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news In Case You Missed It – What Happened in Domains in 2023

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2023 was a particularly active year in the domain world. I wanted to overview many of the changes, to make sure you can take advantage of any important to you.

In this article I am not covering things like trends in popular extensions, such as .ai, or niches and sectors. Early in 2024 I will have my annual detailed analysis of how different extensions did during 2023.

This article is also not directly about domain name sales. I plan to overview the big sales of 2023 next week, comparing that to the previous few years.

Rather, this is a collection of changes, some small and some more significant, that impact how we register, list and sell domain names.

So what happened in 2023? Thanks for asking…

What Happened in 2023?

No list is complete, but here are 37 things that changed during 2023. Some of these made our work more efficient, other changes may have made it easier, or harder, to be profitable. While most of the following are well known, I bet there are at least a few that you overlooked, even though they might impact your success.

In no particular order, here is the list:
  1. NamePros Introduces Free Landers Wouldn’t it be great if you could have attractive landers, with no commission or annual fees, and negotiate directly with potential buyers? On April 1 NamePros gave us all exactly that. Read more: Free For-Sale Landers by NamePros.
  2. Afternic Introduces Domain Ownership Verification Domain listings that are not valid are problems for sellers, buyers and the marketplaces. Previously there was a system of sending visual ‘proof’ to service at Afternic, and they got taken down, but a lot of work and delay. In April Afternic introduced domain ownership verification, using a system similar to Dan. Read more: Automated Domain Verification Arrives at Afternic. It is not yet required except in cases of names already listed in their system. Even if you don’t use Afternic as your sales platform, it is still important to be familiar with this topic. You can list names, and then edit the listing to make them not for sale. This prevents false Afternic listings by someone else.
  3. SquadHelp AI-Enabled Listings SquadHelp has enthusiastically embraced artificial intelligence, including assignment of keywords and emotions, use categories, and domain descriptions. Read more in Artificial Intelligence Resources Available Today. Dynadot, Porkbun and others were also early in providing optional AI descriptions for domain names.
  4. Dynadot Marketplace Expansion Many NamePros readers like Dynadot. Dynadot has for many years had a domain marketplace, but it was restricted to domains registered at Dynadot. That changed in 2023, and you can now list domains registered elsewhere. External names go through a verification process and then can be listed as make offer or buy-it-now, or a combination. Names that sell will be transferred to Dynadot into the account of the buyer. At the same time, commissions in the Dynadot marketplace went from 5% to 10%, but there is no longer a fee for payout. Also, if you transfer sales funds into Dynadot account balance, there is now a 2% bonus.
  5. Week In Domaining Just started a few weeks ago, there is a free weekly newsletter for the domaining community. It does a nice job of listing recent blog posts, including from the NamePros Blog, upcoming conferences and meetings, podcast episodes, legal news, and more. You can sign up here.
  6. Fast Transfer for .IO and .XYZ The Afternic Fast Transfer Network, and the Sedo MLS system, allow your name to be shown on tens of millions of searches at a network of registrars. This visibility can increase sales, as well as make the process easier for domain name buyers. The supported extensions at GoDaddy Afternic were expanded in December to include .io and .xyz. Read more: It Got Easier for .IO and .XYZ to be Seen by Prospective Buyers.
  7. Dynadot Auction Improvements If you have signed into Dynadot of late, the scrolling auctions progress pane is one of the more prominent changes. During 2023 Dynadot acquired Park.io, and also have an agreement to auction .ai domains, as well as this higher auction visibility.
  8. Namecheap Auctions Policy Namecheap took steps during 2023 to counteract bad players in their domain auctions. When a winner does not pay, now the auction is relaunched, rather than offer the name to the second place bidder. There are also other improvements related to payments and authorization charges, and more transparency in bidding.
  9. Payment Plans at GoDaddy Afternic Buyers on GoDaddy Afternic can now buy with monthly payment plans. I covered the details in: Lease-To-Own Domain Name Payment Plans. Longer time periods will reduce your commission, but will add to the buyer cost of the domain name.
  10. Squadhelp Domain Insights Tool SquadHelp introduced many improvements and new features during the year, one of the most significant was their Domain Insights Tool, and the associated Domain Grader. Both are free to use, and will give your names a score on a scale of 0 to 10.0. In practice I think only 5.0 to 10.0 is used. Names above 6.5 have a solid chance of getting accepted as premium, although the final decision is made by a human panel, and occasionally they will be rejected. The Domain Grader operates on a set of names you enter as a list. For standard listing names pointed to SquadHelp, the system automatically flags names considered likely to be accepted as premium listings. If the name is not accepted, SquadHelp now return the coin used during submission. Read more about the tool here: Impressive Tool to Rate Domain Names.
