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Domain Investments: An Overview of High-Value Domain Sales

April 3, 2023
4 minutes
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A redirect is a tool used by websites for “rerouting” or sending a visitor to an alternative webpage. An example of a redirect would be when you type “example.com” in your web-browser, but are taken to a different website, like “new-example.com.”

URL redirects are an extremely common practice employed by webmasters and content managers to ensure visitors to their website are reaching their desired content.

When would I use a redirect?

  1. A page has been relocated within your site
    Let’s say your website has a page by the path “/t-shirts” – The “t-shirts” page has been a part of your website sitemap for years, and is one of your most frequently visited pages. Suddenly, you need to build out a more general page on your site that has t-shirts, and dress shirts. Your goal is to have the new page be accessible by a shorter, more general path, like “/shirts”. In this situation, you would want to use a URL redirect to ensure that traffic for the page “/t-shirts” is successfully rerouted to the new “/shirts” page of your website. Without a redirect in place, you could run the risk of visitors still accessing the old /t-shirts page, even though you want to drive all traffic to the new /shirts page. Due to the nature of SEO, it’s possible that there are many links throughout the Internet that still point visitors to the old URL, and it is the job of the URL redirect to ensure visitors still make it to the appropriate page.
  2. Your domain name is changing!
    Changing a website’s domain name is a drastic decision which must be handled with the utmost care. Let’s say your website has always been www.abc-brand.com. Due to a rebranding effort, you are changing your brand from “ABC” to “XYZ”, and thus your website’s URL will need to be adjusted to reflect the change. In this scenario, it would be critical that you 301 redirect all traffic requesting “abc-brand.com” to the new and improved “xyz-brand.com”. Furthermore, you would want to ensure that all pages within the abc-brand website are also redirected, like abc-brand.com/my-page being redirected to xyx-brand.com/my-page
  3. You have alternative domains that you wish to serve as “shortcuts” into your website
    It is a common practice for businesses to buy dozens of domain names that:
  • Are spelled similarly to their business name – consider “gogle.com” that redirects to google.com
  • Are variations of their name that visitors may otherwise know them as – consider “joes-tees.com” that redirects to the main business website, “joes-shirts.com”
  • Are shortened, easily typed versions of the primary domain name – consider “shirtsale2019.com” redirecting to “joes-shirts.com”. It is common to find this shorter, more memorable URL variation on physical advertisements because people are more likely to remember them. As such, a URL redirect would be used to reroute the alternative domain name to your primary domain name of your website.

How does a redirect actually work?

When you request a web-page from your browser, there is a server somewhere on the Internet that is receiving your request and responding with the appropriate content. Fundamentally, a redirect occurs when a web-server's response contains a special piece of data (an HTTP response header) instructing the browser to reroute the visitor to an alternative location.

The technical details aside, a browser works by requesting a URL and rendering the page that is returned by the website. If the website wishes the user to be redirected, the server will respond differently than if it was serving a page; it will send an extra piece of data indicating that the visitor should be redirected to a specified location.

Without going into too much of the technical details – a redirect is a behavior performed by a web-browser whenever it receives a response containing a flag (an HTTP header) to do so.

What are the types of redirects available?

301 Redirect

Commonly referred to as a “permanent” redirect.

Indicates to search-engines and web-browsers that the requested page has permanently relocated to a new location.

Note: permanent redirects are often cached by web-browsers like Chrome and Firefox. Therefore, it may be tricky to retroactively update a 301 redirects target location once it has been established. Any visitors who have already received the 301 redirect response for a URL will likely be served a cached response from their web-browser when visiting the same URL again.

Suggestion Only use a 301 redirect when you know that the target location will not change.

Common Uses

  • A 301 redirect is appropriate when a website is changing it’s domain name. In this scenario, the site should be 301 redirecting all traffic for it’s old domain name to the new website URL.
  • Another common use-case for a 301 redirect is for pages within your website that have been permanently moved to a new URL

302 Redirect

Commonly referred to as a “temporary” redirect.

Useful for general-purpose redirects within your website, where you do not want visitor’s to cache the redirect response permanently.

Suggestion Use 302 redirects for pages that have changed URL, but are subject to be updated in the future

Common Uses

  • A page is temporarily being moved to a new URL
  • Conditions where the destination location of the redirect is subject to change
  • Navigating the user away from a page during an error

307 Redirect

Uncommon due to legacy browser support

Used for technical scenarios when a visitor’s HTTP request method should be persisted when they are redirected. For example, if a user submits a form, the browser normally issues a POST request to the form’s action URL. If the server responds with a 302 redirect response, the client’s web-browser would typically issue a GET request when handling the redirect. However, if the server responds with a 307 redirect response, the client’s web-browser will POST request to the redirect destination. Please note, form-data is typically lost when redirecting via POST request.

When do I need a redirect?

The most common use-cases that would require a redirect are:

  1. Changing your domain name
  2. Restructuring website pathing, resulting in URL changes for content within your website
  3. URL shortening – having a shorter, more memorable alternative to your primary domain name.
  4. Sending traffic from additional/alternative domain names (Example: gogle.com redirects to google.com)
  5. Sending traffic from your DNS zone apex / naked domain name to your “www” sub-domain (Example: domain.com 301 redirects to www.domain.com)

Important considerations when redirecting a URL

  1. Ensure your URL supports HTTPS connections! Otherwise you may have visitors who are receiving broken links.
  2. When redirecting a specific path within your website, you may want to match paths based on a pattern or Regular Expression, as opposed to a single path.
  3. Seriously consider whether you should use a 301 or a 302, based on the information above.

