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Bob Hawkes

Who Is Buying .ORG Domain Names?

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By Bob Hawkes, Aug 26, 2021
  1. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    Initially the .org extension was intended mainly for organizations, particularly not-for-profit organizations. However, for decades anyone can register and use an .org domain name, and it is regularly one of the strongest extensions after .com.

    In this article, I look at who is buying .org domain names by examining how names sold to end users in the aftermarket are currently being used.

    The Data

    There typically is a delay from purchase to use of any domain name. To allow for this, I only looked at .org domain names that were purchased on the aftermarket from Aug 24, 2018 through Dec 31, 2020. Therefore this analysis will not reflect very recent trends.

    I also restricted the analysis to sales listed on NameBio that are likely to have been purchases by end users. I only looked at names that sold for $1000 or more at the following venues: Afternic, BuyDomains, DomainMarket, NamePull, private and Sedo. Afternic sales were not actively reported to NameBio during this period, so there were only a handful of sales.

    This resulted in 536 sales that sold for a total of just over $3.1 million. The vast majority of the sales were at Sedo (48.3% of total) or Buy Domains (46.2%).

    The sale prices ranged from the $1000 base up to $500,000 for the single character name Q.org, sold by Braden Pollock. The average price was $5834, although that is a bit deceptive, as it is heavily influenced by a few large sales.

    The domain names varied in length from 1 to 21 characters. There were many short names, often used as acronyms. 32.1% of the names were 4 characters or shorter. However, longer names, two or even three words, were also well represented, with 20.3% of the names 11 characters or longer.

    Current Use

    I went to, or tried to go to, each of the 536 associated websites. I categorized the site in one of the current use categories:
    • D=developed website
    • R=redirection to an active website on another domain name
    • S=domain name is actively for sale again
    • P=domain name has monetized parking, without it being obvious that the name is also for sale
    • X=there was no active site or lander on the name. I also counted sites that simply said ‘coming soon’ in this category.
    The graph below shows the distribution.

    Graph-USE.png

    The most striking observation is that so many names are either for sale again, parked, or totally nonoperational. Only 48.1% were developed with a functioning website, if you exclude for-sale landers.

    Names that sold for a total of more than $705,000 are currently unused, with another $267,000 listed for sale again, and $201,000 used only for parking currently.

    The high number for sale again probably reflects that, even with the $1000 cutoff and venue restrictions, a few of the sales were to domain investors. It is also possible that some of the organizations have ceased operation, and their names are now back on the market.

    In several cases the domain is or sale by the same seller, and that may reflect payment plans which were abandoned by the buyer.

    Profit vs Nonprofit

    Even after reading the About section of the website, it is not always clear on whether the sponsoring organization is a nonprofit or not. I did not attempt to further seek out business or organization registration data.

    My classification suggested that, for the developed sites, 43.6% were nonprofit organizations. Therefore, more .org names are sold to for-profit businesses than to nonprofits.

    Graph-PROFIT.png

    What Sectors?

    For the 146 developed sites designated for-profit businesses, I further characterized according to sector. There was huge variety, with almost every sector represented in at least a site or two. The graph below shows the distribution of sectors that appeared in at least two of the developed websites.

    Graph-SECTOR.png

    Note that in this graph use is expressed as a percentage of the total developed for-profit sites, and therefore does not add to 100%.The categories shown in the graph only reflect 58.9% of the total developed sites, indicating many single-category use cases.

    It is not surprising that education and training, and health-related sites are the most common. Those categories were also well represented in the nonprofit developed sites.

    I was surprised that cryptocurrency sites were not more numerous in the data, as there are many well-known sites in this sector operating on .org domain names in general. This could be because many of the names were sold with nondisclosure agreements, at marketplaces that do not report to NameBio, or were sold since January 2021, and therefore not reflected in the dataset.

    A number of monetized blog and information sites were developed, and it appears that mid-$$$$ prices for .org domain names to be used in this way are not uncommon.

    Other Observations

    A few other reflections I noted while going through the data:
    • I was surprised that so many of the sites, those in the P characterization but also many in the S categorization, were using monetized parking. Only one used zero-click advertising, at least the day I checked.
    • While the majority of sites were English language, a number of other languages were represented. The largest number beyond English were German.
    • Those names that were for sale again, while normally asking considerably more than the previous sales price, in some cases the asking price was about the same as the previous sale, or even slightly less.
    • The for-sale landers that did not use parking employed private landers, many Dan landers, a fair number of Uniregistry, a few Efty, and one Alter lander. Surprisingly, not a single one used the Afternic for-sale only landers, although a number used Afternic parking. Landers from the dedicated parking companies seemed more common, however.
    What Does It Mean?

