Australian technology journalist Chris Jager published an article in Lifehacker this week criticising domain names and claiming that premium domain name sales are becoming “increasingly rare”.

George Pongas, General Manager of Naming Services at AusRegistry, responded to Chris’ comments to clarify some inaccurate statements in his article.

Lifehacker declined to publish George’s response on their website.

Dear Chris

I read with interest your advice to ‘SRTSTLD’ on selling domain names. I’d like to take this opportunity to add my thoughts to the topic.

Firstly, the aftermarket for domain names in Australia and abroad is very strong. For instance, cruises.com.au was sold last year for $103,400, making it the highest recorded domain name sale in Australia in 2013, and the fourth highest globally among all country codes. In 2011, investmentproperty.com.au became the highest recorded .au domain name sale at auction when it was snapped up for $125,000.

The aftermarket industry in Australia is also thriving, as demonstrated by providers such as drop.com.au and netfleet.com.au. This is supported by a highly engaged community through DNTrade.com.au which offers a forum for the community to discuss sales and auctions.

Clearly, there is significant money to be made from selling domain names. Let’s not forget that sex.com sold for $13 million in 2010, ig.com for $4.7 million in 2013 and whiskey.com for $3.1 million in January this year.      

I also disagree with your view that domain names have decreased in value and importance because of the prevalence of search engines.

Search engines have made us lazy and many of us have become slaves to the search bar and its auto-fill convenience. However, this is merely a symptom of a much larger problem with navigating the Internet; it’s cumbersome and unintuitive. 

The prevalence of search is a byproduct of the immense growth of the Internet and the saturation of .com domain names.

Search was intended to help us find content, not replace the web address bar as an online navigation aid. We are all responsible for contributing to this problem by not raising greater awareness and education of direct browser navigation to websites via a domain name. Remember, a domain name is your one source of truth online; everything else is open to gaming.

With this in mind, it’s clear why a domain name is the most valuable digital asset you own online. While you claim most businesses are happy to settle for the closest available exact-match domain name available, this is not what business owners are telling me.

For instance, when CarLoans.com.au acquired its new premium generic .au domain name, the business saw an immediate increase in website traffic and customers, a decrease in marketing spend, 40% reduction in ad word spend, and overall growth of 60% to generate turnover in excess of $100 million. Owner Shaun McGowan reported that this was all down to their new domain name.

This is because a domain name is the business asset that underpins your entire online identity and it acts as a digital lighthouse to illuminate your web presence. A good domain name can be a cost-effective and highly successful method for increasing direct type-in browser traffic to ultimately improve your bottom line.

I also disagree with you that aftermarket domain name providers such as Flippa and Sedo are not popular with the public. The hundreds and thousands of domain transactions that pass through these marketplaces each year would serve as evidence to the contrary.

I welcome feedback and comments.

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