Domain Stats -
The reason .io domains are so valuable is because companies that use .io domains are known as being great at what they do. This blog post explains it well:
"These new .io sites are almost artisanal in nature - small, well crafted and functional. It's like a TLD for techies with taste."
They are also short, sound good, and .io domains perform well in Google's search results. The reason for this is because they've been added to the geotargetable domains list.
A lot of the tech startups that use .io domains are now very successful businesses, further reinforcing the idea that companies that use .io domains are "in the know" and part of the sophisticated tech crowd.
Check out just some of these examples:
But it's not only startups that use .io domains. Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are also buying .io domains.
Microsoft snapped up Doc.io for $24,600. Google owns Coupons.io, Yahoo owns Player.io, and Disney owns go.io, Elasticsearch just bought es.io for $30,000, cloud.io sold for $45,000 on Flippa, and db.io, sports.io, mega.io, and groups.io recently sold for $10k+. amongst others.
Blog posts have been written on the new-found popularity of .io domains. Such as this post: The Rise of .io Domain Names for APIs.
Wikipedia also notes: ".io domains are popular with new startup companies."
Recent Comparable Sales in 2016 -
Buyer pays Escrow fees.
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