A couple of weeks ago, Aaron Krawitz and Gary Males wrote three guest posts on my blog about IDN domain names and investing in IDN domain names: Diversify Your Domain Portfolio: How IDNs are Registered in Punycode, Translating Domain Names, and Our Story: Aliasing and Times Square.
I followed these articles up with questions that I have about investing in IDNs, and Aaron and Gary have been kind enough to supply the answers. If you have additional questions, feel free to add them to the comment section, and I am sure they will be answered soon enough.
– What is the best way to monetize IDN domain names, and do you find the RPC to be in the same vicinity as non-IDN domain names?
Buying and flipping IDNs is the fastest way to make the most money off of IDNs, and the same can be said for ASCII/Latin domains.
As for parking, the IDN parking industry is not yet that mature, and as such there is plenty of room for improvement, innovation and increased competition. But it is a big misconception that parking IDNs isn’t profitable at all. As previously noted here, depending on the keyword and whether the underlying country is wealthy, there are payouts to be had of $5 to $7 per click.
As such, most people park their IDNs. Namedrive has particularly good landing pages as they not only serve native language ads but also translate the entire landing page, which includes categories and menu options. There are also many affiliate programs out there that cater to foreign niches but I don’t see them used that often.
– Which will be more valuable the IDN.com or the IDN.ccTLD?
It’s too early to call this one. But the answer no doubt will differ between markets and between ccTLDs.
In some countries, dot com is widely accepted and the ccTLD shunned, in other languages it is the opposite.
The questions is like predicting whether the dynamic will be closer to [English].com vs [English].us or [German].com vs [German].de, and it is too early to tell.
Personally, I have always advocated betting on both horses, and if your bets are hedged you can’t go wrong.
– What’s the best way to sell IDN domain names?
The majority of domainer to domainer sales occur at IDNForums.
I’ve personally been involved in brokering to non-domainer investors as well, which does not differ from selling ASCII/Latin domains.
We launched IDNNewsletter.com to bring some confidence to the process of buying IDNs, as we certify the translation of an IDN by using native speakers we work closely with.
I’m not aware of any mass brokering exercises in contacting native end users, but no doubt it is happening. I think most people are waiting for awarenes of IDNs to peak.
– Do you know of any domain investors who have successfully developed IDN domain names, and can you share a few examples?
The most public example of a successfully developed IDN is a Thai language domain, you can read an in-depth case study here that explains how this site generated 68 million page views: http://www.idnguru.com/media/IDN_keyword_domain_search_success.pdf
– Is there a website that tracks IDN domain sales, what are the top tier IDN names selling for these days?
We try to manually track the publicly announced IDN sales here.
Of late a lot of top sales have been dominated by German language IDNs, those Germans certainly love their IDNs!
– How much are the best IDN domain names selling for, and are most of the bigger sales end user sales or domainer to domainer?
Whether you’re looking at DNJournal sale prices or emailing the owners of top IDNs, the best names are selling for six figures. From my experience, the bigger sales are domainer to non-domainer investor. This makes sense in today’s economic climate where there is a lot of money on the sidelines looking for alternative investments (other than stocks or real estate).
– When you receive an inquiry on a IDN domain name in a different language, how do you overcome the language barrier?
It always helps if you have native speaking contacts to assist you of course, but in the absence of that I simply use Google Translate, and I suspect so does the other party.
Tools such as Google Translate are just fine for translating non-English to English paragraphs, and you will more often than not get a clear idea as to what is being said.
I am also often surprised how many non-English speakers can read English decently, but can’t speak or write it.
– What needs to happen to make IDN domain names more of a mainstream investment vehicle?
The short answer is “more traffic”.
The longer solution has always been a 3 part answer.
1) Compatible browsers. The last mainstream browser (Internet Explorer) became IDN compatible when IE7 released in 2007 – so to a large extent this is a non-issue.
2) IDN.IDN (or full IDN as it’s come to be known). ICANNs efforts on IDNing the part to the right of the dot are moving at high speed, although it should be noted that there are procedural hurdles ahead, and speed is all relative
3) Awareness. The launch of new IDN ccTLDs and the publicity that will be generated locally on the ground should correct this.
– Do domain investors need to rely on domainer to domainer sales to make money with IDN domain names?
In the short term, until the above issues 2 and 3 are resolved, the answer for most people will be yes.