steel machines in big industry warehouse

Did you ever wonder if there is price fixing going on in major industries and / or sectors?

Perhaps there are monopolies in almost every industry one can imagine. Even when one company does not necessarily have a complete monopoly they may share the market with some other large companies to control the marketplace and fix the price for a product or service. Products and services do not need to always be tangible.

Domain names and hosting service providers are a form of non-tangible products and services. These virtual items, which seem only to exist electronically are very real. Nowadays internet advertising comprises the majority share of advertising space for marketing of products and services. Due to many consumers owning a smart phone or other cell phone, tablet or laptop, many purchases occur online. Goods can be shipped and delivered by courier or mail.

We are not here only dealing with technological products or services being bought online. Supermarkets sell non-perishable goods online and in some cases even offer free shipping of the purchased items. Other supermarkets may levy a small delivery fee, which may be waived if the order is greater than a set amount.

It matters if any type of commodity is bought or sold and even more so it matters who sets the price for it. In the realm of intellectual property; as is sometimes the area of trademarks and copyrights; domain names are big business. How large you ask? Trillions of dollars are spent yearly on domain names (website urls), which may consist of a few to many letters. That is correct, major money is being spent on words. Why has this phenomenon emerged as a supersized industry? Perhaps due to the purpose or function of the right domain name containing within it a great phrase or keywords, which are regularly searched for on the Internet.

Every opportunity to put products in front of consumers is worth its weight in gold. There are many domains that sell for more than bars of gold. Some domain names can fetch more than $20 million or even more. Whatever the market will bear it does so and does it quite well. Who regulates and monitors what is going in the marketplace of cyberspace?

There are registries that create domain extensions for domain names and registrars who sell the domain names and there is an oversight organization for Internet names. But who is really minding the store? Is the domain industry monitored as are stocks and commodities? A domain name is really a commodity, because its value can increase with the passage of time and due to the scarcity of the phrase being available on a popular extension. Domain names can initially be sold for as little as $1 and amass to be valued at over $1 million dollars or more. A commodity that can almost instantly appreciate one million times its value just by being purchased and containing the right phrase or combination of letters is a ‘hot commodity’.

Is it reasonable to allow this industry to be self-regulating? Registries can set the price(s) for their extensions and registrars can mark this price up. Moreover, domainers (investors who buy domain names to resell or flip) can buy a domain for a few dollars and them immediately list it for sale for thousands of dollars. Does the government, securities commission or any other organization monitor this industry for price-fixing or insider trading? An inside trade could occur in this type of scenario. A certain domain extension is set to released and registrars notice that certain words are being excessively searched. Thereupon realizing this phrase is popular the domain name is taken out of reach for the public to purchase and the domain is relisted as a premium domain. Who would notice? No one is minding the store in the realm of cyberspace!

photo of finding domain names on paper

The other day I searched on Google to find out if there was such thing a Stock Exchange for Domain Names. My search brought up a website, known as: It seemed, however, during my account registration process that this is not an active website. 

This made me wonder: Why is there not a Domain Name Stock Exchange where shares could be sold in Domain Names and Websites on a common market? Also, real time valuations of domain names could be posted on a ticker tape across the screen or be retrieved through search. Links to various WhoIs? databases that list who owns domain names and the registrar’s where they are housed could be posted on the main page of the portal. 

As well, a directory listing of Domain Name Brokers could be contained on a set page of the website. Marketer’s of Domains, Web Designers and Graphic Designers could advertise their services on the website and / or also be included on a directory page. The Domain Name Exchange would, in essence, be a virtual stock exchange and warehouse of domain name, as well website services.

Domain names are a form of virtual property that exist digitally, but are still and address for businesses to market their products and services to potential and regular customers. As such a medium of business communication, domain names require brokers and agents to be sold and / or leased. It amazes me that there is, not as yet, a portal such as Domain Exchange or platform where Agents and Brokers can list and promote domain name and website properties to the public.