The right domain name can encapsulate a brand, a trend, or a movement, making it a highly sought-after digital commodity. As online presence continuously grows in value for businesses and individuals alike, the demand for memorable and relevant domain names continues to climb. This article explores the stories behind four high-value domains, demonstrating how strategic investment and development can maximize the value of these digital assets.

An Analysis of High-Value Domains

Before we delve into the individual stories of our chosen high-value domains, let's set the scene. Each of these domains, whether inherently simple or complex, represents a noteworthy case study in the realm of digital asset valuation. Their stories encompass insightful strategies, tactical development, and an understanding of market dynamics, showcasing the immense potential of domain investments

Business.com: From Bubble to Boom

We begin with Business.com, a domain that has experienced the fluctuations of the digital economy. Initially a failing start-up during the dot-com bubble, Jake Winebaum and Sky Dayton purchased it for $7.5 million in 1999. They recognized the potential of its broad business appeal and straightforward, professional name.

They transformed it into a successful B2B company, offering an extensive directory for business products and services. R.H. Donnelley purchased the domain for $345 million in 2007, marking one of the most significant domain sales to date. Today, Business.com continues to serve as a resource for businesses, providing advice, product comparisons, and other services.

FB.com: An Invaluable Acquisition for Facebook

Next on our list is FB.com, a domain initially owned by the American Farm Bureau Federation. In 2010, the social media giant Facebook purchased it for $8.5 million to use for internal email addresses. The value of this domain increased drastically because of Facebook's need for a shorter, more brandable domain for its expanding network of employees.

Today, FB.com is a URL redirect to Facebook's homepage, a simple use that belies the domain's multi-million-dollar price tag. The purchase of this domain, while not directly affecting Facebook's billions of users, was a significant behind-the-scenes investment for the company.

Insurance.com: A Profitable Return on Investment

Initially purchased for $1.6 million, the new owners of Insurance.com saw potential in it as an online platform to compare insurance rates – a service that was just starting to gain popularity. They developed it into a comprehensive insurance comparison resource, offering users a way to find the best prices for car, home, and life insurance.

The value of this domain skyrocketed with the rise of online insurance services, and it was eventually sold for a whopping $35.6 million in 2010. Insurance.com continues to be a leading platform for insurance comparisons, serving as an example of how strategic development can exponentially increase a domain's worth.

Voice.com: Versatile and Easy to Remember

In 2019, the domain Voice.com was sold for $30 million, demonstrating the power of simple, memorable, and versatile domain names in today's digital landscape. Its ease of recall, broad applicability across industries, and the trust associated with the .com extension significantly contributed to its value. The term "voice" can be easily branded and is relevant in numerous sectors, enhancing its appeal.

Block.one, a company specializing in blockchain technology, was the high-value buyer of this domain. They envisioned the domain as a cornerstone in building a blockchain-based social media platform. The aim was to create a more secure and transparent social media environment, where user interactions could be more open and honest.

What Factors Led to These Domain Investment Successes?

In our examination of successful domain investments, several shared factors have emerged as pivotal in driving their success. Understanding these elements can provide an invaluable base for those engaged in the technical world of domain investing.

Timing

Early adopters who secured domains during the internet's nascent years were well-positioned to capitalize during the digital boom. However, even in the current crowded market, timing remains a vital determinant of success. Identifying and leveraging emerging trends or technological developments can significantly escalate a domain's worth.

Branding and SEO

Never underestimate the power of branding and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Domains that are succinct and memorable serve as powerful branding tools. Simultaneously, domains featuring high-traffic keywords have the potential to enhance search engine visibility, attracting substantial online traffic. The high selling prices of domains such as Insurance.com and LasVegas.com underscore the considerable importance of branding and SEO.

Market Demand

Market demand can elevate a common domain into a highly valuable asset. If a domain correlates with a thriving industry or trending topic, its price can increase substantially. For example, the domain FB.com became extremely valuable when Facebook, a company with a massive user base, recognized it as an ideal fit for its branding purposes.

Potential for Development

With strategic development, a domain that initially seems to hold little value can be significantly transformed. The initial value of a domain can resemble a rough diamond—it may not yet shine, but with the proper refinement, its worth can increase exponentially. The domains Business.com and Insurance.com exemplify how strategic development can transform a domain into a profitable business or website.

How Can You Find High-Value Domains?

Finding high-value domains requires a nuanced understanding of what causes domains to rise in value. To efficiently identify domains with the potential to rise in value, you can leverage keyword research tools, Whois data scrapers, and domain appraisers. These tools help you identify opportunities, find domain ownership history, and accurately appraise any identified opportunities.

For investors with multiple domains, SiteDetour makes it easy to seamlessly redirect traffic from their extra domains to their primary website. This functionality not only simplifies website management but also ensures that no potential traffic is wasted, thereby maximizing the value of your domain investments.

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