Appraiso Is Here: Follow Our Startup Journey Leading To Launch + How To Win An Appraiso T-Shirt

I could not be more excited to announce a new software company that has been going non-stop for over a year now and finally becomes available to the public today! Over a year ago Daina (my fiancé) and I put our heads-together to find a better solution for evaluating the price of a developed domain.

Morgan and Daina - Appraiso

We had used tons of different tools online but none took-into account the business metrics, past sales values, and market conditions. They all just made some random calculation, usually based on Alexa data. With Flippa doing tens of millions of dollars a year in website sales there was a real market here, but no way for people to accurately assess the value of their sites.

Initially we thought it would take the two of us six-months to build, a few months in we realized this was a much bigger project, in fact this really was a real company and we needed to bring-on a third person. We added one of the most talented developers on the planet who is an expert at dealing with all the complexities of building a platform like ours. He has extensive experience building some of the most robust scalable platforms out there so was a natural fit.

We followed the Lean Startup principles and didn’t build anything until we surveyed our customers and understood the market. Focusing on customer development since the beginning has been critical for us. From determining if there is a need for our solution to finding the right pricing models, real people have been giving feedback every step of the way.

So what makes Appraiso special and why did it take over a year to build?

Both Daina and myself studied engineering in University and have extensive experience designing algorithms. In particular, Daina has experience with large data-set analysis and mathematical modeling through your years pursuing research at the University of Toronto, Harvard, MIT and now UCLA. This background makes her an incredible fit for this project. When you’re building an appraisal system you need to have firm data and mathematical models behind what you do.

It took the two of us three months committing twenty hours a week to get the first rev of the algorithm done. I’ll be honest when I say that most of the algorithm is Daina, she is the real brains behind Appraiso, or literally, Appraiso’s brain. We continued to test our algorithm looking at real live sales and tuning it, constantly re-evaluating and perfecting.

Appraiso Site

By the summer we had finished the appraisal algorithm and were ready to start building the API, which we wanted to have available at the same time as the public release. Companies often wait a year or sometimes 3-4 before releasing an API, we felt that integrating this into other platforms would be incredibly valuable out of the gate. It took more time, added a lot of complexity (building an API isn’t easy), but we felt it was the right thing to do.

In one of our surveys we also saw some interesting data – while website investors definitely wanted an appraisal tool, they were very concerned about scams. What if our tool appraised a website at $5,000 and the data given turned-out to be a scam?

Once again we decided if we were going to build this platform, let’s do it right and take the time. The scam detection system took another six-months to build and perfect, and much like the API, wasn’t necessary for version one, but was something we felt would really appeal to our users, so we built it.

We’ve spent literally thousands of hours, pulling all-nighters, driving back-and-forth to Santa Barbara, and enjoying our favorite Thai Food in the middle of an intense planning session. It’s been an incredible journey and we know that we are still at the very beginning!

What is Appraiso’s connection to Estibot?

I have been using Estibot for years and think it is absolutely the best tool for appraising domain names. When we built Appraiso we knew it was meant just for websites and that is where we put our focus, we also knew there was a great solution for domain evaluation already out there.

Estibot Logo

So we forged a partnership with Estibot and provide their domain value along with our website value so you can see the aggregate value of your online property. This means you can view the value of your domain, the value of your website, and the combined value all in one place.

When the most trusted name in domain appraisals gets together with the most trusted name in website appraisals it really is a match made in heaven!

So why use Appraiso?

