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news Alter Domain Marketplace To Continue Operations Under New Ownership

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A NamePros member has purchased the Alter domain name marketplace. Alter will continue operations as a brandable marketplace under the new ownership.

I reached out to the new owner, Filip Erkic, who goes by the NamePros handle @F.E., to learn details of the sale, and his plans for Alter moving forward.

Domain investors with names listed on Alter had received a farewell email from founder Deven Patel on March 19, 2022. That email announced that third-party domain listings would be taken down on April 2, 2022. It also said that funds spent to purchase Alter logos would be refunded.

Almost immediately, several NamePros members expressed the wish to consider purchase of Alter – see the discussion in this NamePros thread.

Alter had grown to more than 40,000 domain listings.

Interview With New Owner

Clearly it was a big decision to step in to purchase Alter. What aspects of the existing Alter marketplace made you feel sure the investment was worthwhile?

I already had plans to step into a brandable marketplace with brand.buzz, but that would've taken some time to go from the ground up. Deven did a great job building Alter as a community-driven domain marketplace, which perfectly aligned with my vision. Therefore taking this step felt natural. Deven and the team did an amazing job on many aspects including design, search engine optimization, strong customer support and community engagement. It will be a really difficult task to make him proud by shaping an even better future for Alter, and especially partners (domain investors) and customers (buyers).

What are your plans, in both the short-term and long-term, for the Alter marketplace?

My short-term goals are to simplify the seller experience by automating tasks that previously required their interaction like payouts, and to some degree domain transfers. In the longer term, even though Alter grew substantially as a hybrid marketplace, I am not sure that there is something better to offer to domain investors in that space, considering what's already available within the market. Alter is going to slowly move back to it's original vision – becoming a game changer in the brandable naming space. We'll be gradually upgrading the current platform by adding features. Some that I can mention are highly customizable portfolio pages, free built-in logo creation, and more analytical views for sellers so they can understand traffic flow to their domains.

One aspect of Alter many of us admired was the interaction with the NamePros community, through its official thread. Do you plan to continue that?

Not only to continue, but try to bring it to an even higher level – shaping Alter's success together with this community. We will be working along with the amazing NamePros community to build a marketplace they want, a marketplace that makes sales happen. One of my main reasons for entering the marketplace industry, especially in the brandable naming space, is because I feel that current marketplaces have somewhat disconnected themselves from their partner sellers. We plan to innovate through a strong partnership.

I am not sure how much you are able to share about terms or the purchase price? Was it a straight cash transaction?

It was an all cash transaction. Instead of buying just assets, we've decided to buy 100% ownership in Alter.com Inc as a business.

Will you be the sole owner, or are you operating as part of an investment group?

There's actually two people involved in ownership, me and my partner. While we are owners, the future of Alter will be shaped by an amazing team that works with us.

What are your current thoughts on ways to improve Alter?

Returning Alter back to its origins as a brandable domain name marketplace would be the first and major step. From that point forward, we're going to slowly introduce new platform upgrades, invest more in marketing efforts, and deliver excellent customer support to both buyers and domain sellers.

If I asked you to in one sentence give your vision statement for Alter going forward, what would it be?

Naming the web.

I see that you have been a NamePros member since 2012. Can you please briefly summarize your background in domain-related activities.

My background in domaining industry was as a side-hustle for the most part. I started investing in domains in late 2009 mostly by hand registering keyword .coms and flipping them for quick bucks, low to mid 3-figure sales, doing direct outreach. My first encounter with buying high-ticket domains happened in 2016, when I bought a generic 4 letter .com which played a major part in rebranding of an SaaS company recently. From time to time, I also do buyer and seller brokerage, but due lack of time I usually forward those to fellow brokers.

Brief History of Alter

On Sept. 14, 2020 Deven Patel announced Alter to the NamePros community. While he discussed a number of aspects, an important one was that Alter would clearly focus on the experience of potential buyers.
Our goal is to prioritize buyers because I think they are the key to success in any industry. The domain industry is no exception. Without buyers, there’s no money. This is why we’ve made it our mission to help entrepreneurs succeed!

Domain investors were attracted by a low, compared to brandable marketplaces, commission of 10%. Initially, Alter operated much like the legacy brandable marketplaces, with strong selection criteria. Most submitted domain names were not accepted.

A logo-style presentation was used for domain names. They provided logos for accepted names.

Like BrandBucket and SquadHelp, Alter invests in online advertising of specific domain names.

