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Put This in Your Pipe and Smoke It!
TobaccoOutlet.com Rises To the Top of Our Sales Chart 


by Ron Jackson    


They banned smoking
in restaurants in our home state (Florida) last summer, but nothing can extinguish the continued demand for good tobacco domains. TobaccoOutlet.com went for $7,750 at DomainSystems.com to top our latest weekly sales chart. There were no five-figure sales this week as most of the sales venues saw slower activity due to the holidays. However there were still enough solid four-figure sales to make even Scrooge happy!

 


It was an especially good week for DomainSystems with the company claiming half of the available positions in our Top Ten.  Part of that may be due to the worldwide publicity the company received the prior week when it was involved in the $1.32 million dollar sale of Men.com. That resulted in their name being printed in hundreds of newspapers and websites around the globe. DomainSystems is already a strong contender week in and week out, so the media coverage was like pouring gasoline on a fire as even more new buyers made it a point to focus in on their offerings.

Another highlight this week is the continuing emergence of .info as a regular contender  for space in our Top Ten. .Info has been a dominating presence on our New TLD chart ever since we began this column in October, but now we see the newcomer frequently mixing it up with the big boys on our main chart. This week Vancouver.info went for $6,378 at Sedo to rank among the top three reported sales in all extensions for our latest 7-day reporting period. Next week we will likely be reporting the completion of a five-figure .info sale. The domain has been paid for and now awaits only the transfer from the seller to the buyer to become official.

As seems to be the case more often than not, a possible sale is generating as much talk as transactions that have actually taken place. In an auction at Pool.com Dec. 31, Che.net went for an eye-popping $38,000. Since there is no readily apparent reason why that .net would go so high our immediate reaction was one of suspicion. Especially since a principal at one of the main auction venues told us that more than half of these unusually high auction bids turn out to bogus.

The only viable commercial use we could connect with Che.net was that che means car in the Chinese Pinyin dialect. Some mentioned Che Guevara but, other than selling a book or two, one would be hard pressed to recoup 38K from the deceased South American Communist leader's name. Awfully expensive for an unofficial fan club site too! Nearly a week after the auction ended, the WhoIs record remains unchanged and the domain still resolves to Pool. It's too early to declare the domain isn't going to be paid for, but until we see it change hands we'll file this one in our "we'll believe it when we see it" folder.

Now let's get our feet back on solid ground and move on to this week's new chart covering sales from Dec. 29 through Jan. 4. .Com opened the New Year with a dominating performance, taking 8 of the 10 positions. Only .info and .net were able to crash the party. Another frequent visitor to the big chart, Germany's .de, just missed making it by 1 Euro this week!

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. 29, 2003 - Sun. Jan. 4, 2004
Euro to Dollar Conversion ( to $) is Based on Rates in Effect Tue. Jan. 6

  Domain

Sold For

Where Sold
1.  TobaccoOutlet.com $7,750 DomainSystems
2.  VFL.com $6,600 Pool
3.  Vancouver.info 5,000 = $6,378 Sedo
3.  Alturo.com 5,000 = $6,378 Sedo
5.  TimeshareLoans.com $4,475 DomainSystems
6. TestAce.com $4,450  DomainSystems
7. MichiganVacations.com $4,000 DomainSystems
8. UniversityOfIllinois.com   $3,655 Pool
9. RegPoint.com  $3,650 DomainSystems
10. SexKontakte.net 2,501 = $3,190 Sedo

There is a lot of optimism about how 2004 will play out for the domain market. In a private message the buyer of the #2 domain, VFL.com, told us he expects to be able to quadruple his $6,600 investment before the year is out. If that happens it will certainly pay off better than your average passbook savings account!

Some other notes of interest on the Top Ten: The Vancouver.info sale continues to point up what an excellent match geographical locations make with the new extension. The #4 domain, Alturo.com, is the name of a company according to the sales venue, Sedo. #8 domain UniversityofIllinois.com looks a little bulky but commanded $3,655 thanks to strong existing traffic (over 500 with the extension at Overture). The name is already pointed to a PPC page. We do wonder if a certain major state university might challenge this use of its name though.

Missing the Top Ten by just a hair was Schwarzemagie.de, a domain that went for  $3,189 at Sedo. It means "black magic" in German. Another Sedo winner was Autofinanzierung.com ("auto financing" in German) which attracted $2,169.

Pool had a number of notable sales to go along with the pair they have on the Top Ten. Aquatica.com soaked the buyer (BuyDomains) for $3,100. Someone also bid $3,100 for InvestingForum.com. That one hasn't changed hands yet but if it does it will be an impressive sum for a forum name. Other winning bids at Pool included Kathy.net at $2,107 and CheapGift.com for $2,100 (we can't help but wonder if the buyer was someone miffed at getting a crummy Christmas present)! Here's another Pool selection that was appropriate for the season - Bars.net drew a $2,033 winning bid and it couldn't have come at a more appropriate time - New Year's Eve!

Another domain coming in above $2,000 was Screening.info (more on that in our new TLD section below). Afternic.com had a pair or four-figure sales to report: that loud sound you heard might have been kaboom.net going for $1,050. A 3-letter domain, VZZ.com was right behind at $1,000.

Sorry to keep you new extension fans waiting, but you have to like what you've heard so far about those sales of Vancouver.info and Screening.info. They take the top two spots on our New TLD chart and still another four-figure sale landed Manager.us in the third position, preventing .info from making it another clean sweep this week. Take a look at the list then we will offer a few comments.

Domain Name Journal's New TLD Top Five 
 Reported .info, .biz & .us Domain Sales  Dec. 29, 2003 - Jan. 4, 2004
Euro to Dollar Conversion ( to $) is Based on Rates in Effect Tue. Jan. 6

  Domain

Sold For

Where Sold
1.  Vancouver.info   5,000 = $6,378 Sedo
2.  Screening.info  $2,200 Pvt Transaction
3.  Manager.us    $1,382 Sedo
4.  Greifzu.info
"Grab it now" in German 
 500 = $638 Sedo
5.  Bauversicherung.info
"building insurance" in German
299 = $381 Sedo
5.  Hausfinanzierung.info
"house financing" in German
299 = $381 Sedo

#2 Screening.info was sold by veteran new extension investor Tariq Ghafoor to a German doctor in a private $2,200 transaction. You might recognize Tariq's name from a column he contributed to Domain Name Journal last year. Another old friend and well-respected domainer, Bob Deemer, made the Manager.us sale through Sedo. The latter three sales are all German terms and indeed Germany seems to be the top marketplace for .info and .biz sales. It will be very interesting to see if that pocket of strength expands outside of Europe in the months and years ahead.

New extension fans have to love seeing those four-figure sales. Though you don't see any individual .biz domains on the chart this week we know of a large group of .biz and .info domains that was sold to a major investor in a private four-figure deal last week. One  reason you may not see as many .biz transactions publicly reported is the registry rule aimed at restricting speculation in that namespace. The .biz registration agreement says you are not to register .biz domains with the sole  purpose of reselling them. The registry, Neulevel, wants to see those domains used by ongoing business developers rather than bottled up by speculators. It is hard to enforce such a rule but anything that encourages development of new namespace should be beneficial to all investors in the long run. 

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 a special "Thank You"  to Richard Meyer who contributed greatly to 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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