Looking To Develop A Geo Domain… Is .Org The Way To Go?

Nov 10 2011

by Chris Woodward

I’ve always wanted to buy and develop a geo domain. What the Castello brothers have done with PalmSprings.com has always fascinated me. As far as really developing a domain, I think a geo name is the perfect project, especially if you’re interested in the city or area and have a passion to make it succeed.

I recently began searching for available geo names. Obviously large city .com’s are out of my price range as I don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars to throw around. So, I began searching for a smaller city based on certain criteria. After several days spent on Wikipedia sorting through countless cities looking at population and attractions, as well as several city chamber of commerce websites to see the types of businesses interested in networking, I narrowed my search down to one particular city that I think would be a great development project for several reasons.

1. This city has a decent population, about 100k.

2. The city has a lot of historical significance and several historical tourist attractions that draw millions of people per year.

3.There are a wide range of restaurants and lodging, from hole-in-the-wall dive bars famous for their burgers to high-end luxurious hotels, creating a great range of advertising possibilities.

4.There are currently no websites that would be competing with this project. There is not one website completely devoted to the city, it’s attractions, businesses, etc.

So, on to the domain possibilities. Right off the bat, the .com is taken and is being used. The .com website is not related to the city in any way but is developed as a website for a company name with the same name as the city. The next available option is .org, which is for sale, but with no apparent asking price. It’s simply a parked page with a ‘make an offer’ link. But first I need to ask myself, do I really want to develop a .org?

I’ve always been pretty strict to stick with .com domains. I own one .net and zero .org’s to this point. I have no experience developing or ranking a .org on Google. However, when researching .org geo names, I must admit I was pretty impressed with the Google results. In many cases the .org is very close to the .com and on the first page of Google when searching an exact city name and in some cases the .org even outranks the .com, one big example being SanDiego.org.

With that said, I have to admit that the .org name is actually looking pretty good to me at this point. The fact that the city has a rich history and many historical attractions only futhers the legitimacy of the .org in my opinion. The lack of competing websites and knowing I don’t have to compete with the .com for traffic also makes the .org look really good in my eyes. Most of all, I’m trying to keep costs low so the .org works there too.

Now to my issue…as stated, I know nothing about .org domains. I don’t ever look at .org’s and when searching Drop Day I filter out .org’s…so needless to say I really don’t know the value of them. If I were considering purchasing the .com domain of this city if it were available, I would value the .com around around $50k.

Based on all of my research, I feel comfortable saying that the .org would be a great development project in this situation if a reasonable price can be reached. What do you think? Chime in and give me your opinion on .org domains and their value compared to that of the matching .com. I’m interesting in hearing what all the readers have to say.

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7 comments

  1. Michael

    There aren’t a ton of Geo .org sales. Two state examples that come to mind are Illinois.org which sold for $31k back in 2008, and Ohio.org sold for $30k in 2006. I believe those would be high six to low seven-figure domains in .com to give some perspective.

    On to cities, Sacramento.org sold for $24.5k in 2007, Portland.org sold for $10k in January of this year, and StatenIsland.org sold for $7k in April of this year. That’s about as low as I can find for a decent US city comp.

    So without knowing the actual city you are referring to, just based on what you described it sounds like it could be anywhere from $5k – $8k but could be more or less depending on the actual city.

  2. Hal Meyer

    @Michael

    Given the rapid changes on the internet and in the economy, I think those comparable sales are probably too old to give accurate appraisals. But if data is scarce, maybe it’s the best that is available. Still, I’d think you would need to be within 6 months to have a reasonable degree of accuracy.

    @Chris

    Yes, .Org is a great extension and has alot of credibility. I might have the perfect domain for you: RanchoCucamonga.org
    2010 population is 165269. Please hit me up in the WhoIs if it piques your interest..

  3. Joe

    @Chris

    .org is a very nice TLD, actually the best after .com. I have a few .org geodomains in case you’re interested in non-US ones. For example, NizhnyNovgorod.org which is Russia’s 4th largest city. Let me know.

  4. Don

    I think the name has to be in your area of where you live.

    If looking outside of your area then plan on having a staff to make it work and plan on spending thousands to compete with the .com.

    I would bag it but worth a shot if you have time and some money in your own area.

  5. ChrisWoodward

    Michael, Thanks for all the info…looks like I may be able to get this for cheaper than I expected…

    Hal, good name, but the fact that Bass Pro Shops is advertised as one of their biggest attractions has me a bit concerned. May give it some thought in the future though.

    Joe, I might have a hard time building relationships in Nizhny Novgorod

    Don, It’s not an area where I live but it is an area I am very familiar with. I also have several contacts there which is a plus. Thanks for the advice.

  6. don

    Go with a dot org, they do equally as well in organic results and dont fall for the trap of a 100 population market, find someplace that is a destination spot, there are a lot of cities that have populations around 100k that no one wants to visit…too much difficulty in trying to go after the local biz market for advertising imo

  7. LS Morgan

    When developed, Google doesn’t care about the TLD. The reason Site X ranks well or better than Site Y has nothing to do with it being a .org or anything else.

    The backbone of ranking is on-page optimization and link building in the right way. You can rank a .us at the top, if you want. The reason you see more .com’s at the top isn’t because G’s algo has a baked in preference for the TLD itself.

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