One of the most important aspects of being a domain investor is knowing what a domain name is worth. I think this is actually the most important thing, because without the ability to value a domain name, it would be impossible to make investment decisions without knowing the value of a domain name.
To learn about domain values and understand what domain names are worth, I use a variety of tools and observe many different things to fill my head with intelligence I can use to make purchase and sale decisions. Here are many of the ways I follow the market to see what is selling:
Read the DNJournal weekly domain sales report and keep an eye on the year to date report. This is a great way to see what is publicly selling since many brokers and some brokerages report their higher end deals. I also like share links to these two reports when a prospective buyer asks me to justify an asking price or I feel the need to educate someone about domain name sales.
Use the search functionality at NameBio. The team at NameBio archives domain name sales that are publicly reported, and it also has archives other public sales that it is able to track. Visitors can use NameBio’s search functionality to get more specific and follow along with certain types of domain name sales. For instance, someone who invests in numeric .TV domain names will be able to search for numeric .TV sales as they are archived.
Read the NamePros “Report Completed Domain Name Sales Here” thread to see what NamePros members have been selling. This thread is well over 500 pages strong, and it has a ton of sales data shared by NamePros members. It seems that people add to the thread regularly, so some of these sales are very fresh and relevant. I don’t think anyone independently verifies these sales (caveat emptor), although it would jeopardize a member’s reputation to post something false or misleading. This is a good way to see what people are selling at this moment.
Observe GoDaddy, DropCatch.com, Sedo, and NameJet auctions. GoDaddy and DropCatch.com don’t report their auction prices (nor do they say if auctions close), so the only reliable way to know is by following auctions and following up to see if the Whois changes. NameJet and Sedo report their sale prices publicly, but in general, people would need to search for smaller sales on NameBio after the fact. Following along with auctions is a good way to see in real time, although it doesn’t always mean the auctions close.
Subscribe to domain broker newsletters to see what domain names are listed for sale and note when a sale closes and domain name transfers. Most brokers will either have the sale price published if they can, but I am able to get an idea about the sale price if I notice a name offered by a broker is transferred pretty quickly. This is much less scientific since it may not be possible to confirm that the broker sold the domain name and the price at which it sold.
If you are able to observe the market, I invite you to share additional tools and ways that you see what is selling.