Bob Hawkes

Domain Name Sales 2015-2019 - Part 1: Volume

By Bob Hawkes, Jan 15, 2020
  1. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    In recent years the total domain name sales volume reported in the NameBio database has ranged from just under $110 million in 2018, to almost $142 million in 2019. This includes results from all domain extensions, but only includes sales of $100 and greater.

    The complete sales volume is substantially higher, since many sales venues are not reported to NameBio. Also, it is important to note that the database includes both wholesale and retail domain sales, so some acquisitions by domain investors are included. The sales volume is dominated by the high-value sales, however, so the impact of wholesale transactions is probably minimal.

    Over the past four years, the total dollar volume of NameBio-reported domain name sales has been generally constant. While the 2019 value was the highest, if one removed the single sale of for $30 million, the 2019 value would have lagged 2016 and 2017, and been only marginally ahead of 2018.

    In this report I look at the four-year trend in some of the main domain extensions and categories. In part 2, to be published next week, I will follow up with a look at how NameBio-reported prices have changed over the same time interval.

    Since .com sales so dominate the total sales picture, not surprisingly sales volume of .com follows a similar pattern. While 2019 was the top year when the voice sale is included, without that it would have ranked below both 2016 and 2017. Nevertheless the big picture is that the dominance of .com shows no signs of changing substantially.

    .NET and .ORG

    While 2019 sales volume is up marginally from 2018 for the .net extension, sales are down substantially from 2016.
    In .org the picture is rather different, with modest but steady growth in sales volume from 2016 through 2019. Just over $4.4 million in .org sales were reported in NameBio in 2019, compared to about $2.4 million in .net sales.

    All Country Code Domains

    It is likely that many country code extension domain name sales are not reported in NameBio, but if we take them as a whole, the picture is one of fairly constant sales volume. At just over $12 million sales volume, 2016 was the best year, but the 2019 total of slightly over $10 million was better than 2017 and 2018.

    All New Domain Extensions

    While there have been some encouraging signs in 2019 for new domain extensions, the overall sales volume picture is the lowest of the past four years. Year 2019 ended with over $3.4 million in sales volume in new extensions, compared to $5.7 million in 2018.

    The three year trend of rising volume in new extensions has been reversed. About $1.2 million of the drop in volume from 2018 to 2019 is related to lower sales and lack of reporting in .top.

    .IO and .AI

    After rising steadily in sales volume from 2016 through 2018, the .io domain extension had a lower sales volume in 2019, placing it back almost at 2016 levels.
    The drop in .io, popular for technology companies, may be partially related to a strong growth in .ai among artificial intelligence startups. As the graph shows, .ai sales volume has grown dramatically, and in 2019 exceeded $1 million for the first time. Note that there has been a change in how expired .ai domain names are sold, however.

    .TV and .ME

    Sales volume in the .tv extension is fairly constant over the four year period, with the 2019 total of almost $366,000 up from 2018 although down from both 2016 and 2017.
    I had noted in my post looking at the first six months of 2019 that .me was having a good year, at least compared to 2018. That persisted in the year-end totals, with the $202,000 sales volume for 2019 up significantly from the two previous years.

    .CO and .CC

    The .co extension continues wide use as an alternative to .com. Sales volume in the extension was down slightly in 2019, but still topped one million dollars.
    While .cc has not quite regained the strength of 2016, at $320,000 volume in 2019, it is up from both 2018 and 2017.

    .DE and .CO.UK

    One of the strongest country code extensions continues to be Germany’s .de. While sales volume edged down from 2018 in the extension, at over $2 million in annual sales volume, it remains one of the strongest extensions.
    United Kingdom’s has seen lower sales volumes each of the last four years, and finished 2019 at about $459,000. At the same time the .uk extension has grown in sales volume, and in 2019 actually topped with about $544,000 in sales volume.

    .US and .BIZ

    The drop in .biz sales volume continues, with just over $36,000 in sales volume in 2019. compared to more than $200,000 in 2016.
    The picture in .us is more stable, with the 2019 sales volume total of $118,000 down somewhat from 2018, but up from 2017.

