Sometimes, domain name speculation involves finding domain names early in a market, particularly when a new top-level domain is launched, registering them and waiting until the market grows to sell them. Domains such as sex.com and business.com have sold for millions of US dollars.
The COM top-level domain (or 'TLD') is the focus of most domain speculation activity as it is the largest TLD. Domain speculation occurs in other TLDs as well, such as NET and to a lesser extent in ORG, INFO, and BIZ. Of the gTLDs, INFO is the most popular by registration volume compared to BIZ gTLD due to the low cost of initial registration and the recognisability of 'info' as being an abbreviation of 'information'.
Domain name speculation also occurs in country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) such as .uk, .de and .us. The German TLD consists of over 12 million domains. The UK's domain has over 7.7 million domains registered according to Nominet's domain registration statistics webpage, mainly in its commercial sub-domain co.uk. These TLDs are mature markets where good domain names may command high prices. The EU ccTLD is an example of what happens when speculative activity overtakes "ordinary" domain registrations. A combination of an inept registry (EURid)and excessive speculation by businesses exploiting a poorly structured regulatory framework meant that, according to EURid's own statistics at the end of 2006, over 50% of the registrations could be considered at best speculative and at worst domain name warehousing.
Specialist and repurposed ccTLDs have also seen elements of domain name speculation. One of the best examples is that of the .tv ccTLD which has found the fact that TV is an abbreviation for the word television to be rather lucrative. The .mobi TLD is a good example of a specialist TLD in that it is specifically targeted at mobile phones and similar mobile technology. The operators of .mobi, mTLD, have reserved some of the premium generic words which will be auctioned off. The intent is to create a more level playing field for those interested in developing websites. The .mobi premium generic words and phrases list is a good example of the domain names that are at the heart of most early-market domain name speculation.
Domain name speculators, sometimes known as domainers, also register domain names based on seemingly generic phrases such as propertyforsale in the hope that these domain names could be sold later to businesses. Typically, domain name speculators will try to stay away from domain names containing trademarks as this could be considered cybersquatting.
Some country code TLDs or sponsored TLDs will have what is referred to as an eligibility or nexus requirements to limit registration to specific geographical or national regions. However this does not deter domain name speculation as various options such as using a local agent or company to enable people to register domains in such TLDs exist and have been used.