Why I continue to focus on investing in two-word .COMs

While I don’t hold back on my excitement around seeing companies build strong brands on extensions like .IO, .CLUB, .ME, .XYZ and many more, as an investor my focus is on .COM. Also, as a startup founder I made the very conscious decision to brand on .COM since I believe that founders who brand on an alternative extension have all kinds of issues that I personally don’t feel like dealing with.

That being said, there’s more proof now than ever before that a startup can build a multi-million dollar or even billion dollar business on a non .COM. While that is exciting news, for domain investors, I think it’s very hard to build a strong investment business without keeping .COM as their core focus.

At NamesCon I talked to a lot of other Domainers about their investment strategy and it looks like most of us have a similar focus – two-word .COMs, and for good reason. While I do absolutely love one-word .COMs, my budget is smaller for buying names and I rarely buy domains over a few thousand dollars.

What makes two-word .COMs such great investments IMO is that they have a very strong sales history of selling for anywhere from a few thousand dollars all the way up to 7-figure sales like MyWorld.com which went for $1.2M. While I don’t think I have any two-word .COMs that would sell for six-figures, I have plenty that could sell for four and five figures, all of which would lock in a 10x or higher ROI.

The reality is, most companies want their .COM, and there’s only one of them out there. When someone can’t get their .COM, sure they go for another extension but as an investor, you’re always going to be able to get the best price for a .COM because someone isn’t coming to use as the alternative to the name they want, it is the name they want.

So let’s not get confused here when I talk about .IO domains. I’m a big fan of .IO, and I think it’s awesome to see people building super successful businesses on them. Still as a startup founder and a domain investor, I’m a .COM guy. Still, I’m not a .COM guy who thinks nobody can succeed without a .COM, I think many people can and many more will over time, but I’m sticking to .COM because the reality is, nothing else has been truly proven out to be even close to as good of an investment, period.

What do you think? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 40 comments… add one }

  • Snoopy February 9, 2019, 3:30 pm

    “When someone can’t get their .COM, sure they go for another extension“

    Most just go for a different .com, put a random word at the start or end. Very few businesses will ever choose a different extension.

    Reply
    • Morgan February 9, 2019, 4:43 pm

      Hard to say for sure…I think a lot of people go for the .IO, .CO, etc. if they can’t get the .COM. I’m seeing less and less people add the word “Get” to the front of their name or “Online” to the end. Then again, this is just based on what I’m seeing, if you have data that shows otherwise, you win 🙂

      Reply
      • Joe February 9, 2019, 4:51 pm

        VacationRentals.com sold for $35,000,000
        built out or not that’s strong.

        Reply
      • Snoopy February 9, 2019, 9:23 pm

        Seems to me every 2nd company on techcrunch’s is get*, your* etc, some superfluous keyword. This goes way beyond silicon valley though, businesses have been adding on extra words to “get the domain” for years.

        I don’t think many people go for .io or .co, it is a talking point when the do, like with confluent.io post.

        Reply
        • Rick February 9, 2019, 9:35 pm

          It’s hard to take you serious with that goofy name and picture.

          Reply
  • John February 9, 2019, 3:51 pm

    Morgan, I would say you sound like a guy who doesn’t really know how to asses the real value of domain names if you can say that you only think they are 4 to 5 figures. Then again, I’ve seen some horrible picks lately by a very famous domainer.

    Reply
    • John February 9, 2019, 3:54 pm

      Additionally, if you are putting any credence in what Estibot says about the value of your domains, then (1) I demand that you confess, and (2) I expect you to wake up and come to your senses.

      Reply
      • Morgan February 9, 2019, 4:45 pm

        @John – I don’t use any automated appraisal systems to appraise domains so I’m with ya’ there…

        Reply
    • Snoopy February 9, 2019, 4:28 pm

      Very rare for 2 word name to get over 5 figs, almost all one word at that level.

