A few notes to domain investors on Squadhelp

Hey everyone!

After 7 years of investment in brandable domains, listed in all the top venues, of which I for the last few years have preferred Squadhelp, I’d like to share some learnings.

I have seen many come and go. Even marketplaces.

I have seen pretty well equipped and successful new investors, on par with my own skills, “file for bankruptcy” after over-extending or interpreting things in a skewed way. The reason has always mostly been crediting the marketplace for sales. You can credit the marketplace for expediting sales. But you will need to credit yourself for sales, because otherwise, the all important sales input will lead you astray. Why? You will have nothing to accredit it to that you can rely on for further investment.

I have but one rule (to rule them all).

It’s about the name.

Anyone that hopes to sell brandable domains needs to be generally knowledgeable about industries and the trends within them. Sure, they need to have a framework (letter count, extension, word count, syllables, et. al), but even more importantly, they need to imagine the end-user and their business, and sufficiently well gauge the demand for every specific domain through it’s potential usage.

They need to seriously consider this for each and every domain. before investing.

Having a list of keywords and creating a list that within the framework fits the bill - will not cut it. Every investment still needs a decision based on what you believe will sell and why. What you believe will sell, and why. (What you believe will sell. And why).

A marketplace gives you exposure. Without exposure you will rarely sell brand prospect domains that will take a 10-year old more than 30 seconds to guess - atleast in any time frame that lends liquidity enough to grow.

A brand prospect domain needs what I call “character integrity”. The framework won’t reveal that. For that you need to gauge the width and depth of applicability, for every name.

A name can generally either go for width, through low character count and general linguistic appeal, or depth, through applicability and more or less appeal of meaning - for one or several more limited use-cases.

What I am noting here does not apply to target-oriented domains (registered because businesses using the name exists, that is without gauging general demand based on the name) or search-keyword names. You can pretty much sell those just fine without a brandable marketplace.

My idea (there are other ideas) of domain investing is that good names will find traction. The catch is to find them and secure them at a point in time when your conviction beats the competition. It is an attractive idea to me, because it means that creativity matters, that hard work matters, and that time will work in your favor.

Please ask me anything.

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I am so grateful for this post. It is incredibly generous of you to take the time to post it.
I started doing this BECAUSE of SH. I had hundreds of names that contest holders loved. Then I ventured further. It is a different way to start for sure.

When you begin to venture out… you try to find new names that nobody loved before … and THAT GETS HARD!

I will add: You must do your own marketing!

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Hello. Thank you for sharing your opinion. I think absolutely the same, although I am not a major domainer. Also, like most creatives, I began to buy good domains to save them from third-party registration. I have several hundred names waiting to be registered in my notebook, but I don’t dare to take out a loan to buy them all out yet. I am afraid of what is happening around me. Maybe this business will die because of the epidemic, maybe humanity will fall into the stone age and there will be no Internet in the absence of electricity. There are dozens of apocalyptic scenarios in my brain, so I’m not in a hurry with a hasty registration of everything that I like.I have little sales experience, but it completely fits into your words - these are both multi-valued short domains and highly specialized domains consisting of two real words.

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Thank you for this insightful post. :slightly_smiling_face:

Let me ask:
During these 7 years of your active domaining, what has been your experience in terms of sales, with two-words compound brandables?

Do they (Compound brandables) sell well?

About 70% of my domains (on SH & other markets) are two words.
Plus, I’ve been picking up plenty two words/ Compound brandables lately.
So, it’ll be great to hear what you think.

Note: I don’t mean any random two-words, but those that sync together. Example (not mine) BigDreams .com, RoyalPath .com, etc.

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Two words with a cohesive and applicable concept are incredible assets, often undervalued. Two words that don’t make sense are a liability, often overvalued.

Two words probably dwarf other aftermarket sales in terms of dollars, and if the few people digging in to SEC filings to find high value domain sales would look at two word sales, I’m sure there would be plenty of blockbusters too, comparable to 1 words.

Top 2 words can have the same appeal as top 1 words. Bad 1 words can be worse than good 2 words.

All about the name, not much about the way domainers like to categorize.

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Something that I feel is imperative to the brandable investor, is to not be smitten with the traditional paradigm.

Brandable investors, the way I see it, must overlook if a limited data snapshot of search keyword data, taken extensions, number of business targets, dictionary listed, traffic, backlinks, etcetera, comes up non-positive.

Why? Because from onset, the names that today have a positive status from looking at this data, didn’t have. They were just good names, and eventually raised tangible demand, critical mass.

This means that if you want to emulate the success of the first settlers, don’t go where everybody goes, and trust your own judgment, not some kind of shared data formula.

If you get that right, the potential holds true investment value, where you can hope to gauge demand - before there is explicit data that validates it’s existence.

Get it before the shared formula has everyone on the case. Get it before anyone knows they need it or trust it as an investment.

Simple and quite unoriginal idea, even if it can seem unpopular with the domainer crowd. Very, very hard to do, but potentially rewarding longer term.

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Thanks for this post; It’s great to hear someone who thinks brandable names are more than just keywords and character count. I think many domainers feel pressure to grow a large portfolio in order to increase their chances of steady sales; in my experience, the amount of competition on the aftermarket makes that fairly impossible (without a huge initial investment). Kudos to all the domainers that have found a way to balance inventory and quality without overextending their finances.

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I have a question please, have you ever had domains for 5years or more with no sales?

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Oh, for sure, lol. At default you will never sell any domain, ever. Keep this in mind while pushing for 2-5% yearly sell-through.

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How do you decide when to sell (to another domainer) or drop a name? (Especially on SH listings).

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Good question.

I used to drop some domains. I stopped dropping. I have once sold to another domainer, just starting out. But they approached me.

When I did drop, I used the same parameters that could include a name as an investment to exclude it as an investment. Close calls that after second thought did not cut it.

That is, is it too far out (wishful bet) or is it good enough or better than that (viable bet)?

The arbiter, for me, is only the name. The form and function of the name and it’s applications, as far as I can judge them.

I have dropped names that were instantly picked up, and sometimes sold. That does not bother me at all, because I already made the call.

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Thanks for this thread… you have explained very well the most important factor in domain valuation which is “potential usage”. Sadly that is not given high weight by many domain investors, and sometimes even neglected which you will notice if you browse daily domains drop lists, a lot of money wasted on garbage domains!!

I often explain to other domainers in discussions that forget about GD appraisal, domain length, number of taken extensions…etc and think first about potential domain use (who is going to use it, and in which industry, and is it in small vs big industry, or in trending vs out of date category…etc.). This is the 1st thing to focus on when you are browsing a list of domains, if the domain you want to buy passes “potential use” check test then you can pass it through other filters (such as domain length, taken extensions…etc). But if the domain have no strong potential use then avoid it even if it is a nice short name taken in many extensions.

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Right. The first step is two-fold really. Application and fit. ”Fit” is the hardest to get, and few ever will, even though they have the capacity.

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