It’s All About Branding

Domain - what domain name to choose

Nathan Safran wrote a piece on Search Engine Land that had to do with the branding benefits of search. In his piece entitled, It’s Time For Marketers To Attend To The Branding Benefits Of Search, Safran cited a Google study that concluded, “Search Ads Lift Brand Awareness.” The study tested brand recall for searchers who had seen the target brand in paid search ads against a control group who had not been exposed to the brand. The study concluded that brand-exposed searchers had a 6.6% increase (80% lift) over the control group.

Safran noted:In Search Engine Land’s writeup, editor Ginny Marvin pointed out that the study only tested the top brand position; it did not determine the degree to which the lift carried through to other, less prominent search ad positions. And, any study that examines brand lift from paid search ads begs the question of the degree to which corresponding brand lift occurs in natural search results — which is where the majority of searcher attention is focused.

Safran is the Director of Research at Conductor, he added to the conversation by discussing a study conducted by his company.

The study showed:

1. Most Significant Lift Occurs When The Brand Appear Above The Fold And In Universal Results

2. Brand Lift Stronger When Appearing Above The Fold Than Below

3. PPC With Organic Results Above The Fold Increases Brand Awareness

Read the full article which goes into detail on all 3 topics and also presents an illustrated result of the study.

Michael had touched upon the topic of branding in a post entitled, “It’s Domaining 6.0 & It’s Is All About Branding

The post was written back in July of 2012 before the new gtlds had gone into release, Mike took a look at domaining in both the past and the future.

From the post:

Domaining 6.0

So here we are in 2012 and things have changed again.

Google algorithms change like the wind leaving SEO guys trying to figure out how to game the system keyword rich domains are selling but at a much lower rate and’s at a much lower prices.

Sales are brisk but the average prices have come down.

Look at the year to date sales chart.

I mean really go check it out now and come back.

I’ll wait.

So we are half way through the year and you will see just one domain selling for seven figures in 2012, and that was at $1,000,000 even.

Only one other domain name has sold for $500K – $1M and that one was at an even $500K.

Only 4 domains have sold between $200K-$499K

Now go look for 2011

3 sales of $1M or more.

9 of $500k or more.

18 were between $200K-$500K

Now look for 2010,

7 sales of $1M or more and two for over $5 Million.

There were 8 Sales between $500K-$825K.

12 between $300K- $450K

16 between $200K -$300K

You get the idea.

Its not that the resale market is dead.

So far in 2012,  there are over 25 sales between $100K- $325K

There are a lot of sales between $20k-$100K and actually it still takes $42,500 to make the top 100 list for 2012.

So stuff is selling and the  resale market is far from dead, but the top of the market has dried up to a large extent.

Look at the weekly report or the report in general, we publish it every week.

You will see a steady weekly $2.5 million in combined domain name sales but over 90% of the transactions priced $3,000 or under.

That’s what the state of the resale market is for the vast majority of domainers.

Lets look at Sedo figures for 2011:

“47% of traded domain names during 2011 were sold at prices at or under $500.”

Only 6% of sales were $10K or more.

So where do we go from here?

We know that we are facing a world with 500-1,500 new gTLD extensions in the next few years, from the 22 we currently have.

Choices for consumers are going to increase for some verticals exponentially, will all domain prices hold steady?

Will a New York Personal Injury Lawyer that might pay $10K for in 2012, still pay that much when he could register for $50-$100 anyone of a number of new possibilities like NewYorkPersonalInjury.Law, NewYorkPersonalInjury.Lawyer,  NewYorkPersonalInjury.Attorney,  NewYorkPersonalInjury.Esq or NewYorkPersonalInjury.Legal or even PersonalinjuryLawyer.NYC?

We can and have argued for now a couple of years what the effect of these new gTLD’s will have on the value of existing domains and extensions.

The truth is as we have said from day one of the announcement that these new gTLD’s might be coming, is that NO ONE Knows what will happen when the market expands from 22 TLD’s to 522 or 1,022.

But there are some hints out there.

The biggest domainer of all applied for 54 new gTLD’s committing $60 million towards the process.

Google applied for over 100 new gTLD’s

What Happens if Google gives away domain name for free in 2014.

