Joseph Peterson does a deep dive on domains that sold on NameJet and SnapNames last year. Oh, and turn up your volume.
A couple of features leap out at me while looking at the top June auction results from NameJet / SnapNames. First of all, 4 out of the 5 highest sales – which were coincidentally the only 5 results with 5-digit prices – were single English dictionary words. Look at Bartenders.com ($50.0k) and Joggers.com ($23.0k). While many of you will say that stands to reason, inasmuch as this category of domain typically fetches a premium price when sold, it’s actually not true that single-word domains always dominate the auction charts. May and April showed a more diverse mixture of domains at the top, including big-ticket defunct websites, 4-digit numerical domains, and 3-letter acronyms. Those were absent last month for whatever reason.
Secondly – and much more strikingly – 2 .ORGs made it into the top 5: Psychotherapy.org ($10.3k) and Galaxy.org ($10.1k). Both topics have associations with non-profit research, which makes .ORG a natural branding choice.
Of course, not all single-word .COMs fare equally well. Consider items like Restorer.com ($4.2k), Partier.com ($4.1k), and Breakouts.com ($2.6k). Acne treatment is big business, and that’s certainly one application for “breakouts”. But few companies choose to make a negative idea their home page, which might relegate such a domain to ancillary marketing. Budgets tend to be bigger for buying a domain that will brand the buyer’s primary website. And it’s easier for an audience to identify in a positive way with Joggers.com ($23.0k) or Bartenders.com ($50.0k). The latter would be a memorable name for any business involved in the alcoholic beverage industry. So it’s not limited to classified ads for literal bartenders.
“Not .COMs” made up 13 out of 89 sales over $2k. As usual, these were mostly .ORG followed by .NET; and nTLDs were nowhere to be seen. Among .ORGs, there were 3 more dictionary words: Transact.org ($3.8k); Broken.org ($3.1k); and Loom.org ($2.6k). Textiles would be the natural subject matter for the last one, but it might simply be an acronym like CIF.org ($2.5k) or ODCCP.org ($2.1k). In case you’re wondering, ODCCP refers to the United Nations “Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention”. As expected, .ORG also includes multi-word domains related to social initiatives: GreenGrowth.org ($4.9k) and MouthHealthyKids.org ($4.3k). The outlier is VideoGames.org ($5.0k), an overtly commercial topic.
.NET had its dictionary word, Envelope.net ($2.4k); its 2-word commercial topic, WealthManagement.net ($4.0k); and an upgrade for an existing brand, Kheper.net ($5.0k), which sells athletic attire in South Africa using a local .CO.ZA website. To expand outside its borders that company will need a gTLD like .NET, since Google biases search results away from non-local ccTLDs, causing .CO.ZA to rank badly except in 1 country. Speaking of South Africa, most of us wouldn’t pay even a basic registration fee for a domain like SouthAfrica-NewYork.net; but it sold for $4,000 at NameJet – undoubtedly due to backlinks. From 1998 to 2019, this has been the official website for the Consulate General of South Africa in NYC.
427.cc ($8.4k) is the only Not-.COM sale that wasn’t .ORG or .NET It’s joined by a couple of other domains containing numerals: 88357.com ($3.7k) and 5IP.com ($2.0k). China has always been the primary market for numerical domains, and it has embraced .CC in a way other countries haven’t.
Back in 2015, Chinese appetite for numerical domains and “CHIPs” – vowel-less, “V”-less, 4-letter domains – was the driving force behind NameJet sales. As many as 85 LLLL.com domains were selling above $2k per month. Now, even with a 2nd auction house (SnapNames) included, there are only 4 such domains – and none of them CHIPs. Instead, they’re all pronounceable: OXIS.com ($8.0k); ELMI.com ($3.9k); FEBS.com ($2.7k); and ARGY.com ($3.1k), which sounds like “Argy-Bargy”, British slang for an argument, and my favorite Squeeze album.
Outside English, there were some notable sales. It’s rare for an IDN to crack the $2k reporting threshold, but xn--grz90n.com ($2.1k) did. Apparently that’s Chinese for “aviation”: 航空.com. Meanwhile, Dekai.com ($2.7k) seems to be transliterated Japanese for でかい, meaning “huge” or “enormous”. At first glance, WeinShop.com ($3.4k) seems to be a mishmash of German and English. But “shop” has been absorbed into German as a loan word to such an extent that “weinshop” is prominently used by scads of wine sellers all over the web: Bindella.ch and Gottardi.at and Weinshop24.at, for example.
A trio of Spanish domains sold: Sumas.com ($4.3k), which would be “sums” or “adding”; Canoa.com ($3.4k) for “canoe”; and Nidos.com ($2.5k). The last of these has great potential, in my opinion. Literally it means “nests”, but in practice, it refers to nurseries or daycare or pre-schools. There are several nidos within a few blocks of my apartment. Across Latin America there must be a vast number, and parents are always researching their options online.
The 2nd highest sale last month was for the phrase Perfect10.com ($47.5k). Often competitions (like gymnastics in the Olympics) are judged with a maximum score of 10. And consumers are often asked to rate products or services in the same way. So this will make an excellent brand name for some company that wants, above all, to convey quality or beauty or achievement. Other familiar phrases also sold: BigBaby.com ($4.0k), used for whiny kids and petulant adults; IKnowAGuy.com ($3.2k), used for service referrals; and SweetMemories.com ($2.5k), which brings to mind this Ann Peebles song:
Half a dozen proper names sold last month: FrankBaker.com ($4.0k); CharlotteGainsbourg.com ($2.6k); Blane.com ($2.7k); Micusa.com ($2.2k), a Moldovan surname; Mansu.com ($2.1k), a Korean man’s name; and Gilroy.com ($8.8k), which is both a surname and a moderately large city in California. A bit of trivia: Charlotte Gainsbourg is the daughter of French singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, who are both singing in this song, which was a big hit in Europe (though I find it cloying):
I’m not sure whether AudioPorn.com ($3.3k) would be a collection of moans, sighs, and grunts or else erotic audiobooks. Come to think of it, it might just be Serge Gainsbourg.
