Dynadot

analysis Domain Name Marketplace Traffic Comparisons

NameSilo
Most domain name marketplaces do not report sales, at least not fully, so it is difficult to assess their reach and effectiveness.

If you have a large and successful portfolio, and have been in domain investing for some years, you probably have a good idea of what works for the type of names that you invest in.

While visits to a marketplace do not guarantee sales, one measure to potentially consider is the traffic the marketplace receives. I used two well-known tools to try to get a handle on traffic for various marketplaces and large domain seller sites.

Keep in mind that traffic is not necessarily directly related to sales, the marketplaces have widely varying numbers of listings, traffic is not all from prospective buyers, and the source of the traffic may have an impact.

Traffic Tools

There are dozens of tools showing traffic statistics. SEMrush and SimilarWeb are among the best known. While the plans are somewhat expensive, they are very comprehensive. Each offer free trial periods, and limited data can be obtained even with just the free account at SEMRush.

I looked primarily at monthly visit data for January 2024. I presume due to methodology differences, the results were by no means identical for the two services. Keep in mind results are based on a single point in time, for one month only.

Afternic and Sedo

I surveyed the sites prior to the major search change at Afternic, for the month of January 2024. These are for one month only, and it is possible there is significant variation throughout the year.

Also, it is not possible to decouple how much of the traffic was by those seeking domain names, versus investors checking competition and prices, or simply updating their portfolios. Afternic suggests that much of the traffic to their site was by expert domain investors.

SimilarWeb showed that Afternic had about 2.9x as much traffic as Sedo. SEMrush displayed a significantly higher number of monthly visits for Afternic (about 13.7 million vs 6.7 million at SimilarWeb), and also a higher Afternic:Sedo visit ratio of almost 5x for SEMrush data.

No matter the details, Afternic had substantial traffic. I did recheck the most recent results just prior to publication, and despite the search change, or possibly because of the related controversy, Afternic traffic actually went up in February 2024.

What About Dan?

Both SimilarWeb and SEMrush showed, for that month at least, Dan was intermediate, with more traffic than Sedo and less than Afternic. In the SEMrush data Dan had about 55% the traffic of Afternic.

SquadHelp

Both SimilarWeb and SEMrush results indicated that SquadHelp had almost as much, but slightly less, monthly traffic than Sedo.

Traffic Per Domain Listing

As a seller, the important metric might be traffic per domain name.

For example, if marketplace A had 10 million visits per month, and marketplace B just 2 million, you might think that A is clearly better for selling your domain names. But if B hosts only 200,000 names, and A hosts 10 million names, then at A there is on average only 1 visit within the time period, while in B there are 10.

This is particularly relevant as we look at the brandable marketplaces that have far fewer listings than general purpose marketplaces.

BrandBucket, BrandRoot and BrandPa

For the month surveyed, SEMrush data suggested that BrandBucket traffic was a factor of more than 6 times less than SquadHelp, but BrandBucket has fewer listings, even if one considers only SquadHelp Premium.

Also, the SquadHelp listing process requires more page visits and time than is the case at BrandBucket. Keep in mind that the data includes all visits, not just that by potential buyers.

BrandRoot had only slightly less traffic than BrandBucket, while BrandPa was about a factor of 10 times less than BrandBucket, although keep in mind that it also has fewer listings.

Huge Domains is Huge

I also looked at traffic stats for a number of the big sellers. HugeDomains had the most traffic. The data for HugeDomains was rather different between SimilarWeb and SEMrush, but using the latter HugeDomains had 2.4 times as much traffic as SquadHelp, and just over double Sedo. HugeDomains was even more dominant if one uses SimilarWeb data.

BuyDomains traffic was significantly less, in fact it is less than BrandBucket or BrandRoot, and less than 1/20th that of HugeDomains. But I believe it is also true that HugeDomains has a much larger portfolio – on their website HugeDomains say they have 5 million listings in one place, while in another place it is reported as 4 million. I am not sure how up-to-date either number is.

I also looked at DomainMarket, that had slightly more traffic than BuyDomains, but significantly less than HugeDomains.

