The GoL computer is now in the architecture design phase. There’s plenty of ideas floating around, but I don’t really have material to make a blog post about it yet, so I’m doing something different, A couple days ago, there was a sale on .xyz domains. To be more specific, each domain was $0.02 for the first year. (The sale price has since risen to $0.22, which isn’t as fun.) So, I decided #yolo and bought a couple domains. Some were for personal/friend use ($0.04 total), but I also noticed that their website has a list of “regularly priced premium” domains that were still available, specifically domains that were really short or were common words. I noticed that a couple of the premium categories were almost entirely sold out, so I spent $0.10 to buy the last ones. To be specific, these domains were:
- qx3 (3-character)
- jbij (4-letter)
- ulub (4-letter)
- xoix (4-letter)
- independents (common word)
As of writing, each of those categories of domain is completely sold out. I don’t really know if any of these are particularly valuable, but I figure I’m going to try to sell them over the course of the next year or so. I think it’s worth the experience, and if I don’t manage to sell them, well I’ve wasted $0.10 on lesser things before. They’re listed for sale in a variety of places for a variety of prices, but if you’re reading this and decide that you want one, I advise contacting me directly.
The following is a somewhat cynical viewpoint on domain name trading.
Unless some glaringly miraculous opportunity arises, I think this is about it for my domain name trading. I’m no economist, but from what I can tell, the domain market has pretty much settled down. Every 4-letter .com has been registered, and while a lot of them are used for legitimate purposes (and thus won’t likely be sold), all the meaningless letter combinations just trade hands for prices that I don’t feel are deeply rooted in any tangible value that the domains have. Prices seem to be steeped in voodoo and superstition more than anything else (how to determine the “brandability” of an arbitrary 4-letter combination?). This is quite true in numerical domains, where there is nothing to determine relative value other than Chinese superstition (8 is lucky, 4 and 0 are unlucky). In normal investing, the money that the investors spend helps the company hire people, buy tangible assets, etc., which will help the company grow. On the other hand, how does a domain investor make money other than getting in the way of the domains ultimate owner, by registering/parking it first?
Imagine if there were a river on which trading boats often passed. A person buys a plot of land on the river, and ties a rope from one bank across to the other, only allowing boats through when they pay a toll. Now, many people might be willing to pay the toll, but that doesn’t mean that the person who’s collecting the money actually deserves any of it. Similarly, a company might be willing to pay $10,000 for a premium domain, but that doesn’t mean that the person who “ninja’d” the domain before them actually deserves any of it. I understand what role these investors play: using the concept of capitalism to distribute domain names to the most “deserving” recipients (large businesses who can afford to pay the cost to buy it). All this money, however, just benefits these miscellaneous third parties, who never used their domain names to host any meaningful content on the web. If anyone, it should be going either to ICANN, although I’m not quite sure what they’d do with it all, or to a previous “legitimate user” of the domain.
In the case of domain names, I’m not convinced that the current system is effective. The number of parked domains names is ridiculous. A domain investor only needs to sell a couple percent of his domains each year to turn a profit (given that the renewal fee is only like $9 or so per domain, so a $10,000 sale pays for parking over 1,000 other domains for a year), which leads to lots of domains that simply remained parked indefinitely. I’d also be interested to see statistics on what percent of those sales are just to other investors. I don’t know what ICANN will be able to do to alleviate this problem, but I want to see them take steps to increase the percentage of registered domains that are used to host meaningful content. Combined, all of the TLDs form one giant global namespace, and I believe it is being wasted as we speak.
Ultimately, it’s not what the domain name is, but rather what you make of it.
My own personal branding
One of reasons for deciding to spend $9 to get phinotpi.com, in particular, was that I desired to “claim my username.” I’ve wanted my own domain name and website since forever, and I decided to put it under one of my internet usernames, since this is probably my most *useful* internet presence (I checked, and the majority of domains relating to my real name are long gone. Even though it’s a “personal site” nothing on here is really “personal” enough to warrant having my real name posted anywhere on it). It allows me to freely use this domain for PPCG and programming-related stuff.
One of the two other domains I bought during the .xyz sale was phinotpi.xyz, which is currently serving as a redirect page. Since it looks like .xyz domains are more expensive to renew than .com domains, I probably won’t keep it. As of right now, I plan on keeping phinotpi.com indefinitely.
The hardest choice was which TLD I wanted to get as my main site. I know phinotpi.com isn’t the most elegant domain name, but I don’t have any better ideas at this point, and “.com” is typically considered the most demanded TLD. Other ideas, like “phinotp.io” (pio?) and “phinotpi.co” (almost 3x as expensive, and “pico”?), didn’t really speak to me.
Other people’s personal branding
I’ve also been checking out what domains/websites other PPCG members have, and I’ve found some pretty interesting/creative ones. I don’t know if I should mention any names here, though.
What do you think….
- About my choice of phinotpi.com?
- Of my investment choices? (I know they’re mediocre)
- About the state of the domain market?
- Are some cool domains that I should know about?