I have written a number of times about selling on BrandBucket and selling BrandBucket accepted names on Namepros.
At the end of September I wrote an article on how the wholesale market was in the dumps on Namepros.
This came about for a few reasons, first of which was the novelty wore off. When the first members started selling BB accepted names in 2015 not as many people had tried BrandBucket. Those who were trying BrandBucket were frustrated by a low acceptance rate. Some people are just better at coming up with invented brandables.
So the opportunity to purchase names that were already accepted was a time saver. Of course people would be paying more than a hand reg for the names but they were happy to know they were already accepted. Acceptance there, like everywhere else in life, is in high demand.
Another reason why prices have come down in the wholesale market is because of $1.99 .com specials. NetFirms/Domain.com etc… have run promotions that have fueled speculation in brandable registrations. Register a bunch of names for $1.99, submit to BrandBucket and then list on Namepros.
With a lot more names being approved and in the opinion of some, lacking standard BrandBucket quality, people are fine with getting $10 to $15 for their $1.99 investment.
BrandBucket names listed on Namepros have also opened the door for potential conflicts. Take the case of SchoolPanda.com which I wrote about at the time.
Doron Vermaat was auctioning off a large chunk of his BB portfolio when, “Congrats SchoolPanda.com has been sold.” Now what ? This caused Namepros to clarify new auction rules for when a domain could potentially sell somewhere else while being auctioned on Namepros.
So now BrandBucket is changing the rules, they created an account in good standing designation
BrandBucket published some FAQ’s in the seller dashboard.
Q:I’ve heard about accounts needing to be in “Good Standing” to have access to certain benefits and features. What does that mean?
A:Our active and committed sellers do two things successfully: 1) publish their domains that are submitted and approved, and 2) keep their domains at BrandBucket. The last two circles on the dashboard reflect these statistics. You need to have an A or B score in BOTH of these circles to be in “Good Standing”.
Q:What benefits do I get for being in “Good Standing”?
A:You can join our private chat community on Slack, and you can trade domains (buy and sell) with other sellers on the BrandBucket platform. More perks and benefits are planned for the future.
Q:Why am I being penalized for removing my names?
A:You are not being penalized, but instead we are rewarding our active and committed sellers. We want you to keep your domains on BrandBucket as long as possible—patience is key when selling brandable names.
I call bullshit on number 3, they are penalizing members. If every member prior to this announcement, could sell their domains for wholesale, and you never gave any warnings that removing names might affect that ability in the future, then guess what ? You are penalizing members. Spin it anyway you like.
It doesn’t make sense to penalize the removal of accepted domains that were removed before this actually came to be considered “abuse”. If this metric is going to be used, I think no domains removed before BrandBucket “officially” started to consider it abuse should be counted. It would be better to “reset” every account to 0 (e.g. “good standing”/A), and then start calculating from the day this system was introduced, which I guess would be the day the dashboard score system was introduced. At least then sellers would only be held accountable for behavior that BB has explicitly said they don’t approve of, and that would be a more logical way to deal with this.
The current system does not do anything to discourage resellers of published names, since such sellers do not remove/drop domains, they simply push them to other accounts, which does not impact your two bottom right corner scores negatively. I also think it’s important for BB to take into consideration that, when the BB reseller market on NP first appeared in 2015, there was a lot of discussion about whether or not this violated BrandBucket’s TOS. BrandBucket came out and approved of the reselling of BB domains on NamePros, and even introduced an account push function to facilitate the reseller market. Now they have backtracked on this position, and considers it an abuse of their system.
That’s understandable (it never made sense to me that they approved this practice in the first place), but instead of holding sellers accountable for what turned out to be their own unfortunate decision (by going back and punishing seller’s behaviour that at the time was fully accepted by BB), it would be better for them to just owe up to the fact that they themselves allowed for these various “abuses” of the system, such as allowing the BB reseller market to flourish.
Implementing new regulations now that they have understood that this was a bad idea that led to what they now consider an abuse of their system is fine. But penalizing actions that were previously endorsed by them does not make any sense, and they should only penalize sellers starting from the day they clearly declared that such actions were considered a form of abuse (or just do away with the entire reseller market for a simpler fix – that would also do away for the need to “score and rank” sellers, and penalize/reward them accordingly).
