Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Registration Update for Domains

On June 1, there were 776 (5 digit .com domains) available to be registered.
On June 20, there were 611 available to be registered (a decrease of about 9/day)
On June 29, there were 545 available to be registered (a decrease of a bout 7/day).

So it appears that registration continues, drops continue to be picked up at a healthy pace, and the overall number of available domains continues to drop.  The pace of registration continues to slow a bit as the remaining domains are of lower quality.  Here is the updated totals for registration by starting number (the comparisons are with the numbers from June 1, to see the prior comparison (June 20 to June 1), look here:

There was a 16% decrease in domains starting with a "0" (65 to 56)
There was a 200% decrease in domains starting with a "1" (3 to 1)
There was a 50% decrease in domains starting with a "2" (66 to 44)
There was a 75% decrease in domains starting with a "3" (49 to 28)
There was a 27% decrease in domains starting with a "4" (311 to 244)
There was a 0% decrease in domains starting with a "5" (9 to 9)
There was a 80% decrease in domains starting with a "6" (63 to 35)
There was a 72% decrease in domains starting with a "7" (136 to 79)
There was a 125% decrease in domains starting with a "8" (27 to 12)
There was a 27% decrease in domains starting with a "9" (47 to 37)

Friday, June 24, 2011 Domains

This is something that has not been discussed in a while. (four digit .org) domains are currently about 90% registered.  As of today, 1,035 remain to be registered out of a total of 10,000 domains.  We previously looked at what types of's remain to be registered, and it is interesting to compare the two types of domains by registration statistics.

For the's, here is the number and percentage remaining by starting digit, and compared with the percentage of's with the same starting digit that remain available to be registered.

0NNN = 91 Remaining (9.1%, compared with .61% for's)
1NNN = 0 Remaining (0%, compared with 0% for's)
2NNN = 0 Remaining (0%, compared with .56% for's)
3NNN = 0 Remanining (0%, compared with .37% for's)
4NNN = 0 Remaining (0%, compared with 3.11% for's)
5NNN = 1 Remaining (0.1%, compared with 0.03% for's)
6NNN = 0 Remaining (0%, compared with 0.4% for's)
7NNN = 283 Remaining (28.3%, compared with .97% for's)
8NNN = 338 Remaining (33.8%, compared with .14% for's))
9NNN = 332 Remaining (32.2%, compared with 0.43% for's)

A lot of interesting things jump out when you look at these numbers.  First,'s are registered based on how low the numbers are, and apparently not much else.  While I did check and find few nice Chinese number patterns among the available's, suggesting that at least someone went through and registered these, it appears that most registration of's is simply based on how low the number is.  This is probably because the lower the number, the more meanings/uses it would have to an end user.  And ".org's" are more geared to end users, as they do not receive much type in traffic or have much cachet among domainers.

Another related point is that domains that start with a "4" are not despised in format, probably because all that matters is how low the number is.  On the flipside, domains that start with an "8" are actually the most unpopular, a virtual opposite of the situation with the's, where "4" being an unlucky number in China and "8" being a lucky number is reflected in the registration statistics. 

The one area where there is an interesting symmetry is with the domains that start with "0".  In both cases, 10% of the domains available to be registered start with a "0", suggesting that these are indeed the most average domains, or the ambivalence of domainers regarding these names, as on the one hand they start with a "0" and most numbers do not, while on the other hand they are the "lowest" numbers of their type in some sense, and therefore may have more potential uses, if someone didn't mind sticking a "0" in front of the number they wanted. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011 Macro View

In this post, we will try to address the broader space, and where this might be headed in the future.

As it stands, about 99,400 of these domains are currently registered, and the remaining 600 appear to be being registered at a rate of 10/day.  The 10/day rate is a little below the historical rate of 13/day, so registration may be slowing as these domains get close to being bought out, as the worst quality domains are the last to remain.

Marchex (MCHX) owns approximately 40% of these domains as US zip code domains, and while it is not clear what their development or sale plans are for the domains, they don't seem to be letting them drop or dumping them en masse.  For a company with a $300m+ market cap, the registration fees on these are probably not a big expense item (although they also own the .net's so that makes it about 2x as expensive).  In Marchex's annual report, they state that they own "more than 75,000 U.S. ZIP code sites."  Based on past surveys, it appears that another 10% of's are used as non-zip code websites, either for products, organizations, Chinese sites, foreign zip code sites, Word Dial sites, or other uses.  Hopefully we will do some updated surveys to see if these numbers have changed significantly.

That leaves about 50,000 domains left.  Most of these are owned by Chinese domainers, for their numerical qualities it appears or possibly traffic depending on the domain.  There are on average approximately 45 drops per day of domains.  Annualized this is approximately 16,000 domains dropping in the year.  This suggests that 2/3 of holders that do not have a use for their domains (other than parking/holding for resale) renew their domains. 

