The Brandable Insider: Price Increases, the Chinese Market and New gTLD Consolidation

Last week Andrew Allemann of Domain Name Wire published an insightful podcast with the 2017 predictions from domain industry execs. The predictions were far reaching and gave the big picture of what’s in store for domaining in 2017. Andrew’s podcast included insights from Andrew Rosener, Bill Sweetman, Giuseppe Graziano and a dozen more. I found it a very worthwhile listen and I highly recommend it. However, for those short on time and patience here’s the “Cliff Notes” version.
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The Brandable Insider: Identifying Milestones and Trends from 2016

As 2017 rolls clearly into view I’m looking back at the events and forces that shaped the brandable domaining space this past year. From where I sit there were a number of notable changes and events that impacted the brandable domain niche and could have an influence on our domain strategies moving forward. They’re at least worth noting and considering as we look ahead, evaluate and visualize for the coming year.

Sales & inventory are up
Self-reported sales at leading brandable marketplaces continue to improve. Although they’ve yet to release their 2016 sales totals, BrandBucket reported in their May Sellers Newsletter, that “Q1 sales dramatically outpaced last year’s Q1 and early Q2 sales.” This indicates a potentially strong sales increase year over year. Simultaneously, brandable marketplace inventories increased dramatically with some marketplaces almost doubling their 2015 inventory levels.
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The Brandable Insider: Failing at Domain Auctions

Success often starts with failure and I have failed many times this year. Some of my failures have been in auctions. There are many times I’ve bid and lost. Most of the time, that’s a good thing. It demonstrates my ability to limit my bidding and not go past my limit. Or as Mike Mann says: “If you beat me in the domain auction, congrats, you paid too much.” Well I’m not as cocky as Mike Mann but I do think disciplined limits when bidding is a good thing. Whether the person that outbid you “paid too much” or not is debatable. That depends on, if and when, and for how much they sell it.

On the other hand we’ve all had the experience of getting into a bidding war and letting our emotions run away with us. In those situations we go past our price limit and end up paying more than we thought the domain was worth. I’ve also had the experience where, in hindsight, I was too cheap and failed to step up and pay the price the domain was worth.

In looking back at recent auctions I see all of these scenarios at work.
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The Brandable Insider: The Emotional Roller Coaster of Domaining

Domaining is a speculative industry. A point that really hit home for me while watching an episode of Domain Sherpa last year. A panel guest and industry icon who appears frequently on the show said: “most of the domains we own will never sell [to an end user] in our lifetime.” That’s just the straight up, unflattering, reality of our industry.

Against all odds
The odds of any random domain being purchased by an end user this year are probably in the same neighborhood as the odds that we’ll be struck by lightning in our lifetime (1 in 12,000).

However, hard work and skill can lower those odds significantly. At least that’s what we think. And so it’s, under that gray veil of potential self-delusion, that we labor and search for those elusive, 50 times investment, end user deals.

Lightning strikes
It’s this kind of business dynamic which creates, for me and others, a roller coaster of emotions as we plunge from a post deal high to the depths of an unexpected dry spell, depression. I had one such experience this fall when I suffered my first dry month in more than a year. Fortunately, my pre-holiday domainer’s funk was obliterated by a recent string of three end user sales – all in one week. (more…)

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Brandable Insider: Startup Trends and Industries for 2017

Like it or not brandable domaining is trendy. So what kinds of domains should we be buying and selling this year? What are the trends? According to CIO (Chief Information Officer) dot-com there are several industries that will be dominating the tech landscape in 2017 and beyond. They include everything from virtual reality to recreational marijuana. I’m listing them here along with a description, examples of existing companies and some relevant brands already listed at the BrandBucket platform. This may give some ideas about where we should focus our attention in the coming months and years.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) means making computers behave like humans. Plain and simple. The term was coined in 1956 by John McCarthy at MIT.

* Existing Startups

    – WayBlazer, UnderArmour and Revuze.

* Sample Names from BrandBucket

    – Intellivus, HighIQ, Thinkgenic and IntelNation.

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The Brandable Insider: Looking Back on the Year in Domaining

We’re coming to the end of another calendar year. Time to look back and assess what went on in the domain industry. I thought one interesting way to do that would be to look back at what leaders in our industry said a year ago. If you remember, our friend Domain Shane, was kind enough to organize and publish (here and here) the ruminations of several domain industry leaders back in December of 2015. They gave their thoughts on what might be in store for 2016.

