The reason .io domains are so valuable is because companies that use .io domains are known as being great at what they do. This blog post explains it well:
"These new .io sites are almost artisanal in nature - small, well crafted and functional. It's like a TLD for techies with taste."
They are also short, sound good, and .io domains perform well in Google's search results. The reason for this is because they've been added to the geotargetable domains list.
Microsoft bought Doc.io for $24,600, Elasticsearch just bought es.io for $30,000, cloud.io sold for $45,000 on Flippa, music.io sold on Flippa for $20,000, traffic.io on Flippa for $14,000, and fd.io, db.io, sports.io, mega.io, groups.io, leaf.io, mine.io, and many more recently sold for $10k+.
Domain Name Holdings reported that they sold a .io domain in Q2 of 2015 for 6-figures.
A lot of the tech startups that use .io domains are now very successful businesses, further reinforcing the idea that companies that use .io domains are "in the know" and part of the sophisticated tech crowd.
Check out just some of these examples:
- Iguaz.io lands $15M Series A
- Tuition.io and Test.io each raised $5M
- Google acquired spider.io
- Easel.io was acquired by github last year
- Keen IO just raised $11.3 million
- Nitrous.io just closed a $6.65 million Series A round
- Ginger.io raised $6.5 million
- Tuition.io raised $6 million and manages over $1 billion in student loans
- Intercom raised $6 million
- Greenhouse raise $2.7 million
- kontakt.io raised $2 million
- Luma.io acquired by Instagram
- Rackspace acquires Exceptional.io
- And many more
But it's not only startups that use .io domains. Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are also buying .io domains.
Microsoft snapped up Doc.io for $24,600. Google owns Coupons.io, Yahoo owns Player.io, and Disney owns go.io, amongst others.
Even the US government is happy to use .io domains. And US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton uses hrc.io!
.io domains are increasingly popular - many startups prefer .io over .com And they are more popular than .org as reported by Google Trends.