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How do you feel about the future for NET aftermarket sales?

  • This poll is still running and the standings may change.
  • I think the extension is in decline.

    109
    votes
    48.9%
  • I think the market for NET is steady.

    68
    votes
    30.5%
  • I see a slight uptick as new types of networks emerge.

    15
    votes
    6.7%
  • As the supply of quality COM dwindles, I think future for NET is strong.

    31
    votes
    13.9%
  • This poll is still running and the standings may change.

Last week @Soofi shared an article by @Ron Jackson announcing the brokered sale of Poker.net for $750,000. The sale was not listed on NameBio when I checked, but it would become the highest-value sale in the extension. The previous high was the $500,000 sale of mobile.net.

There have been a number of discussions on NamePros around how the .net extension compares to other TLDs. For example, @acs6656 asked .co vs .net?. Recently @ReallyBigIdea.com started a discussion around net domains in 2021. Back in 2008, @dnyellow asked Which has more value? .net or .info, while in 2014 @bretttina asked What is better biz or net?

So what do the numbers tell us about the .net domain extension?

NET Continues To Sell

While the view that .net is in decline has been expressed, the aftermarket sales record, at least as recorded in NameBio, does not suggest a significant downturn.

To separate retail .net sales, I considered only sales at $500 or more. Any dividing price is not perfect, of course. Shown below are the statistics for $500 plus .net sales reported in NameBio from 2014 to 2020.

GraphNumbers.png


The total sales dollar volume is probably the best single measure for an extension. Note that the following only includes $500+ sales, and only venues that are reported in NameBio.

GraphVolume.png


One thing to keep in mind as a possibility, is that if domain name investors lower prices to decrease their holdings in an extension, it can result in sustaining volume even if interest is lagging.

NET Retail Prices

When we exclude the sales below $500, the average prices are quite solid in .net.

GraphPrices.png


The average price is heavily influenced by the highest value sales. I show below the single highest NameBio-recorded .net sale for each year.

GraphHighest.png


If the recently announced $750,000 sale is added to NameBio, then 2021 will have by far the highest price in recent years.

By comparison, over the past 5 years the average price, when sales of $500 plus only are included, in .com was $3600, and the .org average was $2359. Note that the $30 million sale of voice.com heavily impacts the .com average.

As Old As COM

The .netextension was introduced in1985, the same year as .com, .edu, .org, .mil and .gov.

The oldest .net domain registration is nordu.net, still in use by a nordic nations networking consortium. The second .net domain name to be registered is broken.net, registered in 1986. It is currently in used, but in an underwhelming way!

Big NET Sales Last Five Years

For a 5 year period up to today, I looked at NameBio-recorded sales in .net. There were 22 sales at $35,000 or more shown below.
  1. co.net, $100,000 (2017)
  2. 08.net, $87,000 (2018)
  3. arc.net, $80,000 (2018)
  4. FM.net, $70,000 (2020)
  5. app.net, $70,000 (2020)
  6. odds.net, $70,000 (2017)
  7. oge.net, $62,000 (2019)
  8. HorseRacing.net, $60,000 (2019)
  9. 16.net, $60,000 (2017)
  10. juegos.net, $60,000 (2017)
  11. Sudoku.net, $52,863 (2019)
  12. esports.net, $50,000 (2017)
  13. tomorrow.net, $50,000 (2017)
  14. movies.net, $45,000 (2020)
  15. sleep.net, $44,494 (2021)
  16. memories.net, $41,000 (2020)
  17. TL.net, $40,000 (2018)
  18. juice.net, $40,000 (2017)
  19. gravity.net, $38,500 (2020)
  20. Madrid.net, $38,412 (2019)
  21. 5555.net, $38,286 (2020)
  22. founders.net, $37,500 (2020)
A number of these names are in use. Morgan Linton sold .arc.net, which redirects to TheBrowser.company, a new web browser it seems. I had wondered whether the great name FM.net would be a radio station, but it is a site to help churches, organizations and businesses with audio, video, lighting, IT and other services. I really like the name gravity.net, sold by @Braden Pollock. It is in use by a cyber security company. The domain app.net is in use by an app development service.

When I look at the list of recent major sales, I don’t see any significant trend over time, certainly not a downward one, since 8 of the 22 high-value .netsales are in 2020 or early 2021.

A variety of types of .net domain names sell for high amounts: short acronyms, dictionary word, numeric, and alphanumeric.

No particular sectors seem to dominate.

Popular Keywords

In terms of registrations, the most popular keywords in .net domain names are group, online, bet, VIP, home, tech, life, web, solutions and services, according to the Dofo report on the .NET Domain Extension.

Sell-Through Rate

While the number of sales, or sales dollar volume, are important, the probability of a sale, along with price, is directly related to domainer profitability. It is impossible to precisely predict your personal probability for selling domain names in an extension. However, it is possible to calculate the apparent domain name sell-through rate in an extension across the entire aftermarket.

