China. The New King of Domains.
If you own a premium domain name, then odds are you have received an inquiry from a prospective Chinese buyer over the past year. Domain names have become an extremely popular investment in China and many of the industry’s top reported weekly sales are now credited to both Chinese investors and Chinese companies.
Why is China suddenly the biggest marketplace for domain names?
There are many answers to this question but one thing is for sure: The Western world doesn’t even come close to the influence that China has on domain names anymore.
And this is a good thing.
Let’s go back a few years first.
The Collection Years.
Up until 2009 or so, there were only a relatively small number of large bulk buyers in the traditional domain investment community. The vast majority of these buyers were based in North America, Europe and the Caribbean, and often competed heavily in auctions for any name of quality.
The Adjustment Period.
Somewhere around 2009, Google, Yahoo! and other upstream ad providers introduced quality score payments and many domain name owners who relied on parking revenue saw their payouts drop. It was the first of many things to shift a primary focus to domain name sales versus monetization.
Pandas and Penguins killed the value of exact match domain names and the introduction of zero-click advertising started exposing premium domain holders to great risk, reducing the interest in parking by many big investors.
(Zero-click parking is almost the worst thing you can ever expose a premium domain name to in our opinion. A domain name’s value has the potential to be exposed to penalties, bans and more, all while you often have no idea. If you own a premium domain and it’s on zero-click ads, you’re just asking for trouble.)
During this period, DomainNameSales.com, Mark.com and other key marketplaces were established, showing the interest in expanding public aftermarket sales platforms.
The New Internet.
Prague, 2012. This is when many of the world’s top domain investors became kids again. ICANN opened up the doors for new domain name extensions and the response was similar to Willy Wonka finally opening the doors of his chocolate factory.
New companies were formed, peop