So what does this mean for the future?  If the current registration trend continues, these domains may all be registered by August or September of this year.  At that point, it is anybody's guess.  There may still be 40-50 domains dropping per day, of varying qualities.  Right now, many quality domains drop every day, domains that start with a "1" or that contain nice number sequences and do not have a "4".  It is quite possible that after a buyout, the number dropping each day will go down as current holders think twice about letting above-average's drop.

What prices could's fetch after a buyout?  This is unclear.  The previous buyout failed spectacularly, so that should certainly lead to caution for anyone expecting a huge price spike if they are bought out again.  Then again, this time we may not have the market collapsing at the same time, and the whole buyout being built on speculation.  Nearly 20,000 domains were registered in a few weeks in early 2008, whereas this time the buyout has been approaching at a steady pace over the last couple years,  so it is possible that the a new buyout would be more sustainable.

In determining what prices might be following a buyout, it may be instructive to look to's, which are selling for high $xxx even for the worst domains right now.  So assuming's could maintain a resale price ratio of 1/10, 1/20, or even 1/30 compared to's, they could easily sell for above registration fees.  Right now,'s fetch between 1/10 and 1/15 the price of's for the lowest quality, and have 1/10 the rarity.  So those prices line up easily.  However,'s fetch about $4,550 currently, whereas's fetch about $20 as a general low resale price.  So, whereas's are 26x rarer than's, their prices are 175x lower.  So a strict 1/10 ratio of price between's and's based on rarity is not necessarily going to result.

More Auction Results for Numeric Domains

This is from from the past couple days:    RMB¥9,100    $1,365    RMB¥480        $72    RMB¥16,600   $2,490    RMB¥360        $54    RMB¥70          $11    RMB¥70          $11    RMB¥280        $42    RMB¥280        $42    RMB¥200        $30    RMB¥200        $30

And from SEDO:   1,150 EUR    $1,131   189 EUR          $215

Both of these seemed to fetch nice prices.   21212 is a nice palindrome, and a Baltimore zip code (not an extremely wealthy neighborhood though, average home price seems to be around $250k).  72899 is not a zip at all, I am curious as to who the buyer is and why they paid so much for this domain. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Warning: Possible Scammer

Fraudsters may be trying to take advantage of the rising prices of's.

On NamePros, a new poster offered to sell me a nice, when I bid $450, the poster asked for $500.  I repeated $450 and the poster said "if you can quick paypal payment yes i can."  I offered to do escrow and the poster never replied again.

I'm not going to post the person's name or the domain number, because for all I know it could be a legitimate seller who backed out for a number of reasons.  But most likely this was a scam, and potential buyers must beware of this type of scam, most likely the poster would have taken my money and never delivered the domain name.  The poster even offered to prove that he or she had ownership of the domain by changing the whois information to reflect my purchase prior to the deal, but again, that doesn't mean they are going to transfer the domain..  The poster had no history, and the poster was clearly pressuring for a quick, paypal deal at a bargain price.

If the opposing party has no history, and will not agree to escrow even if you offer to pay the fees, you have a likely scammer on your hands.  Don't let the temptation of a great domain name part you from your money.

Monday, June 20, 2011

What Domains Are Being Registered?

On June 1, we noted that 776 (5 digit .com domains) were available to be registered.  As of today the number of available domains is 611.

Which domain beginnings are being registered at a faster/slower pace?

There was a 7% decrease in domains starting with a "0" (65 to 61).
There was a 100% decrease in domains starting with a "1" (3 to 0).
There was an 18% decrease in domains starting with a "2" (66 to 56).
There was a 32% decrease in domains starting with a "3" (49 to 37).
There was a 20% decrease in domains starting with a "4" (311 to 260).
There was a 200% decrease in domains starting with a "5" (9 to 3).
There was a 58% decrease in domains starting with a "6" (63 to 40).
There was a 40% decrease in domains starting with a "7" (136 to 97).
There was a 93% decrease in domains starting with a "8" (27 to 14).
There was a 9% decrease in domains starting with a "9" (47 to 43).

There was a 27% decrease in available domains overall, so we can see which domain beginnings are being registered at an above-average pace ("1", "3", "5", "6", "7", and "8").  The domains where registration is slow compared to the average are those that begin with a "2", "4", and "9").  The fact that domains starting with a "4" have a lower-than-average rate is not surprising, as these are the least popular among all of the numbers.  We will be keeping an eye on that number especially, as if are ever going to be bought out again, a significant number of these unpopular domains will need to be registered.

