Mobi Market Meltdown

May 24, 2008 · Print This Article

Yesterday’s Traffic Auction showed that what I had predicted has come true: the dot mobi market has melted down.

Here are the .mobi auction results:

mortgage.mobi – $18K
drugs.mobi – $17.5K
sales.mobi – $10.5K
men.mobi – $10K
films.mobi – $10K
escort.mobi – $10K
computers.mobi – $9.5K
airlines.mobi – $9.5K
records.mobi – $8.5K
boats.mobi – $6K
forsale.mobi – $5K
show.mobi – $5K
religion.mobi – $3K

Let me compare this with a sale most people will be familiar with: flowers.mobi – $200K. Can the mobi fanatics really say with a straight face that flowers.mobi is more than 10x better than mortgage.mobi, drugs.mobi and sales.mobi? Or could it be that the value of dot mobi’s is now about 1/10 of what it used to be in its heyday?

Heck, the total of all 13 dotMobi sales in this auction wasn’t even the $200K for flowers.mobi. Is flowers.mobi really better than all of these domains put together?

Here are some other interesting comparisons: mortgage.net sold in 2006 for $149K versus mortgage.mobi for $18K now. Sales.us sold in 2006 for $8K versus sales.mobi for $10.5K – yes, that’s right – .mobi is only doing slightly better than the anemic .us market was doing two years ago. Films.tv sold last year for $8,600 versus films.mobi for 10K now. Boats.org sold two years ago for $50,249 versus boats.mobi for $6K now. Forsale.org sold last year for $12K, forsale.biz sold in 2006 for $3,550, forsale.co.uk sold two years ago for $14,692 versus forsale.mobi for $5K. Show.org recently sold for $13K versus show.mobi for $5K.

There are two additional take home points from this. First, there will definitely be a cascade down effect because of this. If the top dot mobi’s are now struggling to sell at five figures versus the previous six-figure sales, good dotMobi’s that are not premium keywords will be stuck in low four figure and three figure sales, and a lot of the cheaper mobi’s the people bought will be worth only reg fee or perhaps a nod above that.

The second take home point is that if dot mobi has done so badly, most if not all, new extensions will do badly. The promotion of mobi domains was better than any other newly released extension and yet it has utterly collapsed. Dot asia investors – take heed!

Comments

26 Responses to “Mobi Market Meltdown”

  1. Bob Lange on May 25th, 2008 2:33 am

    $8,000 to $18,000 for a $20 buck domain registered 24 months ago does not look like a melt down to me, looks like a big profit to me.

  2. LaughYourFutureDown on May 25th, 2008 6:19 am

    Typical

  3. owen frager on May 25th, 2008 8:44 am

    “flowers.mobi – $200K. Can the mobi fanatics really say with a straight face that flowers.mobi is more than 10x better than mortgage.mobi, drugs.mobi and sales.mobi? ”

    I’m not a mobi fanatic but I can saw it is WORTH that and one of only a hand few of MOBIs that are worth anything at all like pizza.mobi as a BRAND. Not only they pre-qualified because of their 1-800 roots, they are especially hot considering the gas crisis in the world, more people will stay home to eat and order in and any “green branded” hybrid delivery service has a chance to blow dominos, 1-800-flowers and pizza hut off the map not with this silly domains and everyone putting weight in auction value- but by building brands around them and the value that can create.
    http://fragerfactor.blogspot.com/search?q=flowers.mobi

  4. Holly from mobiEnthusiast.mobi on May 25th, 2008 9:46 am

    I am not basing .mobi’s values overall on this one auction, and I would urge your readers not to, either.

    The auction was the Friday before a national holiday, it required software that locked out mac users (and there were two premium portfolio owners who expressed their dismay that they could not bid), and it was held in a venue that attracts primarily domain name owners and not end users. The vast majority of live .mobi domain names are in the hands of corporations that own trademarks on their names, not on individual domainers who are just now learning the technology and restrictions that make sites work on phones.