Appraiso is intended for two types of people; people who buy websites (or revenue generating domains), and people who sell websites (or revenue generating domains). I will go through the advantages for each of these customers based on the pain points real buyers and sellers expressed to us:

  • Website/Domain Buyers – people who buy websites have nowhere to go to get a real estimate for how much a website is worth. Is a seller pricing their website ridiculously high or is it underpriced and a great deal? On top of that they don’t want to get scammed so would love someone to look over their shoulder and make sure they don’t fall for a potential scam. Appraiso helps this buyer avoid scams while also better understanding how much to pay for a domain or website. They can get some great estimates of future value as well simply by augmenting the revenue, profit, or traffic and seeing how this changes the value of the site.
  • Website/Domain Sellers – one of our beta customers closed a large deal using Appraiso, and it was still not publicly available! Appraiso will help domain and website owners that have revenue or traffic generating properties close bigger deals. Whether you have a parked domain making $100/month or a developed site making $1,000/month Appraiso can show potential buyers the real value of your developed property. Not only that, Appraiso can also be used for projections. A seller can demonstrate to the potential buyer the increased value if the buyer was to develop a website with particular traffic and revenue characteristics.

In the past I have focused on multiple projects at once, this year Appraiso is my main focus while my very talented team is running our 220+ web businesses. Between the three of us we’re working around the clock and still pulling all-nighters, complete with Thai Food and some Death Cab For Cutie rocking in the background.

The project known as Xelot has now become the software company known as Appraiso. We are delighted to hear your feedback, good or bad, and look forward to helping investors buy with confidence and close bigger deals!

At the top of the post I mentioned that you would also learn how to nab a cool, limited edition Appraiso T-Shirt. We made a batch of 100 shirts that we will never be making in the same style again. We gave-out a ton of shirts to the awesome members of the Southern California Domainer Group last month, and now we’re ready to give some away to you!

We will be giving away two shirts, each of course with free shipping and another little surprise from us that you’ll see when you get it! To win simply retweet this post and then comment below that you’ve retweeted it. We will announce the winners this Friday!

{ 13 comments… add one }

  • Brian Diener March 5, 2012, 8:01 pm

    Tweeted! This is going to be great, I tested it today looks great, its been so great to watch this project grow!

    Reply
  • Mircea @ MyTestBox.com March 5, 2012, 8:38 pm

    Why you have to ask people to register in order to use the service?

    Reply
    • Morgan Linton March 6, 2012, 1:21 pm

      Hi Mircea,

      This is a question we discussed for months and consulted with our advisors. In the end we felt it was important to have people register but there definitely is no right or wrong way to do it.

      Reply
  • Big Ticket Names March 5, 2012, 9:07 pm

    just retweeted.. Thanks for making this product happen.. eager to use

    Reply
    • Morgan Linton March 6, 2012, 1:20 pm

      Thank you for the RT – really looking forward to your feedback!

      Reply
  • BullShitWebsites March 5, 2012, 9:21 pm

    Are those t-shirts made in USA?

    Reply
  • Richard Knight March 6, 2012, 12:35 am

    Just retweeted the post. Great service only used it once so far but looking very good.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Morgan Linton March 6, 2012, 1:19 pm

      Fantastic – thank you so much Richard! Looking forward to more feedback as you use it more and close some bigger deals!

      Reply
  • Jeff Matthews March 6, 2012, 11:57 am

    What about your weekly “development” drop news. I haven’t seen that in a while.

    Reply
    • Morgan Linton March 6, 2012, 1:19 pm

      Hi Jeff! I actually did a post a while back indicating that this is being added to my newsletter. It was too time-consuming for me to do this on a weekly basis so it will be available monthly to my newsletter subscribers. Thanks for checking-in, we should have a great batch for March!

      Reply
  • Aladdin Domains March 7, 2012, 1:30 am

    Wishing you both every success with Appraiso, guys! Many many congratulations and hats-off to your incredible commitment to the project.
    Paul.
    oh yes, it’s been retweeted alright!

    Reply
  • Jim March 7, 2012, 2:28 am

    Morgan and Daina, 

    Bravo!  Best wishes.  I’m looking forward to utilizing the tool.

    Reply
  • Cate.TV March 7, 2012, 8:15 pm

    Congrats Morgan and Daina!  

    You two are true professionals 🙂 Know that the Appraiso for the Appraiso team will be immeasurable 🙂 Retweet done 🙂

    Reply

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