.Build registry files patent app for dynamic premium pricing


An idea for new top level domains might have relevance for popular TLDs.

Patent application covers dynamic pricing of domain names.

With the introduction of new top level domain names a few years ago came an explosion in the number of TLDs offering some of their domain names at premium prices.

I recall speaking to someone at a registrar before new TLDs came out and discussing these premium tiers. He mentioned that some registries wanted to offer dynamic pricing where the price of specific premium domain names changed based on current events. The registrar put the kibosh on that idea. Instead, registries have just priced their domains within a handful of tiers (or 700, as it may be.)

Back in 2015 Plan Bee LLC, the registry behind .build, filed a patent application (pdf) with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Organization to patent this sort of dynamic pricing. The patent application was published today.

The application covers the idea of setting premium pricing to cut out domainers and domain aftermarkets. An initial premium price is set based on a number of factors (length, search results, etc.) and then the price dynamically changes based on current factors such as social media buzz for certain terms or registrations of similar domains (e.g. lots of shoe-related domains are registered so the registry increases prices on similar domains).

It turns out that the registrars were smart to avoid this dynamic pricing. It doesn’t make sense on a domain like .build that has fewer than 5,000 domains.

However, as I read the patent application, I wondered how you could apply this idea to the exact market Plan Bee wanted to usurp: the secondary domain name market.

One of the reasons domain investors don’t like to assign “buy now” prices to their .com domains is that the value can suddenly change. We’ve seen this with domains with the word “coin” or “bitcoin” in them. We also saw it happen to short domain names during the Chinese surge.

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could price your domains but then have the prices dynamically increase if there’s a sudden demand for domains with similar terms or characteristics?

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