Who would pay over ten grand for a new second level domain name?
A lot of people were in shock last week when GoDaddy unveiled its pricing for Donuts’ Early Access Program registrations.
The Early Access Program (EAP) is Donuts’ version of the traditional landrush period. Instead of accepting applications and auctioning the domain names off the the highest bidder, EAP is sort of like a Dutch auction. The EAP goes on for five days, and the price to register a domain name drops significantly each day.
For example, here’s GoDaddy’s pricing for registrations under the .ventures top level domain name during EAP:
Day 1 $12,569.99
Day 2 $3,194.99
Day 3 $1,269.99
Day 4 $719.99
Day 5 $219.99
Amusingly, GoDaddy’s description of this service, which it dubs Priority Pre-Registration, describes the pricing as a “small premium”.
That Day 1 pricing is a pretty big premium. I can’t think of many second level strings that would be worth close to five figures. So what type of company would actually pay first day pricing for a Donuts’ TLD?
The only example I can think of is a company that wants to protect its brand in one particular top level domain, but doesn’t qualify for the sunrise period.
Here’s an example of a company that might be willing to pay over $10,000 to participate on the first day: Austin Ventures.
Austin Ventures is a venture capital/private equity group that has raised about $3.9 billion since its inception. It might want to protect the “domain hack” austin.ventures. It wouldn’t qualify for the sunrise period since it doesn’t have a trademark for “Austin”.
If it wants to protect the domain, it’s going to have to register the domain during general availability. The earliest opportunity to beat others to the domain is the EAP phase.
Still, over ten grand for austin.ventures? That’s a lot of money for a domain like this.
Which brings me to the one other reason Austin Ventures is a company that might actually plunk down this kind of cash…
It’s an investor in Donuts.