    My motivation in conducting this study was to help guide the sort of .org domain names that are being actively purchased on the aftermarket for significant prices. Here are the messages I took from the data.
    • The broad education and training sectors, including tutoring, are active buyers.
    • Healthcare and wellness were also strongly represented, including mental health and therapy, traditional and alternative medical fields, and medical financing and support.
    • The view that the majority of .org sales go to nonprofits is not supported by the data, with more than half to the for-profit sector. I think it is also true that the profit-nonprofit dividing line is becoming less clear, with some using a not-for-profit model, which still allows compensation for work to the principals involved in the organization.
    • The breadth of represented sectors indicates that almost any type of business or organization might consider an .org name.
    • I am not sure if the number of sites using parking indicate that .org have advantages for monetized parking, or simply that strong single words can be more readily purchased compared to .com. I suspect that many who have their names set to parking, are making enough to more than cover renewals, and are biding their time waiting for a sale at a sufficiently high price.
    • While I did not completely categorize use of the 113 nonprofits with developed sites, it seemed to me that they were mainly in the categories of religious organizations, societal causes, environment, and in particular organizations that provide support to particular groups such as the homeless, developing world, veterans and others. Many of these had paid significant prices for their domain name.
    • A number of the .org names used by nonprofits were regional organizations. This may reflect a use not considered by some domain investors, and a number of these domain names had sold for good prices.
    • A large number are using 4-letter acronyms to represent a 4-word name of the organization.
    • The number of sites which were not in use, even without a functional landers, surprised me somewhat. That may simply reflect that many nonprofit organizations fail after a very short period. If so, this may be a source for acquisitions at reasonable prices, at least in cases of generic terms or phrases, or acronyms.
    • The view that nonprofits will not pay a significant price for their domain name is not supported by the data. Numerous sales of domains that ended up in use by nonprofits were in the range $2000 to $10,000 and occasionally more. Of course, that does not mean that some nonprofits may be resistant to paying competitive prices.
    I welcome your opinions and experiences in the comments section below.
    1. Have you had success selling .org domain names to both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations?
    2. What sectors do you concentrate on in your .org portfolio, and which have been most lucrative so far?
    3. Do you see the .org extension strengthening in the years ahead, perhaps because of the dwindling supply of prime words in .com at prices within the range of organizations?
    4. When you are selling to a nonprofit, are you more flexible on price?

    Thank you to NameBio for providing the data on which this study was based.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2021
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  4. Bob Hawkes

    About The Author — Bob Hawkes

    Domain analyst, writer and informal educator, with particular interests in domain name phrases and non-business uses for domain names. I am a risk averse domain investor who only invests modest amounts in a variety of extensions and niches. Don't hesitate to contact me - I like to help!

    This is Bob Hawkes's 106th blog post on NamePros. View all blog posts

    Home Page:
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  5. Comments (37)

  6. dnbrokership

    dnbrokership Established Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Excellent article…. Thanks for the hard work.
     
  7. bmugford

    bmugford www.DataCube.com PRO VIP ICA Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    .ORG is my second best performing extension after .COM when it comes to ROI.

    There is certainly a more nuanced approach needed when it comes to investing in .ORG vs .COM.

    Brad
     
  8. Domainication

    Domainication Upgraded Member Blue Account

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    Thank you @Bob Hawkes. Brilliant article and stats like always.
     
  9. bmugford

    bmugford www.DataCube.com PRO VIP ICA Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I have sold domains like CureCare (dot) org and many others in the past. I sold a (14) character (2) word .ORG for $25K a few weeks ago. It relates to rights and freedoms.

    Some terms just fit well in .ORG. Many commercial product terms are bad fits.

    Brad
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2021
  10. FredMercaldo

    FredMercaldo Upgraded Member Blue Account

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    Thank you for this very useful and informative article. I have 30+++ .org names and very pleased with this report Bob.
     
