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Over 200 expired domain name sales [results]

October 24, 2014Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

Joseph Peterson reviews the past week of expired domain name auctions.

It will surprise some people that the country responsible for last week’s #2 Namejet expired auction is Turkey. ($11.4k) describes a seaside resort region. No, Italy, Greece, and Spain are not the only countries on the Mediterranean. ICANN has offices in Turkey, and so do domain investors. Meanwhile, there’s nothing surprising about the $16k sale of China has deep pockets and loves brevity.

After those 2, ($5.6k) struggles to be seen in last week’s sales chart. Even so, it’s a superb domain for SEO or advertising in general. I’m curious about the decision process behind the purchase of ($3.1k). A few possible uses for this common phrase come to mind, but only the buyer knows his own plans.

With “big data” on every techie’s and marketer’s lips, ($2.3k) was the inevitable riposte. Likewise, ($766) was always bound to be the name of something related to talk radio. ($1.6k) makes a resonant name for consumers — product yet to be determined. Unless it’s pogs or one of the many sports teams that go by that name.

Domain Name End $ Domain Name End $ 16000 11400 5600 5101 3085 2599 2322 2050 1614 1550 1311 1210 1100 1009 1002 898 766 650 642 613 610 510 509 505 502 483 463 431 425 421
400 392 360 355 353 350 310 [sic] 310 250 250 191 120 81 69

Some of the domains that struck me as undervalued include ($81), ($353), and ($1k). ($483) riffs on “best practices”, but usually “good” pales in comparison to the “best”.

Yikes! GoDaddy sold some hyphens last week. Leading that posse was ($4.3k), which — you’ll also notice — happens to be a .NET rather than .COM. Now, most of us have had the experience of seeing an attractive woman on the arm of a soon-to-expire gentleman old enough to have fathered her parents. What’s the usual conclusion? He’s got connections. In the same way, most domain investors can spot ugly old domains with prices they outwardly don’t seem to merit. And we come to the same conclusion: ($1.2k) and ($1.1k) must be well connected. They must have banked some back links. (To push that conceit a bit farther, the domain world also has its paid escorts / shill bidders.) ($3.7k) would be China again. But not ($3.2k). It turns out ($1.8k) is a South American fruit. Looks delicious based on the pictures! ($1k) is Spanish for “Day”.

Last week, I commented that once-developed Vietnamese adult domains have been selling consistently, week after week, for mid 4-figure amounts. These domains stick out like a sore thumb because of a weird .MOBI preference. ($2.4k) is yet another.

For a poker website or tournament, ($3.6k) is a strong name. Beatles fans will like ($921) for the travel and tourism industry. ($2.6k) would naturally be used to ship engine parts. As it happens, ($898) is a domain I once evaluated for a client, although I wasn’t involved in this auction. Home owners want to be environmentally friendly; so I predict that niche will boom.

Domain Name End $ Domain Name End $
4275 3716 3551 3494 3250 2550 2401 2300 1800 1455 1325 1325 1302 1225
1126 1025 1000 945 921 LoavesAndFishes
915 910 898 843 834 810 807
760 721 710 710 710 710 705 702 686 666 665 654 630 625 612 611 611 610 585 MortgageLoan
566 561 560 551 530 530 525 512 511 510 510 502 500 495 476 466 457 456 WebTypography
455 455 452 451 BestJailBait
450 449 448 431 425 424 420 416 416 411 407 406 406
405 405 405 404 402 393 391 385 380 375 370 364 361 359 356 356 350 345 345 345 340 338 338 NigeriaJobs
337 336 330 320 316 307 QuickCollege
306 305 305 302 300 295 292 290 288 283 InternationalBeauty
282 281 270 266 265 263 260 260 260 256 255 255 255 250 249 248 245 243 230 230 227 225 225 225 224 221 216 215 211 210 209 206 206 206 206 206 205
205 205
205 204 201 200 197 194 190 185 182 180 167 161
158 158 155 155 150 147 145 145 140 SecureInformation
137 137 136 135 134 133 126 126 125 120 118 117 117 116 116
115 111 100 98 90 80
76 76 70 70 66 65 65 65 60 57 56 55 55 52

What else? It’s obvious to me that the expired domain market each week reflects what’s happening concurrently with new TLD releases. More bids turn up for expiring New York domains with .NYC in the limelight. The New York spike from the past few weeks dying off a bit, but ($65) could be a lingering after effect. Perhaps even ($65), although that domain could fetch that price during any week. More noticeable are the 2 “NYS” (“New York State”) domains: ($1.3k) and ($1k).

