Last week’s NamePros Blog post took a look at domain name appraisals – why you might want an appraisal, who could provide it, the different types of appraisals, and some caveats about interpreting appraisals. This week’s post looks into the types of appraisals available here on NamePros, and how you can give and receive more useful appraisals. Why NamePros Domain Appraisals? NamePros has a huge membership, including a large number of expert domain investors. An appraisal here can offer you access to that expertise, without cost. Another advantage of seeking an appraisal here is that many appraisals will elicit multiple responses, and in some cases you will know the identity of those giving the appraisals. You can take that into account in how much weight to give to that appraisal. Finally, there is expertise in virtually every niche and sector of the domain community here, so that it should be possible to get almost any domain name appraised by someone knowledgeable in that type of domain name. According to the Official Rules of NamePros you are only allowed to submit domain names you already own for appraisal, except in the case of the pre-purchase appraisal section. The number of open appraisals that you can have is set according to your NamePros Account Level. Sometimes Not Many Responses Recently a member of our community has drawn attention to the fact that many domain appraisal requests go unanswered. There are multiple reasons for the lack of response, including quality of some names, time pressures, lack of incentives to leave appraisals, and the pushback that some seeking appraisals give when the appraisal does not match their preconceptions about the worth of the domain names. While these are all valid points, I think possibly minor changes in how an appraisal is requested may increase the number and usefulness of responses. Which Appraisals Are Indexed? One thing to keep in mind is that some appraisals can be viewed by anyone. The threads which are part of the public side of NamePros and will be Google indexed are The main domain appraisal section. Pre-purchase domain appraisals. There are several additional types of appraisals, open only to a portion of the community, which are not indexed by Google. Professional appraisals in the Insiders Club are open to Gold Members. The NamePros Account Levels page indicates requirements for each account level and what is included. PRO Network appraisals are open only to members who have qualified for the PRO designation. The qualifications for PRO Network are listed here. NamePros appraisals of adult domain names are also not Google indexed. The Key Question Before you post a domain name for appraisal, ask yourself what you want to know. Possibilities include How should I retail price this domain name? I have an offer, how should I respond? How might this domain name be used? For example, brainstorming ideas for outbound. Which of these names are worth keeping long term? Does this domain name have worth, or has it some fundamental flaw such as incorrect wording. This might be particularly helpful to know if the domain is in a language other than your first. What should I stress on the lander? What sort of marketplace is best for this domain name? For example, is it a brandable name or better suited to a general purpose marketplace? I need to turn over some of my names quickly. What would be wholesale pricing on this domain name? What is wrong with this domain name? There are other possibilities covered in last week’s article or the poll associated with this article. Keep in mind that some appraisal posts and replies will be publicly viewable, and that can potentially be negative to selling the domain name. This is particularly a concern if you just got a reasonable offer on the domain name. Asking For An Appraisal Some of the appraisal requests that receive no replies ask something like “What do you guys think?” followed by a very long list of names. I think you can improve your chances of getting responses by doing some of the following. Make it clear what it is you want to know. Are you mainly looking for retail pricing? Is it more a decision whether to hold long term? This can help responders not waste time answering something you don’t really care about. Show that you have already done some research, and share that. That will show you are serious in the request, and have invested your own time. It also will make it faster for someone else to make an evaluation. If you particularly want responses from those with certain types of expertise, indicate that. For example, those who have done $$$$ sales, or only those with experience selling .co, or whatever. Making that clear will save your time and that of potential respondents. Politely thank people in advance for giving help. A friendly tone can help your request be the one people choose to invest time responding to. Prioritize. Some simultaneously start more than one appraisal threads - see the Account Levels page for how many you are allowed. Even when allowed multiple appraisals, it is perhaps better to decide the one name you most want to have appraised. After you have learned from that appraisal, then pick a second name to list for appraisal, and so on. The possible downside of #2 is it can, potentially, bias the responder. On the other hand, if you have already checked prior similar sales on NameBio, or number of extensions the name is registered in on DotDB, or how many business/organization names on OpenCorporates have one of the keywords, why not share that objective information instead of expecting each