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Using registration count to evaluate domain names

Domain name investors consider many metrics when deciding which domain names to acquire. One of the most popular metrics is the number of top level domains the second level domain is registered under.

Let’s take a look at what this metric means, how it’s calculated, and if it’s a good metric to use when acquiring domain names as an investment.

Defining the metric

Domain names have two parts. The second level domain is the part of a domain to the left of the dot. It’s the part of a domain you customize. The top level domain is the part of the right of the dot, such as .COM or .NET.

In example.com, ‘example’ is the second level domain and ‘.COM’ is the top level domain name.

When a domain investor says, “This domain is registered in five top level domains,” what they mean is the second level domain is registered in five different top level domains. The domain might be registered as example.com, example.net, example.org, example.io and example.club.

reviewing domain metrics

Calculating the metric

There are several ways to figure out how many top level domains a given second level domain is registered under.

One is to use a Whois tool like DomainTools, which shows if the domain is registered in a handful of other extensions.

Active domain investors will want to use tools that make it easier to see registration numbers at a glance. 

ExpiredDomains.net shows the registration numbers for domains at many expired domain marketplaces and domain aftermarkets. You can click on the “Reg” number next to a domain to see which extensions a domain is registered under.

DotDB is a tool designed specifically for calculating registration counts. It has a couple of benefits. 

First, it’s lightning-fast. Second, paid members can see which domains are in use. DotDB uses color-coding to show which domains are active, parked, and inactive. The system also indicates if a keyword is registered anywhere in a second level domain. If you search for example.com, it will show you domains like wordexample.com, exampleword.com, etc.

The more, the merrier

Domain name inventors like to choose domains that are registered in multiple extensions because it shows demand for the second level domain. If companies use top level domains other than .COM and you’re able to acquire that .COM domain, each of those other domain owners is a prospective buyer for your domain.

Think of each registration in another top level domain as a vote of confidence in the second level domain’s value.

Many of the companies that register a second level domain in something other than .com would probably prefer to own the .COM. So there’s a built-in buyer base for the domain.

looking at .com domains

Some important caveats

There are some important things to think about before acquiring a domain name because it’s registered in many extensions.

First, sometimes one company registers the same second level domain in many extensions. That doesn’t present as many potential buyers for your domain as when different companies register the variations.

This is especially true when registering an expiring domain. You might have your eye on a .COM domain and see that both the .NET and .ORG are registered. Before getting excited, check to make sure that the registrants of the .NET and .ORG domains aren’t the same as the one that is letting the .COM expire!

Second, consider the quality of registrations in other extensions. Ideally, they are registered by businesses that actually use the domains. Suppose only domain investors have registered the domain in other extensions. In that case, they are less likely to be good candidates to buy your domain than companies that are actively using the domains. In other words, check how the domains are being used. (DotDB shows which extensions are used at a glance and is a good way to check for quality). 

There’s still some value to registering a domain with multiple registrations in other top level domains that are registered by domain investors. It’s still a vote of confidence. But it’s less likely you will be able to sell the domain to one of the registrants of the non-.COM domains.

It’s just one measure

As with any metric used in domain investing, be sure to consider the totality of the domain name when deciding to acquire it. Each metric is merely a piece of the puzzle. Most domain investors consider other metrics, such as keyword popularity in search, age of the domain, etc., when choosing a domain to acquire. 

Looking for domains to acquire? Visit the Namecheap Marketplace.

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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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