This week I expressed misgivings about new military TLDs entering general availability. Ripples from that launch appear in the form of ($147) plus ($182), which are enlisted insignia worn on the sleeve. Similarly, ($190) may be a consequence of .VET.

Wouldn’t ($136) defeat the purpose of certification? ($90) … would that be Chad or Switzerland, whose .CH abbreviation stands for “Confederatio Helvetica”? ($158) is a little puzzling. Normally a “direct” suffix signals that merchandise is shipped straight to your doorstep, skipping the retailer. Will this website be able to bring a Turkish Mediterranean resort to my living room? Did ($155) run out of space for the “E”? At first glance, I figured referred to the hilarious UK panel show “8 Out of 10 Cats”. But the owner is Japanese living in Japan.

Let’s finish with some good buys. Graphic designers will appreciate ($702). ($511) is a great name for a fundraising site, and .ORG is wholly appropriate for the topic. ($302) proves my point that Spanish domains are severely undervalued overall. How much would or have sold for? Globally, more people speak Spanish than English. ($65) is a perfect name for blogging tips. ($167) will pay for itself as soon as the first customer buckles up for a test drive. What about ($3.5k)? At some point during that domain’s lifetime, it will lead to the sale of an entire motel or motel chain. $3.5k is nothing.

© 2014. This is copyrighted content. Do not republish.

Latest domain news at Domain Name Wire.

Analyst ups forecast for new TLDs, $900MM bookings by 2016

October 24, 2014Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

Analyst becomes more bullish on new top level domain name potential.

B. Riley analyst Sameet Sinha has increased his forecast for new top level domain name registrations after attending last week’s ICANN conference in Los Angeles.

Previously, he was calling for about 20 million new TLD registrations from 2014-2016, now he’s pegging it at 29 million and says that might be conservative. He estimates top line potential of $900 million during this period.

ICANN recently downgraded its forecast for budget purposes for the fiscal year ending June 2015 from 33 million to 15 million; Sinha’s forecast calls for 5.7 million registrations during that period.

My guess is Sinha is closer to the truth, but even his estimates will require increased registration velocity going forward.

Sinha points to a number of factors in his bullishness:

  • Awareness is very low now, and can only improve going forward.
  • New business models including vertical integration, premium domain sales, and internet of things create upside.
  • Recent private new TLD auctions reaching 8 figures raises the bar, and increases valuation of strings.

Sinha maintained his $15 price target on Rightside (NAME). It currently trades for $9.75.

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Latest domain news at Domain Name Wire.

Why .com had a good quarter (and .net didn’t )

October 24, 2014Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

Thank the Chinese and discount pricing for continued demand for .com domain names.

Verisign handled 8.7 million new registrations in .com and .net in the third quarter this year, the most ever in a third quarter.

That amounted to 1.15 million domain names added to the namespace. The addition was basically all in .com, as .net continued a flat/slow decline.

So why did .com do so well? And why did .net flounder? Here’s Verisign’s viewpoint, gleaned from its Verisign’s Q3 investor conference call last night.

Why .com did well

  • The Chinese are registering a bunch of .com domain names. This is a big area of growth. (Verisign actually blames a Chinese holiday week in October for slowing down .com registrations during that time.)
  • One of the largest U.S. registrars refocused on acquisition and offered discounts on .com
  • .com is a strong brand and “strong, trusted brands always do well”. As new TLDs come out and people are confused, they will feel comfortable with .com

Why .net dropped

  • New top level domains are causing confusion for domains. It’s also giving them alternatives to .net.

