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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Brandable domain name sales week 7: UltraCast.com, WeTube.com, Convertly.com

We have some interesting sales to report this week in the brandable-sphere. BrandBucket’s Managing Director Michael Krell shared on this week’s episode of the DomainSherpa review that the aged domain name UltraCast.com sold for a cool $14,995 on BrandBucket. Another interesting sale was that of Convertly.com which sold for $6,000 on Flippa. Brandsly.com owner Wenjie Jiang shared on NamePros that she sold the domain name for $4,500 last year and that the new owner put the domain name up for sale again after he sold his business and therefore no longer needed the domain name which he originally acquired for rebranding purposes.

Other domain names I like on this week’s list include: WeTube.com, Partly.com, BitVest.com and DealSpot.com

Here’s this weeks list: (more…)

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Guest post: My first year as a BrandBucket “seller”

BrandBucket is the leading brandable domain marketplace in the world today. Building a portfolio there can be an exciting proposition, particularly for newer domainers who have no experience selling domain names.

It’s not easy, though; and is by no means a guarantee of success.

I’d like to take you through my first year of experience with BrandBucket, in the hopes that you can use my lessons to get ahead of the learning curve and eventually find your own success with this great marketplace.

First, some things about me:

  • I’m Canadian
  • I’ve been actively domaining (part-time) for one year
  • I have no marketable, professional skills related to domains, web development, graphic design, marketing, business development… you get the picture

What I do bring to my domaining pursuits are a love of words and writing, a sharp mind, a willingness to learn and work, and a friendly disposition.

On to the good stuff! (more…)

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The Brandable Insider: Money Making Ideas from NamesCon

Last week I had the good fortune of attending the NamesCon 2017 domain industry conference. The exhibition hall featured a kaleidoscope of branding, sales, escrow, registrar and Internet companies. There were booths, ping-pong and pool tables, live interviews, free t-shirts and gadgets. There were dozens and dozens of presentations, in five different halls, and evenings filled with private dinners, public parties and endless networking over snacks and drinks.

Being the quiet, nerdy type, I missed out on most of the disco and the bar talk but I did attend several presentations. I also spoke to a wide variety of people while manning the BrandBucket booth with Michael Krell. Some of the ideas and methods for making money in the domain industry had me wide eyed and amazed. I’ll list a few of them here for you to peruse and ponder.

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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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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: 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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