I’ve had a few people ask me over email about my predictions for the domain industry next year. Of course, I’m late to the party here as there has been some solid predictions already made by industry veterans far more plugged-in than me. So before I share my thoughts about 2017, I’d recommend and actually make sure you read these first:
- Frank Schilling’s predictions/advice for 2017 (via OnlineDomain.com)
- Predictions from 15 industry experts (via DNW.com)
- 2017 Domain Name predictions and trends (via Hover.com)
Okay, now it’s time for me to look-into my crystal ball and share what I think is ahead for 2017. Like most predictions, I think it’s fair to say this isn’t much better than a somewhat educated guess so we’ll see how many I got right a year from now.
Prediction #1: 4L Chinese Premiums will drop in price
Okay, this might not be a popular prediction but it’s what I think so I may as well throw it out there. There was a rush for 4L CHIPS during the second half of 2015 and we’ve seen a less and less interest in these names in 2016 at the prices they were selling for at their peak. Yes, they still have value and I have a handful of CHIPS that I still think are solid investments, but I do think the demand at the prices we saw in 2015 has waned.
Prediction #2: Brandable one and two-word .COMs will continue to see good liquidity
We’ve seen a decline in exact-match names and a push towards brandables, or at least I have seen it from where I’m sitting and I think this trend is going to continue into 2017.
Predictions #3: Opportunities to hand-register liquid new gTLDs will continue
While I still think (okay I know) .COMs are the best investment you can make, it’s no secret that investors have been hand-registering new gTLDs and selling them at a very nice profit. Yes, it’s higher risk, and sure, if you bet wrong you’ll lose a lot more money than you’ll make. Domains like 1.xyz sold for $181,720 last year and there are plenty more .CLUB, .LIVE and other new gTLDs that sold for 10x or more what the owner paid for them. While you might not want to invest in new gTLDs, and I agree you’ll be taking less risk if you focus on .COM, there are still opportunities here and those opportunities will continue.
Prediction #4: Some new gTLDs will crash and burn
We’ll see a number of new gTLDs that hit their one or two-year anniversary see huge attrition as end-users and investors who bought names at special promotional rates decide not to renew. This is the risk of doing $0.50 registration specials (or lower), you don’t figure out how much someone is actually willing to pay for your domain extension in the long run, you just find how much they’re willing to pay for the first year.
Prediction #5: UDRPs will hit an all-time high
With more domain extensions out there and more domain investors out there, more people will be stupid and register trademark domains. Businesses are getting more and more comfortable with the UDRP process and anyone thinking they can squat on trademarks across multiple TLDs are likely going to be hit with a wave of UDRPs. Unfortunately, this also means that plenty of companies will file UDRPs for domains that rightfully belong to the owner. It’s a double-edged sword and unfortunately the people buying domains that clearly violate known trademarks are in some ways creating an environment that also hurts people buying completely legitimate domains since it’s making companies much more comfortable (and used to) the UDRP process.
Okay, these are my five predictions for 2017, now I’d like to hear from you. Which do you think are right? Which are wrong? And what do you think is ahead for the domain industry in 2017?