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Has the greatest era of domain-name appreciation only just begin?

What if you had bought the domain cars.com 20 years ago?

What about bank.com or toys.com? If you managed to hold onto those domains the whole time, you'd be sitting on assets worth millions of dollars today.

People who are new to the domain market might think, "Too bad, I missed my chance – all the best names are now taken." But the reality is, domains values today are increasing at a faster rate than ever before, and many analysts believe this momentum is only just beginning to build.

No, you won't be able to register a domain like cars.com for a few bucks (or for free, as domains were in the early 1990s). But by making the right purchases in the aftermarket, you can acquire domains that are likely to deliver a very decent return.

What’s fueling this historic growth?

You guessed it: China.

In a recent article on Business Insider, domain analyst Alan Dunn argues, "The greatest domain-name-appreciation era really started only a couple of years ago and is in full swing today, with China as the place everyone has to thank."

Dunn points to the same reasoning that we often hear from market insiders: that China is home to some of the greatest wealth in the world, but that government restrictions have historically made it difficult to invest that wealth further, especially overseas. But the regulations are now a bit more lax for investing in domain names, which are "digital, tax-free, rare, portable and have a proven wholesale market." These are the key factors that make domain names an attractive asset to Chinese investors, and they're the reason for why we're seeing an unprecedented rise in value.

This is not to say that the rising domain aftermarket is anything new. Quite the contrary – global investors have been profiting from "domaining" for many years now, and sites like DNJournal.com have been covering the industry for almost two decades.

What's different now is the flood of Chinese investors entering the market, causing domains to be "traded like commodities now, based on the rarity of the domain," Dunn writes. "Today is different, with numeric and short domains (often unpronounceable to the Western world) defying all traditional domain-name investment logic and shattering record charts."

Just look at domains like 989.com, which recently sold for more than $800,000, or 588.com, which sold for $1,000,000. Even longer strings, like 87899.com, have sold for thousands of dollars. Investors aren't afraid to bid high on these domains, because they're aware of the domains' rarity and liquidity. Simply put, they know based on market trends that these domains have inherent value and that they can be sold for even higher prices later.

So, just because you missed the dotcom boom of the 90s, don't assume that you can't make any money on domains. With the proper research and guidance from domain market experts, investors may very well have a greater opportunity today than ever before.

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