Escrow.com banks on $430m gross payment volume in FY15

Escrow.com CEO Matt Barrie has announced that during 2015 the total number of users of Escrow were from high income OECD nations after four-letter domain names.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Escrow.com has reported during a Namescon presentation it continues to maintain an "exceptional track record" of growth, even after being acquired by Freelancer.com.

CEO Matt Barrie announced Escrow's gross payment volume in 2015 topped $430 million, a 28 percent increase from the $310 million recorded in 2014. This was reflected by the total number of users of Escrow during the year, which reached 900,000, approximately an increase of 100,000 users from 2014.

Barrie revealed its user demographic was mostly from the world's high income nations: 60.8 percent from the United States; 7.9 percent from the United Kingdom; 4.5 percent from Canada; 2.3 percent from Australia; and 1.6 percent from India.

As part of the presentation, Escrow outlined that it saw the average value of domain names steadily increase, appreciating by 7.3 percent per annum over the last five years and 7.3 percent over 10 years. The average price of domain names in 2015 increased to $9,500, up from $9,000 in 2014.

According to Escrow, four-letter domain names were the most popular, with the value increasing on average at 9.3 percent per annum over the last 10 years to 2015. At one point in 2014, the value of four-letter domain names peaked at $20,000 but dipped back during 2015 to $14,000. Despite this, the value of four-letter domain names were still significantly higher at $14,000 than domain names with five to eight characters that only had an average value of $9,000 in 2015.

Escrow also said over the last five years, there was an exponential growth in the number of domain names that were bought from China. Between 2014 and 2015, the volume of domain name transactions by China spiked from $40 million to $109 million -- a significant difference from 2013 when it was below $20 million. However, the United States continued to lead in domain name transaction volumes, reporting the country spent $110 million in 2015.

Meanwhile, selling domains with content increased to $17,900 in 2015, compared to domains without content which only sold for an average price of $9,000.

Barrie also provided an update on the company since it was acquired by Freelancer, saying Escrow has increased the hours in which it provides telephone support and is working towards providing 24x7x365 support.

Freelancer entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the online escrow service provider for $7.5 million last April.

"This highly complementary acquisition will enhance the ability of our 15 million users to transact securely, and there are large opportunities for growth and synergies with core offerings," Freelancer CEO and chairman Matt Barrie said at the time.

"Finally, it is a strong cornerstone for entering the payments space."

Further to this, Barrie said due to high demands, Escrow recently introduced Chinese language support, with plans to add another 20-plus additional languages to the site over time. Escrow is also working on a beta version of its Escrow website, but did not detail when it will be officially launched.

Freelancer.com saw exceptional growth in registered users, and projects and contests posted, too, Barrie said. As at December 31, 2015, Freelancer.com had more than 16 million total registered users, and more than 8 million total projects and contests posted.

Last July, the company announced it had partnered with NASA to crowdsource solutions for problems astronauts face on the International Space Station (ISS). Barrie said in 2016 that Freelancer will be helping NASA to recruit a team to design the robotic arm for a robotic astronaut that will replace the existing free-flying robots on the ISS.

The last financial results reported in October saw Freelancer post AU$33,000 net operating loss for the third-quarter of the year, an improvement on the half-yearly operating net loss after tax of AU$800,000 for the period ending June 2015.

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