RETRACTION: A previous version of this article had listed two specific GTLD domain names sold last year (2016), instead of this year (2017); these GTLD domain names have been removed. Additionally a statement comparing the GTLDs as being sold higher than the .com domains, was a result of this error. The article has been edited to remove these examples. Although .com domain sales seemed lower than usual, so did GTLDs – in their performance when compared to last year.
NEW YORK, NY – I attended the NamesCon domain auction in Las Vegas this past week and I had a front row seat to Disaster – or what some might say was a “less than stellar” turnout for great .com domain name sales. For example, SportsCars.com sold for just $48,000.00. AllergyShots.com sold for just $2,750.00 and HouseAlarms.com sold for $5,000.00.
The domain name Bartending.com is auctioned off by legendary auctioneer Wayne Wheat at NamesCon 2017 in Las Vegas, Monte Cahn to his right with Jonathan Tenenbaum of NameJet far right. Having lack-luster bids, the domain was moved to the online auction.
So are these auction results a solid reflection of where the market is today for short, great, premium .com domain names? No, I don’t think so.
What this reflects is uncertainty in the wholesale market for domains overall, and it looks to this domainer that there are two main reasons that .com domains are wholesaling for less, and that’s definitely due, at least in part, to 1) GTLDs – and 2) the deterioration of EMDs.
Here is what is playing out in the market, in my opinion:
- You have a great deal of investor money moving over to GTLDs which obviously removes that money from availability when it comes to competitive bidding across the board. With all of these new extensions, there are plenty more bets to be made; money is moving around all over the place, and this is shaking up the market and diversifying spending.
- EMDs (Exact Match Domains) are no longer a sure thing when it comes to search engine success. Google and other search engines don’t just rank EMDs for the heck-of-it anymore, hurting their value. You actually have to develop your exact match domain now-a-days to make any money from them which removes about half of likely buyers from the mix. Many investors, those without good development partners, do not want to have to add expenses to their domain portfolios as this opens them up to potential losses. Additionally, domain parking revenue is down, so again this leads to development.
Although the EMD situation is playing a role, it’s more than likely that GTLDs are playing the larger role here. Ron Jackson’s DNJournal .com has a new cover story out “The State of the Industry 2017” and it has some exceptional coverage including 17 professional opinions on where the market is now and where it is heading. I relate best with comments from Ilze Kaulins-Plaskacz Founder, ExcellentDomains.ca, where she said:
You don’t need a crystal ball to see that the new gTLDs have made an impact on our industry and will continue to do so in 2017,” Ilze said.
Later in the article she makes another statement I again, totally agree with.
Although I still feel that .com is still King, overall, worldwide, and will continue to grow even stronger, these new extensions are having some impact.
No doubt about it. The main question is, for how long?
Now again, this is pretty much tied to wholesale activity; not what is happening in what I would like to call “the real world” of website addresses. Dot com is clearly still the foundation businesses desire to build their business on, according to Verisign, but when it comes to investors, flipping domains and sales charts – new shorter domains, such as country codes and cool alternatives such as .live, .club and .xyz (believe it or not) seem to be taking much of the limelight.