Here are some of the things they said. Keep in mind that these folks made their comments in the last month of 2015, right at the height of the CHIP market frenzy. Let me know in the comment section who you think had the most accurate crystal ball for 2016. Ok, here we go………

Andy Booth said:

    I think it’s safe to say that trend sectors (like short and numeric dot-com) will almost certainly be at a higher point come the end of the year. I would invest in special 4 letter domains with a pattern (AABB, ABAB, ABBB, AAAB) or raise a little more cash (go in with a couple of friends) to buy a 4 number dot-com.

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The Brandable Insider: How to Negotiate as If Your Life Depended on It

I just read a book called: Never Split The Difference. It’s written by an International, FBI hostage negotiator. The author, Chris Voss, tells how he successfully negotiated with Islamic radicals and American bank robbers when people’s lives were at stake. From those gripping stories he draws simple, yet profound, lessons for negotiating everything from a pay raise to a million dollar contract with a multinational corporation.

Voss now works in the private sector teaching college courses and running a business consultancy called The Black Swan Group. He teaches easy steps for enhanced negotiation outcomes. The place where many fail, according to Voss, is when they allow their emotions to take over and sabotage their plans. To avoid this he teaches his students how to develop focused listening skills and measured responses that gain the trust and cooperation of the person on the other side of the deal.

One main principle comes from the book’s title. According to Voss, splitting the difference is for losers because it leaves too much money on the table.
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The Brandable Insider: Tips and Tricks for the BrandBucket Marketplace

Its been two years since I started building my portfolio at the BrandBucket marketplace. I thought it might be a good time to share some of the things I’ve learned. Keep in mind that my tips are specifically about BrandBucket and may or may not apply to the brandable space in general. Also, they are subject to change as I continue to learn and the BrandBucket market niche evolves.

Lastly, these are my personal opinions and best guesses, not official BrandBucket guidelines that I’ve been given. As a Brand Ambassador I receive a finite number of BrandBucket listing credits each month. This is compensation for writing two monthly articles for their website and helping new sellers interact with the platform and develop their branding skills. Everything else is pretty much the same for me as it is with other sellers. Alright let’s dig in.

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The Brandable Insider: Double-Letter Domain Sales in 2016

Double-letter brandables were a popular topic this past week. DNgeek founder, Doron Vermaat, reported on the sale of Maill.com and BrandBucket Managing Director, Michael Krell discussed double-letter domains in his seller podcast. So I thought I’d go with the flow and give a 2016 sales update. Before I do that I’ll remind readers that in June I wrote two articles on this topic. In the first one I outlined my personal criteria for buying double-letter brandables. In the second, I analyzed the prior 10 years of sales.

A trend emerges
When searching NameBio for short, double-letter brandables I found only 10 sales for the period of 2005 to 2010. However, things picked up from 2011 and 2014 when 22 sold. Sales accelerated further in 2015 when 14 double-letter sales were reported. This was twice as many as any year in the prior decade according to my NameBio research.
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The Brandable Insider: Meet the Man Behind Expired Domains Dot Net

Thousands of domainers from all over the world go to ExpiredDomains.net to search for deals. If you’re like me you visit the site every single day. With scores of filters and options it’s the premier website for sifting through dozens of marketplaces and TLD’s to find treasure amidst the trash. But surprisingly, less than 15% of its millions of monthly page views originate from the USA. Lastly, the most amazing aspect of the site is that it is completely, 100% free!

For these reasons I see Marco Schmidt, the owner and developer of the site, as one of the unsung heroes of the domaining industry. I thought it was time he came out of the IT closet to meet the people he so generously serves.

Hi Marco! Thanks for agreeing to this interview.

You’re welcome.

First, if you don’t mind. Tell us a little bit about yourself. I think our readers would enjoy hearing about your background, your career and your interests outside of domaining.

I’m from Berlin, Germany. I work as a system administrator, but my passion is software development and that is what I do for fun in my spare time. Finding easy solutions for complex problems and if possible automating them is what I like to do. That is why domains are perfect for me. You can automate almost everything.
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