Dynadot

Alter.com Marketplace

NameSilo

Deven Patel

Founder, Alter.com
Impact
990
Hi all,

I wanted to introduce a new premium domain marketplace we just launched called Alter. I would love to hear your thoughts! As the world’s largest community of domainers, your feedback would be invaluable.

Let me introduce myself. Although I’m new to NamePros, I’ve been around the block. I’ve been buying and selling domains for my own startup ideas for over 20 years. As a serial entrepreneur, I founded a number of startups across various industries like marketing, web hosting, social networking, blogging, and SaaS. This experience has helped me understand how indispensable a brand name is to a business.

Most new entrepreneurs don’t think twice about their company name. Our goal is to change that! A brand name literally has the power to make or break their business. This is more true today than ever before now that there are countless alternatives to every product or service imaginable. Sure, every business may have their own world-changing differentiator but from the outside they all look the same at which point the main differentiator ends up becoming their brand name. In a world full of distractions, we no longer have the attention span to thoroughly research what we buy so we rely on our emotions. This is why large businesses like Apple and Amazon spend billions on their “brand” alone because they understand that customer perception is everything.

Anyway, I noticed that most marketplaces that exist today are focused more on the seller rather than the buyer. Our goal is to reverse the equation and 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!

And what’s with the 30-35% commission rate most of these marketplaces are charging? Unless they’re doing more work than a human broker, I don’t think anything over the industry average of 15-20% is warranted. We’re changing that. Alter has one of the lowest rates in the industry, an all-inclusive 10% commission fee when a name sells. There are no other fees or restrictions.

What do you think? Are we on the right track or barking up the wrong tree?

Deven
This was a promoted post.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

capybara

capybara
Impact
1,260
When I type something in search and get results, and then I'm not satisfied with the results and want to adjust them with the filter, the search string is not there so I have to type it once again – it should go to the filter automatically when filter was called from the search results page.

Long names are not being displayed properly, cards are too small for them. Maybe an animation – sliding left and right – or at least display the full name on hover?

couldn't find a place to show all uppercase/lowercase versions of the name without affecting the aesthetics
You could at least put it into tooltips which appear on hover over the name, that wouldn't affect the design and there are some tooltips for a few things already...

So one more proof that syndication to Sedo/DAN is just for fun...
They add markup so one has to be silly to buy something there when you can check the landing page and see the better price... it adds some exposure at least, for highly searchable names its not bad.
 

Votumejero

Established Member
Impact
241
Hi @Deven Patel

I suspect that some bot/spider hits the toggleFavorite option.

Some days I see a lot of new favorites in a really short period. Not sure these are all humans...
Mine I never get favorites until the ones I got in the previous month(shows up mostly the same day) expires. Looks automated.
 
@Deven Patel I realize could ask this through service, but I suspect the answer is important to others.
  1. Am I correct that the syndication opt in is either all or nothing? i.e. you set it in account and all of your names are syndicated, or not. There is not a way to opt in or out on individual names? I am not asking for a change to your system, just making sure I am not missing something.
  2. If I have had syndication on, and added a number of names, and then later turn it off, do those domain names get delisted in the syndication network (after some propagation time), or does my selection only affect new listings after I change the preference?
Thank you very much.

Bob
 
Last edited:
Is Alter.com is the best place to sell .xyz Domains?
I would think that if the name is a brandable type of name, that it is a a good place.

Certainly the most successful seller of .xyz, @DNGear, has a number of recent 4 and 5 figure .xyz sales that she has publicly reported from Alter. She has it seems listed a large number of her names on Alter recently. I guess that i both good and bad for others selling names. She will help bring traffic that may spill over to your names. But she has a huge number of superb names, so the competition is now stiff on the platform if someone is browsing xyz.

Just my opinion. @Deven Patel or @DNGear may wish to add.

Personally, I have a small number of .xyz in my portfolio, but those that I feel would be good brands I do have listed at Alter as the landing site. I am glad that .xyz is now an option in the TLD choice box. The better .xyz names seem to get good traffic there.

Bob
 
Last edited:

Deven Patel

Founder, Alter.com
Impact
990
Thank you, yw. I guess this is the text you've Altered?

Either Alter or the buyer will pay for all domain renewal fees while the domain is held in escrow.

