The domain name industry is poised for a rather epic shift, as the first new
gTLDs are expected to begin arriving in late summer/early fall of 2013.
Whether your approach when that time comes is to
add to your portfolio and invest heavily in the new
domain extensions and/or divest some of the current
domains in an existing portfolio, having some
practical options available to fuel future domain
name strategy will undoubtedly serve enterprises
well moving forward. Here are several available opportunities
and some actual steps to take.
: Park or Self-Park Domains :
When search engines
(primarily Google) began cracking down on the presence
of parked domains in the search results pages
several years ago, the once robust domain parking industry
somewhat fell out of favor as a viable option
for what to do with domain portfolios that were larger
in volume and more refined in scope and variety.
Make no mistake, many of the popular domain
name parking services remain thriving enterprises,
but there are now far more practical (or at least
clever) uses for underutilized domains (see next
three sections). Those enterprises with thousands
of domain names, but which are unwilling to let
them go fully can, and perhaps even should, use
parking services, such as Sedo, Skenzo or Bodis, to
make portfolio management simpler, in terms of reporting
and monetization opportunities.
Large-scale parking isn’t right for every enterprise,
however. A better option, at least as it relates
to maintaining brand quality/integrity, is to simply
park secondary domain assets under one’s own primary
domain name. Most Web hosting control panels
offer a variety of methods to do this. Actually
parking domains on your own server enables businesses
to point users to their other, primary domain
name (by changing the DNS at the registrar level).
Add-on domains, on the other hand, allow visitors
to reach a subdomain of a site by typing the domain’s
URL into their browsers.
: Put Domains to Work:
Perhaps the best option, at least
for a vast majority of enterprises with a small quantity
of underutilized domain name assets, is to put
those domains directly to work in your day-to-day
business operations and digital marketing campaigns.
For example, get every worker in your enterprise
involved and develop a personal landing page for
each using a platform such as About.me or an
aggregation platform such as Flavors.me. There
are even platforms, such as Octane360 (from
Local.com), Protrada and DomainApps (formerly
WhyPark), which add even more “domain
development” features to the mix.
Another option would be to use creative,
yet underutilized domains as redirects to social
media profiles. Brands using Facebook, Twitter
and Google+ can, from within their registrar’s
control panel, use domain forwarding,
domain redirect or URL redirect features —
sending visitors that enter specific URLs into
their browser’s address bar directly to those
social networks. Other social networks including
(and most notably) Tumblr even provide a
way to actually map your domain (by changing the
CName records) to the service — providing far
more value in terms of being able to acquire citations
(links) for SEO purposes.
Brands can also leverage their underutilized domains
to provide their clients with supplementary
services including hosted file sharing services, or even
use the domain for a link-shortening service through
an open-source software installation of YOURLS. The
list of opportunities is almost endless.
: Sell or Lease Domains :
Professional domain name
related enterprises are right to be concerned about
what will happen once the new gTLDs formally arrive;
many expect that millions of .coms will flood
the market, dragging down prices as a result. In the
meantime, consider setting aside some of your domain
names for public sale before the price floor is
reached and the new gTLDs become available.
Selling domain names is much like selling any
other asset. The domain assets need to be worth acquiring
and you have to find a buyer. Services including
Flippa and Bido help domain buyers
identify worthy assets and help sellers tout their assets
for sale inexpensively. Of course, most if not all
registrars provide some means of selling domains
(e.g. Godaddy provides GoDaddy Auctions).
Domain names are an important element of Web
success. Are you putting these valuable assets to
work for the benefit of your enterprise?
ALSO READ: Not Ready to Sell?
put together a Crash Course on