As many of you know I wear two hats, one as a domain investor and the other as a startup founder. These are two different worlds and at the moment 99% of my time is spend as the co-founder of LA-based fashion startup Fashion Metric. That being said my previous company (Linton Investments) is still running strong making money buying, selling, and helping startups acquire domains.
Let me put on my Domain Investor hat.
So let’s talk about the new gTLDs because I think many Domainers have missed why I’m such a fan of them. For the millionth time let me say this very clearly – I don’t think the new gTLDs represent good investment opportunities for Domainers. As a domain investor I am putting the vast majority of my money into .COM and I don’t see that changing anytime in the next decade.
From an investment standpoint I see .COM prices only going up as the new gTLDs hit the market. Linton Investments still actively buys domains and I can tell you this month, next month, the month after that, etc. we’re focused on buying one and two word .COMs.
As a domain investor I think you will absolutely lose your shirt if you decide to change your investment strategy and focus on new gTLDs. Just look at sales like TeamWork.com for $650,000 or IG.com for over $4M and it’s easy to see that .COMs are without a doubt the gold standard for investment-grade domains.
I hope I’ve made this incredibly clear but just to re-iterate again, as a domain investor I am putting my focus on .COM, I see .COM prices only going up, and I think anyone who decides to build a domain portfolio full of new gTLDs is going to lose a small fortune.
Okay, now putting on my startup founder hat.
As a startup founder I know many other founders. Very few have six-figure budgets for a domain name, they might some day, but they don’t now. I think if an education startup wants to call themselves “Education Guru” and the .COM owner wants $250,000 and they only have $2,500 then a domain like Education.guru is actually a great choice.
I have seen companies like HelloBrit.com raise over $7M and rebrand to Brit.co after raising millions. If you go to Silicon Valley and talk to any investor they’ll tell you that Brit.co is one of the hottest startups out there. Another startup wanted to call themselves Intercom…but they didn’t have the budget for Intercom.com so they built it on a .IO. Did that impact their business? Nope, they went on to raise over $30M.
There are so many examples of successful startups branding on non .COMs that we can no longer say that you need a .COM to be successful, the numbers just don’t show that.
So as a startup founder I say, go for it, brand around a new gTLD or an existing non .COM like .CO or .ME that has clearly established themselves as a go-to domain extension for startups. If you raise $100,000 that money should go into building your team and your product, spend all of it on a domain and that’s all you’ll be left with.
So, like the title says – Domainers – stop talking about new gTLDs as if they were made for you. They’re not, and I think they will make terrible investments in almost all cases. For startup founders and small business owners all over the world new gTLDs represent a new opportunity to get the brand name that you want rather than opting for your 3rd or 4th choice name.