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Cahn says .hiphop premiums could show up at auction next month

Kevin Murphy, January 26, 2022, Domain Sales

“Premium” .hiphop domains could show up at auction next month, according to RightOfTheDot.

The company is planning a “digital asset auction” for February 24 and boss Monte Cahn said in a press release “you may also see some .hiphop premium reserve names as well as some other premium TLDs.”

Cahn is a partner in Dot Hip Hop, along with JJN Consulting and DigitalAMN, the new company currently battling ICANN bureaucracy for the right to have UNR’s .hiphop registry contract reassigned.

Along with 22 other UNR buyers, DHH is waiting for ICANN approval of its purchase. ICANN is wary and/or confused by UNR’s representations about matching blockchain alt-root TLDs that accompanied the sales.

The company plans to lower the cost of .hiphop names to bring them to a wider audience.

DHH filed a Request for Reconsideration with ICANN recently, to speed up a process that has so far taken almost six months, but withdrew it when it became clear it had merely triggered another time-consuming bureaucratic process.

ROTD was formed to coordinate gTLD auctions, but is perhaps better known nowadays for selling left-of-the-dot domains, such as at its annual NamesCon conference live auctions.

The company is currently seeking lots for its February 24 auction, including high-value domains and NFTs. The deadline for submissions is February 17.

Bank spends $800,000 to move from a .bank to the exact-match .com

Kevin Murphy, January 19, 2022, Domain Sales

A small Wisconsin bank has acquired the exact-match .com for its brand for $800,000.

Bank First currently uses a .bank domain, bankfirstwi.bank, but has decided to rebrand to bankfirst.com, CFO Kevin LeMahieu told DI today.

In what many domainers will consider an “upgrade”, the .com was purchased during the fourth quarter from another financial institution.

Its new domain currently redirects to the old .bank domain.

The exact-match .bank domain, bankfirst.bank, belongs to an unrelated Mississippi bank with a similar name. But that company doesn’t use it, preferring instead bankfirstfs.com.

.bank is a tightly restricted and secured gTLD launched in 2015 where domains cost about $1,000 a year. It currently has fewer than 5,000 domains under management.

Omicron domain sells for $5,000

Kevin Murphy, December 9, 2021, Domain Sales

The domain name omicronvariant.com, hand-registered less than six months ago, has sold for $5,000 via Sedo, raising all kinds of questions about the value and future of Covid-19 variant-related domains.

The domain, at time of writing, resolves to a Sedo parking page containing ads unrelated (for me) to the pandemic or healthcare.

It was registered in early June, just a day or two after the World Health Organization announced that it would start naming coronavirus variants after letters of the Greek alphabet.

At that time, and to this day, the delta variant is the dominant strain worldwide, and yet deltavariant.com is currently listed for sale for $2,000 at GoDaddy/Uniregistry.

It seems somebody out there is willing to bet that omicron will have the transmissibility speed and longevity to outstrip delta, become dominant, and make dropping $5,000 on the matching .com a wise investment.

Assuming non-nefarious use, I personally struggle to see the end-user value.

It appears that any .com combination of a Greek letter and the word “variant” that had not already been registered by June was quickly snapped up by speculators after WHO revealed its naming scheme.

Some domains, such as alphavariant.com and xivariant.com, were already in use by companies with web sites that predate the pandemic.

The company Nu Variant seems to have dodged a bullet — WHO skipped that letter because it’s a confusing homophone of “new” in some English dialects. It also skipped xi, as it’s a common name that happens to be shared by the premier of China, which was bad luck for the xivariant.com domainer.

All the other letters between delta and omicron have been assigned to variants that fizzled out or have failed to garner much media attention.

At this point, it seems quite possible that WHO will run out of Greek letters in a matter of months, but it reportedly has no current plan for its coronavirus nomenclature after that.

Facebook rebrand: did one new gTLD or domainer just hit the jackpot?

Kevin Murphy, October 20, 2021, Domain Sales

Facebook is reportedly just days away from unveiling a major corporate rebranding, which will raise only one question in the minds of DI readers: what domain is it going to use?

Citing an unnamed source, The Verge is scooping that a name change is coming in the next week or so “to reflect its focus on building the metaverse”.

The article suggests that we’re looking at a new parent company, with a new umbrella brand, for services including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus, along the same lines as Google’s reorganization under the Alphabet monicker a few years back.

You’ll recall that Alphabet famously chose abc.xyz as its domain, giving a huge early boost to marketing efforts at XYZ.com’s .xyz registry.

Could a different TLD registry get a similar leg-up from a new Facebook identity?

If the company has chosen a dictionary word for its brand, we’re looking at either something in a new gTLD, or a .com that would likely have to have been purchased from a domain investor.

If the domain has been bought on the secondary market, it almost certainly would have been acquired via a pseudonymous proxy, to avoid price gouging and to keep the name a secret.

Other options are that Facebook has come up with some fanciful neologism and bought the domain at reg price, or has selected a brand from a domain already in its portfolio.

The Verge expects a revelation by the company’s Connect conference October 28, but says it could come sooner.

Schwartz makes deal to sell ass.com for over $6 million

Kevin Murphy, June 23, 2021, Domain Sales

Veteran domain investor Rick Schwartz today said he’s made a deal to sell the domain name ass.com for over $6 million.

The deal appears to include the mouthwatering sum up-front, along with ongoing royalties. He tweeted a couple hours ago:

The most obvious use for the domain would be a porn site, but that wouldn’t explain hashtags such as “realestate” and “crypto”.

