BrandBucket vs. Squadhelp – which is better for domain investors?

BrandBucket vs. Squadhelp

Earlier this week I received an email from a blog reader, she said she’s new to domain investing and wanted to list some of her domains for sale on a marketplace but didn’t know the differences between BrandBucket and Squadhelp. I responded letting her know that I’m far from being an expert when it comes to either of these marketplaces but that it’s probably a good question for my blog readers, hence this post.

At a high level I can share a few differences between the two marketplaces and then I’m hoping readers that have used either or both can share more about their own experiences. Also just to be clear, neither BrandBucket or Squadhelp is a sponsor of this blog so I’m not going to make a penny if you decide to you one or the other, or neither!

Okay so let’s dive in and talk about the little that I do know about these marketplaces. For me the core differences for Domainers has to do with a few key factors:

  1. How long it takes for domains to be approved and added to the marketplaces
  2. Number of eyeballs that marketplaces sends to your domains
  3. Commission you owe if a domain sells

Let’s start with #1, how long it takes for domains to be approved on each marketplace. This is one thing I do know a little bit about, BrandBucket takes a month or longer, Squadhelp is quite a bit faster and you can get names approved in a matter of days. I’m not sure if it matters that much how quickly your names get on a marketplace since domain sales is a bit of a long game so an extra month probably isn’t going to hurt you too much.

That being said, I do think BrandBucket can be a bit pickier about which names make the cut which means you could wait a month or longer just to find out none of your names quality. Squadhelp is faster and does let more names in which could be seen as a good thing or a bad thing. All that being said, I don’t think there’s a clear winner here where you could say one does it better than another, there’s a balance and both has a little different approach.

Onto #2, the number of eyeballs you’ll get. This one I really don’t know the answer to but I decided to pop over to Alexa to see what they say, and here’s the comparison:

BrandBucket

BrandBucket Alexa Rank

SquadHelp

As you may or may not know, when it comes to Alexa, anything under 100,000 is pretty darn good, under 25,000 is great and under 10,000 is stellar. Both sites have a sub-10,000 Alexa rank so they’re both doing pretty darn good. Once again, probably nothing conclusive here to drive you in one direction or the other, both sites have low Alexa ranks and likely see quite a bit of traffic. In the US specifically they have almost the exact same Alexa rank so if you’re looking at US traffic they likely have very similar traffic metrics.

Now last but not least, the all important question – commission. BrandBucket charges commission on a sliding scale, see below:

30% for names below $10,000 USD
25% for names between $10,000 USD and $50,000 USD
20% for names between $50,000 USD and $100,000 USD
15% for names above $100,000 USD

Squadhelp also follows a sliding scale with a 5% higher commission for seller owned names below $2,499:

Overall it seems like if you’re selling domains in the $75k – $100k range you’ll save 5% in commission with Squadhelp, but domains in the sub $2,500 range will save 5% commission with BrandBucket, outside of that the commission plans are relatively similar.

After the light analysis I did here I don’t see anything that should sway someone in one direction or the other, they both seem pretty comparable when it comes to traffic and commission and while waiting longer to get a name approved on BrandBucket might but some people, like I said above, I think that’s a non-issue esp when you balance it with what is probably a bit more rigorous approval criteria.

So now let’s get to the useful stuff since everything I provided you might be helpful info to have, but might not aid you too much in picking one vs. another. This is where you my reader come in – which marketplace do you prefer and why? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Steven Andersen June 11, 2021, 5:54 pm

    I have names on both SquadHelp and BrandBucket. I have only been doing domains for just under 1.5 years and had my first BrandBucket sale occurred March last year, a five figure sale, the remaining sales have all been 4 figure sales. Since my first sale I have sold a total of 10 names on the platform.

    Squadhelp I have only had 1 sale and it actually occurred via, Afternic. Squadhelp allows you to request permission to list names reviewed with a coin on Afternic. If it sells via Afternic you pay commission to Afternic as normal, but owe SquadHelp the difference between what the commission would have been on their platform less the commission paid Afternic, but in all cases you will owe them a minimum of %5 percent.

    I started on BrandBucket and never really put much effort on SquadHelp. BrandBucket seemed to be working so I stayed on that platform. Overtime as review times have grown to almost 5 weeks now and it takes an additional 3 weeks to get editorial and logo’s done (And I already had a couple hundred names in the review pipeline) I made the decision to at least give SquadHelp a try and see if I could get to the Platinum level by end of summer. (I currently had 102 names on platform a lot of which or 4L.com’s). I started last week submitting names to SquadHelp, in two weeks I have had 63 approved now, and hopefully will get a few more with submissions that are currently in review. I have logos already in place on several of these new listings and I opted to pay for the professional classification to be done, for which many have been done already. All in all I am extremely pleased with the efficiency of the process and will definitely keep submitting names here.

