What Are The World’s Top 100 Websites?

How was your weekend? Hope it was great! Whether you find yourself in the US, Europe or Asia, you might be enjoying one of the several public holidays marked on the calendars across of the world. While in the US there was President’s day yesterday, here in Europe today we celebrate Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday” as literal translation. But the way these holidays are celebrated are nothing compared to the firework frenzy expected for the Year of the Ram arriving in China this Thursday or the famous Carnaval ending today in Rio de Janeiro:


On another note, the nice side effect that we are all enjoying is a quieter and less crowded  inbox. Also in terms of deal flow,  last week seemed pretty quiet compared to the massive sales happened in the previous weeks where  Porno.com and 360.com, both sold for staggering amounts in the 7 and 8 digits.  We actually  had a few readers asking how is it possible that such a sale price could be achieved for a domain-only transaction  and how that affects the value of the other numeric domains available for sale on the market.

Well, to give you more details about the 360.com transaction, it seems that the $16M  final purchase price resulted from a 3 year long negotiation where the seller  Vodafone, one the largest mobile operators in the world, turned down offers up to $14M for the domain. Many people are still surprised about how  the buyer, 360.cn, could afford such a high purchase price and pull the trigger on such a large acquisition. The answer again,  IMHO (or as Guy Kawasaki would say: “in my honed  opinion”), is not only due to intangible factors, or purely because of a brand play,  but  I  assume it happened for specific business metrics linked to traffic and  conversion rates, that made the $16M look meaningless compared to the expected ROI.

Not many people know that  360.cn, is ranked by Alexa as the the top 53rd most visited website in the world, which, to give you an idea, means that the website receives more traffic than netflix.com, craigslist.org  and  cnn.com. Unsurprisingly, the statistics say that over 25% of the organic traffic (98% from China) came from people researching the keyword “360”, therefore,  when you analyze the actual type in traffic lost to the  .com extension, plus the ability to be found everywhere in the world under 360.com, the $16M spent look like a bargain:


Brand News

Would the purchase price  have been different if 360.com was the name of a  startup with just seed fund money? You bet it would. $16M would have just been too expensive.  On the other hand, virtually every company whose website ranks in the top 500 Alexa should immediately think about upgrading their domain to the .com version or to the shorter, most commonly known acronym (think about Facebook and FB.com).  For that matter, the Alexa rank  is the purest and most simple way to understand which are the most popular  domains in the world and how they are associated to brands. The Alexa rank can also be used to explain  why specific category of domains, like  for example, pinyin domains or 2 letter .com, are starting to receive higher and higher evaluations.  By analyzing  the top 100 Alexa rank, you notice how 8% of them (8/100, simple math) use pinyin domains (baidu.com, youku.com, soso.com, etc).

Four LL .com domains are also present in the top 100 ranking  (QQ.com, JD.com, VK.com and GO.com). Two of these websites are actually Chinese, with the exception of VK.com, which is the largest social network in Russia, with over 100,000,000 active users and  the unmistakable blue and white Facebook look. For what concerns the top ranked US websites, we noticed how the top ones tend to use composite 2 word brandable domains: Pinterest, Instagram,  Linkedin and  YouTube. The same goes for  other “technical” websites  (github.com, wordpress.com and dropbox.com)  and for entertainment  (netflix.com, buzzfeed.com or reddit.com).  To borrow an American expression,  here there is the old “chicken and egg” question: did these websites (or brands)  became popular because they had a good domain, or they first became popular  and then upgraded to a better domain?

The clear insight is that, if you want to succeed in China, you’d better go with a short domain  or with a pinyin domain. And, if you want to succeed  in the Western hemisphere, a great brandable domain with a .com extension is probably what you need.  What if your company targets instead a wide international audience? Well, in that case one good approach is to go for an easily pronounceable short .com domain. Bing.com for example ranks as  one of the most popular websites both in US and China;  Google.com  takes more than 10 spots in the Alexa  100 websites with all its country specific extensions (.co.jp, .ru, .fr. it., .ca, etc). Another  strategy yet is to differentiate your brands with a geo-targeted  “Alibaba’s style“. The company brands  under TaoBao.com,  Tmall.com and  1688.com (pinyin:  yi liu ba ba) in China, while using Alibaba.com and Aliexpress.com to cater to  worldwide customers.


The Aftermarket

As we mentioned earlier, last couple of weeks have been quiet in terms of news of large transactions, on the other hand it is impressive to see how the volume of medium to small transactions has increased. On one end, it looks that there are almost none domain  traded in the secondary market for new GTLDs, on the other, short and keyword .com (but also ccTLDs  domain sales) are soaring. Many industry commentators, like the legendary Ron Jackson from  the DNJournal.com,  expect a year of boom for the aftermarket. Let’s see!

Weekly 8

Here are some exclusive assets that might peek your interest. Simply respond to this email and we will be happy to present your offer;  in addition, if you have premium inventory that you feel is  attractively priced  and you wish to add it to our listings, please let us know.

1.  RO.com  – Ask me<
You should have already read by now  the  report  we published about the historical value and the ownership of LL.com. 2/3 of the 676 are owned by corporations:  as supplies dwindles, prices keep  rising. If you are looking to buy one as long term investment,  this is the moment.

2.  YB.com  – $1,000,000
If Yahoo was ever to launch a product starting with “B”, this domain would be the most natural option. Same goes with any large company in the world whose acronym start with “Y”,  and there are quite a few of them. If you add  that B in Mandarin is the initial for many words, including the number  8 (pronounced:  ba), you understand why there has been so much interest (and offers)  from Chinese investors regarding this domain.

3. QE.com  – $550,000  (major price reduction)
If you have read the paragraph above, and you are familiar with market prices, you might have realized by now that this is probably the best deal available on the newsletter. It is worth repeating: with this price reduction  QE.com  is the best deal yet to appear on this newsletter.

4. UV.com  – Ask me
UV rays and  Ultraviolet Technology are only a few of the keywords associated to UV.com. Another great domain in exclusive for Domain Holdings. Additional extensions for brand protection are also available in case you are interested.  Contact me for more details.

5. RF.com  – $750,000
Our fifth LL.com. This one has a higher price due to the fact that the 2 letters do not include any of the sub premium letters in China: A, E, I, O, U, V.  This is the same reason why we have received offers much close to asking price and RF.com  will probably not be available for long.

6. EUR.com  –  â‚¬220,000  (major price reduction)
Eur  is what the news have been talking about since the start of 2015 (at least in my part of the world). There are a few currency signs that are more valuable than  EUR.com  – besides being a 3 letter, easy to remember brand, this domain works great not just for any forex operator but also as a portal for anything European. With this major price reduction, this is a great opportunity to secure  EUR.com  (before the exchange rate trades back to normal).

7.  KUT.com  – $50,000
For the first time on our newsletter, KUT.com is a  brandable & pronounceable 3 letter .com that can be used for  a variety of companies. With a $68,000 estibot valuation and over 73,000 exact matches, kut.com, at this price, has a great value for end users as well as investors.

8.  PinUp.com  – $61,000
With 33,000 exact matches, $178,000 in Estibot evaluations and a very cool brand for any startup,  PinUp.com  is, in my opinion, a great way to name any “Pinterest related” business.

Have a fantastic week – from Lisbon!

Three photos via Shutterstock.


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