Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Are New Extension Sales Mainly Registry?

As my analysis of monthly new extension sales have shown, in a typical month there are about 100 sales of new global top level domain (ngTLD) names spread over 15 to 20 off the different extensions.  You can see the most recent monthly report here, and scroll to the bottom to see links to the previous reports.

The report also includes year to date data on number of sales and total dollar figure.  If 2018 continues at the current rate, it may be the best year yet for ngTLD sales by a small margin. So while total registrations of ngTLDs have fallen over the past 12 months (although not by the huge factor sometimes portrayed), ngTLD sales data are constant or even improving.

The ngTLD critics often respond after grudgingly accepting the data "yes, but it is pretty well all registry sales, so domain name investors in ngTLD are not making any sales."  There is of course some validity in this argument, and many of the largest ngTLD sales of all time (names like home.loans and b.top) have been registry sales.  To see how valid the argument is in general, I did an analysis of ngTLD sales over the past month.  This is what I found.

It does not seem possible to get from NameBio individual details for more than 100 sales in a category at a time (you can set search parameters, and then order it by price or by date, ascending or descending, but cannot look at say all 800 items returned).  Therefore, I decided to work with a set of less than 100 so I could determine which are registry sales for each individual sale.  For my data set I used NameBio recorded ngTLD sales for the one month period ending July 30, 2018.  This set has 99 ngTLD sales totalling $320.3k so I could analyze each of them.

Of the 99 ngTLD sales in the period, 31% (31 out of 99) were clearly registry sales. The often repeated statement that there are pretty well only registry sales, seems not to be supported by evidence. Most of the main marketplaces that report had at least a few sales during the period - e.g. 13 of the sales were on Sedo. It should be noted that it is possible that some of the sales reported on Alibaba are in essence registry sales as well, since they act as a reseller of for both individuals and the registry, it would seem.  This would decrease somewhat the percentage that were non-registry, but it is not easy, or even possible, with public records to differentiate between the two, especially for domains that may have expired. I feel confident that the majority of the number of sales being non-registry will not change.

Of the $320k in ngTLD sales during the period, 54% ($171k) were registry sales. This was dominated by a couple of two letter top extension registry domain sales in the period, each for about $50,000.

Among the highest value sales, it is true that the registry sales dominate. For example, in this data set 6 of the 10 highest prices, including the first two positions, were registry sales. This trend is even more dominant if you look at the top ngTLD sales of all time.

If anyone wants to analyze or examine the NameBio data for themselves, here is the link.

One should keep in mind that this is only for a single month of NameBio reported sales. As in other extensions, the majority of sales, both registry and non-registry in the case of ngTLDs, are not reported to NameBio.  Also, as noted, in some cases it is hard to be sure on correct identification of registry vs non-registry sales in certain marketplaces. I am not claiming that exactly 46% of value or 69% of numbers of sales are non-registry in a larger dataset, or that those numbers would necessarily hold in a longer time frame.  I do feel confident that it is true that there are significant numbers and  dollar volumes in both registry and non-registry ngTLDs.  And of course if one is looking at the health and  use of ngTLDs, then whether they are purchased from registries or domain investors is immaterial.

Original post July 31, 2018.
Slight modification added Aug 3, 2018  to allow that some Alibaba marketplace sales may be on behalf of the registry - also correct 29 to 31. Acknowledge this insight from NamePros user ecalc. Also final paragraph was added.


Fine Print

This post is offered for informational and educational purposes only, and should not be considered domain name investment advice. While an attempt has been made to be accurate, there is no implied or explicit warranty, and you are responsible for verifying any information of importance to you.

In a few cases there may be affiliate links will on this blog. This means I receive a small amount if users visit or make purchases via the link. You do not pay any additional charge due to using an affiliate link, and in some cases below the normal price. I receive no identifying information about who clicks, or does not click, any link. I never accept compensation to provide favourable review of any particular service or product.

I try to be fair, balanced and objective in my analysis.  If you feel this post does not meet that standard, please express your concerns to me.  As disclosure, I do have a domain portfolio that is predominantly ngTLD domain names, although I do also own a number of .com, .ca, .co and a few other country code extension domains..

The text of this posting is ©R.L. Hawkes, all rights reserved. However, you may, without permission, use reasonable length portions of the post as long as a link to this post is also provided. If you wish to use the complete contents of a post, please request permission. I am normally open to reprinting, but will consider each request individually. 

The images used are either those associated with a product or service, or Pixabay images believed to be available for use without attribution. If you see any image that you believe is problematic, please let us know and we will immediately correct the situation.

Monday, July 30, 2018

BullAtomSci.org Sale

I notice on today's NameBio daily domain sales report that the domain name BullAtomSci in the .org extension sold yesterday.  The name attracted my attention, because I know very well of the valuable work of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

What is The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists?

