Earlier this month when I was attending the Kain Automotive Clients & Friends Digital Success Workshop, I met up with Shayan and we both agreed now that the .cars .car and .auto domains have been available for almost a year, it would be cool to do a podcast together and see how these domains are being used today.
On this episode, Shayan and I talk about how car dealerships and automotive groups are using a .car .cars or .auto domain today, how consumer awareness of these new domain extensions is taking hold, and why you may want to secure a valuable piece of this digital real estate today lest you miss out.
We recorded this episode of the MarketPunch Podcast in the lobby of the 21c Museum Hotel in Lexington, KY – a fascinatiing hotel if you ever get a chance to stay at one. The artwork in the lobby alone is well worth the visit!
Enjoy The Show!
MarketPunch Podcast Tip of the Week
This weeks tip comes straight out of my presentation on car dealership website optimization strategies, “Don’t Invite the Guests Before the House is Right“, that I gave at the Kain Automotive Clients & Friends Digital Success Workshop.
During my presentation I talked about a nifty web app called Inspectlet and I wanted to give you the scoop on what it is and why you should use it.
As they state on their website, Google Analytics tells you what, Inspectlet tells you why. This app features heat mapping, form analytics and my favorite feature – session recording – among others.
With session recording, Inspectlet will record the actions that real users on your website are taking. You can see their mouse movement, where a user clicks and hovers even information that’s typed in a form on each page of your website that is visited.
You can then use this valuable information, combined with heat map and data from Google Analytics to better understand how your website is being engaged with and ultimately to make informed decisions on optimizing the layout of your website.
Want to see how the session recording actually works? Head over to Inspectlet.com and run the live demo. I know you’ll be impressed!
Oh, and I almost forgot the best part. Inspectlet offers a free plan that includes session recording and heat mapping so you have no reason not to start using Inspectlet today!
Year One: .Cars .Car & .Auto Domains
The .car .cars and .auto domains became available to the public for purchase in January 2016. Since that time, Shayan estimates that nearly 80% of the automobile OEM’s have purchased one or more of these domains and about 50% of the total registrations have come from car dealerships.
While this was what they expected when launching these domain extensions, they weren’t anticipating how some companies would think about using these domains in creative ways to align with new ventures or product lines.
For example, BMW registered bmw.connected.car and Hyundai registered plugin.cars – both domains positioned to reflect upcoming product initiatives from these OEM’s.
From the dealership side of things, Scholfield Hyundai Buick GMC recently launched Wichita.cars as a portal site to house the inventory for all three of their dealerships and give consumers an easy way to schedule service at any of their dealerships.
From an SEO perspective, Wichita.cars is also ranking well for terms like cars for sale for searches originating in the Wichita area. In fact, Wichita.cars is the first dealership to rank for cars for sale behind the big publisher websites like CarGurus, Craigslist and AutoTrader!
Another example of an automotive group migrating to a .cars domain is the Downtown Automotive Group headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. They recently built out their corporate website at dag.cars and also use the domain for their company email addresses as well.
Consumer Awareness is Growing
One of the questions I heard come up quite a bit after the .cars .car and .auto domains were initially released last year was, how are consumers going to recognize that these are websites?
Shayan goes on to explain that word is getting out through their own direct marketing to consumers as well as the efforts from registrars for the domains like GoDaddy and Network Solutions.
They’re also generating awareness by highlighting actual use cases that have gained mainstream media exposure. A great example comes from Local Motors who created a 3D Printed, autonomous, electric, shuttle bus named Olli. This story was widely covered by multiple news outlets and blogs all linking to the website, meetolli.auto.
It’s use cases like these that are getting widespread media coverage that’s helping create general awareness for the .car .cars and .auto domains.
Valuable Domains Are Still Available
I was attending college at Eastern Michigan University in 1995 when the Internet started to become widespread. I fondly recall spending many hours down in the computer lab visiting as many websites as I could find because I was so fascinated by the technology and information that was being made available.
That being said, part of me wishes I would have been a little more forward thinking 20 years ago and scooped up some .com domain names early on in an effort to make a few (thousand) bucks along the way.
Shayan gives a great example of how someone scooped up Auction.com back in the day, and it sold a few years a go for 1.7 million dollars. If you’re the speculative type, Auction.cars and Auction.auto are both still available to purchase.
Because these domains retail for a much higher price point than your typical .com domain, that means there are plenty of valuable domains still available for you to purchase.
Two and three letter, 1 number and many city and state domain names are still available to register.
Why Do .Cars .Car & .Auto Domains Cost So Much?
This is probably the question I’m most often asked about these domains, and I asked it to Shayan during our interview.
These domains retail from anywhere between $2,000 and $2,900 per year depending on the registrar you use. These price points were set intentionally to keep the average arm-chair speculator away from buying and then squatting on the most desirable domain names.
If these domains retailed for the same price as a .com domain, you can bet that you wouldn’t be able to register your preferred domain because more than likely someone else would already be squatting on it. And if it was considered a highly sought after domain name, you know that the owner of the domain would be asking for a lot more than two grand to give up that domain to you.
A real life example of this is FastCars.com is currently being offered for sale for a mere $250,000. Yikes! But guess what? Fast.cars is still available for the regular retail price. It’s also worth noting that no potentially desirable .cars .car or .auto domains are held back and sold at a ‘premium’ price point. If the domain is available, they all cost the same no matter what.
When you think about it, $200 a month to have a desirable, short and memorable url is more than affordable.
Contact Shayan and a Gift for You!
I do hope you enjoyed my interview with Shayan Rostam on this episode of the MarketPunch Podcast. If you have any questions, Shayan is more than happy to help answer them for you. You can reach Shayan by email or on Twitter @ShayanRostam.
Also, as a special gift to you just for tuning in, Shayan said that if you’re ready to purchase a .cars .car or .auto domain, they will take care of your website migration to the new domain free of charge! That’s right, a service they’d normally charge thousands of dollars for, they’ll hook up you for free. How awesome is that?!
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