I’m not surprised that .net is struggling in the face of new top level domains. I suspect this applies to all and non-dominant ccTLD domain names.

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Latest domain news at Domain Name Wire.

Bad news for investors

October 23, 2014Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

Verisign still negotiating with ICANN over .com transliteration domain names.

Owners of domain names that are patiently waiting for .com transliterations are going to have to keep waiting.

In an SEC filing today, and on its investor conference call, Verisign said it has received an extension to the deadline for negotiating its contracts for these domains with ICANN. The new deadline is December 31.

The company would not disclose the specific terms of the contract that it is trying to negotiate.

I can imagine that, whatever the terms are, ICANN doesn’t want to do any favors for Verisign right now. ICANN and Verisign have been sparring significantly over the past couple years. It’s also unclear what leverage, if any, Verisign has for negotiating new TLD contracts.

Unfortunately, owners are the ones caught in the middle.

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Latest domain news at Domain Name Wire.

Lawsuit filed to recover stolen three letter domain names

October 23, 2014Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

Suit alleges 35 domain names were stolen from a GoDaddy account.

Stolen domainsAcme Billing Company filed a federal lawsuit (pdf) in U.S. District Court this week to recover 14 stolen domain names, including 9 three letter domain names.

The suit alleges that an unknown person stole 35 domain names from Acme Billing Company’s GoDaddy account. The company became aware of the theft in early August and worked with GoDaddy to recover 21 of the domain names. It filed the suit in an effort to recover the other 14.

The suit claims violation of the Anticybersquatting Protection Act as well as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The latter was probably added in because it will be difficult to show trademark rights for the short domain names, especially since whois records show many of them were only recently acquired by Acme.

The lawsuit says the domain names are being shopped around for sale. Here are the domains at issue:,,,,,,,,,,,, and

David Weslow of Wiley Rein LLP is representing the plaintiff.

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.Com rebound: Verisign adds 1.15 million domain names to hit 130.0 million

October 23, 2014Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

After slow second quarter, Verisign returns to health growth in net-adds in third quarter.

VerisignVerisign just reported third quarter earnings, and it appears to have been a pretty good quarter in terms of .com and .net registrations compared to the previous quarter.

The registration base for .com and .net increased by 1.15 million domain names to reach 130.0 million.

That’s a nice rebound from the second quarter, when Verisign added just 0.42 million registrations to its .com/.net base

In the third quarter, it sold 8.7 million new domain name registrations for .com and .net, compared to 8.3 million for the same period in 2013.

The company reported revenue of $255 million for the third quarter of 2014, up 4.7 percent from the same quarter in 2013.

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How you can (and can’t) justify recent Top Level Domain auction prices

October 23, 2014Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

In this post, DOT TBA founder Christa Taylor considers the payback period for new TLDs based on recent auction prices and current registration volumes.

The October 22nd ICANN new top level domain name auction resulted in the resolution of several TLDs selling for substantial amounts of money:

  • .Realty $5.6 million
  • .Salon $5.1 million
  • .Spot $2.2 million.

These results, along with the September 17th auction results of .buy at $4.6 million, .tech at $6.8 million and .vip at $3 million, reflect the substantial amount of funds and expected value of the new gTLDs. Justifying auction values that integrate into an existing business (such as Amazon winning .buy) may be easier to justify than a TLD solely in the business of selling domain names.

With over 200 new gTLDs now in the marketplace and the anniversary of the introduction of new gTLDs quickly approaching, preliminary insight into registration volumes, pricing and auction values is easily attained.

Currently, out of the 200 TLDs that have launched for over a month, the top quartile has about four times the registration volume of the second quartile. When extrapolated to one year at constant rates, the top tier can expected about 60,000 registrations. This drops by 75% in the second quartile, with 15,000 projected registrations for the first year. The third quartile can expect 8,700 registrations in the first year. (Note: the top quartile has been adjusted to eliminate TLDs with known free registrations, as the payback and renewal rate will not reflect the average TLD.)

