Is 3D Dead? Where Does That Leave The 3D Domain Names?

It’s very difficult to predict what technology trends will be popular and which will fizzle. Buying domain names based on future technology trends is a bit like playing the lottery… except there are guaranteed winning tickets with the lottery.

Have a look at the first sentence from this New York Post article from September 5:

“The next big thing in TV — 3-D — is proving such a bomb with consumers, the first victim may be ESPN’s sports-in-3-D channel.”

Judging by the thousands of 3D domain names for sale on Sedo, Afternic, and other domain sales platforms, it looks like there are going to be a lot more losers than winners in the 3D domain lottery.  Based on what I’ve seen, some people justify these purchases as $8 lottery tickets, which is fine I suppose, but when people buy dozens or hundreds of names to cover their bases, it becomes a big problem.

I don’t want to sound preachy here, but think about the reality here when you’re buying domain names. There are gamblers and domain investors. Investing in domain names can be a bit of a gamble, but it shouldn’t be a total gamble.

When you buy a domain name, are you investing or playing the lottery?

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
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 closed eight figures in deals. Please read the 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. When you buy a domain name, are you investing or playing the lottery?

    I buy just for the freaking FUN of it. I called this domain as a BS word Scrabble game.

    When you have lots of discretionary $$$$, no bills–what there to play?
    Up to date, I make lots of money on this BS word game just playing with words.

  2. 3D is immortal IMO; it’s just never been good enough to gain a mass following. And like videophones of the ’60’s or some other past futuristic technology, when it does gain mass appeal, I think it’s likely it will be centered around some other name or trademark, but 3d should still have some value for top terms (as long as domains still have value). Most wouldn’t call Skype a videophone, but “video phone” gets 18k exact searches per month.

  3. I own about a dozen 3D domains, things like, etc. I dont imagine making anything on them for a while yet which is why for the most part they are registered several years into the future. Combined I think they will earn their reg cost in ad revenue over the year so they are free plays.
    I think when the technology is improved and standardised it will become quite mainstream and the sales volume will make it affordable for most people. Right now I wouldnt expect anyone to buy a 3d TV for their home unless they really knew the tech well and were happy with the current limitations.
    When color TV (and the new fangled ‘internet’) came out there were people asking whether it would ever catch on.

  4. investing in some future tech is not a bad thing.

    Let’s take 3D as an example.

    first of all does your 3D domain name makes sense ? makes sense.
    But you also see registrations like 3dfridge… doh…

    How will 3D develop ?
    anticipate on that.

    How will 3D be used ?
    anticipate on that.

    3D still has bright future. But the thing is 3D is still progressing.

    That is the key here.
    And when you invest in future tech you better have some stamina and deep pockets.

    You can’t just rely on the buzz .. You need to have vision.
    You need to know what is about.
    The old domaining rules will apply and if you ignore that you end up with trash. it is that simple.

    But if you jump from hype to hype without knowlegde you are bound to lose money.

    There are tons of oppertunities but you need to have stamina and faith and register good domain names.
    You fail all the above …. keep checking domain drop lists for the good ones…

  5. It is a bad bet all around, even if the technology became popular I still don’t think there would be huge volumes of 3d sales, just like we don’t need “3g”, “voip” or “stereo” domains, we don’t need 3d domains either.

    Right now though it looks like 3d is firmly in the fad category than trend. It seems to spring up ever 15 or so years then dies off and this looks to be another example of it.

  6. The problem at the moment is that the technology is too expensive for mass market, plus there is not enough 3D media i.e. films,games,programmes etc. Also 3D without glasses still needs developing, who wants to wear glasses to watch TV! I do believe that the 3D explosion that some have predicted will not happen for some time. Quality 3D domains should still provide a good return on investment and provide better odds than a lottery ticket. As an investor in quality 3D technology domains it pains me to say, that high ticket prices are unlikely to happen in the near future. The old adage “Supply & Demand” currently demand is low. THIS WILL CHANGE… investors hold your nerve.

  7. If you take domaining as a hobby and since I have the Domain Crystal Ball, I do real well!!!

    Sorry can’t tell you what the next big trend is….even you pay me.

  8. Rayy—you can hang the art in the bathroom while you do your business and collect dust while waiting for the time to come.

    Domain–after one year, you can junk it away, whereas you can use the Art as toilet paper.

