Are All .XYZ Domain Name Sales Real?

xyz domains

Are all .xyz domain name sales real? Over the weekend some articles and comments came out saying that a lot of the .xyz sales are just publicity stunts.

The truth is that .xyz does not have the best reputation in the domain name industry and anything related to domain name sales or registration numbers is treated as highly suspicious.

I have written numerous posts about .xyz on this blog including this post that has almost 200 comments.

Are all auctioned domain names being paid for? Of course not. This applies to all auctions including Namejet, Go Daddy, Flippa, Snapnames, etc. and any domain name extension. Just by looking at the auction results you can’t tell if a domain name will eventually be paid for or not.

But people are also accusing the .XYZ registry of something else. They are saying that some domains are indeed paid by the buyers in the auction houses but that money partly (or wholly) comes from the .xyz registry. They accuse .xyz registry of pumping the .xyz sales so it appears that .xyz domains are very expensive and desirable.

On Friday I posted the March results of a .xyz auction at West.cn. 1.xyz sold for a record breaking price: $182,971. Several other domain names like hk.xyz, vip.xyz and 66.xyz sold for $30k or more.

Andrea Paladini (from Trestar Corporate & Domain Advisory) posted a comment on the 1.xyz article saying and explaining why he thinks that .xyz prices are manipulated:

Kostas,
IMHO you should check just highly-priced transactions involving .xyz names, that’s where price manipulations take place.
What will you find? Let me guess: a lot of not even resolving names, many under privacy, some purchased by the same guy/domain investor, some still owned by the Registry, some “nominees” …

Some random, quick examples (Source: Namebio.com):
9.xyz, reported sold in Dec 2015 for over 175k USD, is registered to a “cui kai” in China, a domainer whose email is associated to over 12,000 names, many of which are .xyz. The domain redirects to xyz Registry site;
6.xyz, allegedly sold for 125k in Nov 2015, is registered to a “Bowen Liu”, based in Ontario and doesn’t resolve. This is a domain investor, his email is associated to approx 19,000 domains;
8.xyz, allegedly sold for over 81k USD in Sept 2015, is registered to a “zhang peng fei” in China, definitely a domain investor, his email is associated to nearly 20,000 domains;
888.xyz, allegedly sold for 70k USD in Jan 2016, is again registered to the same “Kai Cui”/”cui kai” as above (same phone number and email);
xx.xyz, allegedly reported as sold for over 59k USD in Dec 2015, as of today has no Whois, which means it’s not even registered, doesn’t resolve;
yy.xyz, allegedly sold for over 38k USD in Dec 2015, is registered to a “shi ming” in China, another domainer, but redirects to the xyz Registry site.
22.xyz, allegedly sold for over 26k USD in Dec 2015, is registered to a “lin qing ming” in China, another domain investor who owns over 8,000 names, the majority of which are xyz. The domain redirects to the xyz Registry site again.
ZZ.xyz, allegedly sold for over 17k USD in Dec 2015, is owned again by the same “cui kai” above, whose portfolio is full of .xyz names. Again, the domain redirects to xyz Registry site.
87.xyz, allegedly sold for over 15k USD in Dec 2015, has no Whois, doesn’t resolve.
I’ve checked all the “highly-priced” names you have listed here as sold at auction: all of them have the same Registrant, the Registry, aka XYZ.com, LLC …
Should I go ahead? … lol …

Please note that all those names are defined by the Registry as “Variably priced premiums”, with an annual renewal fee of 55,000 USD or 13,000 USD for the 2 characters …

I think that the majority, if not all, of those transactions are fake, totally fabricated, no money has ever changed hands, if we exclude that paid to the partners and “participants” in this pathetic sham and large-scale manipulation to pump up and create the hype, including some Chinese “nominees” and other “friends” …

On a different note, I let you guess by yourself how xyz has reached 2.7 mln registrations, 71% of which are parked (according to Ntldstats.com) … check the names of the main Registrars and probably you’ll have a first answer … not a surprise to me the fact that GoDaddy is just at 2% and NetSol has basically disappeared … a few words to the wise …
As I said, just facts.

