This past year, Sedo has seen the importance of the Spanish language in the domain world simply skyrocket. With 420 million Spanish-speakers worldwide, only a measly 80 million of these are online, making just 18% of Spanish-speakers on the web. In comparison to other language groups, Spanish is in third place following English and Chinese.
Currently, one in ten Internet users are Spanish-speaking, however this figure is increasing by leaps and bounds. The number of Spanish-speaking Internet users has grown 231.1 % in the last six years (2000-2006). This growth rate defeats that of English-speaking Internet users at 135.2 % over the same time period. Naturally, this astounding increase also means massive growth of Spanish domain traffic. For example, trabajo.com (work.com) received 18,000 visits in October 2004, while the same domain received 27,000 visitors just last month.
This surge in traffic has been accompanied by a large improvement in the Latin American economy, and most notably from Spain, a country that only 30 years ago freed itself from the clamps of fascist dictatorship. In fact, Spain may be the most under-rated economic success story in recent years. Since the fascist dictatorship, this country of only 45 million people - roughly the size of California – has become the eighth largest economy in the developed world, expanding over 40% in the last decade alone. The economic upswing in Spain and in Latin America, combined with the rising penetration rate of Spanish-speakers on the web, has also encouraged many companies to start advertising in Spanish on the Internet. More competition over Spanish keywords, inevitably leads to higher PPC rates for domain owners. Essentially, the Spanish domain market is still developing and has yet to reach its threshold.
Despite cultural and economic differences between the various Spanish-speaking countries, the .es ccTLD of Spain, España in Spanish, has received a warm welcome. For example, last year the .es ccTLD driven by liberalized registration requirements and marketing, grew by 400% over one year. The traffic data surrounding this new liberalized TLD are quite impressive; Spaniards are increasingly likely to use their country TLD, but what is more surprising is that the .es is also the reference TLD for people on the other side of the Atlantic. Basically, Hispanics in the US have associated this TLD not only with Spain but also with the Spanish language, identifying the .es as a sign of Spanish content. Consequently, Sedo data shows that between 15-25% of .es portfolio traffic comes from the US and Latin America.
In some Latin American countries, the local TLD is also well developed. For example, Argentina has exceeded one millon .com.ar registrations, surpassing the ccTLDs of the US and Spain among other nations. Although this TLD is already well established, it is still possible to find good deals. For example, porn.com.ar, sold for 1,000 EUR, mobil.com.ar sold for 2,000 EUR, and ringtones.com.ar sold for 1,800 EUR.
Mexico´s own .com.mx TLD is also well established. However unlike Argentina´s impressive registration rate, there are currently only 170,000 registered com.mx domains. Considering that Mexico is one of the most populated countries in the world with more than 105 million inhabitants, and a mere 17% penetration rate, it is certain that this TLD still has major opportunities. Some of Sedo´s latest com.mx sales include:
- Game.com.mx: $4,000
- Gol.com.mx: $800
- Contactos.com.mx: $1,000
Another key Spanish market is the Hispanic population in the US. Today, there are more than 44 million Hispanics living in the US— almost the same population as Spain. This number represents approximately 15% of the entire US population. What is more, this group is growing 4 times more than the average national population. By 2050, the US Census Bureau estimates that 25% of the US population will be considered Hispanic. In the L.A area alone, a whopping 80% of the population between 12 and 19 years old is Hispanic!
As the third most populous country in terms of the number of Spanish-speaking Internet users (exceed only by Spain and Mexico), with an estimated purchase power at around $735 billon, the US market has become crucial and companies are acting fast. Hispanic advertising in the US saw a growth of 20.5% last year –Translation: better results for the PPC industry.
The TLD of choice for this particular social group is the .com, followed by their own country´s ccTLD and as previously mentioned, the .es, as a symbol of the Spanish language on the Internet. This leads us to speculate that perhaps we will see an increase in .us domains with Spanish terms in the future.
Although these ccTLDs have gained influence, and in some countries may even be as popular as the .com, the .com remains king of domains. The biggest Spanish domain sale in Sedo history was viajes.com for $300,000 in 2004. That same year, the biggest sale among all TLDs was juegos.com (games.com) for $1 million. This domain was re-sold last week to a gambling company; however the price has not yet been reported but is estimated to be between 10 or 15 times the 2004 purchase price. In other words, juegos.com will be one of the top five biggest sales ever. ¡Ole!
In response to the ever-increasing Spanish-speaking market in the US and in Latin America, I have moved from our Cologne, Germany office to our office in Boston to create a Sedo team to better serve these markets. If you would like more information, and/or would like Spanish language assistance, my team and I are at your disposal. Please feel free to contact me at [email protected]
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