Is Sedo Slowly Dying?

I have been following the Sedo domain name sales reports for years now. This week’s report was the smallest I have seen.

Sedo domain name sales have been on a steady decline for 3-4 years now but as this is going there will be no Sedo left within a year or two. At least not like it used to be.

The Sedo website and system hasn’t been updated for years, commissions have been raised (probably to keep the profit up while overall sales plummet), and frankly I wonder what domainers are still selling domain names at Sedo. Probably only some old clients that haven’t heard of new services or don’t bother changing platforms and maybe some domainers that want to have their domains listed at every platform available.

So here is a comparison from this week’s report and last year’s report of almost the same week:

Sedo’s Weekly Sales List 2015-06-22
545 domains
$1,6m (autism.rocks    2015-06-18    100.000    USD)
53% of total sales were the result of Buy Now listings.

.COMs: 140
ccTLDs: 48
OTHER: 30
Total: 218 (93 above $2,000)

Sedo’s Weekly Sales List 2016 06-20
492 domains
$1m
63% of total sales were the result of Buy Now listings.

.COMs: 43
ccTLDs: 12
OTHER: 4
Total: 59 (59 above $2,000)

You can instantly see that absolute value has dropped by half a million (if you take out autism.rocks that is not the norm), there are only 59 domains reported this year compared to 218 last year, sold domains are a bit down, and “buy now” listings are up.

I tried to take for granted that Sedo reports true numbers but I have many questions and doubts.

In last year’s report almost half of the $1,6m worth of domains were actually in the report. This year the report contains about a 3rd of all sales ($1m). Sedo charges extra for sellers and buyers to make a domain name sale private so I doubt that many of the 4 and 5 figure sales contribute to this effect. Is this because of some big sales?

Sedo has never (to my knowledge) issued a domain name sales report with less than $1m in sales. And they have issued numerous reports exactly at $1m. Am I too suspicious or is there something going on? I highly doubt that Sedo consistently makes these big sales to keep the total of money exchanged above $1m or exactly at $1m week after week.

Last year’s report had 218 domains in it while this years report only has 59 although there is no such big difference in number of total sold domains (545 and 492).

Are most of the sales at Sedo these days low “buy now” listings through its MLS service and thought the new auction service that lets you auction any domain without an initial bid? Probably so.

Seriously a report with only 59 domains? The previous week had 55 and the week before that had 75 domains. Reports used to be of 200+ domains consistently.

This is no summer slow down as I am comparing with the same week from last year and I checked many other weeks before these.

So what has really happened? Sedo says 63% of all domains were “Buy Now” listings. If you factor in the tens of domains sold at these cheap Sedo auctions you will get in a very high number.

So it seems that Sedo has completely lost the “negotiation” domains sales mainly because no one wants to pay these extremely high commissions AND also not know who they are negotiating with. There are way better options to Sedo for this. Even a simple lander to your website will save you thousands of dollars every year.

So Sedo has almost completely lost the middle range of the market. The 4 and 5 figures sales that make the bulk of the everyday business of domaining.

The way parking is doing at Sedo, as more people leave Sedo for other parking/sales platforms to save money, and the number of sales diminishing you can all guess where this company is headed.

A couple of big sales and a few ccTLDs are holding it together. It only takes a couple of brokers to leave Sedo and everything will collapse.

So is Sedo slowly dying? Some will say it is already dead. It is still riding on its past good reputation. But that reputation has been tarnished.

I don’t feel sorry for Sedo. They made a lot of money of domaining and they just stop caring and became greedy. No innovation and no effort in the past few years. Just an increase in commissions.

I am only sorry for a few great people that are still working for them.

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.

