Friday, October 03, 2008

Is There Big Money in Selling Domain Names?

Is it still possible to make money buying and selling Internet domain names? ... The business of domain name speculation is a strange admixture of the California gold rush, a hockey brawl, and a geek-filled remake of the film It's a Mad, Mad, Mad Mad World.

Domaineering is a chaotic business, and a complex one. By the end of the first quarter of the year 2008, more than 14 million new domain names had been registered, and the grand total of all domain names registered exceeded 162 million. The .com TLDs were by far the most popular; with growing demands for domain names that end in .de (Germany), .cn (China), .net, .uk (United Kingdom) and .org. Other popular domain names end in .info, .nl (Netherlands), .eu (European Union), and .biz. According to a recent study (The Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief), the enormous growth "is driven by continued global Internet adoption." Roughly 75% of all domains that are purchased are renewed; and if a domain name has a web site on it (think: the game Monopoly with houses) then it is even more likely to be renewed.

But can you make any money buying and selling domains? ... If you are planning to invest in a name — or wondering if you should do it — your first move is the easiest: pick up and read a copy of David Kesmodel's book: The Domain Game.

The Domain Game
How People Get Rich From Internet Domains
by David Kesmodel
Paperback, 192 pages
Publisher: Eurocom Books

An interesting read from start to finish, the book covers the history of domain name speculation, the players who risked a lot (of money and time) and came up smiling, and a closing chapter with advice about how to play this intriguing game. Kesmodel does a superb job of explaining everything important about the business: from cybersquatting to typosquatting; from the big sales to the tremendous disappointments; from pay per click advertising to the cunning Karl Rove who — before the Bush election — bought up a number of Bush-related domain names, including some insulting ones.

The domain name industry is still young, and Kesmodel does not shy from exposing some of its questionable practices. "Domain tasting"is one of these: a domain name registrar will buy up thousands of names, hold them for a few days, and then return the least valuable of these for full credit, before the 5-day credit window expires.

The book is well-documented with references, and it tells the story of the domain name game by telling the stories of the people who invented it — most of whom were able to turn enormous profits.

Whether or not there's money to be made today, by the small investor, is an unanswered question. But by reading The Domain Game — learning how the system works, and following the author's advice in the last chapter (and following up with the resources in the second appendix)— you'll enter this mad, mad, mad, mad aspect of the Internet armed with useful knowledge, and the best possible chance to hit it big.