Living between two very different worlds

Different Worlds

I wrote an article yesterday about .CX domains, my thoughts about this domain extension haven’t changed, in short – I don’t think .CX domains are a good investment, or really an investment at all. The reality is, as it has been for a long time, .COM is king and that doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon.

As a startup I do think you have more choices than ever before and seeing so many new companies build their brands on a .AI or a .CO, a .TECH or a .IO is something I think we’re going to continue to see accelerate.

That being said, I think one of the reasons these other TLDs are so good for startups is because they aren’t .COM. For a startup with a $5,000 – $25,000 budget, getting a prime single-word domain in .AI or .CO is very possible…doing the same in .COM is, well, next to impossible.

I live between two worlds. For the last seven years I’ve been running a tech startup, so my social group is mostly other people in that world. Most startup founders see domain investors as “squatters” and pretty much every week I have to explain to someone that this is actually a legitimate thing that people do, myself included! Once they learn more about it they usually have a lot more respect for domain investors, but I’ll tell you, it takes some explaining.

On the flip side, rather than investing in the stock market or real estate I’ve focused my investments for the last twelve years on domain names. Most of the people I know in the domain investing world don’t understand how anyone could build a company on anything except a .COM. Just like I have to explain to startup founders that not all Domainers are squatters, I end up explaining to Domainers why startup founders aren’t wrong for not always starting with a .COM.

That being said, when it comes to domain investing I’m a .COM guy, that’s been my core focus and it continues to be. While I might write articles about startups branding on other domain extensions, don’t confuse that with me suggesting that I’m not focused on .COM as an investor. I hear people talking about TLDs like .CO and .AI, .TECH and .IO because those domain extensions are popular with startups, it’s that simple.

Living in San Francisco I also see tons of advertisements geared towards tech companies, and it’s hard to ignore the range of domains I’m seeing in these ads. Does it ever make me think, “hey I should stop investing in .COM?” Nope, not for a minute.

What I do see, at least from my life in-between these two worlds, is that both can co-exist. Zoom was able to become a billion dollar company branding on a .US domain, there are countless other examples of startups growing like crazy on extensions like .CO, .TECH, .IO, .AI, etc. With my domain investing hat on, I’m okay with that. The way I see it is that some day, when one of those companies really hits it out of the park and has a bigger budget, they’ll move to a .COM.

With my domain investing hat on I see this as an opportunity for .COM investors like me. Let’s face it, we get the best possible price for our domains when the person buying it can truly appreciate the value it offers, and I’d argue that nobody sees that more than a company that has built their brand on that one or two words and finally has a bigger budget for a domain name.

So get used to me writing articles about amazing and innovative companies branding on non .COMs, I’m excited about what they are doing and how they’re building their brand online. At the same time, get used to me beating a dead horse and telling other domain investors they should really only focus on .COM. There’s no double standard here, but there are two different worlds, but that can be hard to see if you’re living in one or the other…

Just remember,

startup founders – not all domain investors are squatters.

domainers – brilliant founders can and do build their brands on domains other than .COM.

If I had a mic, I’d drop it now, but all I’ve got is this microphone emoji 🎤 so that will have to do for now.

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Buzz December 10, 2019, 8:16 pm

    .CO is and always will be hot.

  • Just Ripped One December 12, 2019, 10:08 pm

    Your points on domains make total sense.

    Yes, there is a lot of mutual skepticism between domain investors and “brilliant” startup founders.( I guess there are no “brilliant” domain investors?)

    Domain investors risk their own capital, do their own research, their own marketing, manage their own finances, and usually don’t have $30 million in venture cap backing from overzealous vc’s that they can fritter away in nifty offices where overcompensated, self-entitled, vacuous, and woke to the point it hurts 20 and 30 somethings zip past air hockey tables on segways on the way to grab a kombucha and a chai tea from the fridge all while staring at their iPhone. Or is that just a bogus stereotype the way domainers being squatters is a stereotype?

    Are domainers adding anything of value to the world? Maybe not? But are “brilliant” founders really starting up anything worthwhile or they just trying to develop the 800th food delivery app? An app that soothes your anxiety-ridden dog so you go ziplining with your startup founder buddies and have a clean conscience? Or one of another 100 lame-o copycats of WhatsApp or something else that is actually successful. And what is their goal? Just waiting for Google to buy them out and shut them down so they can cash out and buy a small fleet of Teslas? Please keep helping the world, oh brilliant startup founders. We desperately need more of you! Keep working on those apps. How is that any better than what domain investors do? Can it really justify the better-than-thou attitude so many brilliant founders so often seem to possess?

    Maybe a post on why startup founders think they are so superior would help domain investors see them in a more positive light too. Negative stereotypes go in both directions.

    • Morgan December 13, 2019, 4:02 pm

      Thanks for the positive feedback and very true, there are negative stereotypes in both directions when in reality, I think most people from both sides would really like each other if they met in-person!


Leave a Comment