49 comments

  1. hopefully they are dying, hate the way they do everything they can to keep domains listed that are no longer owned by the person claiming to sell them

  2. At least they report their sales. I suspect GoDaddy/Afternic (and perhaps DomainNameSales) out-perform Sedo in terms of volume and $ but without these platforms reporting their sales we can only guess. More domainers start to realize that the majority of inquiries and sales are driven by direct navigation so all you need is a great For-Sale landing page or your own marketplace and you can keep that 15 to 30% commission for yourself. As a result less people park their domains with marketplaces such as Sedo which results in the declining sales numbers.

    Another reason would be that 12 months ago Sedo greatly benefited from the Chinese buying frenzy which is pretty much over these days.

    • I am 99.99% sure that gd outperforms sedo.

    • If you read my newsletter, you probably noticed I often repeat: Marketplaces do not advertise your domains, not even when domains are in auction (incredible but TRUE!!!). Worst, most sales are generated after a WHOIS search or type-in so marketplaces should not even deserve a single cents of sales commission.

      Regarding the sale page, I am going to be direct, it has almost no incidence in sale, it’s just good for the owner ego to have a nice sale page. When I am looking for a domain for a project, most of the time I just check the WHOIS, not even the page, and when I do it is simply to quickly locate an email or a sale form.

      • Hi there,

        thanks for the article and feedback.

        The gaps and inconsistencies in the reportings can always be caused by confidential sales that we couldn’t share with you. The length of the excel list we send around is also always influenced by the number of sales below our publication threshold of 2,000 USD. We used to send this list starting at 700 USD,so that also shortens the number of domains shown in our weekly public sales list. That doesn’t mean we’re selling less – or even worse, breathing our last breath: https://twitter.com/Sedo/status/747425156180545536

        Also, I can tell you that it’s not “a huge percentage” using only escrow – can’t go into more detail than that right now. We’re not a public company – I’m sure you understand 🙂 . But we wouldn’t share our numbers if we didn’t want to be candid and transparent with you and our users. If we didn’t want to share our numbers, we just would stop sending out our sales list.

        Regarding the statement, we wouldn’t advertise domains,I’d like to stress these points:

        – We show auctions endings soon on our homepage – what better place could there be?
        – We also send out our GreatDomains mailing to more than 400,000 recipients each month, promoting the current GD inventory
        – We promote such domain names on our social media accounts, like Twitter and Facebook, with more than 25,000 fans and followers

        Plus, we visit 20+ conferences around the world per year to educate about the secondary market – this benefits us all and the whole industry, making individuals and companies aware of the wonderful options the domain aftermarket has to offer.

        Last, but not least, we have a great staff of very talented and driven people. There are our seller side brokers, which you know for their great public sales and deals. But we shouldn’t forget our 20+ country managers, speaking 25 languages and brokering domains with parties in every corner of the world, too.

        Oh, and I almost forgot: Our transfer service makes trading domains secure – which especially for new sellers and buyers is a very important feature. We as a platform can provide the security and trust that cannot always be expected when trading domains without an intermediate like Sedo.

        Anyway, I hope I could clarify a few things. Please feel free to come forward with questions like the ones stated in this article. You can always send an email to press@sedo.com if you feel you need to clarify things. We’re always happy to help!

        Best regards
        Christoph Holler
        PR & Marketing Manager at Sedo

      • I was giving valuable feedback (both domain name and IT related) to Sedo for years only to be ignored. I gave up.

      • I wonder why you shared the dnjournal page. Just because other marketplaces or individual sellers don’t share sales (like godaddy, afternic, DNS, etc.) or don’t report their client’s sales as theirs and try to extort money for not making them public (escrow transactions) doesn’t mean that you doing good.

        No, I don’t understand why you can’t share a simple percentage like the escrow transactions… Unless the percentage makes you seem bad.

        The way the lists are now then you might as well not send them at all. You are only reporting 1/3 of what you claim to sell.
        The way it goes you will be reporting about 50 domains each week down from 200 or 250 last year.

        Regarding advertising you are confusing your website with advertising that happens OUTSIDE your website. Your website is not advertising.

