We all remember the early stages of the internet and domain names when it was still considered “uncharted territory.” The small amount of people who decided to take the risk of purchasing .COM domain names back in the 1990’s speculated that it could one day pay off. The Dot Com bubble proved that domain names were in fact valuable commodities that could be bought and sold for exorbitant amounts of money, depending on the name.
The investors who decided to take a risk on these pieces of digital property prior to the Dot Com bubble enjoyed the fruits of their labor after the boom by selling certain names for lots of cash, and reinvesting back into the domain name market with more, better names to hang onto. Thus, the domain name investment industry was created, and continues to thrive today. Domain name investors, or as they’re idiosyncratically referred to as “domainers,” today don’t have the luxury of purchasing premium domain names for very little, and reselling them years later for a lot of money like what we saw in the late 90’s.
The reason why? Availability of inventory.
Before the Dot Com bubble and the subsequent thriving aftermarket industry was created, short, generic, memorable, and powerful words and phrases could be registered in .COM for a relatively safe investment cost. Of course domain name investing at that time was nothing more than betting on an uncertain future, so it was a sort of “low risk, high reward” type of investment model that investors used for speculating the risk of this new, digital commodity.
Can you imagine purchasing books.com for a few hundred bucks today? No chance. How about cars.com, or business.com? Not possible, unless you want to spend six to seven figures. It’s just the way it is. Back then, it was crazy to think that people were spending money on .COM domain names because nobody could really predict what would come of the internet at that point. Today, with the new gTLD program, people are saying the same things. There are a lot of new gTLD naysayers who think that the influx of these new extensions (generic words to the right of the dot) are nothing more than impostors, or wannabe .COMs. New gTLD extensions have been deemed weak, malicious, or untrustworthy by many, and the “Dot Com is King” narrative continues to be a prominent one in the domain investing community.
With all the negativity surrounding new gTLDs, there is an alternative growing number of those who are very high on the power and possibility of them, and see a bright future in terms of investment for them as well. One of these reasons is likened to the “next Dot Com bubble,” but with new domain extensions instead. Can’t get bookclub.com? Try book.club. Noticing that HoustonDentist.com is already registered? Try Houston.Dentist. One of the biggest reasons for the new gTLD program’s existence is that it provides people with alternative options without having to break the bank.
The same could be said with Chinese domains as well. To illustrate this point even further, take a look at the chart below, highlighting a random selection of domains which have been purchased in Dot Chinese Online (.在线) and Dot Chinese Website (.中文网) over the years at regular, general availability prices:
As you can see, there is a plentiful inventory of quality Chinese IDNs that are available at regular general availability prices, something you will not be able to say for .COMs. Two decades ago, there too was a large amount of quality .COM domain names that investors speculated could rise in value as the internet grows. Is this the new Dot Com bubble, but for new gTLDs and IDNs? Just like in the 1990’s, we can speculate all we want, but we won’t know until it happens. But if there is another “boom” and new gTLDs explode in value, now is the time to invest.
Now is the time to invest in Chinese-language domain names and reap the rewards of investing in a digital commodity that makes sense to a population of 1.4 billion people and the largest e-commerce market in the world. The new gTLD naysayers and .COM purists may continue to decry the validity of new domain extensions, but all we know is that there is a massive amount of available inventory for what could be another unprecedented digital boom in the coming years.
Invest in the future. Invest in the largest market in the world. Invest in a language that makes sense to 1.4 billion people. But don’t wait long, or you just might miss out on what could be the next Dot Com boom, but for new gTLDs.
- ChopChop Domains Team