How I made $$$$+ selling brandables... (and how much it cost me)

Started by Allen, Jun 21, 2022, 01:48 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

AllenTopic starter

As I'm reviewing my various business ventures, I figured I'd share my experiences with brandable domain names. Perhaps some of the data and resources I've amassed could prove useful to those who are new to this field.

I became intrigued by brandable domains toward the end of 2015 as it required a bit of creativity to find unique names and still allowed for good brandables to be hand-registered. Quickly, I created accounts with Brandroot and Namerific to get a feel for what constituted a "good" brandable name, particularly one that could be listed and sold on these platforms.

1) Compilation of Lists from Marketplaces and Past Sales

Initially, I set out to build lists of domains found on marketplaces in order to understand the different types of brandable names and their price tags. To accomplish this, I wrote a simple PHP code that would browse and parse the websites of these marketplaces.

However, I soon realized that this approach was too broad. I needed to ascertain the type of names that actually sold. So, I utilized past sales tools such as Namebio and, and scoured brandable sales lists compiled and published by users (like @Doron Vermaat's list of 1134 domains sold at Brandbucket).

2) Analysis of Lists

Once I had amassed huge lists of names (approximately 70k listed names and 3k sold names), I endeavored to categorize them.

2.1) Brandbucket Sales

To provide an example of the analysis I conducted, below are the results for the "1134 domains sold at Brandbucket" list:

a) 84% of the names were 13 letters or shorter.

b) Among the "very short names", there were:
- 4L: which were excluded as they were too expensive and occupied a unique niche.
- 5L: accounted for 13% of total sales. 95% comprised made-up words, while 5% were short words.
- 6L: accounted for 11% of total sales. 55% were comprised of made-up words, while the remaining 45% were combo or sentences.
- 7L: 45% comprised made-up words, while 55% were combo or sentences.

c) "Combos" are names created by combining two words together: e.g. DNray is a combo of Name + Pros... Made-up/combos are put together using short words. The most frequently used short words were extracted:


d) Words can be made up by replacing letters (i => y...).

2.2) Past Sales vs. Brandbucket Listings

This second example pertains to the analysis I performed on CVCVCV sales.

For 2278 CVCVCVs on Brandbucket, I discovered that the most frequent first letter was V (accounting for 13% of the total), followed by Z (8%) and M (7%). Additionally, names starting with V mostly began with "VO" (35%).

For 1265 CVCVCV sales from Namebio, the data indicated that:
- Over half of the names (54%) started with one of seven letters (M: 11%, S: 10%, C, T, L...)
- The most frequent syllables were MA, RE, SA, CA, etc...

Had I only relied on the first Brandbucket analysis, I would have started searching for available voCVCVs straight away. However, the analysis of actual sales revealed that they only accounted for 0.6% of total CVCVCV sales, whereas maCVCVs accounted for 4.8%. That's eight times more!

3) Choosing a Strategy: What Kind of Names to Buy and Where to List Them

With the data analyzed, I set out to devise a strategy for buying names which involved the following rules:
- Stick with short names (10 letters or fewer)
- Place emphasis on 5L CVCVC / VCVCV and 6L CVCVCVs since they provide easily-spelled names.
- Create combo names with one "strong" word that appears frequently in the sold/listed lists I compiled.

I decided to use two sources to buy names: hand registration and catch dropped domains. My initial goal was to quickly obtain around 200 names and list half of them on a brandable marketplace, while the other half would be listed on afternic/sedo/flippa together with a landing page that has a "for sale" banner placed somewhere. This was intended as a test before proceeding on a larger scale (let's acquire 10,000 names! Yay!).

That was quite a long one! Thanks for reading this far. Hope that gives food for thought to some of you :)


This illustrates that the actual profits are derived from owning the marketplace rather than getting bogged down with carrying costs for hundreds or even thousands of names. Moreover, the traffic generated by your names helped to sell the "house" names at no commission cost to them. Just like a cаsino, the house always wins.