Lastly, the way the scores are calculated is really strict. If you remove more than 50% of your accepted names, then yes you are probably abusing the system. However, under the current system, it looks like if your removed accepted names make up somewhere between 6-8% of your whole portfolio, your account is already considered to be in bad standing (C score or below).
My account has been vacillating between C/D score, so I’m just extrapolating that 6-8% is when you first enter bad standing territory. Removing less than 10-20% of accepted names does not strike me as “abuse” at all. They can’t expect sellers to agree with 95% of their appraisals/suggested prices.
I’ve removed lots of names for this reason, and just half a day ago I sold a name that I recently removed from my to do list (for close to twice as much the BB suggested price). I would surely have published that name with BB if their suggested price had been double of what they actually suggested, but I was not interested at the price level they suggested.
Since sellers are not allowed to set their own prices for domains, besides a 20% increase/decrease, removing accepted names due to price disagreements should probably not be considered “abusing” the system.
To be clear BrandBucket allowed the selling of names on Namepros, they could have easily shut it down immediately. When the practice first started there were members who did not like it and contacted BrandBucket. I emailed Michael Krell and asked him if this wholesale selling was allowed, Michael told me it was allowed.
Now if BrandBucket wants to change things, I understand, but in my opinion the scoring should start from the time frame you implemented the new “good standing” designation.
Keith DeBoer explained the BrandBucket point of view, which makes sense to me, I just believe the retroactive nature is the flaw.
What BB wants to do is discourage abuse of their system. There are some sellers (not you or Arca of course) who are using BB as a free appraisal service so they can make money reselling approved (and unpublished) names.
Over the past few years thousands of brandables have been accepted by BB and never published. This is wasting time and resources that BB could put towards selling our BB listed names.
This abuse of the system also creates an invitation for end users (our customers) to enter the aftermarket and purchase BB curated names at wholesale prices. That is not good for BB or us.
The rating system BB has implemented is intended to 1) acknowledge those sellers who are acting in good faith and publishing most or all of their accepted names and 2) discourage those that are abusing the system at our expense.
Admittedly the system is imperfect and feedback from people like you and Arca etc. is going to help and refine and improve it over time.
Since the BB staff are not active on NPs, the best way to give feedback is via the BB Feedback channel on Slack or via their troubleshooting email: email@example.com
Thanks for your help!
I look at my dashboard and here are my stats:
When you put your cursor over a circle there is alt text. For my last circle it says, You’ve removed quite a few names. Please talk to us how to improve this number.
8.33 is a lot ? So if I scored a 91.67 on a test, my teacher would say “Raymond you got quite a few answers wrong.” I don’t think so.
So when I first got the email on Inteleca.com which I posted about here, I asked BB to remove 4 other names. Now to be fair my number probably shouldn’t be 8.33 because I think Inteleca.com was included in the score, to be fair the 30 days is not up on any of the names, so I have actually had no names removed yet.
So because of that, names that I want to sell on Namepros will not be allowed. I cannot push the names to the new BrandBucket member.
Another thing that just continues to divide the brandable community, you see people reminding people in the BrandBucket experience thread that they are on their ignore list.
You also cannot belong to the BrandBucket Slack community if you are not in good standing, so it looks like the schism will just widen.
I woke up today to an email from a reader about this issue.
The email was short and succinct, subject line: brand bucket, message: “I loathe these people at brand bucket.”
Personally I like Margot Bushnaq and Michael Krell, I just think this thing might be getting away from them. One Namepros member insinuated that sellers are the least important part of the equation, that BrandBucket, meaning Boxador and Michael Krell have plenty of their own inventory, and that plenty of new sellers would be there to replace the disgruntled sellers.
I have always believed don’t charge people if they are inconsequential, secondly there is not a line of new sellers looking to replace old sellers. I believe there might be a trickle but no one is beating down that door anymore.
I would also argue that if you think your inventory is that great, you would be a fool to invite competition into your bed. I think it’s an equal proposition, sellers and BB walk on equal footing, people are willing to disagree, that’s fine. BB loves those fees and commissions.
So not sure where many sellers will go from here, no access to the wholesale market probably means plenty will just abandon BrandBucket.