analysis Dollar Volume Per Domain Listing (DVPL)

Spaceship Spaceship
One measure of domain name sales success is the sell-through rate (STR). For your own portfolio, that is simply the number of domain names that sell in a time period, usually one year, divided by the average number of domain names for sale during that period, and expressed as a percentage. For example, if you have an average of 400 domain names listed for sale, and sell 6 during the year, that would be a STR of 1.5%.

The key problem with STR is deciding which sales to include and which to exclude. For example, if I acquire a domain name for $100, then sell it to another domainer for $110, do I include that? What if I liquidated it at $75? What if I sell it for $300? A few small sales can significantly change the STR without having much impact on the bottom line for the investor. If one uses only sales above a certain dollar figure, the threshold used may significantly influence the STR.

In this article I introduce a new metric, the Dollar Volume Per Listing (DVPL), that is not as sensitive to small sales.

The Dollar Volume Per Listing – DVPL

The Dollar Volume Per Listing, DVPL, is simply the total dollar volume of sales during a time period, usually one year, divided by the number of listings in the portfolio. For example, if a domain investor has a portfolio of 500 domain names, and total sales for the year of $20,000, the DVPL will be $40.

If the DVPL is less than your average renewal cost per domain name, you are losing money. When acquisition costs are included, you can lose money even if DVPL is higher than holding costs.

While DVPL does not take into account factors such as how much you paid to acquire the domain names, DVPL does provide a measure that is dominated by the number and value of major sales, not the number of small sales.

DVPL effectively combines both the STR and the average price, both of which are important.

I combined these factors, looking at the ratio with renewal cost, in the NamePros Blog article A Look At How Different Domain Extensions Sell. DVPL is a simpler metric to accomplish the same thing.

Industry-Wide DVPL

It is your own DVPL that matters, but it can also be informative to look at DVPL on an industry-wide basis, both to see how you are doing compared to other investors, and to see if certain extensions or sectors/niches are, overall, doing better.

To calculate the industry-wide DVPL, you need to know two numbers: the total dollar sales volume, and the number of names actively listed for sale. NameBio is our best source for dollar volume, although it must be stressed that many sales are not reported. Perhaps 20% of retail sales are listed. A higher percentage of wholesale transactions are included, since the main auction sites are scanned.

I used the average of the 2022 and 2021 dollar volumes from my start of year analyses. See the 2022 analysis here, while the 2021 analysis is found in this article. Since these are start-of-year points in time, they slightly underestimate the sales volume, since some sales get added later.

Dofo scans most of the important marketplaces, and can provide the number of names actively listed for sale. It will miss private marketplace listings, as well as some of the marketplaces.

Dofo estimated this week that 24,551,868 domain names are actively for sale, across all TLDs, while the average NameBio dollar volume for the past two years is $177,935,000. These combine to an apparent industry wide DVPL of $7.25 across all extensions.

If we assume that possibly 80% of dollar volume is missing from NameBio, and perhaps 40% of listings absent from Dofo, that would suggest an overall correction of order of 2. However, NameBio uses the gross sales price, ignoring any commission, so that should be taken into account. If we assume an average commission of 20%, perhaps the overall correction is 1.6x. The corrected industry average DVPL, CDVPL, would be about $11.60, not very different from annual holding cost.

In the rest of the article, I will use the apparent DVPL, since it is relative values that we are mainly interested in. You can apply the correction factors mentioned above, or your own, if you want to estimate the actual DVPL.

You Need To Be Better Than Average

While the corrected value might suggest that if you were average you could pull off a slight profit, remember that I have not taken into account the acquisition price for the domain names, nor any other costs that you incur, or value on the money you have tied up in domain names.

You need to be significantly better than the ‘average’ person selling domain names in order to not lose money.

Industry-Wide DVPL for Major Legacy TLDs

The graph below shows the DVPL for the major legacy extensions.

Since .net has more names listed for sale than .org, 669,953 versus 453,965, but substantially lower dotal dollar volume, the .org DVPL, $16.24, is significantly higher than the .net, $5.61. Interestingly, it is also significantly higher than .com industry-wide DVPL of $8.11.

