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April 10, 2013

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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
updated daily
to fill you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry. 

The Lowdown is compiled by DN Journal Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.

Why Brandroot.com's Michael Rader is Banking on Brandable Domains

Generic domains tend to get most of the attention in this business. People naturally like category defining keyword domains like cars.com, insurance.com, computers.com, etc. because people searching for products or services frequently type in what they are looking for and add .com at the end. So when you base a business on a relevant generic word or term, odds are you are going to get a steady flow of traffic to your enterprise. 

Even so, when you look around the web, you see a lot of the most successful sites built on brandable domains - names that may not mean anything at all - but come to be associated with whatever product or service the successful site offers. 

.Com image from Bigstock

Google.com, Flickr.com, Digg.com, etc. are just a few examples of that. When companies decide to go that route they typically look for names that are short and, often from their sheer quirkiness, memorable

Since large companies often have their own creative teams to come up with cool brandable names, it can be harder for individual entrepreneurs to come up with names that are catchy enough to attract corporate buyers. That didn't stop San Diego's Michael Rader from deciding to focus entirely on brandable domains for his new business at Brandroot.com. In taking that path Rader joined an exclusive fraternity of domain sellers with barely a handful of members (one of the best known in that field is Domaining.com owner Francois Carrillo who runs an aptly named brandable domain sales platform at Catchy.com).  

Rader's slickly designed site and his toll free phone number (1-866-WE-BRAND) gives him the kind of professional look that would instill confidence in corporate buyers. He was able to build the site himself after studying design and web development in 

college. During his school years Rader also became fascinated with the processes and craft involved in naming enterprises. As a result, when he started registering domains he instantly gravitated to brandable names.

Rader started offering domains on eBay and was blown away when he got $120 for a domain he registered for under $10 - however he soon learned the same lesson countless other newcomers have learned the hard way. "I was soon fully engulfed in the mania, buying up hundreds of names I wrongfully perceived as valuable," Rader recalled. "I managed to get some money back by selling a few here and there but the past few years have been a long and expensive learning process for me. Still, all of it has helped me discover my niche and hone my skills."

Michael Rader
Founder, Brandroot.com

"Being the gung-ho creative that I am, I naturally fell for brandable domains," Rader said. "Their innate values, unique qualities and substantial potential for world prestige had me reeling. I started out by listing my brandable domains in other marketplaces. I soon set out to start my own after experiencing a lot of frustrations from them. Many of these marketplaces lacked usability, had very slow response times (in terms of support and the listing, selling and transfer process) and had such strict and rigid rules that reminded me too much of an online dictatorship."

"My ideal marketplace would be simple, it would be responsive and quick, it would have options instead of directives, and it would be an open and self-governing marketplace of strictly .com brandable domain names. And that is exactly what Brandroot is and continues to grow towards," Rader noted.

While Rader initially built the platform for his own domains, he now also accepts selected listings from other owners. "To keep Brandroot’s inventory fresh and valued we must review every name submitted to the site, which unfortunately results in a lot more rejected names than accepted. This includes names from my own portfolio as well," Rader said. "Only a small percentage of them make the cut for a Brandroot listing."

"Our company is very new, launching just a couple of month ago, and is being developed further every day," he added. "We ask anyone interested in submitting a name for consideration to use our contact form for now. Within a few months, domain owners will be able to open an account with Brandroot and experience a very smooth and thorough listing process. Once a domain is accepted it is Brandroot’s job to describe it and get it sold."


Money from computer image from Bigstock

Rader said Brandroot offers a variety of listing options ranging in cost from free to $75. Rader, who believes an accompanying logo dramatically helps boost sales said, "If a logo designer is needed for an accepted name, sellers will have the ability to specify a logo award amount ($100-$500) that will be added to the domains listing price and released to the designer only upon the sale of the domain. Brandroot will recommend a total listing price of the domain, which will include the logo award and a 30% commission that will be released to Brandroot upon the sale of the

domain. Essentially, the domainer will have the option to pay nothing to get listed. Monies are distributed only after a successful sale."

(Posted April 9, 2013)

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