In the last article in this series I began to unpack the importance of the demand curve for accurately pricing domain names. My experience with domain sellers is that most of them price their domains more by gut then attempting to apply a process. In this article I want to move my line of thinking forward to help sellers more accurately price their domains and buyers know if their getting a fair deal.
I should say out the outset that I’m going to keep everything as simple as possible by minimising the number of input data points and mathematics…..but hold onto your shirt as it can still get a little tricky! Remember the goal is to see if we can create a demand curve for a market vertical and then attribute pricing to this curve. So where to start?
We can use the google keyword tool (remember there are a LOT more other data points) to provide us with both quantity and price for an individual keyword. It just so happens that the price is more often than not a reflection of the demand for that keyword due to the Google auction system amongst advertisers. Google also provides a competitive index which is really interesting and bears a lot more thought…..I won’t be applying the index for this analysis.
So I entered a whole lot of “gaming” keywords into the keyword tool and out popped the data that I was after. After a bit of manipulation, I was able to produce the following chart (price is the vertical axis and quantity the horizontal). I really haven’t added a huge number of data points but it provides a reasonable picture of demand for the gaming market vertical.
The next thing I add is a power series trend line (blue dashed line) which I can then use to approximate the demand curve for gaming traffic. It just so happens that Excel has a great feature that allows you to display the formula of the trend line on the page. In this case it’s 40.053X^-0.0537. For those of you that have forgotten your maths, this is 40.053 times by an X-value raised to the power -0.537. Basically it’s the formula for a nice curve.
After some more complicated mathematics using some integral calculus I was able to determine the area under the blue line. Why is this important? What we do know is the average domain name sells for $1,000, therefore the mid-demand point should reflect this valuation. It just so happens that the mid-point is at (1510,0.786). I’ve highlighted this on the graph below.
So what do we now know? Right up the top of the demand curve are the generic category killer domains and rightly, this is where the curve asymptotes into the stratosphere for pricing. For instance, games.com is worth a LOT of money and this is where this domain would reside on our chart.
At the far right hand end of the blue curve we have a rapid drop off in demand. Any keyword domains that find themselves out this end of the spectrum should be dropped. This is where domains such as reallyawesomegames.com belong…..just drop these ones or at the very least put them up for sale at just above registration fee.
By using the Google keyword tool I can now type in any of my domain names to get the suggested price for that keyword. I can then plot the price on the demand curve and determine whether the domain is above or below the $1,000 point.
Now here’s where it gets tricky. What we don’t know is whether the pricing scale on the right is linear, logarithmic or some other scale all together. My intuition suggests that this scale must relate somehow to the size of the market and the overall demand for the individual domain we are trying to price. I need to think about this a little more.
So what can we now do? We can generate a demand curve for any market vertical, plot the mid-point to work out whether our domain should be priced above or below $1,000. We should also be able to view those domains that are category killers and those that should be dropped. It’s a start in the analytical process…..and hopefully I can refine this further.
As I said in my previous article, I really value feedback (good and bad) that provokes additional ideas….so feel free to pitch in with questions and suggestions.