What’s Up With This Google Trend?

I was taking a look at Google Trends this evening, and I decided to search for “domain names.” To my surprise, the trend is pretty much on a downward slope over the last ten years. There doesn’t even seem to be a lift in the last several months with the new domain names that have come out. One might think people would be searching for domain names to learn more.

Check out the Google Trends graph below that begins in February 2004 and goes through today:

The regional change over time graph is also pretty interesting as the volume in the United States gets lower over time. It’s a neat feature to track where people are searching “domain names.” You can visit the Google Trends page to see that and to see other related trend insight.

What do you make of the Google Trends volume for domain names? Why do you think we’re still on a downward trend, and what do you think it will take to reverse the trend? As always, your thoughts and insights will be appreciated.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the DomainInvesting.com 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. It means that ICANN is doing a splendid job going global; doomsday is September 2015. Time to talk to some senators. Abandon all hope, Obama fans.

  2. I think the only reason you see the downward trend is because in the early portion of the graph people did not know what domain names were and slowly but surely the public caught up and now everybody knows what a domain name is so the term is search less and this will continue in a downward trend.

    Now when someone searches to purchase a name or domain info they don’t search “domain names” anymore but because of marketing they know to search Godaddy, 1 &1 etc…… Check out Godaddy and 1 & 1 and you can see they are on an upward trend.

    Another reason is most people since they know what a domain name is now they are being more specific by searching for a particular extension instead of just the vague “domain names” search. Check out the upward trend for Dot CO, Dot ME, etc….. and also GTLD

  3. Try “gamble” and also “casino”. They are also trending downward. Does it mean people are becoming less interested in gambling?

  4. Anyone else get the problem of Trends always conking out after only a very small # of uses, saying you have exceeded your limit? Anyone know how to avoid that? I’ve seen it mentioned online as well, so I know I’m not the only one. Logging in doesn’t seem to help either, or is it the timing of logging in?

    My thoughts on this trend are that it’s nothing to be concerned about. It’s been my observation for a very long time now that domain names are simply one of those things people simply don’t seem to directly think about in general, but that has nothing to do with the values. Therefore, what I strongly suspect is behind this trend has little to nothing to do with end users, but rather with those of us who have made a conscious decision to give domain names a try to make money. Probably most people fail and lose interest. Relatively or “statistically” speaking, probably almost nobody actually succeeds or reaches a sustainable income. As it turns out to be a dead end for them, search numbers drop because the bulk of that search may have just been those who thought about or tried to make a go of it, not end users, i.e., not the people you really want to be interested in domain names.

    End users, however, have already developed an awareness, most especially because of the work of GD in making people aware, so while they may not care about the explicit topic of “domain names” itself, they do now have a significant level of conscious or “unconscious” awareness of how to start looking for one if they ever want to.

  5. Google Trends, same as Google Insight was in the past, is not a representation of actual search volume, but of the portion of all search queries that are for the given term. Think of it as fractions (although the graph is based on normalized data).

    A downward trend does not mean that the term is search less. It just means that it accounts for less of the total search queries made in Google.

  6. Likely it’s number of searches weighted by number of people searching Google in general. I would imagine every day there are 10000 new searchers for Paris Hilton but only one or 2 newcomers to G searching for Domain Names.

    Domain Names appeal to a select group of people not growing as fast as the size of the other group of people searching for “interestingl things.

  7. I agree with Todd,but after people get curious about the new extensions graphs and charts like this will go up.
    As of now people have now idea what a .guru is or a .sexy, its just domainers.
    I have talked with a few people about the new extensions and they have no idea what i’m talking about.
    I have not bought any yet…but man they are getting gobbled up and the registration fee’s…WOW, hate to see the renewal’s.
    I feel the hope is, for a quick flip to a domainer before those renewal’s come about.
    This year will be very interesting to say the least.

  8. Charts don’t work correctly for 10 year. Do a 12 month search then break it down to the US only. Don’t leave worldwide search on. Then look at domain registration, domain search, buy domain names.

    Utah is top for search, New york top for buying. Anyway I would not pay attention to any of the charts unless it is one year and less. But then if you just put godaddy in you will see Arizona as top state but you can’t count them since they are headquartered in AZ. Looks like most people in Florida use godaddy the most.

