Joseph Peterson dives into last month’s sales on Web.com’s aftermarket platforms.
Yesterday, I published a quantitative comparison of NameJet sales in December 2019 compared to 2015. Now let’s look at what sold last month, including both NameJet and SnapNames.
The top sale – WeedCenter.org ($23.1k) – is a bit surprising … and in more ways than one. Of course, 2-word .ORG domains don’t usually rake in so much green. Seldom do they top the sales charts. But marijuana (a.k.a. “weed”) is both a cash crop and a burgeoning industry, now that legalization is so widespread. Arguably .ORG has a certain cachet for a medical cannabis dispensary, due to its associations with non-profit projects. Still, it’s a curious fact that the matching .COM sits parked, un-utilized. Did the bidders try to buy it? What would they have paid? More? Or does this aged .ORG have its own special benefits – back-links for SEO perhaps. It has been a developed website since 2001. But – surprise! – it began as CIPM, the Center for Invasive Plant Management – literal weeds, not weed at all.
NameServers.com ($20.0k) was the runner up. All of us in the domain industry interact with name servers; so we’re probably more interested in the future of this domain than the average bloke. It will be interesting to see how it’s put to use. With something like RapidLoans.com ($10.0k), there is no mystery. We all know what the project is, purely from the name, even if it doesn’t yet exist. In a sense, that’s true of PaceMakers.com ($16.0k) as well. There may be no advertisers competing for paid clicks in SERPs for that term, but anybody facing heart surgery – their own or that of a loved one – might well do some online research. And manufacturers of these expensive, life-saving devices might want to use this authoritative domain to manage public perception regarding their product.
Only 7 domain sales at these 2 venues cleared $2k during December. Among the top 10, nearly half were not-.COMs. But they were the legacy gTLDs – 3 .ORG and 1 .NET – not the “new” gTLDs of 2014-2015 vintage, the nTLDs. Those didn’t rank. In fact, nothing but the tried-and-true trio of .COM / .NET / .ORG figures anywhere among the 82 listed domains.
Models.net ($19.9k) effectively tied for 2nd place. Other .NETs include Musica.net ($4.4k), which nobody will be shocked to learn means “music” in Spanish and Portuguese, and Update.net ($2.5k), which could be used for either news or software updates.
Including to the top sale, .ORG charted 10 times among the 82 domains. Some were short: GW.org ($9.4k), PS.org ($8.3k), ISS.org ($3.4k). Some were ugly and old: ToxInfo.org ($3.2k), which began as a German-language site in 1999; Made-By.org ($2.3k), which promoted sustainable fashion; MHealthAlliance.org ($2.1k), and NYRedCross.org ($2.1k). In short, the sort of domains that only drop when someone drops the ball or a cause goes belly up. There were also some attractive 1-worders: Merchandise.org ($2.5k) and Routine.org ($4.5k). Usage for the latter is unclear to me. Planning one’s day? Coding?
I’m unable to find any explanation for the large sale of LiUtilities.com ($10.2k). What I did find at the top of SERPs was a forlorn pair of negative reviews alleging (in 2011 and 2015) that this domain was used to spread ransomeware. So beware. True or not, that’s not a reputation most of us would pay $10k to inherit. And it seems very little effort was made to clean up that reputation in the past. So if the name was rescued from an expired domain auction, that would presumably be for the sake of traffic monetization, not branding a business. You tell me.
I confess I don’t see the appeal in Disorganized.com ($2.5k) or Stabilization.com ($2.5k). Maybe for selling organizers from a negatively branded web page? Motion control systems perhaps? As single-word .COMs go, I much prefer Symposia.com ($4.3k), which are the sort of event scholars attend; Recalled.com ($2.2k) for consumer info about product recalls; and especially Assassins.com ($4.1k). Great for branding shoes or bikes or video games: Assassins! Then again, maybe it’ll be the LinkedIn for hired killers.
