Brilliant conversation over at DNW for those that missed it, Andrew wrote an article called “A threat to the importance of domain names” and the conversation is just fantastic.
I’m going to quote a few of them here before I give you my reasoning for the title of this post.
Yet, we are now inviting a new way of getting information and ordering goods directly into our living room: Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home and the like. We also have AI-powered personal assistants like Google Assistant and Siri.
Yes, these can use voice. But what makes these different than just using your voice to nagivate is that they anticipate your needs and act as the gatekeeper. So while voice is not a threat to domain names in and of itself, AI-powered assistants are.
Embracing tech will rarely disrupt online real estate values if utilized and leveraged correctly..
And never underestimate the sheer staying power of email. I have had my personal domain name jothan.com since 1995 and I don’t see where I’d replace it with an Echo.
The inertia towards names is still too strong and it’s too difficult for any one platform to viably dis-intermediate websites and email on a global scale.
When it comes to voice AIs like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Echo/Alexa, Google’s Assistant/Home, and the like, I believe they’ll make domain names more prominent, not less.
Here’s what I think – Domains will actually increase in importance in an AI led world.
Let’s take Andrew’s example of ordering flowers – all the bots will offer you options from paying customers, theirs. Google will give you the most likely advertiser, Amazon the most popular seller in your city and Siri might only refer you to florists who use Apple technology. Not one of them cares about you the customer, because let’s face, they get paid by the seller, not by the user. As you probably are aware – ‘If you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold’.
And that’s going to the reason why people would explore other options, which exist on other domain names. People are going to want to know whether they can get a BBD from some other company. And this is a fact, otherwise you’d never have the popularity of street food / food trucks when there are so many ‘options’ from the branded, mass produced food on offer today.
The BBD or the “bigger better deal” is the reason not everyone is an Apple fan. The reason why Android came into existence and today there are more Android phones sold than Apple. Everyone wants the maximum value for their money. And they know no conglomerate powered assistant is going to favour them over paying customers, the advertisers.
And till customers want options, there will be people who are going to provide it to them, and to provide those options, sellers are going to need domain names, lots and lots of domain names because SMEs far outnumber the number of sellers / advertisers of all the platforms, combined.
The domain penetration rate for the whole world is still pretty low if you consider the number of SMEs that exist and the startups that are going to be created worldwide in the next decade. So there is already pent up demand, people just don’t know it yet.
There are over 27.6 million newTLDs registered today. Domain registrations are up in almost every legacy tld and cctld out there. And prices are increasing across the board, not reducing. You have a whole new continent of buyers (Asia) and they’re barely getting started. The domain penetration ratio of China & India is still low enough to fuel further growth in domain registration numbers.
Which only tells you one thing – the demand for domains is exploding. Agree or Disagree? Let me know via the comments below!