  9. The marjority of Internet surfers are interfacing via Apps now instead of searching for stuff as much as they used to. Not saying people still don’t type-in and search, but it’s definitely declined way way down from the way it used to be. Plus good luck getting indexed anywhere near the first page on search results these days. Bottom line, you’ve got to build a successful business now on your best domain names to create high value for them.

    • I think some of that (maybe more than some) can be attributed to the emergence of domain blogs in the last 5+ years. There are several popular domain blogs where people find information about domain names and have discussions about domain names. In 2005, this discussion would probably have been held elsewhere.

  10. “Domain names” is just a navigational type of search – as it was mentioned, more and more people already know what domain names are. And, if you take a look at “buy domain” or “find domain” for instance, you’ll see that there’s a flat chart for it. Yet what’s interesting, “register domain” is declining too.

  11. I think Google Trends is more useful when comparing terms to one another (I think you can compare up to 5 words and get a graph of use and popularity).

  12. I’ve noticed this before and I agree with Todd’s comments above. It’s because people now know what a domain is and where to get one, so they are beginning much more often to type in the place to buy them rather than the search ‘domain names’. Now they tend to search more for godaddy, etc…

  13. The Big F@?#!ing White Elephant in the middle of the Domain Industry Grand Salon!
    from where I am sitting:

    The Domainer to Domainer market is DEAD! Done! Stick a fork to it!
    The evidence is there : Dead Domain forums, were the most popular threads are the “99 cent Coupon” offers.

    There is a lot less “Small to medium” domainers left…some got tired of not making money some got tired of chasing rainbows (Alternative tlds) some went broke (and this is one of the main reasons for the DISMAL/Pathetic New gTLD registration numbers for most of them anyway and bound to get worse “ex-GEO” and this is why I felt the New gTLD promoters were/are barking at the wrong tree = small domainers, the savvy Old Foxes are staying away)…

    Conversely there is very few New domainers/Investors joining the market and those few are a lot smarter with their money…

    Domain parking payouts are an all time low, Google filter is also “Brutally” smarter and smarter …

    The Developer domain buyer market is also suffering in a big way “it has become incredible difficult to monetize content” hence the need for domains for new projects has diminish substantially and that includes EMD…

    There is a huge inventory of good (but NOT premium) domain selling at distressed near liquidation prices …

    Wake up and smell the coffee…

    By now either you have good domains or not…
    or in the alternative
    you have the “know how” of what and where to buy… and the Funds to make it happen…

    • “The Domainer to Domainer market is DEAD! Done! Stick a fork to it!”



      Just bought a couple of names from a domain investor and need to pay him.


      In all seriousness, yes the domain investor resale market isn’t as strong as it once was, but it isn’t dead.

  14. alas…
    The Social Networks and APPS… and the ability to provide a cheap (free or nearly free) business presence and great tools for any size of business (worldwide), that my friends has had a Huge impact on “The need to have a domain or a website”/the domain industry.

  15. agreed, I feel the same way you do 🙂
    Nevertheless it’s a great “Buyer’s market”… opportunities abound/ now or never to invest/re-invest.
    A market not seen in a least a decade, I feel once the dust settle on re: to the New gTLDs (months or years from now) the cream will rise again to the top and it ill be a “Seller’s Market” for the right domains .

  16. Frank,
    I feel that Social networks/Tools have “up to a degree” put a dent to that theory … while of course the optimum situation would be to have your own website and for that you need a domain.

    Every Business needs a website, every website needs a domain© 2011

  17. Frank,
    I think Social Networks/Tools have “up to a degree” put a dent to that assumption while conceding the optimum would be for a business to have thier own website and for that you need a domain.

    Every Business needs a website, every website needs a domain© 2011

  18. “The Domainer to Domainer market is DEAD! Done! Stick a fork to it!
    The evidence is there : Dead Domain forums, were the most popular threads are the “99 cent Coupon” offers.”

