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.
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The Brandable Insider: A Look at Y Combinator’s 2017 Demo Day

“Step back and think about the difference in how end users use domains, the capital they have to invest in their name, [instead of] like a pure domain collector, and you can easily start to determine what areas make the most sense.” — Bruce Marler of Vegas Condo

In this week’s brandable entry I’m taking a look at some of the hits and misses at Y Combinator’s annual Demo Day. The event was held last week and featured pitches by more than 100 startups. Sitting in the audience were scores of investors and venture capitalists looking for their next, startup-to-acquisition, payday. The event included businesses from all over the globe and went on for two days.

Here’s a sampling of brands from the event, examined purely from a brandable domaining point of view. In my subjective evaluation I gave no consideration for the quality of business models or how well the brands corresponded to a given product or service. My approach was purely, would I be interested in buying this domain if I saw it available at a reasonable price. I also limited my list to companies who were already hosting their business at the exact match, dot-com for their brand.
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The Brandable Insider: Analyzing One Hundred Info-Tech Brands

Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your businessSteve Forbes

Each year, Wealthfront, the automated investment service, releases a list of the most desirable, mid-sized tech companies. Wealthfront believes that the most important financial decision any young person can make is where they choose to work and launch their career. With this in mind, they publish an annual list of the info-tech companies most likely to turn into big business. In other words, the best of the best.
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The Brandable Insider: Grubs Are Gross and Keywords Are Trendy

“[In 2017] brandable domain names will continue to be a popular form of investment for many domainers.”James Iles

Some brandable domains are classic. I’m talking about names like NatureLab ($22K), FoodFuture ($25K), MarketingToday ($1.5 mill), and Altavista ($3.2 mill). But if you’re like me and you’re focused on brands for startup companies with relatively shallow pockets, then brandable names and keywords can be a bit more temporal, jumpy and trending.
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The Brandable Insider: Sumo.com and Other Seemingly Mismatched Brands

There’s been a lot of press this week about the acquisition of the domain Sumo.com for a $1.5 million dollars. Noah Kagan, CEO of SumoMe has been making the rounds this week and you can find his interviews at Domain Sherpa, DomainNameWire and on his podcast blog, OKdork. You can also find articles at Entrepreneur Mag and NamePros. You can even find an opinion piece at Domain Gang which questions the wisdom of spending so much money on a brand that has no obvious correlation to its core product and service.

All this talk about Sumo.com got me to thinking. I started to reflect on all the business ventures, in a variety of industries, that have picked up dictionary word domains and are using them for brands even though there is no obvious connection between the brand and their product.

So here’s a few exact match domain-brands that could have you scratching your head.
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The Brandable Insider: Hand Regged Domains Doing Well in the Aftermarket

There’s been a lot of talk in recent months about the rising demand for brandable domains in the aftermarket. It seems more and more domainers are hopping on the brandable domain train and pushing up prices in the drops and auctions. I’ve noticed that, in some cases, domains that were hand registered less than a year ago are selling for as much as $200.

Here’s a few samples from January 2017, as reported by Namebio, listed by domain name, hand reg date (month & year), sale price in Jan 2017 and marketplace.

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The Brandable Insider: ThinkCart.com, Wealthio.com and Kantina.com

Right now Doron and I are attending NamesCon 2017 in sunny LasVegas and I’m posting this blog via telepathic artificial intelligence. Yea right! In case you’re not familiar with NamesCon, it’s one of the world’s largest domain name industry conferences and it features presentations by industry experts on a wide variety of relevant domaining topics. It’s also a unique opportunity to network, face-to-face, with the people we communicate with all year long via cyberspace. I’m sure we’ll both be writing about our respective NamesCon adventures next week.

In the meantime, let’s look at some interesting brandable sales, as reported by NameBio, recently:


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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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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 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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