A newly-granted patent is on to something.
More and more websites are adding features to show demand for products to spur you into buying quickly. Consider this listing on HomeAway and how it creates a sense of urgency to book now:
GoDaddy has a similar idea, and I think Verisign could implement a nice variation of it and provide it as a service through its registrar channel.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark office granted patent #9,904,944 (pdf) to GoDaddy today. The patent is for collecting and displaying search metrics to people when they search for a domain name.
For example, if someone searches for an available domain example.com, the results page might say, “Hurry, this domain name has been searched 53 times in the past month”. Or “Domains including the keyword ‘example’ have been searched 1,247 times in the past month”. Or “There’s a 75% chance this domain will be registered in the next 48 hours”.
This is a clever idea to push people to act on their ideas right away. There’s one problem, though. People are paranoid about registrars tracking their searches. You can read lots of stories from people who swear that a domain registrar sold their search data to someone else who subsequently registered the domain before they got a chance. Even though registrars do indeed track searches (but don’t sell them), displaying search data might remind customers of this.
I think a better approach would be to show how many domains including the keyword have been registered in the past X days. Verisign collects this data and makes it available through DomainScope. Verisign could make this available to registrars to use in search results.
For example, if someone searched for a domain name that included the keyword Crypto, the search result could say “Hurry, 1,438 domain names including crypto have been registered in the past week!”
GoDaddy could to the same thing, but smaller registrars don’t have as big of a dataset.
GoDaddy filed the patent in 2013 and I don’t recall seeing the idea ever come to fruition.