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analysis The .AI Domain Extension: Sales, Pricing, Auctions, Use

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With so much interest in artificial intelligence of late, it was suggested by a NamePros member that I should take a look at the .ai domain extension.

While it is almost certainly true that .com is the dominant extension for large, established artificial intelligence companies, .ai has found traction too, particularly among some AI startups.

By the way, in case you missed it, the AI.com domain name recently started redirecting to OpenAI ChatGPT. The sale of the domain name took place in 2021, with Saw acting as the broker, and OpenAI were the buyer.

What is .AI?

The .ai extension is the country code for Anguilla, a British Overseas Territory located in the Caribbean. Anguilla is located near and to the east of Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands.

The population of Anguilla is less than 20,000, and the total land area is only about 91 square kilometres. With incredible natural beauty, the most important industry is tourism, along with offshore incorporation and banking services.

While most interest is in second level domain names with the .ai extension, it is also possible to buy at the third level, with off.ai, com.ai, net.ai, and org.ai available.

Not Cheap To Register

While the .ai extension is not restricted, and anyone can register for use in any sector, it is not inexpensive. TLD-List shows that annual registration and renewals start at about $65 per year, and are considerably more at many registrars. The registry insists on two year registration periods as well.

Almost No Abuse

While high costs deter some investors, a benefit is that high-cost TLDs usually have very low levels of abuse, and that is true for .ai. SPAMHAUS show just 0.3% of active domains are β€˜bad’, with a superb badness score of 0.01, with little spam or other abuse.

The Big .AI Sales

Listed below are the .ai extension sales of $25,000 or more recorded in NameBio, along with the year of the sale.
  1. expert.ai, $107,495, 2020
  2. music.ai, $101,500, 2018
  3. arena.ai, $65,098, 2022
  4. samur.ai, $50,000, 2021
  5. analytics.ai, $50,000, 2019
  6. personal.ai, $48,636, 2021
  7. growth.ai, $45,000, 2021
  8. human.ai, $45,000, 2017
  9. workflow.ai, $35,000, 2023
  10. ledger.ai, $33,333, 2022
  11. predictive.ai, $30,050, 2022
  12. board.ai, $29,522, 2021
  13. conv.ai, $28,000, 2021
  14. face.ai, $26,916, 2022
  15. gene.ai, $25,553, 2022
  16. wow.ai, $25,050, 2022
  17. avatar.ai, $25,000, 2022
  18. content.ai, $25,000, 2019
The list shows that almost all elite level sales in .ai are single-word domain names.

Most of the noteworthy retail sales are from the last few years. Somewhat surprisingly, though, if we look at total sales volume, 2022 saw a dip from the previous three years according to my start of year analysis.

Here is a link to all NameBio-listed .ai extension sales of $1000 and up.

Characteristics of $1000+ .AI Sales

At time of writing, NameBio had, over all time periods, 6089 .ai sales in total ($100+), with 1107 at $1000 and up, and 61 above $10,000.

I took a look at the $1000 and up sales from the last 3 years only. There were 662 sales totalling $2.5 million in dollar volume. You can see the list at this NameBio link. I observed the following:
  • Most were single English word names.
  • While some were tech terms, more were common words.
  • Only 3 included numbers, and none had a hyphen.
  • Almost 75% of sales were names 4 to 8 characters in length, see graph below.
  • There were 15 animals among the sales, including eagle, elephant, orca, gorilla, coyote, monkey, duck, and penguin.
Image-Length.png

Sales Price Distribution

For names that sold for $1000 and more over the past three years, I looked at the price distribution. Results below, based on NameBio reported sales, indicate that the majority of .ai names sell for less than $3000, although some sell at higher prices. 48.2% of the sales were in the range $1000 to $1999.
Image-SalesPrice.png

What About Sell-Through Rate?

According to Dofo Advanced Search, on Feb. 8, 2023 there were 15,253 .ai domain names listed for sale at a marketplace included in Dofo. NameBio shows 317 .ai sales during the past 12 months when one includes sales of $500 and above. Combining the data, suggests an apparent sell-through rate of 2.1%.

If one looks at all sales $100 and up, there were 846 .ai sales on NameBio during the past twelve months, suggesting an apparent sell-through rate of 5.6%.

These sell-through rates are substantially higher than for most other extensions, that have apparent sell-through rates of 1% and less. Keep in mind that unreported sales would increase these rates.

However, the high holding cost must be taken into account. If one multiplies the 5.6% STR times the average price of $1230, one obtains $68, similar to the holding cost.

I used the Dofo number for sale, and the sales dollar volume from the most recent 12 months according to NameBio, to compute a current DVPL, Dollar Volume Per Listing. DVPL came out as about $68 for the most recent 12 months, impressive until one remembers that the renewal cost is about that as well. The industry wide apparent DVPL is about $7.25. Keep in mind that NameBio don’t report the majority of retail sales, so the true value of the DVPL will be more.

How Are Domainers Pricing .AI Domain Names?