  11. SquadHelp Identify Strong Names in Auctions, Closeouts Wouldn’t it be great if that tool was automatically applied to available names? SquadHelp did that too. When you sign into your SquadHelp account, then under the Wholesale tab select Expired Domains. There you can set various filters, for example names priced $25-$50, a Domain Insights Score above 7, and with 3+ registered TLDs. The display will show you Dynadot and GoDaddy Expiring Auctions and Closeouts. The View Insights button takes you to the full report for each domain name.
  12. GoDaddy Search Data Wonder how often your names are being searched? Now you can go to your GoDaddy portfolio management, and scroll to additional columns on the right, you can see how many searches, both total and unique, during the previous 30, 90 and 365 days. This can really help with pricing and renewal decisions.
  13. Afternic Search Data From your Afternic Beta Portfolio window, if you have turned on Views and Leads under the Columns control, you can see how many views each name has, and if any leads. Note that the views show the total of Afternic and Dan lander views.
  14. 2023 Global Domain Report Early in the year InternetX and Sedo released the 2023 Global Domain Report. It was packed with valuable information on the global domain market. I found the information on extension popularity in different countries particularly noteworthy. Read my summary of the report in the NamePros Blog at Actionable Information from the 2023 Global Domain Report.. They are planning a new report for early 2024.
  15. Commission Alignment at Afternic and Dan One of the most discussed topics of the year was the alignment of commissions at Dan and Afternic. This resulted in higher commissions at Dan compared to previously, and potentially lower than previously at Afternic, 15% but only if you pointed to GoDaddy, Afternic or Dan nameservers. Otherwise commissions are 25%. You can read more in a NamePros Blog post Domain Name Sales Commissions, or in a NamePros community discussion on the topic.
  16. Alter is Back, Sort Of Many of us were sad at the closing of the hybrid domain name marketplace Alter. Without official announcement, some of the services of Alter have returned at Furm.com. Read more: Alter.com Repurposed as Furm.com. You can’t list domain names for sale, but their appraisal instrument and user-friendly trademark check, are both back. If you had an account at Alter you can sign in with those credentials, and your Alter sales record can still be accessed.
  17. Dan Transaction Change in their July product announcement, Dan announced that going forward sellers will transact directly with Undeveloped BV, the legal entity for Dan, rather than the buyer. While this has advantages, it may mean VAT charges for some. Dan also made changes on when payouts are done for ongoing lease-to-own agreements, now happening on specific dates each month.
  18. Afternic Monthly Sales Report In 2023 GoDaddy Afternic began to release shortly after the end of each month a ranking of sales for popular keywords. You can read the most recent one, that showed a drop in AI popularity.
  19. New Use for Symbolics.com We all know that symbolics.com was the first registered .com domain name. It turns out it is owned by NamePros member @Napkin.com. Right now the name is being used to provide a Domain Quality Score. There is not a charge, but you will need to register, which can be done with Google credentials. Enter the name, wait about 60 seconds, and it gives a 0 to 100 score, taking into account things like length, memorability, reputation, ad competition, AHREFS ranking, word popularity, trends, etc. You can access the service at symbolics.com. You can read more from the developer, and contribute to the discussion at I Created a Domain Grading Tool with AI on Symbolics.com.
  20. New Tools at Domain Academy Those with GoDaddy Domain Discount Club active memberships have access to the Domain Academy. With that are a number of tools, such as Keyword Research and the Valuation Worksheet. In 2023 the set of tools was expanded with an Afternic Advanced Search Tool and an expanded GoDaddy GoValue tool. The latter allows you to enter up to 150 names and quickly get GoDaddy valuations in spreadsheet format. But it is not just the public retail valuation, but includes other columns estimating a wholesale worth, and the probability of sale at different price points. The Afternic Search tool, currently in beta, allows you to filter domains on things like word count, TLDs taken, etc.
  21. GoDaddy Auction Minimum Increases The starting bid at GoDaddy Auctions has increased – read GoDaddy Auctions Minimum Bid Increases to $25.
  22. BrandPa Improvements The brandable marketplace big players are BrandBucket and SquadHelp, but UK-based BrandPa also has significant inventory. BrandPa quietly improved their platform in 2023, with better AI-generated descriptions, and much better image selection through the Custom option. They use AI to make instant acceptance decisions. I wish they allowed you to edit the AI-generated domain descriptions, but at this point they do not.