Although I concluded in my other article that the Chinese footprint at NameJet has shrunk to 1/10 its size compared to 4 years ago, this market sector hasn’t evaporated completely. 9 out of 82 sales over $2k were mixed letter / numeral strings of 3 to 4 characters. Mostly we’ve come to associate these with China, although the highest sale among them – TV8.com ($6.2k) – could stand for a TV channel in the USA.
It’s tempting, at first glance, to view Denka.com ($10.2k) simply as a “brandable” word-like neologism. Although it could be used that way by a startup of any kind, there’s nothing new about Denka. In fact, Denka.co.jp is home to a 105-year-old Japanese chemical company. Hence the price tag, I daresay.
Emballage.com ($2.5k) is French for packaging – which, incidentally, is 1 product manufactured by Denko. ChuyenNha.com ($2.8k) turns out to mean “moving house” in Vietnamese: Chuyển nhà. Relocation will always be a big business. At first, Andao.com ($2.1k) looked like to Portuguese to me, since many words end in “ão”. Something related to “let’s go”, one would surmise. Although it’s not in any dictionary I could find, the word shows up in lyrics by underrated Spanish songwriter Javier Ruibal:
Maybe it’s a feature of one of the Iberian peninsula’s various regional dialects. “Let’s go!” would be good for branding, in that case – a rallying cry. Then again, reportedly, “andao” is also Chinese for “secret channel”. But I have little faith in online translations of Chinese. A native speaker can set the record straight. ClinicaEstetica.com ($2.5k), on the other hand, definitely is Spanish. You can see the literal meaning of “Aesthetic Clinic”, but what sounds clunky in English is quite natural in Spanish. This domain could be well used for a beauty salon, makeup, or cosmetic surgery.
Familiar phrases also sold last month: KitchenRecipes.com ($2.8k), TasteOfItaly.com ($2.0k), ReadyToWear.com ($3.3k). Sometimes multi-word .COMs are unimaginative but eminently practical: BathRemodeling.com ($3.1k), FishingRod.com ($2.2k), SwissTravel.com ($3.1k), UsedCarSale.com ($2.7k).
Other 2-word names fit the more creative “brandable” profile: SmartStay.com ($5.3k), MobileGear.com ($5.1k), TrueCompanion.com ($5.1k), SupplyGiant.com ($3.8k), PetsWorld.com ($3.5k), SportsTime.com ($3.4k), YourPage.com ($3.0k), ArmorCoat.com ($2.9k), MindCamp.com ($2.7k), WiseLaw.com ($2.1k).
Most of the neologism “brandables” that charted were clearly derived from a single English word: Exploria.com ($4.7k), Bunka.com ($4.4k), Textur.com ($4.0k), Aquaria.com ($3.8k), Fresko.com ($2.6k), and ApotheCare.com ($2.5k) correspond to “explore”, “bunker”, “texture”, “aquarium”, “fresco”, “apothecary”. Meanwhile, Novaera.com ($2.9k) and Unitronic.com ($2.2k) are recognizable for latinate features common to multiple words. The same could be said for Aquaria.com. Grouping these sales into clumps to show patterns is not an exact science.
GovernorBryant.com ($2.1k) refers to Phil Bryant, the current governor of Mississippi, whether pro or con. Such domains have a limited shelf life. After 8 years already as governor, Bryant shan’t remain “Governor Bryant” much longer. In contrast, a domain like VRMeeting.com ($3.6k) is patently futuristic. At least, I assume coworkers in 2020 are not sitting around a virtual-reality table to listen to their boss drone on about an agenda. There can be few things more soul-crushingly boring to do with VR goggles. And wearing such goggles, how is one to sip the real but unseen coffee that palliates the monotony of this world’s interminable meetings? At least nobody would notice who’s asleep. There is that.
Joseph Peterson wrote over 140 articles for DNW between 2013 and 2017, followed by 2 years as Epik’s Director of Operations. He is currently developing a marketplace for shared ownership of domains.