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Bob Hawkes

A Look at the High Value Domain Name Sales in 2020

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By Bob Hawkes, Jul 16, 2020
  1. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    We are a bit more than halfway through 2020, so I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the top 100 domain name sales so far this year. I used the sales recorded in NameBio, extracting the list effective July 11, 2020.

    As of writing, to make the top 100 of the year required a sale price of $40,000 or more. It is likely that a few new sales will be added by the time your read this, and the current top 2020 sales list is at this link.

    While these 100 sales represent only 0.16% by number of sales, the $9.3 million total of these 100 sales is about 15.6% of the entire dollar volume for the year.

    The highest value sale was OA.com at $609,000. There were 25 sales of $100,000 or more so far in 2020.


    COM Dominates But Country Code Way Up

    Not surprisingly, the .com extension dominates the list, with 73 of the 100 top sales, including the five highest-value sales.

    However, country code extensions are off to a very strong 2020, with 20 of the top 100 places, compared to just 7 country codes in the 2019 list. The strength of country codes was also noted in the analysis of sales in general in the first half of 2020.

    There was very little change in .net, .org or new extensions, when I compare this year to the top 100 list for 2019. Each only has a few sales on the list, and are within one of where they stood in 2019.

    The graph below plots number of sales on the top 100 list by domain extension.

    Extension.png

    Although several general purpose country code extensions did make the list, with one sale each in .ai, .cc, .io and .nu, the main strength was in the national country codes. There were no .co names on the top 100 list. The highest generic country code name sale was $107,495 for expert.ai.

    The third level country codes took 6 places, with 3 .com.au, 2 .co.uk and 1 .org.uk on the list. European country codes represented a number of the remainder, with 3 .de, 2.es and 1 each .be, .fr, and .it. There were also single .in and .ca sales on the top 100.

    The highest-value country code extension sale was free.co.uk at $205,000. The largest new extension sale so far this year was shop.app at $200,000.


    Mainly Single Words, But A Bit Of Everything

    I also looked at the type of name. I categorized names of length 3 or less as short, unless it was also a word, in which case I classified it as single word. I found that 54% of the 100 highest-value sales were single word domain names.

    The full distribution is shown below, with the number of sales in the top 100 by type of domain name. Brand refers to made-up terms or creative spellings. Short refers to 3 characters or less, but not a dictionary word.

    Type.png

    While 62% of the names were either very short or single words, that still left more than one-third of the sales spread among the other categories.

    Two-word names contributed 15 of the domains on the list. The highest value two-word name sold was ElectricCar.com at $180,000.

    The number of numeric names was up compared to 2019. A numeric name took second place overall, with 151.com selling for $415,000. There were also 4 alphanumeric sales in the top 100 list.

    I checked translation dictionaries for any words that I was unfamiliar with, and after I excluded words from other languages, it appeared that there were 7 made-up brandable names, either created or with non-dictionary spellings. These are marked as brand on the graph. The true number in this category is probably much larger, since the main brandable marketplaces do not report sales to NameBio.


    Not Just English

    While English words represented a strong majority, many other languages were represented in the top 100 list. There were 4 Spanish words, and 2 each Catalan and Japanese. Single words in Russian, German, and French made the list, along with several other languages. There was even one Latin word.

    Among the non-English words were bier (beer in German), apuestas (bets in Spanish), barri (neighbourhood in Catalan), kiru (wear in Japanese), koles (wheels in Slovenian and a few other languages), corium (leather in Latin), chauffage (heater in French), perfectos (perfect in Spanish), yugo (south in Russian), tema (topic in Spanish), codi (code in Catalan) and primera (first in Spanish).


    No Hyphens, But Many Plurals

    None of the names included a hyphen. At least 16 of the English words were plural, with the $264,000 sale of results.com fetching the highest price among the plural names.


    Across The Dot Phrases

    While possibly only one name would be a domain hack in the sense of a single word split by the dot, me.nu, a number of others were domain name phrases separated by the dot. These include live.chat, download.it, arc.net, and hop.in.


    Most Are Short

    For the most part, the top sales are dominated by short names, with 56% just 5 characters or less. The full distribution is shown below, with the number of sales in the top 100 for each domain length. Domain length is calculated as number of characters in the domain name without the extension.

    Length.png

    Five of the names were just 2 characters long, and another nine were only 3 characters. Only 3 names were 12 or more characters long, with the longest being HealthyAmericans.org.

