Miami’s residential real estate market has risen like a Phoenix from the ashes of the 2008 financial crisis. The condo market has seen some of the biggest gains, with many investors who bought in 2009-10 nearly doubling their money. The recovery has led to a slew of new condo projects springing up in areas that were once drive-by, forgettable real estate. The Brickell area of downtown Miami continues to boom with condo and retail projects exploding. The Miami neighborhoods of Edgewater, Wynwood, and the Design District not too long ago were urban blight. Now, they are hot and getting hotter. Of course, Miami Beach and more specifically South Beach continue to be popular places to live and new construction is squeezing in where it can.
So what does the Miami real estate market have to with domain names? As someone who has recently become familiar with the Miami real estate market and someone who loves buying and selling domains, I’ve spent a lot of time lately buying what never registered or dropped .COMs, mostly generic, and mostly focused on the Miami neighborhoods of Brickell, Edgewater, Wynwood, and the scraps of South Beach or Miami Beach .COMs that are somehow still available. In my quest for Miami-focused domains, I also purchased several .IO, .CO, .XYZ and .BUZZ TLDs . All of which got me wondering how some of these new gTLDs stack up against each other value-wise for the exact same keyword domains.
Anything on the water in Miami (directly facing the ocean or Biscayne Bay) is like a premium .COM. A really top .NET (e.g. MiamiBeach.net) is akin to property a few blocks from the beach or that has a water view. A high-value .CO (e.g. MiamiBeach.co) wants to be the .NET, but will settle for being a mistype of the .COM. One thing a .CO has going for it, is that people are starting to at least recognize it when they see it (e.g. you know the name of the street, but aren’t sure if the address you like is in the most prime area).
Then you have your real estate speculators, who are buying the .WHATEVER version of the .COM they can only dream about owning. Take Stephen Geitel. His development company bought a little more than a half acre close to Biscayne Bay, in Edgewater. Soon, he realized that his land was worth a fortune as major Miami developers bought up the land around his. Geitel bought the land because it was cheap and near the water, but on real estate that most people weren’t seriously considering then. What Geitel did is the domain equivalent of buying one of the new premium gTLDs with an extension that thrives and doesn’t just survive.
Until I started buying a few Miami gTLDs, I didn’t own many (still don’t). The ones I like the most (at the moment) are .BUZZ and .IO because in my opinion, of the new gTLDs, they are the most versatile, especially for generic GEO domains. I also like .XYZ but not as much as the others. Sites like Vegas.Buzz are already providing the no-brainer road map for other geo .BUZZ owners. The not so obvious choice is .IO. Yes, .IO is hot right now with a number of tech start ups using this extension. The reason I like .IO is because it looks cool after a name (e.g. SouthBeach.io). I wouldn’t bet the farm, or even a row of corn on .IO extending beyond the tech / app world, but gambling a few hundred dollars on several names is worth the risk. Will .IO, .BUZZ or any other new gTLD ever really catch on and be accepted by the general public? I have no idea. But, I’m in Stephen Geitel mode right now – hoping to luck into something great without spending a fortune.
With that, let’s have some fun with Miami real estate related names. To set a baseline, I used the exact keyword(s) for each extension and I used Estibot’s valuation tool (some of the others don’t appraise some of the new gTLDs).
Miami Beach & South Beach
Let’s start with two Miami geo .COMs anyone would love to own: MiamiBeach.com and SouthBeach.com (both were first registered in 1997). MiamiBeach.com (which redirects to Miami.com) is now owned by McClatchy Interactive, which owns the Miami Herald and many other newspapers and websites. Southbeach.com is owned by Hotels.com. Most of the great generic Miami-related (beach or Miami proper) .COMs have been long ago registered and are either being used or being sold as the valuable Internet “beach front / water view” properties that they are.
In my microcosm of the domain universe (The same geo domain keyword with six different gTLD extensions),the most interesting finding is not what the .COMs are worth, it’s how far the drop is between .NET to .CO, .IO, and .BUZZ. Since he values are from Estibot and given that these are automated and don’t account for live sites, traffic, etc., I don’t get too caught up in the real valuations, but patterns do seem to emerge. The valuation superiority of a .NET compared to any other gTLD was more than I expected. I also expected .CO (given it’s big head start) to have a significantly better valuation than some of the newbies. It doesn’t. Unfortunately, Estibot’s valuation of the .BUZZs is non-existent and way off, but I left them in the mix because I think if you’re building out a site that focuses on what’s happening in a specific part of town, a .BUZZ name should be considered, especially if available. Estibot doesn’t give much love to .CONDOS names compared toan identical .IO or .CO name.
|Domain Name||Estibot Value||Current Use||Available for Purchase|
|MiamiBeach.com||$195,000||Redirects to Miami.com||No|
|MiamiBeach.io||$360||Sedo parked page||$2,500|
|Miamibeach.xyz||$260||MostWantedDomains.com parked page||Min. bid is $5000|
|Southbeach.net||$7,500||Pulls feed from Tripadvisor||No|
|Southbeach.co||$1,200||Sedo parked page||NA|
|Southbeach.buzz||$0||Godaddy parked page||NA|
|Southbeach.io||$650||Sedo parked page||$1,999|
|Southbeach.xyz||$450||Redirects to a South Beach notary public site.||No|
|miamibeachcondos.com||$8,600||Landing page||Yes (no price given)|
|miamibeachcondos.net||$490||Sales landing page||Yes , wants “around $8,000”|
|miamibeach.condos||$5||Redirects to miamicondorealty.com||No|
|miamibeachcondos.io||$75||Not registered||Not registered|
|Miamibeachcondos.xyz||$50||Not registered||Not registered|
|southbeachcondos.com||$5,800||Active site for realtor||No|
|southbeach.condos||$5||Landing page||$5,000 min offer|
|southbeachcondos.io||$45||Not registered||Not registered|
|Southbeachcondos.xyz||$35||Not registered||Not registered|
|miami.condos||$40||Real estate site||No|
In researching this post, it became clear to me that there may be some good geo .IO names still available. SouthBeach.io and MiamiBeach.io weren’t registered until April 2015 on Godaddy. So, either SouthBeach.io and MiamiBeach.io are totally worthless or were totally overlooked. For $35.99 to $59.99 (depending on your deal with Godaddy), there appears to be some potentially nice “real estate” .IO plays out there. The current trend in .IO suggests that geo-names are not the go-to usage, but like the Miami real estate market, .IOs are a hot sector and a high tide can lift all boats.
Part 2 focuses on domain extensions in some hot Miami neighborhoods like Edgewater, Wynwood, and Brickell.