PALM BEACH, FL – According to a recent report that popped up in my LinkedIn feed, the domain name Portugal.com recently sold through SEDO brokerage and domain sales platform. For those wondering, Portugal is a European country on the Iberian Peninsula, bordering Spain. It’s population, according to the World Bank, is over 10 million.
Many geographic domain names sell based on their overall popularity as travel destinations and largely on population size which helps in generating traffic and revenue. If you happened to read some related domain blogs on the sale or bumped-into the original LinkedIn post, you might have noticed that most participants in the discussion believe the domain was far undersold and should have netted a much larger sales price.
So, what gives? Why did Portugal sell for so little money? Does it indicate that there could be a declining interest in geographic based domain names?
The writer of the news report, Elliot Silver, speculated that the legal issues surrounding France.com could potentially have dampened interest and security in ownership of such a domain. [France.com was basically stolen from its original U.S. registrant and transferred to the French government.] Good point, I had not kept up to date on the case and see that the original registrants’ attempt to hold the French government accountable have fallen on deaf ears thus far.
It appears the case now sits in the Supreme Court as France.com v. The French Republic by way of a petition to revive the case based on the potential that the court may have ‘misapplied its decision’ referencing prior case-law. Seems like a long shot but worth it when there is nothing else to try.
What a travesty of injustice.
This will most certainly reduce the perceived value of a geo-domain name, especially when another country is involved because it creates an entrepreneur’s worst enemy moments of doubt and fear. Few if any in the domain industry, even its most experienced domainers, saw this one coming. On its surface, the owner of the France.com domain looks to have did everything he could to protect his investment including providing a bona fide use with the domain and registering a Federal Trademark.
Let’s look at some other country domain sales prices.
- Korea.com – $5 million (population 51.78 million) [Year 2000]
- England.com – $2 million (population 55.98 million) [Year 1999]
- Russia.com – $1.5 million (population 144.1 million) [Year 2009]
- Singapore.com – $800,000 (population 5.686 million) [Year 2003]
- Brazil.com – $500,000 (population 212.6 million) [Year 2003]
- NewZealand.com – $500,000 (population 5.084 million) [Year 2009]
- Iran.com – $400,000 (population 83.99 million) [Year 2007]
- Gibraltar.com – $360,000 (population 33,691) [Year 2011]
Now, while considering not all sales are public, looking at these few country domains, one thing that jumps out is that they are all sales which took place a decade ago, or more. Another noticeable take away is that the prices jump around on this list regardless of population size, so population would not necessarily be a science in these names.
According to the internet archive, Portugal.com has been a fully developed website complete with active social media profiles for years. The domain now points to https://portugalonline.com, of course, its likely purchaser.
There are many other geographic domain names currently for sale, including the mother of all travel destinations NEWYORK.com which is ripe and ready for the taking by any adventurous investor with a vision and deep pockets, however such names are not sold every day and take their sweet time to materialize and turn into closings.
In more recent geographic domain news, California.com, representing a U.S. state with a population of a whopping 39 million people (the equivalent size of many countries) sold for $3 million in late 2018 while the domain name Connecticut.com (Population 3.565 million) has been for sale for years with no takers. If I remember correctly, it did not even receive any bids in a 2020 NamesCon auction where its reserve was set between $100k and $500k; it wound up being passed on.
While trying to figure out exactly why Portugal.com sold for the price it did will remain speculation at best, I feel pretty confident that one of the most important parts of selling a domain name for its absolute maximum value rests in its seller, the enthusiasm of the person pitching the name for sale, or just having the right broker.
About The Author: John Colascione is Chief Executive Officer of Internet Marketing Services Inc. He specializes in Website Monetization, is a Google AdWords Certified Professional, authored a ‘how to’ book called ”Mastering Your Website‘, and is a key player in several Internet related businesses through his search engine strategy brand Searchen Networks®