July 2012         DNJournal.com     The Domain Industry News Magazine

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Fewer High End Domain Sales in 2Q-2012 Cause Total $ Volume to Slip But Median Prices Edge Up 

We've just finished crunching the domain sales numbers reported to us in the second quarter of 2012 (this is the data that goes into the weekly domain sales reports that we have been producing since 2003). The numbers confirm a trend we have seen developing over the past year - fewer sales at the ultra high end of the market (six and seven figures sales) while the low to mid-range generally remain solid, especially for .coms.

In 2Q-2012 no seven-figure sales were reported (and there was only one in 1Q-2012 - PersonalLoans.com at $1,000,000). The highest sale reported in 2Q-2012 was Jackpot.com at $500,000 and that was one of only a dozen six-figure sales reported during the quarter. There were over 50% more at that level in 1Q-2012 - 19 in all. That resulted in the total dollar volume of sales reported to us in 2Q-2012 slipping 6.7% from the previous quarter, dropping from $22.4 million to $20.9 million

However, the median sales price (the price at which half of all sales were higher and half were lower) went in the other direction, rising 4% from $2,588 in Q1-2012 to $2,688 in 2Q-2012 - evidence of continuing strength outside of the ultra high end of the market. Those headline grabbing sales have always accounted for just a tiny fraction of reported transactions but they have a big impact on total dollar volume. 

Image from Bigstock

Another example of that comes from a steeper drop in total dollar volume from the same quarter a year ago. With a seven-figure sale and 17 six-figure sales in 2Q-2011 that quarter wound up at $28.2 million - 26% higher than 2Q-2012 when six-figure sales were scarce and seven-figure ones non-existent (at least publicly reported sales at that level - it is widely accepted that the vast majority of aftermarket domain sales are kept private). However again, despite a huge edge in total dollar volume, median sales prices in 2Q-2011 were virtually identical to those being commanded in 2Q-2012 ($2,688 in 2Q-2011 vs. $2,700 in the same quarter a year ago, a difference of less than 1%). 

Image from Bigstock

Before we delve deeper into the numbers by breaking out results by TLD categories (.coms, ccTLDs and non .com gTLDs), keep in mind that, in order to keep our weekly sales reports at a manageable length, we do not track sales below four figures (to be specific we track .com sales of $2,000 and up and all other extensions from $1,000 or more). As a result our median figures are higher than they would be if we tracked the entire universe of domain sales and conversely, total dollar volume is considerably less than it would be if we tracked sales at the lowest end of the market). However by tracking the same metrics quarter after quarter, year end and year out, we have a good snapshot of overall market activity and trends.

Now let's break down the latest numbers by category. The .coms, as they usually do, fared best. In fact, the .coms were the only group that saw increases in both total dollar volume and median sales prices compared to the previous quarter. In 2Q-2012, total reported .com sales volume rose from $15.2 million in 1Q-2012 to $15.4 million in 

2Q-2012. The median .com sales price also rose from $3,000 in 1Q-2012 to $3,188 in 2Q-2012. The median in the same quarter a year ago was also $3,000, so the .com median was up 6% against each of those earlier quarters.

Meanwhile the number of .com sales transactions reported remained almost identical - 2,367 in 1Q-2012 and 2,341 in 2Q-2012. That is more impressive when a look at the number of sales reported across all extensions dropped considerably from the previous quarter with 4,306 reported in 1Q-2012 vs. 3,878 in 2Q-2012, a 10% decline.  

The ccTLDs, as they have been for many years now, remain the second strongest category with almost twice the total dollar volume of the non .com gTLDs (a category that includes .net, .org, .info. and .biz among others). The impending wave of new gTLDs will also fall in this category). Even so, the country codes were down both quarter over quarter and year over year. In 2Q-2012 the total $ volume of reported ccTLD sales was $3.5 million after reaching $4.6 million in 1Q-2012 and the same figure in 2Q-2011. That is a 24% slide against each of those earlier quarters. 

The median ccTLD price also slipped. After hitting $2,002 in 2Q-2011 and $1,979 in 1Q-2012, that number ebbed to $1,908 in 2Q-2012, off a little under 5% from the same quarter a year ago and 3.5% from the previous quarter. 

It was a similar story for the non. com gTLDs. Total $ volume in category fell to $2 million, a 23% drop from the $2.6 million reported in 1Q-2012 and a 28.5% plunge form the $2.8 million reported in 2Q-2011. The median price

Image from Bigstock

for non .com gTLD also fell. That number came in at $1,700 in 2Q-2012, a 4% dip from $1,769 in 1Q-2012 and a steeper 14.5% fall from 2Q-1011. 

On the day we compiled this report, one of the leading aftermarket sales venues, Sedo, also released their quarterly sales report covering 2Q-2012. One of the interesting stats in Sedo's report was that the average .net sales price on their platform was actually higher than their .com average sales price. With .com's dominance in the marketplace, that came as something of a surprise so we wondered if our median numbers (which came from many venues, including Sedo) also reflected that.

As noted earlier, we track .coms sales starting at $2,000 so, using the same minimum for the .net sales in our database, we ran the numbers and came up with the same results. From our data set, the 2Q-2012 median price for .nets was $3,388 while the .com median was $3,188. You might be able to use that bit of unusual information as a trivia question that could win you a beer at your local bar (assuming it is filled with domainers, of course, otherwise no one will know what you are talking about)! 


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Ron Jackson

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