Yahoo recently offered about a hundred of its ".com" domain names for sale by auction, at prices ranging from USD 1,000 to over 1 million. Such domain names as "sandwich.com", "crackers.com" or "cyberjokes.com" have thus been assigned to third parties and reintroduced into the domain names market.  

The arrival of new extensions has truly boosted domain name transactions involving  ".com" or ".fr" extensions. When not leveraged properly, a company's domain names portfolio may be particularly costly, and may also fail to procure true advantages in terms of the referencing of the company on the Internet.  This is why domain name owners now tend to cut their portfolio down, reduce the invested costs (a domain name may end up costing more than the mere filing of a registered trademark for 10 years' protection) and focus on new extensions.

In fact, the emergence of new extensions truly challenges all existing Internet strategies, considering in particular the impact the new extensions will have upon the companies' visibility on search engines. This is even more true as search engines have been making major changes to their referencing process.

In 2013, the "hotel.biz" domain name was sold at 25 K$ to an Italian company. Similarly, "codedelaroute.fr" was sold at 6K€, and "createurdebeaute.fr" was transferred to L'Oréal for more than 5 K€.

What companies should do

  • Thoroughly screen their domain names portfolio to identify any underused or unsustainable domain names, as well as duplicates
  • Carefully determine their selling prices (i.e. opt for an auction sale or a fixed price), based on both their own evaluation and market criteria
  • Publish the intended sale to notify potentially interested third parties
  • Adequately secure the transactions