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How Trendy Keywords Offer an Opportunity

Domain investors typically buy two different types of domain names: exact match domains that match a product or service, or brandable domains that can be used for many types of business.

Most of the good domains that fit these categories are already registered, meaning that investors have to buy them from someone else.

But every day new terms pop up in the world: buzzwords, memes, slang, news topics, and new technologies.

Many times these terms take hold and enter the common vernacular. Other times they fizzle out. These “trendy” keywords are ripe for domain investing, but investors need to be cautious.

My Personal Story

In 2006 I bought the domain name MusicPhones.com. Phone makers were adding music functionality to their phones to compete with the iPod. Samsung even had a TV commercial promoting its first “music phone.”

I figured MusicPhones.com would be a valuable domain name that defined an entire category of popular mobile phones. It would be worth a lot of money.

I received a couple of offers for the domain name shortly after I bought it. I rejected them and held out for more money.

Then, the next year, Apple came out with the iPhone. Suddenly, every phone was a music phone and the domain MusicPhones.com didn’t make much sense. Phones that played music were merely called… phones.

This is an example of the risk you take when you invest in trending domain names.

Domain investing based on something that’s trendy might seem like a good idea, but remember that trends come and go. Before long, your trendy domain might look dated.

Remember These?

Speaking of the iPhone, do you remember how it became popular to add “i-” to the beginning of domains thanks to Apple?

Apple with several bites taken out of it

While i-domains were popular last decade, the early days of the Internet favored “e-” as a prefix to domain names. Companies added e- to the front of any word and made it their business name. A couple of examples include eBay and eHarmony.

The prefix “e-” was popular because it stood for electronic. You can thank e-mail for starting this naming trend.

Now, when you see an e-domain you might think “old” rather than trendy. The same goes for i- domains. Apple has started dropping it from its product names, going with Apple instead (e.g. Apple Watch, Apple Music). It appears that the popularity domains starting with i- is declining.

Going back even further, many people chose domains that started with cyber and virtual.

Other Outdated Trends

Speaking of dated keywords, here are a handful of other terms that have outlived their popularity.

  • Vlog – there was a short time when it seemed that vlogging—video blogging—was the next frontier. And while video has certainly taken off, the term vlog hasn’t. I remember a domain investor showing me his list of hundreds of domains in the form of topic+vlog.com many years ago. The domains aren’t worth much today.
  • 3-D – a few years ago domain investors snapped up any domain they could find with 3D in front of it. 3-D entertainment and 3-D printing were all the rage. This technology is still more popular now than it was a decade ago but the hype has worn off. Many domain investors are stuck with domain names they will never sell.
  • Virtual Reality – Virtual Reality is giving way to Augmented Reality. Both technologies are probably a long way from mainstream use. Investors in domains related to these technologies will probably have to hold their domains for a long time in order to find a buyer.
  • DVD, CD – Streaming and download services have all but killed physical media like compact discs, DVDs and now even BluRay. Domain names with CD and DVD in them aren’t valuable anymore. While DVDs and CDs weren’t “trends”, they’re an example of how technological change can render certain keywords worthless.

Today’s Trends and Keyword Opportunities

What’s hot in 2019? Artificial intelligence and self-driving cars come to mind. But like many previous trendy keywords, these might not pan out as people expect.

Consider what domains you might register to take advantage of self-driving cars. First, you need to figure out what they will ultimately be called. Will they be called self-driving? Or will autonomous cars be the most-used term?

And if this technology goes mainstream then will it be like music phones because we will likely call self-driving cars simply “cars” once all cars are self-driving.

In 2017 and 2018 cryptocurrency terms were very popular. Cryptocurrency.com sold last year for a rumored $12 million. BTC (short for bitcoin) sold for $1 million in 2014.

It’s possible that the value of these domains will increase over time, but domain investors should be forgiven for taking the money they can get today for these domains. Much like the price of bitcoin, the value of these domains can spike and then fall rapidly.

Trends Can Pay Off—But Be Careful

There’s a reason domain investors like to buy domains with new trends. If you spot a trend early enough then you can register potentially valuable domain names before other people catch on.

Some terms that started as trendy really took off and are still popular today, such as “blog.”

Just don’t put all of your eggs in one basket or you might be holding on to domains worth less than a bunch of Y2K supplies.

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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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