Why you’re selling fewer domain names

Demand for new websites is decreasing, and so is the demand for domains.

Picture of sad dog laying on a dog bed.
Don’t be sad, you’re not the only one selling fewer domains.

There have been some big domain sales lately, but if you are on “domain Twitter,” you know all is not well in the domain name aftermarket.

Domain investors are complaining about unusually long sales droughts. After a couple of years of record-setting sales, they’re seeing sales slow down.

No, it’s not just you. I’ve talked to enough people on background to know that most people are experiencing a drop in aftermarket domain sales. And the reason is fairly obvious: demand for new websites is down.

Verisign reported a drop in both new domain registration and the total number of .com domains registered last quarter. Wix is laying off employees as demand wanes.

The reason is simple, and it’s not just about economic uncertainty: we’re returning to pre-Covid levels of demand.

Demand for domains took off the past couple of years as companies needed to go online to survive. Many businesses that might have been getting around to establishing a web presence this year have already done it. The world is reopening and things are slowly returning to normal.

At least at the low end of the aftermarket, demand mirrors the demand for “normal” domain registrations. People trying to establish a website search for domains. Most of them buy an unregistered domain, but a small percentage of those people buy an already-registered domain.

As the number of people searching for and registering unregistered domains decreases, so does the number of people opting to register a domain that’s listed for sale.

This isn’t the end of the world. Demand is merely reverting to pre-pandemic levels.

Sure, there are other factors at play. There’s nuance in this market. But at the simplest level, it makes sense that aftermarket domain sales have receded this year.

I’m leading a panel at NamesCon where we’ll dig into actual numbers and results that two domain investors have experienced this year. Join us for “Real Deals, Real Numbers” at 3:40 CDT on August 31.

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