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Userlist Upgrades from .io to .com; Was it Worth the Purchase Price?

Userlist Upgrades from .io to .com; Was it Worth the Purchase Price?

There’s a really interesting startup called
Userlist that helps companies with the entire lifecycle of email to customers, from the
first welcome email, to all transactional emails, and even account termination. They recently migrated from the .io top-level
domain to .com, and there’s an excerpt of an interview I want to share with you. Hey everyone! Thank you so much for joining me on today’s
DNAcademy podcast. My name is Michael Cyger, and I’m here to
help you become a more profitable domain name investor and entrepreneur. On my run this morning I was listening to
one of my favorite podcasts called Startups for the Rest of Us, where host Rob Walling
helps entrepreneurs build, launch and grow their startups. There’s a link below, so if you’re into
startups and podcasts then I recommend you subscribe. Rob interviewed Jane Portman of Userlist,
a software-as-a-service company that helps businesses with customer lifecycle messaging. Userlist describes themselves as more efficient
than building an email lifecycle system yourself, and less complex than Intercom. There’s a small portion of the 30 minute
interview that I want to share with you, compliments of Rob Walling. Let me play it, and then I’m going to share
three lessons learned that every entrepreneur should make note of. Congratulations on You know, I still in the back of my mind,
I think of you as because you were for two years. But I think just recently you guys landed,
you dropped a couple thousand bucks on the .com? Quite a few. Yeah. And we’re absolutely excited about this. And we had doubts until the very last moment. But when we did buy it, and when we got out
to the community with the news, that it was an instant hit, were like, “yes, this is
so great!” That’s what I was going to ask was like,
as bootstrappers you know, it’s I think Benedict said you spent $2,000 or $3,000 on
the domain name – he mentioned it on his podcast. And obviously that’s an investment, you
know, when you said you had doubts right up until the end, where you’re just questioning
whether or not it be worth it and whether or not you should do it. We actually spent $4,000. And it’s definitely a lot for bootstrapper
budget. We have been on the negotiation curve for
like year and a half ever since, basically ever since our business started, and it felt
(like) the right moment that it was valuable enough for us. And we understood that user list really has
good traction now. And it was also good enough point for them
not to understand that we are super, super successful because otherwise it will be like
would probably go back up. We started negotiating at like $20,000, and
then met at $4,000. So yeah, we’ve been having doubts, but we
have never looked back ever since – that’s been such an emotional uplift for the whole
company. Yeah, that’s good. That’s nice to have those hard decisions…that
once you make them, you know you’re either going to feel terrible and be dragging them
along and second guess them, or you’re going to feel amazing and move on and know that
it was the right call and it’s so hard to know until you send that wire – you know
– or until you do that 301 redirect and now your you know, your domain is is all up. So I’m super stoked to hear that the right
call for you guys. Thank you. First, as an insider in the domain name industry
I wondered who owned it because it can affect asking price. In this case, it was owned by Uniregistry’s
founder, Frank Schilling, under his Name Administration Inc. holding company: Userlist Whois Prior Registrant I found this using domainIQ’s historical
whois service in the most recent record before it changed ownership to Userlist. While Name Administration typically prices
their domain names high, they can be reasonable as well. shows the original buy-it-now asking
price at $27,300, and Jane Portman said their verbal asking price was $20,000. Is it worth $20,000? In DNAcademy, we teach people to evaluate
a domain name based on characteristics, just like you would in physical real estate. How many bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage
of the lot, and things like that. Virtual real estate, or domain names, have
similar characteristics. We have a methodology called the DNAcademy
Valuation Worksheet, and I’m creating an automated version of it that’s in alpha
right now. Let’s take a look at using
the DNAcademy Valuation Worksheet tool. Again – I want to make this clear – this
is in alpha and not offered in the course. I can see right here that is
the domain name. If I camel case it, it separates it as two
words. It is a two word domain name three syllables
in the .com. It’s a 16 year old domain name first registered
in 2003. And its current registrar is Uniregistry,
estimated valuations on this tool. Estibot puts it in about $12,000. GoDaddy puts in about $2,000. And we teach the Modified Rosener equation
which applies to exact match domain names with exact match search volume and CPC. This domain name does not have those so we’re
going to disregard that one. It is classified as a real estate domain name
for some reason at by Estibot, which we get some data from the length is eight characters,
no hyphens, no numbers, the Google trend per user list over the past, you know, decade
has been pretty consistent. And here’s some more characteristics that
I find very interesting when evaluating domain names and brandable domain names. The number of TLD is registered I will go
to and I will look and you can see that there’s only five registered domain
names for That means that people haven’t found “userlist”
that worthwhile to registering other top level domain names. It’s often the characteristics that if it’s
registered in say, 200 or 300 domain names like a generic word, such as pyramid, then
it’s going to be much more valuable because there’s a larger pool of people that might
want to buy it. Live trademarks from, there
are no trademarks either exact match or broad match. I can go to LinkedIn, I’m probably going
to see the exact same thing but I do pull the number of companies worldwide that have
the word in their name and there are zero [or close to it] so “userlist” is not
a word that’s often used by companies to brand their companies and we and that’s
corroborated by the number of TLDs that are registered. However, if we go to we can
see there are about 1,100 domain names that have user list in their domain name. So it’s a popular brandable type of name,
you can see for $4,675. And you for $3,895. And so this gives you an idea of what a brandable
marketplaces going to price a two word brand level domain name like this for. And if we scroll down a little bit more I
pull some more data from Estibot, the exact match type in per day is zero or close to
it. There are only 480 searches… exact match
searches for “user list” as two words in Google. It does say that there’s a cost per click,
but then you really need to go over to Google and do a search for “user list” and see
if there are advertisers. In this case, there aren’t — I don’t
see any advertisers here. I’m going to go one more page into Google
to see if there are any on page two… and there aren’t so you can’t really trust,
you need to verify that search engine CPC. And then the number of pages in Google’s
index is is high for user list because it’s a common term… “how do I get a user list
of, you know, people that registered for my service or in WordPress” or what have you. So we can see that it’s a brandable domain
name, because it is two words that aren’t in the dictionary — the two individual words
are in the dictionary — but as a phrase, it’s not in the dictionary. It doesn’t have search volume or significant
search volume. So that puts it as a brand double domain name. In summary, I think is a great,
two word, easily pronounceable and memorable, brandable .com domain name. Brandable domain names like this typically
sell in a wide range for between $1,500 to $50,000, with the sweet spot of around $2,000
to $10,000 at brandable marketplaces like and So I think Userlist did great with their negotiation
and acquisition price. I look forward to learning more about Userlist,
and seeing if they might be able to help my companies in the future. Thank you so much for making the decision
to watch, read or listen to the DNAcademy blog. If you found benefit from this video or podcast
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there just go to, open it up in iTunes, click “Ratings and Reviews”
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see you in the next episode.


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