    The sales price from this auction are significantly lower than past numbers, this is true. However, your post neglects to mention that prices for all domain names were significantly down in this auction. Ow.com – a 2L .com name, arguably the most valuable subset of all domain names, sold for $120,000. Does this mean the value of LL.com names has sunk too?

  5. admin on May 25th, 2008 10:53 am

    @Bob – these domains were all mTLD domains that are being released for the first time. That being said, I’m sure that people who got in at the beginning made good money. However: (1) if you got in last year, you’ve probably lost a bundle of money; (2) the pattern for new domain extensions is to auction off the valuable terms, so this sort of windfall profit is unlikely to occur much in the future.

  6. admin on May 25th, 2008 10:54 am

    @LaughYourFutureDown – thanks for the insightful, penetrating argument.

  7. admin on May 25th, 2008 11:03 am

    @Owen – I read your blog daily and generally agree with what you say. However, I can’t agree with this one. I think with the amount of time, money and effort needed to brand pizza.mobi or flowers.mobi into something as large as you envision, you could pretty much brand any domain successfully. Also, even if you are right on this point, I don’t think it changes my basic point – flowers.mobi was just chosen as an example as it is a well known sale.

  8. admin on May 25th, 2008 11:09 am

    @Holly – I agree with a lot of what you say, but I’m not sure that really changes my point. I do agree that the bidders are mostly domainers – but who is better equipped to judge domain value? Also, this was the case in most dot mobi auctions in the past. I also agree that prices across the industry seem to be lower than last year – but the drop in .mobi domain values seems to be significantly larger than the rest of the market.

  9. Damir on May 25th, 2008 12:22 pm

    Great post about .mobi domain names and the $$$$ they sold for.

    Great response from Bob Lange

    $8,000 to $18,000 for a $20 buck domain registered 24 months ago does not look like a melt down to me, looks like a big profit to me

  10. Germ on May 25th, 2008 1:24 pm

    I agree that .mobi is almost worthless but I don’t see how you follow this to all alternate TLDs. The failure if this ext is that it is specific to a market that doesn’t need it.

    .Asia is a completely different animal.

  11. admin on May 25th, 2008 2:42 pm

    @Germ – One thing you can’t criticize mTLD about is their marketing of dot mobi. They’ve done an excellent job and really pulled out all the stops. I don’t see other extensions putting this sort of effort into marketing.

  12. Rob Sequin on May 25th, 2008 5:42 pm

    Melt down? I wouldn’t go that far.

    How did the .info., .org, .biz, .us, and .tv sales do. Not so good as compared to .mobi.

    With regards to mortgage.mobi vs flowers.mobi? How many people are even going to look for a morgage on their cell phone let alone make any sort of a purchase.

    Flowers.mobi is one of the best terms for .mobi.

    So, keep up the good work but I think people are too hard on .mobi. It’s only been out for a year and a half. That’s nothing so these prices are not six figures but they are strong.

  13. Jamie Parks on May 26th, 2008 1:40 am

    No doubt, your post is sure to rub a few “mobi maniacs” the wrong way. I reckon that you’re setting yourself up for a “post slam” by those who truly see the potentials of this crazy dotmobi extension. It’s obviously got some value left in it or you wouldn’t waste time kicking it around on your blog. The buyers who are actively developing real business models for these properties are intensifying their energies and causing a lot of innovation to swell up around this young TLD. Even in it’s apparent infancy, dotmobi has matured to a level (after the 200k purchase of flowers.mobi by R.S.) that simply can not be shrugged off as you have attempted to imply. The T.R.A.F.F.I.C. numbers should be a sign that dotmobi is perfectly capable of mustering up the charm that it takes to strike a light in the hearts of those in the industry. In my opinion, the recent buyers at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. practiced to the tee what the notorious Benjamin Graham termed “value investing.” Would you agree that if in fact dotmobi is embraced in the near future by the greater global market and sets blaze to a whole new perspective and dimension of the web that these domain investors just bought in at a major discount? Besides, with so many haters (which usually happen to be dotcom lovers) eagerly spreading negativity about the dotmobi extension it is only destined to gain more curious prospectors and eventually succeed with flying colors, right? The larger market of developers and users is our best indicator of what will happen with the mobile web, not T.R.A.F.F.I.C. or any other domain auction statistics. We all have our babies to tend to and while dotmobi may seem far fetched and full of Xanadu, I’d still be careful to undersell it’s future just yet. One need only recall the regret filled fate of the dotcom haters during the early 90’s… — I’ll end my little spill with these wise words once softly, yet certainly spoken: “Fear and Regret are the two twin thieves that rob man of his tomorrows. Strive in the direction of one’s dreams without fear or of man to justify them.”