Most Don’t Visit Many Pages

I was surprised how few pages, on average, are visited by each user. For almost all the marketplaces, the average was less than 2 pages per visit.

However, the brandable marketplaces have much higher numbers of pages visited per user, for example about 10.4 at BrandBucket and 12.2 at BrandPa versus only 1.8 at Sedo, 1.2 at Afternic and 1.4 at Dan.

That makes logical sense, as a typical brandable marketplace searcher is probably more open to a variety of distinctive name possibilities, while the general purpose marketplaces are often searched by those seeking a specific domain name.

Not On Site Long

The duration of each user visit was rather short, although here the data at SEMrush was quite different from SimilarWeb. BrandPa had by far the longest time per visit, with SquadHelp, BrandRoot and BrandBucket also relatively high. But without separation of buyer visits from seller visits, it is somewhat hard to interpret the data.

BuyDomains had among the shortest visits, less than a minute and a half, and also few pages visited, less than two, suggesting most visitors were searching for a single domain name.

Converting Visitors to Sales

It is likely that some sites are much more effective in converting visitors into buyers, and that is more important than visit statistics alone. Considering this, and the traffic being a mix of seller and buyer traffic, one should not place much weight on the results reported here.

Most Traffic from the USA

The services also provide data on the geographical origin of the search traffic. In essentially all cases, there was more traffic from USA than any other country.

The single month snapshot of Afternic traffic showed about 32% from the US according to SimilarWeb, and 28% according to SEMrush.

BrandBucket, BrandRoot and HugeDomains all had somewhat higher concentrations from the US, and for DomainMarket it was more than 60% US traffic.

India was usually the second or third highest country of traffic origin at the various venues.

Somewhat surprising for me, Singapore was surprisingly high in traffic sources as well, often third and in one case second.

Sedo had slightly more traffic from the USA than from Germany, with those two countries substantially higher than any other single country.

BrandPa is based in the UK, so I expected more traffic from there, but UK traffic was only about 3%.

Your Own Data

The most important data is your own data. Most marketplaces give you some measure of how often each of your names are being visited:
  • At Dan, for any domain name click the Statistics tab, and then select days, weeks or months for plotting. Just above the graph will give you the average monthly views, and the views last month.
  • SquadHelp, for both Premium and Standard listings you can see both number of views and shortlists. Note that if you have a white label marketplace, but are not promoting the entire SquadHelp catalog, the shortlist option will not be visible for those browsing your standard names.
  • Afternic visitor counts were added in the portfolio interface in 2023. @James Iles outlined how to use this feature.
  • Sedo provide traffic statistics as well.
For most names, the traffic will be predominantly where the nameservers point. You can also activate Google analytics for more detailed data at some marketplaces, and of course if you are using your own landers.

I have no expertise in SEM, but for those in that area, services such as SEMrush and SimilarWeb provide a wealth of other information, such as the portion of traffic from generic, direct, promotional and other sources. They also indicate how the site compares with competitors, terms that resulted in traffic, and how much traffic comes from the main social media sites.
 
Last edited:
51
•••
The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
Great analysis Bob, thanks.
 
2
•••
Most of the results are not surprising. What is shocking is how poor Sedo traffic is. HugeDomains doesn't list external domain names yet their traffic is higher than Sedo.

Very poor!

Another interesting point in the article is pages visited. All the additional pages (10 and 12 on BB and BP) represent distractions from the domain names that brought them to the website in the first place.

Best thing is to opt out of having other domain names listed on your landing pages. SH gives this option. Don't know about others.

Wonderful post as always, Bob.
 
3
•••
Most of the results are not surprising. What is shocking is how poor Sedo traffic is. HugeDomains doesn't list external domain names yet their traffic is higher than Sedo.

Very poor!

Another interesting point in the article is pages visited. All the additional pages (10 and 12 on BB and BP) represent distractions from the domain names that brought them to the website in the first place.

Best thing is to opt out of having other domain names listed on your landing pages. SH gives this option. Don't know about others.

Wonderful post as always, Bob.
huge domains turns every domain into what looks more like a site than other platforms. A lot of pages have unique data on them that is specific to that page.