See here the all time top 20 New gTLD sales and the top 20 2016 top sales at Sold.Domains. .XYZ has 5 domains in the highest sales of all time and 14 of the top 20 2016 sales.

I started checking all 5-figure .xyz sales up until January 2016 but Andrea above had done most of the work. I only have 3 comments to make:

6.xyz – the domain resolves and is for sale at 4.cn
88.xyz – Nameservers have not changed pointing to Namejet auction (it is not 888.xyz)
Kai Cui is ‘winindomain’ at Namejet.

I then checked out the .xyz Namejet sales above $2,000 at Sold.Domains. Namejet issues a report for sales over $2,000 every month.
jjj.xyz     9600     USD     $     2016-02-23
cloud.xyz     6600     USD     $     2015-08-24
ggg.xyz     5150     USD     $     2015-12-01
sina.xyz    3100     USD     $     2015-12-24

3 of the sales (cloud.xyz, ggg.xyz, sina.xyz) were reported as paid by Namejet. jjj.xyz should(?) be in the March report that will soon be published.

Only cloud.xyz has a changed whois and resolves to somewhere outside Namejet. The other 3 domains still have the same combination as before they were “sold”:

  • Registered at Enom
  • Behind Whois Privacy
  • Pointing to the their Namejet auction.

Like this wasn’t enough yesterday Theo Develegas published an article on DomainGang.com questioning weather Negari.com was actually sold or not last year by Daniel Negari on Namejet.

What do you think when you see a .xyz domain sold for big bucks?

Sold.Domains

About Konstantinos Zournas

Konstantinos studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London and lives in Athens, Greece. He loves domains and building websites. He is online since 1995, learned about html in 1996 and got into domains in 2002. He started the OnlineDomain.com blog in 2012.

40 comments

  1. “Kai Cui is ‘winindomain’ at Namejet.”……………Seems that all the answers lie with Kai Cui. Any chance someone can get a hold of this person and interview?

    • Kai Cui is not the only problem.
      The biggest problems lay with the non existent domains and the whois that is not changing for months or years.

    • Do Cai Kui (Kui Cai) aka “winindomain” and some of the other “buyers” really exist?
      Or do they are just “fictitious” Chinese names, straw men or nominees entities in charge of purchasing xyz domains? 🙂

  2. I feel most of the sales are real.

    I hereby confirm, I sold lot of numeric .xyz domains to the biggest .xyz buyer, fyi, he is a member at namepros forum. If you check dn.com 4th quarter 2015 sales report, you can see good % of their sales are from .xyz domains. A part of the sales came from my domains. Also I sold several NNN.xyz names to other Chinese buyers.

    Today also I received inquiries for my 2 domains thru dns – brief.xyz, smartbuy.xyz. If I don’t have any .xyz domains, I will not receive any queries and I may think, .xyz is a bad tld and no sales to this tld and other people telling lies…etc. Fortunately I think positively with all types of tlds!.

    Last week I sold 2 domains, loe.xyz for $1500 (sedo) and soren.xyz $1250-direct and reported to dnjournal but not appeared on last week report. 2 other domains sold thru dns before for $2000 and $3500. note, the buyers are from US, Canada and France.

    • Andrea Paladini

      Also @kostas:
      I was clearly referring to big-ticket xyz sales, not to all sales or to low 4 figures (or less) sales.
      Probably I’ll talk in a next LinkedIn post on how IMO they reached 2.7 mln registrations, what practices are behind all that.

    • Most are not all.
      Sold.Domains lists 378 .xyz sales. Most are from registry auctions and Namejet.
      I don’t doubt that .xyz domains are selling but some numbers feel fishy.

