Friday, December 7, 2018

Why is 00567 Selling for More Than $60k??

It looks like the auction for 00567.com will end at more than $60,000.  And many are understandably asking why?  Some on Namepros suggested this is because of fake bids.  And it could very well be.

But looking at sales of other 00xxx.coms, it doesn't seem certain that the bids are fake.  Indeed, there have been 32 sales of 00xxx.com domains for more than $1,000!  That was surprising to see, as one might think that nobody wants domains that begin with zeros.  Apparently, Chinese domainers may feel differently.  

And 00234.com recently sold for nearly $10,000.  Like 00567, it starts with two zeros and then has three sequential numbers.  And 00567 has no "4" which might add even more to its value.

Still, $60,000 is a lot to pay for a 5n.com.  Possibly the highest price ever paid for one!  Will be exciting to see where this auction closes, and if we will learn any more about the reasons for the fierce bidding war.  


Is There a Gold-Silver Ratio for Short Letter Domains?

The ratio of gold to silver in the earth's crust is around 1:17.5.  Gold is harder to find, and accordingly goes for a higher price.  Notably, over time the price difference between gold and silver has often come close to the scarcity ratio.  Right now the gold/silver ratio is higher than it has been for some time, with silver significantly under-performing.  

This got us thinking.  Is there a similar ratio underlying the price difference between short domains?  If LLLL.com domains are 26x less scarce than LLL.com domains, should they go for 1/26th the price?

Here are some quick graphs of LLL.com and LLLL.com prices over the last decade.  The LLLL.com graph I made using a trailing median price for non-premium (western or Chinese) domains.  It doesn't track the "floor" prices, which the ShortNames.com graph below it does for LLL.com's.  But it seems to track reasonable prices for run-of-the-mill LLLL.com domains, and you can see the hype building in 2015 for both types of domains.












So what is the price ratio between LLL.com and LLLL.com domains?  Is it stable over time?  The data we're using is not perfect, and it might benefit from closer study.  But on a very rough basis, the LLL/LLLL ratio has been the following at various times:

2010: LLLL.com: $25-$40 LLL.com: $3,750-$5,000.  Ratio: 1/125-1/150
2016: LLLL.com: $250-$350 LLL.com: $17,500-$25,000.  Ratio: 1/70
2018: LLLL.com: $100-$150 LLL.com: $12,500-$15,000.  Ratio: 1/100-1/150

So it's definitely not 1/26.  And the ratio does seem to fluctuate a bit over time.  The ratio does seem to be noticeable worse than 1/26, suggesting that adding another letter does not only decrease the scarcity of a domain, but materially worsens its marketability.  If we could quantify that, it seems as though the adding of a fourth letter reduces the price further by a factor of about 3x-5x, compared to just the scarcity factor. 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

A Look at 6n.com Registration For Numbers 100,000-999,999

In order to get a better sense of the available 6n.com domains remaining, we ran some searches that only looked at domains between 100000.com and 999999.com.  Excluding domains that begin with zero, we should be able to learn more about how many 6n.com domains are registered. 

We were surprised to see that the numbers are not that far off from the total percentage of registered 6n.com domains.  After running 15 random bulk searches of 500 domains, we found that approximately 76.79% of 6n.com domains between 100000.com and 999999.com are already registered.  Or in other words, there are only about 23.21% of 6n.com domains in this range that are still available for registration.

We expected to see a much higher percentage of registered domains in this format.  Indeed, when we checked all available 6n.com domains (including domains that begin with zero), we actually got a slightly higher percentage of registered domains (77.5% vs. 76.9%).  It's definitely within the margin of error, so perhaps there is no preference for domains that begin with zero.  But still, it is surprising that there may be no material difference in preference between domains that begin with zero and domains that don't.  Hard to imagine, but that's what the numbers appear to suggest. 

There could be other factors at play here.  Perhaps domain expiration dates are playing a role, and some greater percentage of 6n's that start with zero will be dropped in the next year or so.  Or something else explains the difference.  Regardless, it's pretty interesting to see no clear preference for domains that start with numbers other than zero in the registration rates.  Will keep an eye on this as we monitor registration trends for 6n.com domains.

Update On Dot Com Registration

The most recent Verisign Domain Industry Brief, for Q2 2018, shows continued strong .com registration.  The last time we checked this, the Q4 2017 report showed that 131.9 million .com domains had been registered as of December 31, 2017.

The updated figure as of June 30, 2018, shows that 135.6 million .com domains were registered.  The prior quarter, ending March 31, 2018, ended with 133.9 million.  Both of these quarters showed strong .com registration as compared with the prior year.    DNPedia states that .com domains registered as of today is 137.1 million, which would suggest that the registration rate has slowed somewhat in the Q3 and Q4 2018.

