GoDaddy has bought the entire domain-name portfolio of mobile advertising company Marchex for $28.1m (£18.67m).
With 200,000 domain names in the deal, more than three-quarters of them dot-coms, that equates to $140 (£93) per name. GoDaddy intends to put them all up for sale on its NameFind website, and examples include: Analyzed.com, Allude.com, LiveWell.com, Destination.com and KidFriendly.com.
Despite the fact that Marchex claims to have made $290m from the portfolio in the past decade, and took in $14.5m in revenue last year, the market appears to think that offloading the portfolio was a good thing: Marchex's shares jumped 12 per cent on the news.
GoDaddy's share price, meanwhile, went up briefly by four percent, then dropped and has now settled at the same price as opening.
The sale comes just two months after Marchex CEO Russell Horowitz left the company, leaving cofounder Pete Christothoulou in charge. The biz had previously hived off its domain portfolio under the name Archeo, and was selling them on a case-by-case basis. Its plans to go public were cancelled in 2013.
Marchex will now focus on its core business of being "the world’s leading mobile advertising analytics company" which it views as an offline proposition. "A significant and growing majority of the consumer engagement and sales driven by mobile advertising happens offline, such as through phone calls," Christothoulou said in a canned statement. Marchex also received unspecified "additional earn-out payments subject to certain sales targets" from the portfolio.
Meanwhile, GoDaddy, with its greater resources and huge online window display as the world's largest registrar, should be able to make more of the portfolio. Where Archeo was asking people to request quotes for specific names, GoDaddy is preparing to put a price on the names with a simple "buy now" button, according to industry news site Domain Name Wire.
The sale does raise some questions over the value of dot-com domains. With the release of hundreds of new dot-word top-level domains – like .book and .xyz – the domain name market is in flux. Some believe this marks the beginning of the end of dot-com dominance, which you would expect to see reflected in lower prices for dot-coms in the resale market. A number of high-profile domain investors believe that dot-com prices will continue to rise in the short to medium term.
Assuming that the stock market understands or even cares about the domain name market, the shifts in share prices today would suggest it expects dot-com prices to fall in the next few years. ®