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Thread: Today's most marketable domains - Dave Slutzkin

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    Today's most marketable domains - Dave Slutzkin

    Dave Slutzkin (who is a member here) has written an interesting article about what domains are most marketable these days.

    As we all know, the Internet is a rapidly changing business environment and the market for domains is no exception. The traditional way to decide on the value of a domain was that it had to tick certain boxes. It should be short, memorable, pass the radio test, and be relevant to the subject of the site, and a .com is the best.

    Then EMDs became very popular - until a G algo change slapped them. Many of us believe(d) that length was important too, as was age. Some of Dave's research seems to suggest otherwise.

    From this small sample, it seems that a domainís length isnít as important as its specificity to a topic. This might explain why the oldest domain we looked at sold for the lowest priceóof all the auctions we considered, itís the most generic.
    Source: article linked to above.

    Of course, the small sample prevents us from drawing any firm conclusions about the data, but the article is worth a read anyway. It provides food for thought about several attributes of marketable domains. It raises a lot of questions for me, which I think are worth exploring further. For example, how important are the following:

    - age of domain
    - length
    - how specific it is
    - generics
    - TLD

    I'm quite curious about all this because I have a good generic on the .co (sadly, not the .com) and I also have several reasonably old domains. Could they be considered to be in the most marketable category? What's your take on it? What do you think makes a domain most marketable?
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    The samples were tiny, and I doubt a couple of the sales were ever completed.

    I don't think length has ever been as big a factor as domainers often seem to think. Yes, short is better. But some things cannot be said in a few letters - NewYorkCityApartments for example. It has always been about expressing a coherent idea, service or product.

    Age is another that gets people overly excited. Older is better, but it's only a marginal consideration. For myself, I don't consider anything registered after 1999 to be especially old. Of course, if you search domains by age, the older ones will have a higher concentration of good names, mainly because people registered good names earlier.

    Specificity is fun. Some seemingly great names can lose by being too vague - they'll get lots of eyeballs, but the eyeballs might be looking for several different things that the word might mean. The best names zero in on a particular market.

    I think EMD is still good, as long as it's not too long tail. Better if it's also brandable, line eyeglasses.com or something. TortoiseShellEyeglasses.com will be a tougher sell, I think.

    .Com is still king. It's not easy to sell a .co unless it's a great word. Even then...
    Depends what you hope to get for it.

    A good way to judge value is by the number of unsolicited offers you get for a name. If you get none in several years, that's a good clue. That doesn't means it's worthless. Someone could come along tomorrow ready to pay $5000 for a name you've never had an offer on. But, on the other hand, if you want to sell it before the end of the month, you might be lucky to get $20 for it.

    I drop old names if they seem dead in the water. Search for the term on Google to find how many companies are using the name as keywords. If you don't find any, then it's likely not worth much. There are exceptions, such as brandables (meaningless words that can be branded), but there's a lottery element there. You have to hope a company chooses to brand using a word you already own in .com. And that they don't just sue you for it.

    Names are being dropped like crazy these days, especially non-.coms. It's common to see names where the com,net.org,us, info and biz were all registered until recently, but now only the .com hasn't been dropped. The reseller market is weak and not looking to come back soon. That makes it tough for anything but the best names. The good news is that end-users are buying, but a simple Google search will tell you if you have any hope there.

    All that said, there are some names that would be great for development but very difficult to sell.

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    Just looking at these from the domain name perspective is kind of like looking at a house as a buyer only from the outside. For some of these sites, you can't suss anything just by looking at the domain name.

    For example, one domain name charted in the article was coeira.com. That's actually the last name of an academic author, and the domain had a high PR + edu backlinks. A domainer picks it up as a dropped domain, throws up some vaguely related slop w/ adsense ads and is able to flip it at 10x revenue (typical: the site isn't even loading anymore. Where do these Flippa buyers come from?) The point being that the value of coeira.com isn't intrinsic to the domain and shouldn't be analyzed as such.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzed View Post
    Where do these Flippa buyers come from?
    There's big money in driving lambs to slaughter and there are all kinds of "helpful" experts doing just that. They have blogs, software, services, conferences, all manner of other drivers. There's no money in telling people that it's largely a mug's game and that's why this forum is so important, it's probably the only place where punters can get the truth (without self-serving interest tainting the advice).
    Find the right business brokers to maximise the value you extract from your business and improve the chances of selling your business.

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    EMDs are still a good sell on Flippa.
    With high value 3TLAs, generic word domains, you really need to sit on them and wait for the right person to come along to Sedo, Afternic or to a lesser extent, Flippa.

