Time to put a myth to rest – your domain is not “more valuable” because it’s old

It’s a myth that has spread across the domain name world for years – the older a domain, the more valuable it is. This morning domain industry veteran Alan Dunn hit the nail on the head with this tweet:

domain-age-doesnt-matter

I can’t tell you how many times someone has emailed me about valuable “aged” domains that they have, and when I look at the list, it’s all junk. Just take a quick look at Go Daddy auctions and you’ll find a ton of domains, worth $0, all registered in the 90’s and expiring. Here’s an example from this morning, every name you see on this list was registered before 1997:

aged-domains

Some Domainers have domain portfolios that look like this, and they email other Domainers with subjects like, “Valuable aged domain portfolio” or “Portfolio of aged domains registered in 1996.” If you find yourself doing this, or even starting to go down this path, stop. Seriously, you’re only fooling yourself and if you have somehow convinced yourself that these domains are valuable, you’ll keep renewing junk every year and eating up money that could be used to buy actual investment-grade domains.

Now it’s important for me to say something that should be obvious but that if I don’t put in writing could get confused. Yes – there are some VERY valuable domains that were registered in the 90’s. Think about it, a LOT more domain names were available to register back then so a lot of the super premium one-word .COMs were registered back then.

At the end of the day, it’s the domain name itself and the TLD its on that define the value, age is nothing more than a vanity metric. So go ahead, buy domains registered in 1996, just make sure you buy the 1% that are actually investment grade domains.

{ 25 comments… add one }

  • Rod October 5, 2018, 9:46 am

    I like to sort by age when going through my filtered domain lists and marking auctions to watch.

    Not because age means it’s valueable, but because:

    1. Usually the quality of the older names in the group are better becuase people dont let them drop.

    2. I’m more likely to find names that have not been owned by or passed around/marketed by domainers. This might be the first time it has been put up for sale since the initial registration.

    Reply
  • Rick Schwartz October 5, 2018, 10:40 am

    Alan is 100% spot on.
    Date of registration means absolutely nothing. NOTHING!
    Only a ROOKIE or Estibot etc would give it any weight whatsoever in making a decision to buy or value a domain.
    The only exception to that rule might be Symbolics.com.
    Doesn’t mean it has great value but it is cool to own the first domain name.

    Reply
  • Mark October 5, 2018, 11:15 am

    Why would affiliate marketers care about age?

    Mark

    Reply
    • John October 5, 2018, 2:43 pm

      Yes, that is certainly true. This is progress if people in domaining are capable of this kind of common sense.

      Then also stop doing the opposite and spouting nonsense about how the domain you only registered this year can’t be worth much and you should forget about selling it for anything substantial (you know who you are, whoever you are) . “Domainers” do that too, I’ve seen it.

      Reply
    • John October 5, 2018, 2:45 pm

      Mark please disregard this, was meant to go at the end below, no under yours.

      Reply
  • Gene October 5, 2018, 11:30 am

    From a buyer’s perspective, that whole ‘aged domains are better’ claim has always been nonsense.

    Case-in-point: Take any of the crypto/blockchain names, almost none of which were around (or if they were around, may not have had the same meaning) 10-15 years ago. Those aren’t that old in Internet history, yet they’re worth as much as anything ever registered – and soon to be much more, IMO.

    Rick is right when he says to look to the future, not the past. Remember, every domain was at one time or another hand registered.

    Reply
  • JZ October 5, 2018, 1:10 pm

    I wouldn’t say it makes it more valuable but it does mean it hasn’t been available to register in x years.

    Reply
  • John October 5, 2018, 2:44 pm

    Yes, that is certainly true. This is progress if people in domaining are capable of this kind of common sense.

    Then also stop doing the opposite and spouting nonsense about how the domain you only registered this year can’t be worth much and you should forget about selling it for anything substantial (you know who you are, whoever you are) . “Domainers” do that too, I’ve seen it.

    Reply
    • John October 5, 2018, 2:53 pm

      That kind of talk is nothing but harmful in a way similar to the automated “appraisal” tools (abominations).

      Case in point: got an inquiry on a domain just recently. Regged earlier this year. It’s an authoritative phrase for one of the most popular aspects of one of the most popular and lucrative industries. With a little research, realized the suitor is also very likely to be one of the biggest Wall Street firms ever. Asking price $500k.

      Reply
  • Mark Thorpe October 5, 2018, 3:20 pm

    I think if the term existed in the 90’s (and it’s still relevant today) and the domain was registered back then, than there is a halo effect on the aged domain name IMO.