Yup just about 20 years to the date, we maybe back to where it all started, with free domains.

What happens to the $10K domain when someone can register NewYorkPersonalInjuryLawyer.Web for free?

In the world of 1,000 new gTLD and what we have already started to see is for domainers is going to be all about branding.

It’s not about the domains or the extension but about brandable domains which would give an end user an memorable internet presence.

If you read regularly you will see a lot of companies being funded by big VC firms in extensions like .Me, .Tv,  .Ly, .It .Es and among others.

As more and more brandable and intuitive extensions come on board, its going to be even more about brand potential.

Look at this week’s top sale on

Last week’s

The week before,

All highly brandable intuitive domain names.

When 500, 1,000 1,500 or more new gTLD’s are on the market sometime in the next few years, the internet will become what was a one trick pony of .com to one of infinite choices and possibilities.

Highly brandable intuitive domains will continue to be in huge demand.

When seeing hundreds of new extensions all hitting the market, Internet users won’t just be confused, there heads will be spinning like Linda Blair in the Exorcist.

More the reason that end users will want and need a brandable, memorable domain.

The domain name space and the Internet is all about branding, standing out from the crowd, making a memorable mark regardless of extension.

On a personal note,  some have accused me of being biased towards the new gTLD’s because of my involvement in which was founded in just 2011, although I own some 75,000 domain names, none of which end in a new gTLD.

I feel like I need to address this.

Personally I was perfectly happy if my domaining life continued like it did in 2004, 2005, 2006, etc when parking revenue was measured into the six figures every month, live domain name actions were measured in the tens of millions, not the one’s of millions.

I worked less and made more.

I could have done that forever and I would have been quite happy.

But the numbers are the numbers.

So you can either live in the past or try to make a proper assessment of what the future will hold.

Part of being a good businessman is being fluid; to assess news and developments, not only in the industry you’re are in, but in the economy and world in general and adjust your thoughts and plans as events warrant.

People change their positions based in change of facts and circumstances.

The world is consistently changing and blinding holding on to positions based on facts no  longer in existence is a fairytale.

Of course, many people will interpret the same facts differently and that is as they say that makes the horse race.

I remember when one of the hottest businesses in the US was pay telephones.

You paid to put a phone in a location or bought an existing location, and you would never have to worry because people would have to always make phone calls and a location that did $100 a day would always do $100 a day.

Well that didn’t exactly work out that way did it?

Throughout  the history of the world, those who have,  usually opposed change.

Its human nature to hold on to what we have, especially if what we have is valuable

However the only consistent in the history of the world is that the world keeps changing.

So now we are at the time where our  world of 22 TLD is about to expand to 522 or 1,022 or 2,022 in a few years.

It could be 2014 or 2015 or 2016 but it’s coming.

It’s not my decision.

I didn’t get a vote on it, but i saw it was coming in 2010 and decided I couldn’t afford to ignore the disruptive influence that the new gTLD could bring.

Although I had no idea how what my involvement would be in the new gTLD’s there was no doubt I was going to be involved.

Now as you see I wasn’t the only domainer checking out the new gTLD space.

Those domainers who are now trying to move into the registry business came to the same conclusion.

For them its an evolution rather an abandonment of being a domainer.

The biggest of new gTLD’s advocates wouldn’t suggest that .com’s will be replaced in total number of registrations by any new extension.

I have talked to almost every new gTLD applicant and I will tell you no one expects to see .com dethroned in their lifetime by a new gTLD, even all the new gTLD’s put together.

Yet that doesn’t have to happen for the domaining world to change.

However with 500, 1,000 or more new gTLD’s coming into the market backed by new companies, with new money, with different pricing options,  including possibly free domains, when you see people who used to be the biggest buyers of .com’s becoming registry operators, it’s just naive to expect business to continue as usual.

We have already gone through many versions of domaining as outline above and we will go through several more in just my lifetime and I’m an old-timer in this business.

It’s Domaining 6.0 and its all about branding; be it a .Com., .Me, .TV, .NYC, .Law, .Music, .Miami, .Poker, .Berlin. .Inc., or hundreds of other extensions.

If a domain is its intuitive and brandable it’s a winner, if not your running uphill against an avalanche of endless domain combinations.

