Exploring and De-risking ccTLD investing with Morgan Linton and Nikul Sanghvi

Exploring and De-risking ccTLD investing with Morgan Linton and Nikul Sanghvi

The first digital land rush — .com, .net, and .org to name a few — happened a couple of decades ago, and minted quite a few millionaires along the way.

Not quite a decade ago, the second digital land rush — new TLDs — had high hopes minting even more millionaires. Actually, the inverse has happened.  More folks lost their money than actually made a dime worth talking about.

But between these two milestone events, an entire domain market segment and economy is thriving, getting bigger as the days, months, and years pass: country code top-level domains (ccTLDs).

Generally reserved for a country, sovereign state or dependent terrority identified with a country code, ccTLD domains have been around since early 1980s — first registered ccTLD was .no in 1983. Only a couple of years, and .us, .uk and .il followed closely by .au, .de, .fi, .is, .kr, .nl and .se.

When venturing beyond the United States, ccTLDs are heavily embraced as a primary way of digital life and business by most countries. It’s not to say that you won’t see or discover the use of legacy extensions, such as .com, .org, or .net. But for the most part, ccTLDs are highly favored over legacy extensions.

In fact, there are at least 4 ccTLDs with at least 20 million or more in domains registered and no signs of slowing. The top ten ccTLDs are as follows:

  1. .cn
  2. .tk
  3. .de
  4. .uk
  5. .tw
  6. .nl
  7. .ru
  8. .br
  9. .eu
  10. .fr

However, when speaking of the United States, ccTLDs are mostly used as domain hacks or repurposed commercial-centric extensions.

A handful of popular domain hacks to name a few:

  • bit.ly
  • blo.gs
  • del.icio.us
  • flic.kr
  • youtu.be
  • amzn.to
  • spoti.fi
  • n.pr
  • itun.es
  • instagr.am
  • goo.gl

A handful of commercial-centric extensions gaining in popularity and usage:

  • .tv
  • .co
  • .io
  • .ai
  • .ml
  • .cc
  • .vc
  • .gg

In a recent podcast, I had the opportunity to chat with two domain investors, Morgan Linton and Nikul Sanghvi, with a fair percentage of ccTLDs making up their domain portfolios.

Nikul Sanghvi is an analytics extraordinaire by day and a highly-esteemed Domain investor of ccTLDs by night. He’s the founder and principal of HyperNames.co — a digital asset boutique connecting startups and subject matter experts with high impact, memorable domains.

Morgan Linton is one of the most learned, generous personalities you’ll encounter in the domain industry. A multilingual domain investor, broker, blogger, serial entrepreneur and, if that wasn’t enough, he’s added angel investor in the last few years. He’s also the co-founder of Bold Metrics, a venture-backed SaaS company using contactless Machine Learning to unlock body data.

Both Nikul and Morgan recently made time to discuss “the state of ccTLD investing” based on their experience and learn lessons. We dive deep into the pros and cons of ccTLD investing, qualifying attributes of profitable ccTLD investing as a secondary investment vehicle, and predictions for what’s next on the horizon for ccTLDs.

So hit play, and journey with Nikul, Morgan, and I as we discuss “the state of ccTLD investing”.


Written by Alvin Brown
He's an experienced and passionate serial entrepreneur, founder and publisher of Kickstart Commerce. Alvin possesses a great love for startups dominating their market using profitable digital strategies for greater commerce.