This is probably one of the hottest topics in the Domain Industry period – what is happening to direct navigation? While I don’t rely on direct navigation for any of my own income many Domainers do. Heck – this is how the industry started, the early investors quickly found-out that their domain names had a value far beyond the name itself – they were getting traffic and in some cases lots of it!
In the early days of the Internet it was hard to find what you were looking for, there was this Yahoo Directory but it didn’t always work very well. Then came Google with a whole new algorithm and a new way to organize the web and – poof – the world changed.
Fast-forward to 2011 and now just about everyone has a smartphone with a browser built-in and the data is clear, smartphone users are searchers not direct navigators. Couple this with an already increased focus on searching vs. typing-in what you’re looking for and it’s easy to see why direct navigation might be declining.
To make matters worse I read on Michael Berken’s blog yesterday that Google might be getting rid of the URL bar on Chrome completely! This would be a big move however it would take Firefox or Internet Explorer removing the URL bar to make a real impact. Still – it shows how the world is changing and while it’s easy for us to blame Google for everything it’s important to look at how the experience of using the web has changed.
Whether you like it or not search is in and it’s how more and more people are finding what they are looking for online each day. Also more people are surfing the web than ever before thanks to the incredible proliferation of smartphones opening access to anyone whether they have a computer or not. If you have a smartphone then you know how easy it is to search and how often you’ll find yourself searching for things, that is if there’s not an app for what you’re trying to do!
So my question to all of you is – what is the future of direct navigation? How will people use the Internet ten years from now and are you setting yourself up for a lifetime of passive income, or a dwindling revenue stream that fizzles out over time? I’m not saying I know all the answers – many of you are much more experienced than me when it comes to direct navigation. So hit me with it! Let me know – what is the future of direct navigation?