At the end of the year, I always look back to see what transpired and try to make some internal predictions about what is going to happen in this business in the next year. This helps me plan for the future and helps to shape my business strategy going forward.
I reached out to a number of domain name industry friends and colleagues requesting that they make a prediction for the industry in 2013. I received many great replies, and they are shared below in no particular order. Some of these experts went above and beyond to offer more than one prediction, and I linked to those in a separate post.
Because of the great response, I have broken this up into two articles, the second of which will be posted on Monday.
I want to give a big “thank you” to the people who were willing to take the time to reply and share a prediction.
Tim Chen, CEO, DomainTools (These are Tim’s opinions and not necessarily shared by DomainTools) – “The U.S. government will attempt to wield increasing influence at the DNS level, in part due to what I expect to be rampant abuse of the new gTLD space.”
Rick Schwartz, Founder, TRAFFIC – “It won’t be boring”
Jeff Gabriel, CEO, Domain Advisors – “Me being Nostradamus of the domain industry I predict that any of the new extensions being released will have little to no affect of the values of .com, .net, .org or any of the other established extensions. This will cause the values of these extensions to remain relatively stagnant where you will see few multi-million dollar reported sales like this year to the public. This does not mean multi-million dollar sales are not happening as my own brokerage, DomainAdvisors closed quite a few unreported ones. Proportionately speaking there must be a lot less than past years because there are so few.
Furthermore, due to the continued downturn in parking, and the maturity of our industry, we will see contraction and consolidation of companies. I feel that some of the companies in our space will be either purchased or closed, and few new companies entering the market to replace them. Our industry is in need of something new, and exciting that creates growth and profitability for all rather than finding it by selling assets and I hope 2013 brings it.”
Phillip McKegney, CEO & Co-Founder, DomainAgents – “2013 will be an interesting year. There is much talk regarding the release of new gTLD’s, often with buzzy descriptions like transformative, monumental or revolutionary. While without a doubt there will be some highly publicized winners, the vast majority of people who “invest” in these domains will see a very poor return or a loss.
Those who haven’t been around for previous cycles of gTLD releases will likely be running with the herd and may have a difficult experience. As with anything it’s always smart to follow the money. Highly vested parties will almost always cheer for their cause. Use your head, don’t drink the Kool Aid.
Aside from the gTLD releases, I generally expect that lower tier names within established extensions to decrease in value and for mid to higher tier names to increase in value. The volume of secondary market names to sell will see a marked increase.
Oh, and of course, DomainAgents is going to kick some ass.”
John Ferber, Co-Founder and Chairman, Domain Holdings – “My prediction is that for the people who work genuine and hard and put forth the right effort the domain industry will continue to provide prosperity to those who nurture and participate in it truly the right way.”
Brett Lewis, Attorney, Lewis & Lin – “This is the year that I finally wrestle John Berryhill in jello. For Charity, of course.”
Bill Sweetman, Vice President of the Domain Portfolio at Tucows – I think 2013 is going to be the year that the general public starts to catch on to the reality that the options to the ‘right of the dot’ are about to expand dramatically. I expect that in the second half of the year we’ll see a defining, “We’re not in Kansas anymore,” moment where (with the support of mainstream media) the ‘new domains’ become a hot topic, especially in marketing, branding, and advertising circles. This will likely be aided and abetted by some traditional and social media marketing awareness campaigns by some of the deeper pocketed new gTLD registries and partner registrars who are hoping to get a jump on the competition. Buckle up kids, this is going to be a fun ride!”
Evan Horowitz, CEO, Hunting Moon – “I predict that unsavory domain marketing methods- such as falsely inquiring to purchase domains solely to solicit domains to broker- will lead to problems for those interfering with domains being brokered via exclusive contracts with brokers that respect best practices.”
Braden Pollock, Founder, Legal Brand Marketing - “Twenty-thirteen will be the year of the Google-monster. (As if last year and the year before weren’t). Google will continue to turn the dial on everyone standing between them and the advertiser, e.g. domain parking, EMD’s, leadgen, review sites, travel, auto, finance and every other middleman category.
Google acquires dozens of companies each year. That may increase in 2013.
Why index Yelp reviews? Just buy Zagat Guide. Why deliver TripAdvisor pages? Buy Frommer’s instead. Expedia? Sorry. With the ITA purchase, Google can book flights directly. Groupon? Nope. Google acquired Punchd, DealMap, Zave Networks DailyDeal and Incentive Targeting Inc to create Google Offers. (There are plenty more purchases that we don’t know about since most are not public)
I don’t mean to discuss Google’s push into browsers, cellular, social, file storage, wallet, maps, TV, music, ebooks and, believe it or not, parcel pick up stations or any of the myriad of other channels they’re in. This is about Google creating and owning content. Not just videos on YouTube, but all the content we used to use Google to search for. It’s becoming a walled garden. If Google owns the content (to deliver ads and collect data), why serve up someone else’s sites? And don’t get me started on Google’s gTLD applications. If Google is granted .film, how well will .movie sites be indexed? Can you say “conflict of interest”?
Since I’m in leadgen what scares me the most is their push into my world. BeatThatQuote.com was acquired to create Google Advisor as their leadgen platform. At the moment it’s just credit card offers although they’ve tested mortgage and bank account offers as well. (Lookout BankRate). I expect to Google Advisor to expand into other verticals. The EMD shift hurt but the further push into leadgen will really cause some havoc around here.
The only answer is to look for other avenues. I realize that Google has 85% of the search traffic but there’s more to the internet than just search. Put your thinking caps on, and buckle up. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”