Could these ideas increase aftermarket domain name sales?
GoDaddy has filed two patent applications that contain interesting concepts and data. If fully implemented as described, the systems could increase aftermarket domain name transactions.
The applications are number 14/591778 (pdf) for “Notifying users of available searched domain names” and 14/591758 (pdf) for “Notifying registrants of domain name valuations”. Both were filed last year and published yesterday.
The idea is to make it easier for potential domain registrants to buy existing domain names and become available (either for registration or aftermarket purchase) after they did their initial search.
Even if a domain owner’s name isn’t listed for sale, domain owners can get concrete feedback about the level of interest in their domain name, and perhaps how much people are willing to pay for it.
Practically, the registrar would store information about searches made by a potential domain registrant. It will notify the domain searcher if the domain later expires and becomes available. It will also notify the searcher if the domain owner later offers the domain for sale on the aftermarket.
There’s also a way for a searcher to express an interest in buying a domain name that’s registered but not listed for sale and to indicate an offering price. This data can be forwarded to the domain owner, perhaps prompting them to list the domain for sale or to get an idea of valuation from potential buyers.
This would be much more valuable data than what’s currently made available to domain owners. GoDaddy provides data about how many whois searches have occurred for a domain in your account, but there’s a lot of noise in this data.
GoDaddy hopes that such a system would “incentivize current domain name registrants to consolidate their current domain names into a consolidated portfolio and list the domain names more frequently on the domain name aftermarket.”
The patent applications also reveal some data that I haven’t seen before:
1. Roughly 65% of searches today result in the user not finding the available domain name that they originally searched.
(I’m surprised this number isn’t higher.)
2. The high unavailability of domain names may cause users to search for domain names an average of 4-5 times before they find a domain name to register that fits their needs. The high end of this average may be as many as 10-12 searches before the user finds an acceptable domain name.