What is a domain and do I need one?


What’s in a name?

A domain or domain name, e.g. techwarrior.co.za; nike.com; 5th.place or worldwildlife.org works in much the same way as a physical address for a home or business. It’s an easy-to-remember way of reaching the person, organisation or business on the World Wide Web.

Anyone starting or running a business that requires an online presence (and what business can afford not to be online these days?) must have a domain name. Iit represents the only piece of web based turf or real estate over which the owner has total control, when compared to other web based online offerings such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Youtube.

Domains, also known as domain names, are essential to building brand identity and awareness both online (the Internet and web world) and offline (the real, everyday world). Domain names usually match the name of your business so when someone is searching for you online, your domain name will appear, hopefully near the top of the page.

So do you need one? Yes you do. Make sure the domain is registered in your name and that the email address on the website comes to you. It is yours after all.

If you would like more information or assistance purchasing and registering a domain, email us at [email protected].

Purchasing domain names carefully is a very important aspect of owning a website. Having a website is an important part of running a business. Make sure you are the rightful registered owner of your domain name.

I want a domain, how do I get one?

How do I get a domain?

The easiest way to get a domain for you or your business is to engage with a web developer or your Internet service provider. They will guide you through the process. Much like a company registration process, domains are acquired in a similar way. It is possible to register a domain name using a third party even if you are going the DIY route.

The availability of the desired domain name is checked against a list of already existing domains. If you are looking for a name that is popular, eg Smith & Co, you may not get the exact name you want. Companies offering additional bundled services such as marketing and web development will advise on a range of names available for registration. Thereafter they will facilitate the registration process. If the domain name you are after is already taken (registered to someone else) negotiations to purchase it from the current owner can ensue.

Domains are permanently leased and you pay an annual domain registration fee, the same amount you paid to register it upfront, to keep it.

If you would like more information or assistance in purchasing and registering a domain, email us at [email protected].

How much does a domain name cost?

Domains vary wildly in price, depending on a number of factors. The main factors affecting the price and value of a domain name are:

  1. The type of domain name (.com; .co.za; .org)
  2. The demand for the actual letters or words used in the domain name
  3. Whether someone else owns the domain

A new domain name can cost anything between R80 for a simple .co.za to R220 for a .com if you register it yourself. If you go through a third party it will cost slightly more as the process will include searching for alternatives if your chosen name is not available and potentially negotiating to buy a domain name owned by someone else. Domains can be extremely valuable as an example, in 2015 Property.co.za sold for $350,000 or R4.3 million at the going dollar/rand exchange rate. At Tech Warrior we have first hand experience and knowledge of domains reselling from R5,000 all the way to R1 million.

How is the value of a domain name worked out?

The first two factors - type of domain and letters used in the domain are easiest to explain.

How the type of domain affects its value

When the Internet began, domains were split into categories. These were broadly defined by usage: .net for networking; .edu for educational institutions and .com for business use.

As the Internet grew, so did demand for more and varied categories. Countries were given their own sub-categories e.g. .de for Germany, .au for Australia and .za for South Africa.

The categories have recently broadened to include a large number of usage type domains such as .app for phone apps, .green for the environment and .jobs for employment.

The category a domain lives in as well as the demand for domains in that category will affect the value of these new domains. The more unique and unusual the type of domain, more expensive it can be. A quirky example is when Google restructured into Alphabet in 2015, it registered abc.xyz for the newly formed parent company.

How letters used in a domain name affect its value

The letters and words used to make up the name part of the domain will have an effect on the value. There is a demand for generic domain names, that is domains that are related to an industry or activity as well as short names, usually three letters in length. As an example, sex.com resold in 2010 for $14 million. Lasvegas.com sold for $90 million in 2005. These are nothing compared to the reported sale of business.com in 2007. It went for a mammoth $350 million. In 2010 Facebook purchased fb.com from the American Farm Bureau for $8.5 million.

Many domain sales are kept private so it’s difficult to know what the most expensive domain sale has been to date.

How domains owned by someone else affect the value

Owning and investing in domains is similar to owning and investing in real estate. Typically a smart investor saw the future opportunity and purchased the land way ahead of anyone else. Imagine being savvy enough to register business.com.

The only real measure of a domain's value when someone else owns it, is how much are you willing to pay for it. Some domains have been owned for 20 years or more waiting for the right buyer to come along.

Choosing the right domain name for your business

It’s important to remember to get a domain that reflects where the business lives and what it does. It may be appealing to look for a .com domain name but South African internet users are accustomed to seeing .co.za domains as German internet users are to seeing .de domains. Your business may have aspirations to become a global player but make sure you make the right choice for now. The focus of a domain name, like your website, is around your customers. How will they best remember your domain name and find you?

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