I applied a $500 minimum sales price to emphasize retail sales rather than domainer wholesale acquisitions. NameBio show 5909 .net domain name sales above $500 over the past 5 years, for an average of 1182 per year. Keep in mind that sales from many venues are not reported on NameBio, so the actual number of sales may be 5 times more than this.

Dofo Advanced Search allows one to find the number of domain names for sale. Currently there are just over 813,000 .net domain names for sale. Combining these figures suggests an apparent sell-through rate (sales>$500) of 0.145% for .net, or about 0.725% as a probable actual rate accounting for sales not reported in NameBio.

If we do a similar sell-through rate for .com, again considering sales over $500, there were 123,300 sales over a 5 year period, or about 24,660 per year. The number of .com domain names currently for sale is about 19,106,000. The resulting apparent sell-through rate, industry wide, for .com is 0.129%, or about 0.645% as a probable actual rate.

Therefore, while there are many more sales in .com, the sell-through rates are about equal in .com and .net, actually slightly favouring .net. In other words, while many more .com names sell, your names are in competition with many more names in .com.

Website Use Of NET

According to one measure of web use, Cisco Umbrella data, at time of writing .net was the second most used extension, after.com, edging out .org. See The Most Used Domain Extensions - From Under the Cisco Umbrella for details on the methodology.

The most used .net domain name is CSDN.net, the 25th most popular website according to Alexa. The site is a Chinese language code development site.

Overall, DomainNameStats show that almost 26,000 .net websites are in the Alexa 1M most popular sites.

Domain investors regularly use a few .net sites, such as ExpiredDomains.net and Gandi.net.

The NET End User Pool

While the .net extension can be used for any sector, it makes particular sense for networks. Traditionally these were digital networks, but increasingly social networks are also rich ground for .net extension use.

I had a look at OpenCorporates, and there are 126,990 active businesses and organizations including the word network. The word net appears in the name of 54,097 active businesses and organizations. Therefore the potential pool of end users for the .net extension is very large.

NET Use By Startups

In a study Which Extensions Are Startups Using in 2020, @James Iles found that 12 of the 991 startup set used a .net domain extension. This is less than .io or .co, and given that many startups are broadly based around the concept of a digital or social network, is somewhat surprising.

Dofo looked at Domain Names of Fortune 500 companies, finding that almost all used .com, with only 3 using a .net. It is not surprising that the largest businesses, most established for some time, would be operating on a .com.

Final Thoughts
  • The use of .net for primary business websites, at least of the largest businesses and recent startups, is not strong. The fact that brandable marketplaces handle few or no .net domain names is a detriment to getting .net domain names noticed.
  • The presence of the .network new extension is a possible competitor option in some cases.
  • Nevertheless, many .net domain names do find meaningful use in both businesses and organizations.
  • Sales of .net domain names have been relatively steady.
  • The sell-through rate of .com and .net are comparable.
  • There are a large number of businesses and organizations with net or network in their name, and there are opportunities for .net sales, even at very strong prices.
  • I think most agree that the .com is a better choice in the same word, unless the term is ideally a match with the .net extension. However, the question is not really about the same word in the two extensions, but is a stronger word in .net better than a less strong word, or multi-word name, in .com at a similar price.
  • Even though the .net extension is heavily registered, it is still possible to obtain relatively strong single word .net domain names at reasonable prices in the expiry, closeout or drop streams, or occasionally to hand register.
  • While renewal costs are slightly higher than .com they are comparable. The same company, Verisign, manages .com and .net.
I look forward to hearing in the comments your views on the outlook for the .net extension. Please vote in the attached poll. Also, feel free to share a few names from your own portfolio that you consider either particularly valuable or a great match to the .net extension.


Thanks to NameBio, OpenCorporates, Dofo, DomainNameStats and JamesNames for data used for this article.
 
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The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.

Maximinus

Established Member
Impact
2,261
Thanks a lot, @Bob Hawkes !

I would like to share some personal thoughts about .net
I mostly register or buy only marketing .net domains, while .com can be also used for brandables.
I've noticed the plurals often make more sense in .net
.net is only about 2% of my domains portfolio.
Sometimes .net makes more or at least as much sense as .com
Here are some examples of my .net domains:
Jetons
HomeWiFi
LGBTQA

Greetings
 
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Swedomains

Established Member
Impact
77
Thanks @Bob Hawkes . Really good article. I think what makes the .net not so popular is the new extensions like .io and .biz.


I got BIODYNAMIC NET
ENKO NET
FURQAN NET
 

biggie

GreenFriendly.comTop Contributor
Impact
14,719
Hi

i believe that app net sale was 2017
also, supposedly app.net raised $500K in funding back in 2012
so something happened in between

and it was previously available in 4 figure range, which is within the budget of a domainer.

i've had some nice .net sales in the past and hold some LLL that get type-ins & $ too
back in the online gambling days, .net was top ppc earner in that category.

imo...
 