  14. admin on May 26th, 2008 11:43 am

    @Jamie – Thanks for your insightful comments. I’ve previously done a detailed post about what I think about dot mobi:
    http://www.domainbits.com/mobi/

    This post was more to illustrate that over the last year, dot mobi values have dropped considerably, and I don’t think that any commenter has shown otherwise. I think that stating that they’re worthless would certainly be an overstatement; I did not state that. However, I think that there is pretty conclusive evidence that there has been a signficant decline in dot mobi values over the last year. This means that many who bought into the dot mobi market in the last year have probably lost a signficant percentage of their investment.

    I wouldn’t call myself a dot mobi hater. It’s more that I’m warning people about the perils of investing in this extension. People should know about the risks of investing in something before they plunk their hard-earned money down. Ultimately though, people should form their own judgments as to the best way to invest in domains, which will depend in part on their own objectives, personalities, and ability to deal with risk.

    As for dot mobi development, the development that I see is primarily on TrademarkedCompanyName.mobi rather than GenericKeyword.mobi. That’s all fine and good; but it doesn’t help domainers much. And yes, as Owen points out in comment number 3, you can always develop and brand a website on a dot mobi and make good money that way.

    I agree completely with the wise words that you conclude with!

  15. Gerry on May 27th, 2008 6:59 am

    “Yesterday’s Traffic Auction showed that what I had predicted has come true: the dot mobi market has melted down.”

    Did you also predict that GasPrices.com would fetch $225K?

    Did you also predict that airports.info would fetch $5K?

    Did you also predict that there would be so many passed, passed, passed, passed, passed…across the boards as domainers in general were quite picky?

    Did you predict such low sums for one LL.com and one NN.com and one LL.com not being sold?

    Did you predict that all the .mobi with the exception of one would sell due to realistic and reasonable reserves?

    Did you also predict that the year was 2008 and not 2006/2007?

    If you did in fact make all these predictions, please direct me to that link.

  16. admin on May 27th, 2008 9:15 am

    @Gerry – Not sure what this has to do with the post. I made one prediction and it came true. If I didn’t make a prediction about something, it doesn’t mean much, does it? I’m batting 1 for 1. Oh, I did predict it is 2008, so I guess I’m batting 2 for 2.

  17. Gerry on May 27th, 2008 12:12 pm

    @admin…its my birthday so I can say anything I want to :).

    My point is predicting .mobi will come down was easy in November 2007. But where were the predictions of a downturn in the economy, the broad realization that many top tier .coms would not be sold, and that folks were generally expecting too much out of their domains to start with.

    And, to specifically answer your post (by the way, I am also heavily invested in .com for those who think I am only a mobiphile), Yes…

    “Let me compare this with a sale most people will be familiar with: flowers.mobi – $200K. Can the mobi fanatics really say with a straight face that flowers.mobi is more than 10x better than mortgage.mobi, drugs.mobi and sales.mobi? Or could it be that the value of dot mobi’s is now about 1/10 of what it used to be in its heyday?”

    I think flowers was a pre-launch hype. But look at what you are comparing it to…

    1. mortgage. Are people really, really, really going to search for mortgages on their mobile device? And then sit and get thumb stress from filling out the application on the phone? Anyone got an extra battery? A band aid?