    .CLUB and .APP

    I looked individually at a few of the new extensions and present below the picture for .club and .app. While down slightly in 2019, .club is relatively robust over the four year period.
    The newer .app extension grew strongly in 2019 sales, accounting for almost $233,000 in sales volume. It will be interesting to see if further growth happens in 2020.

    Other Extensions

    I had a look at many other extensions not covered in the graphics. I report on some of them below.
    • The country extension used in the gaming world, .gg, is up, but still a tiny part of the market, with just over $25,000 in sales volume in 2019.
    • NameBio-reported sales volume in China’s .cn is approximately constant at about $128,000.
    • India’s .in extension is down slightly at about $130,000 in 2019.
    • Australia’s only had 11 sales, but accounted for almost $450,000 in volume during 2019.
    • Another extension with relatively few sales but significant total volume was Canada’s .ca, at $214,000 in 2019, down slightly from 2018.
    • It was the best year, in the four covered here, for Switzerland’s .ch, with about $203,000 in sales volume.
    • One of the few new extension registries that report regularly to NameBio is .global. Sales in that extension were down slightly, at about $417,000.
    • The .xyz extension had by far its worst year in the four covered, with less than $19,000 in sales volume.
    • 2019 was a dismal year for .ws with a sales volume below $3300 in 2019, less than half the 2018 total, and a tiny fraction of the $160,000 in 2017.
    • Another extension edging slightly downward is .ly, with a volume of just $58,000 in 2019, although still a significant number and volume of sales.


    I recorded the numbers from NameBio a few weeks after the end of each year. It is possible that later additions,or deletions, to the database may, in some cases, slightly change the totals from those currently in the database. I computed volumes from average prices and numbers, and rounding may in a few cases slightly alter the volume totals. For the written report I rounded figures, but the graphs were generated using the full precision.

    If you are depending on any information in this report for investment decisions, you should independently verify data important to you. Nothing in this report should be considered domain investment advice, and is offered for educational information only.

    Next week I will report on how prices changed over the four year period.

    Hat tip to Michael Sumner, CEO of NameBio, for creating and maintaining the domain sales data resource used for this analysis.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
    The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
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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 24th blog post on NamePros. View all blog posts

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  5. Comments (27)

  6. Ostrados

    Ostrados VIP

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    Brilliant research!
    Thank you very much Bob
  7. Michael Ehrhardt

    Michael Ehrhardt Top Contributor VIP Gold Account

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  8. enterscope

    enterscope Domain Investments

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    This is a very helpful breakdown thank you for sharing. It makes sense that non .com domain sales took a dip after 2014. The release of all the generic tlds spurred a speculative investor boom which was bound to correct itself. Regardless, an increase in overall domain sales shows the stability of this unique asset class.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
  9. YairDD

    YairDD I'm cool, I think? VIP

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  10. Ntmt

    Ntmt Top Contributor VIP

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    Thank you for the research, Bob!
  11. Paltzar

    Paltzar VIP

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  12. The Durfer

    The Durfer Top Contributor VIP Gold Account

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  13. wurdd

    wurdd Restricted (15-30%)

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    Bob, I hope NP's is showing you some love in the form of Benjamin's.
  14. Bookman334

    Bookman334 Upgraded Member Gold Account ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Thanks Again Bob for your hard work and information. I always find your post interesting reading and insightful!
  15. RJ

    RJ Domain Buyer PRO VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Thank you, Bob! This is a fantastic data analysis!

    :watching: Looking good .AI

    :yuck: Not good .NET!

    :dead: R.I.P. .BIZ
  16. AnthonyD

    AnthonyD Optimal Names VIP Gold Account

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    Amazing research and reporting! Thank you!
  17. PhongSGC

    PhongSGC Top Contributor VIP

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    great details, seems com dominates the market, how many its percent?
  18. Captain Dane

    Captain Dane Explorer

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    Thanks for sharing
    Encouraging to see noticeable growth in .org sales
    Not surprised by strength of .de sales, often overlooked extension
    I think people dont wholly understand the German domain market, and theres an obvious language barrier
    Also different registration rules apply to .de
    And theres a lot of competition
    The opportunities in .de include
    • common English words and phrases used in Germany that German-language drop catchers may not pick up
    • future events in Germany, registered well in advance
    • brandables, but this is something of a lottery
  19. Mister Funsky

    Mister Funsky Top Contributor VIP

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  20. Indianad

    Indianad Established Member

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    As always, thank you @bobhawkes for your analysis. Your posts are "virtual" classrooms.