  11. FolioTeam

    FolioTeam AMDB.tv VIP

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    I agree with this as the majority of the .org domains that I have and have sold are mostly 4Ls

    I like good .org domains and I see the extension having even more use cases down the line. On one hand, it's definitely not on par with .com (who is?). But, on the other hand, it's one of the few TLDs that really holds its own.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2021
  12. wwwulff

    wwwulff Top Contributor VIP

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    I have only owned a few .org (6-8) and I have sold 2 which were both related to the financial sector.
     
  13. Hankish

    Hankish Established Member

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    mostly sold in education/financial/old-tech. No big yet in Green or modern things. I do have one `gamingPC` that keeps getting questions about what it takes/special rules to own a dotOrg. I think age-isms come into play.

    But me...I love .org for personal use. For hosting, mail, sandboxing I love finding ye'old org drops. Yes sir my personal fav is a '90s .org.
     
  14. nametrekker

    nametrekker Established Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Bob, your research with data and visuals is on such a high level.
    GoDaddy should hire you as a "DATA CONSULTANT".

    I have maybe 50 org domains

    My .org sales have been in crypto, blockchain, politics, healthcare
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2021
  15. MapleDots

    MapleDots Restricted (15-30%)

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    I am waiting for the Maple Leafs to win the Stanley cup and then I have a brilliant domain name.

    Problem is.....

    I might be waiting for a very long time. :xf.grin:


    Seriously though... .org has a purpose, use it as intended and it works.
    If you get a super premium use it as your mark but deep down inside you will always be longing for the .com

    One good thing.... I think .org will be around long after .net fizzles.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2021
  16. Jeff_Libert

    Jeff_Libert Established Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Very interesting, well researched and written article Mr. Hawkes. ;)

    I've seen a significant number of .Org domains effectively deployed as keyword-topic related lead generation or lead referral websites, often in very lucrative verticals. If you own the name of the topic or vertical it's a pretty good start when running with an education->leadgen .Org based site. Such sites combine a depth of info / education with various lead collection methods (call center, submission forms, etc). They stand for the proposition that .Com is not determinative of success and that .Org "may" (I think so) carry a certain amunt of inherent cred.

    I acquired most of what I hold with an eye towards development and as a source of residual income in my rapidly approaching dotage. (old age) :-/ I suspect my digital marketing daughter will inherit the lot and have fun with her "inheritance".

    Once in awhile I've sold a .Org domains. As a matter of bizops I don't report my sales. However, if a broker is involved and if there's no NDA, I sometimes will allow for disclosure, in part to acknowledge the good work of the broker. One such .Org sale, handled by Grit Brokerage, currently sits atop the DNJournal YTD non-Com/.Org sales chart. It wasn't a domain I was hankering to sell, but sometimes other projects benefit from an infusion of cash so . . adios my dear domain-friend.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2021
  17. Fancy.domains

    Fancy.domains Selling gTLDs like delicious hotcakes VIP Gold Account

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    A brilliant article with all the facts and data we need. Thank you sir!

    I´m a big fan om .org myself. It was the first extension I registered, back in 1998. That domain (and website) made it possible for me to work online and move to a warm country, buy land and build a house...
     
  18. charrisg

    charrisg Established Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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  19. Mister Funsky

    Mister Funsky Top Contributor VIP

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    Super article Bob...thanks for your hard work!
     
  20. rcs1973

    rcs1973 Established Member

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  21. Haroon Basha

    Haroon Basha UPRU.COM VIP Gold Account

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    Excellent research Sir, thank you very much for your efforts and we all highly appreciate for your esteemed contribution here to us.
     
  22. satyadeep singh

    satyadeep singh Established Member

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  23. topros

    topros Established Member

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    Thank you for your super duper article..
    you are the Best
     
  24. Rahul Jat

    Rahul Jat New Member

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    I enjoyed reading this article... It's been a real pleasure working with you. Thanks!
     
  25. jhm

    jhm Glazed

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    Thank you for the data, Bob!

    (As always)
     
  26. jiy k

    jiy k Established Member

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    Thank you for such Descriptive and Useful Article.
     
  27. 1Darko

    1Darko Top Contributor VIP

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  28. johnn

    johnn WeSellName.com PRO VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Bought one here for $20. Just turned down a $10,000 offer recently.
     
  29. DomainBanana

    DomainBanana Established Member

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    I didn't realize so many for-profit businesses use .org.

    Thanks, Bob
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2021
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