2015 was an action packed year filled with incredible sales, scandal and consolidation. Some of the biggest players in the industry showed why they are the top dogs in 2015.
Rick Schwartz put up some incredible numbers staring with the sale of Porno.com for $8,888,888, the sale broke on TheDomains.com on February 2, 2015. Purchased in 1997 for $42,000, Rick told Mike Berkens, Since owning the domain name, that Porno.com “has earned well in excess of over $10 million via parking and redirects without ever providing actual adult content.”
Rick was just getting started in 2015 as he put up some impressive numeric sales in the spring and summer. Rick sold 9595.com for $180,000 and followed that up by selling 8181.com for $225,000. Rick moved to 3N with 899.com at $801,000.
Rick continued his string of numeric sales by selling 989.com for $818,181.81, yes down to the penny.
In November Rick sold 4 domains for $1,325,000, 399.com, 6565.com and 6n.com were included in the bulk sale.
So Rick sold close to $12 million in sales in 2015 as reported by TheDomains.com.
Michael Berkens had a big 2015 and also an exit from active domaining. Mike started 2015 with the sale of 345.com for $800,000. In December of 2013 Michael wrote, “We have also rejected several multiple offers on a domain we own 345.com over $350,000 this year with $360,000 being the highest offer.”
Mike sold SuperSeats.com for $48,888 and continued to sell longer phrase type names for great money.
- LoseYourShirt.com $10,000
- FindMyMoney.com $24,888
- ExpectTheUnexpected.com $25,000
Mike had a couple of 3L.com sales with QJS.com for $150,000 and WQB.com for $56,000.
Michael made one of the biggest splashes of 2015 by announcing that he sold the majority of his portfolio to Go Daddy, close to 70,000 domain names. Adult names and new gtlds were not included in the sale, so Michael still owns over 10,000 domain names.
Another strong theme for 2015 was consolidation within the industry. Escrow.com was purchased by Freelancer.com for $7.5 million, many thought the price was on the cheap side and expressed their thoughts on TheDomains.com.
In April of 2015, Go Daddy acquired the domain portfolio of Marchex (MCHX) for $28.1 million.
In the parking space Parking Crew acquired Name Drive as reported by Domain Name Wire. No price was included.
CentralNic acquired domain registrar Instra Group for approximately $33 million.
The word of the year for domaining was “Chips” coined by Tim Schoon of PEJ.com. The Chinese appetite for domains without aeiouv needed a name better than no vowels plus v, and Schoon labeled these names Chips.
The country of the year was certainly China, the demand for previously undesirable names in the West turned trash into cash for many. If you owned 4L.coms like qqzx.com just a couple years ago you were looking at renewing a liability, there was no demand for these names in the West, they would expire and go to closeouts on Go Daddy. That all changed when there were domain wanted threads for names that did not include vowels or the letter v, no V is used in Pinyin. Pinyin is a Chinese system for transliterating Mandarin Chinese into 25 European characters (the letter “v” is not included).
The Chinese demand has led to certain categories being traded like Forex, many domain investors follow ChaoMi.cc and LLLLsales.com the way a day trader checks stock quotes.
Many who scoffed at these names missed out on a great opportunity as buyouts in 4L.net,org,5N.net, etc… have led to big profits for some. It has changed the way many look at the business and will be a trend to watch for 2016.
There was scandal in 2015 centered around Adam Dicker, a thread on Namepros along with a blog post on TheRealShane has led to a firestorm about business dealings between Dicker and customers. It is a lot to read but without reading it you will not get the full story.
I hope everyone most importantly has a healthy and Happy New Year. 2016 will present new opportunities and new challenges.
All the best and thanks for reading in 2015.