    Both SquadHelp and BrandBucket syndicate your names to SEDO, and if they sale there you owe no other commission other than BB or SH commission you have agreed to. SH also syndicates names on its platform to Flippa. Only SH currently allows listings to be placed on Afternic with permission.

    BrandBucket caters strongly to the Venture Capital, Startup / Technology / and companies you might find on CrunchBase, while also catering to every day business. While SH help might cater to all of these to they tend to cater more to smaller type companies in my opinion.

    BrandBucket I think is great for new Domainers especially when they are not sure how to price names. If new to domaining pricing is one of the hardest things to get good at, over time you get a good feel for it. Brandbucket sets the range not necessarily for maximum sales potential you could possibly get, but at a rate, that will get a good price and still allow for a good velocity of sales. If you don’t agree with pricing they offer you can always request to have it adjusted and are free not to list on site if you can come to a mutually agree able price. I have had many names they gave better prices than I would have ever listed a name for myself and they have had a few I felt were low. Most I was able to work out with them an a few I chose not to list.

    SquadHelp on the other hand you have to pick your price and if you go too low they will happily list it lower than it should be. If you go too high they will slice some off before they approve. SquadHelp does give you flexibility to adjust prices up / down with a range dependent on your seller tier level. You can also request a review from SquadHelp if you disagree with price. But it will take months to get a reply generally. While BrandBucket creates logos and editorial for names making it on the platform, SquadHelp leaves the editorial part up to you. This is a plus or a minus depending on how you view it. If this is not your thing, it is a pain and luckily they have expert creatives that earn money doing this for you. There are two options to have it done one is $1 and other $2. If you do like having this flexibility to control your own listings, you have many options. Squadhelp also has a few other great things. The ability to use Google Sheets to update prices, categories, keywords etc. This is so great I wish all market places including Afternic would create this level of integration.

    SquadHelp also has a library of visual images it uses AI to assign to your domains if you elect, so possible buyers can not only see name in logo format but also overlaid over a visual image. Its AI and not perfect so if an image does’t fit your name you can always change it manually. If an image you want is not available you can use your own royalty free image also. SquadHelp excels at being much more than a market place. There are many contest held by people looking for business name, tag line logos, etc. You can register to compete in these if they are your thing and earn money. But most domainers probably don’t bother, but on the other hand, you can allow your names to be submitted by other creatives to these contests increasing you likelihood of a possible sale. You can further encourage your names to be put into contest by others by offering a 5% to Max $300 bonus to creative if name is submitted by them to a contest and sold to the contest holder. So its really a marketplace with the opportunity to have a lot of people pushing your names to people looking to buy names. There is one of the top sellers on SquadHelp, that has sold over a domain a day the month of June so far. This is impressive, to be fair he has around 7500 names on the platform, but still getting these kinds of sales is astounding.

    Search on both platforms. Let’s face it do you really need a Brand Market place to sell brandable names. Not really you see them selling all the time on Afternic, Dan, and SEDO… So why then do domainers elect to sell names on a BrandMarket place with higher commissions. I would say its for name exposure. Brandables in generally get low type-in traffic generally, not always but generally it is fairly low. BrandMarkets do and excellent job and making these names easily identifiably to possible buyers. The reality is probably less that one 1% of the buyers every use the logo that was on the listing, but having it also allows them to visualize how the name could look as they are searching. So these markets make the names look visually appealing to buyers unlike the lists we all comb through daily going cross eyed looking for names.

    Search is one area I think SquadHelp really shines in. Search is highly dynamic and rotates through names in inventory. Yes they have algorithms to weight things certain ways. But as seller you can also use points you earn or money to boost your market position again putting your name in the eyes of more possible end users.

    BrandBuckets search is a lot more static. Search on any keyword and search results are almost always returned in same order, If you name lands on on page 1 or 2 your in a good position. But what if your name is on page 35 and there is 48 names on a page. Will potential buyers ever scroll to page 35? Many have asked BrandBucket to work on this, and they say they are.

    Both BrandBucket and Squadhelp will show your names other pages as alternatives if you elect to have them shown on your pages.

