The Sales Roundup: Why AOA.com and Shop.app Sold for $200,000 Each

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The Sales Roundup is a weekly blog post that looks into the backstory to any domain name sale. We constantly have domain sales data presented to us, but what is the story behind the sale? Why did a name sell for a specific amount?

In this week’s Sales Roundup, I’m looking at 5 sales from the DNJournal chart published on April 15th, 2020. The names include two $200,000 sales, two one-word .COM’s and a name I’m puzzled about.

 

AOA.com – $200,000

The AOA.com price is certainly not a surprisingly high price. In the recent past, we’ve seen three-letter .COM domains such as NWM.com, NCC.com, and EEN.com sell for higher amounts within the mid-six-figure range. These have all been end-user purchases, and AOA.com is no different. While an investor may be looking to pick up three-letter .COM’s for low to mid-five-figures, an end-user should usually be prepared to pay at least six-figures for a three-letter .COM.

The AOA.com domain was sold by Bonfire Development, a Canadian investment company that owns a valuable .CA portfolio. The three-letter name was acquired by a Chinese company, AOA Sports as a significant upgrade from their previous AOAVIP1.com domain.

In the past, we have seen Chinese companies pay significant amounts of money to acquire short .COM domains. DJI.com for $300,000, MI.com for $3.6 million, and 37.com for $1.96 million are all prime examples of Chinese upgrades. Usually, these upgrades signify that the company is about to adopt a global presence.

As of writing, AOA.com redirects to AOAVIP1.com, but it remains to be seen whether AOA.com becomes the global home for a Western-friendly Chinese brand.

 

Shop.app – $200,000

This acquisition made some headlines at the time and currently ranks as one of the top ten new gTLD domain sales of all time. It’s also the only six-figure .APP domain name sale that has ever been reported to NameBio. Who made this monumental purchase?

Shopify, a major e-commerce company. If you’re unfamiliar with Shopify, it’s a platform that offers easy to use e-commerce tools for customers from small side ventures to major outlets. With a revenue of $1.58 billion in 2019, Shopify is one of the most popular e-commerce companies on the Internet. It’s even listed on the New York Stock Exchange using the stock symbol SHOP.

That’s not why they acquired Shop.app, though. It wasn’t a vanity purchase. The name was acquired for Shopify’s new mobile app, simply called “Shop”. According to an article by TechCrunch, Shop is a consumer shopping app.

Shop.app now features the homepage for the new Shopify venture. The .COM alternative, Shop.com, is already developed and would have made for a far more expensive purchase for Shopify. The .APP name certainly meets the needs of Shopify, and I would show this as an example of the perfect use case for a new gTLD. Interestingly, the company also owns ShopApp.com, but as of writing, the name doesn’t resolve.

 

Instructions.com – $62,000

The first one-word .COM featured this week is Instructions.com, which sold for $62,000 at the marketplace Sedo. The name was acquired from IXcellerate Ltd, a company based in Paris, France. As of writing, Instructions.com resolves to a Sedo parked page, and the WHOIS details are privacy protected, so there are few clues as to who the buyer is, and why they acquired this name.

The domain may have been acquired by an investor, though. According to DomainIQ, Instructions.com moved out of its previous registrar Gandi and was transferred to Uniregistry. Uniregistry is a popular registrar with domain investors, and less so with end-users, so this could have been an investor purchase, which would see the name potentially sell for more in the future.

Although at $62,000, it does seem like a high purchase price for an investor to pay.

 

Sniff.com – $40,000

Sold by Grit Brokerage for $40,000, Sniff.com certainly was an investor purchase. Previously featured in a Grit Brokerage newsletter with an asking price of $90,000, Sniff.com represents a short, brandable, one-word .COM domain that would be at home as a brand within the pet industry, for example.

After the acquisition, this domain moved from NameCheap to Epik, another investor-heavy registrar, and now displays a simple Epik landing page. I’d expect this name to sell again in the future to an end-user.

Recently, I interviewed the founder of Paw.com for Media Options’ Blog. While Sniff.com certainly isn’t in the same league as Paw.com, I could definitely see Sniff.com being used in a similar way.

 

Connys.com – $33,000

Another domain sold by Sedo in this chart was Connys.com, which achieved a price of $33,000. This is a name that required some investigative work to work out why it was acquired for this price. As of writing, the domain redirects to a website for a company called Alpbach Sports, part of a chain of companies offering activities and ski rental in the Austrian village of Alpbach, a picturesque place perched on the Austrian Alps.

From what I can see, there doesn’t seem to be a simple connection between Alpbach Sports and the Connys.com domain, though. There is another rental company operating in the same resort that is called Connys, and operates on the Austrian TLD of Connys.at.

I’d be surprised if a rival company had acquired this domain to simply draw traffic away from the other company since the ROI for this would be minimal. There must be a connection between Alpbach and Connys, but I can’t find it. If anyone has any suggestions, please feel free to let me know.

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