Why We Love to Hate those Domain Appraisal Tools

In order to profit we need to buy low and sell high. Sounds simple. But it’s not. Especially in the domain industry.  Why? Because there’s no standardized and regulated repository for valuations, acquisitions and sales. In other words, no measuring stick.  This leads to a lot of frustration for domainers, especially those that are new.  One of the main scapegoats for our buy/sell pricing conundrum are the estimated pricing tools.   Oh how we love to trash talk Estibot and their ilk! 

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How to Make Money If the Domain Market Crashes

Opportunity is invisible to most. THAT is why it’s an opportunity to begin with. You have to look for voids and holes in the fabric of society – for the customer – and if you fill that gap, voila!  Rick Schwartz, The Domain King

Like any industry or asset class, booms and busts come and go. I think we are nearing the end of another cycle and while there will be pain for many there will be opportunity for others.  The purpose of this article is to let you know that a) there is likely a bust coming b) how it might happen and c) how you could profit from it.

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Hot Companies with Horrible Brands

Not too long ago, dictionary word domains were considered as exact match, category killers for various products and industries.  For this reason you’ll find fiber optic products at Fiber.com and air travel services at Fly.com.  But things have changed. The rules have been disrupted. Now dictionary words have become a premium vehicle for branding in a wide variety of industries. Sometimes this creative application of a single word domain has been a hit. Other times it’s been a disaster.

Let’s take a look at some examples of companies who have succeeded despite what I consider to be questionable, single word, branding choices.

  • Lime – A bike sharing company  at LI.me
  • Igloo – Domain advisors at Igloo.com
  • Sumo – Web marketing solutions at Sumo.com
  • Amazon – Global eCommerce platform at Amazon.com
  • Lemonade – Insurance app at Lemonade.com
  • Uber – Ride sharing app at Uber.com
  • Gusto – Payroll services at Gusto.com
  • League – Health benefits management at League.com
  • Bird – Scooter rentals at Bird.co
  • Apple – Global tech company at Apple.com
  • Toast – Business operations software at Toast.com
  • Purple – High tech mattresses at Purple.com

On the flip side there’s a bunch of one word brands that I really like.

  • Agenda – A scheduling app at Agenda.com
  • Advance – Global media at Advance.com
  • Great – A Swedish charity to help the impoverished at Great.com
  • Slack – Team collaboration tools at Slack.com
  • Ledger – Crypto asset management at Ledger.com
  • Casper – High tech mattresses at Casper.com
  • Pax – Vape and cannabis devices at Pax.com
  • Ring – Home security systems at Ring.com
  • Timeline – Modern history at Timeline.com
  • Freedom – Mortgage company at Freedom.com

What’s on your list of heroes and zeroes for startup branding?  Let us know in the comments below.

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Are You Pricing Yourself Out of the Market?

“Arriving at the real value of a domain is like a blind man, in a dark room, looking for a black dog – that just might not be there…” — Unknown

The most common mistake new domainers make is overvaluing their domains and listing them at ridiculous prices that no one will pay. After a while they feel frustrated and start asking: How much is my domain worth? The often heard answer to that question is: It’s worth what someone will pay for it. An answer that, while completely accurate, is simultaneously useless.

I think pricing is one of the most underrated variables in our industry. It can make or break our business model. Price too low and we risk leaving big money on the table. Price too high and we decrease the chance of a sale or possibly even price ourselves right out of the market.

I don’t have the magic solution to the pricing conundrum. But I can do what I usually do. Provide some sales data, give you my two cents and let you make up your own mind 🙂
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Let’s Get Rich – Investing in the Next Big Thing

Ninety nine percent of finding the next big thing is discounting all the noise of those that want to convince you that what they have is the next big thing.
Rick Swartz, The Domain King®

We all wish we could have registered the 1997 gems that are selling now for 6 or 7 figures. So why didn’t we? The reality is that most us were online in 1997. I know I was. And yet we didn’t buy. Since then other opportunities have come and gone. But often we haven’t seen or responded to them in real time.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at these 2018 sales.
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Tech Startup Brands: What’s Hot and What’s Not

“We now live in a world where one-word domains with massively broad use cases and brandable one and two-word domain names have won [the race against product-related domains]. – Morgan Linton, July 2018

In a prior post I talked about 349 recent sales from three brandable marketplaces. I assessed them as a group and analyzed them in terms of length, style and keywords. This week I’m looking for trends in the brand names of 200 tech startups that were recently covered in news reports on TechCrunch.

Let’s see what we can discern from the trends, tendencies and nuances of this random list of 200 names.
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Pricing and Profits; Threading the Eye of the Needle

Everybody knows that if we price our domains too high, they won’t sell and we’ll go bankrupt, right? Well not everybody. As newbies we think we’ve struck gold with hand-regged domains like SandpaperSusan.com and we list them for sale at 5 figures. After a year when it hasn’t sold we feel foolish and change it to a bargain price of $50. After a month, when it still hasn’t sold, we’re at our wits end.

The art and science of domain pricing is a crucial factor in the management of our portfolio. It can make or break our business. I feel it’s one of the most under-recognized factors in the, domain profitability, equation.
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Domain Renewals: The Silent Killer

If you are buying domains and you say to yourself that you will hold it for a year and then decide to renew, you are buying the WRONG ones.
Rick Schwartz

One of the great joys of domaining is waking up and seeing the words, Your Domain Has Sold!, in your inbox. There’s nothing better than earning several hundred, or even several thousand, dollars while we’re sleeping. But there’s another, more insidious, process that also occurs while we sleep. It’s the silent cancer that eats away at the money in our pocket and it’s called, domain renewals.

Every day the clock is ticking on the hundreds (or thousands) of domains we own. Renewal fees come due night after night. For every thousand domains in our portfolio the annual renewal cost is about $8,000 per year. That’s $666 per month or about $22 a day. Yikes!

With numbers like that we’ve gotta be careful and make sure our portfolio is a clean, lean selling machine with no dead weight. Otherwise renewal costs will eat our profits faster than an African tapeworm. So how do we avoid that?
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What’s Selling at the Brandable Marketplaces?

Do you like data? I do. In fact, I think I’m an information pack rat.

Because every time someone reports a brandable domain sale in a conversation, at a forum, in an email or even on a brandable platform itself, I write it down. I’m keepin’ a list. Checkin’ it twice. And trying to find out what’s hot and what’s not.

Over the past several months I’ve accumulated a log of 349 recently reported sales from three different brandable marketplaces. I’ve looked them over and here’s what I’ve learned. (more…)

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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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