New Auction Results from    RMB¥1,053     $158    RMB¥500        $75     RMB¥280        $42     RMB¥281        $42     RMB¥320        $48    RMB¥540        $81   RMB¥800       $120    RMB¥270        $41

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Recent Numerics Auctions Results from

Numerics continue to sell well at auctions.  The following list shows auction results from June 11 through today, in both RMB and $USD.      RMB¥240.00        $36        RMB¥240.00        $36       RMB¥4,700.00     $705        RMB¥301.00        $45       RMB¥680.00       $102
3704.NET        RMB¥200.00        $30
5448.NET        RMB¥220.00        $33       RMB¥320.00        $48      RMB¥200.00        $30      RMB¥200.00        $30      RMB¥200.00        $30      RMB¥200.00        $30      RMB¥200.00        $30       RMB¥1,408.00     $211      RMB¥60.00          $9         RMB¥9,100.00   $1,365       RMB¥220.00        $33       RMB¥2,000.00     $300       RMB¥500.00        $75       RMB¥2,000.00     $300       RMB¥1,750.00     $263       RMB¥2,750.00     $413      RMB¥2,200.00     $330       RMB¥1,150.00     $173       RMB¥2,302.00     $345

Of note is the increased presence of 6n (, or six-digit .com domains on the list. 

Registration of Numerics Continues

As we reported earlier, as of June 1, 2011, 776's were available to be registered.  Over the last few years, these domains have been registered at the rate of approximately 13 per day.  

As of this morning, my check revealed that 627 are available to be registered.  This represents a registration rate of approximately 10 per day for the first half of June.  So registration could be slowing a little bit as the remaining domains are of lower quality, although perhaps this just reflects the temporary drop-off in registration from China's Dragon Boat festival.  We will keep checking in on registration trends and providing updates. 

Here are some daily figures to paint a more complete picture:

June 1: 776 Available
June 3: 719 Available.
June 4: 752 Available.
June 5: 739 Available.
June 6: 713 Available.
June 7: 695 Available.
June 10: 674 Available.
June 11: 668 Available.
June 12: 666 Avialable.
June 13: 654 Available.
June 14: 648 Available.
June 15: 640 Available.
June 16: 627 Available.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Last Weeks Numerics Auctions at

Both and failed to meet the reserve price.

Based on sales we have covered, it appears that is a great place to sell numerics like's and's, and even's and's, as these domains often fetch premium prices.

But it does not appear to be a great place to sell super-high quality's though, as it seems the buyers simply don't have the resources to pay the big bucks required for these domains, and several of these sales have failed to meet the reserve price.

Here are the auction results:

Domain           Price in RMB                Price in $USD
200 RMB
1,808 RMB
1,817 RMB
620 RMB
3,908 RMB
1,650 RMB
280 RMB
837 RMB
240 RMB
440 RMB
2,000 RMB
8,301 RMB
7,100 RMB
7,300 RMB
8,100 RMB
7,700 RMB
485,000 RMB
141,000 RMB
35,000 RMB
4,500 RMB
4,800 RMB
40,835 RMB
200 RMB
420 RMB

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Registration of Slows For a Day: Why?

I have been doing daily checks of available to see if registration trends continue at their pace of 13-15/day on average as they near 99.25% registration.  As noted before, at this point, registration could easily increase or decrease, as domainers sense a buyout, or on the other hand, shy away from the remaining domains, which are of the worst quality.

On June 3, 2011, there were 719 domains available to be registered, including recent drops.  On June 4, 2011, there were 752 domains available, also including recent drops.  This was a break from the usual steady pace of domain registration, and perhaps this could be a sign that buying is drying up for these domains as the remaining domains are of poorer quality.

Not knowing what to make of this trend, I moseyed on over to, a Chinese domain auction site where a lot of numerics are bought and sold on a daily basis.  And what is happening over there?  Nothing, the place is virtually dead.  A few auctions here and there, but for the most part, there are very few auctions active right now.

Then it occurred to me, maybe the two phenomenon are connected?  I typed in "chinese holiday 2011" into google and, of course, June 4-6 is an official public holiday, the Dragon Boat Festival.   So while I am wondering why the sudden drop in interest in numeric domains, Chinese domainers are out having a ball, eating zongzi, drinking realgar wine, and racing dragon boats. So, no implications can be drawn right now from the drop in activity in numeric auctions or registration of numeric domains.  Will just have to wait until next week when everyone returns from the festivities to see how the trends fare.  Happy Dragon Boat Festival to all!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Asian Internet by 2015: Good News for Numeric Domains

Business Insider reported this week on predictions that Asia will surpass North America in Internet traffic passing over networks by 2015. 

Asia currently accounts for 5,363 Petabytes per month (2010 figures), whereas North America accounts for 6,998 per month.  By 2015, however, the study conducted by Cisco projects that Asia will account for 24,112, as compared to 22,274 for North America.  The company expects global Internet traffic to grow by 4 times in the next five years, and presumably Asia will account for a larger share of the gain in part because internet penetration is still low there among the population at large, and growing much faster than the already-saturated North American market. 

