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. 

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