  23. DotDB Expands Offerings The popular tool that investors use to check number of registered extensions, dotDB, added several things in 2023 including Top Keywords Report and Emerging Keywords Report. You need a paid plan to get much from either – see dotDB Pricing.
  24. GoDaddy Provide Afternic Sales Volume Patterns While the data provided is rank-order, rather than specific dollar volume, Afternic sales data from 2022 was provided. For example, it showed how different extensions compared, including both sales volume and sell-through rate. I compared the data with somewhat similar information using NameBio data. Read more: What Does Domain Name Sales Data Really Say?
  25. Porkbun Landers Improve Names that are registered at Porkbun can be sold on their marketplace. That has been so for some years. This year they added AI descriptions, that can be edited and changed by the seller, and also improved the visual look of their landers.
  26. SquadHelp Ultra-Premium Marketplace If you have some very elite domain names you might consider submitting them for consideration at the SquadHelp Ultra-Premium Marketplace that was launched in 2023. The Hilco Digital Assets $10 million investment in SquadHelp played a key role in this development. The Ultra-Premium Marketplace has already had a number of high-value sales.
  27. .IN Registry Rules The .in registry has for some time had a restriction that you can’t list for sale domain names at a marketplace which is also a place that offers registration of .in domain names. More recently, they seem to have added a maximum of 2 domains rule, along with a requirement that they can potentially ask for Know Your Customer (KYC) verification at both registration and renewal time. Read more in this discussion: .IN Registry to Require KYC. Dan no longer allow the listing of .in domain names. See also this speculation that India might ban .in domain investing.
  28. Spaceship Blasts Into Orbit Namecheap introduced Spaceship, a new registrar offering very attractive pricing. They also sell hosting and other services. While development continues, Spaceship has achieved 300,000+ registrations, and received a number of votes in the NamePros registrar poll. While Spaceship pricing is competitive across the board, you can get added savings with one-use promotion codes – see them all at TLD-list. By the way, Spaceship now supports setting default DNS Records so you can have your TXT verification records set automatically.
  29. The Uncomfortable Podcast There is a new entry in the domain podcast field, with Jeff Gabriel of Saw offering The Uncomfortable Podcast. The first issues have featured a number of great guests, such as this one with Mike Cyger. You can sign up to be notified of new podcasts. One feature that I like is that they are very in-depth, but he provides a handy guide to the minute mark for various sections.
  30. SquadHelp Wholesale Portfolio Option There is now at SquadHelp the option to sell a portfolio on a wholesale basis. Note that you can’t have a name listed individually in the wholesale marketplace and simultaneously as part of a portfolio. Also, it has now been changed so only premium marketplace names are accepted as part of the portfolio listing.
  31. No Membership Fee at DNWE DNWE, the wholesale domain exchange, has gone from an annual membership model to a commission only model. Sellers now pay 12% commission on sales, with no fee to list.
  32. Domains GPT While there are now additional choices. Domains GPT by Steven Tey was one of the first to get to market as a GPT-powered AI tool to propose brandable domain names. You can read more in the NamePros Blog article: Artificial Intelligence Resources Available Today.
  33. Hide Promotional Pricing at TLD-List Starting in the summer, the popular domain registration, transfer and renewal pricing site TLD-List made it possible to hide single domain pricing. That has always been so confusing, as many of the least expensive were only for a coupon you could use once and therefore the ordering was not the price you would pay. Now you can make it with just the real pricing. Go to the top right of TLD-List click “Hide Limit per customer pricing” and now you see only the lowest regular pricing.
  34. GoDaddy Valuations at Dan Speaking of hiding things, GoDaddy added their automated domain valuations to the Dan seller interface. Some objected to this, and it is now possible to turn the feature on or off.
  35. Verisign .NET Contract Extended Without going to competitive bid, ICANN extended the .net extension contract with Verisign. Read more: ICANN .net Contract Extension with Verisign.
  36. Epik The Epik saga had various developments which I will not attempt to summarize. See the discussions on NamePros, such as this very long one. As a side note, NameLiquidate, once a popular place to liquidate and find domain names, seems to no longer accept listings.
  37. More Extensions Not sure that we really need even more extensions, but a number came out in 2023, including .bot from Amazon, along with .zip, .ing, .mov and .meme from Google through the Charleston Road Registry.
Big Thanks

