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How real estate agents use domain names

A look at domain names in home listings.

Refine MagazineEarlier this year I wrote about domain names used to market homes for sale.

This week I received a glossy magazine advertising homes for sale in Austin, and I decided to see how many of the homes had a domain name in their description or title.

Of the 95 homes featured in the magazine, 51 had a domain name specifically for the home. That’s 54%. (It’s possible other homes have a unique domain name but their agents did not include them in the magazine.)

I tallied up the types of domain names used:

  • 37 of the domain names were street names or addresses, such as 7500EscalaDr.com.
  • 14 of the domain names were descriptive, such as TheFloatingBoxHouse.com.
  • All of the domain names were .com.

As I noted in my post earlier this year, the uniqueness of address domain names makes it easy for home sellers to find an available .com domain name.

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  1. Joseph Peterson

    My last experience shopping around as a home buyer was exactly 10 years ago, and I don’t remember seeing street-address domains or visiting self-contained pages for home listings. (Multi-listing websites, yes.) Then again, I wasn’t paying attention to domains at that time.

    Since DNW is celebrating its 10th year, I know somebody who was paying attention back then.

    Andrew (or anybody who else who remembers), were home owners or their agents using free-standing pages and street-address domains to advertise homes for sale in 2005? Undoubtedly some were. But are we noticing something that has changed in the past 10 years or a decade-old status quo?

  2. Michael Castello

    @Joseph – What we are noticing is what works. People try different marketing strategies and go what gives them a return. No need to reinvent the wheel if it gets you where you want to go.

    • carledgar

      and tactics. Let’s remember that strategies are very very big, they are few and far between and they last a fairly long time. Tactics are fairly small, their numbers are legion and they are evanescent.

      You’ll find that 95% of the time when you red the word “strategy/strategies”, Michael, the writer really means tactics.

      I won’t even get into operational doctrine:)

      Carl

  3. Byron J.

    THe fact that all are .COM intrigues me. It seems that no one wants to be the negligent real estate agent that promotes a .whatever. It would be malpractice. Even if someday the .com market becomes so saturated that it will be a necessity to utilize another tld, what will inevitably happen is that buyer prospects will accidentally go to .com, just as they accidentally visit today. I don’t see the .com stronghold ever losing its grip and I definitely don’t see the new gtlds ever catching on.

    • Laszlo Toth, Jr.

      “I don’t see the stronghold of the Big Three networks ever losing its grip and I definitely don’t see the new cable channels ever catching on.”

      “I don’t see the stronghold of the Big Three American car companies ever losing its grip and I definitely don’t see the new imported cars ever catching on.”

      “I don’t see the stronghold of the record labels ever losing its grip and I definitely don’t see the new digital music downloads ever catching on.”

    • Laszlo Toth, Jr.

      To be fair, all of those transitions took place over a long period of time (~10-20 years). But I’d have two points:

      * “Ever” is a long time.
      * .COM is a domain only a programmer can love. It has no intrinsic value, other than inertia. *Maybe* that it’s faster to type, but again, I think only programmers routinely optimize that way. And even then, if that was always true, we would all still be watchful about the punch holes in our cards, so the brushes on the drums read them most quickly. You’ll note even programming has gotten more user friendly since then.

      • Michael Castello

        .com has huge intrinsic value. It is a “brand”, which translates for most people to signify “on the internet”, Ford.com, to most people that see it, symbolizes Ford on the internet. That is a clarification as well as simplistic which make marketing the Ford brand more successful. I see it as co-branding. Using a generic word with a .com is similar to knowing someone by their first name. We usually don’t remember people by their last name when first introduced. We WILL learn their last name if it is beneficial to our future correspondence. This would be similar to learning the new gTLDs. Yes, they matter if people see value in remembering them.

  4. Scott

    Using a specific home address in the domain also makes it easy to track the traffic from advertising in print, signage and other channels.

  5. KC

    I think in the years down the road .com will be mainly used for corporate sites or anything of global nature (except American politics where we’ve seen presidential candidates getting .com). We’re talking about big money or potential for big money.

    For the average guy on the street, a cheap, short, and easy-to-remember extension may even be better than a long, difficult-to-remember .com. Something that you can use only once and then throw away. Just like Gmail addresses.

  6. James Lozano

    I am in the Real a Estate business, and use domain names for my listings as Single Property websites. The fact that all the domains in that magazine being .coms tells me that some of these agents don’t know what they are doing. What I do is buy the domain name and then buy a Sign Rider that goes with the yard sign, I want a domain name easy to remember, one that someone driving by and sees the name will easily remember it.

    If I’m listing 17639 Deerfield, having 17639Deerfield.com makes absolutely no sense, chances are that the domain name will be available, but who can remember it unless they write it down? I try to register just the street name, in this case Deerfield.com, but chances are the .com is already taken, so I register the .info, I can tell you Deerfield.info will help me sell the property much better than 17639Deerfild.com. Again, you want a name that can be easily remembered.

    As for Byron J thinking its malpractice using anything else other than .coms shows me that some just don’t get it. We are trying to sell a house, not promote a tld extension. A .info is perfectly right for this purpose, after all, I am directing the consumer to get INFOrmation about the house.

    • Andrew Allemann

      I suppose the question is if people end up typing in Deerfield.com instead of .info. I suspect people actually write it down, so it works out OK.

      I personally like descriptive home names. I already registered one for when I sell my home.

      • James Lozano

        Andrew,
        As I said, I first look for the street name in the .com, so I rather pay a few extra bucks for the .com instead of the .info, but if its already taken as is the case usually, a street name .info is much better than the home address .com. As for people going to Deerfield.com instead of .info, I guess it can happen, but once they realize its the wrong site they will go to the .info, the sign rider clearly says .INFO, and believe me it works just fine.

  7. Todd Hutcheson

    Only once has a street address domain been taken when I searched and it was for a house in a different city. I just added st for street and it was available. This with a qr code, video are must haves for marketing a property properly.

  8. Bartles

    I totes agree that using a .whatever is professional negligence. Especially if it is known that a .whatever leaks traffic to the .com url.

  9. Alexey

    A good way out of the situation is to come up with a domain name with an address, you can kill two birds with one stone, first get the cherished .com, and secondly it is immediately clear if people come to this site, then they are interested in this house.

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