    Reply
    • John October 5, 2018, 3:33 pm

      No one is suggesting otherwise or not affirming that. You’re missing the point. It’s about the simple logic of understanding age has nothing to do with intrinsic value in either direction, either young or old.

      Reply
    • Mark Thorpe October 5, 2018, 3:45 pm

      A domain name that has been registered, visited and searched for 20+ years is more valuable than the same domain name being hand registered today. IMO

      Reply
      • John October 5, 2018, 8:41 pm

        No, you need to unlearn that. You are confusing possibly and occasionally achievable sales price due to psychological factors vs. real value. Loans.com would be worth the same if it was regged today. And that’s a whole lot more than $3m. The 90’s effect is just gravy and may taste good, but has nothing to do with value.

        Reply
    • Snoopy October 7, 2018, 5:40 pm

      Think you are spot on Mark. This kind of thing applies in all sorts of areas. e.g. highly valuable realestate was generally subdivided 100 years ago, highly collectible cars were usually manufactured a long time ago, highly valuable wine is usually very old.

      For the stuff produced last month, it is probably not the best investment. The “creation date” is a pretty obvious sign to tread carefully if that date isn’t a long time ago.

      Reply
      • Mark Thorpe October 7, 2018, 6:38 pm

        It’s common sense that older domains, real estate, wine, collectable cars, art etc are more valuable.

        A domains digital footprint has more value than a new, never registered domain name.

        The problem is that there is no standard to valuate domains. So everyone has their own opinion and domain appraisal formula.

        But in the end, it’s the end-user who decides the value of a domain name.

        Reply
  • Logan October 5, 2018, 9:10 pm

    CollegeID.com is on that list. That’s not worth $0.

    Reply
    • John October 6, 2018, 8:12 pm

      Noticed that one too. That one does have potential for use, not sure about for those who just sell domains.

      Reply
  • Bob October 7, 2018, 1:00 am

    Quite true that’s why I now realise that such valued domain names must only relate to the future or present not the old past i.e. potential new enterprises. Again if they have been dropped more than twice or out of fashion then they are no longer worth real value or registering back. I have noticed numerous aged high priced domains have even fallen dramatically in value over the years apart from only a few exceptional cases!

    Reply
  • Jon Schultz October 7, 2018, 11:11 am

    Totally agree with you and Alan.

    And since you’re on the subject of myths, Morgan, I’d like to see you address what I consider to be another myth, that one-word domains are intrinsically more valuable than multi-word domains. Yes, shorter domains are easier to type in and thus somewhat more valuable than longer ones, and one-word domains will generally sell for more than multi-word domains at this time – but that’s only because so many people believe in the myth, which may not be true in the future. Unless a domain has valuable type-in traffic or is useful for SEO, its primary value is its memorability and, for most but not all purposes, its connotation – positive as opposed to negative. Thus, for most business websites, I think a domain like GreatDay.com would be much more useful than Sorrow.com or perhaps even Table.com.

    Reply
    • Jon Schultz October 7, 2018, 11:27 am

      P.S. Of course Sorrow.com would be quite valuable for a company offering something to alleviate sorrow and Table.com for a company which makes tables. Better examples might have been Spoon.com, as there are probably no or very few companies primarily in the spoon business, and Cylinder.com.

      Reply
      • Jon Schultz October 7, 2018, 12:04 pm

        P.P.S. Spoon.com may not have been a great example to contrast with GreatDay.com either, as spoons are very personal and associated with the taste of food, which everyone loves. Pant.com would have been a better example. And I’ll also mention the obvious fact, since I didn’t above, that multi-word domains like CarInsurance.com can be much more valuable than most one-word domains. Again, all this is jmo and please excuse if it’s too much writing on an off-topic subject, Morgan, but the “myth” theme made me think of it and I think it’s something of an important issue for the industry.

        Reply
    • Snoopy October 7, 2018, 5:31 pm

      “one-word domains will generally sell for more than multi-word domains at this time – but that’s only because so many people believe in the myth”

      In that case the myth is a fact! Good luck betting against what people want.

      Reply
  • Snoopy October 7, 2018, 5:27 pm

    Date of registration is extremely important. Sometimes people have it round the wrong way though. An old name isn’t necessarily valuable but almost all valuable domains are old. The only exceptions are some dropped names and the *small* number terms that have come into prominence since then. 99% of highly valuable names will be 20+ years old.

    Reply
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