A bit later, Alter introduced a syndication feature where one could opt to have Alter-listed names automatically appear on Dan, Sedo and a number of registrar marketplaces. A surcharge was added to the domain price on those marketplaces, so the investor still received the Alter listing net amount.

Alter has a more wordy landing page than most other marketplaces. To assist, they use AI to automatically generate descriptions and to select categories and keywords. All of these could be overridden by the seller.

Along the way, Alter evolved to become what they called a hybrid marketplace. This allowed users to list whatever domains they wanted, like a general purpose marketplace, but the style of the marketplace, and advertising, remained similar to the brandable marketplaces.

Under the hybrid model, the number of Alter listings grew to more than 40,000. While this opened the platform to new types of domains some startups might consider, the downside is the possible dilution of quality names. Alter tried to control that impact through their search algorithm.

Professionally designed logos were no longer free after they switched to be a hybrid marketplace, but could be purchased. A basic text-only logo designed by user, or one uploaded. An AI created logo was generated for those who did not wish to invest time in optimizing the basic one.

Alter developed their own 6-factor brandable appraisal system, as well as a user-friendly initial trademark search tool.

What This Means For Those With Names At Alter

I asked Filip Erkic what the change will mean for existing users.
Domains will remain listed for the time being. There won't be any change up to the point when we initiate domain review, during which we'll communicate directly with each domain investor on Alter platform. That way, we'll be able to assist the investors directly in case some of them decide to move their entire Alter portfolio away, or in case domains get delisted during the domain review process.

In terms of the date for Alter ownership change, he said
Change of ownership is initiated, and I hope that full transition will be completed within the next 30 days.

Those with names listed at Alter will see when they log into their accounts that the notice about ceasing on April 2 has been taken down.

Final Thoughts

Let me first express appreciation to Alter founder Deven Patel. I admire what he and his team created in a relatively short time. He brought to Alter not only a lengthy experience acquiring domains for development purposes, but also as a founder of a number of startups in sectors including marketing, web hosting, social networking, blogging, and SaaS.

What I particularly appreciated was the way he interacted with the NamePros community. He was not always able to implement all ideas, but to a significant degree NamePros involvement informed many aspects of the development. By conducting this discussion in a promoted Alter official discussion thread, he was able to engage those members of the community that wanted to be involved, without pushback from those who wanted to avoid the discussion.

I am glad to see that Alter will continue, and thank the new owner for sharing some of his thoughts for future directions. It is good to have choice in the domain industry. Ultimately choice, innovation and competition will help drive improvements throughout the domain industry.

NamePros members who wish to make suggestions about Alter can continue to do so at the official sponsored Alter discussion thread.

A sincere thanks to Filip Erkic, @F.E., for being open to sharing information for a story announcing the sale of Alter.

Update on Aug 29, 2022:
In an email to Alter users dated Aug 28, 2022, Deven Patel, CEO and Founder Alter Inc., confirmed that the deal to purchase Alter had fallen through, and no other purchaser for the marketplace had been found. "On September 3rd, all remaining domain listings will be removed from our marketplace. Seller accounts will remain active until all pending installment sales are completed so payments can be cashed out."


This article is presented as domain industry news, and not promotion or recommendation of any particular service. The author reached out to the buyer at the negotiation stage to see if he would be willing to share details of a sale if it happened. The author has names at Alter, and many other marketplaces, but no other association with Alter.
 
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The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.

topdom

Top Member
Impact
1,504
Congrats. You can allow handshake domains. They have authcode transfer option. So although they are not real domains (yet), they can still be nfts. And in this case I would exclude ugly ones, such as .oin.
 
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Reyginus

Established Member
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So, do we return our names or what?
 
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AzuJim

Established Member
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Great news! I wish the new owners of Alter.com the very best for the future.
 
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karmaco

Top Member
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Congrats. Elephant in the room is if Devan couldn’t make it work on 10% commish what will the commision be going forward? That does have major bearing on the matter.
 
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Future Sensors

78% of human domainers will be replaced by robotsTop Member
Impact
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So, do we return our names or what?
Excellent question.

The Farewell message was an implicit (or perhaps explicit) message that the platform in its current form is not delivering good results for sellers. Since changes to the platform take time, it seems not wise from that point of view to immediately move back again. With the new owner, a new phase has begun, and trust will have to be won again. It seems to me a difficult -- but also challenging -- period. And I wish Alter good luck recovering.