Lox

_____Top Contributor
Impact
8,807
What would make some companies pick a Q.net (< stills for sale/active) over an Q.com ( < in use/active). (This should say something about .net)
 

FolioTeam

Brandsq.comTop Contributor
Impact
6,831
Thanks Bob. This is another brilliant piece.

Unfortunately for .NET, the 'network' identity never really stuck with it, IMO. .NET has an identity crisis that got exacerbated with the introduction of more ngtlds.

In a 1 for 1 scenario, .COM beats .NET hands down even when it has to do with the network niche.

IMO, Computer.com beats Computer.net, Wifi.com beats Wifi.net etc etc.

But like you said, .NET has its uses in some scenarios where a stronger single word .NET is preferable to a weaker 2-word .COM
 

Bob Hawkes

Top Contributor
NameTalent
Impact
32,581
Might be interesting to have some discussion around conditions people would invest in the .net. Like what do you look for?
  1. Com in same term in use, or at a price outside range of many buyers.
  2. Net makes sense with the word?
  3. Maybe some number of TLDs taken in term? Do you consider that important.
  4. What about .co or .io? Do you look at that?
  5. List of end users via company names or sector importance.
How would you change, or extend, this list?

Bob
 

Mike Goodman

Established Member
Impact
856
Maybe better to look where the market is? The views so far expressed appear to be very much from a western Atlantic viewpoint. Europeans simply don't perceive .net as having those disadvantages. Bear in mind that Sedo and DAN, from whence many of those figures emanate, are European institutions. I don't think .net will fall off the radar any time soon.
 
Impact
193
I only had one .io (video.io) , I have one .co , but .net I still have hundreds and many get good offers (some up to 5-figures). Only issue I see with .net is the never ending price increases.
 

Jeff Chien

Domain Investor and Broker for over 10+ yearsEstablished Member
Impact
4
How about .ORG domains? Are they also in decline, steady, or has a shot?
 

NicTraders

Top Contributor
Impact
1,965
Great article as always Bob.
Years ago I always saw .net as the place you tried first when the .com wasn't available for registration. These days that would translate to 'when teh .com wasn't available for purchase at a reasonable price'. I think that has changed a bit and extensions like .co and .io have taken that place to some extent. However I see .net sales at least remaining steady since there are essentially more businesses competing to purchase a decent domain. They are still a finite commodity. So it will always have inherent value as a TLD that has been around a long time and people are familiar with it.

A few of mine include:
Subscriptions.net
Programmed.net
Blacklisting.net
 
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Bob Hawkes

Top Contributor
NameTalent
Impact
32,581

DNPush

Established Member
Impact
91
I only have 21 .net domains now, my favorite is "my name".net. In last year, I buy a .net domain for less than $15 and sold for $1000 in sedo after 2 months, this is my biggest .net domain sale:xf.cry:.
 

Bob Hawkes

Top Contributor
NameTalent
Impact
32,581
I probably should have included this in the article (too late to edit now) but I did do a previous analysis on .net that looked at some different parameters, such as the distributions by price, length, and type (e.g. 1 word, 2 word etc.). It also has a list of the highest value sales all-time. Here is the link:

https://www.namepros.com/blog/major-net-sales-price-type-length-venue-and-current-use.1203545/

Taken together, I think this article and that provide a pretty comprehensive look at NET. Note that in this article I restricted my look to $500+ sales, and the 5 year periods are a bit different.

Bob
 

Bob Hawkes

Top Contributor
NameTalent
Impact
32,581
How about .ORG domains? Are they also in decline, steady, or has a shot?
At some point I plan to take a 5 year similar look at ORG. My feeling is that ORG is growing at a modest rate.

ORG is covered with other extensions in the following articles that you might find helpful in partly answering your question, and the first one listed is just on ORG.

https://www.namepros.com/blog/a-loo...sion-prices-length-types-venues-uses.1183640/

https://www.namepros.com/blog/domain-name-sales-2015-2019-part-1-volume.1172767/

https://www.namepros.com/blog/how-did-2020-compare-to-2019-in-domain-name-sales.1224014/

https://www.namepros.com/blog/mixed-messages-from-domain-sales-in-first-half-of-2020.1197710/

Thanks for your comment/question!

Bob
 
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Henry Y

Established Member
Impact
1,614
I think the market for .net will grow steadily. The online world is expanding that there are more and more different types and formats of networking websites. Also, while there are a few network-related domain extension alternatives available, .net is the best option because it is the shortest and has the longest history.

I own only 2 .net domains: Virtuаl//Еvеnts(.nеt) and Rеquеst//То//Рау(.nеt)