  3. Good riddance. Death to Sedo’s greed.

  4. I’ve had nearly 20% of my sales total for the year through Sedo, so they definitely aren’t dead yet. But, they really are slow to innovate or bring any new ideas to the market. I’d previously requested a data feed of the names on their platform numerous times, through numerous channels, and never even got a reply. Same with submitting names to their ‘Great Domains Auctions’. Names I submit are never considered, while lower quality names consistently get listed. Oh, and their parking service is absolutely not competitive compared to other offerings.

  5. FYI, Sedo numbers mix marketplace sales and escrow transactions. A huge percentage of people use Sedo simply as escrow but Sedo has always added these private transactions into their sale listings (probably to make their marketplace more attractive).

  6. The reason the number of reported sales has plummeted is because they only show sales over $2,000 now.

    I’d recommend comparing more than just one week, too.

  7. Most marketplaces decline started when Frank launched DomainNameSales.com few year ago. People started to link their domain to DomainNameSales.com and as most sales start after a type-in search and not a marketplace search (and less when NOT advertised) then sales fall down.

  8. i’ve never liked selling on places like sedo. you can’t tell who you are dealing with and there is little justification for the commission charged.

  9. They sent me a $500 invoice for “sedo commissions” after I immediately notified them that I had to cancel a BIN sale on a domain that I had accidentally sold elsewhere a week earlier. I understand the rules and problems it can cause by not deleting listings elsewhere after a sale, but that is ridiculous.

    Done with them forever, good luck collecting.

  10. Andrea Paladini

    Not using Sedo anymore to sell names, too high fees not justified by the service offered.
    Way better a landing page or Voodoo parking pages, a lot of inquiries come through direct type-in or Whois.
    🙂

  11. Sedo need a new good “For-Sale” landing page!

  12. when we compare the total of the last 10 weeks 2016 with 10 weeks in 2015, there is another result:
    2016: 13.8 mio
    2015: 13.7 mio

  13. Yeah most domains are done direct by whois others may land on page.

    Unless your domain gets a decent amount of type-in traffic no reason to park. Efty pages are looking pretty good to me I,m going to try them out with my entire portfolio minus type in traffic. That will go to DNS or an affiliate program. Sedo to me is kinda of a dino. Look IMO sedo does not want to sell names they make way more off of type-in traffic, ever wonder why they have never created a good landing page well that is the reason imo. They want to extend the type in traffic it as long as possible.

  14. Median price at Sedo should be around the $500 dollar figure. Definitely low four figures at Domain Name Sales.

    • @Acro,

      That’s probably true of your portfolio, Theo, since you’re selling higher quality domains with more ambitious pricing. But how can you or any of us say with confidence what the median sale price at DomainNameSales must “definitely” be? Uniregistry doesn’t report any sales or publish any data, whereas Sedo does.

      Actually, apart from not disclosing any of the sales data they do have, DomainNameSales can’t even track their own sell-through rates accurately. Why not? Because domain owners often close sales based on Uniregistry inquiries without going through DomainNameSales to arrange the transfer. So Uniregistry won’t know the final price and may not even be aware of any sale.

      I’m convinced the median sale price at DomainNameSales resembles the median sale price elsewhere in the domain market. Specifically, I think it would be below $1000, in line with Sedo and (probably) Afternic.

      Everybody has his own preferences regarding venue. Personally, my sales went up after I left DomainNameSales behind; and I get better results with Sedo and Afternic than I ever got there.

  15. Very well written article. Thank you!

    There is no doubt about Sedo death. They are getting worst day by day. What do you think about Flippa? That is all time worst for domain selling now in my opinion.

  16. Hello Konstantinos,

    Sedo has a penchant for proclaiming their vaunted Valuation system is proof that their decision to limit Buy Now designation is limited to !0,000$. This is nothing but an attempt to cap out or limit upside potential for Domain Valuations. If we look at the true valuations on .COM Asset groups they are far outpacing Sedos rediculous attempt at lowering the bar on valuations so as to make it easier to sell .COM Asset Properties on the CHEAP! Whats up with that? SEDO you need to follow .COM Centric valuations NOT Google-Centric Psuedo Valuations. You are losing market share, wake up !

