Get your catchy domain at it.com
NameSilo
Dictionaries define more than a dozen ways that the word the can be used, but as a leading part of a domain name it is most used as a definite article
used as a function word before a proper name to indicate the distinctive characteristics of a person or thing.
or
used as a function word to designate one of a class as the best, most typical, best known, or most worth singling out.

We might refer to the iconic rock group as Rolling Stones, but most call them The Rolling Stones. Adding a leading the adds distinction.

There are well-known businesses and organizations that incorporate the as part of their name, such as The Home Depot, trademarked under that exact name. The company does own the full domain name, but redirect it to the shorter form HomeDepot.com.

Many publications include the as part of their formal name, such as The New York Times. Note, however, that their main domain name drops the, as well as abbreviating New York: nytimes.com.

The world’s largest museum of art is commonly known as The Met, although their formal name is The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The museum uses a variety of websites including MetMuseum.org, and TheMet.org in redirection.

I wondered how frequently domain names with a leading the sell, and whether that use was trending up or down. Here is what I found.

High Value Sales

I first looked at the highest-value sales, at least of sales recorded in NameBio.
  • TheMortgage.com, $500,000, 2000
  • The.club, $300,000, 2018
  • TheRecRoom.com, $89,888, 2015
  • TheFightClub.com, $60,000, 2021
  • TheCompany.com, $60,000, 2021
  • TheStores.com, $50,000, 2015
  • TheRake.com, $42,000, 2015
  • TheCube.co.uk, $40,919, 2006
  • TheCrown.com, $40,000, 2011
  • TheKingdom.com, $39,999, 2021
  • TheExchange.com, $36,000, 2013
  • ThePirateBay.com, $35,150, 2020
  • TheGuard.com, $35,000, 2014
  • TheResource.com, $35,000, 2013
A few of these, such as the.club and TheCompany.com had multiple recorded sales, but I only included the higher-priced sale.

High-Value Sales of Exact Word THE

Next I looked at the highest-value sales for the exact word the, again using NameBio data.
  • The.club, $300,000, 2018
  • The.market, $15,000, 2016
  • The.org, $9999, 2011
  • The.network, $9995, 2021
  • The.global, $8,000, 2017
  • The.party, $6,200, 2017
  • The.info, $5,000, 2012
  • The.com.au, $4,334, 2012
  • The.law, $2,700, 2021
The.club, The.network and The.org all had multiple sales that would have made the list, but I only included the higher-value sale.

Given the wealth of extensions that would make a great across the dot phrase with the word the, it is somewhat surprising that there were not more high-value exact sales.

Sales By Year

As the supply of great single-word .com domain names dwindles, I wondered if names with a leading the might be trending up.

I plot below the annual sales dollar volume, including only NameBio-recorded sales of $500 or more to mainly include retail sales, for names that start with the. Note that there would be some contamination with words that start with the but are part of a different word, like theatre, so these volumes represent an upper limit for recorded sales. For 2022 I extrapolated, assuming that the rate of sales continued from the first 81 days for the rest of the year.

IMAGE-Volume-THE.png


While the graph seems to imply that sales of domain names starting with the is increasing, the total number of sales of domain names recorded in NameBio is also increasing, and perhaps that is all that is indicated. Also, there have been changes over the years in what gets reported in NameBio.

Therefore, I looked at the percentage of total sales volume represented by domains starting with the, again including only data from $500 plus sales. While there is perhaps a hint of an increase in recent years, for the most part, this shows no clear trend with year.

IMAGE-Percent-THE.png


I also looked at average price for each year. In all cases the average price for names that did not start with the was higher than for those that start with the, sometimes by a factor of 2x or in a few cases 3x.

Sell-Through Rate

Another way to look at this is to compare sell-through rates for domain names that start with the versus all domain names.

To estimate sell-through rates I used Dofo Advanced Search to find the number of domain names currently for sale that start with the, 378,247, and all domain names listed for sale, 26,585,186. I then used NameBio looking at sales from the past 12 months. I obtained data for all sales of $100 or more, all at $500 plus and for $1000 and up sales only.

The data for annual, industry-wide, apparent sell-through rates is shown in the table. Keep in mind that by no means all sales are in NameBio, so the actual values would be higher in both cases.