    “There is a lot less “Small to medium” domainers left…some got tired of not making money some got tired of chasing rainbows”

    Everything said above is true. The small to medium domainer used to sell to the same Mom and Pop style companies that are now getting a Facebook page instead. The comment, “Every Business needs a website, every website needs a domain© 2011′ Unfortunately it has been re-written and it now says ” Every Business needs a web presence, every web presence doesn’t need a domain” We can thank Facebook, Twitter, Website builders giving free subdomains that don’t need an external domain etc……

    Twitter will continue it’s dominance over domains when it comes to marketing. With Twitter you are constantly linked to your customers and with domains the customer has to physically visit the site. Twitter and variations of it will continue. Facebook will die off sooner than later. The new GTLDs is the next frontier and chances are it’s going to have a huge impact. Time will tell.

    Like you said there are lot’s of great buying opportunities. It’s almost like the Perfect Storm. Terrible parking revenues coupled with the anxiety of the new GTLDs and throw in a little Facebook spice, and a little Twitter spice, some crazy Google updates and down comes domain values.

    Successful companies using alternative extensions on the world stage is another killer of dot com prices. Tech companies are all the rage and these are the same tech companies that catch like wildfire across the globe and end up indirectly promoting these less than stellar extensions but are they really less than stellar. Yes everyone loves dot com but those everyone are us. Is this true outside of the domain world? Do we have domain goggles on and only see what we have been programmed to see? Are we drinking are own Kool Aid?

  19. Did you look at the country of origin?

    Region City

    Sri Lanka
    United States
    United Arab Emirates
    South Africa

    Just saying.

  20. There’s also a downward trend for “websites”.

    Basically, fundamental concepts about the internet such as domains and websites were less familiar 10 years ago than they are today. Also, there was less online content to search for with other keywords compared to today. So the proportional share in search traffic being allotted to the basic building blocks has shrunk over time.

    I agree with what others have said here. Better to ignore the upward or downward slopes and concentrate on comparing 2 search phrases within a particular country demographic in order to establish which is predominant.

  21. Okay, so who’s planning to try to help me out anyway. 😉 This is what I get after only a few uses of Trends:

    “An error has been detected

    You have reached your quota limit. Please try again later.”

    Basically happens every time, though on some occasions I may get a little more uses than “normal,” which is still only a very small amount.

    It’s been going on for probably at least a few years now, but I’d sure like to be able to use it as much as those who don’t get that. Even logging in doesn’t help, though I wonder if it’s possible that logging in before doing anything might help. Most often when I’ve logged in it’s probably been after a few uses first. However, I believe I probably also tried logging in first already to no avail.

  22. P.S. The error message above happens immediately today – no use of Trends possible at all. That also happens some time, which I suppose is something timed.

    • So since you’re on ccTLD’s now, do you think this wave of new gTLD’s could bode well for new awareness and interest in .US?

    • I’ve been ‘on’ ccTLDs since 2007, was the moderator for the ccTLD section on NamePros in 2008/09.

      .US is peculiar in that .COM is the de facto ccTLD for the US, so it doesn’t get much traction locally and foreigners can’t buy it due to nexus requirements so it doesn’t have a global market inspite of being a pronoun.

      The newgTLDs will create their own market / aftermarket or perish, they’re an entirely different kettle of fish – think about this – seven years back people thought .info / .mobi were ‘too long’ because they had 4 letters after the dot.

    • No Anton, you only get to add a snarky “you’re welcome” if you tried to help me out with my problem, not just for posting that. 😐

  23. Wow, some great comments in here, good straight talk.
    I have believed for some time now that 95% of domains being sold are to other domainer’s.
    The sales numbers we see every week from namejet, sedo and godaddy are mostly all aftermarket domains being sold to domainer’s.
    I have seen Rick Schwartz on the sherpa show say, you can’t make any money selling domain’s to domainer’s.
    I’m not a big player in this game, but been around about four years now, i have sold a few just to keep it fun.
    At this point, i still have enough domains to have some skin in the game but i’m done buying and bidding until the dust settles with the new extension’s.
    Like i said last night, i have not bought any of the new extensions and don’t plan on it.
    I said on any other blog, if i see a commercial on tv where a company has spent major advertising dollars on a .whatever then i may think again.
    But great post Todd and Domo

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