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Is domain age a good metric for domain investing?

Like a fine wine or a bottle of whisky, many domain name investors place a high value on “aged” domains. The idea is that the best domain names were registered a long time ago, so the older the domain’s registration date according to the Whois database, the better the domain.

This can be true but there are a lot of caveats. Let’s learn a bit about domain age, break down the case for using domain age when evaluating domains, the case against it, and how you should implement this in practice.

About domain age

Every domain name has a registration date in the Whois database. This database includes a timestamp for when the domain was registered. 

For example, if you look up the domain Namecheap.com in Whois you’ll see a creation date of 2000-08-11. This means the domain was registered on August 11, 2000.

Symbolics.com, the oldest .COM domain name registered, has a creation date of 1985-3-15.

Most domain names were originally registered in or after the year 2000. There were 10 million .COM domains registered in 2000 but now there are over 150 million. So it’s somewhat rare to find domains that were registered before 2000.

computer displaying a domain

The case for using domain age

The best domain names were registered decades ago. Savvy early adopters registered domain names in the 1990s (sometimes earlier!) and have held onto them for a long time.

So when evaluating domain names for purchase, such as buying an expiring domain name, the older the domain the better.

You can’t go back in time to register great domains that people snapped up in the ‘90s. But if you have the opportunity to buy one, it’s likely to be a better domain than something you could have registered in 2005 or 2020.

Therefore, an “aged” domain is often a sign of quality.

The case against using domain age

Domain age can be misleading and isn’t necessarily a mark of domain quality.

First, in addition to the great domains registered in the 1990s, people also registered some domains of little value back then. Looking only at the age of the domain in Whois to determine quality is not sufficient.

Second, many domains that were registered early on later expired and were registered by someone else. A domain might have a 2010 registration date in Whois even though it was originally registered earlier.

Third, lots of new terms have entered the lexicon since the early days of the Internet. Terms like ‘blog’ and ‘cryptocurrency’ meant nothing back then, and the best domains related to these topics weren’t registered until later.

Therefore, the age of a domain is not always a sign of quality.

The right answer

The right answer is somewhere in the middle: domain age can be used as an indicator or filter  but an old domain isn’t necessarily a good domain.

Some domain investors use domain age as a filter to make sorting lists easier. They set a minimum age for domains when sifting through lists to weed out domains that are less likely to be valuable.

But this is just a starting point. Investors won’t buy a domain just because it’s old. They will also consider metrics such as the popularity of the keywords in the domain, how many top level domains it is registered in, the market potential, etc.

The takeaway is that domain age is a useful metric for evaluating domain names but it’s just one of the many things to consider.

How to find ‘well-aged’ domains

Here at Namecheap we provide listings of existing domains for sale in our Domains Marketplace. Here you can find a wide range of domains up for sale by their current owners (at price points set by their owners). Check back often, as there are always new domains at all price points available.

And if you snag a great deal, be sure to let us know in the comments!

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Andrew Allemann avatar

Andrew Allemann

Andrew is the founder and editor of Domain Name Wire, a publication that has been covering domain names since 2005. He has personally written over 10,000 posts covering domain name sales, policy, and strategies for domain name owners. Andrew has been quoted in stories about domain names in The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times and Fortune. More articles written by Andrew.

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