Here are the updated totals so you can see how the rate of increase in recent quarters compares to the historical figures:

135.6  Q2 2018  1.27%
133.9  Q1 2018  1.52%
131.9 Q4 2017 0.84%
130.8 Q3 2017 1.24%
129.2 Q2 2017 0.62%
128.4 Q1 2017 1.18%
126.9 Q4 2016 -1.17%
128.4 Q3 2016 0.71%
127.5 Q2 2016 0.71%
126.6 Q1 2016 2.10%
124    Q4 2015 3.25%
120.1 Q3 2015 1.35%
118.5 Q2 2015 0.59%
117.8 Q1 2015 1.90%
115.6 Q4 2014 0.61%
114.9 Q3 2014 1.06%
113.7 Q2 2014 0.44%
113.2 Q1 2014 1.07%
112    Q4 2013

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Deep Dive into CCCC.com Domains

As we mentioned recently, registration continues to increase for 4-character .com domains (CCCC.com's).

To get a better picture of the CCCC.com landscape, we looked at all possible number-letter configurations.  The goal is to understand what is registered, and what is still available.  Here's what we came up with.  To start, the easy ones:

LLLL.com (456,976 Total) - 100% Registered
NNNN.com (10,000 Total) - 100% Registered
LNNN.com (26,000 Total) - 100% Registered
LLNN.com (67,600 Total) - 99.75% Registered
NNLL.com (67,600 Total) - 99.44% Registered
NNNL.com (26,000 Total) - 99.39% Registered

This is about what you would expect for these popular strings.  There were only a handful of LLNN.com and NNLL.com's available, so these are effectively bought out.  Now on to the next "tier" of these domains:

NLNN.com (26,000 Total) - 62.3% Registered
LLLN.com (175,760 Total) - 61.62% Registered
LNLN.com (67,600 Total) - 56.83% Registered
NLLL.com (175,760 Total) - 46% Registered
NNLN.com (26,000 Total) - 40.98% Registered
NLNL.com (67,600 Total) - 35.17% Registered

As you can see, there's a huge jump from the NNLL's to the NLNN.com's.  Now, for the bottom "tier" of CCCC.com's:

LNNL.com (67,600 Total) - 30.32% Registered
LLNL.com (175,760 Total) - 29.6% Registered
LNLL.com (175,760 Total) - 29.57% Registered
NLLN.com (67,600 Total) - 23.32% Registered

Some initial thoughts.  There is almost no correlation between scarcity of a string and its popularity.  Nor does it seem that any general rules can be derived, such as that domains which start with letters vs. numbers are more popular, or vice-versa.  It does seem that more domains that start with numbers are in the second tier vs. the third tier, but it's also true that the very worst string starts with a number.  So it is hard to draw much insight one way or another into whether numbers or letters are preferable.  It really seems like some strings are just more favored than others.

If you want a blast from the past, we also looked at CCCC.com registration 6 years ago and 10 years ago, and these prior results can be found here.  It's pretty neat to compare the numbers.  For example, in 2008, 27% of LLLN.com's were registered.  In 2012, only 36% were registered.  Now 61.62% are registered, which suggests that the registration pace has picked up a bit.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Numerics in the Top 500 Global Sites

Ten years ago, we looked at pure numeric domains in the list of top global sites.  There were five (5) pure numerics in the top 500:

163.com (#51)
56.com (#73)
888.com (#153)
126.com (#307)
89.com (#397)

We just checked GTMetrix's list of the global top 1000 sites, and there are now thirteen (13) pure numerics in the top 500:

163.com (#15)
56.com (#47)
4399.com (#92)
126.com (#114)
39.net (#175)
2345.com (#189)
6.cn (#221)
5599.net (#222)
51.com (#282)
118114.cn (#338)
17173.com (#351)
8684.cn (#354)
115.com (#411)

A number of things are of interest in the lists.  For one, only three of the previous top 500 stuck around!

Another detail which seems noteworthy is that it's not just .com's any more, nor is it just 2- or 3-digit domains.  There are 6n's in the new list, as well as .net's and .cn's.  Finally, it goes without saying that the list is much longer now.  Numeric domains have increased their presence over the last decade, in large part due to the increasing access to internet in China.

Will be interesting to look again in 2028 and see how numeric domains are faring.

CCCC.com Registration Update

In January of this year we checked the available CCCC (4 character) .com domains.  There are 1,679,616 total of these domains.  When we checked in January, around 60% were registered.  That suggested that around 700,000 were available.

We just re-checked these, again using random bulk searches (20 searches of 500 domains each).  63.69% were registered, and 36.31% were available.  This comes out to around 609,822 available for registration, a noticeable drop since January. 

These domains certainly aren't going to be bought out any time soon, especially with a 3-4% annual increase in the registration rate.  Maybe around 2031.  But still interesting to see increased registration trends even in a sluggish market for short domains.

But there's another point to consider.  A reminder that the CCCC.com market is really several different markets.  It is comprised of the NNNN.com domains (10,000 of these), the LLLL.com domains (456,976 of these), and then the rest are "true" CCCC.com domains, meaning a mix of letters and numbers.  In this light, the annual increase in registration rate actually looks a little stronger.  We know that there are no changes in registration year-over-year for the NNNN's or the LLLL's, so we are really talking about a smaller pool of true CCCC.com domains.

When viewed in this light, the registration increase was actually around 7% in 2018.   If these rates were to hold steady, there could potentially be a buyout around 2025.