Still I think, some renewal fees for premium tiers may come as a huge surprise to the (LtO) buyer.

Yup, that's what we "altered". Is it too soon to add a new verb to the dictionary? ;)

So in cases where the buyer needs to pay for renewals, we would let them know before closing the transaction to prevent problems down the road. We have to handle this on a case-by-case basis based on the sale price and the renewal price so that we don't take a loss (i.e. we want to make sure the renewal cost only accounts for a small portion of our commission).

I would like the dashboard to have options to show 100, 250, 500 domains per page.

Noted. Thanks for the suggestion!

The installment option is nice to have but there should be a markup for utilizing installments, please add such option for sellers.

Can you please elaborate? To me the whole point of installments is to make the purchase affordable to buyers thus increasing your STR. As it stands now, sellers also get to keep all the past payments in case the buyer decides to cancel the plan. IMO, adding yet another barrier for buyers seems unnecessary because it could reduce STR.

And of course the ability to list using forwarding (with a TXT-record ownership confirmation), without having to use Alter's nameservers.

At this time we require all domains to be forwarded to our landing pages using our nameservers. This is because we spend a lot of money marketing your domains through PPC, SEO, social, retargeting, and much more. It wouldn't make sense for another marketplace to get the sale if one of our buyers ends up typing it into their browser and purchasing it elsewhere.

Though I'm curious, where would you prefer to point your domains and why? We already offer one of the lowest commission rates across the industry so why not use us as the "base" and list your names everywhere else too to get the broadest coverage?

I am going to have to agree with great post by @Bob Hawkes and add this— copy doesn’t sell domains. The domain sells the domain. You should have to explain NOTHING.

Correct me if I'm wrong but it seems like you're only considering buyers that have already decided which names they want, not the buyers who are still undecided.

The additional information on our lading pages won't make any difference to majority of the buyers who already have their heart set on your name and are going to buy it anyway (like they do on other marketplaces). However, it will help you reach even more buyers especially those that do need that additional push/convincing. So there's no downside to it, only a major upside.

Please remove "stylish logo included" when none is present on the lander.

The basic logo shown on the landers is still a logo that's provided to buyers if they choose to use it. Here are the three types of logos we offer:
  • Basic Logos: Created using our easy-to-use logo editor (free).
  • Professional Logos: Created by our professional designers ($5).
  • Uploaded Logos: Created by you based on your own vision (free).
Also, allow Paypal payments to fund account. I'm not keen on putting my cc info on sites anymore.

Noted. Also, I want to point out that we only store the last 4 digits of your credit card information on our platform. Everything else is stored and handled by our payment processor Stripe.

Lastly, when on the dashboard, searching the drop-down domain list, please show the asking price we have set and a means of adjusting it right on the page.

Noted. Thanks for the suggestion!

I'd also like to suggest being able to see immediately which domains domains have been visited through the marketplace without having to select every one of them and check. More info on traffic would also be beneficial, such as if the visits came through a ''similar domains'' section, or through a search on the marketplace or something else.

Any self respecting entrepreneur values good data and that would be good data.

Plus, I want to know if someone put a name in the BIN basket, if someone contacted them through chat or called about a name. This information is vital and the first marketplace that is willing to share it with the seller, will gain market share.

Noted. But for the most part, the challenge with what you want is simply that there isn't enough useful data available.

As I mentioned before, my last company offered analytics software to 300,000+ marketers so I understand exactly where data is useful and where it isn't. During that time I learned that most of the metrics people look at are typically vanity metrics that make us feel good but don't actually help us make any useful decisions.

The prime example of a vanity metric in the domain space is STR. There are so many different factors that individual sellers use for their portfolios that can impact STR (i.e. listings using Buy Now vs Make Offer, listings with reasonable prices vs those shooting the moon, category of the names, branded vs unbranded landers, customer service, personal relationships, etc, etc).

Similarly, even though we show you how many visitors came through type-in traffic vs our marketplace, this metric isn't 100% accurate for a number of reasons. The main reason being, since these are expensive products often purchased over a long time period, buyers often touch multiple marketing channels before finally making the purchase. And there just isn't enough accurate data available to track those points harmoniously.

