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

Spaceship Spaceship
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 ‘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.

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.

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.

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.
Some interesting facts:

1. AI means "love" both in Chinese (爱) and Japanese (愛). This may explain why we see Chinese registrations.

2. .ai registry, "Offshore Information Services", is a business located in Anguilla, headed by Vincent Aron Cate:

Vincent Aron Cate (born 1963) is a cryptography software developer based in Anguilla. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and ran an Atari hardware business in the 1980s before beginning a Ph.D. programme at Carnegie Mellon University, but dropped out and moved to Anguilla to pursue business opportunities there. In his new home, he would go on to establish an internet service provider, a computer club for young students, and an annual cryptography conference. A former U.S. citizen, he gave up his U.S. citizenship in 1998 in protest of U.S. laws on the export of cryptography.


So, imo -


Taking in account the above background, and how did they setup and run .ai, I'd personally trust this service provider. They are positively different from some nGTLD operators...

It in fact should be appreciated that .ai is a country code, since there is no ICANN involved /which is great!/ and the country appears to be politically stable. (in contrast, there is still active .su ccTLD of former Soviet Union...)


Should .ai continue growing like it does now, it would become an "interesting" piece of pie for sharks like Verisign (they run .cc Cocos Islands registry) or GoDaddy (they run .co Colombian registry). It is far from obvious that such a potential registry change would be beneficial for registrants including us the domainers.

Also, there are hurricanes in Anguilla: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Hurricanes_in_Anguilla - so no guarantees of 24/7/365 service.

As always, thank you @Bob Hawkes for the informative article! It helped me to decide to register a dozen or so .ais :)
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As I wrote, I refused to sell for $80,000 set of two names apps.ai + videos.ai because I really appreciate the prospect of creating videos using AI.
I have a wonderful set of names for this:

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Due to problems in the US banking sector, potential buyers of technological domains, including .ai, may now abandon expensive purchases.
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.ai registry will increase the wholesale price from $60/year to $70/year on April, 15th. Two years purchase / renewals are still required.

How will prices change?
We are indexing with the US CPI for All Urban Consumers. We will divide the CPI by 2.18 to get our target price. If we think the target price will be around $20 or 20% higher than our current price in the next 100 days we will announce a price increase so that customers have at least 60 days warning before it takes effect. On Apr 15, 2021 we changed the price to $120 US. This is for .ai, .com.ai, net.ai, .off.ai, and .org.ai. This is for registrations, renewals, transfers and restores. All prices changed from $100 to $120 US. Note registrations and renewals are for 2 years. On Apr 15, 2023 at noon Anguilla time we will change the price for all things from $120 to $140 US. Note that people can renew domains for up to a total of 10 years before the price changes if they want to.

Also, registrants should carefully select the original registrars. This is because the .ai registrar transfer is costly ($120 wholesale now, $140 after April 15th) and the transfer itself does NOT renew the domain:

Do transfers cost?
Transfers cost $120. We do not recommend renewing during transfer but if you do that is an additional cost and is priced as a normal renewal. If no renewal is done then the expiration date does not change with a transfer.

Source: http://whois.ai/eppfaq.html
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I invested in a .ai, but almost regretted it after paying $240 for 2 years at godaddy. It's a project now. On the downside, it was spendy, on the upside the technology is fascinating and I'm learning a lot. Moving forward with it optimistically

Vincent Cate​

By my calculation, my March payment that I made Monday was 26% of the government budget.
Do you know of any country that might have a higher percentage?
Or are we winning? :)

We have a small country and a great domain name, so we might be top. Just wonder.

-- Vince
Thanks Bob. It would be interesting to see and compare the sales of .coms ending in ai (e.g. PhotoAi.com which recently sold for $40k) with exact match ai names (prob the one tld that is stronger than .com when it comes to exact match).
Today I refused to sell car.ai for $85,000. How much is carai.com? It doesn't look very good. Not every word goes well with the ending -ai.
Today I refused to sell car.ai for $85,000. How much is carai.com? It doesn't look very good. Not every word goes well with the ending -ai.
True, buy it comes to something when PayAi.com isn't even being used for anything related to pay or ai.
With Kamala the new "AI Czar", any thoughts on value of kamala.ai?
I only have three. ai domain names: king.ai, digiman.ai, and digitalman.ai. Digiman.ai was bought by a small business for $4500 last year.

How much do you think it's worth?Thank you.
The demand for .Ai and xxxAi.com will continue to grow given the fact that large number of tech projects are in pipeline. We recently sold editingAi.com probably for a another domain investor.
We have few more bundle packages such as,
Animating.ai + AnimatingAi.com
Immer.ai + ImmerAi.com
Videography.ai + VideographyAi.com
Transitive.ai + TransitiveAi.com
Indexing.ai + IndexingAi.com

Also StimulusAi.com, FlasherAi.com, EncoderAi.com, CredentialAi.com, RecordingAi.com, MaticalAi.com, LogisticalAi.com, VirtualizeAi.com, ValidationAi.com, StatisticAi.com MetricalAi.com are some of the favorites in our portfolio.
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Apparently previously Google had not treated the extension .ai as generic, but that has now changed, according to a post today by @Acroplex. This will help business on .ai with global search recognition.

I don't know what Google paid forG.Ai and other unreported sales, but I'm pretty sure the sale of one of my .AI domains to one of the largest telecoms in the world last month will be among the highest .ai sales. Their broker started with a low xxxx offer in late march and after 5 weeks of negotiating, the final price was 20x the initial offering price.

lesson: don't give in even when they say "this is our final offer"...i believe they said this 4 times. They also disguised who they were, until they presented me with an NDA upon reaching the agreed upon final price.

i really wish i would have gotten more super key word .ai domains in 2015 --- i registered only about 55 or so. At least 40 have been acquired :( ...most by endusers

i sold some like sherpa.ai, radar.ai, rna.ai way too cheap ....like 8500 usd each
What is the total number of domains?
As of July 20, 2022 the total was 143,737 domains.
As of June 14, 2023 the total is 248,609 domains.

Source: http://whois.ai/faq.html
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Does the top list needs an update? Top .ai sales.
Does the top list needs an update? Top .ai sales.
Thanks for your comment. I have an edit window during which I can make changes, which is well past.

The top list in this one represents the situation at the time of writing of the article.

I may at some point do a follow-up article on .ai, because clearly, as you suggest, lots has happened in the past months.

Cool, you link works, it seems there has been some action on the board
Cool, you link works, it seems there has been some action on the board
Yes, the link in the article will always be updated with the most recent sales recorded at NameBio.

From the time the article was written there are 6 new sales that would place in the top 10, including the top 4. They are stack, NPC, service, agents, school and pics, with prices ranging from $258,888 to $50,000. The top 4 all in 6 figures.