Top Selling Domain Names of All Time – Trends, Analysis, and Speculation

Background

Being an owner of a category dominant, generic domain name, it is part of my business to track the market values of similar domain names. Everybody seems to have their list of top selling domain names, and many of these sales have been covered in the press. However, I’ve never seen an all-encompassing list. So, I found it worthy to post these findings here.


Over the past years, I’ve met and established relationships with some of the largest domain buyers in the business. Sitting over a cup of coffee with others in the know, you’ll glean a lot of information that may have not been publicized otherwise. Names that I never see mentioned in these lists are Hotels.com, RealEstate.com, and Loan.com. These names are widely known to have fetched big dollars, but total numbers have never been confirmed. Details of the prices are provided in the spreadsheet notes.

RealEstate.com, Loan.com, and Hotels.com are are important sales when establishing comparables for Realty.com. These lie more closely into the housing, financial, and vacation categories which encompass the “realty” term.
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RealtyAgents.com – almost ready to launch

We are getting closer to launching RealtyAgents.com. This an exciting venture for us. After speaking to many industry experts and lay-persons, it is clear that this network should fill a void in the agent community. I don’t want to give away too many things just yet, but it is safe to say the RealtyAgents.com will be a site built for the working real estate agent.

This snapshot should give you a few hints. Keep tuned for more updates.

RealEstateVoices.com – Digg for real estate.

I’ve seen mentions of RealEstateVoices before. But, honestly, I haven’t really dugg too much into it. It’s a good tool for our little real estate niche. The more people who use it, the better the tool it will become. I recenlty submitted some of my real estate related stories. Check it out, and vote for the best stories you like.

Thanks, Homethinking! :)

Check out Joel’s summary here for a more detailed review.

Realty Lead Generators: Let the window shoppers shop

I was reading Greg’s post on the dismal state of HouseValues, and I had to think back to a post I wrote for Inman just over a year ago. The comments left on Greg’s blog by “John C” were highly entertaining. Is it me, or have traditional Realtors gone mad lately? The thought of legitimate competition is driving them crazy.

In response to John C., let me say this. After careful consideration, I recommended HV to my brother who is a new agent. HV is legitimate, they have commercials on TV, and they have great support and CRM solutions. So, after my lofty recommendation, my brother signed up. Two years ago, what was a $250/mo fee, turned into a $600/mo fee last year for my brother’s small market. My brother received several leads per week – week after week. He followed up on them all. He followed HV’s recommendations, went through their training, and offered every service they suggested. After 5 months of no sales, he gave up. He realized he was wasting his time chasing these leads which simply did not close. He was locked into a long-term contract, but realized that his time was best served finding business elsewhere than spending the majority of his day chasing curious home owners who weren’t interested in selling – or selling with the HV agent.

My article below basically questions the excessiveness of lead generation. The consumer deserves the opportunity to browse homes online without the pressure of having to provide their personal information. Zillow provided this option to HouseValue’s dismay. And now, companies like Trulia, Propsmart, Redfin, and Blueroof are providing home listings as the consumer deserves.

See the original story and the rest of my thoughts here.
Originally posted by Inman News here. (subscription required)

It should be noted that Realty.com was strictly a lead-gen site at the time of me writing this article. Immediately after, we began work to provide a broader range of services. The new site was launched 5 months later, and we still are working on providing a better consumer experience.

The gatekeeper to the entire industry

The battle lines are drawn. The domain portfolio companies are here to stay, and they brought friends. Companies like Marchex, Oversee.net, Demand Media, and Internet REIT are all backed by millions of dollars from investors and incoming revenues. And on the other side of this battle field is corporate America. Companies refusing to see the value in generic domain names as prime real estate along the information super-highway are simply missing out.

The Domain Name Journal couldn’t have said it any better…

…Schwartz asked the panel “How is it that Hilton and Marriott and Westin and all of the rest couldn’t figure out how many leads they would get from a domain like hotels.com? Instead of paying a million or two for a domain they now have to pay tens of millions (for leads) for the rest of their lives. So they flunked – they failed – and their advertising agencies failed them too!”

Regarding corporate America’s opportunity…

What we think they fail to understand is that a generic domain name reaches the consumer when they are thinking about buying something in a category, like an automobile, before they zero in on brands. Owning the generic domains, like cars.com, could effectively make them the gatekeeper for the entire industry, allowing them to intercept the customer and send them to the brand they want before they go to a competitor.

I wouldn’t say that we here at Realty.com are close to being the gatekeepers of our industry…yet. But, I would say that we’re getting closer to figuring out the combination!