As a domain investor you’re probably looking for the next big opportunity — a domain investment opportunity like we saw in China. Many people were surprised at how big the Chinese community’s domain purchases were and how fast they were made. For many months domain investors traded names with a liquidity akin to stocks — and made a lot of money. Domainers even coined a new phrase, “Chinese Premiums” (CHIPs), to refer to the domain names favored by the Chinese.
The Chinese domains experience left many of us in the domain investment community with questions. Was this opportunity unique or will it occur again? How can we get in front of an investment opportunity when it next presents itself? Will it pick back up in China or in another market?
There are no sure answers to these questions. It’s always wise to do your homework before making any investment, domain or otherwise, as all investments come with risk. That said, there are some things you can do to be a wiser investor and to minimize risk. Getting to know as much as you can about the investment, the market conditions, the potential buyers, etc. will help you make smarter domain investment decisions.
Is India the next China for domain investment?
While there is still much debate about the future of domain investing in China, people are starting to look for the “next China” — and this has many domains enthusiasts considering India. Why India? Here are just a few reasons:
- It has a large population, which translates to many potential customers for goods and services.
- Many Indians are tech savvy.
- Likewise, there are many in the country who understand domains and the internet space.
- India boasts the world’s fastest growing major economy.
- The country is home to a bevy of established businesses that can purchase domains for expanding their presence online, as well as numerous well-funded new ventures looking for just the right name to go to market with.
Tips for investing in domains for India
When thinking about investing in domains for India, it’s important to think through several key points.
Understand the basics of domain valuation
Before you start dabbling in domain investment in another country, you need a firm grasp on the fundamentals of domain valuation.
All wise domain investing is done when making a good purchase on a domain name that you will sell for more than you paid for it.
This means you need to understand, not guess at, what domains are undervalued. It’s critical to have a fundamental understanding of what makes a domain name valuable before trying to branch out into what makes a domain name valuable in another culture or country.
To do this in your own country is tough enough. To buy names with the hopes of selling them to users in another country can be quite tricky. You need to really consider what domains you’re buying and who are you buying them for.
Understand the language and culture
Domains are most often comprised of words. That means if you are planning on selling domains to end users in India, you need to select domains made up of the words your prospective buyers use. This mirrors the experience in China where PINYIN was used to represent actual words and concepts familiar to the Chinese. The better the numeric combination as it related to real concepts and words, the more money it was worth.
Many in India speak English and many domains consist of English words, but India has its own culture and its own way of saying things, even in English. India’s English is rooted in British (not American) English. There are differences in spelling, common words and slang. For instance, you might see signs for an apothecary, not a drug store, in India. So you’d want to register a domain such as bombayapothecary.com rather than bombaydrugstore.com.
Of course, there’s no substitute for spending time in a country to grasp its nuances. But if you can’t make it to Mumbai, you can just go online. That’s one of the great things about the internet — you can talk to people from all over the world. I have many Indian friends and find most people from India to be welcoming of questions about domains or their culture. Check out a forum like NamePros.com, where there are people from all over the world and several threads just about India.
Get educated about the domain market
To better understand the Indian domain market, it is also helpful to watch recordings of domain conferences. I’d suggest starting with DomainX. Powered by Domain Name Owners Association of India, DomainX features an impressive lineup of industry experts. There also are many Indian domainers who travel to domain conferences in the USA, Europe and China. Make a point of meeting them at a conference you can attend.
Another great way to learn more about domain investing in India is to read books authored by Indian domain investors. Here are a few great options:
- “Domain Name Investing 101” by Manmeet Singh, founder of DomainX.
- “Sell Domains Fast” by Aishwin Vikhona.
These books will give you insight into how a few of India’s successful domain investors think about buying and selling domains.
I hope these tips help you start doing your research into the Indian domain market. Is it the Next Big Thing for domain investment? Maybe. Is it worth taking the time to educate yourself? Definitely. The worst thing that can happen is you never spend a dime on a domain for India but you make some great new friends along the way.
Also published on Medium.