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists are best known for maintaining the Doomsday Clock, which is an indication of global dangers.  The clock, started during the cold war period in 1947, is currently set at 2 minutes to midnight. The group periodically assess all types of risks and update the setting on the clock.

They also publish a journal, with the organization and publication started by biophysicist Eugene Rabinowitch and physicist Hyman Goldsmith.  Many prominent scientists (and other academics and thinkers) have contributed to the journal over the years including (among many others) Hans Bethe, Max Born, Albert Einstein, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Bertrand Russell, and Edward Teller.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists cover a variety of articles on different types of threats, from nuclear weapons to climate change to biochemical or biological. A couple of years ago the publication of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists started being published in partnership with Routledge, Francis and Taylor Group.

The Domain Name BullAtomSci.Org

The domain name that just sold, BullAtomSci.org,  has been registered for 21 years.  Originally it was certainly used by The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists as this capture using the internet archive WayBack Machine from 2006 shows.

In 1999 the domain name TheBulletin.org was registered, and for the past decade it has been used by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.  It is a highly visited and respected site, placing in the top 500,000 sites in the world (from a total of about 1.9 billion sites in the world).  I suspect that the rebranding was related to the movement away from a narrow prior focus on nuclear weapon risk to a more general consideration of multiple global risks.

Now I am not clear exactly when, or how, the organization gave up or lost control of their original domain name, but as this WayBack Machine capture from September 2017 shows, over the last few years although the site used the title of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in the heading, it clearly has nothing to do with the organization really.

Traffic was modest during the last year on the BullAtomSci.org website, and estimated ad revenue for the site small, according to sources such as CuteStat.com. I presume whoever held the domain name felt that it was more profitable to try to sell it, which has now happened.  The really interesting question is whether the buyer is the previous owner, the real Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, or someone else.  If someone else, what do they plan to do with the domain name? Or was it simply purchased by a domain investor hoping to resell the name?

Domain Sale and Lessons Learned

This saga demonstrates the dangers of not protecting your previous domain name when you rebrand to a new site. I am surprised that the obvious attempt of an unrelated owner to benefit from the name was not legally challenged (if it was not).  There are annual renewal costs off maintaining a domain name you no longer actively use, but letting go of a name with traffic comes with lost opportunity costs.

The domain name BullAtomSci.org sold July 29, 2018 on GoDaddy for $820.  In the NameBio database, there are no publicly recorded previous sales of the domain name, although when one uses the GoDaddy GoValue estimation tool it shows (without date) a previous sale at a price of $980.  For those reading this from outside the domain community, there is no requirement to publicly announce sales prices of domain names, so the public record is an incomplete one in most cases. Many sales are announced however, with sources such as NameBio including more than $1.6 billion in domain name sales.

I don't know the full story behind the most recent domain name sale, and with the new privacy legislation it is harder to track domain name owners.   If you are associated with either party in the sale, and want to provide additional details on the transaction and future plans, please contact me directly or share information through the comments section of this blog.


The domain name now resolves to a monetized links parking page.  It does not specifically mention that the domain name is for sale. According to ICANN WHOIS the new owner is a privately held Hong Kong based holding company.

Main Links:

This article was originally posted on July 30,2018.
The update section at the end of the article was added on Aug 6, 2018

Small Print:  

This post is offered for information and education purposes only, and is offered without implied or explicit warranty of any kind.  While an effort has been made to be accurate, users should independently confirm any information important to them.  We have no association with any party covered in this article.

This post is one in a series offered by NamesThat.win, a site offering good value in creative engaging domain names for use in domain phrase marketing campaigns or websites. We concentrate mainly on the fields of biotechnology, education, healthy living,  medicine, nanotechnology, science, startups, technology and names for writers and books.  We offer names in various new and legacy global extensions, and a handful of country code extensions particularly .ca. 

Domain name investing contains risks, and any who engage in it are responsible for their own decisions, and should, as appropriate, obtain professional guidance. If there are any corrections to this post, we encourage you to let us know. 

Friday, July 27, 2018

Take A Look At ICU


For some time I have planned to do a series with each post taking a deep dive into a single domain extension. I decided to start that with a recent extension that is still unfamiliar to many, ICU. When I first heard about the new global top level domain (ngTLD) ICU ("I see you"), I thought the extension was too gimmicky. However, upon a closer look, I changed my mind on the prospects for the extension. Let me share with you why I might see an ICU domain name in your future, whether you are a domain name investor or an end user.

What Does It Mean?

Officially the name stands for "I See You", although as many in the domain investing community have pointed out, ICU is the standard acronym for Intensive Care Unit, and I think the domain will see use with both meanings, and perhaps others. The domain name is meant to be location agnostic, use in any region, and while it is better suited to some potential applications than others, the extension is intended for a broad set of applications for businesses, organizations and individuals.

