I recently purchased the domain name PAYG.MOBI and that got me to thinking about the .MOBI domain extension and the real world potential of that top-level domain. "PAYG" of course refers to the "Pay-As-You-Go" mobile services model-which is a very big industry and projected to get much, much bigger.
According to the Afilias website- Over 1 million+ individuals and businesses use .MOBI as their preferred mobile domain. That's hardly a reason for any of us to be mourning the demise of the .MOBI extension. However, some have speculated on the limited opportunities for growth potential for that domain extension and I wanted to do a little research to see what the real potential for the .MOBI extension is.
There have been some previous notable sales for .MOBI domain names which have shown the relative "strength" of that domain extension at that point in time.
Below are a few of the all-time (reported) .MOBI sales:
Games.mobi for $401,500
Flowers.mobi, for $200,000
Poker.mobi – $150,000
Ringtones.mobi – $145,000
Email.mobi – $50,000
Podcast.mobi – $5,000
Granted, most of these are "all time sales" and none of them took place in the past 3-4 years. However, is there a chance that .MOBI will make a "comeback"?
I wanted to pass on some information on the mobile phone industry and where I see that the .MOBI domain extension may be tagging along for the ride with this enormous growth in the "Low End Smartphone" and "PAYG" niche.
A quick search on Google finds that the term "PAYG" gets about 2,410,000 results to date and growing 2,480,000 results on the Bing.com search engine. PAYG is the commonly accepted abbreviation for "Pay As You Go" related services. Wikipedia describes PAYG services as "Pay as you go (PAYG) is a system for businesses and individuals to pay installments." More commonly today are Mobile PAYG services such as PAYG mobile or cellular services. (or no contract mobile services). By the way, the term "Low End Phones" returns over 2,000,000 results on Google and growing. "Low End Smartphones" returns nearly 1,000,000 results. Low End Phones are projected for explosive growth in developing markets. The next version iof ANDROID will be aimed at Low End Phones in emerging markets. (Updated June 14, 2013 with this announcement from Google).
Now its interesting that PAYG mobile services (smartphones) are a massive market and growing exponentially. One marketing research company just recently predicted that there will be 1 Billion "Low End Smartphones" purchased yearly by the year 2018. That's only a few years away and that is only the phones considered to be at the low end category or under around $150. By the way, most of these low end smartphones will be some sort of "PAYG" type service. That is no-contract or contract free. Another way of saying PAYG or Pay-As-You-Go.
So to clarify, thats one billion PAYG (Low End) smartphones purchased per year. How much revenue is that? Even at a $100/phone average price, that would be 100 Billion dollars per year in sales just for the unit sales. Not a bad sized potential market for that relatively "small" PAYG/smartphone niche.
Can .MOBI capitalize on that target market? Will their marketing and sales department shift into high gear and ramp up their advertising and promotion for that market category of businesses, services, applications and users?
From my calculations .MOBI appears to have a very comfortable and probably growing market share. However, the .MOBI domain extension also appears to have an opportunity to become a big-time domain name player with unlimited growth potential. Based on my little research project here I can comfortably say that .MOBI does have at least one more fan. That's a start.