Huge domains also buys a lot of names that were once sites. In fact, the bad reviews about them are from people that don't understand how domains work and think HD stole their domain.
 
6
•••
All the additional pages (10 and 12 on BB and BP) represent distractions from the domain names that brought them to the website in the first place.
That is a good point for the generic words they have for sale, but a more typical buyer at a brandable marketplace, I think, has a naming need but is not looking for a specific term. The longer time spent, and more pages visited, browsing names reflects that. As you point out, using your own site/landers can prevent loss to other names. I think it depends on type of name which is best. Thanks for your comments.

Huge domains also buys a lot of names that were once sites.
That is a really good point that may well have a lot to do with all of their traffic. Thanks for pointing it out – I had totally not thought of that when considering what these results mean.

huge domains turns every domain into what looks more like a site than other platforms. A lot of pages have unique data on them that is specific to that page.
Indeed. I like a lot their home page as well as landing pages. I suspect that does help with their traffic.

-Bob
 
Last edited:
2
•••
2
•••
Thanks for the article Bob!
 
2
•••
Wonderful article, Bob! I think that the statistics of visits to Afternic are greatly exaggerated, given that there are many domains that are listed there against the will of their owners. In addition, the statistics of visits from the USA there are exaggerated too. I live in a country with a population of 150 million, and most of my fellow citizens are not allowed to attend an Afternic. I have to use VPN. And of course I choose the USA. We need to find out from Godaddy which other countries have been discriminated against, whom they do not allow into their market. And for the rest, you've done a great job! Personally, I chose Squadhelp for myself, since this site also places my domains on Sedo and does not prohibit placing them on Afternic. Just the other day, they included standard domains in the search results on the premium marketplace. Now I don't need to go to different markets and check the visibility of my domains, the SH algorithms suit me.
Thank You very much for great article!
 
1
•••
Thanks for some excellent points, @Edukar!

statistics of visits to Afternic are greatly exaggerated, given that there are many domains that are listed there against the will of their owners
Yes, no doubt much (maybe majority) is from traffic directed via domain names with afternic nameservers. Both Dan and Afternic, as you point out, benefitted from their pressure on people to reset nameservers to avoid 25% commission. I suspect before that change Sedo and Afternic would have been on more even footing (I do not have data on that, just a hypothesis).

Will the change in Afternic search, to just be GD search, and recent issues with some Afternic landers, and other factors, cause changes in the future. I think it is possible.

You are also right that there may be reasons for regional traffic patterns.

Thanks again,

Bob
 
1
•••
Hello Mr Bob

Thanks for the precious infos.
Great insights as always.
 
1
•••
While I appreciate the data, in my experience traffic has very little to do with likelihood of a sale. Most of my sales have been one earnest buyer on a low traffic domain . Eyes are nice but sales are what matters.

Some of the numbers can be skewed, like SH for example, where alot of eyes are from other domainers obsessively checking the site. When you first put a domain up on any brandable market it has a surge in traffic not necessarily from buying customers.

Its good to be aware of traffic as far as renewal decisions and a slight insight into possible interest on a given name but its far from everything or truly predictive of sales.

Domainers tend to put too much weight on it and are disappointed later when the name doesn’t sell.
 
Last edited:
10
•••
When you first put a domain up on any brandable market it has a surge in traffic not necessarily from buying customers.
True. And not only at brandable marketplaces. Basically all newly registered domains will receive lots of visits and checks from TM and cyberthreat/cybersec bots. Lots of non-human traffic.
 
4
•••
When you first put a domain up on any brandable market it has a surge in traffic not necessarily from buying customers.
Yes, a lot of times I've mentioned such thing.
 
1
•••
I've started checking traffic stats to ensure that my landing pages are working. I use Sedo landers for some of my ccTLDs, and I once noticed that all offer views were stuck at the same numbers. There was a configuration error at their end (actually prevented marketplace views as well), which I wouldn't have detected so quickly without glimpsing those traffic stats.
 