  3. Andrea Paladini

    Kostas,
    There was a typo in my post to your article, it’s “88.xyz (not 888.xyz), allegedly sold for 70k USD in Jan 2016”.
    This typo was corrected in my article on the matter I’ve published on LinkedIn, titled “.XYZ big-ticket domain sales are FAKE, just a fabrication to create the hype”.
    Anyway, I was not referring only to auction sales, but to all xyz big-ticket sales.
    Below you can see the text of my LinkedIn post:

    “Yesterday I was reading an article by Konstantinos Zournas on OnlineDomain.com about newly reported big-ticket sales of .xyz domain names: (link to website). I was already skeptical about those deals, also given the almost all total lack of end users (corporate end users) adopting this low-quality extension and the unscrupulous, unfair, deceptive and manipulative marketing and promotional practices of the XYZ Registry. So I decided to dig into it a little bit, strictly sticking to facts.

    What you find if you check “high-value” .xyz domain sales? Some not even resolving names, some under privacy, some purchased by the same guy/domain investor, some still owned by the Registry, some “nominees” …

    Some random, quick examples, regarding the biggest “sales” allegedly occurred so far (Source: Namebio.com):

    9.xyz, reported sold in Dec 2015 for over 175k USD, is registered to a “cui kai” in China, a domainer whose email is associated to over 12,000 names, many of which are .xyz. The domain redirects to xyz Registry site;

    6.xyz, allegedly sold for 125k in Nov 2015, is registered to a “Bowen Liu”, based in Ontario and doesn’t resolve. This is a domain investor, his email is associated to approx 19,000 domains;

    8.xyz, allegedly sold for over 81k USD in Sept 2015, is registered to a “zhang peng fei” in China, definitely a domain investor, his email is associated to nearly 20,000 domains. The domain is parked;

    88.xyz, allegedly sold for 70k USD in Jan 2016, is again registered to the same “Kai Cui”/”cui kai” as above (same phone number and email). The domain redirects to its old NameJet auction page;

    xx.xyz, allegedly reported as sold for over 59k USD in Dec 2015, as of today has no Whois, which means it’s not even registered, doesn’t resolve;

    yy.xyz, allegedly sold for over 38k USD in Dec 2015, is registered to a “shi ming” in China, another domainer, but redirects to the xyz Registry site.

    22.xyz, allegedly sold for over 26k USD in Dec 2015, is registered to a “lin qing ming” in China, another domain investor who owns over 8,000 names, the majority of which are xyz. The domain redirects to the xyz Registry site.

    ZZ.xyz, allegedly sold for over 17k USD in Dec 2015, is owned again by the same “cui kai” above, whose portfolio is full of .xyz names. Again, the domain redirects to xyz Registry site.

    87.xyz, allegedly sold for over 15k USD in Dec 2015, has no Whois, doesn’t resolve.

    I’ve checked all the “highly-priced” names listed in the above-mentioned article as sold at auction: as of today, all of them have the same Registrant, the Registry, aka XYZ.com, LLC.

    Please note that all those names are defined by the XYZ Registry as “Variably priced premiums”, with an annual renewal fee of 55,000 USD or 13,000 USD for 2 characters.

    I think that the majority, if not all, of those transactions are fake, totally fabricated, no money has ever changed hands, if we exclude that paid to the partners and “participants” in this pathetic sham and large-scale manipulation to pump up and create the hype, including some Chinese “nominees” and other “friends”. Some of those “deals” IMHO involves “parking” domains with (paid) third-parties, in order to make it look like a legitimate change of ownership. Maybe they will tell you that they have some Escrow transactions which shows that a deal has taken place. Unfortunately for them, having gone through an Escrow transaction DOES NOT make a sale legitimate.

    Let me explain what I mean: I could agree with Paul (a fictitious name) to send him 100,000 USD, instructing him to purchase a specific domain from me for the very same 100,000 USD , in exchange for a little commission. We could agree to start an Escrow transaction for it, paying as low as 0.89%. Yes, I think some people has been paid on purpose and was given them money to create fake xyz sales. That’s clearly a fabricated, fake sale, with a minimum cash outflow for the “creator”, which uses fake sales as a tool to create the hype and sell more low-quality xyz domains to people caught in the frenzy. IMO promotional, marketing money has been and is being “invested” to create fake sales.

