.Net Names are Hot… But Why?
Although .net names seem to be selling well these days, I don’t particularly like the .net extension. There are a few reasons for this, but what it boils down to is that I would never develop a .net domain name, and I don’t know why someone else would – unless there are extenuating circumstances (like it would be impossible to acquire the .com and nothing else will suffice). Ultimately, I believe the general public knows .com and they generally assume a website is found at the .com. Additionally, I don’t know why someone would park one for PPC revenue, as they may pay a premium for a top keyword, but type-in traffic to .net names is probably tiny.
Recently, I’ve noticed what seems to be an increase in sales and sales prices of domain names in the .net extension. Intuitively, I don’t believe there is going to be much (if any) direct navigation traffic to these names, so I am a bit perplexed as to why .net domain sales have been increasing. Could it be that the prices are such good bargains compared to the gold standard .com names that there is money on speculation? Sure, I can understand developing a huge category killer .net name like Baseball.net or Fishing.net, but I just don’t see buying a .net to park it, like many of the Year to Date sales leaders are.
I really don’t know why people are buying .net domain names. If the plan is to develop, wouldn’t it be smarter to spend money on the .com domain name? If a person is going to spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of time developing a domain name with the intention of building a business, why would they start out almost handicapped by having the .net? The amount of money it will take to brand the .net over the course of a few years could be more than it would cost to buy the .com instead. If I am going “balls out” building a website, I would have the confidence in my ability to spend (or finance) the .com domain purchase. Maybe that’s just me, but if I am going to build a website or a business, I would be slightly embarrassed to tell my domain colleagues and non-domain friends, “no, not .com – .net.”
Another thing to keep in mind is that once a website is built on the .net, the owner of the .com just hit a jackpot, as the .net website just made his .com domain name all the more valuable, especially if it is without a doubt generic and doesn’t try to monetize it by taking advantage of the .net (Oversee.com would be stupid to have PPC links for domain-related things for example).
Additionally, for generic domain names, if the .com owner builds a similar website on the .com, I would assume he would be the beneficiary of better search engine optimization rankings, and people would just assume they are on the correct website when they navigate to the .com.
For illustrative purposes, I added a Compete.com traffic chart of Oversee.net vs. Oversee.com, with Fabulous.com used to show that an increase in traffic between the .net and .com weren’t simply related to an increase in Internet traffic. Based on the chart, it would appear that the few spikes in traffic seen by Oversee.net resulted in a lift in traffic for Oversee.com.
While .net domain names are certainly less expensive than .com names (and maybe even .org, too), I think there is a very good reason for it, and that’s why I don’t really buy .net domain names. I would be interested in hearing why others think the .net extension has been doing well recently, and I am interested in knowing what others thinking about building on .net. I am open-minded and interested in learning.
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