As the head of the Premium Team at Rightside, I’ll be one of the first to admit that new TLD registries didn’t do themselves any favours* with the variety of premium pricing models that were introduced to the market. To date, there have been at least three very distinct models, none of which exactly match the traditional aftermarket flow when it comes to buying and acquiring a premium domain. You have registries that price premiums with a high registration cost and a standard renewal. Other registries have premiums where the registration cost is higher than standard, and the renewal is as well. And some registries have self-registered domains they identify as premium in order to sell them more traditionally, via auction or a listing service like Sedo, Afternic, or Yumi.
It’s pretty confusing.
Now, don’t get me wrong, we made the right decision to pursue a strategy of selling premiums at the registry level. We know this inventory is incredibly valuable long-term, and it’s really easy to undervalue it in the short-term as general awareness of new TLDs is low. So we’re doing our best to balance that dynamic and try new things (e.g., our upcoming premium promo).
So what is Rightside’s model and what do we think of it today, nearly two years after launching and selling our first gTLD with Premium domains?
At Rightside, we have two basic types of Premium domains:
Premiums – Known internally at Rightside as Buy It Now (BIN) Premiums. Basically, premium means any domain that is higher than the standard cost. We have premiums with a wholesale price as low as $30, and others priced as high as $15,000. Out of our nearly one million premiums, 345,798 (or so) have a $30 or $60 price tag. Our BIN Premiums DO have Premium renewals. Some of our TLDs (.REVIEWS, .CONSULTING, and .ROCKS) have “‘tiered”’ premium renewals which means the renewal cost is higher than the standard cost, but lower than the registration cost. So a .REVIEWS premium that costs $1,000 wholesale will renew at $100. But other Rightside TLDs use a “flat” premium renewal—the renewal cost is the same as the registration cost. This has become a common model used by other gTLD registries as well as Rightside.
Platinums – Domains that are best of the best, and typically short, category killer keywords, domains like movie.reviews, watch.live or world.news. Our platinums have caused some confusion in the marketplace. A more accurate description for our platinums would be Make an Offer Premiums, since Rightside has always intended to negotiate the price for these valuable domains. We’ve sold platinums for over six figures, and others for less than $10,000, depending on the buyer’s intended use for the domain. Savvy customers may have noticed these domains being shown with a $50,000 (or higher) price tag, or even being shown as unavailable depending on the registrar. For technical reasons, we had to apply a price to our platinums so that registrar partners could sell these domains. We continue to work with our partners to fully implement the Make an Offer experience like the one on Name.com, which you can see when searching for a platinum like seattle.attorney.
In writing this post, we’re hoping to clarify some of the misunderstandings and confusion we’ve noticed in blog comments and domain name forums about our premiums. Here are some common ones:
- “All of Rightside’s premiums have an annual renewal of $50,000.”
- Not quite. While our platinum domains technically have a price of $50,000 per year, 97.6% of our premiums are Buy It Now, and have a renewal that is equal to or less than the registration cost.
- “Nobody will pay $1,000+ a year for a domain.”
- We have sold more than 675 domains where the wholesale price and renewal was over $1,000.
- “End-users aren’t interested in paying premium prices and/or premium renewals.”
- Based on a recent analysis of our premium registrations, we’ve concluded that more than 60% of our premium domains have been registered by end-users.
- “All new TLD Premiums are garbage”
- We’ve sold over $5,000,000 in premium domains, and April was our biggest month for premium sales. It’s simplistic to dismiss everything in our premium inventory as garbage when there’s a lot of evidence to the contrary … and all of these sales have occurred despite an overall lack of awareness that new TLDs even exist.
We’re both excited and optimistic about the future of new TLDs and premium domains. Right now, there is a limited time chance for someone to acquire entire categories of premiums—you could be the person that owns every town and city in .ATTORNEY and .LAWYER (check out this post for more details), and our upcoming premium promo is the perfect time to act, locking in a $10 wholesale renewal for the lifetime of the domain. There are hundreds of other categories as well, things like austinhomes.forsale or newyorkrestaurant.reviews. Buyers interested in a larger portfolio of domains like these can contact us to discuss a discounted registration price.
Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.