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It’s halftime for 2021. Here are some observations.

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From domain sales platforms to bored apes, here are some trends so far in 2021.

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2021 is half over, and I expect the second half of the year to look very different than the first half.

The world was still locked down for most of the first half of this year. Depending on where you live, it might have been the worst part of the pandemic. But things are starting to open up in many countries thanks to incredibly effective vaccines that became a victim of their own success. The United States went from people fighting to get vaccines to the government spending money trying to get more people to take them as case counts fell.

There’s pent-up demand for getting out and about, and Shane Cultra and I discussed what this means for business in DNW Podcast #344.

Here are a few other observations about this year so far.

I’m selling domains through more venues.

I used to sell nearly all of my domains through the Afternic/GoDaddy network. While I still add my domains to Afternic, I’ve noticed a much broader distribution of sales this year, continuing a trend from the past couple of years.

Give credit to alternative domain sales platforms like, Squadhelp and Efty. These companies figured out it’s hard to compete with the established marketplaces and distribution systems because of network effects. But there are other ways you can add value and take advantage of incumbents. One is to offer lower commissions for domain sales that aren’t through networks. In other words, sales through landing pages.

Afternic deserves a high commission on sales through the network it has created. Less so when someone buys through a landing page.

To GoDaddy’s credit, it finally offered buy-now landers this year. But they still come with the high commissions that the network and brokered domains come with.

It’s exciting to see upstarts push the industry.

There’s major attention deficit thanks to NFTs and crypto.

Bitcoin boom. Bitcoin crash. Elon Musk. TopShots. Bored apes.

There’s a lot to grab your attention this year, especially if you like to buy and flip things.

I think it’s great that people who are into domains are making money selling virtual apes, pickles, and dogs. (Although I do get annoyed when people say, “you just don’t get it.” I get what these things are but don’t necessarily agree on the outcome.)

It’s clear that attention to crypto and NFTs is taking some attention (and dollars/ether) away from domain trading.

Cheap money is upending market dynamics.

There’s a lot of cash in the world. Especially in the United States, the government decided it would throw money at the problem the pandemic created. In many cases, this has more than “topped up” what people lost due to the pandemic.

And it’s not just stimulus checks sent to low and middle-income Americans along with generous unemployment benefits.

You’ve got the government paying several months of payments on new SBA loans. Restaurants have been able to get 6 months of PPP money, on top of money targeted to revitalizing the restaurant industry. Anyone from domain investors to Uber drivers could pocket PPP cash.

Even if you didn’t personally pocket stimulus checks or PPP funds, you’re likely benefiting from the extra cash as it flows through the system.

And when you sell your house for 40% more today than it was worth a year ago (as people in Austin are), it must feel like you won the lottery.

We are in the era of cheap and free money. Pundits are predicting what this means for the future, but only time will tell.


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