If we use these registrations volumes and conduct a very simple* (see below for an explanation) auction value payback calculation based on three different price tiers, the results for the top tier are for the most part very reasonable. For example, a TLD with an auction value of $4 million which sells registrations at a net of $20 to the registry will recover the auction amount in approximately two years and six months; At $50 it will take about 15 months.


However, the picture drastically changes in the second quartile, referred to as Tier 2, where the volume of registrations drops by 75%.


In this second tier, a TLD that sells for $4 million and a wholesale registration price of $20 will take almost 8.5 years to breakeven. However, if the price is increased to $50, it will take just over 3.5 years and at $100 just over 2 years. If an acceptable payback period is three years, then any auction value over $4 million will need to net over $50 per registration to the registry. (Note: this is the wholesale price, not including registrar markup). This is a significant price increase from what registries are currently charging in the market and does not take into account the potential impact on volume due to the higher price to the registrant.

The payback period grows significantly worse as we move down into the third percentile (tier 3):


The final quartile has almost half the registrations as tier 3. Any auction value of $4 million or more will take over ten years to pay back at even at $20. A minimal application fee of $250k will take over two years to recover.


These are basic, ‘back of the napkin’ calculations* but are nevertheless troubling.

This is further supported with ICANN’s “Report of Public Comments” item 3, which discusses revenue regarding the registration of 33 million domain names for its FY 2015 budget. (This number has since been lowered to 15 million).

Ignoring that fact that the breakdown doesn’t equal 100%, the reply notes that the number of expected registrations for registries above 50,000 is 60,000 registrations. This is currently in line with the top quartile. However, ICANN’s response goes further stating 6.7 million registrations are expected from the registries exceeding 50,000 registrations. So ICANN budgeted 134 delegated registries would have transactions exceeding 50k registrations. Based on the current number of delegated TLDs only 26 meet this criteria, which is 20% of ICANN’s budget. The second quartile reflects an average of 15,100 registrations which is also very close to ICANN’s 15,000 registrations for other registries. This leaves the remaining third and fourth quartile (50% of all registries) not meeting the expected 15,000 yearly registrations.

With registration volumes far below expectations, the industry needs to take action. A global awareness campaign needs to be initiated targeting individuals, business and organizations to not only understand but to purchase new gTLDs. Additionally, a marketing plan to allocate ICANN auction funds needs to be in place to increase registrations. This is to everyone’s benefit, from the back-end providers to ICANN to the registries. If the average time from auction to General Availability is, for example, four months, then delay the use of the funds for the given amount of time to ensure the auction participants have the opportunity to receive a portion of the benefit from the use of the funds.

So as we all recover from the Los Angeles ICANN meeting, perhaps now is the time to begin the community consultation on the productive, timely use of these funds to benefit all new gTLD’s in a timely and efficient manner. With over $27 million already accrued and over 35 TLDs scheduled for auction before year end, there will be a significant amount of funds that can be used to grow the industry and registration volumes.

* Calculation notes: These are simplistic calculations with no expenses being considered including marketing, operational, backend provider, ICANN, etc. Volume of new registrations projections are based on 100% in year 1, 75% of year 1 in year 2, 60% in year 3, 45% in year 4 and 30% thereafter. Renewals at 70% all with a one year registration period. Does not include revenue from sunrise, landrush, and premium domains.

© 2014. This is copyrighted content. Do not republish.

Latest domain news at Domain Name Wire.

17 more end user domain name sales

October 23, 2014Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

Here’s a list of some of the end users that bought domain names last week.

Sedo handled a total of 484 transactions last week, representing $1.4 million in total sales. Yes the most expensive sale they reported was just $16,200, suggesting there was at least one big sale that is not public.

Before I run through some of the end user sales, here’s a quick thing I noticed.

Remember when .berlin had a free domain giveaway? They canceled it after a couple groups registered just about everything under the sun. One of those registrants was Sedo, and this past week they profited by selling for 800 EUR.