    I also looked at number of syllables in each name, which averaged 2.3 syllables. I found that 20% of the names were single syllable.


    No Clear Pattern In Sector

    I had hoped that there would be some clear pattern in terms of popular sectors, such as health or technology, but the names are pretty diverse.
    • There are three automotive names vehicle.com, AutoFun and ElectricCar.com.
    • Gambling related names apuestas.es, ThaiCasino, jackpot.io, slotz.com and BettingTips.com took five places, or six if LuckyMag.com is included.
    • There were at least two names related to alcohol, bartenders.com and winemaker.com.
    • Another few were food or restaurant names, such as cappuccino.com, meals2go.com, thyme and me.nu.
    • Coding figured in several names, such as codi.com and CodingSchool.com. Other names like expert.ai are related.
    • Quite a few names were strong generic words that could be used to brand almost anything, words such as palace.com, believe.com, ready.org, plains.com, January.com, directions.com, ticket.ca, stairs.com, strobe.com and many others.

    Current Status

    While I did not do an exhaustive examination of the current status of the names, it is noteworthy that of the 10 highest-value sales, 3 are already listed for sale again and 2 did not resolve. Only 3 of the 8 .com at the top of the list are in use as of now. The two other names in the top ten, free.co.uk and shop.app, are both in active use. Of course the time elapsed since these sales is not long.


    Who Makes The High Value Sales?

    Of the marketplaces, Sedo had 31 of the sales on the list, with 11 at GoDaddy, 9 at NameJet, 4 at DropCatch, 3 at RightOfTheDot, and 2 at Uniregistry. Keep in mind that many venues do not report their sales to NameBio.

    A number of the brokers and high-value investors were well represented. Buckley Media and Domain Booth each had 4 sales as of date of writing. On Twitter, Kate Buckley recently announced that a couple of additional 6-figure are currently in Escrow. Impressively Domain Booth has 3 of the 6 highest value sales at this point in 2020. Grit Brokerage, Legal Brand Marketing, Morgan Linton, Domain Market, DomainLore.UK, Drop.com.au, Phenom and Nidoma each had 2 sales on the list. A large number of other sellers and brokers had one sale among the top 100. Surprisingly, only 2 of the 100 sales were classified by NameBio as private sale.


    Sincere thanks to Michael Sumner and NameBio for the data that makes this analysis possible.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2020
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  4. Bob Hawkes

    About The Author — Bob Hawkes

    Domain analyst, writer and informal educator, with particular interests in domain name phrases and non-business uses for domain names. I am a risk averse domain investor who only invests modest amounts in a variety of extensions and niches. Don't hesitate to contact me - I like to help!

    This is Bob Hawkes's 48th blog post on NamePros. View all blog posts

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  5. Comments (31)

  6. Makbliss

    Makbliss Cancer Survivor, domain and crypto enthusiasts Gold Account

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    Thanks Bob great work as usual.
     
  7. DotEverything

    DotEverything Upgraded Member Gold Account

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    Great article Bob!

    Bob, what percentage of sales do you think are private vs available to the public?

    DotEverything
     
  8. Domyboy

    Domyboy Established Member

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  9. Silentptnr

    Silentptnr Top Contributor VIP

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    Thanks so much Bob! Great analysis.
     
  10. Mister Funsky

    Mister Funsky Top Contributor VIP

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  11. TCK

    TCK NameOptions.com VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Thanks, Bob, for the analysis. It gives us a broad overview of what is selling (or sold). It should be noted that the vast majority of sales go unreported. The sales that are reported are mostly from marketplaces and brokers that want to increase their brand awareness. Most sales go unreported to protect both the buyer and seller. Just to keep things in perspective.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2020
  12. franka46

    franka46 Established Member

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    Thanks Bob
    "A number of the brokers and high-value investors were well represented"
    No MediaOptions ,brother Drew won't like that .
     
  13. rcs1973

    rcs1973 Established Member

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    To be advised, there is alot of UNKNOWN data left out in your review...
     