Your Brandroot names earned you $2,495, while Brandroot made $5,330 from the commission and submission fees generated by your hard work on those same names. All they did was provide a landing page. It's pretty crazy that they earn 30% for doing so little work.


It's appalling how Brandroot's commission rate is a complete rip-off; they're basically bandits! You're only receiving around 55% of your earnings, paying when you list and significantly more when you sell.

Additionally, they charge an exorbitant amount for logo design, which should honestly be covered by the outrageous commission they earn.


A domain name is essentially an alias - nothing more. In fact, what you really need is an IP address that people can understand with the help of a domain name. Think of domain names as an accessibility issue; people find it harder to read IP addresses than computers and domains bridge that gap. (This highlights how useful accessibility can be.) While a domain has its benefits, it's worth considering if a subdomain or even an IP address would suffice. Many people never go through the exciting stage of domain registration, leaving them with a large collection of unused domains for which they continue paying an annual fee.

Now that we've dispelled some of the myths surrounding domains, let's examine some of the key characteristics of good domain names:

A branded domain name should be unique, not generic or universal.

Remain flexible by avoiding tying yourself to a specific market or demographic. Your domain name should be suitable both now and in the future, even fifty years from now.

Six to fourteen characters and two to three syllables are ideal. Names within this range have a rhythmic quality that our brains find easier to remember and recall.


Your emphasis on short names, particularly 5L CVCVC / VCVCV and 6L CVCVCV names, seems to align with the trend of easily-spelled and memorable brandable names. Creating combo names with "strong" words that appear frequently in your compiled sold/listed lists is also a clever tactic to increase the appeal and marketability of your domains.

Using a combination of hand registration and catching dropped domains gives you a diverse set of acquisition methods and opportunities. Listing half of the acquired names on a brandable marketplace and the other half on established marketplaces like afternic, sedo, and flippa is an interesting experiment to gauge the demand and potential sales.

Selling brandable domains can be an exciting and potentially lucrative endeavor. Here are some tips and strategies to consider when selling brandable domains:

1. Research Current Market Trends: Stay up-to-date with the latest market trends and demand for specific types of brandable domains. Monitor sales data, browse popular marketplaces, and read industry news to identify emerging niches or keywords that are in high demand.

2. Price Your Domains Competitively: Determine a fair and competitive price for your brandable domains based on factors such as length, memorability, keyword relevance, and market demand. Consider researching similar domains and their sale prices to get a sense of pricing trends.

3. Choose the Right Sales Platform: Select the most suitable sales platform to list your brandable domains. Popular domain marketplaces include BrandBucket, Sedo, Afternic, and Flippa, among others. Each platform has its own audience, pricing structure, and listing requirements, so it's important to choose the one that aligns with your goals and target audience.

4. Create Compelling Listings: Craft compelling and descriptive domain listings that highlight the unique attributes and potential of your brandable domains. Use persuasive language, engaging visuals, and clear messaging to attract potential buyers. Consider including information about the domain's background, potential use cases, and any relevant metrics or analytics.

5. Utilize Social Media and Networking: Leverage social media platforms, online forums, and industry networking events to promote your brandable domains. Engage with potential buyers, share updates about your domains, and participate in relevant discussions to increase visibility and generate interest.

6. Offer Financing Options: Consider offering financing options to potential buyers who might be interested in your domains but prefer to pay in installments rather than upfront. This can broaden your pool of potential buyers and make your domains more accessible to a wider audience.

7. Build Relationships with Brokers: Establish relationships with reputable domain brokers who can help you connect with interested buyers and negotiate deals on your behalf. Brokers have extensive networks and expertise in the domain industry, which can be valuable in securing profitable sales.

8. Be Patient and Persistent: Selling brandable domains can take time, so it's important to be patient and persistent in your efforts. It may require multiple listings, price adjustments, and marketing strategies before you find the right buyer. Stay dedicated and consistently promote your domains to increase your chances of a successful sale.