We’re now at the dawn of another year, one that looks to be much more exciting and eventful in the domain space than years past. We would like to present to you these predictions for domains and the domain industry in 2013:
1. There will be more coverage of domains and the domain industry in mainstream media.
Press coverage of new gTLDs will reach critical mass as they start to be launched later this year, with all eyes on their success or failure. More successful stories of entrepreneurs in the domain industry will be featured at least on the largest business media sites.
2. The launch of new gTLDs will attract a new pool of domain investors.
Unfortunately, those investors will be misguided into believing that domains in new gTLDs offer a much larger opportunity than they actually do. Few if any will see any success by the end of the year, just like few if any new gTLDs launched this year will see success.
3. The .uk TLD will be released despite all the opposition to it.
This will lead to many lawsuits over top quality .uk domains by their .co.uk owners. The .co.uk extension will suffer heavily in value. The .org.uk will also suffer a little but not as much since most visitors will still expect non-profit organizations in the UK to be on .org.uk.
4. .com, .net, .org and the country-code extensions heavily used in their home countries (such as .de) will be strengthened by the new TLDs.
All others will likely see a dip in popularity as some people that would normally consider them will look at new gTLDs instead. .co won’t immediately see much of this dip but once there are a significant amount of generic new TLDs released, it will see the sharpest decline. People will continue to recognize .com as the top extension in 2013 and years beyond.
5. Short brandable domains will continue to see a heavy rise in use and value.
This will continue this year to the point where decent quality ones will be taken and will cost a premium. By the end of the year, people will expect to pay several hundred dollars minimum for a short domain worth considering.
6. Another word will acquire new meaning and power in domains.
2011 saw “cloud” really become a power word in domains. With Pinterest’s huge rise to fame in 2012, “pin” suddenly took on new meaning and became prevalent in domains. 2013 will bring another “pin”-like word, one tied to a popular site rather than the generic “cloud” type keyword.
7. 3D will still fail to reach critical mass in households, and 3D domains will suffer.
The 3D televisions of today won’t be the kinds of 3D televisions that will see huge success – those will be glassesless versions, which won’t happen in 2013. As a result, 3D domains will still not see the potential value they’ve appeared to have for the past few years.
8. Domain monetization will move further towards domain sales and development joint ventures and away from PPC parking.
This has already begun to happen in 2012 and will continue in 2013. Lack of direct navigation to domains and Google’s continued focus on quality of sites will result in PPC parked paged continuing to slowly go extinct. That said, significant strides will be taken towards lead generation and possibly CPA and affiliate as simple monetization options, but it won’t be sophisticated enough by the end of 2013 to be effective.
9. Even more investment money will enter the startup space, resulting in more startups spending freely on strong domains.
We’ve seen progress over the past couple years in Silicon Valley startups spending more for a better domain, but it’s primed to really explode over the next year. This will lead to stronger 5-figure and low 6-figure sales than years past.
10. Strength of quality domains will continue to increase despite decreasing type-ins.
The increase of advertising online and advertising becoming more firmly implanted in online video such as YouTube means a stronger brand and domain will be that much more important. Businesses will realize they need a memorable name to stand out in the sea of advertising.
11. Hyphenated exact match domains will get dropped in huge numbers.
We saw Google take aim at hyphenated domains recently and actually made a more sweeping prediction at the time – that hyphenated domains may start to become extinct – at least the lower quality exact match hyphenated domains as an SEO tool. Other than in the few markets such as Germany where they continue to strive, many SEOs will see the ill effects of them and let them go.
12. Extremely specific/microniche exact domains will decrease in value.
As Google continues to move towards favoring more authoritative and complete sites for long tail keywords, the long tail exact match domains that were recommended for years will start to see a decline in use and value. Domains that by their limited nature can’t support a site full of quality content will have more trouble holding successful sites that get meaningful high rankings.
13. A “SOPA” law will get passed
It may not happen in 2013, but it is inevitable. At some point in the near future, a law resembling SOPa, one that will give the US government and/or possibly others the means to shut down sites much easier due to copyright or trademark issues, will get passed. Massive outcry will happen when it does, but lawmakers appear determined to find a way to get it passed to appease copyright and trademark holders. Whether it will hold up in court the first time it is challenged will be uncertain.
14. Domain disputes (UDRP) as a means to bully domain owners off their prized possessions will continue to see growth in 2013.
Many in the domain industry have clamored for an overhaul, which won’t come for another 2-3 years. The overhaul will likely result in an actual penalty for reverse domain name hijacking (currently there’s no penalty attached to such a finding). It may also result in a more streamlined and less expensive process for filing disputes and the system will take another step backward before progressing in the direction it should be.
Other web/tech/media predictions:
15. Content creators will wield more power than ever.
Whether they create video, audio or written content, content creators will see the biggest increase in jobs and entrepreneurial success online. Entrepreneurs in general who include a steady stream of quality content in their endeavors will see the biggest chances of success. Searchers will gravitate towards the most recent results and sites recommended by friends and away from old content, even if it is not necessarily outdated or worse content.
16. Amazon will see the biggest increase of success in 2013 among the superpowers of the web and tech world.
Businesses will continue to flock to their cloud services while Amazon Prime and Kindle will both gain on Netflix and the iPad respectively by the end of the year. As a one-stop shopping destination online, they are poised to take even more marketshare from retailers such as Best Buy and Walmart.
17. In social, YouTube will gain the most ground in 2013, with watching subscribed YouTube channels on TV becoming a more regular activity.
YouTube is among the biggest forces causing the combination of television and internet to be a reality. They’ve added more mediums to reach TVs in the past year, one of the latest being the Nintendo Wii which already was capable of serving up Netflix.
Other social predictions:
– Facebook will grow in active users but at a slower rate.
– LinkedIn will regress in 2013 as they continue getting spammed harder and with users making less meaningful business connections than in the past. They’ll gain more ground as the go-to employment hub but will lose ground as the general business social network it used to be.
– Twitter will wane further as users decide that Facebook or even Instagram is a better use of their “update” time.
– Pinterest will lose ground as well, simply no longer being a media darling. More spam will seep in as well and cause people to lose interest.
– Google+ won’t gain any meaningful ground as Google will put less focus on trying to win the social war and more focus on winning more with the products it has been, such as Android and Chrome.
18. The tablet keyboard cover (as found on the Microsoft Surface) will become a major feature propelling a larger base of tablet users.
While the Surface hasn’t sold particularly well, it has features that are bound to make it to other better-selling tablets that use the operating systems people already enjoy. One of those is the attached keyboard cover which essentially turns it into a sort of laptop at a whim. That should lead newer tablets to capture some of the consumer home computing share from laptops and desktops.
19. Cable companies will start losing ground as ISPs
While the extremely fast Google Fiber internet connections should be scaring cable ISPs into increasing their performance, they won’t react to it and other services like it until too late. As early as late 2013, the cable conglomerates will start to lose a lot of customers on the ISP front and face a similar downfall as many major newspapers. That will however not be before they try legal action to reassert themselves in some way. The US will start to catch up to other parts of the world in connection speeds in the next few years, but with cable companies fighting tooth and nail the whole way.
20. Many TV channels will start to offer their own streaming accessible via computer and TV with commercials.
This will result in more migration away from cable TV services, as the combination of individual channel streaming, YouTube on TV and Netflix (and their competitors) will make cable television look outdated and overpriced as a subscription model.
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