More than half of what sold above $2k last month is some kind of invented name – what domainers would call “brandables”. Mostly these consist of 2 words, but some look and feel more like a single word: Sizer.com ($5.0k), TransferX.com ($3.7k), Fanbu.com ($3.3k), eSend.com ($2.6k), CPool.com ($2.1k). Fanbu could refer to a Chilean program called Espacio Fanbu, which teaches kids to draw anime characters. Then again, it turns out to be a first and last name: Fan Bu. CPool.com ($2.1k) suggests car pools, but it might be tied to cell pools, an IBM method for virtual storage.
I may as well just list the 2-word brandables: SmartPages.com ($7.5k), NetPoint.com ($6.8k), SunSource.com ($4.5k), DigitalIQ.com ($4.5k), BroadMedia.com ($4.3k), GigaTek.com ($3.9k), LoveStrategies.com ($3.5k), FindNow.com ($3.3k), BestLink.com ($3.0k), AntiqueWarehouse.com ($3.0k), MortgageRepair.com ($2.9k), AIMotion.com ($2.7k), ClosersNetwork.com ($2.6k), LuggageSource.com ($2.4k), StopCancer.com ($2.3k), CoachNic.com ($2.3k), SocialTeam.com ($2.0k), and FlexKids.com ($2.0k).
Invented names don’t necessarily need to be very creative in order to be effective. AntiqueWarehouse.com ($3.0k), LuggageSource.com ($2.4k), and StopCancer.com ($2.3k) are downright obvious – which is why they work well. If you have some gadget to sell, wouldn’t you want it to be THE gadget: TheGadget.com ($2.8k)? ClosersNetwork.com ($2.6k) reminds me of the movie “Glengarry Glen Ross” and Alec Baldwin’s “Coffee is for Closers” monologue:
The desperation of real estate agents in that Pulitzer-prize winning play turned movie is the flip side of what a lot of Americans are experiencing now, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, as the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures comes to an end. Lots of folks will need MortgageRepair.com ($2.9k).
It would be a fallacy to think that each of these brandable domains sold for a 4-figure amount purely as a blank slate. In fact, the opposite tends to be true. As often as not, these correspond to some established brand. MarcosPizza.com ($4.0k) matches a pizzeria that already operates Marcos.com. So that’s not really an upgrade for them. Virdi.com ($3.0k), however, is definitely an upgrade for the Brazilian biometrics company that runs Virdi.com.br and VirdiTech.com.
I count at least 4 companies named Alpha Motors, which would each prefer to be found at AlphaMotors.com ($4.9k). They’re scattered all over the world and mostly use domains that add some geographical tag: AlphaMotors.co.uk, AlphaMotorsWI.com (Wisconsin), AlphaMotorsUT.com (Utah), etc. AlphaMotorsFZE.com uses “FZE”, which is a form of LLC within the United Arab Emirates. And AtlanticInsurance.com ($3.0k) matches at least 6 company websites on either side of the Atlantic, whether in the USA or Cyprus. They use long clunky domains like theatlanticinsuranceagency.com. Or they abbreviate “insurance” as “ins”: atlanticinsgroup.com, atlanticinsbrokers.com. Or they find a workaround with “quotes” or a hyphen: atlanticquotes.com and atlantic-insurance.com. All awful. StoneCenter.com ($3.3k) is another domain that matches businesses in multiple states and countries.
Similarly, there are backstories and established end users for domains like StudioOne.com ($3.0k), which is the name of audio mixing software; MicroGraphics.com ($2.9k), which is yet another South African company; and EmpireOfTheSun.com ($2.4k), which is the name of a 1987 Stephen Spielberg movie but which refers to Japan in general. SoleStruck.com ($3.5k) and OidView.com ($2.6k) are already up and running as websites within a few weeks of their auctions. So either the buyers put those domains to good use right away or else they had inadvertently let them expire and were bidding to rescue them. I haven’t checked which is the case.
TakeShop.com ($2.8k) is an upgrade for a .SHOP website. AboutDebian.com ($3.5k) refers to the computer operating system Debian, which uses Debian.org. FarmersUnion.com ($2.7k) might be related to the “National Farmers Union” of various countries: NFU.ca (Canada), NFUOnline.com (Britain), NFU.org (USA). However, given the prevalence of “NFU”, it’s arguable whether they’d need this 2-word domain. Sharry.com ($2.7k) sounds like a Steve Perry song – “Oh, Sherrie, our love holds on, holds on”. But it’s more like to be used as an upgrade for Sharry.Tech. If not them, then perhaps by the Paul Sharry of fitness site ShapeUpWithSharry.com or by Indian singer Sharry Mann:
Sometimes a domain fixes a problem associated with some other domain. MisterFence.com ($2.7k) might be a patch for MrFence.com. And SmarTalk.com ($2.5k) looks enough like SmartTalk.com when shown in lower case that it might be used to redirect typos. Then again, maybe the bidders simply didn’t recognize the typo themselves. Picselated.com ($2.4k) poses its own problem since nobody hearing it will know how to spell it.
Some 2-word domains are simply descriptive: LiveClasses.com ($4.2k), HawaiiGuide.com ($2.6k), BBQSmoker.com ($2.1k), CollegeAlumni.com ($2.0k). And TalkTherapy.com ($5.8k) brings us full circle to Psychotherapy.org ($10.3k). (The American Psychiatric Association treats the 2 terms as synonymous.) How does that make you feel?