I used Dofo Advanced Search to see how domainers are pricing their .ai domain names, obtaining the results below.
Image-AskingPrice.png

The distribution is surprising, in that 45.9% were priced between $25,000 and $29,999. Whether that is because one, or a few, investors hold many of the .ai names and price in that range, or just happened across many investors, I have not seen such a concentration in other extensions I examined.

The highest asking price is $10 million, shared by a few names. Interestingly, the name of the Canadian Prime Minister, JustinTrudeau is one of those names.

There are 43 .ai names priced at $1 million or more.

The Monthly AI Auctions

The .ai extension does not send domain names to be auctioned to the usual expired auction marketplaces, or Park.io. Rather, starting in fall 2018, the .ai registry performs a monthly auction of expired .ai names itself. The auction site is auctions.whois.ai.

It is free to create an account at auctions.whois.ai, but you will need to place a deposit to bid on domain names. Here is information on the auction process. Also read the AI Auction FAQs.
  • The minimum deposit is $100. There are procedures for getting deposits back, but they involve delays and charges.
  • The auctions start on the fourth Friday of each month at noon Anguilla time. Anguilla is 1 hour ahead of Eastern Time Zone.
  • Unless you are considered a trusted bidder, having bid and paid for auctioned names over the preceding 6 months, you also need to have on deposit at least 25% the amount that your are bidding.
  • The bidding period is 10 days. If there is a bid at the end, it extends the auction by one hour.
  • The minimum starting bid is $120.
  • The investor bids a maximum amount, and the system automatically applies a bid $10 higher than the previous high bid. For example, if you bid $250, the highest other bidder is $160, it will bid $170 on your behalf, and then bid again if a new bid tops your bid.
  • You have a period of 2 weeks to complete payment after the auction finishes. If the person winning an auction does not pay, their account balance forfeits $100. The domain name is placed in the next month’s auction.
  • After you win a domain in the .ai auction, and pay for it, you transfer it to the registrar of your choice.
  • They have licensed the software used by Park.io, so if you are familiar with auctions there, it will look familiar.
  • Names that receive no bids will expire and be released one day after the normal auction closing.
NameBio report .ai auction results, so one day each month there are a lot of .ai sales reported. Because of late bidding, a few sales get reported on the following day.

I suspect it is likely that while most bidders are domain investors, there are also some end users bidding in the .ai auctions as well. The highest auction at Whois.AI was $65,098 for arena.ai in September 2022.

AI Extension Use

A simple indicator of the use of an extension is to see how many results a Google search on site:.ai brings up. For AI there are 39.9 million results, much less than the 594 million CO and 288 million IO, but more than the 16.6 million GG and 5.8 million VC.

Facebook, Google, Uber and Microsoft all own their name in the .ai extension, and use it in redirection to relevant artificial intelligence content. Amazon owns their name in .ai as well, but just forwards it to their main site.

Open.ai takes the user to a site to generate images using artificial intelligence – it is fun, try it out.

A few interesting developed sites on the .ai extension include autonomous.ai, cohere.ai, clarity.ai, HomeBot.ai, shield.ai, typecast, copymatic, and DeepLearning.ai.

NamePros Discussion

@Jim Holleran recently started a NamePros discussion thread for .ai.

I have not personally invested in .ai domain names yet. I particularly welcome comments from NamePros members who have invested in .ai.


Update: Feb. 17, 2023. I added a sentence indicating the required two year registration period.
 
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The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
Another informative post @Bob Hawkes

@Igor Gabrielan is one of those investors with the best .ai domains.

Another one is Top.ai
 
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the gentleman from china has the largest .ai portfolio - he bought at least 20 single key word .ai domains from me between 2018-2019...lightning fast payment..as mentioned, he started a company in china that had a significant liquidity event...

a vc in silicon valley also owns a valuable single word .ai portfolio - not sure if this is for investment or to provide names for startups his company funds

stellar report, bob, as always
 
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The first website about AI with .ai domain name agent.ai was created by the Hungarian GΓ‘bor Tatai .
But his website was in Hungarian and few people read it. In 2011, I pioneered the mass registration of .ai names for AI and started maintaining the website pr.ai. I ran frenzied advertising of .ai domain zone. But until 2014, no one recognized this. The first name ml.ai was sold in 2014 for $1.000. Then the Chinese came to the market and began to massively buy up .ai names, including mine, raising prices sharply.
 
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$55,433 that is stuck on Epik is made up of .ai sales, in particular ledger.ai for $ 33,333. Epik invited me to transfer my .ai portfolio to them. That would be a fat piece to steal.
 
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In 2011, in order to start name registrations directly in Anguilla, it was necessary to contact the island by fax. I had a fax machine at home, but it was in the shed because fax machines were out of use by then. I took the fax for repair. But when I was carrying a fax home from the repair in a large bag, the police stopped me and accused me of stealing the fax. There was a big scandal, but I managed to free myself. As a result, Anno Pabon's recommendation worked instead of a fax. Anno has a name r.ai now.
 
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I was offered $80K for apps.ai + videos.ai yesterday, but I didn't sell. I really like videos.ai Now people are too lazy to read, everyone watches videos. And AI can now generate videos better and better. video.ai belongs to Microsoft.
 
