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$1.32 Million Sale of Men.com Makes Christmas 2003 One For Domainers to Remember

by Ron Jackson    
Archived 1-6-04


This is the first time
that the lead item in our domain sales column has been a bit anticlimactic! Official word of the $1.32 million sale of Men.com came Christmas Eve, right in the middle of our most recent reporting period. However, word of the transaction had leaked out several days before that and since the official announcement was made, nearly every media outlet on earth seems to have run the story!

 


That all points up what a nice job seller Rick Schwartz and his broker, DomainSystems, did in orchestrating dissemination of the news about this blockbuster transaction. They have managed to keep it in the headlines for two solid weeks now. They even had the foresight to take advantage of the media spotlight to plug the availability of two other showcase names Schwartz is putting on the market, Candy.com and TradeShows.com.  

We received some feedback from people who thought the $10-$50 Million estimates for those domains that Schwartz/DomainSystems put in their Men.com press release was unrealistic. However, those critics are completely missing the point. It is incredibly rare to have the attention of the world business media focused on you at one time. You can't buy that kind of publicity. Using that golden opportunity to not only release news on something that had already happened (the Men.com sale), but to also prime the pump for deals you hope to make demonstrated a keen understanding of the power of the press on the part of Mr. Schwartz and DomainSystems CEO Monte Cahn

You can argue whether or not they put an outrageous price out there and that is exactly what they want you to do. It will ensure that those names are talked about for a long time to come. If the hubbub catches the attention of someone like Nestle or Hershey's Chocolate and they buy Candy.com for, let's say for the sake of discussion, $2.5 million, do you think that Schwartz will be upset that he didn't get $10-$50 million? I doubt it. It's all part of shaping the market psychology that leads to sales at this level. 

That's why the Men.com sale is so significant. It will go a long way toward reversing the pessimistic market mindset that led to a severe slump in domain prices in recent years. For that, we believe that everyone in the business has reason to be happy this holiday season and chompin' at the bit to see what 2004 brings!

Now let's move on to this week's new Top Ten chart covering sales from Dec. 22 to Dec. 28. There is no doubt that Christmas week distractions led to a slowdown in activity at nearly all of the primary sales venues (or perhaps Schwartz just sucked ALL of the money out of the market with Men.com)! Even so, Santa was especially good to DomainSystems, who had a hand in 3 of the top 6 sales. Cahn told us they had a few even bigger sales (excluding Men.com) but couldn't release them due to privacy requests from the parties involved in the transactions.

Sedo and Pool.com also had 3 entries each on the big chart with Ebay claiming the other slot. The $4,155 sale of Lures.com gave Ebay its first appearance as a Top Ten sales venue. We just wonder how much more that domain might have fetched if it had been listed at a professional domain sales venue rather than on a general interest site like Ebay where domains are buried and rarely command strong prices. 

As always, keep in mind that these are the highest value sales that have been reported in the past week. This column is meant to be an educational tool, not a complete list documenting ALL high value domain sales. Such a list is impossible to produce because many sales are kept private at the insistence of buyers, sellers or both.

Domain Name Journal's Top Ten 
Reported Domain Sales - Mon. Dec. 22, 2003 - Sun. Dec. 28, 2003
Euro to Dollar Conversion ( to $) is Based on Rates in Effect Tue. Dec. 30

  Domain

Sold For

Where Sold
1.  Men.com $1,320,000 DomainSystems
2.  QFC.com $6,600 Pool
3.  PC-Spiele.com
"PC Games" in German
3,400 = $4,265 Sedo
4.  NaturalCookie.com $4,199 DomainSystems
5.  Lures.com $4,155 Ebay
6. BirraMoretti.com
(a popular Italian beer)
$3,200  DomainSystems
7. DistilledWater.com $2,809 Pool
8. Gedichte.org
"Poems" in German
  2,000 = $2,506 Sedo
9. Sharereaktor.com  1,780 = $2,230 Sedo
10. Prestige.net  $2,150 Pool

That #3 sale of PC-Spiele.com for $4,265 again brought home to me how European buyers are much less put off by hyphens that those in the U.S. We even see them taking hyphenated names in the new extensions (there is another one on our New TLD chart this week in fact). While some believe there is some search engine advantages for hyphenated names (making the words easier for the robots to pick out), most Americans feel hyphens cause a domain to fail the "radio test". That says that a spoken domain name should be easy to remember. Saying "PC Hypen Spiele" makes it a little trickier to recall. However, it's the buyers who have the final say in these matters so I may have to rethink my aversion to hyphenated names.

Sedo had that sale as well as a nice set of .de twins that went for $1,879 each: DesktopMotive.de and Festschrift.de. A British domain, LocalSearch.co.uk attracted $1,246 and still another German country code domain, DataCopy.de went for $1,253 at the same venue.

Pool also had a couple of other notables: Startup.net at $1,694 and NES.org at $1,450. The top sale at Afternic.com was DatingAgent.com for $1,600.  We don't hear much about .cn sales (China's country code), but Afternic moved Toronto.cn for $500.

Things were fairly quite in the new extension world as well (domainers sure have become slackers lately - taking a break for Christmas - can you imagine)! Still we had a four-figure .biz leading the way (purchased by a German company) and for the first time saw each of the three new extensions (.biz, .info and .us) take a slot in the top three. 

Domain Name Journal's New TLD Top Five 
 Reported .info, .biz & .us Domain Sales  Dec. 22, 2003 - Dec. 28, 2003
Euro to Dollar Conversion ( to $) is Based on Rates in Effect Tue. Dec. 30

  Domain

Sold For

Where Sold
1.  MMN.biz    $1,000 Pvt Transaction
2.  ChicagoHomes.info  $395 Afternic
3.  Dermatitis.us     250 = $313 Sedo
4.  Haus-bau.info   200 = $251 Sedo
5.  Vacant Sedo

There was a tie for the #5 slot last week, requiring us to shoehorn 6 names on the chart, so I guess it is appropriate that things evened out this week with the 5th slot vacant! We actually know of a sale that would have filled the gap, but in a fun twist at DNForum.com, forum veteran Bob Deemer is running a contest before revealing the price he received for Manager.us.  Deemer is asking forum members to guess how much he received for the domain with the winner to be announced New Year's Eve.  As of this writing, the guesses have ranged from $800 all the way up to $20,000! The official announcement will fall within the reporting period for next week's chart, so look for it then and see how close your own estimate comes to the actual sales price.

As always, we welcome all verifiable sales reports from companies, private sellers or individuals with knowledge of an important sale made through any channel. To contribute information and help make this column better,  just drop a note to editor@dnjournal.com. I would like to extend  special "Thank Yous" again to Richard Meyer and Page Howe for their help in gathering data for this week's column. 

Every Tuesday we publish the highest reported domain name sales for the previous week. On Monday our contributors send us their sales data for the previous 7 days. We then compile that information and write this report for Tuesday publication to give you the freshest sales report in the industry. 

We will close with this standard caution. These are not average selling prices - these are top selling domains. One of the biggest impediments to making sales is pricing domains at unrealistic levels. For most of us, pricing domains at the levels achieved on the Top Ten chart will leave us waiting a long time to make a sale! We hope you will use the information presented here as a measuring stick that will help you price your domains at levels that will put more money in your pocket more often!

Editor's Note: If you wish to review previous Domain Sales columns, they are available in our Archive.

 






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