  14. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    Thank you everyone for your comments and replies.
    In other places I have estimated that perhaps NameBio has 10% to 20% of the retail sales data. I am unsure if the percentage is different at the top end represented by this analysis. On the one hand, high value sales are more likely to be reported than mundane sales by those who only report part. On the other hand, it is possible that those who sell at the very high end tend not to report their sales. The key question, for analysis like this, does the sampling bias the sorts of domain factors I looked at? That is, if we had 100% of the sales data, would the sectors, length, extensions, distribution of one and two word and short acronym, etc. be different. I doubt it would be drastically different, and we can only analyze what is reported in a verifiable way. The Asian market is important at the top end, and I suspect is very under-reported. I suspect that the national country code sales are under-reported relative to legacy, and even with those that are reported they re becoming a much more significant factor at the top end.

    It is a good point that brokers have a greater self-interest in reporting sales than some others. Do brokers tend to handle different names, within the same price category, than investors who sell directly? It is possible.

    I don't know why MediaOptions do not regularly report most of the sales, but he is a brilliant guy so presume he does not report because he feels that it would be bad for business. As he mentions in the Tweet shared by @rcs1973 , MediaOptions does always win the broker of the year for highest value sales volume in the Escrow.com awards at NamesCon, so there is no doubt about the big regular sales. We do get an idea in total of those sales in the Escrow.com quarterly reports, but not on a name by name basis, and it is partly based on that information, along with the venues that do and do not report to NameBio and the size of their domain holdings, to guesstimate the 10% to 20% I mentioned earlier.

    In most things in science and society we sample and try to see how significant biases associated with that sampling are. Same is true here. We are fortunate to have NameBio, and as many sales as are being reported. I was somewhat surprised that so many different investors/brokers were represented with at least one sale within the 100, so there are a lot of people who are reporting their sales to NameBio, even at the top end.

    Thanks again, all good questions and viewpoints expressed.

    Bob
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2020
  15. Domaining Ocean

    Domaining Ocean Top Contributor VIP

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  16. AnthonyD

    AnthonyD Optimal Names VIP Gold Account

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    As usual Bob, awesome analytical work. You have enough content to write a book - and you should!!!
     
  17. Mytz.com

    Mytz.com Top Contributor VIP Gold Account

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    I think a lot of them are sold by Mike
     
  18. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    Mike Mann and DomainMarket are selective in only reporting a subset of sales to NameBio. On this list, two sales were from Domain Market, ready.org for $169,888 and LivingClassics.com for $49,888. They also had a couple just out of range of the top 100 at $35,000 and $38,000.
     
  19. charrisg

    charrisg Established Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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  20. Robson1

    Robson1 Top Contributor VIP

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    FANTASTIC job...THANK YOU Bob.Greeting"s
     
  21. Zulema

    Zulema Established Member

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    Oh wow I didn't know alphanumerical domains have such low stats compared to other types. I guess i will have to reconsider my strategy when buying domains. Thanks for the info!
     
  22. etruscan

    etruscan Upgraded Member Blue Account

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    thanks for sharing this Bob! Much appreciated!
     
  23. jim h

    jim h Upgraded Member Gold Account

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    Thank you for sharing. Sir.As always, great article.

    I have a question: Did namebio count the domain names sold in afternic everyday? I find that about 50% of the daily trading volume point at GoDaddy, so is afternic's transaction included in GoDaddy's at namebio's Statistics?
    Thank you very much.:xf.grin:
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2020
  24. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    Note that this is just for the top 100 sales so far in 2020, and the statistics do not necessarily extrapolate down to sales at values where most names sell. And that even in the top 100, there were a number of alphanumeric names.

    No sales from Afternic are not released to NameBio unless the buyer or seller submits them individually. GD have announced that a curated selection would start to be announced publicly, so once that starts there will be a selection of the higher value names in NameBio, I presume.

    Bob
     
  25. CACTUS CROC

    CACTUS CROC Cactus Croc | buy | invest Gold Account

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    This FANTASTIC

    Thank you for the amazing content and detailed info

    VOIGHT THORNTON
    www.cactuscroc.com
     
  26. jim h

    jim h Upgraded Member Gold Account

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    Thank you for your answer,sir.
     
  27. Nitish kumar Sharma

    Nitish kumar Sharma New Member

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  28. 4better

    4better Established Domainer VIP

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    Great intellectual analysis. Thanks again Bob.
     
  29. WatchDogue

    WatchDogue Top Contributor VIP

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    Very informative and well detailed analysis of the top name sales to date in 2020.

    Among the data this caught my eye for making the high value sales list: " 7 made-up brandable names, either created or with non-dictionary spellings". So that is top dollar proof that name creativity can still be an asset in any domainers portfolio.

    Thanks Bob!
     
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