As you may know, I spend the majority of my time working as a domain Buyer Broker helping clients acquire domain names that are owned by various third-parties.
My clients are typically “end-user” buyers of domains versus domain speculators. Most of my clients are startup founders, serial entrepreneurs, or marketing executives and when they approach me (via my company, Name Ninja) they usually have a specific domain name – or type of domain name – already in mind. That target domain will usually be put to use for a new or upcoming business, product, or service.
Because I was curious and had the data on hand in our CRM, I recently did an analysis of 500 of the most recent domains we have been asked to help clients acquire. I had a hunch as to what the results might be, but I figured I would let the data speak for itself. While I cannot reveal the individual domains due to confidentiality clauses, I am pleased to be able to share the high-level results of my analysis.
Before we get to the summary results, keep in mind that this data set consists of domains that are already owned by a third-party. Not only are these domains already ‘spoken for’, but our clients want these domains badly enough that they sought the help of a professional domain Buyer Broker. It's also safe to assume that the buyers of these domains are willing to pay a premium for these domains. In other words, these are domains that are seen as valuable assets by the buyers.
Now on to the results…
Type of Domain
What type of domains do my clients want to get? Generic domain names are by far and away the most sought-after domains by my clients. I suspect this is because my clients want a domain that positions them and their business as the category leader, which is one of the benefits of a generic domain name.
68% - generic (e.g., robots.com or robotparts.com)
15% - invented (e.g., botzilla.com or fluffyrobot.com)
6% - phrases (e.g., herecometherobots.com)
6% - abbreviations/acronyms (e.g., HCTR.com)
5% - surnames (e.g., asimov.com)
Number of Words
Apparently size does matter, and in the domain space what matters is brevity. Half of my clients want a one-word domain and most of the rest want a maximum of two-words. This is not surprising because the shorter the domain the easier it is to type and remember.
50% - 1 word
44% - 2 words
6% - 3 words
<1% - 4 words or more
Domain Extension (TLD)
Despite the introduction of hundreds of new domain extensions like .xyz, .club., and .site in the last few years, my clients clearly believe that .com is still king. Eighty-four percent of the domains I get asked to help acquire are .com domains (94% of the 89% that are gTLDs) with country code domains (ccTLDs) being the second most popular at nine-percent. I rarely get asked to help a client acquire a new TLD domain, although part of the reason for that may be that the new TLD domains are relatively easy and affordable to acquire (compared to a .com) and therefore don’t require the assistance of a Buyer Broker.
89% - gTLDs (global top level domains)
- 94% .com
- 2% .co*
- 2% .net
- 2% .io*
- <1% other gTLDs (.org/.tv/.me)
9% - ccTLD (country code top level domains)
2% - new TLDs (new top level domains)
* Although .co and .io originated as country code domains, they are now commonly used as global top level domains, especially via startups.
In summary, based on the most recent inquiries I’ve seen, the most sought-after domains are generic, one-word .com’s (like robots.com) and generic, two-word .com’s (like robotparts.com). Invented, one- and two-word .com domains (like botzilla.com and fluffyrobot.com) are a distant second in popularity, followed by one-word ccTLD domains like robots.ca or robots.de.
Personally, I am very open-minded and can see the merits of all types of domains regardless of the domain extension or length. I’m therefore always happy to help a client acquire their dream domain name, no matter what that dream domain is. I do find it interesting that my data reveals a strong preference by our clients for a certain type of domain, which also explains why I’ve even been asked by different clients to help them acquire the same one-word .com domain. That always cracks me up when it happens, because many clients are surprised to learn that someone else wants or wanted the same domain.
My data set is only 500 domains so I would caution you about drawing any major conclusions from my numbers. The insights I’ve gleaned are from the perspective of my boutique domain buyer brokerage and may not accurately reflect what other people are seeing or experiencing. In other words, I hope you found the results of my analysis interesting, but please remember that your mileage may vary. ;+)
Domain name expert Bill Sweetman is the President & Lead Ninja of Name Ninja, a boutique domain name consulting firm that helps companies acquire, manage, protect, and profit from their domain names. Bill has provided strategic domain name advice to major companies around the world for over 20 years.
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