Grandseeds

The worst domain appraiser in the world


March 16, 2019 (Sat). When I acquire a domain, I do my own research and make my own purchase decision. I have never asked anyone to appraise my domains. So, it puzzles me to see investors requesting for domain appraisal on forums or even in private messages to me.

When it comes to domains, I am probably the worst appraiser in the world because my record of assessing values has been a disaster. At one time I thought the domain extension .mobi was a great investment and so amassed a large portfolio of it. Not even one .mobi domain was sold. Then, there have been several incidents in the past that remind me of the danger of doing appraisal for other investors.

In 2012, the domain JD.com was sold. Namebio reports five similar sales for that year, ranging from the lowest of $125,000 (YG.com) to the highest of $325,000 (BJ.com). Had you asked me to appraise JD.com in 2012, I would have probably said low 6 figures. As it turned out, someone from a Chinese ecommerce site with a very unattractive name 360buy.com paid $5 million for the domain.

What about Nubia.com? According to Merriam-Webster, Nubia is "a member of one of the group of dark-skinned peoples that formed a powerful empire between Egypt and Ethiopia from the 6th to the 14th centuries". It's not even a common word! But in 2015, Nubia.com was sold for $2 million to a mobile phone maker in China for their new brand "Nubia".

Do you see anything special in the name OFO? In 2017, most LLL (letter-letter-letter) domains were sold below $50,000, but OFO.com managed to fetch more than $1 million. Here's the twist. Several entrepreneurs in China saw OFO as a bicycle with two wheels. They named their startup accordingly and acquired OFO.com as an upgrade for their corporate domain OFO.so (yes, .so is a country extension for Somalia).

These examples show an important lesson in domain investing: do your home work to uncover the potential of each domain you plan to acquire. Research is the key!

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