I’ll admit that I know very little about brandable domain names. With the occurrence of the popular Chinese short and numeric domain markets, and the great keyword names on offer, the brandable world has slipped under my radar. After reading about a number of investors who were making moves into brandable names, I wanted to know more. I decided that the best person to speak to about brandable domains is someone that is completely immersed in the brandable niche, thanks to his role with BrandBucket. Michael Krell is the managing director of BrandBucket, a domain name marketplace with handpicked brandable domains for entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses. Before taking up his role with BrandBucket, Michael created a $100,000 revenue stream out of brandable domains, from a $1,000 investment, as documented at DomainSherpa. As a brandable newbie I personally had a few basic questions that Michael was gracious enough to answer. If you, like me, are looking to learn a little more about brandable names, I hope this interview from Michael is food for thought. NP: What is considered a brandable domain? Michael: Generally speaking, a brandable domain is anything a business would call itself. Sometimes it is easier to say what a brandable isn’t. In my opinion, a brandable domain is not: A geo domain. Think Enterprise.com instead of NewYorkRentalCars.com A descriptive keyword name. Think DeWalt instead of ElectricPowerTools.com A long-tailed keyword name. Think IKEA instead of DiscountedModernEuropeanFurniture.com A rule-of-thumb is that if the domain matches the real name of the business, it is a brandable. NP: Are brandables generally one-word, two-word or longer? Michael: It might be easier to break brandables down into two categories which are invented and keyword. An invented name is a non-dictionary word that is made-up and doesn’t contain any dictionary root words. Some examples of invented brandable names include Xerox, Roku, and Hulu. The adage of the shorter the better is definitely true for invented names because they aren’t real words. So the more consonants and letters, the less likely someone is to remember it because they don’t have any reference points like if it were made up of real words. Keyword names can be a couple of things. They can be made up of 1 or more real words. Some examples include Slack, Windows, Apple, and DraftKings. The other form of keyword brandables contain a real dictionary words at its base with an ending attached. Examples include, Spotify, Feedly, and Bitly. Then you have a hybrid of the both that include deliberate misspellings of words or is a name that is phonetically similar to a real word. Think Zomato (this was purchased on BrandBucket), FlipKart, Lyft, Quickr, and Automaatic NP: How do you acquire brandable domains? Michael: I acquire nearly all my names through the drops and GoDaddy Auctions. I hand reg a very small percentage. Maybe 1%-2%. NP: Is it better to buy expired domains vs registering new names? Michael: I’ve always been one to buy names on the drops or auctions, but that doesn’t mean that you have to spend a bundle to acquire really nice names. I am very active and I might only buy 1-2 names a week over $100. You can get a lot of quality names $20 or less that you can retail for 100x or 200x your acquisition price. Having said that, BrandBucket does have successful sellers that only sell hand registered names. No matter what your acquisition strategy you choose, you don’t want to spend a whole lot of money until you understand what exactly you are buying and if there are endusers out there who want to buy your names. NP: How long, on average, would it take to sell a brandable name? Michael: I can say that the average age of a sold name on BrandBucket is a little over 6 months, but with any domain, it is difficult to say when any name will sell. To give your name the best chance of selling, you want it to appeal to as wide of audience as possible and be priced competitively NP: What is the average sales price of a brandable name at BrandBucket? Michael: The average sales price for 2015 is just under $3000. NP: Who uses brandable names? Michael: Well just about every business in the world has a brand and so they all can use a brandable domain. Most of our sales at BrandBucket are to startups, Venture Capital firms, incubators and serial entrepreneurs starting a new business. We also sell to companies who are looking to rebrand such as UrbanSpoon, which rebranded to Zomato. NP: Why is is best to use a marketplace such as BrandBucket in order to sell brandable names? Michael: We provide a marketplace that targets those startups and entrepreneurs with the capital to purchase a quality name. Brandables for the most part are passive sales and often don’t receive a whole lot of type-in traffic, so the potential customers wants to see a variety of options that match their search criteria. While individual sales are often passive, we are not passive in are marketing efforts. We spend considerable resources on promoting BrandBucket to these businesses and entrepreneurs. -- Thanks to Michael for taking the time to talk about brandable domains. As someone who openly knew very little about this market, I know that the information within this interview will help me make more informed decisions about buying and selling brandable names.