Domain names are Internet Real Estate – location, location, location
Kipp talks to Keith Shanahan about the 'diamond in the rough' that is the domain market on the Internet...
October 8, 2012 9:57 by M. Aldalou
When owning names like TheMiddleEast.com, Dubai.com, Russia.com or any other geographical name for that matter, is there ever governmental intervention and legal restraints?
No, not at all. Governments usually use dot gov or their own personal domain name for their area anyway. There are no legal restraints to owning geographical names on the Internet. It is as free as the Wild West. There was once an incident where the Mexican government wanted to take the name Mexico.com from the owner, but they weren’t legally allowed to.
Wouldn’t they worry about maintaining a certain standard of quality though?
As I said, most governments have their own portals and dot coms are the most valuable of suffixes. They are much more valuable than .net or .org. If you are looking for a website, would you instinctively search for .net or .com?
Secondly, if the owner of a name builds a website with ‘distasteful’ content then that’s a different story and the website could be blocked. But we are talking about wealthy people here and they generally either keep it as an investment or build a strong travel or hospitality website on it.
Is there a huge difference in value between the dot coms and the dot nets?
Well, dot nets tend to be almost 100 times less valuable then a dot com. It’s a first come first serve scenario and the owners of .net and .org may not build a website on those suffixes because the dot coms are the real money bringers.
How does one buy or sell a domain name from a current owner?
Usually, the owners of domain names are all publicly listed and there is a good deal of transparency on Network Solutions and buydomains.com. The buyer and seller make an agreement on the price and there is a U.S. company called Escrow.com that sets up the transaction and ensures financial security on both sides. They monitor the record of ownership. Once the funds are transferred to the seller, the domain name is released and kept under probation to ensure that it has been permanently transferred. It is an extremely secure process.
Shanahan says that above all, valuable domain names are a long term investment. TheMiddleEast.com might be best suited for a Middle East Royal Family who sees that the Internet Domain name is not just something to be used today, but rather an investment in the future of the communications world. Consider it vacant land to be held until the right time to develop.
“Only one Royal Family from The Middle East will control this unique area of the world in the DOT COM cyberspace,” he says. “The potential return is huge and the price of $2.5 million for TheMiddleEast.com is cheap! In ten years it could be worth $20 million! And in 50 years $100 million!”
Shanahan also stressed on the potential benefit that Middle Eastern airlines including Emirates and Etihad could reap from having the association or ownership of a popularly searched name. “It’s just a matter of who sees the vision of the future first, and who wants to be ranked in Google in the number one position when the 2.7 million people per month search the words “The Middle East”. Either you are a visionary or are left behind. There is only one TheMiddleEast.com.”
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