I started buying domain names in 2007, the tail-end of what we will probably look back on as the decade of direct navigation – a time where consumers would type-in a word to find what they were looking for online. If you wanted to buy a new kitchen table, where would you go? KitchenTable.com of course. What about an new television? Television.com might be your first pick.
In the early 2000’s many domain investors would evaluate the value of a domain name based on the amount of traffic it was currently getting. This traffic could be converted to revenue thanks to a once-thriving industry called domain parking.
Then, as time went on consumer habits started to change, companies like Amazon emerged as a place to buy just about anything you can think of, Zappos became your online shoe store, and mobile devices moved from early adopters, to everyone.
Faster forward to 2015 and these consumer habits aren’t changing, they have already changed. Now, if you want to buy a kitchen table you still might type-in a domain name directly, but there’s a good chance you aren’t going to go to KitchenTable.com. Instead, if you don’t search you will type-in something like Overstock.com, Amazon.com or CrateAndBarrel.com.
I hear some people say that Google or new gTLDs are killing direct navigation traffic. I think that it’s actually just a change in the way the world works and the way in which consumers find what they are looking for online. I know that for me, when I want to buy something I usually start at Amazon, not Google, but I sure don’t add a .COM to what I’m looking for because there’s a good chance I’ll land on a parked page.
There’s a good chance you work the same way. Like the title says, I don’t think type-in traffic is dying, I type in Amazon.com, WSJ.com, Techcrunch.com and many other URLs into my browser like it’s going out of style, but I’ve learned directly navigating to the exact-match .COM will almost never get me the most reliable or useful result.