I don’t usually port over my email (unless it’s mission critical) so the sales folder stays behind. What is the "sales folder"? Every time somebody sends an email asking: "Is this domain name for sale?", I briefly glance at the message and immediately file it in a folder marked "sales".
So it’s been 2 years and 2 months of mail in the sales folder.. we’ve gotten 11,620 unsolicited sales requests for generic names or about 5,281 a year (about 14 unique emails a day, every day). You have to remember that we get these folks writing in spite of the fact that we ask: "Please don’t ask us to sell our names" on the company site. These are all unsolicited whois based lookups and offers. We get thousands of other inquiries through the contact form at the company site from folks who ignore our request not to send an inquiry; thinking it must be some kind of trick. It’s no trick folks, we really don’t ‘want’ those offers – we’re just not name sellers.
Without getting into too much detail, all this leads me to believe that "if we were" so inclined, we could turn 5-7% of our managed inventory a year. That’s if we really tried to goose it (sell each name we administer at a price that satisfies the buyer) .. We could sell maybe half as many (2-3% of inventory) if we held out and tried to propose some sensible counter offers. I think it would be problematic to handle more.. and the interest level shouldn’t be accelerated.. If you pump sales too fast I think you hurt the portfolio. It’s kind of like drawing oil from a field too quickly.. Go slow or you irreparably harm the field. I am pretty sure these characteristics run constant across all large domain name portfolios, so that serves to reinforce the Financier’s philosophy that domain names are generally illiquid. Why don’t I sell my names? Because once you sell them they’re gone!
As I scroll through the list of emails I feel incredibly relieved that we didn’t entertain any of those offers. In nearly every instance where an unsolicited offer features a dollar figure, I would pay more to buy the name back than these folks blindly proposed to us. The highest unsolicited offer (where a dollar figure is mentioned) is $120,000 the lowest is $50. There is definitely an acceleration in prices over the last 18 months.. It’s palpable.
I think the demand for high quality generic domain names with type-in traffic will far outstrip supply in the years ahead. More than half the population still don’t know what a domain names is, yet they use them every day. I think it will get much harder for folks like me to buy generic names as the years peel on, so we better do what we can now to secure properties to develop.. that’s my gut instinct. We might get some more generics freeing up for a little while if there’s a recession, but it would have to be a deep recession because the commercial portion of the net is growing, word about the industry is out and demand will whipsaw as new investors pick up slack. The overall market is growing and solidifying, but the generic name wildcatting opportunities are fewer and farther between.