The Minor Legacy TLDs

Shown below are DVPL values for several of the other older TLDs. All are well below their annual renewal cost, and at or below even the discounted first year registration. For example, .info has a DVPL of just $1.87. As you go through the graphs below, note that the scale is different on each graph.

Country Code Extensions

I next looked at a number of country code extensions.

Extensions with solid DVPL values include .ai at $66.58, .tv at $19.39, .io at $35.06, .vc at $39.74, .gg at $46.96, .ly at $40.26, and .so at $43.74. It should be noted that in most of the above the annual renewal is also higher.

There were a few country code extensions with very high DVPL, such as .ae at $102.48. Note that in some cases, like .ae, this is based on small number statistics, with only 2761 domains listed for sale according to Dofo.

Both .ai and .to have high DVPL values, $66.58 and $181.57 respectively. There are specific auction sites for these extensions, and that may help elevate the DVPL, since there is better reporting, and sales can happen even without that name being listed on a marketplace covered by Dofo.

While the .us extension has been significantly growing in sales volume, there are also a large number listed for sale. As a result, the DVPL is a surprisingly low $1.45.

Top place, though, goes to an extension that most domain investors don’t have in their portfolio. Ethiopia’s .et clocked in at the highest DVPL among the country codes, $1360.63! This was driven by a few high domain hack sales, and a very low number of domains in this extension listed on marketplaces. Note that some marketplaces do not handle the extension.

New Extensions

Shown below are the DVPL values for a number of new extensions held by some domain name investors.

While .xyz averaged more than $3.1 million per year in aftermarket sales the last two years, there are also a lot registered and listed for sale, just over 441,000 according to Dofo Advanced Search. This results in a DVPL of $7.13 for .xyz, not much different than the entire domain market, and a bit below the current renewal rate for the extension.

Also not much different than its renewal rate, was .app at a DVPL of $9.45.

While off the graph scale, the .art extension was in first place of the new extensions that I studied, with a DVPL of $213.32. Keep in mind that the interest in .art from 2021 has waned due to the NFT and cryptocurrency setbacks in the second half of 2022, and also that these are relatively small number statistics, with just 1785 .art domains listed according to Dofo.

The .casino extension was also strong, at $37.53 DVPL, but based on even fewer names listed for sale.

The .club extension had quite a few listings, almost 36,000, and a DVPL of $13.35. Of course the extension was stronger in 2021, and that year is included in the sales volume data.

If It’s Cheap Enough, It’s A Deal, Right?

Wrong. At least according to DVPL values for a number of extensions.

Shown below are DVPL values for new extensions that were at $1.00 or less. These same extensions tend to have deep first-year discounting. The DVPL values are most of the time less than even these discounted first year rates, and well below the regular renewal rates.

I am not saying you can never make money with these TLDs, but because they are priced so low for the first year, there are many listed for sale, compared to the few that sell, and investors are keen to sell before renewal, so price cuts are common. It is a tough market.

A few TLDs with deep first year discounting did have average or better DVPL values, though.

The Big Picture

Dofo does not have the equivalent of selecting all country codes or all new extensions that we have in NameBio. What I did do was to compute an average for the 35 new gTLDs and 34 country codes that I computed DVPL. This represents the majority of listed names in each category.

Final Thoughts

While I found this an interesting mathematical investigation, I would not place too much weight on industry-wide DVPL values. Many of the results may be influenced by factors such as Dofo and NameBio coverage, where certain extensions get listed, and variations due to small number statistics.

The key thing is the quality of the domain name. A high DVPL value does not mean every name in that TLD has any value. You can make money in various parts of the market, but it is also very easy to lose money.

These numbers emphasize that doing as well as the average person with domains listed for sale is not enough to make any significant profit. The majority of domain investors probably lose money.

If you are in domain investing to make money, you need to a take the time to perfect your skills, put in the hard work, be smart and disciplined.

I think the most important potential for DVPL is when applied to your own portfolio. If each year calculate DVPL, simply comparing your sales volume with the average number of domain names in your portfolio that year. Track the DVPL from year to year, to see whether the quality of your portfolio is improving or getting worse.

