India with its 8% GDP growth is currently the fastest economic locomotive in the world. It will be the most populated country in just a few years dropping China to the second position. The Indian Government has introduced massive reforms to change the country into an economic superpower and improve quality of life of its citizens. It is projected that India will be the second world economy by 2050, right after China (source).
With so huge potential it is a no brainer to figure that Internet usage in India will explode together with demand for domain names. It is already exploding with 100 millions new internet connections added yearly (already overtook The USA in that comparison) at least since 2014 (source). Indian domain market is growing steadily year by year and attracts more and more domain investors from all over the world. In this article I will try to present a few hints on investing in Indian domains from a foreigner perspective.
The first important thing is the language. India recognizes 22 official languages and among them 2 languages are most important: Hindi and English. Hindi is being promoted as the country official language however it is being used by only 1/5 of the population (~45% with the dialects included). It’s used mainly in North India while the people in The South prefer to use their own languages like Tamil, Telugu or Kannada. English is being used as a “subsidiary official language” and helps to remove communication problems between people from different parts of India. It’s commonly used by educated people across the country, but also by most websites and advertisers. From a domainer perspective English is the primary language for Indian domain names and then followed by Hindi.
As to what domain types are worth investing, it is generally similar to other English speaking countries however some differences exist:
Acronyms, especially LLL.in’s are among the best investing categories. One important difference which is often overlooked is that Indian premium letters are not exactly the same as Western premium letters. The letters like j, v or k are used more frequently in Hindi, Sanskrit or some local languages. In fact many popular names start from these letters eg. Krishna, Kumar, Jain, Jaipur, Visakhapatnam, etc. This is also reflected in the end user sales, especially by Indian buyers.
Good Hindi keywords are highly wanted however they require to know the language, so naturally they are mostly collected by Indian domainers. They are liked by Indian end users and attract enquiries however not many sales are publicly reported. The down side is that they are harder to liquid and the prices are smaller compared to English equivalents.
Geo names are not highly wanted at this time and not many end user sales happens. However they are a good medium and long term investment. Good geo names like for example medium+ size cities or popular resorts are certainly worth considering.
Brandable domains also include local words including popular names and ancient Sanskrit words which are still commonly used.
Sex related domains are a no-go area and fall under an anti obscenity law. Any website promoting immoral content can be blocked in India and from my observations immoral means everything beyond kissing.
It is also worth mentioning that very little end user sales are publicly reported for .in domains. This is probably primary reason why so many seasoned domainers overlooked the extension for so long.
From domainer perspective, both .in and .co.in are interesting extensions. The .in is the younger of the two (exists since 2005) but it’s the stronger one for obvious reasons. The .co.in domains often reach high end user prices however they are valued much lower on the reseller market. For example a LLL.co.in can be purchased for ~10% of the LLL.in equivalent. The Indian market is so huge that it will easily absorb domains in both extensions and much more.
There is no doubt that India is entering the Internet revolution right now. The society is tech-friendly and easily adopts to new technologies. Young Indians have already dominated Silicon Valley (source), so imagine what happens if the brain drainage is reduced or stopped altogether and they will start working for India. The time to invest in Indian domains is NOW.
If you are just starting your .in adventure, please also read some articles about INDRP and learn how to protect your generic names from seizure.