      Reply
    • Morgan February 9, 2019, 4:42 pm

      I think it’s very safe to say that most two-word .COMs can sell in the four to five figure range, and plenty sell in the three figure range. To think that most two-word .COMs would sell for six-figures would just be fooling yourself.

      Why I like two-word .COMs is because you can buy a domain for a few hundred dollars and sell it for a four thousand dollars or more. Simple as that.

      Reply
      • John February 11, 2019, 6:51 am

        I’m not saying that. But there is too much defeatist focus on what domains “would” sell for instead of what each specific domain “should” sell for because of what it is really worth to an end user. Domainers have simply drunk the Kool-Aid on this and allowed themselves to be beaten down.

        There is also too much emphasis on what *has* happened vs. what *should* happen. That may work in residential real estate, which is what domainers want domaining to be and to copy, but it does NOT work in domaining. It only “works” for those who drink the Kool-Aid and allow themselves to be beaten down, including with collective groupthink and even “enemies from within.”

        I find it hard to believe that a guy like you doesn’t really have two word domains which are really worth 5 to 6 figures and *should* sell for that (or maybe on occasion even more), but you think of them as 4 to 5 figures. If I saw some of them I’ll bet I could tell you better what they are really worth and what they really *should* sell for. HOWEVER, as I mentioned above, I just saw a very famous domainer display some surprisingly horrible picks, so may be you really do have mostly 4 and 5 figure ones.

        Reply
      • John February 11, 2019, 7:45 am

        And don’t forget – you’re the guy who even wrote the post on two word domains and how they can sometimes be better than one word. Rick Schwartz himself even provided examples there.

        Reply
  • Zhuba February 9, 2019, 4:25 pm

    Zhuba zhuba zhuba zhuba !

    Reply
  • Ed Keay-Smith February 9, 2019, 4:45 pm

    Hey Morgan

    I agree that you can build a succesful business on any extention, but at the end of the day the owner of the .com (or in our case in Australia, the .com.au) extention will always have some benfit in owning that extention.

    Either in traffic bleed off from the build out of the other domain extention and the more than likely capital event when said owner of the other domain wakes up to the fact they are losing money every day by NOT owning the .com of their domain.

    There are hundreds of publicised examples of this very thing happening over the past 20+ years and who knows how many that are off the record as well.

    IMO, .com will usually come out on top.

    Keep up the great work with your blog mate. 👍😎

    Cheers

    Ed

    Reply
    • Morgan February 9, 2019, 4:59 pm

      Well said Ed and agreed!

      Reply
  • Domain Boss February 9, 2019, 5:34 pm

    I am a big fan or two word domains. I disagree that they don’t get 5-figure offers. I have sold two-word names for 5 figures. It’s true that you won’t sell a lot if your asking prices are high but that’s true for all kinds of domains. I have even refused a low 6-figure offer last year on an insurance domain (I actually think I made a mistake when I declined it but it’s no use regretting now).

    Reply
  • Mark Thorpe February 9, 2019, 7:46 pm

    Two-word .COM domains are solid long-term investments. 15 characters or less (10 characters or less preferably). 8 characters or less is the sweet spot IMO.

    Some two-word .COM domains can sell for 6 and 7 figures to the right end-user.
    But there are plenty of good two-word .COM domains that can sell for mid 5 figures or higher.

    There are also a lot of two-word domains that are selling for 4 figures that should be selling for low-to-mid 5 figures IMO.

    Reply
  • The Online February 9, 2019, 7:58 pm

    I agree with your views about people’s and businesses first preference will always be a dot com. If it’s taken, then they go for an alternative. No one chooses non-dot-com as their preferred home for business. I’ve sites on few other new gTLDs and found out through analytics that people still search for ‘mysitename.club which is further suffixed by a .com in the search query. There are 100s for such .new TLD +.com on my various new sites. This also shows that people (note: people = novice users, general site visitors who know nothing about TLDs) mostly are used to .com so much that they think every domain will end in a .com!

