Short Domains: A market attracting speculation?

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NY UK
Most of us have probably heard about domain names for speculative purposes at some point. Perhaps you have a friend, brother or work colleague that bought domains for speculation, hoping to make a few bucks. Today, we discuss short domains in the UK and some statistics behind what’s happening in Good old Britain.

Some may be aware that .co.uk, .org.uk and .me.uk are about to get a buddy – the shorter .UK. This debate has been going on for over a decade and it has been difficult to agree the absolute terms. But if anyone can do it, Nominet’s current CEO Lesley Cowley and her great team are most likely to complete this difficult task. At least it looks like that Nominet may be starting to get through a decision that is fair and appropriate for most current domain owners, and the average visitors to British domains.

Short domains, the most speculative and valuable market, is probably the biggest question mark right now. The reason is that there was an auction for a little over 2 years ago with 1 – and 2-letter domains under .co.uk, .org.uk and .me.uk sold out to the highest bidder. Some speculators are now suggesting a highest paid principle in the roll out of short .UK domains, so the participant paying the most out of .co.uk, .org.uk and .me.uk would get first refusal to purchase the corresponding .UK domain.

Their weak arguments are not seldom related to tautology such as “A domain for which an owner was willing to pay £10 000 is likely to be worth more than a domain for which an owner was willing to pay only £1000”. Since speculators are lacking reasonable arguments for giving first refusal to them, they are left with tautology and self-reinforcing truths. The society, average internet user or the great number of people affected by the changes are intentionally never mentioned by the domain speculators.

Speculators second argument includes: “Further, there is a higher likelihood that in the time since the registration, the owner of the more expensive domain has invested more into the development of the domain’s brand and goodwill”. No argument can be further from the truth. Out of all 1831 domains owned by UK’s top 9 domain speculators; only one is used as websites or redirects. Not even a website is built on rt.co.uk, so there are no investments in development at all.

Domain speculators only speculate, they don’t develop names into websites. So their argument that the highest paid price most likely leads to make the highest use of a domain name is also false, unless a bad place to be with parked and dead websites would count as a higher use. At least I’ve tried to develop NY.co.uk (NY.uk) – even if the site is not very active at the moment and offers would be considered. (update: 27th of Sept, 2020)

Domain Speculators outbid Google

Many larger firms were having great interest in these attractive short domains. Facebook got fb.co.uk, while Google was bidding for g.co.uk until the bids passed the £100k mark. In fact, speculators saw huge potential in this market. Perhaps for that short domains often sold expensive. Some examples from the last few years is ig.com which sold for $4.7 million and fb.com bought by Facebook for $7,500,000.

What are the speculators doing with their domains?

The site DomainEthics.co.uk reveals that the nine largest short . UK domain speculators owns 1,831 out of 2,094 one- and two letter domains under the .UK tld. A majority of all major domain speculators park their short domain names, while more than 39% are not even active sites for over 2 years. Obviously, this is not very useful, relevant or positive for the English domain market or anyone surfing around on short .UK domains. You’ll mostly end up on or see either dead domains or parked pages.

Affiliate Specialist has therefore challenged Nominet to do something about this speculation. Within 2 weeks is expected to get a final decision on Nominet’s website regarding launching. UK as an alternative to the existing three-level domains.

It is in any case clear that over 90% of all reasonably well known brands has either created a website, or do a redirect to the already established site (example: to the .com domain or a longer version of .co.uk). 90 domain owners have set up useful redirects. If you’re surfing British websites, maybe you’ll end up at aa.co.uk (American Airlines), ba.co.uk (BA), db.co.uk (Deutsche Bank) or os.co.uk (Ordnance Survey). The coolest developed short site is likely v.co.uk as Richard Branson and Virgin stand behind. Yesterday Markus Jalmerot sent out a press release that says ‘Domain Ethics calls UKs largest domain speculators’. Are you curious about some of the names behind the 5 largest speculators in the UK? AnyWeb owns 638 short domains, A Hugh 547 pieces, Giant Games 290 pieces, GWI Solutions Ltd with 98 and XYZ Invest 83 pieces.

Markus Jalmerot is a domain and SEO specialist based in London, that used to run SEOSpecialist.co.uk before he ventured into marketing on casino sites. He studied both business ethics and philosophy at university and always seek long term solutions that’s sensible for a great number of people.

 

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