My domain portfolio was previously made up almost entirely of .com domains, usually hovering at around 85-90% of all my domains. I had a small number of .com.au domains, but many of these were just for brand protection.
Over the past few years though, my strategy has changed significantly and this is reflected in my portfolio, which is now predominantly .com.au domains. This is not something I would’ve predicted even as recently as 3 or 4 years ago.
So why the shift to .au domains? I’ve flagged some of the key reasons below.
Low hanging fruit
When I first started getting more involved in the .au market I was struck by just how many great domains were still available really cheap. I think this is still the case to some extent, but activity has picked up considerably even in the short time that I’ve been actively buying and selling .au domains. It’s getting much harder to grab absolute steals, but there are still some bargains to be found.
.au is where Australian businesses operate
It is remarkable how pervasive .au use is in Australia. Consumers expect to find Australian businesses on URLs ending in .au, which makes great .com.au domains valuable business assets.
I dabbled in a small number of .co.nz domains a few years ago and found that the population size (i.e. the number of businesses) just wasn’t big enough for a healthy domain aftermarket.
Conversely, Australia is one of the fastest growing markets for ecommerce and with a population of about 24 million people, the market is big enough to sustain a healthy aftermarket.
I’ve had more offers and more sales in .au domains for some time now compared to my .com domains. In the past week, I’ve closed another four figure .com.au sale, I’m about close another one, and I’ve had other offers on com.au domains. Over the course of the same week, I had one offer on a .com domain: $500 for a domain that’s worth at least 10x that amount and has been registered for 16 years.
I love being able to pick up the phone and talk directly to the person that wants a great brand for their business. It’s a lot harder to have those conversations when your prospective customer is in Germany or New York. Doing business in your local time zone, in a market that you understand is a heck of a lot easier.
New gTLDs could be the next big thing …eventually
There were some wild predictions about the introduction of new gTLDs, but suffice to say that it hasn’t been “the biggest change in the history of the internet”. The release of extensions such as .guru, .recipes, .horse (seriously) and many others seems to have had very little impact on the market. Only one extension seems to have been impacted to date: .net, which I’ve never been a huge fan of.
While I don’t think the new gTLDs will hurt .com domain values for quite a long time, I’m not completely oblivious to the possibility that they could have some impact on value, eventually. I think that many ccTLDs, like .com.au, are somewhat shielded from the potential impact of new gTLDs in the future. Australian businesses will continue to use the local extension, as that’s where consumers expect to find them.