    Sure one can successfully build a billion dollar business on non-dot-com TLDs, a lot of them have built it, but at the end non-tech-savvy people are going to search your business name or site name on the Google as “businessname.io .com”. So businesses try to grab a .com later whenever it is available and re-direct it to whatever TLD, ccTLD they are doing business on!

    Reply
    • Snoopy February 9, 2019, 9:26 pm

      Very interesting info, thanks.

      Reply
      • John February 12, 2019, 3:44 am

        Yeah, right, Snoopy, “Very interesting info, thanks” but after I gave the exact same kind of info I also discovered as an end user you had to troll me to death because it was a revelation about the value of best authoritative long domains instead of short. 😉

        Reply
  • SproutPro February 10, 2019, 8:13 am

    .com is King!

    Reply
    • BullS February 10, 2019, 11:41 am

      Dudh!!
      No sh*&^^it Sherlock
      tell me something that I have not heard before…

      Reply
  • Scott Brady Alliy February 10, 2019, 1:05 pm

    Great minds think alike! Interesting you would use myWorld as an example. One of our fav aged two word .coms in our portfolio is myTire and we have myWorld.com as the number one similar sales for reference.
    BTW before anyone questions our appraisal
    Have you noticed how many tires on the road? And that is just cars how about trucks motorcycles trailers lawnmowers bicycles and on and on. HUGE industry 32 billion annual last I checked
    Agreed on budget and potential ROI of two word .coms

    New Tire store just opened here in Wellington FL. that makes 3 Tire businesses in less than a mile apart . Four if you count Walmart about a 1.2 mile further away

    Reply
    • Scott Alliy February 10, 2019, 2:04 pm

      BTW Morgan my appraisal comment was directed at trolls who soul surely think a solid two word 17 year old.com is worth only reg fee

      Sorry for any confusion

      Reply
    • Snoopy February 10, 2019, 5:22 pm

      A world of difference between the two names. Myworld is a commonly used term for hundreds of business names, “mytire” is worth something but I wouldn’t be telling buyers it is comparable to a million dollar domain.

      It is the kind of name that would get $200 on namejet and could be sold for several thousand (but the odds of that are low). Are you pricing yourself out of a sale?

      Reply
      • Scott Brady Alliy February 10, 2019, 6:42 pm

        Thanks for respectful disagreement. I’ve been at this game since mid 90s. Recently sold a two word .com for 10x original offer.

        Couple things to consider
        1)Similar sales and appraisal values on our landing pages are for reference
        2) we are not buying we are selling so far be it for us to sell less than buyer will pay
        3) I believe it was domain king who reminded us
        Buyer sets the price seller sets the value

        I agree that MyTire would not garner any interest on Namepros. That’s not the type of buyer or market that I focus on.

        Wishing you success

        Scott Brady

        Reply
  • Richard Morris February 10, 2019, 3:43 pm

    Morgan…sorry we didn’t get a chance to chat at NamesCon, but I accomplished what I set out to do.
    I have about 75 business cards on my desk that I’ve yet to go through, but I met a lot of folks from around the world who got to know me, and my company mascot Biscuit.

    While I’ve been zeroing in mostly on two two-word .com domains, since I’ve been back home I’ve been registering one word .homes domains like Sonoma.homes and Hitech.homes. And just today I registered a couple of three word .coms like; DollarDownDomains.com and DollarDownHomes.com. Haven’t any domainers ever hear of “dollar down marketing”? Am I the only one?
    Maybe I’ll see you in Lisbon…Good Luck!

    Reply
  • Snoopy February 10, 2019, 5:24 pm

    Don’t waste your money on new tlds and 3 word .com’s, there is endless combinations that can be had for reg fee and people will rarely pay a premium for 2nd rate domains like those.