OK, now for the end user sales list:

(You can view previous lists like this here. If you’d like to learn how to sell your domain names like these on Sedo, download this report.) 775 GBP – Property Book UK Limited, which rents and sells properties in and around Colchester. They’ve been using the confusing domain name 750 GBP – Integrated Dental Holdings Ltd, which also bought a domain name at Sedo last month. 2,500 GBP – Mind Candy Ltd, the company that owns the matching .com. $2,495 – Women of Tomorrow mentor and scholarship program. They use the domain name; note the domain they bought was womAn. $1,500 – the owner of, a software training site. $799 – Citizenhawk on behalf of Malwarebytes Corp. $999 – Citizenhawk on behalf of CyberLink $999 – Citizenhawk on behalf of Guitar Center $2,497 – Greenstars GmbH, which operates a store at selling environmentally friendly products. 5,000 GBP – Hypnotiseur Wipf, operator of a hypnosis information site. $2,150 – The owner of $1,600 – Supply chain management company Chip 1 Exchange GmbH, which uses for a web address. $1,500 – Crest Premedia Solutions Private Limited in India, which uses as its domain name. 1,300 EUR – KKCG a.s., an investment company that uses the web address $700 – VARIDESK LLC, seller of sit-stand desks. $4,000 – London Hotels Corporation $1,550 – MINE Innovation Engineering GmbH, a research and development firm. They own the great domain

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Yesterday’s 5 new TLD launches total about 2,500 registrations

October 23, 2014Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

A slow start, but some of these domains have long term potential.

Five new top level domain names launched yesterday, and they combined for a total registration base of just 2,500 after the end of the “zone day”. This includes sunrise and landrush, plus the initial hours of general availability.

Donuts’ .healthcare ended the day with about 1,400 registrations (all stats from nTLDstats).

I’m a bit curious about .healthcare. There’s a growing chorus of concern about the future .health domain and how people will falsely believe that information on it is authoritative. I personally thing this is silly, but if people do give authority to .health, won’t they also give it to .healthcare?

The other domains yesterday were all from Rightside. Its four military-related domain names struggled out of the gate:

  • .vet 649
  • .army 202
  • .navy 122
  • .airforce

A couple observations on these domains.

First, it’s no surprise that .vet is outperforming the others. There are two reasons for this: a) .vet can be used for veterans and veterinarians and b) the other three domains can be considered a subset of .vet when it comes to who will register them. If you’re an army veteran, will you register .army or .vet?

Second, I think the biggest market by volume for these domains are individuals, either in the respective military branches or retired. These would be for personal sites or vanity email. Anything Rightside can do to make it easy for people to register the domains and attach them to a personal site or email address will boost registrations.

Although the first day was slow for these military-themed domains, I can see them going “viral” as people in the armed forces start using them. When someone in the navy sends and email to someone else using his or her .navy address, there will likely be a “hey, how did you do that?” conversation.

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Latest domain news at Domain Name Wire. buys .spot domain name for $2.2 million, .Realty sells for $5.6 million

October 22, 2014Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

Amazon wins another new top level domain, but it was out shadowed by more expensive auctions.

The latest round of new top level domain name “auctions of last resort” at ICANN took place today.

Three auctions for the rights to run top level domain names closed for prices ranging from $2.2 million to $5.6 million: won .spot for $2,200,000, beating applicants Google and Dotspot, LLC.

Fegistry won .realty for $5,588,888, beating Donuts. Fegistry is Jay Westerdal’s company. I’m surprised the two companies didn’t settle this privately. Both companies are in Seattle and I saw a photo of Donuts CEO Paul Stahura hanging out at Westerdal’s house this summer. I assume Westerdal was the hold out that didn’t want a private auction since Donuts has participated in many.

Donuts won .Salon for $5,100,575, beating L’Oreal, DaySmart Software (software for spas and salons) and Aesthetics Practitioners Advisory Network (Australian trade group for aesthetic and beauty industry)

In last month’s auction, the top sale was .tech for $6,760,000. Amazon bought .buy in that auction for $4,588,888.

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Latest domain news at Domain Name Wire.