In my opinion, domain sales is the lifeblood of the domain industry. Not only do large sales bring attention to domain names, but they also provide liquidity to companies operating in the space. My business is mostly reliant on the sale of domain names, most of which are acquired and re-sold in a short period of time.
I think it would be very interesting to know the approximate aftermarket sales volume for the domain industry, and I would guess this number would be in the $250-500 million range annually. Determining the total value of domain sales for the entire industry would be impossible due to the number of private sales and sales that are subject to NDA. Personally, I don’t report sales prices, so I can’t criticize others for wanting to keep their sales private.
I would be very curious to know an approximate number for the public annual domain sales at the major aftermarket companies, large portfolio owners (like Buy Domains, Name Administration, Domain Market, Reinvent, Marchex…etc.), and domain auction houses. These figures would make up the majority of annual sales, although there are one-offs that go totally unreported when end user companies privately sell domain names using an attorney or direct transaction.
If Afternic and Sedo clear about $1 million a week in domain sales, that’s over $100 million in volume annually. Auction houses like GoDaddy, NameJet, and SnapNames clear a hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of domain names a month individually. DomainMarket.com had reported over $500k in sales at the end of February, so that’s several million in sales right there. Frank Schilling’s Name Administration reports some sales, but I would wager that most are private. Same as Reinvent.
In my opinion, the majority of domain sales are subject to NDA. I think Escrow.com would be a good source of information, but I would imagine they would be reluctant to reveal their sales figures (they’re a private company) and they probably have a policy of not reporting private sales. The company recently reported $1 billion in total transactions and I would guess domain name sales is a significant chunk.
While some people may say a half billion in annual transactions is small potatoes for an “industry,” I would argue that this is a very solid number, especially considering the fact that there are probably fewer than 1,500 people making a full time living from the domain industry (not including employees of domain registrars). Compared to much larger industries, this is pretty good and I would say the income per full time investor is far, far superior when compared to real estate agents.
If you had to make a guess about the annual sales volume for the domain industry, what would you say? I posted a poll, so feel free to vote there.