    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger) (Former Rockefeller IBEC Marketing Analyst/Strategist) (Licensed CBOE Commodity Hedge Strategist) (Domain Master http://www.UseBiz.com)

  17. They need to lower the $60 charge to match Flippa $9 fees, or GoDaddy $4.50 and get rid of $10000 max limit. They should work on 247 including Saturday and Sunday during domain/ fund transfer period …..

    They should have instant auction listing on website once we paid fees on credit card, rather than waiting 2 working days for credit card clearance. GoDaddy is excellent in instant auction listing once check out with credit card.

    They should waive valuation fees and charges on listing over $10000. Or they should get rid of $10000 limit. I can list over $10000 limit at Afternic , DNS, Namejet, Flippa without valuation fees…..

  18. Chris,

    This is the point; your ad dollars are spent on conferences where there are the same hundred people years after year. You probably have good times, but I am not sure this really helps owners who list their names for sale in your marketplace. In soon ten years I did not see Sedo spending money to advertise a domain auction outside his web site. And regarding new gtlds, I am not sure it’s Sedo who should evangelize, maybe another greedy actor like Donuts should do this, finally is the one who should most benefit. We do not need you to educate the masses, we need you to promote our names for sale!

    • Francois,

      As you know I consult Sedo on SedoMLS, however I do not represent Sedo when commenting here.

      While Sedo also visits and exhibits at domain industry conferences, a lot of the conferences you will see on the “Meet Us” page are non-domain industry events that serve to increase awareness of the industry as a whole:

      https://sedo.com/uk/about-us/events/

      Some examples:
      * WHD (world hosting days)
      * HostingCon
      * dmexco (marketing conference)
      * bits & pretzels (startups/investors)
      * web summit (tech/development)

      In order to share the cost for those events, Sedo does partner with new gTLD companies that want to promote their domains.

      • Thanks Frank for the details but as I said we do not need Sedo to educate the masses, we need it to promote our names for sale and more when they are in auction, this is why they get a generous sales commission.

  19. sedo.com is dying … better venues out there now.

  20. sedo imo is a dinosaur that needs a major overhaul in the new domain era

    no one I have spoke with ever heard of it and these people r in web based bizness!

    their website is super boring to navigate, they have wayyyy too many domains for sale

    plus I never see them do any marketing/advertising

    start your own domain marketplace and boycott sedo, afternic, namejet, etc etc they have made enough $$$ from domainers and its time for a major change within the domain sales platforms

  21. Hello,

    I was curious as to where I can find these reports… Can anyone point me in the right direction here?

  22. Dying or not, I’m happy they are still reporting sales. Without the sales they report, it looks like DNJournal would have had a ‘Top 19’ this week for all domains reported ending with 5 sales under $1,300.

    Granted, those domains sold through Sedo may have sold elsewhere if they were not listed there, but I’m guessing that most wouldn’t be reported.

  23. @Lloyd

    Maybe by invoking the German Freedom of Information Act ?? or the EU ? Invoke unfair business practices ( Influence on Information maybe ? )

    All you need is a sound argument ( as a patron, you have done business with them hence… )

  24. Sedo has stopped reporting their total sales and total of sold domain names:
    http://onlinedomain.com/2016/08/03/opinions/what-is-sedo-afraid-of/

    • Ooh, that’s really not good. If we don’t know sales history or something related, so anyone or we can motivate or get excited ourselves to move ahead and keep domaining.

  25. I don’t think so. Sedo has been doing and upgrading their system and everything in order to compete with big players out in the market.

    I have been experienced and got assisted with many queries i had with Sedo. They were so polite, professional and swift response.

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