For example, a buyer looking to buy a domain can easily (1) come through our marketplace using their desktop browser on day 1 then (2) type-in the domain in their mobile browser on day 4 then (3) see a retargeted ad on a random site and type-in a domain into a private browser window on day 10 then (3) see the domain on another marketplace and type-in the domain again in a different device on day 30, etc. In this case, our pie chart would show 1 marketplace visitor and 3 direct visitors for this particular buyer over the 30 day period and you wouldn't be able to accurately determine the effectiveness of each of those marketing channels.

Would you please consider adding TransferWise as one of the payment methods?

Noted. Thanks for the suggestion!

Add a seller comments box ( optional ) where seller can describe some information or similar sales records etc.....

Noted. Also, please note that you can write a short description for each name right now as long as you can fit it within 100 characters.

Consider, 1% discount offer ( bank pay )

Can you please elaborate? Note sure I understand the point of this.

Congratulations

You now changed all your top domains from alter nameservers to another registrar !!!


Can we know the difference between both , while alter already selling your domains on that registrar !!

I think you mean that this seller moved their inventory from Alter to another marketplace and would like to know why. From the little I was able to find out, it was because the other marketplace asked them to do so (not sure if they were incentivized). Regardless, the fact that the marketplace "poached" the seller away from Alter goes to show you how much other marketplaces rely on type-in traffic for their sales.

Today, I'm getting an abnormal amount of marketplace visits for a meh domain.

And this is only in 12 hours since midnight. The domain is nowhere on the front page or any of the sections. It even shows up low when I search for either of the keywords in it.

I would like to understand what is happening here.

That's interesting indeed. Can you please DM me the domain in question? We can try to compare that data with Google Analytics to see if there are any discrepancies. Also, as @Future Sensors mentioned, you can do this yourself too by setting up Google Analytics in your Alter account settings.

Is Alter.com is the best place to sell .xyz Domains?

We treat all extensions equally. I think the only reason you're hearing about our .xyz sales is because we recently had a seller who added ~20k .xyz domains to our marketplace which represented almost half of our inventory. And this seller is very vocal about their sales. But that doesn't mean other extensions don't sell.

Alter stats on DAN: 12 domains sold.
So one more proof that syndication to Sedo/DAN is just for fun...
Only GoDaddy matters.

That number is very inaccurate but you're right that Afternic/GoDaddy generates a lot of exposure. However, you shouldn't discount all the other marketplaces. Even if they only bring a very small number of buyers, that's still valuable traffic which could result in a sale. So I would personally recommend using the shotgun approach where you list your names at as many places as possible to target all available buyers.

Some insights.. we've syndicated 20k+ domains to our partners and so far ~5% of our sales came through them. To me, that's still valuable because without them a number of names wouldn't have sold. Point being, even though it's a small number, it's still a number that matters.

Just review WHOIS...
Most .xyz domains are transferred to GoDaddy, so GD Auctions or Afternic is enough.

That might be because GoDaddy has the largest marketshare in general. However, you can't discount buyers who use other registrars. In fact, we just sold a .xyz for five-figures last week where the buyer used Google Domains as their registrar.

When I type something in search and get results, and then I'm not satisfied with the results and want to adjust them with the filter, the search string is not there so I have to type it once again – it should go to the filter automatically when filter was called from the search results page.

It works for me. Can you please reach out to support with your OS/device/browser information so we can troubleshoot?

Long names are not being displayed properly, cards are too small for them. Maybe an animation – sliding left and right – or at least display the full name on hover?

You could at least put it into tooltips which appear on hover over the name, that wouldn't affect the design and there are some tooltips for a few things already...

Noted. Thanks for the suggestions!

They add markup so one has to be silly to buy something there when you can check the landing page and see the better price... it adds some exposure at least, for highly searchable names its not bad.

Yes, even very significant markup...
For example, $6.9K price will transform to $8,699 on Sedo, and it will be even higher with some MLS registrars (they also add own markup).

The only way to get rid of markups is for us to charge you a higher commission so that we can pay those partners from it. Is having no markups worth paying 30% commission to us?

Right now we simply tack on the partner's commission on top of the listing price so that you net the same amount as expected on Alter (i.e. if you list a domain for $1,000 on Alter and it sells on a partner marketplace then you'll still profit $900).

