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Afternic.com Aftermarket Review

By: Gabriel Meierotto

Company Overview

Afternic.com is an industry leader in the domain aftermarket arena. Acquired in 2006 by NameMedia Inc., a successful digital real estate trading, development and acquisition company, Afternic.com had in excess of 1.8 million premium domain names available for purchase at that time. Afternic.com was a perfect fit for NameMedia since they had recently acquired BuyDomains.com, who holds one of the largest domain portfolios on the internet. This allowed them to seamlessly sell their premium inventory on their newly acquired aftermarket as well. Currently, Afternic.com boasts over 3 million domain names available for purchase on their aftermarket platform. According to DNJournal.com, the largest recorded sale to take place at Afternic.com was when Fish.com sold for $1,020,000 in 2005. It's possible that this is no longer the highest recorded sale since some sales data are not released to the public.

Domain Aftermarket Services

All of Afternic.com's domain inventory is composed of member auctions. Since they are not a domain registrar, they do not have the ability to sell expired domains. However, since they are owned by NameMedia, they integrate all BuyDomain.com's domain names with other resellers associated with the Afternic.com DLS program into the site as well as.

Users listing a domain name for sale are presented with the option to choose between the Basic and Expanded Promotion. The Basic Promotion lists the domain name only on Afternic.com. The Expanded Promotion lists the name on many partner sites, such as BuyDomains.com, that will promote your domain name to a broader audience.

Afternic.com offers a specialized auction appropriately named, Afternic.com Auctions, which allows visitors to pre-order names that are coming up for expiration. This is similar to other backorder services available that allows bidding on a name that is about to expire. However, if Afternic.com happens to catch the domain name when it expires, they send it to live auction. Afternic.com facilitates communication between customers and sellers on their Web site by providing an internal messaging system as well as third party mediation of the transaction. Afternic.com lets users add an asking price, description and category. They also offer an appraisal service which allows the public to view their appraised value of the domain being auctioned. Afternic.com claims that auctions using this service are ten times more likely to result in a sale. However, we did not find their appraisal service to be very reliable. We recently requested an appraisal of the multi-million dollar domain name, pharmacy.com, which they valued at $110,000.

Aftermarket Costs

Afternic.com offers three different membership types on their site: Standard, Buyer and Afternic.com DLS. The Standard membership is free and allows users to order appraisals, use their escrow service and receive alerts on domain names they would like to monitor. The Buyer membership costs $1 and allows users to make offers on domain names and includes the Standard membership features. The Afternic.com DLS membership is $19.95 a year allowing users to sell domain names, participate in the Discuss Names forum and includes all the benefits of the Buyer membership. Aside from the membership fees, Afternic.com also offers listings featured listing services. Listings featured on the home page costs $50 for 30 days and listings featured on a domain name category page costs $9.94 for 30 days. When listing a domain name, the seller can choose between the Basic or Expanded Promotion. The Basic Promotion deducts a 10% fee from the sale before being released to the seller. The Expanded Promotion deducts a 20% fee from the sale. Technically, it is the buyer, not the seller, who pays the sale fee. When determining a sale price for a domain name listed on Afternic.com, the seller should add the sale fee to the amount they would like to receive from the sale.

Buying and Selling Process

Afternic.com allows buyers to pay for domain names via check, money order, wire transfer, or PayPal. They do not accept payment by credit card or offer any type of financing services. After an auction is won or a sale is agreed upon, the transaction will close by sending payment through Afternic.com's secure escrow service. Once the funds have cleared, Afternic.com instructs the seller to transfer the domain name. The buyer's funds are held in the escrow account until the domain transfer is complete. On the business day after the buyer has confirmed the transfer, Afternic.com sends the payment to the seller via PayPal, check by mail (first class) or wire transfer.

Aftermarket Usability

Afternic.com is generally easy to navigate. Since Afternic.com's primary purpose is being a domain aftermarket, they do not bombard users with unrelated options that you will find on other aftermarket sites such as TDNAM.com, Moniker.com and etc. They have a very simple site with little clutter. There is a small search bar in the upper part of the site that allows visitors to search for domains by keyword and category. They also offer advanced search functionality but it is slightly flawed. On the advanced search page, the user may enter a keyword and select search options such as TLD, inventory type, category, price, domain name length, date listed, etc. Unfortunately, a few of these search options, namely TLD, have small list boxes that force the user to scroll extensively. Larger select fields or drop downs would go a long way in improving usability. Overall, the site is very easy to navigate.

Conclusion

Afternic.com is a great domain aftermarket site to visit and browse. Since they tend to specialize in high-quality names, cheap bargains are harder to come by than on TDNAM.com or Namejet.com. However, people looking to sell a quality domain name will most likely find a buyer. According to Compete.com, Afternic.com has steadily received approximately 70,000 unique visitors per month for the past year. This positions them at the top in comparison to other aftermarket sites in regards to traffic. The buying and selling of domain names on Afternic.com is very simple compared to other aftermarket sites since Afternic.com uses their own escrow service. The sale fee is comparable to other sites, which mostly fall between 10 and 20%. With Afternic.com's ability to reach a large network of potential buyers, sellers are getting their money's worth.

 

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