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auDAs Aftermarket Anniversary

Posted 29/05/2009 5:20:00 AM

One year on, is the .au aftermarket alive?

It's been a year since auDA relaxed their rules on the transfer of domain licenses between registrants, legitimising the sale of .au domain names. The changes were significant enough to draw media attention, spawning a flurry of registrations and creating a whole new industry in the form of domain aftermarket. But has the expected boom in domain name trading happened, and are .au domain names reaching anticipated values?

One year has certainly been long enough, it seems, for Netalliance Pty Ltd, owners of netfleet.com.au. The self proclaimed ".AU Aftermarket" current lists nearly 30,000 domain names for sale. The business would have benefited hugely from alliances with Netregistry and PlanetDomain forged earlier this year.

According to the website, the value of sales* back to January 20th peaked with domain name webdesign.net.au selling for $10,000 early in April. The average price during this period was just under $850 for the 50 domains shown*. With all due respect to auDA and their eligibility criteria, this is a fantastic average return on investment for an initial outlay of around $50, and in the midst of a global recession!

What is apparent, however, is that the values are not on the scale of some of last year's more optimistic reports. Whether Netfleet has established the credibility for premium domain names, or whether they're just not for sale is unknown. It's also not clear if all of Netfleet's sales are listed. However, as someone that regularly provides .au domain name appraisals, it's reassuring to see that my own valuations are in line with the market.

The domain name that appears to have generated most interest on netfleet.com.au (but no sale, yet) is ok.com.au. The current bid for this domain, the latest of 24, sits at $5,000. The target price is $25,000. Though there is a discrepancy between the target price and current bid even at this advanced stage of bidding (the domain has been listed for 7 months), it's at least closer than the gulf between target and bid for parramatta.com.au ($75,000 and $5,100 respectively after 9 bids).

At the other end of the scale, meetingonline.com.au sold for just $35. Even with an additional $100 or so in transfer fees this nice, generic domain name represents a great bargain for any domain parker.

Though perhaps no longer in its infancy, the domain aftermarket does seem to be alive in Australia, if not yet kicking. One thing's for sure, the unique nature of any domain aftermarket, particularly one as new as for .au domains, makes it an interesting study.

Domain sales statistics (source: www.netfleet.com.au, 29th May 2009):

  • 29,491 domains listed
  • 1484 offers made against 653 domains
  • Highest value (public) sale: $10,000 (webdesign.net.au)
  • Lowest value (public) sale: $30 (auctiondomains.com.au)
  • Average value (public) sale: $845.92
  • Sales achieved an average of 89% of target price, when specified
  • 71% of sales achieved their target value; 3% achieved greater than their target value

* NOTE: Statistics based on publicised sales on www.netfleet.com.au between 20th January and 29th May 2009

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