Domaining industry


It is debatable to call it domaining industry since it exists in its current form (more or less) for barely two decades. In its current form it is still in the staging where players are gathering and forming foundation. There are few big players and much more small players without middle ground to speak of. And this is currently the core of the problem, big players are leading the game and they are actually ones who are responsible to create authority in this new formed industry. However greed and run for profit is usually before ethical and even legal boundaries even for big players so the domaining industry is in a bit of a mess.

The ICANN is not helping the case either. This is odd looking that domaining is multi million dollar industry already, and without stronger regulation there is no guidelines. Sure, ICANN has its rules imposing on small players but big players are getting away with even great offenses against the rules because they can buy their way out (read lawyers and lobbying). So we have small players struggling to make a buck and getting their hands burned by ICANN now and then for various offenses against the rules (mostly connected to trademark, we will talk about that later). And we have big players profiting millions and not giving a second look over the shoulder eating all they can in their way.

You can almost see it like wild west. In this form there is no viable option to make a long term plans for one player in the industry. Because steps needed to make long term plans are not fulfilled. To have a long term business plan you need at least a strong foundation. Market for domain names is good, this could be a good foundation if there were not for domain squatters. Domain squatting is in short, stepping on the ones trademark. This is no gray area, this is just plain illegal. And players doing this kind of malpractice are giving bad name to whole industry and thus market where potential buyers lay is afraid to lose funds to such individuals and companies.

Second big problem in our young domaining industry is lack of transparency. You can read some sales statistics here and there (for example on DNJournal) but this is no real indication of industry strength or its puls at all. Big players often concieve their data or make false sale claims to boost their publicity. Small players are not even counted.

And finally there is no real market for domainers. Domainers sell via email marketing (this is actually gray area bording with illegal), various forums which are largely unknown to potential buyers thus producing sales within industry (domainers buy from domainers). Finally we have auction houses like Sedo.com which is a great step in the right direction in the last decade but it is still largely unknown platform in the vast market.

To conclude, domain industry exists and it is alive however it is still toddler and it needs good parenting to grow into child.