Last edited:
2
•••
in my experience traffic has very little to do with likelihood of a sale. Most of my sales have been one earnest buyer on a low traffic domain . Eyes are nice but sales are what matters.
Thanks for mentioning this, and your other points. My experience has been exactly the same. Even with the caveats, I was somewhat afraid that by writing on this it would receive more notice than it deserves. Thank you for your comment to stress that traffic may come from various things, and bears little correlation to sales.

-Bob
 
1
•••
Great job on the article as usual Bob! I have to wonder how much of the traffic is bots? Any ideas?
 
1
•••
2
•••
Hi,

Thanks very much Bob, very interesting article.
I also believe that bots have an importance in the traffic.
For example, if Sedo has more protection against bots than afternic, this could explain a part of the difference between them.
 
1
•••
Somewhat surprising for me, Singapore was surprisingly high in traffic sources as well, often third and in one case second.

Singapore is a bot traffic generator country due to the large datacenters in the country. Other notable countries are United States, Canada, China, Russia and Brazil. US is the number 1 as a bot traffic source as most of the datacenters and the cheapest bandwidth are there.

Even though the amount will be negligible, some of those Singapore traffic may be real human traffic using VPN.

So, it shows me that third party tools can't correctly know traffic of a particular website. Those services can only guess some numbers based on some algorithms which is similar to highly inaccurate automated domain appraisals.
 
1
•••
Dear @Bob Hawkes - thanks for this fantastic analysis.

I agree with @karmaco: Time-on-Site Duration might be a critical success factor, but from my point of view, Pages like Sedo, Afternic, or even Dan's Sales Lander have a different target audience compared to Pages listing Brandable Sites.

Sites like Squadhelp, BrandBucket, BrandPa

For example, the Time-on-Site for Squadhelp could also be quite high since they have this "Domain Insights" Tool, which is amazing by the wayβ€”love it!
SquadHelp posted a Twitter (X) Post in which they mentioned the best-performing Prefixes and Suffixes, as well as the TLDs.
Surprise: as far as I remember ".io", was the best performing.
Considering that they have this Gamification on their Website, it forces users to remain longer on the page. Even those contests, where you can submit your Idea for LLC XYZ with this Business Profile and get a reward, hire a Designer, etc. All in all, I just tried SquadHelp so far, and even though I invested a lot in Tipping the Designers, etc., the promoted "average 3 Months for Sale" (don't rely on this number, please, it's just in my head somehow) - at the end, I had 50+ Premium Domains, and was forced to keep my NS on their Page, while nothing was converting. People also use those pages to get inspired by brandable names.
I still visit the Page, but only to get inspired by what their AI is interpreting in my Domain Name - potential Business Cases, Trademark Research with one Click - I sound like an Employee of theirs. But in the end, we aren't taken apart very well.

Again, mentioning @karmaco : In the End, it's all about the conversion for Sellers.
I had good statistics but 0 Sales.
And now, no matter how beautiful or professionalβ€”and that's not a lieβ€”Excellent SH is for People looking for a tailored Package for their Startup or something, from the Seller's perspective. It was a struggle for me, at least.

Sites like Sedo, Afternic, Dan, Dynadot, etc.


However, the brandable marketplaces have much higher numbers of pages visited per user, for example about 10.4 at BrandBucket and 12.2 at BrandPa versus only 1.8 at Sedo, 1.2 at Afternic and 1.4 at Dan.

This summarizes it the best. And the critical factor is the audience.
From what I saw, without reading any analysis of it, SEDO is proactively promoting high-valued domains; for German people, Sedo is the place to go. Clean Sales Lander, Professional and High-class Domains - Not that Afternic does not have them, but I assume Sedo is listing less than Afternic but has a higher Traffic.
This is not fact-based, but I assume that Chinese Domainers visit SEDO more often than Afternic.
In the end, it's the audience and the fact that the people (or crucial part) have a different intention.
Buy, Sell, Buy, Sell
On those Pages, and i can speak for myself: I have set my Filters, i check them. And if there is anything special, I will have a closer look - not more. The same applies to GD-Auctions.
The filter is set: Apply, check - leave.

While mentioning GoDaddy, I am very excited about the Traffic direction after the Appraisal Tool is priced exclusively for DC Members. That will have a significant impact on the Visits.


