6 Key Takeaways From The NamesCon Domain Auction

Last week’s NamesCon auction was one of the most highly anticipated domain auction events in years and it didn’t disappoint. The biggest comment I heard across-the-board about the auction was, “it’s a very well curated list of names” which was no small task given all the names that had been submitted.

NamesCon 2016 Domain Auction

The results were solid, just north of 70% of the domain names at auction sold and there is a good chance more will sell in the extended auction. Monster names like AT.com and FW.com didn’t hit reserve but I know there are already a lot of eyes on names like these.

I’ve had some time to digest the results and while one isolated auction can’t predict the future, I think there are some interesting things to point out:

  • wholesale buyers, i.e. domain investors that plan on flipping a domain name later down the road are comfortable paying five figures for new gTLDs – 88.xyz sold for $70,000, web.hosting sold for $52,500, and stock.photo sold for $16,000 and was quickly paired up with stock.photos and resold for $60,000. Sure, we all know this is speculation, but there is no doubt investors are getting much more comfortable with new gTLDs
  • one-word .COMs sold for lower prices than many of us expected and there were without a doubt some absolute steals for a few names listed with no-reserves. One slightly painful example is Erotica.com which was purchased for $800,000 eight years ago and sold for $80,000 in the auction. Tuscany.com, a domain that I thought would get bids into the mid six-figure range sold for $157,500. I wouldn’t say one-word .COMs are dying or becoming less valuable but it does seem like there’s a bit of short term softening here with investors.
  • one-character new gTLDs sold well and in a similar price range – from e.gift for $8,000 to i.link at $8,250 to i.rent for $9,000 the chance to get a one-character domain has been an incredibly rarity in the domain industry since the early days. I personally think that one-character domains have great potential depending on the TLD, and since there are so few available they will all be gone very quickly.
  • .NET and .ORG are about as cold as they’ve ever been. First, there was only one .NET and one .ORG in the auction, the .ORG – 787.org sold for under $2,000 vs. 180.xyz which sold for $3,500. It is clear that the new gTLDs have had a major impact on .NET and .ORG and I think we’ll continue to see these extensions become harder and harder to get liquidity out of
  • Two-word .COMs are still sitting in the mid four-figure range for investors. I’ve always been a two-word .COM fan and know many people that buy these in the mid-four figure range and sell in the $20k – $30k range. From where I’m sitting these are at the same price they were (or slightly lower) than a few years ago. ClosetOrganizer.com – $5,500, DessertWine.com – $4,000, Multilevel.com – $5,500, SepticTank.com – $6,100
  • Product domains are way down. There was a time when we used to be able to put a small site on a product domains, get it ranked, and bring in some nice affiliate income. Those days are over now that Google displays its own shopping results, followed by people like Amazon, Jet, Best Buy, all companies that are spending millions of dollars more than you can ever afford. Product .COMs were the lowest I’ve seen in years with a few particularly low sales like ExternalDrives for $1,200, ToyTrucks.com for $2,750 and CheapLaptops.com for $3,500
Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton