The Sales Roundup is a weekly article digging deeper into reported sales. We see plenty of domain sales data, but what are the stories behind the numbers? This week, we’re examining the top five deals from March 2nd, 2020, to March 8th, 2020, as listed by DNJournal’s editor Ron Jackson.
In this week’s Sales Roundup, we’re looking at the week that Ron described as one of the most extraordinary sales weeks he has ever seen. That’s primarily because non-.COM domains completely dominated the week’s sales chart by taking 8 of the top 10 spots.
Looking purely at the top 5, we only see one .COM name.
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Free.co.uk – $205,000
Taking the top spot in this chart is the sale of Free.co.uk, brokered by DomainBooth, owned and operated by Brit, James Booth. The .CO.UK extension, widely used in the United Kingdom, has seen reasonably consistent five-figure sales, but the sale of Free.co.uk was the highest sale for the extension that we’ve seen in the last three years.
What drove the buyer to pay such a significant sum? It seems that this domain is going to be home to a brand new venture from an experienced, UK-based entrepreneur. Rayhan Rafiq-Omar, who previously founded the real estate company Wayhome, is behind the acquisition of Free.co.uk.
I spoke to Ray briefly about his purchase and his new venture. He will be using Free.co.uk to offer a service aimed at making buying and selling homes in the UK a simple, free process, allowing property owners to create a sales listing for their house in 5 minutes. Interestingly, Ray felt he ended up overpaying for this domain, but the domain name is a crucial aspect of his new online venture.
Ready.org – $169,888
The second six-figure sale on this week’s list is that of Ready.org. Listed on NameBio as the seventh-highest .ORG domain sale of all time, Ready.org was sold by DomainMarket founder Mike Mann after 15 years of ownership.
Who’s the buyer? Unfortunately, we don’t know at this stage. The domain name moved out of Mike Mann’s possession in March 2020 to a privacy-protected GoDaddy account. As of writing, the name doesn’t hold any kind of content, so it’s difficult to find any insights into the name’s new owner. What we can say is that the buyer renewed the domain through to 2029, so they plan on owning Ready.org for the decade, at least!
At six-figures for a one-word .ORG domain name, this is undoubtedly an end-user price. There’s a US government site, Ready.gov, offering advice to Americans about planning for disasters such as pandemics, and hurricanes. With COVID-19, perhaps someone is planning a similar site on Ready.org. We can only guess at this stage.
Download.it – $85,500
I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but here comes another “all-time” stat. The sale of Download.it is, according to NameBio, the largest .IT domain sale ever, overtaking the previous incumbent Like.it, which sold for $75,900 in 2014.
Interestingly, both of these domains sold at the same venue, Nidoma, a registrar, and brokerage company. Nidoma has previously sold names such as Viajes.es for $166,110.
While .IT is the Italian native domain extension, Download.it may have been acquired as a domain hack – the keyword and extension working together to form a common word or phrase. In this case, “download it.” The “download” keyword has been popular, too, with names such as DownloadMusic.com selling for $242,500 in the past.
As of writing, Download.it hosts an elementary blog in Italian. I’d be surprised if it stayed this way, and I’d expect to see a more comprehensive service built out on this.
According to DomainIQ, the domain is registered to EuroDNS, a domain registrar. I reached out to EuroDNS to ask for clarification on the sale, but they couldn’t reveal any more than what is already public, which is very little.
HELOC.com – $82,500
At number four in our chart, we see our first .COM entry. Co-brokered by Buckley Media and Lumis, HELOC.com gained its price tag thanks to the initialism’s meaning: Home Equity Line Of Credit, a loan that uses the equity in your home as collateral.
“HELOC” is searched for 18,100 times per month in the United States, on par with the word “Refinance,” according to SearchVolume.io. So, HELOC is a fairly common term in a very lucrative industry.
It, therefore, makes sense that the domain was acquired by one of the major players in the mortgage and refinancing sector, Freedom Mortgage. For some of you, this name may be familiar as they spent $2 million acquiring Freedom.com in 2017.
Freedom Mortgage, one of America’s largest non-bank lenders, was represented in the HELOC.com acquisition by brokerage company Lumis, who also advised on the Freedom.com purchase.
The seller of HELOC.com was First Place Internet, Inc, a Tampa-based company that owns a vast amount of premium .COM domains, including Invite.com. Kate Buckley of Buckley Media represented the seller.
RS.de – $79,800
We round out this week’s top five with RS.de, another non-COM. Germany’s .DE extension has produced many high-value sales, so this currently sits as the third-highest .DE sale of the past year behind Bier.de and 21.de.
It’s the second-highest sale of a two-letter .DE domain in history, behind the $116,488 deal for WG.de.
RS.de was sold at Sedo, which has a track record of producing high .DE sales. In fact, NameBio lists Sedo as the sales venue for 14 of the top 20 .DE domain sales of all time, including the top sale of Kredit.de for over $1.1 million.
As of writing, RS.de is not resolving to any website or content, and with the GDPR restrictions obscuring the identity of the new owner, we don’t know for sure who bought RS.de. What we do know is that the name currently uses MarkMonitor nameservers. This information would suggest that the buyer was a company or end-user either looking to launch in Germany or protect their brand by acquiring this domain.
Judging by the price paid and the nameservers, I’m confident this was an end-user purchase. Hopefully, we’ll soon see exactly who the owner is.