The buying of new domains by VC-backed startups fired up again in 2019 with 711 brands having public information about their domain buying habits.
This data shows some shifts in comparison to the last few years and gives plenty for investors to consider moving forward with their domain investment plans.
So here’s what we will cover in this analysis:
- Raw data of funded startups
- Major insights from analysis
- Takeaways for domain investors
Let’s get into it!
Raw Data of 2019 Funded Startups
3 Major Insights From Domains Used By VC Startups
The 2019 data set brought plenty of information to parse through, especially when comparing it to the 2016-2018 data we’ve already been analyzing for patterns, trends, and other insights that the data provides that are valuable for investors.
Some of the patterns and trends that appeared from past reports seem to be further reinforced with the data pulled from 2019. There has also been further evidence given to some trends starting to shift and one major surprise that really sticks out.
There is a lot of good data to parse from this brand analysis!
Our approach was as follows. We obtained the data of funded startups from Crunchbase and cross-correlated that to their domain names. We analyzed the raw data using Microsoft Excel and created data-driven charts to pull insights.
Let’s dive into the three major insights from this data and what they can tell us about the state of the domain investment market.
1. Most Common TLDs Used By Startups
No one should be surprised that the .com domain is still the preferred TLD with 449 of the 711 brands going for the .com, a full 63% of all domains bought for startups. This number is right in line with the 2016 through 2018 numbers.
Second place, for the first time in these reports, is held solo by .io which accounted for 56 of the domains or nearly 8%. This was also over double the number of .co TLD domain names that were purchased by startups in 2019.
It is interesting to note that it appears that .io was noticeably more popular than .co. In past years these two were sort of neck and neck as the alternative choice to a .com TLD and so would be combined into one “second place” category.
This seems to have shifted in 2019 with .io as the clear second-place winner. Is this a sign of .io separating itself from .co as a clear second place winner or just a one-year outlier? Definitely something worth keeping an eye on moving forward.
Also worth noting is despite the .co losing serious ground to .io, it still clearly beats out .net and .org so any old school domain investors need to note that and not let past habits blind them to what the data says is presently true.
2. Number of Words in a Startup Domain Name
The clear preference for short and sweet domain names from previous years has continued based on the numbers in 2019. One-word domains were the clear winner with 58% (416 of 711) and 33% of the domain names being a mere two words.
That means a full 91% of all domains bought by startups were either one or two words. While early numbers from previous years showed this was a strong preference for short and sweet domain names, the trend has continued to move even further in that direction.
2019’s data strongly confirms that this trend towards short memorable names is not only well established but continues to grow even more entrenched in that direction.
3. How Many Characters In Startup Domains?
There’s some interesting data to look at when it comes to characters. While many times this information has given general support to what the domains by number of words told us, there are some new developments here worth paying attention to.
The majority of domains have 6 to 9 characters in the domain. This is the same sweet spot as last year, which is even shorter than the 6 to 10 character length that was the sweet spot in the 2016 and 2017 numbers.
Even more eye-opening about the importance of being short and memorable, 5 character domain names were in higher demand than 10 character domains for the first time in 2016-2019.
How much further strength this adds into the “shorter is better” position is debatable, but it is a data point worth noticing.
Final Takeaways for Domain Investors
The 2019 data was certainly illuminating and showed some new potential trends or changes that are worth keeping an eye on.
Will the “sweet spot” for character length of a domain name continue to shrink? Will .io keep pulling away from .co, or will .co make a comeback to share that .com alternative title?
Comparing this data to what’s come before, and to the years that will follow, allow us to get a more in-depth picture of what domain investors should be looking for to find the best available domain names to sell to future startups.