The main benefit of syndication is the convenience of not having to worry about dealing with different companies, updating prices across accounts, re-verifying domains, etc. A number of sellers asked for this so we implemented it. It also made sense because personally I'd rather spend that extra time finding new names to invest in rather than on maintaining existing inventory.

Based on our experience, a small difference in the pricing doesn't impact STR because domains are unique. It's no different than having Afternic or Sedo list on their MLS networks even though a lot of those registrars have markups.

Unlike 99% of products listed on Amazon, there can only be one owner of each domain. And when buyers want that specific domain they're not going to care about the 10-20% difference in pricing because they don't even know there's a difference (if they did, they would simply buy it from the marketplace that offered it for the cheapest in which case you still get that sale).

Anyway, we understand that everyone has their own opinion about this which is why we made syndication optional.

how long does it take domains to be listed on other market places?

Usually around 24-72 hours.

I suspect that some bot/spider hits the toggleFavorite option.

Some days I see a lot of new favorites in a really short period. Not sure these are all humans...

Can you please DM me an example of a domain where you see this behavior so we can troubleshoot? It could certainly be some random bot that our system hasn't caught yet.

Mine I never get favorites until the ones I got in the previous month(shows up mostly the same day) expires. Looks automated.

Not sure I understand what you're saying. Can you please clarify?

Too complicated life with Alter - if many domains...
To set all these keywords, ideas, categories etc. - because these fields are mandatory (can't be opted-out), and autogenerated values are very often not suitable/relevant.

This is what I'm finding with Squadhelp. Images that don't make sense and/or incorrect category placement that can't be removed.

Again, that information generated should be very broad so it won't impact your listings in any negative way. Any additional effort you invest into improving it will simply boost the probability of a sale but doing nothing won't hurt it. Think of that information is being no different than any other content on the rest of the landing pages. It's there to help that small number of buyers who need convincing but it won't hurt your chances with the majority of buyers who already have their hearts set on the name.

But if enough sellers want this disabled, we can certainly implement a feature that allows it. However, the question at that point becomes.. are you willing to lose potential buyers in return?

I realize could ask this through service, but I suspect the answer is important to others.
  1. Am I correct that the syndication opt in is either all or nothing? i.e. you set it in account and all of your names are syndicated, or not. There is not a way to opt in or out on individual names? I am not asking for a change to your system, just making sure I am not missing something.
  2. If I have had syndication on, and added a number of names, and then later turn it off, do those domain names get delisted in the syndication network (after some propagation time), or does my selection only affect new listings after I change the preference?
Thank you very much.

Bob

Great questions! Yes, syndication is all or nothing. We don't offer an option to toggle the setting for individual domains at this time. And yes, if you disable syndication at a later point, your existing names would be delisted from our partners within 24-72 hours.

If you do decide to disable syndication and list with our partners directly, I'd love to learn about your success rate after a few months if you don't mind sharing. As I mentioned above, we've syndicated 20k+ domains to our partners and so far ~5% of our sales came through them. So I'm wondering how that number changes, if at all, when you list directly presumably without the markup.
 
But if enough sellers want this disabled, we can certainly implement a feature that allows it. However, the question at that point becomes..

are you willing to lose potential buyers in return?
Yes. There's nothing worse than images or categories or descriptions that are incorrect and can't be removed/changed.
 

Deven Patel

Founder, Alter.com
Impact
990
Is Alter only for so-called "brandable" names?

No, you can list any domain. Alter brings the benefits of a brandable marketplace to all domains. Brandable vs non-brandable are just keywords coined by domainers. Buyers don't know the difference or care for that matter. Every name can be branded in the right hands.

Yes. There's nothing worse than images or categories or descriptions that are incorrect and can't be removed/changed.

It can be changed to whatever you want. And again, the auto generated information is very broad. It's applicable to virtually any name on the planet. Here's an example:

A flawless and marvelous name ready to brand. Perfect for business ideas like a digital solution, a corporate site, a mobile app, a web portal and more.

Have you used our platform yet? I get the impression that you haven't. :)
 
Last edited:
Are .io, .net, and .org domains given the same visibility as .com domains? Because when I visit Alter's dashboard I usually only see .com domains.

Thank you!
Deven can provide a more authoritative answer, but I think short, .com, that build on important sectors have an advantage, and the Alter homepage I too see only .com.

