Geographic location domain names are essentially exact match digital footprint of the real world location for example 5th Avenue NY - 5thAvenue.com or NewYork.com
These names are often combined with certain words to create a location focused brand for example LondonBuilders.com
Fred, can you tell us about yourself?
In 2003, I owned a large golf reservation and property management company. We generated 500,000 tee times annually, did $8M of golf vacation packages, and managed 210 properties in the Scottsdale market. I contacted the owner of Scottsdale.com to inquire about advertising in the Golf section. We generated content, produced a Golf Vacation Guide with downloadable and printable scorecards, and overall the leads we received were incredible and converted successfully. After 2 years, the owner approached me to buy the site, and after 30 days of due diligence, I did.
In the next 3 years, our gross revenue was $3M annually, with approximately $800,000 in bottom line revenue, all done with just 3 employees. I joined an organization called Associated Cities as a member, eventually becoming a Board Member, and ultimately President, and then the next generation of trade association Geo Publishers, also as President. We had 300+++ members, City owners from all over the world, from Glasgow.com to Chicago.com and we freely shared development and monetization strategies. This is how I developed so many great relationships within the Geo Domain worldwide community.
What are geo domain names?
Why did you choose geo domains as an investment portfolio?
Because I saw first-hand the financial, authority and credibility power that a City .com provided, first as an advertiser, and then as an owner. I did not have the foresight to acquire names in the early to mid 90’s; it was not until I acquired Scottsdale.com and learned from many other Geo domain owners how to monetize the sites, that I became hooked. Our traffic and revenue on Scottsdale.com was exceptional when you realize that we spent ZERO dollars on keyword buys or sponsored Google ads. Our growth was all organic, and ultimately our traffic peaked at 300,000 visitors each month in high season, with 50% of that traffic being natural type in direct traffic. You cannot get that amount of visitors and engagement unless you own the pure City brand, or your monthly SEO and keyword budget is $25,000+
How can geo domains be used commercially to benefit a company?
Pure City brands are so powerful, and can be utilized in many ways. Ideally, the perfect owners are media and newspaper companies, as print is no longer a growing business, and the world is getting all their news and information digitally. However one of the biggest disappointments in my opinion is the failure of the news print industry to adapt; they are now paying the price as their stock is at all time lows, and many are going out of business. The next major segment of City owners are local entrepreneurs with major interest in real estate, travel and tourism, and specific market segments that would benefit from developing a full City portal of information.
The perfect City site enjoys a mix of traffic that is local combined with a percentage of traffic that is looking to travel to the city, or relocate and is looking for all information about the City. This is where newspapers missed the boat, and here in Scottsdale is a perfect example. Our “competition” is a site called AZCentral.com, which is run by Gannett. It is estimated that 50% of the revenue generated on Scottsdale.com will be travel and tourism related; nobody outside of Arizona has ever even heard of AZCentral, leaving a major hole in their revenue sheet. Further, 80% of the money spent by consumers is still spent within 20 miles of their residence.
Locals flock to City sites to find Events, look at Real Estate listings, search for local articles dealing with new Restaurants, find a new Chiropractor, read local news and developments and more. Look no further than existing City sites that are attracting 8M to 10M monthly visitors, 30M+ page views, and 150M monthly ad impressions such as Boston.com, Philly.com, Miami.com and many more. A bell-weather moment happened at the NY Times last year. The NY Times is one major media company that “gets it” and for the first time in its history, digital ad revenue surpassed print ad revenue; and the trend continues each quarter. Print continues to diminish, and digital continues to increase.
What is the typical value range for exact match geo domains in 2022/2023
We represent 50+ pure City domain names for exclusive brokerage. Many are mid-size markets, such as Burbank.com, SantaClara.com, Sausalito.com and similar. These are all in the $250,000 to $500,000 range. Our large markets in our Portfolio that can be seen at our landing page on NewYork.com are all between $800,000 to $2.5M. Our last 3 sales averaged in the $1.75M range each; as is normal in the 7 figure domain transactions business, these are all protected by NDA’s, but I can report that this was the actual price range.
What's the most expensive geo domain sale to date, Vegas.com ?
Yes. The sale of $90M was a long term terms deal, and it is important to note that it was not just the domain name that sold; it was an established site with a ton of traffic and revenue.
Do you have examples of companies using geo domains either as a brand name or for marketing campaigns?
I owned a small town in Florida called PortCharlotte.com. I sold it and the next week it is a site dedicated to Port Charlotte whiskey, in Scotland! NYC.com does an exceptional business in Broadway Show Ticket sales. The best use of a City site is again, building a hyper local platform concentrating on local business, real estate, events, jobs, news, restaurant guides, interviews along with a strong section dealing with travel and tourism.
What does the future hold for geo domain names?
I believe the value of these pure digital assets will continue to increase each year. Imagine buying a keyword such as NewYork.com where 8 million people live, gets searched for millions of times each month, and is mentioned in daily conversations tens of millions of times each day. Again, the credibility that is associated with an exact match City name is unmatched.
Do you foresee geo names being used within the metaverse sector as digital footprints of the given location?
Absolutely. Let’s use NewYork.com as an example. Once the Metaverse matures, imagine that a couple in Colorado can put on their VR headsets, enter the Metaverse section of NewYork.com, purchase front row tickets to see the Broadway Show Hamilton, and virtually watch the performance in its entirety; all without leaving the comfort of their own home! They can stroll along Times Square, with advertisers on NewYork.com dominating all the virtual billboard space that is viewed by the user. This is just the tip of the ice berg for Web3 and Metaverse application. Yes, I see pure geo brands playing a major role in the future.
What's the most important aspect of geo domains for a business: SEO, brand perception, targeted marketing campaigns?
All of the above, and more. Lets talk about “brand perception” and “targeted marketing campaigns.” Let’s use a Wealth Manager for an example. Once a Wealth Manager pitches a potential client, the client will want to do some research prior to trusting them with their money. The Wealth Managers website will no doubt be a starting place, but of course since it was designed by the Wealth Manager themselves, you’d expect nothing but positive content. So, let me ask you a question: if this Wealth Manager was prominently listed and featured on Houston.com, with an in depth interview on Houston.com, versus an interview they did on “HoustonFinancialPlanners.net”, which would be more powerful? The City brands bring a credibility and authority second to none, and savvy businesses owners flock to be featured on these sites.
What are some of the best geo names you own?
Having just sold one of my best in Scottsdale.com, I still own 10 or so in my 850+ domain portfolio. Some smaller markets such as Sheboygan.com, some strong cities such as Tempe.com, and some others such as TheUnitedStates.com and DistrictOfColumbia.com. My main focus these days has pivoted from City developer to City broker. Lots of work, but having a great time each and every day.