other What The Domain World Needs: Part 1

Spaceship Spaceship
We have many innovative and useful products and services in the domain world. But are there things that don’t currently exist that would have a significant impact on the productivity and success of domain investors?

That was the question that I posed a couple of weeks ago on NamePros What Does The Domain World Need? and on my Twitter feed.

In this article I have collated a number of the submitted ideas that struck me as particularly noteworthy or realistic. I urge readers to check out the entire set of ideas at the above links, and I will cover some of the others in the second part of this series.

Registrar-Based Listing at Domain Marketplaces

We all know what a pain it is to get your names listed at the main marketplaces, Afternic, Sedo and Dan, and to adjust prices periodically. @Enterscope suggested that it was high time to make it easy to set up and alter your listings right from the registrar:
It would be nice if you could set a buy-it-now price at the registrar level (like we do for nameserver settings) and the price would propagate through all marketplaces and registrars. That way you didn't have to update prices on all networks.

Many responded positively to this suggestion, and explicitly made it clear that it should include initial marketplace listings, authorization verification, and automated price updating.

Clearly the registrar would need to get authorization to essentially act as the agent for the domain owner in setting up sales listings. The registrar already has information on your domain names and you. The additional step would be to provide the registrar with information on your account name at each marketplace.

Jonny Beadle independently outlined a similar but slightly different idea. His proposal would operate independently of any one registrar:
One platform that you can link to every registrar and marketplace.
*Tracks Everything ~ expiry, costs, listings etc.
*Syncs + Pulls In New Names From Linked Registrars
*Lists Your Domains at the Linked Marketplaces.
*Update Pricing etc. Any Changes Sync With All Linked Accounts
Supposedly it would also automatically take down marketplace listings when domain names drop or are sold. BrandAim also proposed a similar type of service.

While current services like domain.io do automate some of this, there is not a product that seamlessly does everything proposed.

Buy Request Marketplace

Domain marketplaces, whether general purpose or brandable, operate as a listing of names for sale. Potential buyers browse or search the listings. But what if we flipped the process? That is what @NameFather suggested – a domain request portal or domain buyer marketplace.

A similar idea was proposed (see point 2) by @lovely4ever.

Someone needing a name would post a request. That would include a concise but clear description of the niche to be filled by the name, as well as any metrics such as allowed extensions, price range, type, length, etc.

The Domain Buyer Requests at NamePros operates as a buy request marketplace, but is geared primarily for wholesale purchasers.

SquadHelp Naming Contests include many of the features suggested, but respondents suggest names not yet registered, or those in premium listings at SquadHelp.

BrandBucket also have naming contests through their Brand New Name site.

What would be different here is that any registered name could be proposed. This flexibility also means that firm controls would need to be in place to prevent domain owners from spamming names that are of low quality or don’t meet criteria.

There are some buyer request oriented places in operation now, such as Brandmo, eNaming, the Buyer Request section at VIPbrokerage, and undoubtedly others. Buyer brokers also operate in this space.

Domain Broker Certification

Most agents or brokers have some sort of training and accreditation process. Think, for example, insurance, real estate and financial product agents and brokers. Domain names are valuable assets, with huge potential impacts on businesses, and yet we currently allow anyone to call themselves a domain broker.

@Braden Pollock made the suggestion that we need a ‘domain broker accreditation and certification association,’ and many supported the idea.

This would, I presume, only apply to those who sell or promote names on behalf of others. While there are many details to be worked out, such as what skills would be needed for accreditation and for retaining certification, and what ethical statement would be required, but I think the idea definitely merits consideration. The agents at the large marketplaces, like Afternic, do have training and standards in place now, as I understand it.

Smart Contract Escrow

Jimmy.xyz, DomanPunk, suggested that smart contracts be used to make escrow faster and automatic.
Escrow that is based on smart contracts. Once funds are received, perhaps in Bitcoin, the domain name releases automatically to the buyer.

Smart and Interactive AI Domain Name Marketplace Search

@DomainConcepts highlighted the need for a better search experience.

At the moment marketplaces offer fairly limited search capability, including category, specific terms and placement, extension, etc. It should be possible to do much better.

As @DomainConcepts explains,
What would really shake up domain trading would be to link the descriptions that sellers can already add themselves on some platforms to a powerful search engine employing AI.
Possibly even interactive: the potential buyer would enter keywords describing the business (nail studio Chicago) or intended use of the domain, but could also add other characteristics (e.g. "trendy", "highbrow", "radical", "high recognition", "risqué", etc.).
The search engine could spit out possible additions to the list of keywords that the searcher could either accept or reject, thereby iteratively refining the search. When the searcher got the feeling that the list was heading in the right direction, he could then prompt for a list of domain name suggestions. He could trawl through those, or if he felt they were on the wrong track, he could go back and refine the search further. Just like people do with Google. And just as Google does, the search engine would rank domains based on searchers' behaviour.

Bridges to Marketing Agencies

@TheBaldOne drew our attention to the lack of appreciation of domain names by most advertising and marketing agencies:
Personally I think the one aspect we need is something we as domainers cannot directly achieve by ourselves - getting advertising and marketing firms to actually look at domains as part of the cornerstone of campaigns for their clients.

Now if we could get those advertising and marketing agencies onboard with the use of domain names I think it would revolutionize the business and indeed see business sky rocket.

As noted, we can’t directly change this, but I think the more domain development success stories and trends, and novel approaches involving domain name utilization, in the general business press, the more interest we will see from agencies outside the domain world. I think domain name conferences need to do more to bring the marketing and advertising agencies, as well as the naming agencies, in as active participants.

Still Seeking Ideas

Hopefully we will see existing companies and startups move to implement some of the suggestions compiled in the concepts mentioned above. Thanks to those who proposed these ideas.

In part 2 of this series, I will cover some of the other ideas submitted, including other aspects of marketplaces, brokerages, record keeping, fractional ownership, auctions and more.

It is not too late to get your ideas in, either via the What Does The Domain World Need? discussion, or by simply posting a comment below.

A very sincere thanks to all who proposed ideas, whether included in this compilation or not.
The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
Thanks Bob and thanks to those who shared their ideas
AI Domain Name Marketplace =) - it maybe Future.
Algorithms will trade domains alone, I need to sell my domains before that time.
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Thanks Bob for an interesting read!
Respect to Bob for their curiosity and staying original.
Thank you for efforts sir . I wasn't aware about the BrandBucket's naming contest initiative.
Excellent useful writeup. Thank you very much Sir @Bob Hawkes. I missed your invitation message for Feedbacks, otherwise I would have suggested a few more "needs" as a Buyer.
Hopefully we will see existing companies and startups move to implement some of the suggestions compiled in the concepts mentioned...

Hopefully, but to date domainer dreams have been dashed by the reality that 'the industry' has yet to mature enough to attract much outside investment.

A tell-tale sign of domainer market immaturity is the Domain Name Tools market dwarfing the Domain Name Property market. This would be like the home supply business dwarfing the home property market.

Domainers still think, and act, like individual, frontier, property owners. The (name) neighborhood mentality, and market practices, that add considerable value to addresses, remains absent.
ICANN's 60-Days Lock must be shorter;

3 Days, 5 Days, 7 Days, 10 Days, 14 Days, 15 Days, 30 Days etc.

(60-Days Lock is a problem for domaining.)
No premium renewal should be a demand.

Shitty things.
registrars earn by registration-why premium renewal?!