What does this mean for numeric domains?

Well, if you look at prices for's (4 digit/number .com domains) as reported on this blog, you can see that prices for these domains are nearly double what they were two years ago, and even more for some of the higher priced sales.  This trend should continue as Chinese demand for numeric domains increases, given the popularity of numbers in Chinese culture, and the preference for numbers as opposed to western letter characters in domain names. 

Also, it may mean increased registration and buying pressure for (5 digit/number) .com domains and other numeric domains.  More than 99% of the 100,000 domains are currently registered.   But it was not always that way, here are three data points roughly evenly spaced out from the last several years:

February, 2008: 19,000 domains available.
October, 2009: 9,300 domains available.  Rate of registration 2/08-10/09: 15/day.
June, 2011: 750 domains available.  Rate of registration 10/09-6/11: 13/day.

Nearly all of these registrations were made by Chinese domainers.  Of course, this analysis ignores the buyout in 2008 of these domains, which was not sustained.  But I think it makes sense to ignore the buyout in 2008, because it involved mainly western domainers, and did not seem to have an effect on the long-term registration trends for these domains of approximately 13-15/day, which is overwhelmingly due to registration by Chinese domainers.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Williamsburg Gets New Zip Code: Who Has the Domain?

As Gothamist reports, Williamsburg residents are up in arms about losing their fancy palindrome of a zip code: 11211.   The new one, 11249, is simply not as cool.  This story will be familiar to readers of NNNNNDomains, the post office is often adding new zip codes to deal with increased demand:
A rep for the USPS told us this morning that no, there will be no new post office, and the change was made because "the existing zip code table could not handle all the new deliveries so we had to add an additional zip to accommodate all the new construction, population."
So what does this mean for numeric domain names? is a nice domain just based on the numbers, but the fact that it is the domain for a prime zip code like Williamsburg, makes it even more valuable.  It is currently used as a well-designed website for a New York-based media management company

So what about  It's currently a parked page, with ads related to New York.  

And the owner?  No surprise there, Marchex (Nasdaq: MCHX).  Marchex owns nearly 50,000 .com and .net domains related to US zip codes.  It doesn't own all, but probably around 97-98% of US zip code domains are owned by Marchex. 

Marchex used to have a local search network they had developed, but the domains never seemed fully developed, with some local content and directories but not what you would expect for what they were trying to do.  It appears Marchex has, at least temporarily, abandoned their local search content network in favor of parked pages with generic ads.  It remains to be seen what they do with these domains long term: sell them, leave them parked, or come up with a new and possibly better plan for development? certainly seems like it could command a nice price now.

More Strong Numerics Sales at    10,400    RMB    $1,605    USD    4,860    RMB    $750    USD    7,100    RMB    $1,096    USD    4,800    RMB    $741    USD    6,901    RMB    $1,065    USD    7,760    RMB    $1,197    USD    5,300    RMB    $818    USD    7,201    RMB    $1,111    USD    35,499    RMB    $5,477    USD    2000    RMB    $309    USD    8,301    RMB    $1,281    USD    7,100    RMB    $1,096    USD    7,300    RMB    $1,126    USD    8,100    RMB    $1,250    USD    7,700    RMB    $1,188    USD    4,500    RMB    $694    USD    4,800    RMB    $741    USD    40,835    RMB    $6,301    USD

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

How Many Are Left?

I finally went and did a bulk check of all 100,000 domains to see which were available.

While the random sampling I did a week ago had suggested that there were around 1,200 available, the bulk check only showed 776 available.  Maybe the random sampling was way off, or maybe a lot were registered in the last week.

Either way, the new number shows that 99.2% of the's are registered.  That's pretty close to being all bought out.

It will be interesting to see whether the registration rate average of 13/day continues at this point.  I could easily see the rate of registration increase as more buyers/drop-catchers compete for fewer and fewer domains.  I can also easily see the rate of registration slowing or falling since the remaining domains are the least attractive ones.

Here is the distribution of remaining's:

65 domains that start with a "0"
3 domains that start with a "1"
66 domains that start with a "2"
49 domains that start with a "3"
311 domains that start with a "4"
9 domains that start with a "5"
63 domains that start with a "6"
136 domains that start with a "7"
27 domains that start with an "8"
47 domains that start with a "9"

This list shows a number of interesting phenomenon, one which startled me in particular was the popularity of domains that start with a "0".  I had thought that for sure these would be the least popular.  But apparently not.  Not surprising is the unpopularity of the domains that start with a "4", which I think means "death" in Chinese.  But who knows, maybe China will develop a goth culture and these domains will become very popular? Could happen...  The final surprising thing to note was that domains that start with a "5" are even more popular than domains that start with an "8", which is apparently the luckiest number in China.