Domain Name Appraisal Services and Domain Name Values

Update: Leapfish stopped being a search engine and stopped offering domain name appraisals at the beginning of 2008.

As you might recall, a while back I talked about Leapfish, the world’s fastest search engine. Now, Leapfish has brought back a popular feature of their site, their domain name appraisal service. Type a domain name into their search engine and they will attempt to put a dollar figure on it, telling you how much it’s worth.

leapfish search results

From what I can tell, it appears that Leapfish is figuring out (estimating) the amount of traffic you have to your site, putting a price on each visitor, and then doing a quick calculation. As a domain name expert myself, I have to admit that there is definitely value in traffic: but when you’re calculating the true value of a domain name you have to take in account other factors.

That’s where I disagree with Leapfish. I know they want to put a value on a domain name and it’s helpful to be able to find out how much your domain name is worth. But, to really know how much your domain name is worth, a human, someone with experience in the domain name industry, needs to put the value on the name: no computer program can give you a true estimated value of a name.

Besides, isn’t the value of a domain name really only what someone is willing to pay for it?

One of the main factors I would add to the price of a domain name is the potential revenue of that domain name over it’s entire lifetime. Potentially that could be 50 years of revenue. You see, if you were to purchase that domain name and even park it at a Domain Parking service like Fabulous (yes, I know they’re not only a domain parking service, they’re a great registrar, too), then how much would that domain name make in 50 years? What if you were to develop that domain name, put great content on it, have top search engine rankings for it’s best keyword phrase, and soforth? How much would that domain name make? Well, in my professional opinion, as an online marketing, website marketing, social media, SEO, and domain name expert, that’s really what a domain name is worth.

And yes, if you’re interested in my professional opinion, you can hire me to appraise your domain name.

Let’s get back to Leapfish and what they say about their domain name appraisal service that’s now integrated into their search engine. Here’s a recent press release forwarded to me about their domain name appraisal service:

“LeapFish, the only online search portal to deliver the best of the web in a click-free search, today announced the re-launch of its popular free domain name appraisal service at LeapFish.com. Due to high consumer and fan demand, the search engine has revamped the domain appraisal system and released a far more attractive version to users.

“The new domain appraisal service utilizes a complex proprietary valuation algorithm that considers length, traffic, age, link popularity and many other factors,” said Behzad Behrouzi, Director of Product for LeapFish.com. “As a result, the new service is far more accurate then the previous version that was offered years ago.”

The domain name appraisal service is initiated through the search engine’s existing search field and returns instantaneous valuation results. Users are able to learn more about each valuation by clicking on the valuation dollar figure in LeapFish’s right hand side results set.

“We’ve received a tremendous number of requests to bring back the domain appraisal system and so we did,” said Ben Behrouzi, CEO of LeapFish. “Our robust valuation engine will kick in anytime someone enters in a domain name in the search engine’s search field.”

Prior to its acquisition by DotNext Inc, LeapFish.com served as a valuable and popular domain name appraisal system. The LeapFish.com domain name was acquired by DotNext Inc. for utilization in the development and release of a next generation search engine that works to capture the variety of the web as you type. LeapFish now offers a free, quick and robust domain name appraisal widget as part of its growing arsenal of unique search data integrations.

To find out what your domain is worth, visit www.leapfish.com and enter your domain in the search bar.”

Let’s take, for example, a domain name that’s a generic domain name, like www.LocalHomeBuilders.com. (By the way, that’s a domain name that I used to own.) There are a fair amount of searches every month for that phrase, and even more for “home builders”.

estibot-local-home-builders

What does Estibot.com say that the domain name is worth? $560. That’s probably about right, at least it’s a reasonable guess for an automated tool. I probably would put the domain name at about $5000, though, considering the fact that if it were to be built out and developed, it would make at least several hundred dollars a year (i.e., Google Adsense, advertising, affiliate program revenues).

leapfish-localhomebuilders-value

What does Leapfish say about the domain name value? $12. Huh? That’s actually LESS than what Network Solutions charges to register a domain name. Granted, I have to admit that it appears that Leapfish is only relying on traffic data to estimate the value of a domain name. But really! You have to put in other factors into your calculation if you’re going to say what the real value of a domain name is.

I have to admit that I kind of like what estibot.com is doing when it comes to appraising a domain name in an automated fashion. There are a lot of factors that should go into the value of a domain name. And I don’t really think any automated tool can give you the true value of a domain name, that has to be left up to a human.