    I let you guess by yourself how xyz has reached 2.7 mln registrations, 71% of which are parked (according to Ntldstats.com). Check the names of the main Registrars and probably you’ll have a first answer, not a surprise to me the fact that GoDaddy is just at 2% and NetSol has basically disappeared.

    You know, there are many technical ways to fabricate sales (and not only sales) to deceive people … A few words to the wise …”

    • Andrea Paladini

      And this was my additional comment to my LinkedIn post:
      “P.S. As far as I see, as of today, I can’t rule out the possibility that some of those “buyers” could actually be just fictitious, shell entities, created, probably together with many other, just to “park” domains (even on a large scale) while masking them as legitimate sales.”

    • I too am not referring only to auction sales but 99% of .xyz sales are from auctions.

  4. I’ve been following the volume patterns of XYZ registrations for a while. The large spikes – more than 20k-30k registrations on a single day, for two/three days in a row – don’t make sense.

    The average daily volume has been 5k XYZ domains, of which plenty are just random 5 letters. The mind boggles, who registers these domains and why?

    See https://ntldstats.com/tld/xyz the actual daily rate is below 3k currently, but expand the timeline towards early February for some nice gains.

    About Negari.com, if an Indian company with a California address acquired the domain for $1,800 last August, why is it still pointed to XYZ’s HQ? I’d expect them to point to their own web site, at least, if not to a Bollywood lander. But even their own web site isn’t resolving.

  5. In the end we can assume all we want but without proof we have nothing.
    But yes, I assume some of the bigger .xyz sales are indeed fake. They have to be, there’s so much with .xyz that didn’t and doesn’t make sense.

  6. We sold a single word .xyz through GoDaddy recently.

  7. I spoke with Daniel Negari at NamesCon. Because I’d been a vocal critic of .XYZ’s fabricated registration numbers early on, he wanted to convince me of .XYZ’s real success since then. Daniel mentioned 88.xyz, which had just finished at $70,000 in the NamesCon live auction with 48 bids from 22 bidders.

    But the general impression, as I told him, was that this sale price was probably false. Conference attendees and domainers reading later online would assume that cash or some equivalent benefit had changed hands under the table, enabling bidders to throw large amounts around with financial backing from the registry. People would regard this as another publicity stunt, another faked .XYZ number.

    After all, that’s pretty much how .XYZ first came to our attention – through fakery. The TLD’s first few hundred thousand registrations at Network Solutions were a sham. Negari pointed to those registration numbers as a sign of market demand, and that has tainted .XYZ’s reputation ever since. Perception is reality.

    As we later learned, money changed hands under the table between the .XYZ registry and NetSol. So the registry has a history of paying for big fake numbers in order to point at them. We’d never have learned about the secret payments in that case had Verisign not sued the .XYZ registry, compelling the facts to be revealed.

    Having heard all this from me at NamesCon, Daniel Negari maintained that this 88.xyz auction wasn’t faked by his company. What could he do to convince people? So I told him.

    If Daniel Negari is willing to sign a document stating that his company hasn’t compensated bidders or incentivized them to bid in .XZY auctions, then that will go a long way toward persuading people. As a skeptic myself, I’d need to see such an official statement. If what Daniel Negari told me is true, then he has nothing to lose and everything to gain by affirming for the record that no under-the-table deals are behind these sales. His legal team can draft the statement to their own satisfaction. We can see any loopholes. So it’s in .XYZ’s interests to ensure the phrasing is as comprehensive and specific as possible.

    That’s what I proposed, face to face at NamesCon, volunteering to publish Negari’s signed statement myself. Right away, Daniel told me he’d be willing to do this. That was in January, and there has been no followup since. Mainly I’ve been busy. But my offer still stands.

    • I watched this conversation from far away. I didn’t want to get hurt… 😉
      I would publish that document as well.

    • Andrea Paladini

      “As we later learned, money changed hands under the table between the .XYZ registry and NetSol.”

