September-October 2010     The Domain Industry News Magazine

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With No 7-Figure Blockbusters Total $ Value of 3Q-2010 Domain Sales Slips 3% From a Year Ago But Median Sales Price Rises 15% 

The domain sales numbers are in for the third quarter of 2010 and there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that the total dollar amount of sales reported to us in 3Q-2010 was $23.5 million, down 3% from the $24.3 million registered in the same quarter a year ago. The decline from the previous quarter was more precipitous, falling 19% from the $29.1 million reported in 2Q-2010. That looks really bad on the surface but a closer look at the numbers shows that for the vast majority of sellers, prices were up solidly in 3Q-2010!

How can that be? As always a few outliers at the top of the market can dramatically skew the total dollar value of reported sales. That is exactly what happened here. There was not a single 7-figure sale reported in 3Q-2010. The four highest sales were ($510,000), ($500,000), ($400,000) and ($350,000). Those top four sales totaled just $1.76 million


The total $ value of 3Q-2010
 domain sales was down due to no 
7-figure sales, but the median sales 
rose by double digits.

Contrast that to the top four sales in the previous quarter (2Q-2010): ($5,500,000), ($1,750,000), ($1,250,000) and ($1,100,000). That is a total of $9.6 million for just those four domains (which also happen to be the four biggest sales so far in 2010 - they all fell in the same quarter). 

So the total value of just the top four sales in 2Q-2010 was $7.84 million higher than the total value of the top four sales in 3Q-2010, accounting for all of the $5.6 million shortfall from 2Q to 3Q this year and then some. The year over year results were similar. The total for the top four sales in 3Q-2009 were almost twice as high in 3Q-2010, again accounting for all of the dollar difference from one year to the next.

With the total dollar value of reported sales so reliant on a hand full of blockbuster sales a more useful figure - and one far more relevant to people who are not selling 7-figure domains - is the median sales price - the point at which half of all reported sales were higher and half were lower. By that measure, the $2,944 median price reported to us in 3Q-2010 represents a 15% jump over the same quarter a year ago when the median was $2,563. The 3Q-2010 median also rose 7% from the $2,750 median price the previous quarter (2Q-2010). So the market is seeing considerably healthier prices than in previous reporting periods both this year and a year ago. 

That weaker total dollar figure we saw in 3Q-2010 is also likely to see a huge surge in 4Q-2010 when a $13 million bankruptcy sale of is expected to be completed. Talk about big sales skewing the total dollar value - had that Sex. com sale been logged in 3Q-2010 that domain alone would have created a jump of more than 50% in the total market value reported for the quarter.

(Editor's note: We only report notable domain sales - in our case that is .com sales of $2,000 and higher and all other extensions of $1,000 and higher. As a result median prices for the entire market would be considerably lower than those reflected in the sales we track that do not include the low end of the market). 

Here are some other numbers of interest. For the first three quarters of this year, the total dollar value of sales reported to us has been $75.7 million. That is down a bit - 1.3% - from the $76.7 million total at the same point in 2009. However, again, if closes in 4Q-2010, this year should easily surpass the 2009 total.

Looking at .com domains only, the median sales price in 3Q-2010 was $3,700, down slightly (-2.6%) from the $3,800 median from the previous quarter. The total dollar value figure for .com sales, due to the lack of 7-figure sales, saw a much steeper drop, falling 38% from $21.7 million in 2Q-2010 to $13.5 million in 3Q-2010.

By contrast, the median price for ccTLD domains priced $2,000 and higher (the same minimum as the .coms in our database) was $4,445, soaring almost 20% from the $3,718 median in 2Q-2010. The total dollar value of country code sales also ballooned from $5.49 million to $6.99 million, a jump of more than 27% from 2Q-2010 to 3Q-2010. The ccTLDs have been rocking for a couple of years now and their momentum seems to be getting only stronger.

The non .com gTLDs continue to lag the .coms and ccTLDs but this category did show gains in both total dollar volume and median sales price in 3Q-2010. The median soared more than 13% from $3,088 in 2Q-2010 to $3,500 in the most recent quarter and the total dollar volume of reported non .com gTLD sales increased by an even higher percentage - 30% - from $2.3 million to $3 million.

Sedo Releases Their 3Q-2010 Domain Market Study

For another view of 3Q-2010 activity in the domain aftermarket, download Sedo's latest quarterly market study (.PDF file). Sedo contributes to our weekly domain sales reports, but as noted above, we have them send just sales that meet our reporting minimums ($2,000 and up for .coms and $1,000 and up for ccTLDs). Their in house survey covers the full range of sales made on Sedo's popular aftermarket platform. 

Some of the highlights from Sedo's report include word that the most popular gTLD there  continues to be - no surprise -  .com with 74% of all sales, followed by .net with 11%, .org with 8%, .info with 5% and .biz with 2%.

Germany' accounted for more than half of all country code TLD sales with 52%. Great Britain's and the European Union's .eu were a close second and third with 14% and 13%, respectively.

In another interesting note, comparisons with offline property investments from the Halifax House Price Index show that while UK house prices were 0.9% lower this quarter, online real-estate sales (domain names) grew by 1.58% in the same period.

We Release A List of the Top 20 Sales Ever Reported to DN Journal

One final note, for the first time we have released a list of the 20 highest domain sales reported to us since we started tracking and verifying sales on the domain aftermarket in the fall of 2003. 

We have always had (and continue to have) charts (scroll down on that page to the chart links) showing the top 100 sales from each year but we haven't previously pulled our all-time Top 20 from those charts (primarily because our all-time list does not include sales prior to when we started verifying sales for ourselves in 2003 and we include only all cash sales of domain names only). 

We cant vouch for sales reported prior to that because we were not following the market then and was eventually learned that many of the sales reported from that era were not cash 

deals (payment was often made, at least partially, with stock that declined dramatically in value) and some of the reports were simply bogus. 

We finally decided to provide our list of verified all cash sales from 2003 forward because so many mainstream media outlets have requested that information from us. 


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