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: 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: 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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The Brandable Insider: What’s Going On at the Pheenix Marketplace?

To be successful I need an edge over the mob of domainers that are scanning the drops at Go Daddy every day. For that reason I like to snoop around the non-mainstream marketplaces in hopes of finding an overlooked, brandable gem. One such marketplace is Pheenix.com.

Last year DNgeek reported on the drop catcher’s new policy of sending all domains with multiple backorders to public auction. But this week Pheenix released some better news. Tan Tran, the CEO at Pheenix, sent an email to account holders announcing that Pheenix had partnered with Escrow.com. He said that this alliance will now allow Pheenix to turbo charge it’s marketplace with new benefits like free escrow service, same day payments, and automatic domain transfers.
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BrandBucket snaps up Keith deBoer as Brand Ambassador

Fellow blogger and part-time domain name investor Keith deBoer has accepted an invitation from BrandBucket to join their Ambassador partner program for domain sellers. He takes the position alongside Jeffery Emerick who became a brand ambassador for BrandBucket in February of this year. According to BrandBucket “Ambassadors are selected for their ability to craft great business names and to properly represent the BrandBucket messaging to future customers and partners. As part of the program, special perks, resources and budgets will be afforded to ambassadors to help them promote their portfolios and help represent BrandBucket’s ever-growing collection of available business names for entrepreneurs, startups, and new businesses.”

Former Ambassador and now BrandBucket’s managing director, Michael Krell, confirmed Keith’s new role via email this week and said that BrandBucket  plans to issue an official announcement in the next day or two.

Interestingly enough the news comes at the same time as I have personally started to move away from BrandBucket (and other similar marketplaces) to focus on selling my names via direct navigation which goes to show that different investment strategies can work for brandable domain name investors. I asked Keith to answer some questions on the news. (more…)

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Efty launches new marketplace themes. Here’s mine!

The idea of offering advertising-free For-Sale landing pages that are built for conversion and enable domain name investors to generate leads from end-users without paying a dollar in commissions has been one of the many drivers behind the success of Efty, the company I co-founded. I’m very excited to share that we just took another important step in building Efty into the one tool that every domainer will love to use!

Everyone knows that having a website is essential to show you, your domains and your business in its best light and look professional and trustworthy. The truth however, is that many domainers simply don’t have the time or resources to create a site, let a alone a full-fledge marketplace to present their inventory. Until now. The two new marketplace themes released today at Efty allow anyone to create a custom domain shop in minutes and start marketing their domain name portfolio using a custom domain and sell domains from a slick, professional looking and responsive marketplace without paying a dollar in commission.

The first two themes to hit the marketplace galley are:

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BrandBucket introduces Seller Dashboard

Leading brandable domain name marketplace BrandBucket has just pushed a new dashboard live for sellers that helps visualize some insights into their sales performance, activity and how their portfolio compares to other sellers on the platform. BrandBucket calls it “A visual guide to help you become the best seller you can be”. By hovering your mouse over the various circles you can quickly see how do you rank against other sellers for some key metrics such as sell-through, overall revenue, and average sale price.

The new dashboard is a nice attempt to help sellers better measure their success on the platform and give quick access to important metrics such as ones annual sell-through ratio.

The feature is currently in beta so I’m not sure if this is live on all seller accounts as of yet.

Here’s a screenshot of my dashboard: (more…)

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Here’s why domainer Tim Schoon chooses eBay to auction off 150 LLLL.com

After reaching an all-time high in late 2015, prices for short domains such as four letter .com domains have been taking a bit of a hit lately. There’s been a lot of chatter and speculation on the forums about where the market for these type of names is heading to in the months to come. Is it time to sell or is the perfect time to buy into this market? One investor who has been very successful riding the wave is Dutch domain name investor Tim Schoon of PEJ.com.

Tim is currently auctioning off 150 four letter .com domains on eBay at no-reserve. I asked him why he decided to auction off these names right now and Tim explained to me that it’s tax season in the Netherlands and he’s raising funds to pay taxes. Because LLLL are very liquid they are a great way to raise funds quickly.

He added: four-letters domains have been going up and down quite a bit during the past months. I think that we’re on the low end of the curve right now so I’m not too happy about having to sell these right now. I bought most of them years ago for pennies on the dollar so it should still be a good profit. I tried to list a mix of different types of domains, so there are some Chips, western premiums, a few CVCV’s and others. (more…)

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BrandBucket: $2.4 million in sales in 2015

BBLeading brandable domain name marketplace BrandBucket sent me a press release in which they share they have sold $2.4 million in business names in 2015. The last time the marketplace shared any sales data was back in 2013 when the company announced it reached its goal of $1 million in sales for that year.  While the company shows growth for the eighth consecutive year since opening its marketplace in 2007, the increase in revenue from an annual $1M to $2.4M over a two year period is not exactly in line with the explosive growth of its inventory which went from just a few thousand domains in 2013 to more than 23,000 listings by the end of 2015.

Early sellers on the platform used to report sell through ratios as high as 50% sometimes while most sellers with large portfolios listed on the marketplace report sell through ratios of around 4% annually these days. If you take an average sales price of $2,400 per domain the annual sell through ratio over 2015 is 4.3%.

During 2015 I personally sold 9 domains on BrandBucket with another 110 domains listed. BrandBucket charges a 30% commission on sales and requires exclusivity for the period that domains are listed with a 30 days notice period.

Below is the full press-release.  (more…)

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BrandBucket launches revamped website

Leading brandable domain name marketplace BrandBucket has launched a redesigned version of their marketplace earlier today.  The new homepage design and improved search interface gives the site a bit of a face lift, and better guides potential customers to find the name they want. Ultimately, the point is to increase sales. The new site also is significantly faster, easier to navigate and shines the light on a larger variety of names on the homepage with categories for featured names, premium names (names with a price tag above $5,000) and recently added names.

I thought it would be fun to look at how to site has evolved over the years from the initial WordPress page with a handful of domains with logos that BrandBucket founder Margot Bushnaq and her husband used for picking domain names for their own ventures almost a decade ago to the popular marketplace it has grown into today with almost 25000 listed business names: (more…)

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