.NET registrations may be declining but that doesn’t make them less valuable…does it?

.net domains

Verisign released their Q3 domain report (read it here) and in it shared some pretty interesting data. One site covered the report and highlighted something about .NET that wasn’t directly mentioned in the report:


The popularity of .net TLD is decreasing. As compared to 15 million domain names registered with .net TLD in Q3 2017, the count has been declined to 14 million in Q3 2018. (Source – DazeInfo.com)

Rewind fifteen years ago and if you couldn’t get the .COM, you went for the .NET, maybe the .ORG, but in most cases the .NET is what you’d go for. Then domain extensions like .CO, .ME, .CLUB and .IO changed the game and gave people an alternative to .COM that was shorter and more brandable than .NET.

Then all the new gTLDs hit and now there are tons of new domain extensions for people to pick if the .COM is taken. The reality is, over the last 15 years .COM has remained king, but the second choice has gone from .NET or .ORG only to a zillion different options with about 5-10 extensions being more popular than the rest (i.e. I think it’s safe to say people would much rather have a .ME name than a .HOLDINGS name).

So, if you look at the Verisign report you might think – .NET is less valuable now than it was last year…but that’s not at all what the data is showing. All this report says is that there are less .NET domains registered y/y, it says absolutely nothing about the value of .NET.

I think what’s happening with .NET is the same thing that is happening with all the other .COM alternatives, the best names are valuable but people aren’t out there hand registering a ton of junk like they do with .COM.


Think about it. We’ve all been there, and it usually happens late at night. We think of something, maybe a brandable or two or three word domain and check to see if it’s available in .COM. If it’s not, most people don’t decide, well I’ll just register it in another TLD – they don’t buy it. Domain investors aren’t stock-piling random .NET domains like they do with .COM either, they still invest in them but usually focus on the high quality names.

Now think of someone that wants to call their company something like “Cool” – well Cool.com is a six or seven figure name, so that’s out of the question for most people. So then they look at Cool.net, Cool.me, Cool.club, etc. Good domains in extensions like .NET are still incredibly valuable and I think we’ve actually seen these prices rise as .COM prices have continued to go up.

So don’t get confused when you read the Verisign report, sure, there are less .NET domains registered but that doesn’t mean they are any less valuable. Or at least that’s my two cents.

Now it’s your turn, I want to hear from you – comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Brad Mugford December 14, 2018, 5:21 pm

    .NET is still widely used by end users. Top keywords and brands are still valuable.
    What is being dropped is pretty much the junk – marginal domains, brand protection regs, etc.


  • Snoopy December 14, 2018, 7:55 pm

    .Net values are mostly definitely falling, and the decline in registration number is very related to that. Hasn’t been a 6 figure sale in 3 years for example. There used to be multiple 6 figure sales every year going back before 2012. e.g. in 2011 there was 6 sales of 100k or more .net sales. The lower end of the market has fared no better.

    The decline is due to two factors.

    -Google ranking changes since 2012 which have made SEO style names less appealing. That is where alot of .net’s appeal was.

    -More choice, particularly with rebranded country code extensions become more widely used and to a lesser degree new tlds.

    The upside is that .net still outsells everything except .com by a wide margin, it is far better than .org or .io or .co in terms of sales numbers. But I would no longer class it as an investment grade extension even though they would be far easier to pick up. None of these alt extensions are worth investing in because people can’t remember them and substitutes that are just as good/bad can simply be “printed” by Icann.

  • Snoopy December 14, 2018, 7:59 pm

    Actually it probably wasn’t fair of me to say substitutes are just as good/bad, .net is far better because people know it to a degree and it is accepted as a legitimate extension by consumers/businesses. But still it is facing competition from hundreds of 3rd rate extensions.

    • Cannabis Jobs December 15, 2018, 7:50 am

      I would build on a .NET domain over a new gTLD 99% of the time.

  • John December 15, 2018, 6:20 am

    There are some keywords that do go pretty well with .net. I have a .net site and I pretty much like the name with “.net” even though I would rather be able to get the .com. But the .com is not being used except for forwarding. My .net site actually looks nice and has a little value in the world. It’s also very short and the whole name itself looks nice. Aside from that, however, I usually avoid .net like the plague and drop them unless there is a compelling reason to have it, which there sometimes is.

    • John December 15, 2018, 6:22 am

      And I a related note, I just discovered I didn’t turn the auto-renew off on a .org I intended to drop, so I’m stuck with that for another year at a ridiculous renewal fee. Needless to say I took care of them all at this particular registrar to avoid that again.

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