We took a deep dive into some domains data to find out which domains were worth the most money, using estimations based on company revenue. While many domains are high-value because of the companies they are tied to, we also looked at why the most expensive domain names are valuable on their own.

The richest domains

The first place result isn’t surprising at all. Topping the list in joint first place are the google.com and youtube.com domains. These juggernauts of the online space, with their huge influence, have domains with a combined worth of $102 billion.

In second place is the biggest website you’ve probably never heard of. TMALL.com is a Chinese ecommerce site where consumers can buy products, similar to Amazon. It’s one of the busiest websites in the world, which gives its domain the huge value of $59.3 billion.

Tech companies also, predictably, appeared often on the top 50 list. Sites like Facebook and Reddit appear, as well as other Chinese equivalents to popular sites, like Baidu and Weibo.

With such huge businesses and brands behind them, it’s no wonder these domains are valued so highly. But what other factors make up a valuable domain?

The most valuable domains

These domains are slightly different to those listed above, because instead of them getting their value from the companies they represent, they instead get valued at millions of dollars just because of what they are.

If nobody knew what the word Google was, then the google.com domain would be low value – just a gibberish word. Same with twitter.com, or reddit.com. Their wealth is built around the website they lead to. The domains sold for the most money, however, don’t really lead anywhere.

For example, the most expensive domain ever recorded was cars.com, which was reportedly valued at around $872 million dollars. Not anywhere near as much as what google.com and youtube.com are valued at, but this number is just for the domain. No well-known company is attached to cars.com – the car buying and comparison site that the domain now leads to isn’t heavily branded.

Many of the most expensive domain sales were domains of single english words: voice.com, insure.com, fund.com, and shoes.com to name a few. But visiting the sites shows a similar outcome to cars.com – as they’re so self-explanatory, these domains are very difficult to build a brand around. While they undoubtedly bring in traffic from newer internet users looking for cars, insurance, or shoes, as so many users rely on search engines to give them the best results, they get lost in the crowd unless their content and branding is also competitive.

Buying your domain

As a consumer, what makes a domain name ‘good’? As we said above, most of a domain’s real value is tied to the company and brand it represents. But getting hold of a domain that’s memorable can help with brand awareness, bringing more visitors to a website overall.

.com is king

The untouchable .com domain extension still dominates the market, with around half of domains using it. So, while it’s not essential for having a brandable domain name – giants like twitch.tv and wikipedia.org can attest to that – it certainly helps when you’re going into business with it.

Short and sweet

The easiest domains to remember are the shortest. That’s why every single .com domain combination of four or fewer letters has already been bought, and can now only be purchased from aftermarket sellers (usually at a vastly inflated price). However, five and six-letter domain names are still available, so keeping it as short as you can is best.

Strange words

Many of the newer tech sites, as well as small startups, use gibberish or misspelled words to create their brand name. Not only does it make them unique, but it makes it easier to grab a domain that’s still available on a popular extension like .com. And unlike generic domains like shoes.com, something like shuuz.com is brandable.

To see the whole list of the world’s richest domains, check out our infographic. You can get hold of a whole range of domains on our website, including .com domains for only £1 for the first year so you can get the branded domain you want.