Some Stats

The ICU extension came into general availability on May 29, 2018. As I update this (Sept 11, 2018), the number of registrations is just over 75,000 (you can get up to date statistics from the nTLDStats site. Although the initial growth of ICU registrations has been slower than the runaway success of the APP extension, ICU has nevertheless grown at an impressive rate over the first two months and ICU is already into the top 50 of all ngTLDs. Registrations are an important, but alone not sufficient, requirement for familiarity with the domain name to grow.

Whether you are a domain investor or an end user, it is important to have registrar choices. This is convenient in consolidating your domain portfolio to just a few registrars. Also, registrar competition helps keep registration and renewal costs competitive. Registrars are still being added, but as I write this 42 registrars handle the ICU extension. This includes a number of the most commonly used registrars such as Alpnames, Dynadot, Gandi, Namecheap, Namesilo, Porkbun, Uniregistry, Webnames, and many others.

While there are ICU extension domain owners from 87 countries, the global distribution is far from uniform. The largest number of registrations come from the United States, followed by the United Kingdom, Seychelles, Spain, China and Russia.  Familiarity with the new extension will probably grow fastest in these regions, although it also means that more terms related to these regions will already be registered and therefore not available. The graph below (from NameStat) shows the global distribution and numbers.
Image courtesy of NameStat.org. Check website for most recent data. 


The majority of ngTLDs (there are exceptions, of course) have not handled pricing well in my opinion. Generally initial bargain basement prices (often around $1.00 or less) followed by renewal costs of $30.00 or more per year. However, the registry reserved many of the best names as premium offerings at much higher prices, often thousands of dollars. Confusion reigned as some of these premium offerings renew at standard rates, while others renew also at premium rates. This resulted in many of the best names never getting used, and domain name investors were shut out of the most desirable part of the market in the extension. Fortunately, ICU seems to have learned from these errors in previous ngTLD introductions, providing more transparent and reasonable premium pricing and clarity with renewal pricing.

In my opinion the ICU extension has done the right thing with respect to pricing, and I will call their system smart graduated premium initial pricing. Initial pricing in the majority of domain names in ICU is modest - with promotions sometimes as little as $1.50 or even less. For more desired premium domain names, ICU uses a graduated system of pricing with four different levels, but 85% of the premium domains are at the first level that is not much different than the cost to register many standard domains in other extensions (it is about $16 at Namecheap). A small number of premium domain names are at the three higher levels. The exact values vary with registrar, but currently at Namecheap they are $78, $780 and $7800. To give a sense of the names in each category, words like chemistry, HDTV and trend were all available at the $16 level when I checked. Especially HDTV strikes me as a great bargain and I suspect one of my readers may pick it up soon. At the $78 level were colours such as blue and high traffic keywords like trips. When one goes to $780 some highly desired words that have sold for high amounts in other extensions are available such as cruise and matrix. At the highest level I could only find a few words, including some of the world's great cities such as the word Toronto.

ICU on their website makes it absolutely clear that renewals even of premium names will be at standard rates. I wish this simple approach applied throughout the ngTLD space! The announced renewal rates for ICU are also modest - for example at NameCheap, one of my favourite registrars, the renewal price is $7.88, less than regular prices for .com, .net or .org.

You can find who has the least expensive current prices to register, transfer or renew any domain extension at sites such as TLD LIST. The data are updated every few hours, so check just before you make a registration or transfer.


The co-founder of ICU, Kevin Kopas, is well known in the domain name industry. Read Ron Jackson's excellent story on Kevin and the ICU extension on DNJournal. Early indications are that the management of ICU will be proactive and smart in promotion and supervision of the extension, and Kevin's expertise will no doubt play a large part of that. While their Twitter feed does not yet have many followers, ICU are doing a good job highlighting both available domain names and newly registered names and websites, and milestones reached by the extension.

The ICU management are not alone among ngTLDs in highlighting some of the sites using the extension, but I think their pioneer program where you can apply to have your ICU website promoted is a good idea. Visit https://nic.icu/ to learn about the program and apply to have your site featured. In Kevin Kopas' words (from the interview with Ron Jackson) the  pioneer program "provides media expertise to new and evolving businesses who are looking to create, expand, or improve their online marketing strategies. The program includes exclusive access to a digital co-working space with help from others and learning resources like a  21-module online media program aimed at bringing businesses closer to their customers by driving strategic and consistent message delivery across online platforms."

Resale Market

It is too early to have much in the way statistics on after market sales at this time. My expectation is that we will see resales, perhaps many, in the extension, but that the prices will be moderate. I think the initial pricing structure from the registry will tend to, at least for the first few years, keep prices in the range from $100 to $300 for most domain names. That is not to say that a few prime names will not go for much more, or that prices for a longer time frame may well be significantly more if the extension comes into widespread respected use. One positive sign for those investing in the extension is that it is already possible to list ICU domain names at Sedo, the world's largest domain market. I notice that a number of premium ICU domain names are listed on Undeveloped as well. Added note: there are as of now (Sept 2, 2018) three NameBio recorded resales of ICU, the first being SwimmingPool at $199.


