November-December 2014      The Domain Industry News Magazine

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Final 2014 Domain Sales Numbers Show Impressive Increases Over Previous Year

Another domain sales year is in the books and 2014 was one we will remember fondly. Total dollar volume and median domain sales prices were up almost across the board year over year for .coms, non .com gTLDs and ccTLDs as the market continued its rebound from the long slump brought on by the Great Recession (and helped along by huge decreases in PPC payouts - a revenue stream that still has not recovered - making higher domain sales prices even more impressive).


2014 sales image from Bigstock

In this newsletter we will start by breaking down the 2014 vs. 2013 numbers, then we will give you a look at the final stats for the closing quarter of the year and how 4Q-2014 compared to both the prior quarter and the same quarter a year ago .

As we have noted in our past two newsletters, total $ volume numbers in the second half of 2014 have been impacted by Go Daddy/Afternic (one of the largest aftermarket sales platforms) discontinuing their sales reports after the first week in June - an unfortunate side effect of the mandatory quiet period that accompanied Go Daddy's IPO application. As a result we have had to estimate Go Daddy/Afternic (GD/A) sales numbers since early June in order to get a better handle on how this year's sales compared to 2013 when they were reporting. We do know that the average sales they were reporting to us this year before entering the quiet period were approximately $2.6 million monthly. By adding their average figures to our totals from all other venues over the second half of the year we were able to arrive at a pretty accurate estimate of what the numbers were across the board.

For example, The total dollar sales volume across all extensions reported to us in 2013 was $101.9 million. Even without GD/A sales since early June, $101.3 million in sales were reported in 2014. When you take GD/A's average sales (as reported up to early June) and extrapolate those through the balance of the year, that is another $17.5 million that went unreported, making the estimated industry wide total $118.8 million, a solid 16.5% increase over 2013. 

The story is almost the same when you break out .coms only. $79.9 million in .com sales were reported in 2013. In 2014, with less than six months of GD/A sales included, the number was almost the same - $79.1 million. However, when you add in GD/A's average .com sales from the period when they were reporting, we know they had about $13 million in unreported .com sales - bringing the total to $92.1 million - a 15% jump over 2013. 

Domains image from Bigstock

The country code category did not see a significant increase in their total $ volume. $13.3 million in ccTLD sales were reported in 2013 with $13.05 million reported in 2014. The ccTLDs do not get a big boost from a GD/A add-in because their platform produces few ccTLD sales (as the category is dominated by Sedo). There would have been a slight boost from GD/A but just enough to leave both years at about the same level.

The non .com gTLDs did see an increase, even without GD/A numbers added in - moving up from $8.6 million in 2013 to $9.1 million in 2014 - however that number is deceiving. Almost a third of the category's total came from one sale - at $3 million last June. However, this group would have looked even stronger with the GD/A numbers for the second half of the year as a lot of non .com gTLD domains are sold there. 

While the GD/A situation prevents us from pinning down exact numbers for total $ volume, it hasn't prevented us from nailing down another important metric - median domain sales prices (the point at which half of all sales were higher and half were lower). As further evidence of a market rebound median prices were up across the board

In looking at medians, as always, we want to remind your that in order to keep our weekly domain 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 TLDs from $1,000 and up). So our median numbers would be lower if we also tracked the bottom end of the market. Conversely, our total $ volume number would be higher).

The median price reported to us across all extensions was $3,000 in 2014 up a very healthy 9% from the $2,750 reported in 2013 (it takes a a lot to move medians so their increases/decreases tend to be small - often on the order of 1-2%). For .coms only,  the median price rose from $3,180 in 2013 to $3,500 in 2014 - a 10% jump. For the ccTLDs medians were up from $1,958 in 2013 to $1,990 in 2014 and the non .com gTLDs also rose, going from $1,888 in 2013 to $2,010 in 2014.

To complete the picture, let's take a look now at the closing quarter of 2014. Again, with GD/A absent for more than half the year, the $ volume numbers are off but in most cases if GD/A had reported, they would have been up against the previous year. Comparisons against the previous quarter don't have such a handicap because GD/A did not report in either quarter.

For all extensions combined, Total $ Volume stayed almost even from 3Q-2014 ($20.1 million) to 4Q-2014 ($19.7 million). In the same quarter a year ago, volume was $26.9 million with GD/A reporting. If GD/A had reported even their average sales in 4Q-2014 that would have been another $7.8 million, pushing the 2014 total past 2013.

For .coms only 4Q-2014 volume surpassed the previous quarter, moving up from $15.5 million to $16.4 million. The other two categories, perhaps affected by the arrival of new gTLDS, were both down against the previous quarters (as well as against the same quarter a year ago due partly to the GD/A absence this year). The ccTLDs slipped to $2.25 million in 4Q-2014 from $3.3 million in 3Q-2014 and from $3.6 million in 4Q-2013. The non .com gTLDs managed just $1 million in 4Q-2014, down from $1.4 million the previous quarter and $2.1 million in the same quarter a year ago (when GD/A was reporting).

The 4Q-2014 median prices were a mixed bag with 3Q-2014 medians higher than 4Q-2014 medians in most categories. For all 

Image from Bigstock

extensions combined the 4Q-2014 median was $2,859, down from $3,000 the previous quarter but about the same as the $2,900 median a year ago. For .coms only the 4Q-2014 median was $3,600, down considerably from $4,410 in 3Q-2014 but up from the $3,395 posted in 4Q-2013. For the ccTLDs, the 4Q-2014 median was $1,874, down from $1,935 in 3Q-2014 and from $1,958 a year ago. Oddly enough, the non .com gTLDs (the poorest performing category in $ volume terms) was the only group to see its median rise both quarter to quarter and year over year. Their 4Q-2014 number of $2,500 was up over 10% from $2,200 in 3Q-2014 and above the $1,995 registered in 4Q-2013.

With the full year wind at its back the domain aftermarket enters the new year with momentum on its side. We'll be here to let you know how it shakes out weekly and quarter by quarter as the year goes on.



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Ron Jackson

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