This past week, GoDaddy disclosed a list of their top 20 domain sales for the month of June 2020. I’m going to be taking a look at why some of these domains sold for the prices they did, but first, I want to appreciate how momentous this sales disclosure is.
GoDaddy is, by far, the most widely known company in the domain industry, and for them to share real sales data on a monthly basis is invaluable to all domain investors – real-world data from the biggest domain registrar around.
Some sales may even make headlines outside the industry on occasion, slowly helping to bring a realization of domain value to a wider audience.
Here is some analysis of why some of the GoDaddy-released names sold for the prices they did.
Lendable.com – $125,000
This domain was acquired by British company Lendable, a personal loan startup founded in 2014 in London.
The company started life with a £2.5 million GBP seed funding round. Between 2017 and 2019, Lendable raised £1 billion GBP in three debt financing rounds.
Why has Lendable attracted so much funding, including a £200 million GBP investment from Goldman Sachs? Lendable, it seems, stands out from the crowded personal loan crowd by using machine learning to automate credit underwriting and offer personal loans. That means a far faster process.
Why did Lendable acquire Lendable.com after six years of using Lendable.co.uk? There are a few possibilities.
Firstly, it could be that Lendable is going to expand into other markets – which would mean that the .CO.UK has outgrown its usage. Using Lendable.com offers Lendable the chance to be a global presence.
Secondly, it could be that Lendable is keen to secure data and traffic leakage. With £1 billion GBP of investment and thousands of customers, Lendable will be handling sensitive data from customers every hour.
I should imagine that email leakage is a real possibility – a misplaced email going to an @lendable.com account rather than an @lendable.co.uk email address could be worrying. Securing Lendable.com for $125,000 solves that potential problem.
VanInsurance.com – $100,000 and VanInsurance.co.uk – $106,769
In the UK, the term “van insurance” is popular. According to SearchVolume.io, the phrase receives 40,500 searches per month. In the US, just 390 people search for van insurance every month (hint, see Wikipedia if you’re unsure of what a van is).
The estimated cost per click for advertising on Google in the UK for the term “van insurance” is around $20.89 per click. That’s a significant cost.
When we see these numbers, the acquisition costs of the domain names start to make sense.
A company called CoverCompare looks to have acquired both of these names for a combined total of $206,769. The British company already operates several insurance comparison websites including CarCompare.com, CreditCompare.com, and VanCompare.com.
Unsurprisingly, VanCompare.com advertises heavily on Google for the term “van insurance”. By acquiring VanInsurance.com, and the .CO.UK version, CoverCompare essentially owns this keyword.
CoverCompare can now concentrate on dominating the search results, investing time and effort into a website and SEO to take advantage of the 40,500 searches every month for “van insurance”, and the thousands of other monthly searches for similar terms.
If we work with a 2% click-through rate for ads on the “van insurance” search term, with an average cost per click of $20.89, that would mean that CoverCompare may have been spending close to $17,000 per month on Google ads. The names may pay for themselves within a couple of years.
Both the .COM and the .CO.UK look like they were acquired from two separate owners although the sales prices were ultimately very similar.
Appify.com – $50,000
This acquisition of Appify.com came about thanks to a rebrand. Originally known as Turbo Systems, this startup that allows companies to build their own field service and workforce management software applications without code.
According to a BizJournal article, the current CEO thought the name Turbo Systems was “kinda vague”. The name Appify was chosen because, according to the CEO, “we make apps that amplify your current system”.
The article may have gotten one line wrong, as it said “To her surprise, the domain name appify.com was still available.”
Well, the domain was available in the sense that it was available to acquire on the aftermarket for a total price of $50,000, but it wasn’t available to register, which is what I think the article’s writer was implying.
Appify/Turbo Systems has raised over $11.5 million in funding in the last two years, with the second round of $3.5 million being announced in July 2020 – weeks after the company acquired Appify.com.
It seems that Appify acquired Appify.com using funding from this $3.5 million round. In terms of an acquisition price, I don’t think $50,000 is an unreasonable amount for this type of brandable name.
Next week, I’ll look through a few more of GoDaddy’s reported sales