The Brandable Insider: Creating a List of Strong, Brandable Keywords

Several people have messaged me asking where they can find a list of strong, trendy, brandable keywords. The answer is everywhere and nowhere. No such list exists, that I know of, except in the toolbox of successful brandable domainers. It’s a list that’s subjective and evolves over time. It’s a list that no two domainers will agree on. It’s a list that comes from analysis, observation and experience. It’s the summation of hours spent at sites like NameBio, TechCrunch, DomainSherpa, AngelList, CrunchBase, BrandBucket, Startups-list and BrandRoot. Looking, analyzing, evaluating and deciding the relative value of each word. After a while it becomes intuitive. But in the beginning you need a written list.

For those that don’t have such a list, I’ll get you started. The way I’m going to do that is by showing you sample brands for existing startups in some of the most relevant technology niches of today. Not every keyword listed is a tier one brandable word. But most of them are. So get out your keyboard and create and refine your keyword list!


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Brandable domain name sales week 2:,,

We have a very juicy list for you this week with ten sales in the five-figure range. The top sale was for a very nice CVCV, which fetched a cool $40k+ on auction site NameJet. The domain name was first registered in 1999 and was in use by a real estate company for many years before they let it drop. The winner seems to be an individual from Beijing

Other names I like on this list include, and The award for most profitable flip goes to which was purchased for just $310 on NamJet last summer and just sold for a whopping $20k on Sedo.

Here’s this weeks list: (more…)

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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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Brandable domain name sales week 1:,,

We kick off the year with a very slow week for brandable domain name sales with the top grossing reported sale being which sold for $3,550 on GoDaddy auctions on the 5th. More than half of the sales on this week’s list are reseller sales and the most notable thing right now is that am increasing number of brandables that sell in the resell market are starting to go for similar prices as those sold by BuyDomains, a marketplace which selling directly to end-users.

Other domains I like on this list include:,,

Here’s this weeks list: (more…)

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Top 100 brandable domain name sales for 2016

Two years ago I compiled a list of the top 100 brandable domain name sales during 2014 which planted the seed for the weekly brandable sales series on the highest, reported brandable domain name sales all throughout 2015 and now 2016.  Based on more than 1000 reported brandables sales during the year I have once again compiled a list of the top 100 brandable domain name sales for 2016 and as a bonus here’s a downloadable spreadsheet of the top 1000 sales for the year for further analysis.

The criteria for inclusion in the list are the same as previous years.

  • No numeric domains
  • Dotcom only
  • No 2L & 3L domains (as they are a breed on their own)
  • No one-word dictionary domains (in any language). This means the sale of is not included for example as it’s the Spanish word for Hour.
  • Unless a word has an alternative spelling such as No 18 on the list, or No 61,
  • No 4-letter acronyms unless they are pronounceable and used as a brand name instead of an acronym (many examples of those on this list!)
  • Two keyword domains can qualify. No 54,, for example, is a brandable domain name while would not have made this list.
  • Variation on words are allowed, such as No 715, (none of these in the top 100 this year)

The 100 biggest sales this year account for $3,343,894 in sales compared to $3,168,440 in 2015 and $2,989,652 in 2014. This year it’s top 100 includes only 17 4-letter domain name sales compared to 30 in 2015 and 25 in 2014.

Uniregistry is once again the dominating marketplace with a whopping 49% of all sales in the top 100. is the runner-up, accounting for 28% of sales. Unfortunately, Afternic, GoDaddy, and BrandBucket do not report their sales and sales made via the Efty platform are private unless the seller decides to report a sale to DNJournal or NameBio.

Here’s this year’s list: (more…)

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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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Brandable domain name sales week 52:,,

Happy New Year guys. I hope everyone had a great break and is looking forward to a productive, healthy and profitable year. I have a great feeling about 2017. Despite the year-end we still saw some strong brandable sales last week, mainly driven by investors who have been bidding up each other at the different auction sites for the past few weeks. There’s been a lot of chatter about the rising prices in the reseller market for brandables both here and on NamePros and some suggested it might have something to do with large portfolio owners such as making sure to hit their year-end budget surplus. We will see.

Names I like on this weeks list include,,

Here’s this weeks list: (more…)

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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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