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Today the company Shopify started a dispute with me regarding the name shopify.ai .
I will describe this in a separate thread.
 
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the gentleman from china has the largest .ai portfolio - he bought at least 20 single key word .ai domains from me between 2018-2019...lightning fast payment..as mentioned, he started a company in china that had a significant liquidity event...

a vc in silicon valley also owns a valuable single word .ai portfolio - not sure if this is for investment or to provide names for startups his company funds

stellar report, bob, as always

Are you referencing the sale of g.ai as the liquidity event?

We're thinking about the same VC who also founded a unicorn who is one of the best developers in SF. He holds a huge portfolio of .ai names and many trademark ones too.

Jasper is the most well-known start-up using the extension and will spur more adoption.

Igor, I like you. You've held many trademark .ai names that surely will be used against your case. Normally best to pick battles you can win. Be that as it may, I wish you the best in your UDRP. As the saying goes, you play with fire, you get......
 
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thanks for the great article!
looks like i sold Stark.ai cheap
 
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Regardless if you don't own the ending the ai in .com it will be hard as you will lose traffic.

Look who uses openai.com Then you have the same owners of ai.com

.ai will be like .io but the difference is io does not mean anything where as ai means something. Both .ai and ending ai in .com will be worth lots of money but I would go with ending ai first with the .com. Then if you can match the single word.
 
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Thanks @Bob Hawkes
Very relevant topic.

BTW, do you know of any data comparing *.ai and *ai.com?
 
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_Bless_Anguilla

God bless Anguilla
Nurture and keep her
Noble and beauteous
She stands midst the sea
Oh land of the happy
A haven we'll make thee
Our lives and love
We give unto thee

Chorus:
With heart and soul
We'll build a nation
Proud, strong and free
We'll love her hold her
Dear to our hearts for eternity
𝄆 Let truth and right
our banner be
We'll march ever on 𝄇

II
Mighty we'll make her
Long may she prosper
God grant her leaders
wisdom and grace
May glory and honour
Ever attend her
Firm shall she stand
Throughout every age
 
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Are you referencing the sale of g.ai as the liquidity event?

no, i was referencing the sale of his company to a large entity in china. but i haven't attempted to verify this event. but who knows? maybe he's a princeling with lots of kaching to buy thousands of domains with high renewal fees. I have no idea where people get their money, unless it's in public records
 
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BTW, do you know of any data comparing *.ai and *ai.com?
Do you mean names that have sold in both, and comparing prices? No I have not tried to do that, I suspect not a huge number of data points with publicly revealed sales.

I had thought of including measures of how many companies in artificial intelligence choose .com, .ai and .io, and other TLDs, but this article was already getting long. I am still planning to do that, but it will be at least a month in future as I have some interviews coming up for the NamePros Blog weekly article in next few weeks.

-Bob
 
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Regardless if you don't own the ending the ai in .com it will be hard as you will lose traffic.

Look who uses openai.com Then you have the same owners of ai.com

.ai will be like .io but the difference is io does not mean anything where as ai means something. Both .ai and ending ai in .com will be worth lots of money but I would go with ending ai first with the .com. Then if you can match the single word.
.ai is probably the only extension where the exact match is stronger than the .com
 
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Regardless if you don't own the ending the ai in .com it will be hard as you will lose traffic.

Look who uses openai.com Then you have the same owners of ai.com

.ai will be like .io but the difference is io does not mean anything where as ai means something.

Actually, the unofficial reason tech companies use io is that it stands for input output (common tech terms). A small number of companies even have io at the end of their .com domain
 
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I have never seen a .io or .xyz commercial on tv or even on radio in 20 years. The public is clueless both of these extensions.

.ai will do much better but without doubt traffic is lost if you don't own the ending ai on the .com I already see it happening. It is not to compare both it just an observation where traffic will be leaked if you build upon a .ai extension first. If you build upon an ending .ai then .com the traffic should not goto to same matching .ai extension. Probably does not make sense to anyone bottom line though get your ending ai in .com
 
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Regardless if you don't own the ending the ai in .com it will be hard as you will lose traffic.

Look who uses openai.com Then you have the same owners of ai.com

.ai will be like .io but the difference is io does not mean anything where as ai means something. Both .ai and ending ai in .com will be worth lots of money but I would go with ending ai first with the .com. Then if you can match the single word.
Actually io does have a meaning which is (Input Output) which is a well known thing in the tech industry.
Inputs are the signals or data received by the system and outputs are the signals or data sent from it.
 
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There is a hope that today the submarine cable near Anguilla will be repaired and Anguilla's domain services will be launched, but there is no complete certainty in this.
 
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not planning to invest into .ai....
i would like that AI abandon our earth, too much tech is making people stupid
 
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Anguilla domain services work!

A boat anchor took out the fiber to Anguilla and we were offline for registrations for a bit over 2 days but we are back online now.
DNS was fine will we were offline.

I hope you can now register any domains you wanted to over the last 2 days.
 
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