Domaining in 2016: The Year in Review

Over the past year, many interesting things happened in the world of buying and selling domains. As 2016 comes to a close, let’s review some of the top stories in domaining over the past year.

Where did China go?

Demand for short domain names soared toward the end of 2015. This trend is due in large part to an influx of buyers from China. Then the demand for short domains dropped off a cliff in 2016 as the bubble burst.

Still, prices and demand for short domain names (such as three-letter and three-number domains) remain higher than where they were a few years ago.

In the past I rarely received offers for the three letter .com domain name I own. Starting at the end of last year and then early in 2016, things changed. Suddenly I received unsolicited offers almost daily. Many of these offers came from Chinese buyers, with a $70,000+ offering price. Now, these unsolicited offers are coming in less frequently and for about $30,000. While $30,000 is a lot less than $70,000, it’s still more than it would have been worth before China got interested in domains.

You can see trends in short domain pricing here.

A bright spot in the Chinese domain name market this past year continues to be the .vip top level domain (that’s the part to the right of the dot, like .com). This new TLD launched and quickly amassed over 500,000 registrations thanks to Chinese buyers.

Top New TLDs in 2016

The .vip TLD wasn’t the only domain people snapped up in large numbers over the past year. The .shop TLD (read more about its high price tag below) launched in September and already has over 100,000 registrations. The .cloud TLD also launched earlier this year and it too has nearly 100,000 registrations, which is good for a domain with a specific topical use.

One thing’s become clear with new domain names this year: people prefer domains with reasonable annual registration prices. Namecheap offers lots of new domain names for just 88 cents for the first year, and many of these domains are the most popular new TLDs on the market.

All Trumped Up

The U.S. Presidential election had a big impact on domain names, as people registered incredible numbers of domain names featuring the candidates’ names.

The name ‘Trump’ was a favorite for domain names, with people registering thousands of domain names that included his name in some way.

A couple people who bet on president/vice president combinations scored “bigly”. TrumpPence.com sold for $18,734 and ClintonKaine.com sold for $15,000.

Valuable Top Level Domains

Companies paid big bucks in auctions to win rights to operate new top level domain names.

In January, a Japanese company paid a then-record $41.5 million for the .shop TLD.

That looks like peanuts compared to the price of .web. Verisign (the same company that runs .com) agreed to pay $135 million to get its hands on this new extension, which many believe will become the most sought-after of all of the new domain names. Already it’s been a very popular option this year.

Good Domains are Worth a Lot of Cash

High-quality .com domain names remained the gold standard in 2016. At least five .com domain names sold for over $1 million this year, including Vino.com for $2.1 million and LA.com for $1.2 million.

Other big sales were Kiwi.com for $800,000, Rate.com for $725,000, and 997.com for $689,000.

Looking Forward to 2017

What does 2017 have in store for domainers? What do you think will be the hot new TLDs next year?

Stay ahead of the trends and you might make a lot of money.

And of course, be sure to register your domains at Namecheap.com. Through the end of 2016 grab your .com domains for only $8.88!


Andrew Allemann is editor of Domain Name Wire, the longest-running blog covering the business of domain names. Domain Name Wire has covered the business of domain name investing for over ten years.

2 thoughts on “Domaining in 2016: The Year in Review”

Leave a Reply