2023 top stories: A slower aftermarket

Domain sales, particularly high-dollar ones, are lacking.

2023 top stories: a slower aftermarket

The Covid-19 pandemic brought a surge in domain name registrations and aftermarket domain purchases. Domain activity has quickly reverted to the mean, and that’s bad news for the domain name aftermarket. Couple that with reduced venture capital investing, and the top end of the market is particularly struggling.

Two public companies have reported a slowdown on the domain resale side of the business.

Escrow.com, part of Freelancer.com (OTCMKTS: FLNCF), reported a slowdown starting last year. While there have been signs of life in 2023, the overall picture has been dim.

Likewise, GoDaddy (NYSE: GDDY) has reported lackluster demand in its $400-million-a-year aftermarket business.

Both Escrow.com and GoDaddy said there has been a shortage of high-dollar sales. Domain investors also claim the top end of the market is soft, save for a couple of outliers.

That said, the lower end of the market seems to be holding strong. And artificial intelligence-related domains have experienced a stellar year.

Also hurting the aftermarket is the softness in expired domain name sales. This is due in part to fewer new registrations occurring post-pandemic. Many new registrations expire the following year, leading to more domains to sell in the expiry stream.

The primary domain registration market is also down, and China might be somewhat to blame.

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