The domain name extension is the tail end of the domain name and is predefined by ICANN. You know, the part that comes after the dot. For example, the .com or .org. Once upon a time, there were just a handful of different domain name extensions to choose from. The choice used to between .com for commercial organizations, .net for network services such as ISPs and .org for non-profit organizations. On a country by country basis, many countries offered domains based on the two-character ISO country codes, such as “.fr” for France, “.ke” for Kenya and so on.
Then the picture became more complicated, with more and more domain names and alternatives springing up until we were left with the mess that is the current domain name industry. And it’s going to get messier with new domains coming in 2010.
It would, however, be unnecessary to go through the history of domain name extensions so I’ll only cover the bare basics. Extensions come in two forms: Generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) – which includes .com, .net, .org, .gov and some others; and Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) – like .co.ke, co.uk, .ca etc. Note that a ccTLD is usually worth significantly less than a gTLD.
TLD stands for TOP Level Doman. The .com, for example, is the top/first level. What are the other levels? I’ll illustrate using an example. In www.jobs.problogger.com, the .com is top level, the second level is “problogger” and the third, and final level, called a subdomain, is the “jobs”. Same case for likechapaa.com. The “likechapaa” is the second level domain in this case.
As Domainer, the first and second levels are the only ones you need to worry about. However, there have been rare cases of very valuable third level domains. An example is the massively popular del.icio.us. These are few and far between, though – you can afford to focus on the first and second levels exclusively.
The Value Of domain Name Extensions
Undoubtedly, the .com extension is the most valuable TLD and domains with this extension usually sell like hot cakes and at premium prices. Seventy Eight (78) of top 100 domain sales this year have been .com domains. Another example: sex.net was sold for $450,000/- a couple of years ago. Sex is a very popular word and the sale was a good and tasty one, right? Well, get this, Sex.com sold for $14 Million.
I would say that the domain values are usually like so:
2. .org /.net
3. Everything else
Keep in mind that there are a ton more domain extensions (including our own .co.ke) but once you go beyond the gTLDs it is not easy to figure out which domain is actually worth more than the others.
As a domainer, it is important to keep up with what ICANN is up to as the domains industry is largely shaped by ICANN policies. Sometimes, ICANN releases a set of new TLDs and jumping on them could be very lucrative. When the .mobi extension was released, some clever guy registered mortages.mobi and later sold it for a sweet $10,500/- less than a month after that TLD was open for registration. Could this be you some day?
This article is part one of a series of articles that will fully explore making money online from domain names. The other articles in this series are: