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My Observations This Week

I maintain a relatively small domain name portfolio with approximately 1,000 domain names. Nearly all of my company’s domain names are available for sale, and I would guesstimate that somewhere between 85-90% of the domain names are considered general, nothing special, inventory. I am also regularly buying domain names in auctions and in private, although this has slowed a bit this year.

With the coronavirus seemingly slowing the domain aftermarket, I want to share a few observations of my own from the last week. I want to emphasize that my portfolio is relatively small compared to many other full-time investors, so I don’t think my observations are necessarily reflective of the general state of the aftermarket.

In the last week, I have closed 5 sales:

Kabbage Acquires PaycheckProtection.com

2

As part of the CARES Act passed into law in the United States, some small businesses will be eligible for Paycheck Protection Loans as part of the Paycheck Protection Program. From the little I understand about the program, US-based small business owners can apply for a Paycheck Protection Loan through participating lenders, and the loan will cover payroll and various expenses for a set period of time.

LiveChat CMO Comments on LiveChat.com Acquisition

LiveChat is an online customer service software provider offering live chat support that can be utilized by its clients on their websites. The company was founded in 2002, and it has been using the less than ideal LiveChatInc.com domain name for its website. Earlier this week, LiveChat sent an email to customers announcing that it migrated its website to the brand match LiveChat.com domain name. LiveChat CEO Mariusz Cieply also announced the news via Twitter:

GoDaddy: No Coronavirus Domain Names on Its Aftermarket

Yesterday afternoon, James Bladel, GoDaddy VP of Public Policy, published an article discussing what GoDaddy is doing to combat coronavirus-related fraud and abuse. The article comes in the wake of a letter that was sent to GoDaddy by the office of New York State’s Attorney General Letitia James concerning domain names being used for fraudulent schemes and scams. GoDaddy already publicly replied to the NYAG via Twitter.

Here’s what GoDaddy has been reportedly doing to combat fraud related to domain names registered or hosted at GoDaddy:

Dan.com Prohibits Coronavirus Domain Names

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According to research from DomainTools, reported this morning by Domain Incite, “[M]ore than 68,000 coronavirus-related domain names have been registered so far in 2020.” I would imagine this is a mix of speculative registrations, corporate registrations (like Target buying coronavirus testing domain names), and people registering domain names to build informational websites. Quite a few domain names that were bought speculatively have been listed for sale via Dan.com and other marketplaces.

Dan.com is one of the largest independent domain name marketplaces with an inventory of more than 5 million domain names currently listed for sale. In a pair of tweets this morning, Dan.com announced that the platform will no longer allow sellers to sell coronavirus related domain names:

Dan.com Marketplace Activity Update

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I’ve been trying to get a read on the recent performance of the domain name aftermarket. GoDaddy likely has the best view of the aftermarket, but the company does not share its sales data. Reviewing NameBio is helpful to get an idea of what domain names are selling and for how much, but many of the tracked sales are wholesale auctions, and that does not really provide a good look at the current state of the aftermarket.

To that end, I reached out to Reza Sardeha, founder and CEO of Dan.com, to see if he could share some insight about what his team has been seeing of late. Dan.com and most of the company’s employees are located in Europe, which is currently the hardest hit area of the coronavirus outbreak. Reza was kind enough to share some information about what Dan.com has been seeing and how the company has been operating:

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