What can you learn from the top 25 domain sales of 2017?

sales-chart

Every year I like to look back both on the top reported sales to look for trends and understand if there are any market dynamics that seem to be changing in ways I may not have noticed. The top 25 domain sales will likely tell a bit of a different story than you see in your own sales, and some of these differences sometimes can help understand how to make tweaks in your own portfolio.

For me, I divide my portfolio into two parts – .COM, and everything else. Based on what I’ve been following the last ten years .COM has been the only true investment grade domain name extension. Yes, there is money to be made with other extensions, but when it comes to investing in domain names and wanting to ensure liquidity down the road, there really is no comparison to .COM. A majority of my investment dollars have gone into, and will continue to go into .COM. Yes, I do invest in some other TLDs like .IO, but these represent a small part of my portfolio and are definitely much riskier investments.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at the top 25 domain sales of 2017 and start digging into the high-level trends. Now is also a good time to give a HUGE thanks to Ron Jackson for doing such an incredible job tracking and reporting domain sales, DNJournal is still without a doubt the site that I come to the most in the domain name world, and that hasn’t changed in ten years.

dnjournal-logo-2007

top-25-domain-sales-2017

(Source – DNJournal)

Okay, so the first incredibly obvious thing that the top 25 domain sales have in common is the TLD – .COM takes 23 out of the top 25 spots. The two non .COMs that made it into the top 25 this year were Kaffee.de and Casino.online. I’m not entirely shocked to see a .DE up here, as the .COM of Germany .DE has been a strong extension over the years. Seeing .ONLINE in there is a weird one and I definitely would not say that this means you should go out and buy a bunch of .ONLINE domain names. This is likely more of a random amazing .ONLINE sale rather than anything that should be taken as a trend.

Next let’s look at what type of domain names are making it into the top 25. It’s pretty clear that one-word .COMs take the cake and this holds true of the trend we’ve all seen for years. Two-word .COMs also usually end up towards the top and this year MyWorld.com selling for $1.2M definitely shows how strong two-word .COMs continue to be. While I don’t think you should expect to sell all of your two-word .COMs for $1M+, you can still expect to see a lot of strength and continued demand for these domains.

Four of the top 25 domains are numeric domain names, and insanely good ones at that. 01.com and 20.com took the #4 and #5 spots both selling in the $1.5M – $2M range. 708.com and 380.com both sold in the $300k – $350k range and I think in both of these cases these sales can be used in the future to explain why a similar domain would be worth what it is.

I also pay attention to what marketplaces or sales channels are moving the hottest names. In the past Sedo seems to usually take the majority of the top domain sales, but not in 2017.What’s even more surprising to see is that Sedo wasn’t involved in the top 16 domain sales. Instead private sales, individual brokers, smaller more boutique marketplaces, and individual sellers created a very diverse sales landscape amongst the top 25.

Sharjil Saleem did an incredible job this year and is credited with three of the top 25 domain sales of 2017. Right of the Dot also landed in the same spot with three of the top 25 domain sales under their belt as well. GetYourDomain made us all happy when they brokered the largest two-word .COM deal of the year with MyWorld.com, they also sold EMarketing.com for $265,000 in another solid sale.

Sedo’s top reported sale this year was Spend.com for $275,000 and like I said above, this is probably what has surprised me the most about the top 25 domain sales from 2017. Okay, now let’s put all this together:

  • .COM is still very much king taking 23 of the top 25 spots
  • One-word .COMs definitely still have the most value
  • Two-word .COMs can still sell in the seven-figure range
  • Sedo still sells a ton of domains but there are smaller brokers and firms playing more actively at the top

I’d say that for most of my readers, none of these conclusions are very groundbreaking, the first three bullet points I think have held true for years and it’s nice to see them continue to. I think my main takeaway here is that we are moving from an industry of lots of small players which means that opportunities for new brokers and smaller firms are probably better than they have ever been.

As a domain owner, I think this also shows that selling your domain through the biggest distribution network isn’t necessary going to get you top dollar any more. You now have more options than ever and it’s clear based on the top 25 sales of 2017 that there are probably more options than ever…the challenge is finding the right one for you.

What do you think? Anything I missed? Comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Harvey January 1, 2018, 8:08 am

    Ron does a great job and the data is important to capture. But these sales are really meaningless as a valuation guide to your own sales.
    1) These are NOT the top 25 sales, just the ones reported. Frank Schilling alone would have dozens to best what’s shown. I know of big fortune 100 companies who have bought out whole businesses to shut down and only keep their domain (10s of millions spent)
    3) Many sales are made to companies who have a matching name or product but have been using a variant of other extension. It’s an upgrade not a matter where they will look at other names.
    4) Look at the biggest winners in the past decade: Netflix, Apple, PayPal, Shopify, Facebook, AirBnB, Uber, Snap, Instagram, Google, Match, Tinder, Open Table, Travago, Orbitz, Warby Parker, etc. I can’t see any names on the above list having the power to carry a brand into success on this level, nor would the conclusions above be valuation factors in a startup shopping for a name.
    5) The world changes with it comes new demand for names. Five years ago a Coin keyword name had limited prospects among collectible coin dealers. Now it defines a trillion dollar market. Don’t look at formal answers and canned assumptions, take each prospect from the value of what they want to accomplish and how much is that worth.

    Reply

Leave a Comment