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How to value Indian geographic domains

What should be considered when buying Indian Geo Domains? Let me try to answer that question in this article.

Google exact local searches
I usually start from checking the search volume before moving to the next steps. If a geo domain has at least 2000 – 3000 exact local searches it’s usually worth considering. Just make sure that the searches are stable for the whole year and the name has no additional non-geo meaning. I had a situation when one of my geos (Badlapur.in) raised in searches from a few thousands to 200+ thousands. It turned out that Badlapur is a name of a new Bollywood movie and people were searching for the movie details. Some news related to the name can also raise the numbers multifold for a short time. This kind of hikes is not what makes the name more valuable.

How the place is called correctly
Many Indian geo names have 2 or more different spellings. It’s obviously important to make sure that the name you are buying is the most popular spelling version. Sometimes 2 versions are similar in popularity and in that case I would advice to either secure both versions or none. It’s also worth to notice, that the government occasionally like to change some town or even state names especially those derived from the colonial past, so make sure you are not buying the retired name as it will be losing on significance.



Urbanization, development & jobs
The level of urbanization & development usually correlates with number of Internet connections. It’s good to check some information on the net about the area before purchasing the name. Wikipedia and Google (including images) are a good start. It doesn’t mean that agricultural town/region names have no value. As Internet spreads from bigger hubs to smaller regions, these places will catch up as well. It may require more patience to cash them, though. Just remember to make sure the place is not a jobless black hole and its local economy is not sinking as the chances to sell your domain will be smaller compared to a town with sound economy.



Population
This is an important but not decisive factor when judging the value of a geo name. Usually the bigger is city, the more valuable the domain name. However, it happens that even relatively big towns in India are heavily undeveloped and having very low Google searches which should be taken into consideration. As mentioned above, they still have their potential but the time required to gain value may be too long for some domain investors. On the other hand, there are many small & well developed towns in some parts of India (eg. Tamil Nadu or Kerala) with very high literacy level and Internet availability. They will be likely faster in demand compared to bigger and undeveloped or typically agricultural towns. Wikipedia is not a credible source to find the population count of an Indian town. I’d advise to check the 2011 Indian Census report instead, for example here:

http://censusindia.gov.in/2011-prov-results/paper2/data_files/India2/Table_3_PR_UA_Citiees_1Lakh_and_Above.pdf

Literacy
Literacy factor is slowly losing on importance (from domainer point of view) as the government social programs and fast development in recent years help to reduce the problem. There are still regions with higher illiteracy rate (mainly agricultural) but the numbers are getting smaller each year and some regions like for example Kerala state are aiming to achieve 100% literacy very soon.

Holiday resorts, pilgrim centers & retirement sanctuaries
India has countless wonderful places to visit – water & mountain resorts, nature sanctuaries or ashrams & holy places for pilgrimage. Try to secure some good names in that niche as they often represent great business opportunities for holiday agencies or hotel chains. Population count or urbanization level are not much of a factor in estimating value of such names.

Brandable Geos
Many geographic names are very brandable and highly wanted in domainer portfolios. I include to this group the names of mountains, rivers, lakes or historical spots, etc. Examples: Annapurna, Mahanadi, Godavari, Mandu, Majuli, Girnar, etc.

Domain Extensions, prefixes and suffixes
Any suffix/prefix to the city name will reduce its value dramatically. Nevertheless there are a few combinations which have value and do sell. Such combinations are for example “online” and “city” suffix. I personally sold a few such names (including ChennaiCity.in for $900). As to prefixes, I found “i” and “my” having most success rate so far, but the prices are not high for this kind of domains (usually low to medium XXX USD).

In general I’d advise not to experiment with the new cool extensions and go for .in and .com only.

Geo + keyword domains
These are the domains like SeoPune, JaipurProperty, MumbaiHotels, KeralaTour, ChennaiDentist, BangaloreTaxi, GoaHolidays or DelhiPlumber. Their potential is good and they are usually a good investment, however don’t expect the sale prices equal to pure one word geos. Don’t forget to check the local exact searches and the ad competition as these are the key stats to determine value of such domains.

Thank you for reading my article. Hopefully you have found some useful bits of information in it. 🙂 Remember that I only touched a broader subject of Indian Geo domains and encouraging you to do more research on your own.

Wish you good luck in your domaining.

Piotr Pańczyk (Kokoro)



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