      I’m sure they are definitely replicating this with other Registars, and more money is changing hands under the table, not only between them … 🙂

    • Andrea Paladini

      And I think we should also include the money which changed hands, also in forms of business agreements, “under the table” to pay the silence and/or complicity of some well-know “domain professionals” and bloggers … I know, it’s a can of worms … lol 😀

  8. Always wondered this myself. I think some of them are phony.

  9. Verisigns legal team would love to dissect this information

  10. Hello everyone,

    Since there are several references here to sales that took place on NameJet, I thought I would weigh in. I cannot speak to activity on other platforms, but I can tell you that to my knowledge (and our records) those sales that have taken place on NameJet are absolutely legitimate – and this includes NEGARI.COM.

    As to why any of these domains are still pointing to an old website is really a question for the respective buyer, in that some domains sold on our platform will retain the original DNS until it is changed by them. And I cannot speak to what buyers’ plans are with respect to their domains, so I think it is difficult to make judgements based on post-buying activity. But again, there is nothing we are seeing that is inconsistent with genuine sales.

    Overall, we are happy to sell .XYZ domains and our buyers remain interested in acquiring them. And the integrity of our business is critical to us, so I thought it was important to clear that up for you all.

    Thanks!

    -Jonathan Tenenbaum
    GM, NameJet

    • Thanks Jonathan.
      Can you please explain why the whois does not change to reflect that of the buyer?
      Is this another Enom bug?
      (I have noticed it a few times on my domains. I don’t use privacy and when the seller has privacy it is moved over to my account together with the domain.)

      • Can you give me an example of a domain that you are referring to on the whois issue? I just spot-checked a few and they look ok.

        And happy to dig into the whois issues you have had in the past if you want to give me more detail there. And fine to do that part offline – just email me if you want. For what it is worth, we are currently looking at improving/enhancing how we handle whois data – so perhaps that will address some of the issues you have had in the past.

        Thanks!

        -Jonathan

      • Check these 4 .xyz domains from the article.
        If the buyer doesn’t use whois privacy and their account has privacy off by default then you have a problem.

        To me it is happening whenever I buy a domain from Namejet (not expired ones) that is behind privacy before I buy it.
        Privacy somehow gets transferred and it is a pain in the ass to remove.
        Usually I need to enable privacy for the domain and then disable it so it takes the change.

      • It looks like there is some kind of issue where the privacy info is carrying over. Thanks for the heads up! I believe it is a registrar issue and we will definitely have Engineering to take a look at it.

        Although it is worth noting that buyers who like the privacy carrying over for no cost might not like that once this is “fixed”. And this is definitely does not make those .XYZ sales any less legitimate. But either way, it appears to be an issue with how the whois is being updated (or not updated) when a domain is sold and provisioned to a new buyer, and should be corrected.

        Were you seeing this on all types of domains – regardless of gTLD?

        Let me know and thanks again for bringing this to our attention!

        -Jonathan

      • Yes, it is on all kinds of domains.
        Thanks

    • No Mr Tenenbaum Name Jet is not “happy to sell .xyz” Let’s be honest here – shouldn’t that read “we’re happy to sell .xyz in the context of 100 other names submitted within a portfolio”? When was the last time Name Jet took a .xyz from a retail seller? Also-has Name Jet began returning emails yet as every one of your competitors do?

      • Hi John,

        Thanks for your message. We actually just onboarded a seller this week who predominantly has .XYZ domains.

        And when you say “returning emails”, do you mean responding to domain submissions? We try to respond to as many of those as we can, but we know that is an area we can improve on – so we recently added some additional resources to help with that. So the answer to your question is “yes”. 🙂

        Thanks for your questions and take care!

        -Jonathan

      • Interesting reply-thank you-nonsense but interesting. We submitted more than one single word .xyz and never even got the courtesy of an email back but thank you for your reply here.

      • Hey John,

        How long ago was your most recent submission? If it was over a month ago it is very possible you did not get a response – and I apologize for that.

        Either way, please feel free to send me your submissions directly at JT[at]NameJet.com. I would be happy to review them with the team and see if they are a fit for the platform.

