BrandPa.com is a brandable domain name platform designed to help business owners name their business and obtain a quality dot com domain. The site includes domains from over 30 industries, including, tech, education, finance, and healthcare. Each domain comes with a matching logo and banners that help you visualize your brand on desktop, mobile and stationery. Founders Jowita and Oliver Emberton agreed to an interview with me.
Mike: Who is the founder or mastermind behind Brandpa.com?
Jowita: I had the original idea, but was busy running another company and didn’t think I had time to get it started. Oliver secretly built a prototype as a birthday present (with hindsight, maybe jewelry would have been easier!)
It’s come a long way since then. I head up the company, focusing on design and UX, and Oliver runs the technical side.
Mike: Where did the idea come from? Was there a feeling that there was a particular need for this service to solve a business problem?
We were both entrepreneurs, and used to create names for various side startups and side-projects. We were constantly facing the problem of “how do I get a good dot-com for this?”
We had both played around with name generators and domain auctions, but we found the experience very frustrating. We only ever wanted the dot-com, which of course is usually taken. Prices were hidden or unreasonable, sellers could be hard or impossible to reach.
Over time we got pretty good at making up our own dot-coms, and we sold a few of our names to other people. That gave me the idea that maybe you could turn that into a repeatable solution for others.
Mike: The video on your site says that all the domains are curated by marketing experts. What exactly does that mean?
Jowita: When we started, every single domain was evaluated by hand. That sounded like a great idea, until we were receiving thousands of domains a week. It took us longer and longer to get back to people.
So eventually we automated our submissions process. We now have an AI automatically appraise domains, giving them a guide valuation and likelihood of selling, based on past data and recent trends. We automatically prohibit some listings, but the majority are allowed.
However we still manually assess every name. It’s just now we check them after they’ve been submitted, and even after they’re listed. We add our own text, keywords, and expert assessment to ensure that the best names get the most attention, and are featured in the key areas of our store.
The advantage of this approach is you can list a domain name quickly, but our buyers still get the superior shopping experience of a curated store.
Mike: How does Brandpa differentiate from other brandable domain name platform?
Jowita: You can list a domain name for free on Brandpa in a few minutes, and get what we believe is the best domain landing page in the business: beautiful, appealing, and highly optimised for conversion.
For $5, we offer premium listings which come with a hand-designed logo and 3D renders of how it could be used. We give our sellers the ability to chat directly with their logo designer during the process, and you can usually have a design done within a day.
Unlike other platforms you have almost total control over pricing, design, and keywords. We impose some limits to stop abuse (e.g. you can’t change the price during a negotiation). You can list your domains on other marketplaces, and remove your domains at any time.
Generally Brandpa has a very strong focus on making a great user experience. Our buyers and sellers both compliment us on this. We aim to be the easiest place for a buyer or seller to do business. We also provide live analytics for every domain, automatic Facebook and Google advertising for Premium domains, and a calendar that shows you when your domains expire so you can plan what to do with them.
Mike: Your site mentions a sell through rate of 6.6%. Can you explain what that means and how it compares to the industry average?
Jowita: STR stands for Sell-Through-Rate, and is the percentage of domains that you would expect to sell within one calendar year.
We’ve never seen definitive figures for what the industry average is, but most of the discussions we’ve seen suggest around 0.5 – 2%.
Brandpa’s 6.6% figure is from a few years ago, and we don’t disclose overall figures now. They have gone down since because we allow people to add almost any domains they want.
We can say that our best sellers have STRs in excess of 10%, and have done for years. We suggest beginners are more likely to achieve 1 – 3% in their first year, and 5 – 10% is very good. We see many domains that are virtually guaranteed to sell, but which may need a few years to find the right buyer for the desired price. It depends a lot on the nature of your portfolio.
Mike: You only sell dot com names. Do you feel you are ruling out any other quality names that could be considered, especially with the almost endless list of gTLDs?
Jowita: We’ve experimented with other TLDs and gTLDS in the past. If you look hard enough, you can find a few on Brandpa. But some years ago, we decided to stop accepting anything but dot-coms.
We continuously survey and talk to our customers. Many people contact us and ask us to help them find a domain. In nearly all cases, they only want a dot-com. Even if you ignore what they say, our sales figures show that dot-coms massively outsell and out-value other extensions.
For now at least, we’ve chosen to focus on dot-coms. It keeps our proposition simple, and gives our customers what they want.
Mike: Are there any domaining tips you’d like to share with the readers?
Jowita: We’ll answer this from the perspective of what sells on Brandpa, there are many other ways to making domaining work for you:
- Cheaper isn’t always better – for us, domains priced between $4,000 – $10,000 are more likely to sell than domains priced between $3,000 – $4,000. Of course, they tend to be rarer, and better names.
- 6-letter domains are most likely to sell – closely followed by 4, 5, and 6 letter domains. A 14-letter domain is 1/6th as likely to sell as a 6-letter domain.
- Single-syllable domains are very likely to sell, being 50% more likely to sell than two-syllable names, twice as likely to sell as a 3-syllable domain, and 9 times more likely to sell than a 6-syllable domain.
- Shorter names command a massive premium, with 4-letter domains selling for an average of 4 times as much as 5-letter domains.
- The average domain takes 1.5 years to sell.
- Roughly half as many sales happen on a weekend as do on a normal weekday.
We recommend looking at places like our testimonials page, to see lists of the kinds of domains that are selling. Time and time again we’ve seen our best sellers are people who are consistently good at choosing what domains to buy and hold. Other skills, like optimising keywords, make far less of a difference than just having a domain that people will want.