    Reply
    • Richard Morris February 10, 2019, 8:43 pm

      I guess you don’t understand the concept of “dollar down”, or the simple fact that GamesForGirls.com sold for 500K and FreeCreditReport sold for 300K. How about Fortune 500 companies like; Bank of America, Center Point Energy, Advance Auto Parts? And as for new TLD’s, there are plenty of exceptions there as well.

      I guess you need to understand business to understand why DollarDownDomains.com, DollarDownCars.com or DollarDownFitness.com may be worth way more than their reg fee.

      You may also want to ask Planet Fitness about DollarDownDeals™…they’re the latest in the dollar down craze:)

      Reply
      • John February 11, 2019, 7:00 am

        Wait, aren’t you the “Bulloney” guy? Can’t believe we agree on something.

        Reply
        • Richard Morris February 11, 2019, 9:37 am

          John…yes, i’m Bulloney and we probably agree more than we disagree. I don’t care a lot what other domainers think, but I do care what “end users” think. I’m fortunate enough that I’ve been an “end user” all my life. Therein lies the disconnect between me and your typical domainer.

          ThatNameGuy™ (formerly Bulloney)

          Reply
  • Snoopy February 10, 2019, 9:43 pm

    Those names are worthless. The only place 3 word “theme” names are popular is Namepros.

    Reply
    • John February 11, 2019, 6:59 am

      Nonsense. People like you with that are part of the problem, Snoopy, and you are causing harm with that. Also, please remind me to not sell another three word .com for $xx,xxx again, and Konstantinos Zournas to not sell another 4 word domain for $xxx,xxx again if I recall correctly.

      Reply
      • Snoopy February 11, 2019, 6:20 pm

        What domainers say about domains does not cause harm, what causes harm is registering long meaningless names that have no chance of selling and presenting them as gold.

        I hope nobody other than Bulloney is listening to you.

        Reply
        • John February 12, 2019, 3:48 am

          Uh, earth to Snoopy – it’s about best quality, top authoritative three and even four word and more domains, not the vast multitude of obviously worthless ones, as I just pointed out to you above. Yes, you are causing harm with your mindless and literally “ignorant” bias, bigotry, and prejudice.

          Reply
          • Snoopy February 13, 2019, 2:16 pm

            These long names are not selling for good amounts of money, in dnjournal’s Top 100 sales for 2018 there wasn’t a single name longer than two words. Even then the two word names only account for a handful of sales.

            If people buy a bunch of 3 and 4 word names they are likely buying something unsellable.

          • John February 14, 2019, 7:53 am

            Everyone knows sales take place that people don’t know about, maybe even most person to person or business to business sales. I didn’t let DNJ know when I sold a three word .com for $xx,xxx not that long ago, and that was deliberate.

          • John February 14, 2019, 7:57 am

            And how many times do I have to tell you that it’s about highest and best quality, not just the “buy a bunch” herd of garbage? But though rare as a % of the whole, there are still plenty enough of them in terms of absolute quantity.

            But I’m not repeating myself for you, but only for the readers and the higher cause.

  • Richard Morris February 11, 2019, 2:04 pm

    Morgan etal….i have a general question regarding a few domains i just reg’d. I mentioned that I’d reg’d a couple of 3 word .com’s yesterday like; DollarDownDomains.com and DollarDownHomes.com. Well, in both instances I was able to buy DollarDown.Domains and DollarDown.Homes. I also just picked up DollarDown.Store and left DollarDownStore.com alone.
    Is this an instance where the new gTLD is better than the .com because the equivalent .com is just too long? Thinking of Planet Fitness who offers memberships for just a dollar down I also reg’d DollarDown.Fitness instead of DollarDownFitness.com. Could Dollardown be seen as one word like Anytime or Shutup? Do we have a linguist in the house? Thanks for any feedback.

    Reply
    • Snoopy February 11, 2019, 6:22 pm

      They are long and meaningless no matter where you put the dot.

      Reply

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