The domain drop auctions have been heading off into the stratosphere for awhile. If it's a 1 word domain the extension is decreasingly an impediment to bidders taking the price up. I've been party recently to some auctions where the bids were outpacing the "estimated traffic as foundation for pricing" model. I've been party to auctions where, not so long ago, there might have been 6 - 12 initial entrants. Now the number of entrants on even minor domains starts at 12 and goes up a great deal.
Pity the newcommers. Unlike 1997 there's nothing to sneak up on any more. The people who've been around for awhile, sitting on the sidelines waiting for the market to collapse - it looks like they will get to wait awhile longer. Frankly, I think 2000-2002 did a lot to clarify the +s and -s of a good domain name. The passage of time also firmed up pricing models.
There's still a few good buys in the aftermarket, but IMHO, the "trash to utility" ratio of the domains posted on the forums has gone waaaay up for many months - a year+. No longer will you find .Com domains of any real interest listed (unless it's big ticket). Now it's .us, .info, etc. Even with .info it's 2 word domains or domain-words of no commercial utility. It's looking like the new generation's game for awhile: .US, .EU, .ws, etc.
Interesting times in the evolution of the domaining process. Some nice 1 domain sales recently. More and more of them. .Com still rules, but others are showing their mettle.
Have we reached a saturation point for oldtimers, those who've been in it for awhile? Is it big ticket or no ticket for them? .US simply holds no interest at this time? (I'll give you that the .EU landrush brought out some big guns, with all the usual legal scheming. Shameful. That's the new game.)
Am I just bored? Out of cash? Better attuned to what works and what doesn't? A little of each is close to the truth. I could have a bit more cash if I didn't keep ignoring stupid email inquiries about domains. You know, the one's where some poor college kid needs a big league domain for his/her project.
The latest domain marketplace acquisition model has been portfolio aggregation: BIG buyers buying the domain collections of Big domain holders. I'm not ready to be player in that game, though I sometimes crunch the numbers and think it might be nice to take some time off. :) Then I think "nah". What I hold is more in the nature of my retirement plan: A domain name pension. A veritable smorgashboard of mid-life career changing possibilities. I've been nibbling at development and I feel like a dam ready to burst. All learning, no application - then "boom". Too much book/board study. Play ball!
FWIW, I told myself yesterday - for the 4th or 34th time "that's it for buying domains for awhile". I've said it before, but it's like I've reached a point of decreasing returns. I picked up a few last gems - ones of some unique personal interest - during the past few weeks. With both my kids soon to be off to college I'll have a bit time and energy to something new. My world view is shifting with them not home. Time to use actually use those travel domains? The new portable PC and camera? Life as one big business expense?
So, what have you all been up to lately?
Still hunting for gems? Recovering from sticker shock? Working harder than ever? Waiting for the end of the drop game?
Making big development moves? Any traction to your new plans? Anything exciting to report? Laying back and enjoying some of the benefits of earlier hard work?
Has it all been worth it, for those playing the game for awhile?
Where do you stand in the evolution of your participation in the domain name game?