In this series I plan to briefly look at abuse statistics for each domain name. I find that some legacy domain name investors repeat claims that new extensions are disproportionately associated with malware. These claims are not supported by evidence. Among the new extensions some are better and some are worse than extensions such as .com and .net for spam. The vast majority of phishing attempts come from .com and a handful of country code extensions (this is not surprising since in phishing they are trying to emulate an established country, most of which use .com). In terms of spam, the professionals at Spamhaus are the world experts, protecting billions of individual email accounts from spam. They define a badness index which is based on a ratio of the number of sites associated with spam to the total number of active sites in that domain extension. It is scaled by a logarithmic measure of the total number of domains, since the same percentage in a heavily used domain name poses more of a problem.

You can use a form at this link to look up the badness index for any domain extension. Use the pull down box at the top left to select the extension (or type it in) and it will give you the badness index. These values change continuously with new data. As a new extension the long term abuse characteristics are difficult to know for ICU. On the day I updated this (Aug 27, 2018), the badness index for ICU was 1.4. This made it slight worse (lower is better) than com (0.62), xyz (0.71) and online (0.47), similar to net (0.90) and info (0.98), and much better than club (2.83),  biz (3.43) and top (5.56), and hugely better than the worst extensions that are the 'free' country code extensions. Note that these values change somewhat daily, so check at link for the most up to date values if important. Over the month or so I have been tracking the ICU value has been pretty consistent, slightly going down (i.e. better).

Actual Use

We are not quite two months into general availability of ICU, and normally it takes many months of a new domain extension before we see much in the way of actual use. The early signs are extremely encouraging for the extension, however. For a domain not yet four months in general availability, the number of actually operating websites is more than decent for a ngTLD. It is first in growth trend as I update this (Sept. 11, 2018). As of today ICU has 259 sites in the Alexa 1M, or one per about 300 registrations which is excellent. By comparison the APP extension is 1 in about 2675, TOP is 1 in 2500, the much older XYZ is about 1 in 940, and ONLINE, that promotes being highly used and is much older, is only slightly better at 1 in 580.

While there are critics of how well Alexa 1M (the one million most used websites according to their methodology) represents actual use, the fact that such a new extension already has any sites at all in the top million is impressive. For reference, there are about 1.9 billion websites in the world currently, so getting in the top million is something only 1 website in about 1900 achieves.

I highlight a few websites that are already operational on the ICU extension below. These are chosen not because they necessarily reflect the highest traffic sites, or the most elegant, but as different areas of application. There are also some adult sites making use of the extension which I did not include. I have no association with any of the sites listed below, and listing here should not be considered an endorsement of their products and services.

Rajkumar Agro Engineers

An agro-engineering firm based in India, Rajkumar Agro Engineers Pvt Ltd. uses the extension for their product line, sales and customer service. is a leading manufacturer, exporter and supplier of specialized equipment such as cutters, oil expellers, wood splitters, brick making equipment, small mill equipment, pulverisers, post hole diggers, etc. Their website is fully functional with lots of equipment views, allowing their potential customers to "see" the equipment. If the use of "see you" in the sense of catalog offerings takes off, we could see a lot of demand for the ICU extension.

Hairstyle Gallery

There is already a fair amount of use of ICU in sites promoting fashion, jewelry, etc. Some of these are information aggregator sites seeking ad revenue, while others offer original content. Some use the information to indirectly promote a business. One example is hairstyle.icu site that shows images from a huge array of hairstyles, for both women and men. Literally everything from wedding hairstyles to styles well suited to frizzy hair. It appears that the site was operational for a couple of years, but have now adopted the ICU extension that fits their function perfectly.


Not surprisingly, there are already ICU sites operational in the crypto currencies field. One that I briefly examined is CryptoMarketCap.icu, that provides up to the second valuations on a large number of different cryptocurrencies. On the date I checked there were 2024 different currencies being tracked by the online site. As well as the value, change, volume, etc. for each currency, at the top of the page it provides the total amount of funds in cryptocurrencies.


A site using the premium name travel.icu offers an easy way to find flight and hotel options in cities around the world. You enter a city, for example I tried Toronto, and it lists both the major and minor airports for the city. Then select one from the list, and,at least for the cities I tried, it goes to another ICU website but this time with the code for that airpor - e.g. Pearson airport in Toronto the site was YYZ.icu. From there you can find flight, or airport, options.


Of course the ICU people themselves have a great website operating with the extension. On it you can see what is new with respect to the extension, learn about (or apply to) their pioneer program, see some options for available ICU domain names, or find a registrar that handles the extension. Go check them out at nic.icu!

Want to promote some other operational ICU sites? Why not leave a comment on this blog with a link to the site?