However, if you search on a topic, you readily find other extensions listed fairly high. For example, search for defi. For me at least as well as .com it shows .net, .network, .vc, .xyz and .co on page 1.

Most of my names don't get a ton of traffic, but I can confirm that some of the .co, .xyz, .net and .org, and other TLDs, do get traffic, including that from the marketplace.

Bob
 
Last edited:

Domain boy

Established Member
Impact
181
Deven can provide a more authoritative answer, but I think short, .com, that build on important sectors have an advantage, and the Alter homepage I too see only .com.

However, if you search on a topic, you readily find other extensions listed fairly high. For example, search for defi. For me at least as well as .com it shows .net, .network, .io, .xyz and .co on page 1.

Most of my names don't get a ton of traffic, but I can confirm that the .co and .xyz and some of the .net and .org do get traffic, including that from the marketplace.

Bob

Thank you Bob! Now it is much more clear. I will try to search by category as you said :xf.smile:
 
Partly you don't see .io names come up often, simply because relatively there are not many listed yet. I think there are just 56 on site, out of I think something over 32,000 names total. Not sure why that is. That could be an advantage to those listing .io names, if a buyer comes looking for an .io name, and looks through them all, your name will get seen.
 

Future Sensors

78% of human domainers will be replaced by robots
Impact
8,896
So in cases where the buyer needs to pay for renewals, we would let them know before closing the transaction to prevent problems down the road. We have to handle this on a case-by-case basis based on the sale price and the renewal price so that we don't take a loss (i.e. we want to make sure the renewal cost only accounts for a small portion of our commission).

Thank you @Deven Patel.

Sounds like a good plan to me. I realise that it's extra work to implement. You have to track domain renewal dates for special TLDs, which can sometimes occur rather quickly after a sale or LtO has taken place. You also have to know the estimated renewal prices (at the current registrar, and/or the registrar where your escrow account is). I guess you'll need some input from the domain owner as well, who is not always well informed about all these renewal prices.

Something for your TOS. If an LtO buyer (or Alter the company) renews an expensive (tier) ngTLD domain, and after a few months the buyer decides to terminate the LtO construction, will the buyer get a refund? I guess no, but it has to be clear for all parties involved.

In some cases high renewal amounts can be involved. One domain that I now refer to Alter is a .shop domain with a yearly renewal fee of USD 1,092, and this is at one of the lowest-cost registrars in town. Other registrars may charge even more for this. It's an exception in my portfolio, though.

Brainstorming. If the renewal date is soon in sight, you may disable LtO as an option.

Will all domains purchased via LtO go to the Alter Escrow account? When it's a transfer, this then already includes a 1Y renewal. Not with a push.

One final note. These matters are also relevant for domains that are purchased without LtO. The normal BIN sales. There may be high costs associated with a transfer for either buyer or Alter.

Good luck implementing this beast :xf.smile:
 

capybara

capybara
Impact
1,260
Can you please elaborate? To me the whole point of installments is to make the purchase affordable to buyers thus increasing your STR. As it stands now, sellers also get to keep all the past payments in case the buyer decides to cancel the plan. IMO, adding yet another barrier for buyers seems unnecessary because it could reduce STR.
If I have a name sold for $36K over 3 years via installments, the 12K received in the third year is going to have less value than $12K today.

Though I'm curious, where would you prefer to point your domains and why? We already offer one of the lowest commission rates across the industry so why not use us as the "base" and list your names everywhere else too to get the broadest coverage?
I like to monitor and analyze my traffic as well as for a few very special domains I want to have my custom email and possibly something on subdomains/subfolders as an extra promotion material while having the main page forwarding to the marketplace. Giving up my nameservers means giving up on all that.

This is because we spend a lot of money marketing your domains through PPC, SEO, social, retargeting, and much more.
This could be solved by automated checking whether the main page forwards to Alter or not, as long as it does, I believe the result should make no difference for Alter...

Can you please reach out to support with your OS/device/browser information so we can troubleshoot?
Will do.

Yes, syndication is all or nothing.
As I can see, the make offer domains are not being syndicated. Adding some other exceptions to that needs to be considered, for example Dan does not transact non-transferable domains registered with Sav, so should a sale of such domain happen on Dan, everyone involved – buyer, seller, Alter and Dan – would be nothing but troubled.
 
Last edited:
Top