I spent seven hours at the huge Art Basel Show in Miami yesterday. I saw the obligatory canvases painted completely white (25k+), Black (65K+) and a very pretty green color priced, at a no doubt what is a steal, at $335,000.
Also on display were the white canvas with simply words like “die collector scum”, and “meat is death”. I also got to see the back doors of what appeared to be a 60’s volkswagen bus placed on the wall, a bunch of clothes on the floor and more hanging from the ceiling which looked like what happened when grandma’s clothes line broke. There was a cardboard box open flat hanging on the wall with some tape hanging from it, no price was listed, guess if you can’t afford the box you shouldn’t ask the price.
My personal favorite was (picture attached) of one of the first apple computers with a sneaker on top of it.
I did inquire about the price for all you tech guys (after all it is almost Christmas) but sad to say you had to buy the whole collection of some 50 sneakers with various items attached to them, one sneaker had a wine bottle when the foot should have been.
Of course there were the “die piggy piggy die die” (those who have seen “Mickey Blue Eyes” will understand), type of paintings, all priced in at least in the five figures most in the six.
I had a nice conversation with a dealer which was asking 2.3 Million for a very pretty oil, who told me a client had purchased a similar painting a few years ago for 2 Million and now was worth $3 Million. He also told me he was having a good show and sold a painting for over 3 million yesterday.
So after my time at Art Basel, i left empty handed but with the clear knowledge that in comparison, domains are cheap. Dirt Cheap.
Let me be clear here, domains are not just a “good buy” or a “good value” or “fairly priced in today’s market”, but they are downright cheap.
Let’s take our friend who purchased the painting for 2 million and sold it for 3 million three years later. Fair enough. Investing those funds at 8% would give you $160,000 of return a year, non-compounded, so if you hold a painting for 3 years and sell for 3 million your did alright but you would have had a return of half as much at 8%.
I know you get to enjoy the art while you have it. Anyone who has been to my house will tell you I love art and have plenty of it. But art is being sold at that show, as it should, as an investment and as such, cannot touch domains in comparison. All art is based on supply and demand. Previous sales of the same artist dictates in large part the current price of the work of art.
Although you get to enjoy the art work while it hangs on your wall, it doesn’t make a dime. It appreciates in value but it doesn’t put a penny in your pocket until you sell it and then can’t enjoy it anymore.
Good domains as we know make you money every year, every month, every day, while you hold them.
What if somehow an art owner could get a check for every month while the painting hung on his wall?
What would collectors be willing to pay for that 2 million dollar painting then? Substantially more than 2 million.
Collectors would then pay the 2 million for the art work and then an extra amount for the income stream. The price of the art work would not then revert to just a multiple of the revenue stream.
That is the problem i have with valuing domains as a multiple of annual revenue.
If Art Basel does 500 million dollars in sales as projected in just its 4th year in Miami, what does that say for the domain industry which just did 10 million in sales in each of the last 2 TRAFFIC show auctions.
The best is yet to come
Domains are Cheap