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.

Read More

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 🙂
(more…)

Read More

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.
(more…)

Read More

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.
(more…)

Read More

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?
(more…)

Read More

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…)

Read More

The Brandable Insider: Slinq.com, Zunky.com, TheLearningSpace.com

I haven’t done a recently-sold review in a while so I thought now would be a good time. I’ve picked an array of names, in different styles and genres. All of them sold for under $600. For each one I’ve given my thoughts on why I think the name works and what industries it might be used for.

In most cases, I think these names sold at higher than “normal” prices which is great for the sellers, not so good for the buyers. What’s interesting about that though, is that people like Rick Schwartz and Drew Rosener say that while the low end of the aftermarket is currently way overpriced, many high end domains, particularly 3Ls, are going at bargain prices. Go figure. Here’s the names.
(more…)

Read More

The Brandable Domainer: Hand Reg to Sale in Two Weeks

The way most people want to negotiate in an email. They want to lay out their whole game plan and their chain of logic. What happens in that static communication is the reader gets a chance to look at where the email starts and where the email ends and they get to sit there and stare at it. Then if they don’t like where it ends they just move back, four or five moves, and take off in a different direction. So my first recommendation is to make one move at a time in an email.Chris Voss, Author of Never Split The Difference

A couple of years ago I hand regged a domain and sold it two weeks later. Doron says our readers really like to hear the details of successful domain sales. Even the small ones. So I’m gonna give the details of this one for you. As I’ve done before I’m going to publish the exact content of the emails so you can read and analyze them for yourself.

Domaining like everything else in life is a learning experience. Looking back at the emails I see some things I did well and some areas where I made mistakes or could have done better. Hopefully you can learn from them too.  (more…)

Read More

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.
(more…)

Read More

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.
(more…)

Read More