The Brandable Insider: Where Do We Go from Here?

I feel the biggest hurdle to considering domain names as legitimate assets is how discretionary (random) prices are. In 2010, you could find two-letter .com domains that sold for around $100,000 (JF.com, XI.com and SZ.com) and one domain for $8 million (FB.com). That is an 8,000% difference!Giuseppe Graziano, GGRG.com

Despite two decades of conventions and commerce, domaining is still in the latter part of its Wild Wild West stage. Why? Well one reason is because the market is so fragmented. There are at least a dozen different marketplaces all with different rules, terms and procedures. Until there is a centralized organization that all markets report to and that requires an agreed upon, standardized set of rules and conditions, for all transactions, that will remain the case.

Disruption and manipulation
In addition, we have a crude and inept ICANN and UDRP process, new registrars and TLDs popping up every month and companies like Estibot and GoDaddy providing incomplete and inadequate valuations despite their best efforts. In a word, our market is chaotic and unpredicatable. Most domains are simply worth what one buyer is willing to pay. This means that, among other things, our industry is vulnerable to disruption and manipulation and remains extremely speculative. That kind of instability is a major deterrent to even the most adventurous of mainstream investors.

Don’t get me wrong
I’m not trying to disrespect anyone or any organization. In fact it’s just the opposite. I am very grateful to the people and organizations that have developed the industry over the past twenty odd years and who have afforded me the opportunity to make a very significant part-time income.

In particular, I have great respect for companies like NamesCon, Estibot, DomainSherpa, NameBio and BrandBucket who have been pioneers in their respective areas and have brought a measurable amount of stability and dignity to an otherwise chaotic marketplace. ShortNames and Expired.net are two more aggregation sites that in my opinion deserve applause and praise, not to mention Escrow.com and several others.

What’s in the future?
When stability and uniformity do emerge I think they will be seen first in the area of short, liquid domains. Why? Because this is the most highly organized and standardized section of our industry thus far. I’m very impressed with the work of Giuseppe at GGRG.com who, in conjunction with other significant players in our business niche, have broken new ground and made clear efforts to quantify domains and their markets.

Lastly, I have to explain that I’m waxing a little prophetic here because this is going to be my last blog entry on DNG for a little while. I need to take a few months and devote a little extra time to both my personal life and to my portfolio and there are not enough hours in the day. When I do come back, after a break, I plan to be mostly in the role of a periodic, guest blogger, rather than a weekly contributor.

Looking back
Over the past year, I’ve tried to share what I’ve learned as I’ve progressed from newbie to journeyman domainer. I hope it’s been helpful and that the body of work I’m leaving behind serves as a resource for those new to this rather insane but equally intriguing, moneymaking endeavor.

I sincerely and deeply appreciate the continued support from all the readers here at DNgeek. You have been both kind and encouraging. In particular, I give a big shout out to Doron who has been such a great inspiration, mentor, and friend to me over these past many months.

Have a great summer everyone!!

This week’s brandable opportunities at NameJet include:

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Keith deBoer

Keith DeBoer is a part-time, domain investor with an emphasis on brandable domains. He's a domain industry writer with published content at BrandBucket, DomainShane and NamePros. He's also a brand ambassador for BrandBucket and by day, he works as an Internet consultant.

23 thoughts on “The Brandable Insider: Where Do We Go from Here?

  1. Keith, I think I can speak for the majority of DNgeek’s readers when I say THANK YOU for your fantastic contributions over the last 12+ months. Your post was one I was looking forward to every week. Thank you for the great insights and sharing your journey as a domainer with everyone here. Looking forward to seeing you around the comment section again 🙂

  2. Hi Keith,

    It’s always a pleasure to read your thoughts on the industry. I hope your vacation from blogging is refreshing and renews your body to match your spirit. Enjoy your summer and come back soon!

    Best,
    Mike

  3. Keith- many thanks- I, too really enjoyed your posts! There were insightful and always contained some great nuggets of information that were not found anywhere else. Thanks again and enjoy the summer!

    Cheers,

    Mike

  4. Keith,

    Thanks for the article and great insight. But names like RedApple.com are officially “brandable” they are not what people are really talking about when they talks about brandable. Most people think of brandables as inexpensive terms that have no affiliation with any certain product. Your names fit the second part but at a reserve of $10,000 to $25,000 they hardly fit the cheap part. And Maddy is a very popular first name that is 5 figures. Not a brandable in any sense.

    I only say this because you are trying to provide a list and if you are then I think people are looking for those cheap names that they can sell for 10 to 100 times investment. RedApple, while a good name, is a heavy investment that most newer investors can’t afford

    1. The NameJet picks are done by me, Shane. The term brandable is pretty wide. Many people have different ideas about what is and makes a domain name brandable. Do you consider Apple to be a technology company or something that grows on trees and that you can eat? The same can be said about Red Apple. Could a be a great name for an ad agency or an energy drink? I also don’t agree with your statement that brandables are always supposed to be cheap (on the buy OR the sell side). Yes, I do own many domains that I picked up for under $100 but how much did you think I paid for domains such as BadMonkey.com or MovingUp.com? I’ll leave you with this list: http://dngeek.com/2017/01/top-100-brandable-domain-name-sales-2016/ 🙂

  5. Another great post, completely agree with the perspective given about the fractured nature of the industry, where we have a dozen sales platforms that are mostly not integrated. The collective effect of all this is a poor experience for customers, which in turn is a drag on the whole industry.
    It’s also timely that Keith mentions the potential for disruption, I agree with that too.
    Just today, CNBC published its “Disruptor 50” list – and wow, look at the great brandable domains being deployed.
    Like Blippar and Illumio for instance.
    And number 40? Congratulations to Payoneer.

    http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/16/the-2017-cnbc-disruptor-50-list-of-companies.html

    Hope you have a refreshing and rewarding break Keith and I hope to see you back here from time to time, and soon.

    1. Thanks Jeroen,
      That’s the kind of comment that makes it all worthwhile. Sharing what I learned from my successes and failures was my motivation for writing in the first place.
      Cheers!
      Keith

  6. Thank you, Keith. What I like about you is that you can look at domain issues from a different angle. Your posts have been very informative. Like this last one on market fragmentation. I would like to see a global exchange with each registrar having a seat on the board. Trading is simplified and standardized so that the general public and buy or sell easily. All sales are reported in a central database and there will be domain analysts providing market analysis, and reported in evening news. All the best to your future. Hope our paths cross someday.

    1. Yes, that’s our vision for the industry. It will be fun to see how and when the transition takes place. It would seem like it mus come eventually. And thanks for your continued support! 🙂
      Keith

  7. Great writing Keith, I do look forward to your posts.

    As for the inconsistent valuations — yes, agreed — but isn’t that all part of the fun?

  8. Yes, being in the frontier days (even the latter ones) of an emerging industry is always exciting and rife with opportunity for those with energy, flexibility and insight!

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