike mobi, biz (non-descriptive) etc… The extensions that lead the user to a related site IMO. pizza, blog, shop, app, etc

    Seems obvious, when you connect it to the correct extension.

    December 16th, 2013 at 10:20 am

    Jim Holleran

    Elliott, is one of the good and honest guys out there. I am a pass on all this stuff. I hope you enjoy your holidays Elliott with your family, and like a dad myself of young kids, take a break from working so hard and enjoy the great year your having! Nothing better than spending time with your kids as you know.

    As for this Deano guy, little bitter and jealous buddy of David Castillo:-))

    @David Castillo, your one of the few people I really listen to in this industry, and I been around buying names since 1998 and you nailed it 100%.

    December 16th, 2013 at 4:55 pm

      Elliot Silver


      We’re having lots of fun with Hailey! First time sledding yesterday. Not sure how much she liked it but we had fun 🙂

      In reply to Jim Holleran | December 16th, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Jim Holleran

    Awesome Elliott, that is what’s it’s all about!!! Like you, I get to work out of my house, do domain investing and enjoy my twin daughters. We got to enjoy them now Elliott before their teenagers(lol)

    December 16th, 2013 at 6:10 pm

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