Is Your Domain Name Affecting Sales?

What your domain name is saying to consumers.
Money
Maximizing the effectiveness of all your resources is essential to the success of your business. Although a domain name may be only a small piece of your resource “puzzle,” it’s crucial that you choose the right one. Your domain name serves as a first impression to customers online and it’s important that it’s staking a strong claim to your online real estate and sending the right message.

So how can you determine what domain name is the perfect fit for your business and ensure the effectiveness of your choice? Here are three considerations before making any purchasing decisions.

Put Yourself in Your Customers’ Shoes

The whole purpose of your domain name is to attract new customers, and bring back previous customers to your website. Take a minute to think like your customer and consider what you would search for if you were looking for your product or business name online. What domain name makes the most sense? You want customers to remember your domain so that next time they want to access you, they can go directly to your website without any searching.

Pick a Name That is Relevant to Both Your Business AND Product

Since it may be difficult to find a domain that encompasses both your business name and product, bundling domains can be very helpful. While some customers may associate more with your product, others may be more apt to search for your business name. So why not satisfy both groups by purchasing multiple domain names. Buying more than one relevant domain name allows for more traffic, and simply redirecting domains to your main web page works to concentrate all the traffic into one place.

Increase Online Credibility

Along with being memorable, your domain name must demand credibility and demonstrate that you are a real, live business. With the endless scams and phony businesses developed online today, customers are careful about what sites they choose to visit. Selecting a domain that has strong keywords that fit your business is a great first step. It also helps to keep the domain short and avoid any hyphens in the name. Customers should be able to find relevance between your domain name and your actual business without any trouble.

The “Free and Open” Internet at Risk

Google’s Take Action Initiative

Did you know that the Internet as we all know it could be in for a drastic makeover? Most of us are accustomed to a web that is free and open for use, but growing government intervention has caused internet censorship and limitations in many locations across the world. Today, forty-two countries filter and censor content and that’s just the beginning.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) met on December 3rd to begin discussions about Internet regulation and potential changes moving forward. As the world’s countries come together with various recommendations and preferences, our freedom of expression, connection, and communication is at risk. Furthermore, all conferences and treaties are confidential, so we are at the mercy of ITU’s decisions.

This is where Google’s Take Action initiative comes into play. We may not have a say in the closed door conference, but that hasn’t stopped people from joining together to let their voices be heard. Google is speaking out loud and clear too, saying,

“A free and open world depends on a free and open internet. Governments alone, working behind closed doors, should not direct its future. The billions of people around the globe who use the Internet should have a voice.”
Domain News
Regardless of who is making the decisions, regulating the Internet will result in more than losing our freedom of expression. With more than a third of the world online, over two billion people, limiting Internet usage means limiting communication, interaction, and connection. Before the Internet, connecting to friends, family, and business people across the world could be a challenging task, but with today’s technology and the World Wide Web people oceans apart can be brought together with a click of a mouse.

While it may be in the hands of the ITU now, we can certainly let our voices be heard. Join Google and Take Action by pledging to support a free and open Internet.

What Extension is Right for Your Next Domain?

The Value of Standard TLDs vs. ccTLDs

Once you’ve decided on a keyword for your domain, you’re faced with the choice of picking the right extension for you domain name. You could go with what’s available, but your top level domain matters more than you think. Not only is it important to consider your extension in the context of SEO, but it’s also essential to consider the customer.

Without question, search engines such as Google have a tremendous amount of power when it comes to the visibility of your website and reaching customers. But as Google has communicated many times before, their goal is to connect customers with data that is most relevant to their search. This means that while you may see Google’s algorithm as a threat to your success online, you should be more concerned about what the customer is actually looking for.

So you’re probably wondering what this has to do with a domain extension. If you’re trying to decide between a standard TLD and a ccTLD you need to think about your customer and how choosing one of these extensions over the other will benefit your website.

Here are three questions to ask before determining which top level domain fits best.

Are you targeting a particular region?

If your business is specific to a particular location in the world, then a ccTLD may be the more appropriate choice. It will communicate to customers that you are conscious of their region, language, and the preferences associated. This can be very beneficial for search engine results if consumers are looking for local or recognizable businesses in their area.
Value
Will a ccTLD limit your reach and potential growth?

On the other hand, if you are not targeting a narrow market, a ccTLD may not be beneficial. A ccTLD may offer the opportunity to build trust and recognition among those you are trying to reach, but to individuals who won’t associate with the extension it adds no value.