Domain names are big business. Some domain names have sold for many millions of dollars, while other domains sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars, almost on a daily basis. While there are high prices for exclusive domain names, high commission rates can be earned by broker and sales agents who would manage the sales transactions for these items. Traders who would buy and sell domain names on behalf of clients to amass and liquidate portfolios could also earn substantial commissions on trades.

There needs to be a Domain Exchange, similar to a stock exchange where domain names could be sold in real time. Pre-registration and priority pre-registration of generic Top-Level Domains is a similar process to futures trading for commodities. Who will develop the Domain Exchange? Perhaps you will be the next internet innovator.

photo of finding domain names on paper

Domain Name Freeze

Why is there a delay in the processing of new gTLDs for auction on registrar’s websites? If a domain name can be listed, as an auction-able item – on a registrar’s website – then why is it not possible for it to be featured as a premium domain name on the same portal?

The answer is that there is a monopoly on the new extensions by the registries creating the new gTLDs. Is this a conspiracy between registries and registrar’s to hike up or maintain the constant increase of the cost of new gTLDs? Perhaps there is a combined effort, albeit though not a conspiracy, as such. While a domain name owner cannot list their domain for sale as premium domain, this same gTLD is functioning as a super extension that can be sold with accompanying domains for a high yield price.

Many of the new gTLDs are not only not listed for a set period of time (not publicized or for public knowledge) as premium domain listings, but they are also not list-able at regular auction on registrar’s websites. There are alternative options such as mainstream and unrelated independent domain name auction websites, such as a division of,, and

These independent auction websites (not directly connected with a registry or registrar) allow for listing of domain names, be they new gTLDs or well established existing domains. They charge a commission, of course, for use of their technology / auction portal to list a domain name. In some case there can be so-called success fees, which will accompany a seemingly standard commission fee. A success fee is an additional amount that is billed to the domain name owner who lists the domain name for auction / sale. The success fee is due to be paid when a domain name sells in a set time. This a kind perk that a domain auction website bestows upon itself to be paid courtesy of the domain name owner. Another fee that can detract from the sale amount is a percentage of the sale to be paid – not to the auction house / brokerage – to the second highest bidder. This novelty percentage amount is a consolation prize that is publicized throughout the auction period. In addition to being a reward for the second highest bidder, it is meant constantly increase the perceived value of the domain and foster high yield bids amongst contenders for ownership of the domain name.

A domain name can also be offered for sale at fixed price generally and at a fixed buy now price. Even during an auction a domain name – in addition to having a minimum price for sale, which is known as a reserve – can be purchased at the buy now price set price. Potential buyers can also – on some domain name auction website – make an offer for a desired domain name.

Upon the successful sale of a domain name done – through an unaffiliated domain name auction website – payment will be likely be processed through what is termed as Escrow. This is a process whereby the domain will not be immediately transferred to the seemingly successful purchaser. Instead the payment will be held and its source will be verified and evaluated for a set time period (usually between five and ten days on the average). Once it is determined that the funds were paid and sent through a legitimate source, and that the funds are rightly those of the buyer, then the domain is processed for transfer. Usually a domain name is released by the owner and the owner or the owners’ agent / broker will transfer the domain name through and from the registrar where the domain name was purchase and hosted (the website associated with the domain name may be hosted elsewhere made possible by a process known as forwarding of name servers). A pass code / password to unlock the domain name will likely accompany a congratulatory letter / email that will be sent from the domain owner to the domain name purchaser. This code will need to be input in the DNS arena of the domain name to unlock it once the domain name ownership has actually been transferred into the buyer’s name.

This entire system can be quite complex. In addition to verifying that the domain name is not copyrighted, trademarked or otherwise encumbered / restricted for usage there is the bidding and acquisition process noted above. A wise domainer / domain name purchaser may do well to enlist / hire a capable Intellectual Property Lawyer for domain name transactions of any kind / type. One will likely be perturbed to find out / realize that a domain name is not usable because it is trademark. Imagine discovering this oddity after buying a theme or hiring a Web Developer / Web Designer to construct / design and market a website online. It is perhaps better to hire a competent professional in this highly specialized high-tech realm and pay a fee upfront, rather than to have majorly excessive costs after going through the entire proposed scenario.










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