Additional Ideas

The sites listed above are all actual in-use websites built on the ICU extension. To complement these I wanted to highlight some other ways I see the extension being used effectively. This is done through some of the domain names I hold personally. All are available for sale currently. Simply enter the domain name in a browser, or click on the link provided, to go to a sales lander with additional information and a purchase option.


Ultrasound is best known as a safe medical imaging technique, but it also finds use in certain therapies, structural testing, quality control, etc. This domain name, with the new ICU extension is a perfect match to an imaging technology, and could be used with a company, distributor, clinic, reference site, etc. This application also works if we regard ICU as an abbreviation for intensive care unit. Get registration dates, price, automated worth estimates and purchase option(s) at the link.  


This domain name would be a great fit for an app, website, club, career coach, therapist, or a plethora of other potential uses that encompass the idea of "seeing me". Use the link or enter the name in a browser to get more information or to see purchase options.


While not as direct, perhaps, as the other examples in this section, I think one really powerful use of the ICU extension is in senses such as "I see you" happiness. The highly desired word happiness is taken in most popular extensions. Coupled with the new ICU extension, various uses are possible for this memorable domain name. The domain name would be ideal for a therapist, psychologist, researcher, business, or organization that worked in the field of positive psychology. It also is a perfect fir for sites that more generally promote a happy life, for children or adults. The name happiness is high searched on Google (more than 600 million searches!). Why not be one of the first to put this new extension to work in promoting a healthy, happy lifestyle?


Whether it is quilt or craft patterns, or patterns in big data, this domain name is short and memorable. It couples really well with the ICU (I see you) domain extension. Get registration dates, price, automated worth estimates and purchase option(s) at the domain name link.


The short, memorable, high value versatile word macro coupled with the ICU extension makes a great domain name. The word macro can refer to macro photography, macro economics, macro management, as well as other technical terms. The 'I see you' works especially well with macro photography. The name macro is high searched on Google (more than 16 million SERP SLD). We are offering great value in this valuable (domains including 'macro' have sold37 times) keyword - why not pick it up today? Enter the domain name in a browser, or use the link, to obtain additional information, price and purchase links.

Closing Thoughts

Whether an end user looking for an innovative domain name for a new website, a company looking to rebrand, or a domain name investor, you should consider ICU as an option. It is cost efficient both to register and to renew, and early indications are that the domain extension will be effectively promoted and based on early trends may well find wide adoption. Costs are very reasonable to pick up a highly desired single word domain in the extension. An extension worth considering? I see you!

Original post July 28, 2018

Minor format changes Aug 3, 2018
Registration data, Alexa, abuse data, resales info updated Aug 27, 2018
Data and associated text updated, one example removed as now sold. Last update Sept. 11, 2018

Some Links:

This is the first in a series of posts each taking a deep dive into a single domain extensions. Stay tuned to the blog for others in the series (you can sign up to receive all new posts by email if you prefer - see box in the right hand column). I will also announce them on my Twitter account. The next in the series will be on the SPACE domain extension.

Fine Print
This post is offered for informational and educational purposes only, and should not be considered domain name investment advice. While an attempt has been made to be accurate, there is no implied or explicit warranty, and you are responsible for verifying any information of importance to you.

In a few cases there will be affiliate links will on this blog. This means I receive a small amount if users visit or make purchases via the link. You do not pay any additional charge due to using an affiliate link, and in some cases below the normal price. I receive no identifying information about who clicks, or does not click, any link. I never accept compensation to provide favourable coverage of any particular service or product.

In the case of ICU I have no formal affiliation with the owners, registry or anyone else associated with the extension, and obviously do not speak for them. I do own a modest number of ICU extension domains, some of which were covered in this article. I have sold one of the three publicly reported .icu resales.

The text of this posting is ©R.L. Hawkes, rights reserved. However, you may, without permission, use reasonable length portions of the post as long as a link to this post is also provided. If you wish to use the complete contents, please request permission. I am normally open to reprinting, but will consider each request individually. The images used are either those associated with a product or service, or Pixabay images believed to be available for use without attribution. If you see any image that you believe is problematic, please let us know and we will immediately correct the situation.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Same Domain Sales Analysis


In retail performance analysis, same store sales are important measures. By looking only at sales from a fixed set of stores, we exclude outlet expansion or contraction effects, and get a better measure of how well the company is really doing.  The same idea is used in analysis of restaurant chain performance and other areas of business.

Each day I read the daily domain report produced by Michael Sumner at NameBio. One feature included in the report, along with the sales data, is a listing of domains with a sale history, that is that had a previous sale reported in the database. For these domains the change in price and percentage increase or decrease is included. It seemed to me that more of the domains with history saw a price decrease, occasionally a dramatic one of up to 99%.  I wanted to see if this perception was really supported by the numbers, so I performed an analysis at what I call same domain prices on only those domains that have sold multiple times. The question I wanted to answer was simple: When a domain name sells multiple times, is the price more likely to go up or down?

