Every domain name belongs to a category and they are often referred to in different ways. In the domain investment community, an LLL is considered a 3 Letter domain name. A domain referred to as “category defining” is a domain that is a category, which it defines: Tickets.com
The bigger the category, more ad spend and more online it is, the higher the value in the domain name. Loans.com, Tickets.com, Insurance.com, Crypto.com etc.
Just like the above mentioned, there is a category of domain names called “upgrade” and its not as clear cut as LLL but it’s still pretty self-explanatory.
An upgrade domain is a generic term or terms that others own similar domains to but likely with additional word/s added onto it. The upgrade domain would be considered the best of the bunch. One very important aspect with upgrade domains as investments, generic is key!
TransferWise.com for an example upgraded domain names and rebranded simply as Wise.com as the company grew and offers more than transfers. In this case, Wise.com was an upgrade domain from TransferWise.com for the company.
Wise.com is also in a category called “generic” because the term is an English dictionary term but in the above example, it was also an upgrade domain.
What’s all the buzz about upgrade category type domain names?
I personally love them, and I also think it's a no-brainer to hold such domains as investments. The more generic, the safer the investment. I always prefer .com. The wider number of domains registered that directly relate to the upgrade domain, the better!
With any asset you hold, the wider the buyer pool, the higher chance you hold at selling your asset. This very same thing relates to upgrade category domain names. Most English dictionary domain names slide into the upgrade category due to current branding trends but there are many two-word terms that are common brand terms as well.
Although no longer generic, Face and Book are two generic terms but combined are now a brand. Prior to TheFacebook.com acquiring Facebook.com and branding as such, Facebook was an upgrade category type of domain name.
Is the root domain the only upgrade in regard to domains?
Certainly not. A very common trend is for startups to use what I call a starter domain as these domains often hold a much lower purchase price until the new company gets it footings. Often a different extension like .co, .io or .ai is used and the company later upgrades to the brand matching .com domain in an upgrade.
Not just startups upgrade domain names. Things change and as companies realize the importance of the online world, they are more inclined to invest in the best, brand matching and global reaching .com domain names for there companies. Even older companies upgrade domain names.
Some might say: Domains aren’t that important; they are expensive and not worth the money!
I get it. Businesses are super hard to operate, everything is expensive and it’s not easy to earn a buck but domain names are the face of your online brand. Your domain will be the first thing a client types or sees when clicking a link. It’s you and important to instill trust for your customers and this is done by owning and using the make sense domain name to your brand.
We live in a really big world and confusion isn’t a good thing online. Since there are many companies around the world that hold the same brand name, it’s important for your company to not be confused by the others. Owning the best, make sense domain name to your brand is the key and the reason prices can be so high, it’s a global market and every single domain name is solely unique with only one in existence.
Domain names are very important, because they identify your brand online. The virtual store a consumer visits, every single time. With every email you send and your employees send, is on your domain name. Every word-of-mouth conversation and so much more, all revolves around your online address. The easier to remember, say and make sense to your brand that your domain is, the better.
Domain names are very important and only a piece but an important piece to the business puzzle.
Nearly every day, via my Twitter feed I highlight domain name upgrade purchases from companies around the world. If you are not sure what a good upgrade domain name is, please feel free to checkout my posts and learn from the real life examples. I also wrote this article in 2019 which has a slew of upgrade domain purchases documented.
Keep in mind that a pre-dated domain name registration by the original owner will trump trademarks/UDRP filings (most of the time), so that can often play an important roll in understanding “generic” vs “less-generic” investments. Always error on the side of caution with investing in domain names that are not purely generic as there can be a legal risk.
You can reference this article, Evaluating a domain name's worth for some helpful tips and tools to guide you along the way in making wise decisions