    2. Drugs. Um, what drugs? Great generic term. But perhaps others are better. Me, on a phone, needing perscriptions filled while traveling…I would perhaps be more inclined to put in a search for pharma, pharmacy, or drug strores.

    3. Sales…again, a great generic word. But what kind of sales? I see this being well branded towards Yard Sales complete with mapping to the little blue haired ladies on Saturday morning. But that is EXACTLY whom I don’t want looking at a map when I am out driving.

    The point is, does the name fit the extension.

    Drugs…no. Mortgage…no. Sales…eh.

    I thought airports.info was a decent deal at 5K. That name fits the extension well.

    But I am sure people will perhaps use the mobile device to shop for flowers, pizza, and other things you would typically use your home phone for.

    So 1/10th valuation? What would you put GasPrices.com at 1 to 2 years ago? Great for the seller, by the way.

    But I hardly see this as a .mobi meltdown. I see this as a very cautious market and domainers being on the side of caution.

    I actually know several buyers at that auction and know who won some of the domains. I am sure they will not be parked pages and will be actual content rich sites. I do not know the buyers who purchased the three you illustrated.

    There is no meltdown. To use words like wall street gurus, perhaps a “market correction” is in order. I am still amazed at a few that did not sell.

    But please, for my birthday present, admit that a great many reserves far exceeded market valuations and conditions. That was the point of the 2008 statement.

    It would be foolish to act like nothing has changed and still expect 2006/2007 prices on anything. Any extension.

  18. admin on May 27th, 2008 10:25 pm

    @Gerry – Happy Birthday! OK, I understand much better where you are coming from. Thanks for clarifying things.

    I’m not sure it was easy predicting that .mobi prices would decline – there are still many people today who would deny that this has happened. My point also was the amount of the decline is staggering – in my post I said about a 90% decline. Based on the comments I’ve received, I think that was off – perhaps a 75% decline is more accurate. Whatever the exact figure is, it’s quite substantial.

    I generally agree with your comments about flowers.mobi verus mortgage.mobi – which is a large part of the reason why I’ve changed from 90% to 75%. That being said, a premium term will generally mean a premium price, regardless of the fit of the extension. For instance, at this auction, ringtones.org went for 6 figures – c’mon – a non-profit ringtones organization?! It just doesn’t make sense, yet it still commands a premium price.

    > But please, for my birthday present, admit that a
    > great many reserves far exceeded market valuations
    > and conditions.

    Amazingly enough, I agree! A lot of the reserves were out of this world.

    I also agree that there has been a broader “market correction.” I do think that domain values have declined from last year – but not nearly as much as dot mobi prices have declined. The weaker extensions are getting hit much harder by the economic downturn.

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  21. mobisite on May 14th, 2009 4:45 pm

    I would say the sale of drugs.mobi for 17.5k is not worth 17.5k, it’s priceless, to drugs.com
    who have bought it
    and dropped the m. , /m rubbish

    check http://www.drugs.mobi

    also check their twitter post

    more details here:
    http://okok.com/drugscom-launches-drugsmobi/

    thanks

  22. mobi2 on June 14th, 2009 1:43 pm

    I wasn’t aware of this. I always thought that mobi was going to be very popular and successful.

  23. livecontent on June 18th, 2009 12:16 pm

    It’s amazing how much the internet has changed nowadays, with its use, goals and technologies. It’s the fastest moving element of our lives if you think about it.

  24. iphoneland on July 5th, 2009 12:26 pm

    This is because dot mobi connects two important things: phones with internet!

  25. Esaul Daris on July 31st, 2009 2:13 am

    I found a good *.mobi with 2 short words (9 words and 11 words).

    I need you comment for that.

  26. Carrie on March 19th, 2010 5:03 am

    Just like the wap flop, ecept this time the smartphones and the blcakberries are more common. Theres even a prediction that sales of those two gadget will surpass sale of computers. But theres just so many new TLD around these days, any of those will have a hard time to fetch good price