For those with large and diverse portfolios, it may make sense to calculate different annual DVPL values for different parts of your portfolio, for example for brandable, exact match or geo names, or for specific extensions.

Farewell and Sincere Thanks to Dofo

This analysis would have been impossible without Dofo. There is no other tool that allows you to easily search the majority of marketplaces to answer questions such as, how many names are currently listed for sale in this TLD.

Dofo can also help you answer other questions, such as: How are domain investors pricing their domain names?

Unfortunately, Dofo is shutting down February 2023. You can read reactions from NamePros members in this discussion started by @MadAboutDomains, and add your own note of appreciation.

@Macit, the founder and CEO of Dofo outlined the reasons that they were shutting down in this post.

I will miss Dofo. I think it is a service that is needed, a way to direct potential buyers to where a certain domain name is for sale. With differential domain name pricing becoming more prevalent, and the places domain names are sold more diverse, the need becomes greater for a service like Dofo.

Dofo was, at the same time, a great resource for domain investors and analysts. With Dofo Advanced Search you could answer questions such as how many domain names that include NFT are currently listed for sale, and what is the breakdown in asking prices.

I still remember the joy when I discovered Dofo for the first time, and realized I finally had the ability to compare the number of domain names that sold, or at least publicly-recorded sales, with the number that were currently listed for sale.

Domain name investing is an art, but also a science. On the science side, probability plays a key role, and Dofo made many probability estimates possible.

Thank you Dofo. Best wishes as you apply your technology to new applications.
The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
That is a great health-metric-pulse (and a much-needed “wake-up” call for the (many) domain investors that adopt a novice-type modus operandi.

A "Health-Metric" I personally use for my own domain investments is the following (simple but effective):

Yearly Investment x __ = profit
(the "__" number, in my case, needs to be at least 2.5, for it to be worthwile to invest in)
So, the amount I invest into a particular extension/model needs to produce at least x 2.5 in profits (over a max. 12-month period) after all fees/expenses deducted.

This supplies you with an approx. glimpse into the heartbeat of your general ROI. This takes into account the average number of domains and renewals over a given 12-month period (that you must, of course, first determine/guesstimate), but the formula does not take into account new purchases (you would need to average those out and then insert into the equation).

Simplified example:
- Portfolio of 10,000 ccTLDs (average number, over a given 12-month period); each domain costs on average €4 to renew/year (€40K investment / year)
- 1.5% STR at an average of €1.250 (€187.500 yearly sales)
- minus 12.5% average sales commissions (€23.437)
- minus yearly investment (€40K)

€187.500 - €23.437 - €40.000
= €124.063 profit after renewals & commissions)
= Yearly Investment x 3,101 = profit

So for every $10,000 invested into this current model, the investor will be generating around $31,000.

Of couse, there are many variables that can alter the end result, but the averages give you a good idea of the overall ROI of any given model, within the entire business-model frame.

I treat each extension that I invest in as a seperate model, with a seperate formula. Some extensions I even divide into sub-models if I have 2 language groups under a given ccTLD. This shows me at a glance which extensions (to invest in, based on past sales-data and expenses that) produce more value & profit per time/energy invested.
Last edited:
Very useful new metric I will start using it.

Thanks for the great work 👍
That's a great way to look at it. Domaining may be a beautiful hobby but in the end it ought to bring a some money at least. Looking at the industry averages it's obvious than many, or perhaps most, domainers are in the red... though maybe it's not as bad as some other investments, where zero-sum is implied.
I think this is one of your best articles @Bob Hawkes.

While STR is useful, I think DVPL is probably more valuable to more people.
STR is more to do with portfolio turnover.

You can have a low STR and high actual sales or a high STR and low actual sales.

This metric is useful because it is easy to see if you are covering your renewals, and by how much.
It is more useful on a portfolio basis than an extension basis IMO.

I have said this many times in the past, you have to account for all the domains you don't sell in a given year not just the domains you do sell.

This is an easy way to account for that.

Last edited:
Thanks for all the positive comments, everyone.

In particular, thanks for sharing in detail your approach with some numbers, @Federer.