I was an important first-mover, moving many domains in bulk towards Alter, and I've made suggestions that were quickly and expertly implemented by Deven. Currently all my landers are back at DAN again, and they're also listed at Sedo and Afternic. I'll be watching to see how Alter develops, wish them a prosperous future.
 
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Hui Siew Choong

Established Member
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Domains businesses never die, specifically for domain brands , I sold most of my domains thru alter comparing to Squadhelp, Brandbucket etc, alter is just awesome as the fees are lowest . I never active in namepros as it is too complicated and always received warning is posting the wrong section, maybe I should be active again In namepros. Currently I only active in LinkedIn, tweeter and FB , as I always think namepros are for cheap domains or bulk sales. Anyone keen to bulk purchase my names, please welcome
 
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LoveCatchyDomains

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Arch

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Didn't the thread say that the value of the transaction was $750,000?
 
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LoveCatchyDomains

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Didn't the thread say that the value of the transaction was $750,000?
Didn't see that. Thanks for pointing that out.
 
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marijuanadomain

Established Member
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@marijuanadomain - if it's brandable domain marketplace, find the owner and tell him to e-mail me :)
the owner gone MIA, nobody knows what happen to him/her
you have to wait VooDoo.com is dropped
 
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F.E.

INACTIVETop Member
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maybe covid got better of him.

p.s. thanks everyone for warm wishes, I'll give my best to contribute to this community by listening to you guys and shaping Alter with your feedback. rn we're focused on transitioning so I might be mia as well with engagement
 
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Future Sensors

78% of human domainers will be replaced by robotsTop Member
Impact
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p.s. thanks everyone for warm wishes, I'll give my best to contribute to this community by listening to you guys and shaping Alter with your feedback. rn we're focused on transitioning so I might be mia as well with engagement
Appreciated. When will there be an official (email) announcement?
 
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F.E.

INACTIVETop Member
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in a day or two. platform will remain closed for listing for a few days until transition is fully completed and current listings reviewed. Also expect further information published soon on Alter's website as well.
 
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Helmuts

Account Closed (Requested)
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Interesting news, thank you for sharing! We will try to invite @F.E. to the London Domain summit.
 
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jiy k

Established Member
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For last some days there have been only speculation as what would happen to Alter. Finally there is Good News. :xf.love:
Congrats to @Deven Patel, a down to earth person, who did excellent job with Alter, and gave it a prominent position in the Brandable Marketplace and Congratulations to the new owner @F.E. and wish him All The Best.
Thank you @Bob Hawkes
 
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F.E.

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eternaldomains

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Helmuts

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DomainNameFlow

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maybe covid got better of him.

p.s. thanks everyone for warm wishes, I'll give my best to contribute to this community by listening to you guys and shaping Alter with your feedback. rn we're focused on transitioning so I might be mia as well with engagement
Congrats to both Deven and F.E. , Instead of finding thru NP, an email announcement about the transition would have saved some hassle to lot of domainers of moving domains away. I like few unique features on your platform and plan to keep some domains there. Look forward to better experience!
 
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LoveCatchyDomains

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p.s. thanks everyone for warm wishes, I'll give my best to contribute to this community by listening to you guys and shaping Alter with your feedback. rn we're focused on transitioning so I might be mia as well with engagement
Please also consider that Bob Hawkes might be a real asset to the company! Maybe he can be a consultant or an official hire to take the marketplace to a new level?
When I joined Namepros, his posts encouraged me to keep coming back to this forum. His insights are tremendous and his communication skills clearly superb. To me, he really demonstrates a level of professionalism that adds credibility and respect to the domain industry.
Granted, I didn't check with Bob on this. If Bob thinks he can help, using his talents to help take Alter to the next level, F.E. may really want to consider giving it a try! Director of Marketing? Domain Analyst?
 
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4better

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Great to hear this! Congrats @F.E. and your partner, likewise to @Deven Patel. Looking forward to a brighter future to all sides.
 
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@F.E. - Congrats on the acquisition! Question: will you allow us to use Alter without requiring us to use Alter's DNS? Being forced to use Alter's DNS was the only thing keeping me from using Alter. Just wondering if that policy will be changed.
 
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megabytee

Established Member
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Ok good news, but when i want create an account i got this message :
"Thanks for your interest but we are no longer accepting new sellers into our marketplace."
 
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silentg

DomainRetail.comTop Member
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Namey123

Established Member
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Thanks @Bob Hawkes for sharing and Filip (@F.E.) for rescuing this company...I really like Alter's concept and appraisals and hope appraisals will continue to be free!
 
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