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    It's interesting to hear that EMDs still do well on Flippa, especially since they've fallen out of favour with G and they don't have the same SEO advantages as they once had. I have a few EMDs which I no longer want. Perhaps I'll try selling them on Flippa and see how they do.
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    Well, I've been and gone and done it. My first ever Flippa listing consists of six geo-targeted EMDs. I thought the listing would show up under our user account nickname but it's got my husband's name on it instead, presumably because he's listed as the tech contact. Whatever, anyone who clicked through to the WHOIS would have seen the owner's name anyway, and we've nothing to hide. Let's see how well these domains do. It'll be interesting to go through the Flippa process, because it's not something I'd normally do. I'll be sure to report back on how I get on.

    It's expensive! $29 for the listing and then a 5% success fee if it sells. At the low end of the market, that's gonna make a big dent in anything I might get for the domains. Maybe I should have offered them here on the BSTE instead.
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    The auction only has a few hours to run and I've had no interest at all. They're not bad domains - they were bought for a specific project which never happened, and the domains were chosen after extensive keyword research. Perhaps I should have talked them up in the listing, but I assumed that any potential buyer would do that kind of research on the domains for themselves anyway.

    I put $5 as the opening bid and put a low reserve price on them.

    What do I do now? Just let the auction run its course and put it down to experience? TBH, I didn't really expect them to sell but wanted to test the water. I've noticed other sellers in a similar position (auction almost over - zero interest) and sometimes they add comments to urge people to buy. It kinda smacks of desperation. Is there any point in putting a BIN on now? Is this just par for the course on Flippa or did I not do something I should have?
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    Keep us posted. I have a feeling that with Google's smack-down of EMDs that the market is pretty thin for run-of-the-mill EMDs unless someone has a particular immediate need. At least that's what I'm betting on. I've let nearly one hundred EMDs expire over the last several months without even trying to sell them, after carrying them for several years at about $8 a domain per year. Some of them I even orginally bought in the aftermarket and paid a few dollars for. Many of the ones I let go were .info domains (like IllinoisTravelGuide.info) but not all. I thought about posting about them on one of the domainer forums but decided even with no listing fee it just wasn't going to be worth the effort to transfer them if all someone was willing to pay was $5 or $10 (which is what I figured would happen).

    I'd be interested to hear if you have any success with your Flippa auction, since I have several more scheduled to expire over the next few months.

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    Thanks, David. I was kinda hoping someone might be curious about how I got on. Happy to keep you posted.

    The auction fully met my expectations - it ended with the domains being unsold. There wasn't even any interest in them at all.

    It's just that there are so many people around who say that EMDs are still useful and therefore saleable on Flippa, that I had to test the market for myself. It's all very well for me to be sceptical about things, but if I've not actually tried them, then it's just speculation. Anyway, I wanted to go through the process and am now no longer a Flippa virgin. (Just $29 poorer.)

    This is a copy of my Flippa listing:

    This is a sale of DOMAINS only.


    These are geo-targeted domains which can be used for websites about accident claims.
    The domains were all registered in December 2011 with NameCheap.

    Included in this sale are:

    AccidentClaimsChicago.com
    AccidentClaimsChicago.org
    AccidentClaimsSanFrancisco.com
    AccidentClaimsSanFrancisco.org
    AccidentClaimsDC.com
    AccidentClaimsDC.org


    If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.
    (The above is posted for information only. I'm not trying to score a free advert - I can advertise in our marketplace if I want to. Anyone trying to promote their domains via a discussion thread will get an infraction or maybe a ban, depending on their status here.)

    Back to the point:

    Quote Originally Posted by David S
    I have a feeling that with Google's smack-down of EMDs that the market is pretty thin for run-of-the-mill EMDs unless someone has a particular immediate need.
    That's what I thought, yet many people say that there's still a good market for them. I didn't really believe it, and there's not much point in looking at Flippa's "Just Sold" figures, because we don't know how many of these results are because of shill bidders or even non-paying buyers. I had to try it for myself to get info that I could believe 100%. I know, it was an expensive way to do it, but I don't regret the experiment - and you never know, maybe the domains would have appealed to someone. Even so, if I'd sold at the reserve price I'd still have made a loss by the time they'd taken the success fee off me. I knew that when I went into it.

    One thing I'm unsure about is that maybe my listing wasn't hyped up enough to suit the marketplace. I never mentioned "potential" or tried to persuade people to buy. I simply listed what was for sale. Perhaps that was a mistake on my part.

    Not long after the end of the unsuccessful auction, I received an email from Flippa offering me a re-listing at half price. Not on your nelly. If they didn't sell the first time around, then why would they be likely to sell the next time? I didn't feel like throwing good money after bad.

    Just for the hell of it, I might try listing these on various other marketplaces - domain forums, Sedo, etc. I sure as heck wouldn't list domains on Flippa again. Maybe some people are successful at doing that, but my first experience of it will also be my last.
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