The Opportunity Cost of Not Owning Your .COM

The valuation of .com type-in traffic (when a user navigates directly to a website by entering the domain name in the browser) has been a matter of debate for some years.

I recently came across an article by Howard Fellman  in which he makes an interesting case for  Why .COM Domain Names Are Better Than Conventional Real Estate in which he states:

Simply put, if you don’t own the .COM, you are helping the guy that does. He will end up with a percentage of your prospective customers, your intended backlinks and your misdirected email.”

While this may not be news amongst the well informed, surely many companies out there wonder to what extent this is true, and whether it justifies or even dictates a .com domain acquisition for their business purposes. The introduction of the new gTLD’s makes that question even more relevant.

Incidentally, in the past 5 months I happen to be witnessing one good example of the .COM type-in traffic effect, while consulting a client and friend of mine.

Her long established site happens to bear the name of a new product recently launched by a high-tech company, and they reached out to inquire about her domain name. She is not eager to sell, and so far she has been keeping her domain.

However, In the meantime, and ever since the launch of that company’s product she has been receiving some of their traffic and, in fact, dozens of direct purchasing inquiries, some of which were for wholesale quantities.

In this case, just from the type-in traffic perspective, 5-figures worth of potential orders are misdirected every month to my client who owns the .com domain name (judging roughly by the ticket size of their product).

Observations like these are enough of an indicator to oblige every serious company to at least investigate the option of a .com acquisition for their business and / or product.

In the specific case described above it would be a sensible ROI decision long overdue.

(NDA pending and therefore more  specific details cannot be disclosed)


  1. I think there is a huge opportunity cost associated with not using the .com. The presence of a .gtld says to many means that you are not reputable. I wonder if people who actually use gtlds have any idea how much business they lose? I suspect not or they would never do it, but thank Elliot for bringing this ugliness to light since it needs to be addressed and brought out in the open.

  2. I think this can’t be further off. Only a matter of time before the world runs out of .com and, like Manhattan real estate, people will need to expand westward to find affordable space to live and work.

    • Look what happened when Manhattan got a new area code, no one wanted it and people now pay thousands for 212 area code, If you have a new area code as a business it says we are new and have only been in business for a short time, same thing with the new extensions.

  3. John – friends of the new gtlds dont want to acknowledge that all is not well in gtldland. It is a contaminated zone, filled with septic sewage and nuclear waste. All that set up shoppe there will die aganizing deaths. Few want to acknowledge this and instead will try to make a quick buck.

  4. Well I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. When Google was still allowing people to see the search string in Web traffic stats, one thing was clear:

    Visitors were searching not only for the really long keyword phrase of some of my longest domains, most notably including a really long 4 word domain, but they were also searching literally for the domain itself (.com) including slight variations containing spaces, like “Example Example Example Example .com” or “ExampleExample” and the like – FREQUENTLY.

    That definitely said a lot about how .com was ingrained in people’s brains, although I no longer publish those sites for complicated reasons I won’t go into here, and I have dabbled with publishing a few sites with a few different new gTLDs in more recent times. Unfortunately I have to admit that despite really liking one of the new gTLDs I recently switched it over to .com, but I still have a number of sites on new ones nonetheless because I like them and they are killer. But without question, the value of the .com is beyond question. I only feel that some extremely rare examples of new gTLD diamonds and gold are as good as or better than a .com, the rare “exceptions to the rule,” while most new gTLDs are certainly far behind in value. Ironically, however, I would suggest that for the most part new gTLDs which have had some popularity with the Chinese market are pure and total rubbish, like .top for instance.

  5. Interesting, I had no idea that not only is .top the second most registered of the new TLDs, but is even owned by a Chinese company before I posted the above:

    Okay people, so WHAT HAPPENED TO THE “RULE” THAT VOWELS are no good for the Chinese market? Owned, let alone registered. So much for people and their “rules”…

  6. This post is shining an LED spotlight on the big elephant in the room, specifically, that the gtlds sortof suck. We all kinda sensed it, but no one wants to admit it, discuss it or address it.

  7. I could not agree more with Howard Fellman that the .com extension is the one that people wished they had bought instead of net/org/info etc & those rediculous new TLDs. A dotcom will be like owning a Picasso, the Rolls Royce of digital real estate.

    I wonder what the future holds for 2 and 3 word dot com domain names? I have a number of keyword relevant buying domain names. But it seems these relevant keywords are not that popular anymore plus Google doesn’t give them much credence. If that’s the case I have approx 200+ I am going to sell off very cheap.

  8. Hans, not only do people not want to admit it, but many will be going to namesCON to actually deny it and to convince others that the new tlds actually have an opportunity to work. For the life of me, I just do not see it.

  9. I used to think that the gtlds had potential, but then when they came out, I couldnt get one and realized that the pricing was such that the good ones were classified as premiums. Of course, they were much more expensive which put them on par with buying a .com right off the bat. And you’d still have the respect problem to overcome since these are the Rodney Dangerfields of the domain industry. Also, the annual premium charge was bogus and will be fodder for thieves selling domains on ebay without disclosing the annual renewal fee. The ones that are affordable are not good and the ones that are good are being reserved and are too expensive. I agree that the future of gtlds is not a promising one.

  10. In all sincerity, why would anyone want to use a new gtld for their business? What of the leakage that will take place? Do they not see the credibility they will lose? Or, the premium pricing they will certainly face? Or, the up-the-creek position they will be in if their sponsoring registry goes under? To me, the new gtlds seem like a very bad idea.

  11. Would anyone point me to a monetized website that has a new gTLD domain? I haven’t seen any as yet.

    Put your consumer hat on, which one would you to click on first:-

    I thought so… I would choose that one as well. (.info) .camera smells
    it’s too hype.

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