I took sometime to chat with Reza Sardeha from DAN.com (an advertiser here) Reza gives us an update on 2020 so far and what the future holds for DAN and what customers can expect moving forward.
1) 2020 has been a challenge for everyone on the planet, how has DAN been affected by the pandemic?
Reza) We’re very grateful to be a player in the domain industry. Our business hasn’t been negatively impacted on any front ranging from revenue to productivity.
We’re growing between 20%-30% month over month since January and have been pushing quite some improvements. The only negative impact that we’ve noticed is that third parties we work with which are based in the US are slower.
We’ve for example set up a US entity so we can provide our US customers with a more efficient and better service, however, still haven’t been able to get everything wrapped up due to COVID-19.
2) How is the new markup model you rolled out in January doing?
Reza) The new Lease to Own service which has the markup model incorporated has generated $820k in additional revenue for our sellers last month only. We’re very happy with the results so far and encourage all sellers to give the model a try.
To give you an idea of how complex the design of the system was, when we were designing the service, we have even used the feedback of a marketing & sales psychologist to create the best converting for sale option offered on the market.
3) Last month you tweeted out some marketplace stats for the month which was well received. When do you expect this to be a regular monthly report?
Reza) After we’ve raised our Series A round we’ve started professionalizing our business operations and marketing is still one of the divisions that we have to expand and professionalize.
We’re not there yet but it’s on our to-do list to get better at communication and more frequent updates.
Our plan is to create a “state of the industry” overview page at DAN.COM in the near future where users can get insights about what’s happening in and outside our ecosystem.
4) When it comes to 5 figure sales, do more buyers hit the buy it now or opt for the payment plan?
Reza) We observe a steady flow of regular 5 figure BIN sales but a growing 5/6 figure transaction volume for domains that accept installments.
What we observe is that a new group of buyers that would never buy 5 figure domains before to now be able to afford one due to our payment plans.
So effectively we’ve been able to increase the pool of potential buyers that would engage on the secondary market for those domains and that’s something we’ve worked hard for since 2016 when we started offering installment payments.
5) Will DAN become a registrar one day?
Reza) We’ve mentioned wanting to become a consumer facing registrar for a while now. Even though we operate our own registrar for domain transactions for a while now, our team has started working on our consumer-facing registrar a couple of weeks ago and in 2020 we’ll start offering registrar services at DAN.COM.
It’s a crucial part of our mission to create the most liquid and frictionless domain market where we can provide buyers instant access to domains purchased and more.
6) I know back in 2016 there was once talk about domain auctions, any thoughts on that being implemented?
Reza) We used to organize domain auctions, so we have built a modern platform for it, however, auctions are not our focus at the moment since we believe that we can deliver more value on other fronts to our users.
7) Where do you see the future of domain name aftermarkets going? Consolidation, registrar accreditations etc…
Reza) I think we’ll see much more innovation on the aftermarket like DNWE.COM in the near future. DNWE for example has created a completely new market within an existing market which is super exciting!
The trend of the primary market (registrars) becoming less and less interesting for end-users to find a domain will continue as we hit peak domain registrations.
The aftermarket is becoming the primary market for end-users, however, there are a number of big issues in our industry that prevent our industry from making significant progress.
The aftermarket is too fragmented, causing an inefficient and illiquid market.
In order for the industry to mobilize significantly more efficiently, we need a truly open domain distribution network that doesn’t discriminate which domain inventory provider can or cannot use the network.
That’s why we’re working hard on building that network, with our transaction engine fully integrated into it and offering access to integrators via an extremely simple and modern API.
In the coming weeks, the first integrators will start using the network so this network is becoming a reality soon.
8) Can you talk about any upgrades, changes or new features DAN will be rolling out soon?
Reza) There’s so much going on:
1: we’re setting up a brokerage division to provide integrated buyer/seller brokerage support.
2: a very exciting partnership with Bodis is going live soon where we will start offering unique hybrid for sale pages so our users can monetize their traffic while maximizing their sales.
3: we’re launching our registrar as mentioned before and the first truly open distribution network of the domain industry.
4: we’re also working on a complete overhaul of our user interface to make the DAN experience even better for our buyers and seller. Hopefully, that can go live in Q4 of 2020.
Thank you for your time Reza and best of luck to DAN