  9. The wisest (and wealthiest) man I’ve ever known taught me two lessons that I will never deviate from.

    1) Always have your accountant in a state other than the one you reside in (for reasons too nuanced to discuss here)

    2) All opportunities should first be appraised based on what potential they offer, right now. Not what they might be worth next year or in 10 years or 50 years from now. How much can this deal make me, right now? The world is overflowing with opportunities that are immediately profitable to waste much time on those that may or may not be profitable at some point in the future…

    The root problem with this faddish “future trend domaining” is that it has a baked in excuse to subsidize real-time failure. At no point will the practitioners of this method ever have to face up to the reality of the matter; that they’ve made a terrible decision which will painfully reiterate itself with each and every $8 renewal. ‘

    Not to say there isn’t a place for prescience and looking ahead, but so few- if any- of these people have the right stuff to be making those kinds of calls… and if you point this out to them? That what they’re doing is simply engaging in death by 1000 godaddy cuts? Well, you’re just blind, as the FUTURE hasn’t arrived yet and that is when their ship will really come in!

    It would be laughable if it weren’t so sad. I’ve never seen a shittier operating model in my life- no surprise that it draws so heavily from the bottom of the intellectual barrel. What’s most depressing about the whole mess is that this cruel world does not make it easy for people like them to make money. It’s very sad to see them wasting what they have so frivolously.

  10. “For the record, I have almost every “multi screen” domain known to man:



    You’ve cornered the market in junk, that is all it comes down to. These aren’t good quality domains, they aren’t worthwhile bets.

    Suggest reading “anon this time” ‘s post above, I think it is exactly these types of registrations that he is talking about.

  11. I echo Snoopy’s response – very well put Anon This Time.

    There are a very limited number of 3d domain names that have or will have any value; probably less than 100 – maybe less than 50. If they aren’t worth anything now, they never will be.

    Listening to what the film industry experts say, there are inherent problems with 3d that aren’t worth the effort to correct.

    I don’t have any 3d domain names.

  12. @Anon This Time

    Interesting post….I do believe most people are buying these names thinking they will flip them for huge profits within a few months, which the biggest mistake people make. You need to be prepared for to hold them for a few years and also put in some work to sell them, instead of sitting around waiting for a buyer to find you

    I have a few 3D/Cloud/Solar names and I made a sale which tripled what I paid for all of them put together, so I think if you are careful and do your research, its certainly worth investing in…providing you dont register strange obscure names in the faint hope that a such a product/service is launched on day.

    I also agree with posters above saying dont go and register 100 names in one particular area (3D TVs or 3D movies etc) rather spread your registrations across a wider variety of niches and try and get the best possible keywords you can. Any decent names have been registered ages ago, so you are better off approaching the existing owners looking for bargains.

    Thats how I have build up my group of names. I do plan on selling most and developing a few as soon as I get some time, but my development plans are on the backburner for now.

    Anyway, good luck all

  13. Where is this Douglas guy ? And auction house is also to blame. Are you fucking kidding me? Old timer acts like a newbie. Hope he has a day job.

    What a disaster. End result proved its case.

  14. At the moment 3D is a cool option, but not essential enough to justify an separate purchase for most people.

    The flipping point will come when many new computers come with a switchable 3D/2D monitor as standard.

    Most of the current domains seen advertised are junk though – just the 3D prefix stuck before random words.

  15. I’m just waiting for the laser disc market to come back

    @Louise…I’m no expert, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned about this domain game is if you have to explain what your domains mean, or quote news articles about a specific niche, your names probably aren’t worth much.

  16. Hey El,

    Nice request for a PROFESSIONAL INTERVIEW with someone who knows about future trend domains, including 3D domains.

    Your fear of finding out the facts over the reality that you actually know nothing of 3D domains or anything else about FT domains is showing so clearly, it’s laughable.

    Next time you post an article about Future Trend domain sales (which is what my company has focused on exclusively for over six years) how about a “guest interview” – don’t be afraid to send me an email or give me a call so you can look like you have all your bases covered, instead of softly purring bullsht because you don’t have even 1/10 of the facts.

    Simply put, it’s professional courtesy at the minimum, and knowing what the hell your talking about at the maximum.

    Your aversion to actually contacting me for a somewhat educated interpretation of the 3D/FT domain auction we just held, is so obvious I’m surprised nobody else commented on it.

    Just go ahead and make your idiotic comments, don’t go to the SOURCE of what you’re talking about, and you’ll still do well with the noobies. Other than that, I think you’ve just about pushed me out of your “domain circle”. Anyone who reads your posts when you discuss FT domains is being misled or wasting their time.

    Your failure to talk to me first before this report shows me you haven’t arrived yet as a respected reporter. Grow up.

  17. “I think you’ve just about pushed me out of your “domain circle”’

    @ Stephen

    If you take personal offense to my opinion about this topic, I am okay with you being outside of “my domain circle.”

    I am not a reporter, and my blog has articles with my opinion. You can post your opinion about 3D and future trends on your blog.

  18. “Your aversion to actually contacting me for a somewhat educated interpretation of the 3D/FT domain auction we just held, is so obvious I’m surprised nobody else commented on it.”


    The results speak for themselves, 3 bids and 2 sales totalling under $1000. Doesn’t need any “interpretation”.