Big thanks to the entire NamePros community that helped keep us all so well informed all year. Every time I sign into NamePros I learn something new.

I browsed all of the weekly Top Topics summaries in assembling this article, so particular thanks to @Acroplex for the great job he does each week.

Thanks to @James Iles, the GoDaddy Domain Investment Community Manager, and a former NamePros Blog writer, for all that he did to get more data into our hands, and to answer questions about changes.

Expand This Article

I am sure I missed many important developments during 2023, so please add in the discussion below additional 2023 developments not mentioned in the article.
 
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The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
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Where to click exactly to check GoDaddy search data?
 
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Thank you Bob, I have indeed missed some of these! :oops:
 
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Where to click exactly to check GoDaddy search data?
Go to your Domain Portfolio page, for me it's - https://dcc.godaddy.com/control/portfolio

Then:

"To enable the new feature, go to the columns option in the domain control center, and then select the timeframe you’d like data for. It will then show the data next to all of your domains. (Unfortunately, you can’t currently sort by the column. You can export your list and sort using a spreadsheet program."

https://domainnamewire.com/2023/10/30/godaddy-adds-domain-search-data-to-domain-control-center/

That's what I did, export it, opened it with Excel. I like it.
 
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Thank you for the mention, Bob! Happy to have helped, and I'm looking forward to 2024. Happy holidays to all that celebrate.
 
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Big thanks to the entire NamePros community that helped keep us all so well informed all year. Every time I sign into NamePros I learn something new.

Team Work GIF by Electric Cyclery


✨✨✨ Super Big Thanks to ALL👏🙏✌️
 
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I think Escrow.com domain investment index 3rd Quarter 2023 can also be a worthy inclusion in this list, especially because of the recent increased interest in hyphenated domain names.


Thanks so much for these additions.

Yes, the Escrow.com series of reports are indeed important information, both for overall health of domain market, and like you say specific aspects. @Acroplex just did a nice summary of the just released annual report. It includes things like the rise in .ai (more than 200%), the drop in .io (16%), etc. Here is the link:
https://domaingang.com/domain-news/escrow-com-here-are-the-domain-name-trends-for-2023/

Thanks again for the suggestions!

-Bob
 
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This would have made my list, but just announced today. SquadHelp now support direct linking to your registrar account to avoid manual adding and verification steps. It works with registrars that provide API access.

You can list them all as standard, and it will grade them and suggest which would likely be accepted for premium. You can then decide which will actually get listed.

I have not looked into details, or thought about pros and cons, but here is link:
https://helpdesk.squadhelp.com/en/articles/8731928-import-your-domains-directly-from-registars-beta

-Bob
 
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Ty Mr. Bob. Happy New Years! :)
 
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Thanks Bob! Always a good reading :)
 
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