Domain names are the bedrock of a company’s presence on the web. A catchy name is easy to remember and makes it easier for customers to search for a particular business online. Chosen well, a good name can also drive significant returns in terms of SEO and natural search traffic.

Last week Nominet, the internet registry for the .uk domain, announced that it will release 2,831 new short .uk domain names. With even more domain names now available, SMEs (Small And Medium Enterprises) need to act quickly to ensure their online identity maps to their offline business activities.

Nora Nanayakkara, business development director at Sedo comments, “In the UK market there is a general understanding that you need to have a domain name, or a portfolio of domain names, in order to maintain an online presence for your business. However, in the SME sector, some confusion still remains around what a business is entitled to when it comes to the ownership of a particular name. Some SMEs feel that they are entitled to the .co.uk or .com of the company name they have registered at Companies House. However, in many cases this name is actually owned by another business or a third party, which can lead to the SME selecting a seemingly random domain name, or one that is too long and hard to remember.”

Sedo contends that a solid digital strategy that has domain names at its core will allow a business to save money on all of its future online marketing campaigns. It can also create a slice of online retail estate that, with time, will become a huge asset to the business. Findings from Sedo’s latest Quarterly Domain Market study, reveal just how lucrative domain name investment can be, with insight indicating that:

• Overall, 10,085 domains changed hands for 13,344,143 GBP in Q3 2010 through Sedo’s marketplace in Q3 2010

• .com is the most popular generic top level domain (gTLD) with 74% of all sales, followed by .net with 11%; .org with 8%; .info with 5%; and .biz with 2%

• The median sales price for a .com domain is £339; £337 for .net; £386 for .org; £317 for .biz and £282 for .info

• The median sales price for country specific domains like .co.uk is £374

• Top sales for the quarter include Jerusalem.com for $500,000, lottery.net for $220,000 and angels.com for $200,000.

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