  19. Exactly.

    Your “opinions” are based on uneducated assumptions. Your answer here just confirmed what was obvious – that your lack of respect for our company Successclick, our efforts, the FT domain seller/buyers involved, my knowledge of this topic, and anyone who wants to look into this investment category based on reading reports from people with at least SOME experience, is clear in your blog article here and your comments to me.

  20. Elliot,

    I’d call an auction with 2 sales generating under $1000 a complete failure. Even the guy who sold the two names sold them at a loss.

  21. @Snoopy AKA Paul Shaw

    You’re even a bigger idiot for someone who ran a forum for years. I have stated so many times that this auction was a TEST for what FT domains were maturing, you based your snide comments on the results. This wasn’t an auction for competing against other well-known auctions that have obviously current “power natural” domains that people understand clearly.

    Our auction was meant to see if any of the 3D/Holo domains were “maturing” only one year into 3D “excitement” in the media.

    What will you say if next year, 3D becomes a “hot ticket”? This is what disturbs me so much about this industry: Domainers who rag on other domainers because they just don’t “get it”, or didn’t read all the information first to educate themselves on what was actually occuring. Snoopy, your foot is very big, and it’s in your mouth.

    I’m out.

  22. @ Stephen

    I have too much to do to engage in any kind of pissing contest with you, especially today. You are entitled to your opinions and I am entitled to mine. I am sure you do well in this business, and I’ve been doing just fine on my own for several years.

    Despite what you are saying, I am sure you know I have no ill-will towards you, have never said anything negative to anyone about you, and I would never say anything negative about you.

    I do think you are taking your 3d and future trend domain investments personally and you shouldn’t. If you thought investing in geodomain names or pet domain names was a bad idea and wrote about it, I would chalk it up to one man’s opinion. I wouldn’t waste time and effort telling you that you are an idiot and insult you for not asking me for an interview or guest post since I have some level of expertise in that area.

    If you opt to never email me, don’t comment on my blog, or just walk by me without saying hello at Traffic or DomainFest, so be it. If you want to make this a personal thing, that’s your prerogative.

  23. “you based your snide comments on the results.”


    Silly me…basing comments on “results”.

    “What will you say if next year, 3D becomes a “hot ticket”?”


    Stephen, next year it still won’t be hot…and you’ll still be telling people to wait. If anything 3d peaked about a 12-18 months ago.

  24. Its pretty clear from google insights for search that since records began in 2004 3D terms (like 3d, 3d movies etc) have generally enjoyed growth. Currently they are trading at not far off their ‘peak’.
    Maybe interest in 3D has peaked in some domainer’s worlds, but the data definitely does not support that position for the real world.

  25. This is what I think: future trend offers oppportunity to domain investors who would like to own a nice, generic dot com. I didn’t delve into 3D too deeply, and am now developing:


    all no-hyphen dot com! It’s fun, but it’s a risk. Will dual screen phones take off? Time will tell, but I have a nice dot com well-positioned in Google that puts an iron in the fire of dot com ownership.

  26. I see there are some DickeringS amongst the domainers around here (which is not unusual).

    Let me shed you guys some light….

    Like me-If all of you take this domaining as a BS domain game, as a hobby-there is no pressure.It is just all FUN and games.

    Have FUN man…life goes on.

  27. Death by 1000 Godaddy Cuts WAS a damn good movie, however. I especially liked the drunken monkey scene with Bruce Le v. Bob Parsons.

  28. @ bulls
    man here i am agreeing with you again !
    whats that all about 🙂
    tbh i have dropped so many names in 3d this year that i had previously bought thinking they might generate something tbh now i own around 150 names and i am still looking at dropping many.
    not because i dont think some will sell but more because i cant be bothered it started as a hobby and got a little out of hand albeit i made enough the first year to cover new regs but i am trimming down best thing is i have watched so many being picked up on the drop so some out there still see the potential in them.
    i will however keep my .co names
    yeh i know a lot dont rate them but in my eyes if it does take a while for 3d and .co is starting to do ok maybe by the time 3d matures .co will be better respected as everyone who knows me will back me up when i say i do this for fun nothing more i dont care about making big bucks from this if i did yeh great but its a hobby for fun and at the moment has not made any severe dents on my income.

    i think this is much better than trying to get in on the act regging some obscure longtailed name in .com after everything is gone

  29. i bought a load of dot co names
    assumption was if dot co takes off as well as 3d these names will have a better chance of earning something than regging a long tailed obscure dot com name
    i have the following in dot co
    3DScanning 3DRendering 3DModeling 3Ddating 3Dxxx 3DAdvertising 3DMobiles 3DSPORTS 3DEVENTS 3DAuto 3D-VIDEO
    whether its right or not i couldnt really care as i have stated for over a year this is for fun a hobby for me if i sell great if i dont so what i have had fun and learnt a lot.
    give me these any day over some of the regs i have seen in dotcom


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