responder to repeat the same research? In most cases don’t go as far as totally providing your own appraisal, however. Here are some fictitious examples of possible appraisal requests to illustrate the above points. #1 I just registered this domain name. My thoughts are maybe it could be used in robotics or drones. What other possible uses do you see for this name, please? Thanks in advance for any and all replies. #2 I have had this domain name for 5 years and have only got one low offer. But when I look at NameBio, it seems to me that Example1.com that sold for $5000 in 2018 and Example2.com that went for $3800 but in 2012 might be close comparators. Do you see those names as comparable in worth? Would you retail price my name mid $$$$, or is that too much or too little? I hope to get responses from as many experienced domainers as possible. Thank you for taking the time, even if you can just briefly respond. #3 I just acquired this 12 year aged domain name which is not yet listed. There are 450 businesses on OpenCorporates using the second keyword, but only 5 with the first term. I searched NameBio but have trouble finding any close comparator sale. Thanks for any insights on how I should retail price this name. I don’t mind holding it a number of years, so not looking for fast-flip or outbound pricing. Thanks so much! A Few Alternatives Here are a few alternatives to appraisal request formats. While there are downsides in posting a big list of names in one appraisal, since no one will carefully research them all, a moderate length list with a question such as which are the best 5 names on this list, or which 5 should I not renew, might be effective in getting good feedback. If you are mainly interested in pricing, consider having a poll as part off your appraisal thread. It is easier for many to vote in a poll than to write out an opinion. Consider ways to make your request so the time to respond is reasonable. For example, if looking for ideas for types of use, why not ask each respondent to give just one idea not yet suggested. It can sometimes be helpful posing your question as a comparison between two names, for example is the singular or plural better. Your Appraisal Is The Most Important Sometimes the constant barrage of social media in modern society can have us fall into the trap of depending too much on the opinions of others. Odds are, you have invested far more time in research on this domain name, considering comparator sales, looking at possible uses, competitive names available for sale or to register, etc. Don’t ignore the views of others, so appraisals definitely have a place, but keep in mind that most appraisers have probably spent only a few minutes considering the name. Also, they, like you, will bring certain biases into the appraisal, based on their own experience and circumstances. Incentives For Good Appraisals It takes time to provide a quality appraisal response. Ideally, the person providing the providing the appraisal should include a rationale. In fact, the Official Rules of NamePros require “All appraisals below $10 USD must include a unique and constructive explanation to support the assessment.” Most domain investors are busy with many things. It is not surprising that many requests result in few or no responses. Some of the above ideas may make it faster and more efficient to respond, but is there something NamePros can do to encourage more excellent appraisal responses? I don’t speak for NamePros, but wondered about the following as possibilities. List the members who have written appraisals obtaining the highest number of Thank votes. Feature the top few appraisals of the week. A badge to indicate consistent proficiency in appraisals. What other possibilities do you see to recognize and thank those who provide good appraisals? One thing any of us can do is to use the Thank button to acknowledge high quality appraisals. How Participation In Appraisals Can Help You Become A Better Domainer While spending time to give a considered appraisal will mainly benefit the person who asked for the appraisal, there can be benefits to the person giving the appraisal as well. It will help you get better appraising your own domain names. Seeing what others have written will give you new insights. Domain names you see seeking appraisals may trigger ideas for related domain names you can acquire. Knowing what other domain investors think can be important if you sell domain names at wholesale prices. Giving quality appraisals is one way to get noticed as a valuable member of the NamePros community, and that may open up other opportunities. Have Your Say I hope that many of you will provide your own views on how we can improve the appraisal process here in NamePros. Also, have you ever had an appraisal response that really made a difference with your success with a domain name. For example, were you encouraged to price a name higher than you had planned, and it sold at that price? Or someone in an appraisal gave you the confidence to keep a name, and it has now sold? If so, please share those anecdotes with us. Someone suggested after the previous appraisal article that there should be a poll on why people ask for appraisals. I have included the poll with this week’s post, and urge you to vote. Note that you can select more than a single response. Some like to use expert or crowd-based appraisals more than others. For those who do appreciate human appraisals, the NamePros domain appraisal system is both flexible and valuable. Special thanks to itssri for suggesting the poll that accompanies this article.