Quick Questions (and a bit off-topic):

  1. I would probably like to give Sites like Squadhelp another shot. Which would be a good choice? As far as I know, BrandBucket has a very long approval time, about three months.
  2. HugeDomains & BuyDomains: I've read quite little about them, at least from my perspective. Is there a reason why people avoid them as a Seller Platform? I assume they charge? Otherwise, i would do a little A/B-Testing on them as well.

Thanks for reading my comment; thank you again, @Bob Hawkes , for your brilliant analysis.

Best regards,
zotix


EDIT: After a Quick research - I need to apologize for the partially false figures for SquadHelp:

Squadhelp: 2023 Year In Review
https://onlinedomain.com/2024/01/03/domain-name-news/squadhelp-2023-year-in-review/

Squadhelp: 2022 Year In Review
https://www.squadhelp.com/blog/squadhelp-2022-in-review/

Squadhelp: 2021 Year In Review
https://www.squadhelp.com/blog/2021-in-review-squadhelp/

Indeed, ".io" & ".xyz" played a significant role, but it was 2021.
 
Last edited:
3
•••
I would probably like to give Sites like Squadhelp another shot. Which would be a good choice? As far as I know, BrandBucket has a very long approval time, about three months.
I think the typical response from BrandBucket is usually 30 days or less. I don't have a lot of domains there, but that is certainly my experience. They give an estimate of response time at submission, and in my experience it is fairly accurate. I believe BrandBucket occasionally approve very strong names quickly.

HugeDomains & BuyDomains: I've read quite little about them, at least from my perspective. Is there a reason why people avoid them as a Seller Platform? I assume they charge? Otherwise, i would do a little A/B-Testing on them as well.
They are major domain sellers but not marketplaces. As far as I know it is not possible for others to list there (someone correct me if I am wrong) – they just sell their own inventory.

Thanks for taking the time to respond in detail.

-Bob
 
3
•••
They are major domain sellers but not marketplaces.
You're correct. DomainMarket, HugeDomains, and BuyDomains primarily sell their own inventory and aren't open marketplaces for others to list domains.

As far as I know, BrandRoot doesn't sell domains.
 
1
•••
Appreciation and Thanks for a best guess domain traffic comparison, Bob

Unfortunately, like other markets, illicit trafficking often tells the real story.

How much forwarded domain traffic is contextually redirected to platform owned 'domains'?, parked ads? or sold to 'traffic' clients?

The answer is... as much as the domain platform wants.

Personally, after years of experiencing dozens of targeted (premium domain) and algo-randomized forwarded traffic hijacks, I moved my domains to a register that is not in the Parking biz, and virtually no longer use landing page platforms.

100% of my domain traffic for (maybe) a 1% sell through. PASS!

My bottom line domain traffic truth is...
100% more traffic on domain platforms. 100% more sales on my site.
 
0
•••
Most of the results are not surprising. What is shocking is how poor Sedo traffic is. HugeDomains doesn't list external domain names yet their traffic is higher than Sedo.

Very poor!

Another interesting point in the article is pages visited. All the additional pages (10 and 12 on BB and BP) represent distractions from the domain names that brought them to the website in the first place.

Best thing is to opt out of having other domain names listed on your landing pages. SH gives this option. Don't know about others.

Wonderful post as always, Bob.
Huge Domains has a knack for making every domain look more like a full-fledged website compared to other platforms. You'll find that many pages contain unique information specific to them.

Moreover, Huge Domains often acquires a lot of names that used to be websites. The thing is, the negative feedback they get usually comes from folks who are a bit confused about how domain ownership works, mistakenly believing HD took their domain.
 
0
•••
Huge Domains has a knack for making every domain look more like a full-fledged website compared to other platforms. You'll find that many pages contain unique information specific to them.

Moreover, Huge Domains often acquires a lot of names that used to be websites. The thing is, the negative feedback they get usually comes from folks who are a bit confused about how domain ownership works, mistakenly believing HD took their domain.
They also have a pretty attractive way of displaying payment options.
 
1
•••
  • The sidebar remains visible by scrolling at a speed relative to the page’s height.
Back