    Thank you!
  21. Top Contributor VIP

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    Thank you @bobhawkes , l learn from your idea
  22. cooljub

    cooljub Established Member

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    Bar charts and everything! Bob, you're spoiling us
  23. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    It is the only kind of bar I frequent :xf.grin:

    In 2019 .com sales volume represented about 85% of total sales. If I subtract the voice sale from both com and total, the percentage is still about 81%.

    Thank you everyone for the kind and positive comments! So many people make the effort to press like/thank or leave a positive comment!

    I will present the price information next week, but it is more challenging because of the mix of wholesale and retail pricing.

    Trends change over time. Keep in mind that the most important thing is always the quality of your individual domain name, and a quality name, even in a TLD trending down, is more likely to sell than a name of dubious-quality in another extension, even if that extension is doing well. That said, it is important to track how an extension is doing, obviously, and both matter.

    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
  24. Windoms

    Windoms Top Contributor VIP

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    Massive data being presented.
    I just learned so much like
    .org is selling more than .net
    .io .ai is more than .tv, and almost same as .co
    Crazy informative, easy to understand.
    God bless you @Bob Hawkes
  25. taheny

    taheny Established Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Thanks for the analysis.

    As you state it's likely many country code sales aren't reported. I'd love to have a truer indication of these. I suspect for .in, .au and others the real volume is far higher.
  26. WatchDogue

    WatchDogue Top Contributor VIP

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    That is an insightful analysis of the name sales for the past 4 year period.

    And yes, a tip of the hat to NameBio and Michael for their valuable sales data resource.

    Having become intrigued with the .tv ext. of late it was nice to see the 4 year reported sales data for that ext.

    Overall an excellent and easy-to-follow sales analysis, thanks Bob!
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
  27. PriyankaS

    PriyankaS Account Closed (Disallowed)

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  28. namemarket

    namemarket Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Thanks Bob for the incredibly well done report which must have taken you forever. I also love the graphics and formatting. It is soooo good it's not easy to describe how fabulous it is.

    A few comments I have is that when the new extensions were approved several years ago at that time I predicted .NET would become an also-run no different or better than any of the new extensions. I also predicted .ORG would survive and thrive what with it having its own identity.

    I recall Rick Schwartz also said that at the time regarding .ORG. Now it is quite obvious it was valid with .ORG getting steadily stronger and .NET extremely weak. Luckily I dropped almost all my .net names long ago.

    P.S. The report is superb Bob with a minor issue in that you said "While .CLUB is down slightly in 2019" however to me it looks significantly greater than a 'slight decline' (imo). Maybe the word slightly was a typo?
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
  29. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    Thank you for the alert observation @namemarket. Indeed my words were not well chosen. The 5 year average per year volume of .club is about $480k per year, so the 2019 total of $273k was significantly down from that, and dramatically down from the 2018 total of about $637k. It should be stated though that sometimes sales for a year come in well past the actual date of the sale, and are then added to NameBio with the date of the sale. That may bias downward the 2019 figures a bit (for all extensions) as captured soon after turn of year. Thank you for pointing this out.

    Yes, I don't know a way to really investigate this but I am sure it is true. The number of sales in particularly closed (not general purpose) country extensions are obviously much fewer than the number that must be selling.

    Indeed! What impresses me is that it is not only such a large and valuable database, but the user interface and flexibility of ways you can search is so intuitive and powerful. Some of the domain marketplaces could learn a thing or two about interface, at least for their advanced mode for domain investors, from the NameBio example!

    Thank you everyone for your comments! I really appreciate it.

    I hope to have Part 2, on domain price trends, at least as reflected in NameBio data, out tomorrow.

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