Explaining the domain name aftermarket
That new online business idea needs a domain name. You’ve thought of the business name, but what about a domain name? Do you want a domain name for the name of your business? Or one for the industry you’re working in? Or both?
These days, particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic saw new businesses and ideas, as well as more shoppers, go online, the online aspect of your business has become increasingly important.
With around 740,000 .nz domain names, the New Zealand namespace isn’t particularly crowded, especially when compared to .com which is approaching 160 million domain names. So, there are plenty of available options.
To find your desired domain name you might go to your favourite .nz registrar and the perfect domain name pops up. But then again, you might find that perfect domain name more elusive, so where do you go? The domain name aftermarket is one option where domain names are bought and sold around the world daily from just a few dollars to millions.
While the most expensive domain names sell for millions of dollars, the average figure is much much lower. In Sedo and InternetX’s 2021 Global Domain Report, the average price for each domain name sold across all top-level domains was US$1,979 in 2020, while the median price was $435.
For .nz domain names you can expect this figure to be much lower. Premium domain names, such as one-word domains, regularly sell for under NZ$5,000. And there are many domain names sold, in .nz and in top-level domains around the world, that are never reported.
So how do you find that elusive domain name if your search via your favourite .nz registrar doesn’t come up with something you find useful? There are a number of online marketplaces such Kiwi NZ and ExpiredDomains who both specialise in .nz domain names, as well as others such as Sedo, GoDaddy’s Auctions, Afternic, NameJet, SnapNames and Uniregistry to name just some of the main players. Even generic marketplaces such as eBay and TradeMe often have domain names for sale or auction.
These sites can offer domain names for sale either via an auction or “buy now” options. Auctions for domain names, as with any other auction such as for real estate, can create an atmosphere where bidders get caught up in a bidding frenzy and go above, even way above, their realistic budget. Whereas “buy now” sets a fixed price that may or may not be able to be negotiated.
At other times domain name auction marketplaces may offer special events where they encourage large numbers of domain names to be offered for auction. Sedo and RightOfTheDot are two of the marketplaces using this option periodically.
There are also occasions where you can find a domain name that’s not being used or a domain name is listed for sale through a notification on a website associated with the domain name. In the situation where direct contact with the seller is to be made, consideration should be given to using a broker. While there’s a commission to be paid to the broker, alerting the existing domain name registrant that a business is looking for the domain name may cause the registrant to raise their asking price, particularly if they know the business is a larger one. A broker can approach the registrant on your behalf without alerting them to who you are, or even where you are.
Where to find prices paid
To get a guide on prices paid for domain names, the best resource of sales of domain names that are publicly available is Domain Name Journal’s sales charts. However do note this site only lists the prices of sales that are public. Many domain names, particularly those with some of the eyewatering prices, are confidential and their sale is never made public. The sales chart also lists the marketplace where the domain name was sold.
On the Domain Name Journal lists, the most expensive .nz domain name sold in recent years was sex.co.nz which sold for NZ$28,000 in 2017; a fraction of the price paid - US$13 million - for sex.com in 2010. But this sale pales into insignificance when compared to the largest cash only sale for a domain name: that of voice.com which sold for $30,000,000 in 2019.