Thanks for your positive comment @bmugford, and I agree that a key advantage is that it forces you to think over your whole portfolio, and that it is so simple, that anyone can readily use it.

I think if an investor sets the goal to improve the DVPL, it is an inducement to make sure that when domains are added, it is names that are in the upper half of portfolio quality.

In retrospect DVPL seems so obvious, but I only began thinking about this as a simple and useful portfolio metric a couple of months ago. The idea of comparing sell-through rate multiplied by average net price, and compare to annual renewal, was in almost the first thing I wrote in domains. But this way to measure is so easy.

Best wishes for generating a great DVPL number in 2023, everyone!

Last edited:
Thanks for that information, Bob.
I can't believe the amount of work you put in, and
then share it freely, amazing!
I wish you well,
It's also a great metric to apply to segments of a portfolio like certain formats, extensions, etc. to see how they are performing.

Thank you very much Bob, really a lot of information that requires hard work on your part, we appreciate your generosity (:
That is a great health-metric-pulse (and a much-needed “wake-up” call for the (many) domain investors that adopt a novice-type modus operandi.
As a domain investor who prefers to hold domains and make money I certainly have adopted a different modus operandi than the dominant domainer sell-through model(s).

Though, when I started I did go along with the crowd and got to over 500 domains before I realized that the industry sell-through rate averaged around 2%. And, I also saw how the folks with the good stuff went from 3 letter, and one word, domains to 4 (then 5) characters and two word-urls.

So I reasoned, its best for me to reduce inventory, keep the good stuff and work the best of that to cover costs and earn profits -while the value of warehoused inventory increases as their namespaces mature.

Also, working the best domains for today's marketplace increases their value while generating 'passive' income. I say passive because virtually all of the clients, to date, have been Ma & Pa shop 'web walk-ins'.
COVID, however, changed things as 90% of those clients took the gov payouts and retired.

As for the math; my methodology is simple, the cost of annual domain renewals against income.

Before COVID I had ~130 domains. All were hand regs, most with Godaddy discounts. I paged about 8 of those domains and averaged ~24K a year, for 12 years, before COVID.

So, for around $1K in renewals I made 23K profit (labor was nominal as the 24K was from monthly flat rate services like hosting, domain re-directs, RSS feed pages. Extra charge for videos, newsletters, etc..

I view domain sales as a BONUS. I'll just mention the two sales I reported on NP over the years. A 4K and a 45K sale. For perspective, I've only had one sale below 4K since I've been domaining... but I do decline most every offer... because I prefer to have my domains and the money.
Thank you for a great piece @Bob Hawkes . Like the thinking with DVPL, it puts more focus on your profit compared to STR which requires you to have certain assumptions in place on sales value to use it as a measure for success. Personally I focus on turnover a lot and use a part of sales to build the portfolio, a part for renewals and the rest for "buffer for bigger buys / profit".
Your useful sharing bring positive impact for beginners like me.
Are you getting paid to publish these posts on Namepros? Or are you doing it just for fun?
Last edited:
Are you getting paid to publish these posts on Namepros? Or are you doing it just for fun?
Sorry to overlook your question, @domain hacks, and being so late to reply.

It is fun, but I do get compensated for the one per week official NamePros Blog article I publish, normally on Tuesday to Thursday. I am appreciative to NamePros for this opportunity. I take the responsibility seriously, and try to put care into each post, and to cover a range of topics that would be of interest to different sectors of our diverse community at NamePros, not just what I find interesting personally.

Beyond the one per week official NamePros Blog article, when I post on NamePros I am posting just like everyone else, my opinions or information on topics that interest me.

In case you missed it, Afternic recently shared data from 2022 similar to the Dollar Volume Per Listing covered in this article. Afternic call it revenue per domain, and don't give exact figures, just a relative rating.

It is interesting to see that many of the aspects of my article, based on NameBio data and hardly any Afternic sales. are also seen in the Afternic data (see below). In particular that .io does very well compared to major legacy, .org is slightly higher than .com, .net does slightly worse than .com, .xyz same order-of-magnitude but trails .com.

Here is link to their tweet, and the graph from it is reproduced below.


Last edited: