General Domain Information

“A Domain Name is Like a Joke…”

Albert Schimmel, Owner and Founder of (and formerly of Sedo), shared a comic on LinkedIn that resonated with me. “A domain name is like a joke… if you have to explain it, it’s not that good

You can see the comic on Albert’s LinkedIn page:

No, I Won’t “Let it Go”

People don’t seem to understand that domain investing is a business, and domain investors run their businesses to make money. In the last handful of days, I was asked if I would be willing to ‘let [a domain name] go’ for offers that were not even close to what I paid to buy them.

In both instances, the prospective buyers were hopeful startup founders. Both of these offers, if you can call them that, involved two different one word .com domain names that have substantial liquid value.

.com Usage Amongst Early Stage Startups Has Declined

According to data from Betalist, as shared by on Twitter, .com usage amongst early stage startups has been on the decline. The data that was shared shows .com usage was 78% ten years ago and it has declined to 56% most recently:

In subsequent tweets in the thread above, Marc shared some other interesting domain name related data from Betalist that you can have a look at as well.

“Today is a good day to have a website.”

You’ve probably heard the news that Facebook has been down for most of the day. Instagram, too. For those people who operate businesses exclusively on those social media websites, today was a very bad day. While Facebook appears to be slowly returning online, one LinkedIn post caught my eye.

I think Avishai Abrahami, CEO & Co-Founder at, said it best – “Today is a good day to have a website.”

Appraisal is a Good Retention Tool

A few years ago, GoDaddy reintroduced its automated domain appraisal tool. The free appraisal tool aims to give users an idea about what their domain name could be worth. The company shows the tool on various parts of its website. Here are three examples from my view, with the third being an optional column on the domain management page:

Domain Settings page:

Domain Auction page:

Domain Management page:

The appraisal tool may have a prominent place on other pages within the website that are viewed by other domain registrants. It may also be used in email marketing, but I am not aware of those efforts.

Last week, a relative emailed me asking if I could help her friend with something related to domain names. Requests like these run the gamut from acquiring a domain name to selling a domain name, and when they are made by relatives or close friends, I am generally happy to assist or at least point the person in the right direction.

The person who was looking for help this time was seeking advice about selling a domain name she has owned for about 10 years. In her email to me, she wrote, “The company that hosts it told me that it’s worth about $1200 since it’s a short .com.” Her domain name is a short 5 letter .com domain name, but from my perspective, it did not have much value that I could see. Not only was it the only extension registered for the SLD, but I did not see any prospective buyers for the domain name.

When it comes to situations like these, it is tough to tell someone their domain name probably isn’t worth much when their registrar or hosting company is saying otherwise. It is easy to explain that the appraisals are automated, but I think people have a tough time accepting that a domain name they have owned for a long time isn’t worth anything, particularly when another source says otherwise. On the other hand, just about any domain name may be worth something to someone, so there is also a danger in telling someone it is not worth anything. It’s a tough situation.

One thing I have done to help illustrate the fact that automated appraisals should not be taken as fact is to run an appraisal on an unregistered domain name. is currently unregistered (not surprisingly), yet the GoDaddy appraisal tool says it is worth $636.

That brings me to the point of this article. When a customer believes their domain name has value, they are less likely to let it expire. In fact, they are more likely to try to sell their domain name to capitalize on its value. GoDaddy now makes it pretty simple for a registrant to list a domain name for sale across its network and implement a “for sale” landing page. I believe other registrars, like Epik, give customers the ability to list domain names for sale pretty easily.

People have different opinions on the validity of automated appraisal tools, but one thing is pretty clear to me – they are good tools for retention.

Domain Aftermarket is Humming

In the last week, I have learned about 3 seven figure domain name sales that closed this month. I know two of the three names, but I do not know the sale prices for any of these domain names. To my knowledge, none of these sales are going to be reported publicly. These sales will end up being more along the lines of hearsay, although I heard directly from principals on two of the three deals.

I had a fairly routine August in terms of domain name sales. I sold seven domain names with one Afternic sale from August 24th still pending payment. None of these sales were noteworthy from a value perspective. I spent quite a bit more on acquisitions in August than I made in sales, including the acquisition of

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