In this case, a standard TLD may be more appropriate. Standard TLDs allow you to cover more territories, while also geo-targeting the domain to specific regions if desired.

What is best for the user?

The .com extension is by far the most popular TLD and recognized across the world as a credible domain extension. While .com’s don’t fit every business, you must decide whether this highly recognizable domain will be most accepted among targeted users.

Domain Sales: December 2012

Top Selling Domain Categories for December

New month, new chart topping domain categories! While Recreation has remained the number one category in domain sales the past few months, Specials has risen to replace it this month. Accounting for 5.2% more of total sales than Recreation, the Specials category has a strong position in first this month.
Domain Sales
Rising from 4.5% of sales in November to 15.7% of domain sales in December, this significant increase in Specials demonstrates a clear trend. As the holidays and the New Year approach, domain sales have been influenced by the hype and events that take place at the end of the year. With consumers searching for great deals, unique products, and the best gift offerings, domain buyers are searching for the perfect domain to grab attention.

Selling a domain name is also about grabbing attention. Utilizing new trends, such as the popularity of domains that fall within the Specials category, is made easy with Afternic’s new domain portfolio. Setting the right promotions for relevant domains at the right times could make all the difference when trying to sell your domains.

Take advantage of highlighting particular domains and increase their visibility when it matters. Determine what categories your domains might fall under, and select the taxonomy according to what others may be searching for at that given time in the year.

Afternic Weekly Sales: December 10, 2012 to December 16, 2012

Weekly Domain Sales Breakdown
Domain Sales for the week of Dec 10, 2012 to Dec 16, 2012
Sold

Afternic’s sales totaled $1,092,157.
The top public sale for this week was PokerNight.com, which sold for $20,000.

The Specials category came in first, accounting for 13.8% of all domains sold last week, followed by Recreation at 11.2%, and Computers at 10.3%.

Below please find the list of highlighted public domain sales.

Weekly Sales

Want to see your names on this list? Join Afternic today.

New gTLD Updates and Expectations

What’s happening next?

Last Monday, ICANN held what it called a Prioritization Draw to determine the order in which the gTLD applications would be reviewed. Whether you had the opportunity to attend the Draw, watched online, or have waited patiently for the results to be posted, there are finally some answers as to where applications stand in the evaluation process. After many long hours of prioritizing, the results are in and ICANN will be starting with the number one priority, Chinese script application for .Catholic, and ending with the 1917 priority, .MBA.
gTLD Update
The Prioritization Draw was conducted in four phases, which resulted in all Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) who purchased tickets receiving the first priority numbers, followed by the non-IDN who also purchased tickets to the event. Those applicants who did not purchase tickets were then given the last picks, with IDNs first. Once the initial IDNs were drawn, .OPR received the first non-IDN priority at 108. For a full list of the prioritization results, you can visit ICANN’s website.

Now that the priority numbers are distributed, the best most applicants can do is wait once again. ICANN will be opening up formal objections through March 13, 2013, which will allow individuals or companies to file an objection to an extension should they have a viable and reasonable concern about it being too similar to their own name or brand. Once this objection period has closed, the evaluations will begin and hopefully be followed by the first releases of the new gTLDs.

Prior to this period, however, “string contentions” are also expected to be resolved between private party auctions. We will see an emergence of string contention services among auction providers in hopes that a decision can be made before ICANN reaches the extension for review. In many cases the money bid in theses auctions will be divided among those who will have lost the right to pursue their prospective extension. Although if there is still no resolution, ICANN will enact a “Last Resort Auction,” in which they will be the beneficiaries of the auction and losing parties will not see any benefit. In order to expedite the process and end with the best possible result, it is in the best interest of the applicants to come to an agreement before defaulting to their end resort.

Although it will surely be months before we see a new gTLD, the process has really begun and there is progress being made. The potential for release is growing closer and the anticipation continues to build. We look forward to the updates that ICANN continues to offer and are interested to see what happens next.

Get to Work with HandTools.com!

The tool and hardware wholesaling industry is currently a 33.2 billion dollar market and growing. Within it, the hand and power tools segment contributes 34% of revenues, equaling 11.2 billion dollars this year.