        Thanks!

        -Jonathan

    • Andrea Paladini

      “to my knowledge (and our records) those sales that have taken place on NameJet are absolutely legitimate”
      If a seller and a “buyer”, behind closed doors, agree to create a fake sale, with purchase money coming from the seller, or from a third-party nominee (or selling to a third-party nominee), that’s NOT a legitimate sale, and your records are useless, totally ineffective to confirm if a sale is legitimate or not.
      You can’t control what happens outside your “auction system”, it’s just beyond your control.

      • Andrea – Great work!… We are left with more questions than answers at this point. Hopefully, someone at .xyz can and will clear this up…The NameJet response is appreciated, but this is completely over their head as you mentioned.

  11. This is a comment by Andrea Paladini that my server rejects for some unknown reason:

    Just to be clear.
    What I’m saying is that they created (and are still creating) fake big-tickets xyz sales in order to fuel the hype, so that people caught in the frenzy go purchasing xyz names, driving up overall xyz Registration numbers.
    Many xyz sales are legitimate, but in this case we are talking about low-priced deals or hand-registered domains at deep discounted prices, with very thin margins.
    Namecheap for example is now offering xyz at 0.88 USD for the first year, vs a regular price of 9.88 USD, same deep discounted prices you will find at Chengdu West Dimension Digital Technology Co., Ltd., aka West.cn (now offers xyz at 8 Yuan, which is 1.23 USD), GMO Internet, Hostinger, UAB (0.67£, which is 0.95 USD), which are the biggest Registrars by number of Registrations.
    Sure, the XYZ Registry said that they get the full registration price, but I’m sure behind the closed doors there are specific agreements by which the Registry gives huge discounts or other forms of compensation to the selected Registrars. Otherwise I doubt Registrars would sell xyz names at a deep loss, they are not charities …
    IMHO deep discounting agreements with some very specific Registrars are one of the pillars of their commercial practices, because they need to to do volumes to build up a wide Registrants base in consideration of most likely expected low renewal rates.
    So very low first year prices are the key to lure customers in.
    Other two pillars of their commercial, marketing & promotional practices are IMHO the creation of fake big-ticket sales and some specific promotional agreements/stunts with well know companies (a light form of “endorsement”, which is not really a true endorsement, but just a well-planned marketing stunt), as in the abc.xyz case.
    The lack of significant (and not promotionally induced) adoption by corporate end-users and the recurrent need of the practices I mentioned above to support the client base in view of renewals make XYZ a low quality extension primarily for private end users who look for discounted domains, and I guess that client base will reduce substantially in the future.
    No way this extension can even get close to .com worldwide in terms of recognition, brand power and trust.
    IMHO xyz at some point will stabilize itself as a niche, junk extension for low-cost private users (including spammers and scammers), while businesses have definitely better new Gtlds to choose from, specific for each product/service category they are offering.

  12. Domain Observer

    The Chinese buyer who bought a COM domain from me did not change DNS server address and so my created webpages under the domain continued to show when I typed in the domain name in an address bar for quite a long time. So I deleted all the pages from my web hosting servers. It seems that he did not care about the DNS name server changes.

  13. Once a faker, always a faker. As someone formerly stated, Daniel Negari is Martin Shkreli of the domain industry.

  14. Why is majority questioning .xyz sales but not .club sales or Uniregistry sales? Because we all know that Negari cheated the industry with fake registrations. He is probably still inflating the registration numbers by using different tactics. I am pretty sure that most of his big sales are fake.

  15. Andrea Paladini

    @Aaron
    “Hopefully, someone at .xyz can and will clear this up”
    Don’t think so, don’t count on it, it’s against their own interests, good luck waiting for it 🙂
    IMHO they will continue manipulating and faking the game … you know, “a leopard doesn’t change its spots” …

  16. I also have doubt about xyz fake sales, but lets see what happen, cause now I am trying to sales xyz extension :D, if xyz really make sales, then I believe that xyz have value, but if not, I think xyz sales are fake! lol! 😀

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