The Study

I used the NameBio daily reports for a 61 day period from May 24 through July 23, 2018 inclusive.  This included an analysis of 13, 165 domain name sales, of which 288 had a history of a previous sale price in the database. For each NameBio daily report I recorded the total number of sales for the day, along with the number showing an increase or a decrease in price.  I then computed whether each day was net up, down or even, using the definition of even as being an equal number of domain sales increased and decreased (not that the amount of the increase and decrease were equal).  For example, if 3 domains with history sold this time at a higher price, and 2 at a lower, it would be a net up day.


I summarize the key results below.

  • This study analyzed 13,165 NameBio reported domain sales in all extensions over the 61 day period from May 24 to July 23, 2018.
  • Over the reporting period, on average there were 216 domain sales per day recorded in NameBio.
  • Of the 13, 165 domain sales in the 61 days, 288 had a history of a previous sale, or 2.2%.
  • Of these 288 domain sales with history, 104 showed an increase and 184 a decrease in price.
  • For the 61 days in the study, 43 days were net down (more sales with decrease), 10 were net up (more sales with an increase), and 8 days had equal numbers of increase/decrease.
  • There may be a systematic bias that makes domain names that are available for sale again more likely to sell at lower prices.

Other Measures

It is of course easy to use NameBio to look at the average price of all domain sales in a year, or the price of for example sales in a single extension like com or net.  If you look at all extensions combined,  here is the average selling price (data as of July 23, 2018).
  • 2018 (up to July 23)  $1405
  • 2017 $1464
  • 2016 $1350
  • past 5 years $1778
  • all time  $2665
While one might conclude from these data that domain name prices have gone down from the early years (and are roughly constant over the past few years), that does not necessarily mean that  prices of similar quality names have gone down.  It may just be that in recent years there are many more domain names of lower overall quality being sold, bringing down the average price. That possibility was really the motivation for this same domain analysis. 

Does This Mean Anything?

If it were true that prices of domain names are going down, then domain name investing, on average, will result in portfolio losses for most domain investors. This would be true even if they make good choices regarding domain names and keep costs to a minimum by seeking the best deals on registration and renewal fees. The only exception would be if a domain name investor can consistently acquire domain names significantly below market value.  In a future post I plan to look at the question of whether the domain name market is efficient in the economic sense of efficient market hypothesis. This speaks to whether it is likely that such bargains can be consistently found.

To be truly statistically meaningful a larger dataset of same domain sales would need to be analyzed, probably one that looked at the magnitude of the increases/decreases as well as the number of each. I could not figure out any automatic way to extract the sales with history from the NameBio daily reports, so by hand I went through the 61 reports. That is why this study is limited to the 13,165 sales, only 288 of which have a history.  If someone knows an automatic way to do the same thing, please do let me know!

But even if we regard the number analyzed here as statistically significant, it still might well be meaningless due to a systematic bias.  A domain name that retains its value is more likely to continue to be used, while one from a business that is less important now than it was a decade ago is more likely to be sold at a decreased price, possibly a sharply decreased price.  For example domain names related to audio cassette technology are likely to be sold at lower prices today, while those in gene therapy or crypto currencies are less likely to have a sales history. Therefore, while interesting, I don't place much importance on the finding of this analysis that more same domain sales are at a decrease in price.

One number that probably does have significance from this study is that about 2.2% of the sales have history.  In a way it is surprising, but encouraging, that most digital assets only exchange hands once.  This also is evidence for those who promote the idea that an end user should take this chance to get a premium domain name, since the opportunity may well never arise again.  Of course sometimes domain names do change ownership without a domain name sale, through mergers and acquisitions. Also, many, probably most, domain name sales are not reported in NameBio either because they are private, are sold subject to a nondisclosure agreement, or from a marketplace that does not report sales to NameBio.

If there have been previous analyses of what i have here termed same domain sales price trends I would like to know about them so that I can make reference to them in a revision of this article, and give them credit with a citation.

Fine Print

This analysis and commentary is offered for educational purposes only, and comes without explicit or implied warranty.  Domain name investing is inherently risky, and any information in this blog should not be construed as advice for any course of action.  Each reader is responsible for their own domain name investment decisions. While every effort has been made to be accurate, readers should independently confirm any data important to them. I would like to acknowledge and thank NameBio for the incredibly powerful and useful database of domain name sales data that they make available.  This analysis and report was conducted in conjunction with our website, NamesThat.win.  We welcome contact through that website, or as comments directly on this blog.  We are active on Twitter - why not follow us

Monday, July 23, 2018

New Extension Sales Data Jun 23 - Jul 22, 2018

Another month has gone by, so let's take a look at "new" global top level domain (ngTLD) name sales reported in the NameBio database over the past 30 days.  The number of sales (102), average selling price ($3372) and number of extensions (19) are all similar to the previous reporting period.  The .top extension dominated again this month, accounting for 73 of the 86 sales. The .global, .app and .life extensions also had good months. You can see the list of ngTLD sales for the reporting period here.