If confirmed, the deal would be the 11th most expensive domain ever sold, according to DNJournal.

Schwartz sold porno.com for $8,888,888 in February 2015.

Updated for clarity.

Biggest .co flip ever — bought for $25, sold for $300,000

Kevin Murphy, May 14, 2021, Domain Sales

A domain investor has reportedly sold the domain eth.co for $300,000, making it the second-highest amount a .co domain has sold since the ccTLD relaunched in 2010.

Domain marketplace Efty today reports that MagnumDomains used its platform to sell the domain via its buy-it-now function, with no broker involvement.

eth.co is expected to refer to Ethereum, the blockchain cryptocurrency, but it doesn’t seem to be clear whether the buyer is an end-user or fellow investor.

It’s believed to be the second most-expensive .co domain ever sold, and the most-expensive sold by a domain investor.

The previous record-holder is o.co, which .co registry .CO Internet (now part of GoDaddy) famously sold to Overstock.com for $350,000 during its relaunch back in 2010.

The eth.co seller bought the domain for $25 back then, before Ethereum existed, and has been sitting on it ever since, according to Efty.

One-letter .lu domains could be bought for peanuts

Kevin Murphy, November 3, 2020, Domain Sales

Luxembourg’s ccTLD registry is auctioning off 2,825 one and two-character .lu domain names, and so far bids are looking very affordable.

The names have been reserved for two decades, but Restena began releasing them to trademark owners in August, and yesterday the landrush phase began.

The company has set up a special website for the auction.

After the first day of bidding, only one domain, j.lu, has attracted a bid in four figures (€2,000).

All 36 letters and numbers have at least one bid. Another 15 internationalized domains — single letters with diacritics or accents — have not yet attracted bids.

The domain with the most action so far is hu.lu — I wonder why — with a €500 top bid.

It’s still early days, and obviously most auction activity happens towards the end.

The plan is for the auctions to run for a minimum of 12 more days, but they could be extended into December.

On December 15, anything not already registered will be released for registration on a first-come, first-served basis.

Will you shut up, man? Trump takedown domain on sale for ridiculous fee

Kevin Murphy, September 30, 2020, Domain Sales

Proving once again that there’s no neologism or emergent catchphrase that won’t be registered as a .com, a domainer has put willyoushutupman.com on sale in the wake of last night’s ludicrous US Presidential debate.

The line “Will you shut up, man?” was uttered in exasperation by Democrat candidate Joe Biden midway through the debate, after being ceaselessly harangued and interrupted by President Trump.

It’s currently listed on Dan.com with a “make an offer” tag, but Newsweek reported earlier today that the seller had priced the domain at $175,000.

The domain currently redirects to an affiliate link to the bespoke printing company Zazzle, so even if it doesn’t sell, the domainer may make a bit of cash.

Newsweek also reports that Biden’s campaign are already selling “Will you shut up, man?” merch, but I was unable to find such an item on the official Biden site.

Radix premium renewals approach $1 million

Kevin Murphy, September 8, 2020, Domain Sales

New gTLD registry Radix made almost a million bucks in the first half of the year from renewal fees on its premium domains.

That’s one data point that jumps out from Radix’s latest premium sales report, released last night.

The company said that it made $1.96 million at the top line from premiums in the period, up 19% on the second half of 2019.

It added that $996,771 of that was from renewals, up from $903,687 in H2 2019.

Radix is one of the registries that charges a premium fee every year over the lifetime of the registration, a practice controversial among domain investors.

Still, it appears there is demand (or, at least, acceptance) among end users. Radix said it saw a 41% sequential increase in the number of premium sales in H1.

.tech, .online and .store were the biggest sellers, with the vast majority of sold names clustering in the $250 to $2,500 range.

The renewal rate after the first year was 63%, growing to 72% at the second renewal and a very respectable 78% thereafter.

Radix said it saw .store premium sales grow by more than fivefold during the half, which it attributed to the coronavirus pandemic:

While premium registrations and revenue have grown steadily for five quarters since Q2 2019, the 2020 pandemic has led to significant demand in eCommerce and have urged businesses from all verticals to build a strong web presence.

This has led to a surge in the adoption of premium domain names on meaningful extensions that are most suited for these businesses such as .STORE. Premium registrations for .STORE in Q2 2020 was up by 5.5X compared to Q2 2019.

More stats can be found here.

Domainers immune from the lockdown bump?

Kevin Murphy, July 30, 2020, Domain Sales

While the can be little doubt that the domain industry saw a boost in the second quarter due to the impact of coronavirus lockdown mandates, the same may not be true for those playing in the secondary market.

Data out from Escrow.com last night shows the weakest quarter for secondary market sales since the company started publishing its data two years ago, with average prices and overall sales volume down.

The company, which acts as a trusted intermediary for domain transfers, said it processed $55.2 million of sales in Q2, down from $85.8 million in the first quarter.

All of the primary geographical markets saw a decline apart from Hong Kong, with the US suffering the worst dip.

The US obviously has taken the biggest dose of the virus and has little in the way of a social safety net, so it’s perhaps not surprising that buyers are being more cautious with their cash.

The declines fly in the face of data and commentary from the primary market, where registries and registrars have generally been seeing unexpected boosts to sales as lockdown-impacted small businesses rush online.t

It’s tempting to speculate that while the virus has created more customers for domain names, fears over the incoming recessions have made buyers less likely to want to splash out on a premium domain.

Escrow.com said that the median price of a domain name without associated content dropped from $3,000 to $2,500 in the quarter.