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November 02, 2012

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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
updated daily
to fill you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry. 

The Lowdown is compiled by DN Journal Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.

How Will All of Those Big Marchex Domain Sales Revealed Thursday Fit Into DNJournal's Charting System? 

 As I told you yesterday, when Marchex announced they were spinning off their massive portfolio of domain assets into a new company called Archeo (this .pdf file has details on what the new company will be doing), Marchex also released, for the first time, the prices they received in each of their top 500 domain sales over the past four years. 


With 49 of those sales hitting six figures, ranging all the way up to $700,000, obviously many of the newly revealed transactions would have ranked high on the annual Top 100 sales lists we publish at the end of each year (you can see all of those in our Domain Sales Archive - scroll down past the weekly headline links to the last section with links to the annual Top 100 charts).

Since Marchex did not release the dates their sales were made I couldn't assign qualifying sales to a specific Top 100 chart so I had to decide how to best recognize this treasure trove of new sales information and fit it into our existing data covering tens of thousands of sales reported over the past decade in a way that would make it easily accessible to our readers going forward. 

We have never had a situation like this come up before, so I considered several options before deciding the best route would be to add a special entry in our Domain Sales Archive detailing how the Marchex sales, made over a span of several years, came to be released, including a permanent link to their complete Top 500 list - just as there is a link to each of our Top 100 charts.  

Image from Bigstock

In the years over which the Marchex sales were made, I found that it took a minimum of $73,500 for a domain to qualify for any one of our annual charts across that span. 72 names on the Marchex list beat that number. With a lot of detective work it may (or may not) have been possible to eventually run down the years in which those sales were made so they could be put on existing Top 100 charts - but that would have meant that an average of 18 names on each of the present charts since 2008 would be deleted. 

Since our purpose is to try to bring you more sales information rather than less, I didn't think that was the best option. You could have still dug through hundreds of weekly columns (all of which are linked to in the Archive) to find the 72 notable sales that would have been bumped, but that would take forever rather than having them readily available to you where they are now.

Also, since none of the Marchex sales were reported when they happened, none were included in our weekly reports over the years - another reason to make their list a permanent special entry, otherwise the 428 Marchex sales that would not have qualified for one of the Top 100 lists, would never be seen again in our Sales Archive.

Last but not least is the fact that the Top 100 lists, with or without Marchex sales, are still just a sampling of the sales that have taken place over the years. We all know that publicly reported sales represent just a fraction of aftermarket activity. Most sales, especially at the high end of the market, are never reported due to non disclosure agreements. For that reason we have always taken pains to note that our charts are meant primarily to be an educational tool that allows you to see how much specific domain names have sold for - not a complete list of every sale that took place as such a list is impossible to compile due to the majority of sales being kept private. The vast number of significant sales Marchex made that went previously unreported is a perfect example of that. We only see the tip of the iceberg

Still, being able to detail the specifics from a broad range of public sales is helpful in giving all of us  a better understanding of domain values and sales trends over a long period of time. Through the links in our Sales Archive to all of  our weekly columns since 2003, the annual Top

Image from Bigstock

100 charts and now the Marchex list - all of that information is readily available to you in one spot. 

One final point while I am on the subject of reporting sales. I am often asked why we don't publish an all-time top sales chart. The reason is that I have always refused to vouch for any sales reported prior to the fall of 2003 when we began collecting, verifying to the best of our ability and publishing reported sales. Prior to that a lot of people were claiming to have made big sales - many of which were later proven to be bogus  - comprised of either "funny money" deals that involved more worthless stock than cash or even worse - numbers that were nothing more than someone's vivid imagination.  At the time no one (that I know of) was attempting to verify whether some of the sales claims being thrown around were real. As a result, I am not comfortable including pre-2003 sales on an "all time" chart with my name on it. I'm sure there were many legitimate and  sizeable all cash sales made in earlier years, I just can't tell you with enough certainty which ones fit that description. 

(Posted November 2, 2012) 

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