During the monthly period ending July 22, 2018 there were
  • 102 recorded ngTLD domain name sales;
  • The average sales price was $3372, while the median price was $1330;
  • In terms of major sales, 7 were for $10,000 or more;
  • The highest price sales in this period were qb.top for $52,777, xt.top for $47,904, do.global for $19,000, host.app for $13,981,  get.top for $12,814, pen.top for $11,779 and industrial.group for $10,000; 
  • There were sales in 19 different extensions during the reporting period, although .top dominated with 73 of the sales;
  • So far in 2018 there have been 620 ngTLD sales in total listed on NameBio, with an average sales price of $5676, accounting for a total of $3.5 million in sales. 

Extension Breakdown

Here is the breakdown by number of domain sales reported in each extension during this monthly reporting period.
  • app 2
  • bio 1
  • cards 1
  • club 1
  • cooking 1
  • eco 1
  • fit 1
  • global 9
  • group 1
  • life 3
  • network 1
  • one 1
  • solutions 1
  • space 1
  • top 73
  • toys 1
  • ventures 1
  • work 1
  • xyz 1

Names That Span Dot Effectively

Some of the domain names from this reporting period that I personally like include raise.top, be.fit, dev.global, cat.life, dog.life, DNA.life, MilkyWay.space, b.cooking, and industrial.group. While I understand why some shorter names sold for higher prices, I think these names do a great job of 'spanning the dot' with congruence between the domain name and the extension.  It will be interesting to see the websites that develop on these names. Why not look through the entire list and pick your own favourites?

Year to Date 

So far in 2018 there have been 620 NameBio reported ngTLD sales with an average sales price of $5676.  Note that this is as Namebio report sales dates. Both home.loans for $500,000 and The.club for $300,000 are listed as 2018 sales, since they were reported in 2018, even though the sales terms were completed in 2017. On the other hand, vacation.rentals that sold for $500,300 is not reported in 2018 in their database. The total value of 2018 reported ngTLD sales up to the day of writing (July 23, 2018) is $3.5 million. In terms of number of ngTLD sales, the rate is similar to that recorded in 2017, although the total value of ngTLD sales if it continues at current rate through the rest of the year will be somewhat higher than last year that saw $5.2 million in total new extension sales.


The NameBio database (or at least the portion publicly reported) does not include sales with value less than $100, nor sales from a number of venues such as Afternic, Undeveloped or Efty (unless buyers or sellers report them individually), nor from most of the ngTLD registries, so it is difficult to estimate how complete a record this is of all  #ngTLD domain name sales. Note that host.app sale appeared in the previous month, then disappeared from the NameBio database, and now has appeared again with a later date and a marginally lower price. Sometimes sales are posted on NameBio after their recorded sales date.


Here are links to the three previous reports in case you want to do monthly comparisons:

Next Report and Other News

We will issue our next report in late August, and it will cover ngTLD sales for the period from July 23 through August 22. This monthly update on publicly reported ngTLD sales is offered as a service to the domain community.  While we strive to be accurate, no implied guarantee or warranty is associated with this report, and readers should independently verify information before using it in any domain investment decisions. As always we welcome comments and corrections. We report regularly on domain name news, with a special emphasis on the new extensions, on our Twitter feed.  Why not join the more than 1300 domain investors, venture capitalists, tech experts, startup owners and other great people that already follow us @AGreatName?  If we can be of assistance in helping you find a domain name at a value price, or using a domain name phrase in a marketing campaign, don't hesitate to contact us through our website (or via direct message at Twitter). 

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Should Automated Domain Worth Tools Be Extension Specific?

Automated Domain Worth Estimation

As those who follow my posts on NamePros and elsewhere will know, unlike some domain investors, I do see value, despite their  limitations, in automated domain name appraisal tools such as Estibot and GoDaddy GoValue.  Even though these should never be the only or even primary estimates of worth, I think that domain investors and potential purchasers should know the values for domain names they are considering. Therefore, in most cases I show these values in my listings at NamesThat.win (along with the caveat that values are not static, and potential purchasers should check for the most recent estimates if this information is important to them).

As artificial intelligence, and in particular machine learning, progresses, these automated tools will become even better. I simply do not accept that a human is always better at the task of evaluating the worth of domain names and always will be. Even today Google Maps does a pretty amazing job of finding a good route from point A to point B in a complex city, whether I want to go by walking, public transit, car, or bicycle. Is evaluating a domain name inherently a more complex task? A tool that has access to all of the data on past domain sales, Google searches, etc. is well placed to make a good estimation of domain name value.

