Domainer is a term used to describe the person who buys and sells domain names, with the purpose of generating profit either by selling the domain names at a higher price later in time or from advertising activities. Domainers are sometimes referred to as publishers, domain name speculators, domain investors, and commercial registrants. 
All domainers are registrants but not all registrants are domainers. To earn income, domainers generally register domain names based on seemingly generic phrases and hope for an increase in price, popularity, and competitiveness for that specific domain name. Most domainers avoid registering domain names that contain trademarks because it is usually an issue of cybersquatting.
Becoming a Domainer
It is not hard to become a domainer, but it is challenging to become a successful domainer. Given the introduction of new gTLDs via ICANN's New gTLD Program, the domain industry underwent a drastic change as hundreds of new gTLDs were introduced. A domain investor tries to determine the most popular keywords in the near future and purchase domain names based on them. The activity of domaining is mostly based on speculation. The domainer sells the assets to any interested party, including premium or bulk domain name customers. Domainers also generate income through domain parking and website development, with the aim of generating revenue from advertising click-throughs and selling the website. Many domainers target generic words that can be valuable for type-in traffic and for the dominant position they may have in any field due to their descriptive nature.
Domain Name Speculation Markets
As in the case of any other investment market, there are two types of domain name speculation markets:
- The primary market: where only new domain names are being registered and are being traded for the first time. These domain names have not been registered before and their registration is usually connected to new events. The launch of a TLD is a great opportunity for domain name speculators.
- The secondary market: this market involves previously registered domain names that are being traded for at least the second time. This is where domainers earn extra income by selling new, creative, popular and innovative domain names. Depending on the circumstances, a previously generic domain name may become a hotly contested and sought-after asset.
Relationship with ICANN
In the eyes of ICANN, there is no difference in domainers and registrants in terms of rights and responsibilities, as all domain name registration and any privacy/proxy services used in conjunction with it are subject to a Registration Agreement with an ICANN Accredited Registrar. ICANN states that Domain Name Registrants have the following rights:
- registrants can review their Registration Agreement at any time and are entitled to accurate and accessible information about
- the identity of the ICANN Accredited Registrar;
- any proxy or privacy service provider affiliated with the Registrar;
- the Registrar's terms and conditions, including pricing information;
- customer support services;
- how to access them and how to raise concerns and resolve disputes with the Registrar or any privacy services offered by them; and
- Instructions and explanation of the Registrar's processes for registering, managing, transferring, renewing, and restoring the domain name registration(s) in question, including through any proxy or privacy services.
- registrants shall not be subject to false advertising or deceptive practices by the Registrar or any proxy or privacy services. This includes deceptive notices, hidden fees, or any practices that are illegal under the consumer protection law of the registrant’s residence.
According to ICANN, Domain Name Registrants have the following Responsibilities:
- comply with the terms and conditions posted by your Registrar, including applicable policies from the Registry and ICANN;
- review the Registrar's current Registration Agreement, along with any updates;
- assume sole responsibility for the registration and use of the domain name in question;
- provide accurate information for publication in directories such as WHOIS, and promptly update the information to reflect any changes;
- respond to inquiries from the Registrar within 15 days, and keep the Registrar account data current; and
- keep the payment information current if the registrant chooses to have the domain name registration renew automatically.
Since the turn of the 21st century, domainers have gathered at conventions such as
- TRAFFIC Conference