There were 128 comments on the post and it is interesting to take a look back at where readers saw things back then and how they see them now. Acquired On Afternic For $9,500 Last August Raises $30 Million










The domain name sold on Afternic in August 2013 for $9,500.

Today Term Sheet is reporting that the company who bought the domain is now named  ThoughtSpot, it is located in a Redwood City, California and is a  “provider of search-based business intelligence solutions, has raised $30 million in Series B funding. ”

“Khosla Ventures led the round, and was joined by Aaron Levie and return backers like Lightspeed Venture Partners.

In February the company raised $10.7 Million, as reported by

The company “is the brainchild of Nutanix co-founder Ajeet Singh and Amit Prakash, who was a founding engineer of Microsoft’s Bing team and then spent five years leading technical teams in Google’s AdSense Analytics group.”

Branding of a company that already raised $40 Million based off of a $9,500 domain purchase less than a year ago.

ICANN Says Brands Are At Risk of Domain Abuse

Katy Bachman at AdWeek did a piece on ICANN and their statement that brands are at risk of domain abuse. They are warning brands to protect their intellectual property by using the Trademark Clearing House. The article mentions that many brands are not rushing to pay  the $150/year per domain fee to register each brand.

From the article:

Try to follow this. Icann, the international organization that has begun to roll out hundreds of new generic top level domains over the objections of brands worried about domain abuse, is now warning brands that they are at risk of domain abuse.

At the end of last month, the first of what will be hundreds of new domains (suffixes to the right of the dot in a url, like .guru, .photography) went live, adding to the more commonly-known domains like .com and .net.

The article goes on to get some feedback from those both in advertising and intellectual property

To Greg Shatan, a partner with Reed Smith who specializes in intellectual property law, it’s a blatant sales pitch. “They’re trying to drum up business. The only way the [Trademark Clearinghouse] gets paid, is if trademark and brand owners are scared.”

Read the full article here

New Pizza Chain Spends a Whole $500 To Secure Its Brand,









This is a new pizza chain starting to gain some momentum has now added South Florida to its locations.

Your Pie which started in 2008 the same year  the domain name was acquired the domain at a auction for a whopping $500, which is now the name for the pizza chain which is busy franchising locations.

The chain is now in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Another example of someone selling a highly brandable domain name for pennies on the dollar.



LaunchRock Switches From .Com to .Co

Screen Shot 2013-07-02 at 9.44.30 AM which bills itself as “A Platform For New Startups” has switched its main URL from to effective July 1, 2013.

In a email sent to users, announced the change:


From: LaunchRock <>
Date: 2013/7/1
Subject: ACTION REQUIRED: Keep your LaunchRock account from being retired

Hello LaunchRocker,

On Monday, July 15th, 2013 at 12:00 PM PST, LaunchRock will be retiring our Legacy platform.

If you do not migrate your account by the retirement date it will be permanently deleted.

You may have noticed the voluntary migrate account button that has been in your Site Builder for a few months. The time has come, due to expense and need for continuity of service, to require all LaunchRock customers to migrate to our current platform.

Please follow these instructions to safely migrate your account, site settings, and emails:
Login to your DNS host
Change your CNAME record host / destination to
Optional A Record redirects should point to any of our IPs
Go to and log in to your legacy account
Click the Migrate Account button
Open the migration confirmation email from to get your new temporary login informtion
Login to the new Site Builder ( to verify and adjust your settings
Click the Launch Site button once you’ve completed 100% of the required steps.
More detailed instructions can be found here.

If you have any questions or feedback as you work in the new platform, you can reach us through the ‘Ideas & Support’ tab in the upper right corner of the site.

Thank you for your continued support,

The LaunchRock Team


While the naysayers will look at the fact that the company can only make the switch to .Co because they own the .com address as well, as you can see the switch to a .com is not a simple one and is going to require all users to take steps to keep their account active and may well loses users in the process.

Also this is not going to be a cheap process for the company so its willing to risk the loss of users and bear the costs of the switch over because the think .Co extension more represents their clients, the startup community which has embraced .Co

According to the .Co registry they now have over 1.5 Million domains registered.

HatTip: Mark Kychma