As behavioural economists remind us, humans are subject to numerous cognitive biases and blindspots. Yes, I value the opinion of domain name investors, occasionally asking for them on the Appraisal section of NamePros, and not infrequently leaving my opinions for others. But I also place value on objective estimates from automated tools. Both human and automated estimates are sometimes very wrong, or at least predict values far different than sale prices.  That is because ultimately the worth of a domain is what someone will pay for it, and that will never be an exact science.

As a scientist I know that an estimate is improved by taking into account multiple independent values, and that is how I see automated tools and opinions of experienced domain investors co-existing. This is a long lead in to a post on a new extension specific approach to domain name evaluation.

New APP Specific Domain Name Estimation Tool

NamePros user un1 on July 6, 2018 posted an offer to use an Excel based tool developed to estimate the worth of APP extension domain names.  The tool works only for the single extension APP, since it takes into account

  • how related the domain name is to the names of apps on Google Play or the iOs App Store
  • how many downloads those apps have

Among the other aspects of the evaluation the poster lists the following.
  • search result performance
  • TLD penetration (how many extensions the word is registered in)
  • traffic rank of the most similar domain with the highest rank (for example, for the appraisal of abc.app, the traffic rank of abc.com)
  • synthesis of appraisal results from different services (the poster does not specify which, but I presume at least GoValue and Estibot, possibly others)
  • length of the domain name
  • trademark strength  
  • meaningfulness
The scale is a mix of quantitative measures automatically assigned, and ratings assigned qualitatively.  For example, the developer explains that the trademark strength is assigned using the following Likert scale.

1 -> generic phrases or random letter combinations which are not used as trademarks (except possibly in a very regional micro company). .
2 -> deformed versions of strong trademarks (e.g. "itun") and/or out-of-context trademarks (e.g. "kandle")
3 -> well-known trademarks with no relevant apps released and/or no "mobile", "app-related" orientation (e.g. "baze") or generic names of mobile apps (e.g. "squadd", "dancingline" etc.)
4 -> well-known trademarks with apps released (or at least app-related orientation): e.g. "virgingames", "storspelare" etc. Rule: The sole activity is not the mobile app; the app is just the extension to the existing business.
5 -> well-known "mobile-first" trademarks (i.e. the main area of activity is 'app-related' services): e.g. "heimlich", "bambo", "xpro" etc.

Dollars or Scores

A number of people have commented on NamePros at various times that they find the automated tools worthwhile in expressing relative worth (i.e., whether name A is better than name B), even though they have no confidence in the dollar values given by the tools.  One aspect of the new tool is that it does not try to give a dollar figure for the evaluation, but rather a score on a 5 point scale, with a more valuable domain name being near the
  1. host.app = 4.73 (reported sale: $14,162) 
  2. RN.app = 4.42 (reported sale: $15,000) 
  3. HedgeFund.app = 3.13 (reported sale: $251) 
  4. YouProductive.app = 1.63 (reported sale: $1,300)
He does point out how his tool ranks those APP domain names that already have a NameBio recorded sales price.  As .app extension domain name sales increase, there will obviously be more data points both to evaluate the quality of the tool and also to convert points ratings into dollar value ranges.

Concluding Thoughts

I see a lot of value in a domain extension specific approach to automated evaluation.  GoValue currently rates (almost all) new domain extensions equally, and clearly this can't be right.  For example, when I checked just now it told me that pepperoni.pizza and pepperoni.science are worth exactly the same, $566.  That is clearly wrong!

Estibot do try to evaluate different extensions differently.  Although they do not disclose their detailed methodology, at least the way they structure their reports seems to indicate that in some cases (e.g., extensions like science) they span the dot and for their search statistics look at searches for the two parts together.  That is, for a word like planetary.science they would look at how searched (and advertised) "planetary science" was (as well as simply the word planetary).  While this is sensible here, for the new .icu (I See You) extension they seem to be doing the same as for extensions like science and spaace, and searching on the combination across the dot.  This does not make sense for this extension.

If the automated tool restricts itself to one extension, it can look at parameters important to that extension only.  For example, when evaluating .loan or .loans, it could look at how frequently that type of loan appears in commerce.

With well over a thousand extensions, even if country code extensions are not included, it would become chaotic to treat all individually of course.  However, some could be grouped together, and for some other extensions with limited registrations and sales, it is perhaps not sensible to try an automated worth estimate.

I welcome this new contribution to semi-automated domain worth, and look forward to seeing results from its application. I think several of the features, concentration on one extension only, use of a hybrid automated and human approach, and use of a scale rather than a dollar value, make it innovative and interesting.

Original post July 7, 2018.
Additional information added July 9, 2018.
Slight formatting change July 30, 2018 (no content change).

I have no association with the developer of this, or any other, automated domain value tools. The information on what parameters are used is taken from the original post.  You are responsible for your personal use of the information from any of these tools. This post is for information purposes only. The image that accompanies this posting is by Pixabay user geralt.

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