IMAGE-STR-THE.png


We see that the sell-through rate is not significantly different for domain names that start with the compared to all domain names for sale. In fact at $500 and up they are almost identical.

That is the rate of sales. There are differences in average prices, however, that favours names without the. For example, when we look only at sales $1000 plus the average sales price for all domain names was $5720 in the past year, compared to $2658 for the names starting with the.

Brandable Marketplace Listings

I also had a look at listings from several brandable marketplaces to see how common names starting with the were. While BrandBucket showed 205 listings starting with the, the vast majority of these were actually starting with some other word such as theme, theta, theory, etc. Some made-up words were difficult to classify, but it seems only about 20 listings at BrandBucket start with the word the.

There is a higher percentage of names starting with the word the at BrandPa, with 53 listings from a significantly smaller total portfolio.

The hybrid Alter marketplace has a significant number, 416, names starting with the word the on the day I checked.

There are a relatively large number of names starting with the at SquadHelp: I counted 389. A number of additional SquadHelp listings incorporate the word the, but not as the lead word.

A Few Conclusions

Based on this analysis, I conclude the following.
  1. While the vast majority of sold domain names do not start with the, in recent years there are of the order of $1 million per year in sales with a leading the.
  2. Taken as a percentage of all sales, most years only 0.3% to 0.8% of all sales start with the. This is an over-estimate since some other words are included.
  3. There is no clear trend of increasing sales of names starting with the.
  4. A leading The can add distinction to a company or organization name. Many businesses that start with the in their formal name still use the abbreviated form in their main domain name, however.
  5. There have been 2 six-figure sales, and numerous 5-figure sales of names with a leading the.
  6. All of the brandable marketplaces have listings starting with the, but they seem more accepted at BrandPa and SquadHelp compared to BrandBucket. There are also many the-leading domain names listed at Alter.
  7. The sell-through rates of domain names starting with the are not significantly different than the rates for all sales.
  8. Average prices are lower in names starting with the, however.
  9. If considering acquisition of a name that starts with the, ask yourself if the full name sounds right, and if the adds to the feel of the name.
  10. The case is stronger for names where the tern without the leading the is very high value.
Please don't over-promote your portfolio, but if you want to share one strong name starting with THE from your portfolio, feel free to post in comments. Also, if you have had success with names using this structure.

Note: I am still looking for input for a future article on how to move to 5-figure sales. If you have had success at that price point, I hope you will provide comments at my input sought thread.



Thanks to NameBio, Alter, BrandBucket, BrandPa, dotDB, Dofo and SquadHelp that I used in this analysis.
 
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edwardpan

Upgraded Member
Impact
6
I have these

TheFitnessCrew.com
ThXproject.com
ThePolicy.net

TheDo.xyz
TheShoe.xyz
TheShark.xyz
TheWinter.xyz
TheSurvey.xyz
TheMinute.xyz
ThePostcard.xyz
ThePhotography.xyz
 

FUTRS

Future Trend Domain Names
Impact
594
great post.. thanks for the insights and research.
there are many times i still think using "THE' just sounds and flows better than not using it at all
... The Cartoon Network for example... they do not use the 'THE' version as their domain but if it were me, i would completely insist on using 'the'


Nice post Bob! We sold TheNetwork.com last year. Price wasn't disclosed but it would rank in the top 3.

and staying in the same realm, the only THE domains i have are also network names:

• TheHoloNetwork / com
• TheHologramNetwork / com


maybe i'm crazy, but i would rather have these with the 'THE' in front of it than with out it... but it is hard to ignore your research.

i would say a great accompanying study to go along with this is the possible value in "THE" domains as "defensive" domains for the owners of "SANS-THE domains"

.
 
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iTesla

Established Member
Impact
272
Thank you Mr.Bob for this great blog post!
I got recently thearworld//c/o/m
Was surprised that it was still available to hand reg.
 

Mimo83

Domains Passionate
Impact
225
Great Blog as usual 👏👏I recently purchased:
TheMetafiBank.com
And it's getting many views already 🤔
Maybe it will sell big as ur examples
 
Impact
748
Oh boy, I thought I had a couple of these, but was really surprised when I just checked my master list and found that I have 37 names that start with THE. Yikes!

I have only sold one "THE" domain name over the years. I might have to take a long look at these when they come up for renewal -- time to let go some of the names that might never sell...
 
biix
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