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: 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: 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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My year in numbers: 154 domains sold, $53,660 in gross sales, 21 end-user sales

As we wrap up 2016 and most of us are looking forward to a new year and make new year resolutions I thought it would be a good exercise to analyze my portfolio it’s performance during this year instead. To get a good picture of any progress made I also compiled all data for the year before.

In 2015 I sold a total of 45 domains for $49,325 of which 23 domains sold to end-users. I only paid $3,920 (try that in today’s market!) to acquire the 45 domains that sold that year but I also paid a whopping $11,102 in commissions and escrow fees on those deals which left me with a profit of $34,302

The average end user sale in 2015 was $1,933 and the annual sell-through ratio of my brandable portfolio that year (based only on end-user sales) was ~4.6% (more…)

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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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November domain acquisitions and sales

One year ago I was on a massive buying spree and was closing in on a portfolio size of 1000 domains. Well, what a difference a year makes. Thanks to dropping a large number of speculative investments that I acquired with the Chinese market in mind, my portfolio has now been trimmed down to 575 domains with an almost 100% focus on brandable .com domains. Instead of the hundreds of domains I bought back in November 2015, I only acquired five domain names during November 2016 and had two end-user sales. The main reason I only managed to add a handful of names to my portfolio is because competition for good (and even half decent) brandables has been heating up and reseller prices have been skyrocketing during the past couple of months. My auction platform of choice this year has been GoDaddy Auctions but it has been become increasingly more difficult to win an auction and still make money on the buy. This well-researched thread by NamePros user Arca might explain what is going on.

Here’s a snapshot of my Efty cockpit giving you some insight into my performance as a domain name investor each month. (more…)

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The Brandable Insider: How to Negotiate as If Your Life Depended on It

I just read a book called: Never Split The Difference. It’s written by an International, FBI hostage negotiator. The author, Chris Voss, tells how he successfully negotiated with Islamic radicals and American bank robbers when people’s lives were at stake. From those gripping stories he draws simple, yet profound, lessons for negotiating everything from a pay raise to a million dollar contract with a multinational corporation.

Voss now works in the private sector teaching college courses and running a business consultancy called The Black Swan Group. He teaches easy steps for enhanced negotiation outcomes. The place where many fail, according to Voss, is when they allow their emotions to take over and sabotage their plans. To avoid this he teaches his students how to develop focused listening skills and measured responses that gain the trust and cooperation of the person on the other side of the deal.

One main principle comes from the book’s title. According to Voss, splitting the difference is for losers because it leaves too much money on the table.
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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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October domain acquisitions and sales

October was a pretty mellow month for me both on the buy and sell side of the business. I only acquired three domain names which is without a doubt the smallest number of domains I’ve added to my portfolio during a month since I started out investing back in 2013. I’ve sold six domains during October of which five to other investors and one to an end-user and I dropped a whopping 349 domains.

Here’s a snapshot of my Efty cockpit giving you some insight into my performance as a domain name investor each month. (more…)

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The Brandable Insider: Double-Letter Domain Sales in 2016

Double-letter brandables were a popular topic this past week. DNgeek founder, Doron Vermaat, reported on the sale of Maill.com and BrandBucket Managing Director, Michael Krell discussed double-letter domains in his seller podcast. So I thought I’d go with the flow and give a 2016 sales update. Before I do that I’ll remind readers that in June I wrote two articles on this topic. In the first one I outlined my personal criteria for buying double-letter brandables. In the second, I analyzed the prior 10 years of sales.

A trend emerges
When searching NameBio for short, double-letter brandables I found only 10 sales for the period of 2005 to 2010. However, things picked up from 2011 and 2014 when 22 sold. Sales accelerated further in 2015 when 14 double-letter sales were reported. This was twice as many as any year in the prior decade according to my NameBio research.
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