Out of all .COM domains registered, how many are owned by Domain Investors?

I had an interesting conversation earlier this week and was asked a question that I didn’t know the answer to…but wish that I did. The question was, as the title of the post already gave away, out of all the .COM domains registered, how many are owned by Domainers/Domain Investors/Speculators?

There was a blog post in January that took a sample of 100,000 domain names and came to the conclusion that 30% of domains are owned by Domain Investors…but I’m not sure I buy this.

While I’d love to think that as Domainers we have almost a third of the .COM domains under our control, I think that estimate is way off and the number is likely a whole lot lower.

That being said, I don’t have the data, nor have I spent any time doing the research required to get the correct answer. So I thought I’d throw it out to the community and my readers to see if someone out there does have something a bit more conclusive.

If it does turn out that Domain Investors own a third of the .COM domain names then it sure seems like Verisign would be incredibly involved in the Domaining world and setting policies that make Domainers happy. However from what I can tell, Verisign isn’t actually all that fond of Domainers given that they said the following last year:

“Flipping domain names or warehousing them to create scarcity adds nothing to the industry and merely allows those engaged in this questionable practice to enrich themselves at the expense of consumers and businesses.” (Source – Official Verisign Blog)

So I hand the microphone over to you. How many .COM names are owned by Domain Investors? Could it be as high as 30%? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 11 comments… add one }

  • Rick Schwartz April 11, 2019, 12:43 pm

    I always estimated at least 15% and I leaned towards as high as 25%, but to be honest, 30% would not surprise me in the slightest. Could even be a few points higher.

    • RaTHeaD April 11, 2019, 3:19 pm

      well… now that huge domains is closing in on 5 million i’d say that alone is almost 15 percent.

      • Logan April 11, 2019, 8:09 pm

        5 million out of 140 million .com domain names is 3.6%.

  • John McCormac April 11, 2019, 1:06 pm

    In mature TLDs, there are generally fewer domain names for sale. This is because a lot of sales activity occurs very early in a TLD’s life cycle and by the fifth year some of the long term patterns for that TLD have stabilised. The most highly speculative registrations tend to wash out of the zone over the first three years of a new TLD’s operation.

    The methodology on that “survey” was extremely iffy. This is on the page:”.com Domain Usage, from a sample of 2,188 domains”. There are approximately 140 million .COM domain names.

    Measuring usage in a TLD is a complex task. (I do this kind of work.) Establishing which domain names are for sale is moreso. When it moves away the usual domain name auction and after market sites, people often make up their own sales landers. This means that grouping for sale domain names purely on auction sites is going to miss a lot of domain names. And it gets more complex.

    The renewal rates for first year .COM registrations is in the region of 57% to 60%. That means that at worst about 43% of the .COM domain names registered today will not renew next year. A lot will be speculative registrations or discounted registrations. Some of them will be for sale. The majority of these domain names will never be developed and will drop.

    On a pre-classification run (basically checking how .COM was structured), 3.72% of .COM websites (February 2019, 124,159,336 websites in total) were on holding pages, 19% on PPC, 3.9% on redirects and 5.49% on sale. This was before any spidering of websites. Registrars also park undeveloped domain names on PPC but these domain names remain on the registrar’s nameservers rather than those of Sedo or Parking Crew. So at least, that is a starting point answer to the question.

  • Anunt April 11, 2019, 1:26 pm

    i would guess 69% of “good” dot com domains are owned by domainers and domain investors.

    There are too many worthless junk dot com domains registered by the average joe…
    If u include this junk, then between 20% to 30% are owned by domainers and domain investors.

  • Mark Thorpe April 11, 2019, 1:55 pm


  • Richard Morris April 11, 2019, 5:31 pm

    I’m sure Verisign knows the stat, but I’d say it’s at least 50% I know a lot of investors like to compare the domain industry to the real estate industry , but it’s not even close. Could you imagine 50% of homes empty and on the market because someone is asking too much? Neither the real estate industry or consumers who buy homes wouldn’t put up with it.

    Verisign confirmed my suspicions about this industry the day I landed. Companies like Uniregistry, Huge Domains, Sedo, Afternic and a few individual investors own over 50% of the 50% of registered domains. I call it the “Nature of the Beast”, and the beast needs to go imho!

    • Logan April 11, 2019, 8:07 pm

      No, but I could certainly imagine 50% of all available raw land — the real domain name equivalent, not houses, which are developments on raw land — being held by investors for investment or speculation purposes. We all know that guy down the street who owns that one undeveloped lot in the neighborhood who has no plans to build on it but hopes to hold onto it for a few years and profit from its sale when lot values increase.

  • Khan April 12, 2019, 3:43 am

    This is a question which needs bigdata analysis. rough estimates cannot make sense here. First of all you have to know who is a domainer?

    Will you call a big company like Google engaging in domain investing (because they have in their control more than 10k domains) And, similarly there are lot of companies holding lot of domain names and maybe selling as per the situation for profit. (Should they be called occasional domainers?)

    Out of 140 million .com registered. Roughly 0.25% is in the domainmarket account which appears to be holding the largest portfolio and there are players like hugedomains, etc. which may account together for 2%? (not sure)

    Namepros has active/inactive 1022758 members. And, on an average if each owns 20 then it will be 20455650.

    Based on above analysis I’ll say around 15% or less. As there are lot of people who take exit early from domaining due to its delayed gratification syndrome. And, we’re talking .com only. Many domainers has 10 to 15% other TLD’s too.

  • Snoopy April 12, 2019, 6:48 am

    Would have guessed higher than 30%.

    Regarding Verisign, they have nothing to gain by pandering to domainers. We’ll use them no matter what they say, that is the nature of running a monopoly.

  • Ciggie November 6, 2019, 12:26 pm

    I will say less than 30% like around 18% because of the delays


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