Is ETF.COM Worth $9.5m?

The domain name etf.com is up for sale with a sales brochure touting its valuing the domain at $9.5 million.

The broker values the domain name as such by using statistics such as there are 1.5 million search queries for ETF globally each month and that advertisers currently pay Google an estimated price of US$5.28 per click to have their brand appear in sponsored links above organic search results.

It seems the value in “etf” is because it often stands for “exchange traded funds”, which Wikipedia describes as “n investment fund traded on stock exchanges, much like stocks.”

The broker also claims it is on page one for search results for “etf”. Which is not very surprising. They also list search results on various search engines, but this is also dependent on where you are in the world if you search for the three letters.

The value of the domain name is taken to task by a Reuters blog posting, which says “It’s pretty thin stuff: apparently the domain got 108,140 visitors in 2010 doing very little of anything, and the sellers manage to value those visitors at $5.28 apiece, which makes the price seem almost reasonable. After all, a price of 18X trailing earnings is quite low, if there’s a lot of room for traffic and earnings growth, which there is. On the other hand, there’s no way that a random visitor to ETF.com is worth $5.28: the brochure assumes that every visitor to the site ends up clicking on one of the Google ads, which is ridiculous.”