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Domain Names in 2017: A Year in Review

All websites need a domain name. What happens in the domain name industry, therefore, can have an impact on businesses everywhere.
Here’s a review of what happened in 2017 in the domain name world.

Fewer Top Level Domain Name Launches

In 2014 we saw a huge number of new top level domain (TLD) name choices. These new domains let people select cool domain name endings such as .buzz, .cloud, and .life for their websites.
Several new top level domain names were released every week for a while. That slowed to a trickle in 2017 because most of the new TLDs have already been released.
That’s not bad news, though, as there are now hundreds of domain name endings to choose from, so you’re no longer limited to using .com, .net, .org, or other traditional top level domain names.
An interesting fact: the total number of domain names registered with new endings actually decreased in 2017, according to tracking site nTLDStats. That’s because some new top level domain name operators ran marketing promotions that elevated the number of domain registrations in 2016.
Even though the headline number of registrations has decreased, usage is steadily increasing.
And check this out: Namecheap is now the #1 registrar in North America when it comes to new top level domain registrations (according to nTLDStats).

Branded Domains

In addition to new domain extensions that anyone can register, some companies decided to move their websites to a branded extension.
Companies were able to apply for their own trademarks as extensions in the most recent round of top level domain name expansion. Many large companies paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for the rights to these names. For example, Google got  .google, Major League Baseball caught .mlb, and Apple grabbed .apple.
Few companies have activated their trademark domains yet, but that started to change in 2017.
For example, domain company Neustar changes its website to www.home.neustar.
Other companies haven’t switched their main website but created sites on their own branded domains. Amazon.com is heavily promoting the site Buildon.AWS. (AWS is its cloud service.) Music fans should check out LostInMusic.sony.

Cryptocurrency Domains were Hot

As the price of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and Ether spiked in 2017, so did the number of people registering domain names that contain terms related to cryptocurrencies.
Every month, .com operator Verisign releases a list of top trending keywords in domain names. The lists this year frequently included cryptocurrency-related domain names. In fact, nine of the top ten trending words in November were related to cryptocurrency!
Nearly 20,000 .com and .net domain names with the term “coin” in them were registered in November alone. Other trending cryptocurrency terms include crypto, bitcoin, and mining.

Domain Names are Still Valuable

Speaking of cryptocurrency, the domain name ETH.com sold for $2 million this year. ETH is the symbol for ethereum’s currency Ether.
ETH.com was one of six domain names to sell for more than $1 million according to DNJournal. Fly.com, Freedom.com, 01.com, 20.com, and MyWorld.com also broke the seven-figure barrier. As you might expect, .com domains continue to command top prices.
A couple of years ago Chinese domain name investors propped up the market for domain names, particularly short ones. That’s why 01.com and 20.com sold for so much money. Investment dollars from China have waned, however. Investment prices on short letter and number domain names dropped significantly in 2017.

Get Ready for 2018

As a business owner, the new year is a great time to take stock of your business online and make a plan for 2018. As part of that, be sure to take steps to secure your domain names, organize your domain portfolio, and think about if you should upgrade your website’s domain name.

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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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