A projected annual growth rate of 1.9% forecasts a 3.3 billion dollar increase in revenues over the next five years. Considering this significant and positive trend in the hand tool market, now is the time to invest in the premium domain name HandTools.com.
HandTools
With over 22 million online searches for terms related to “Hand Tools” each month, the potential traffic to HandTools.com from search engines is tremendous. This online traffic potential, combined with the growth of the hand tool industry, indicates an immediate ROI on HandTools.com.

As the US housing market begins to recover, housing starts are expected to increase by an annual rate of 1.6%. This growth indicates an increase in discretionary spending on related items like hand tools, with growth of the hand tool industry likely to increase.

This positive trend offers even more possibilities for expansion in the hand tool market and further highlights the opportunity that HandTools.com presents.

HandTools.com is now exclusively available at Afternic. For more information, please contact Todd Cantwell at 781-839-2857 or by email at tcantwell@afternic.com.

Afternic and NameJet: First Joint Project


Afternic is excited to announce that we have been selected as the premium domain marketing and distribution provider for the .PW TLD launch, in partnership with NameJet. The Sunrise period for this extension is currently underway, with NameJet handling all Sunrise and Landrush auctions, as well as Premium Reserved Auctions, for the high-value domains that Afternic has identified as part of its valuation process.

The .PW, or Professional Web, extension is being launched as a next-generation TLD with the same mechanisms and policies as would apply to new gTLDs next year. It will be the first TLD to benefit from the powerful combination of resources and full suite of services offered by Afternic and NameJet.

Being recognized and selected by Directi to manage the premium domain sales is a testament to our leadership position in premium domain sales.  We are delighted at this opportunity, and have leveraged our experience in 12 years of premium domain sales to select the highest-quality domains for the .PW reserve list.

Afternic’s valuation model is the most advanced in the industry, and combined with our reseller network will provide .PW with the broadest possible distribution. Premium Domains on the .PW reserve list will be tiered and sold via auctions, the Afternic sales team, and the Afternic partner network as well. If you are participating in the .PW launch, and wish to include .PW domains into your premium domains feed, please contact your Afternic account manager.

The full list of reserved premium domains will be published in the coming weeks at the registry’s website. For further information, please see the full press release, or contact us with any questions at busdev@afternic.com.

Successful Domain Upsell Strategies

domain upsell
To help partners maximize revenue potential of premium domains, Afternic is sharing its know-how on successful sales strategies.  This issue focuses on upselling premium domains to existing customers, a strategy that has proven very successful for many of our partners. In fact, some of them have adopted this process as a recurring campaign, or integrated it with their automated notification systems.

Unlike your web-based purchase flow, which fulfils the active shopper’s order, this technique enables you to target passive customers within your installed base and gets them spending again! The key is to select premium names that are highly relevant for the client, be it an exact-match domain with a “better” extension, or a shorter, more memorable version of their brand. For example, you might suggest “CancerConnect.org” as a premium domain suggestion to the “CancerConnect.co.uk” charity, or for the organizers at “FunHuntOnline.com” to drop the extras and go for “FunHunt.com.” Once you have identified premium domains matching your clients’ interests, Afternic can recommend the best channel and message to market these names.

With clear measurable opportunity and minimal technical requirements, upsell campaigns are an effective revenue booster and an excellent service that add value for your customers. To know more about premium upsell campaigns, please contact your account manager directly or at busdev@afternic.com.

Ringing in the New Year: 2012 in Review

2012
We’d like to thank all our readers for their support and positive feedback since we launched the ‘Your Afternic’ newsletter this past spring. 2012 has been a great year and we’d like to share some of the highlights.

We are proud to report that the Afternic marketplace continued its aggressive growth of recent years, due in part to our expanding partner network. We continue to connect buyers and sellers around the world, educating businesses about the value of premium domains, and enabling domain investors to reach unprecedented global exposure for their portfolios. In 2012 alone, the number of fixed-price names listed on our network more than doubled, providing our partners with more quality inventory to offer to their customers worldwide through the most robust and scalable reseller platform on the planet. With a median sales price twice as high as competition, Afternic continues to deliver industry’s highest revenues to our resellers and we continue to prove that quality beats quantity. It’s hardly surprising then that we greeted over 30 new network partners this year, bringing the total number of resellers to well over 100 industry-leading organizations. In 2012, we welcomed Endurance International Group, 123Reg (UK), Rucenter (Russia), and HiChina (China), just to name a few.

We will enter the new year with some steam, and are looking forward to introducing some exciting new products in 2013, continuing to expand our business with you.