    SquadHelp seems to do a lot with retargeting advertising. If a person looks at your name and then leaves as they visit other sights for a few hours or days they will at times see ads for your name. If you have opted in they may even give a promotional discount if they come back and get the name. They also have discounts that can be set on auto and they will randomly apply discounts on some names on Monday – Monday of 5-10%. You can opt in or out of this program or only manually apply discounts. Another cool thing they do is if a name has several people that have liked it and the price drops, they will email those people to let them know that name is on sell. Likewise, if a name is having a lot of likes and no one has elected to buy it. They can set the domain for automatic price increases also if you have opted in and again let people that liked it know price is increasing a few days. So they are doing a lot with back end programming if you allow to prompt buyers to pull the trigger.

    I am not sure if BrandBucket is using retargeting ads or not. I personally have never seen them. The review times on BB may seem long and as a domainer they are long, but in all fairness to them they are pumping out logos and editorials for about 1300 new names each week currently. So I think this in itself is a testament in how strong many sellers feel a bout the platform that they are submitting probably 4 times that many names to them on a weekly basis and these 1300 are the ones making the cut. The found of BrandBucket also has strong connection to the Crunch Base and Startup communities. Which also help with their success among these types of companies.

    I don’t thing you can fairly use web traffic to see which one puts more eyeballs on names. BrandBuckets is a market place while SquadHelp is a creative hub with a domain market built around it. Much of the SquadHelp traffic is creatives on the platform doing their thing.

    All in all I thing BB and SH are fine platforms. I have no desire to jump ship from one to the other. I do have a strong desire to get to about 1500 names on each platform over the next couple years. But I am also fascinated by others doing extremely well in the brandable space outside these marketplaces and feel I should look at building on these alone also. As an example I am always happy to see AbdulBasit’s blog at https://www.abdulbasit.com and the success he is having with brandable type names on Afternic Landers.

    Reply
    • DomainsGENERAL.com June 19, 2021, 8:48 am

      Impressive comment Steven! “SH also syndicates names on its platform to Flippa”: Is this the case? I’ve never heard about it, and if I search my (premium) domains listed with SH, they do NOT appear on Flippa. Or did you maybe mean it’s BB which does this? (I’m not using them right now, but plan to give them a try in the near future)

      Reply
  • Alan August June 11, 2021, 8:20 pm

    One thing that’s important for brandable investors is how marketplaces interact with us, the owners of the assets that constitute the vast majority of value on the marketplaces.

    Collectively, the seller community has a portfolio of roughly $650 million, and this number represents only the list price of our assets. It doesn’t begin to account for all the labor and expenses we incur to acquire and manage these assets. Factoring these numbers in would likely put the seller community’s contribution well over $1 billion. Given this massive contribution from the seller community, our collective priorities should matter to marketplaces.

    SH has occasionally censored sellers in its forum for voicing critical views, but in general SH has earned a reputation for transparency, working in concert with the seller community, and innovating based on seller feedback.

    BB has taken a different approach.

    BB keeps a distance from sellers. Its inner workings are deliberately hidden from view. It dictates policy and says “if you don’t like it, don’t list with us.”

    BB treats all the domains it lists as its own:
    *Sellers are not given much pricing flexibility.
    *Sellers are not permitted to discount our domains.
    *Worst of all, sellers are not even informed of offers or inquiries on our own domains. This is particularly concerning when BB buys seller-owned domains at under 1% of the list price. A domain could be pending sale when liquidated to BB, but BB would likely not inform the owner. They would simply accept the liquidation for pennies on the dollar and then sell it to the buyer at full price.

    Then there’s the BB search.

    Several months ago, Branders Union released a 40-page report, demonstrating favoritism toward a few sellers in the BB search: https://brandersunion.org/BUBBSearch.pdf

    Instead of acknowledging the results and working toward change, BB denied any problem and banned one of the authors of the report (me) from its Slack forum.

    How marketplaces treat the seller community, the owners of the domain assets, should be in the forefront of every brandable investor’s mind.

    We do a great deal of hard work. We take on a great deal of financial risk. We own most of the assets.

    Our voice and our priorities should matter.

    So far, only one of the two major marketplaces has shown that it understands and respects this.

    Reply
  • Chris June 11, 2021, 11:23 pm

    @morgan — I’ve found the opposite to be true in regards to BB being pickier than SH. I struggle to hit 10% accepted at SH, yet find it easy to maintain around 20% at BB.

    99% .com hand regs in scale.

    We have a smaller SH portfolio so this isn’t a fair comparison. Nonetheless BB sold 3 of those hand regs, 2 at full price, and 1 on a payment plan within 60 days of them publishing for us a little over a month ago.

    Whereas, at SH we’re still waiting for our first end-user sale.

    Reply
  • Sten June 12, 2021, 2:28 am

    The key difference to me is about governance model ideas and the definition of a marketplace. Squadhelp promotes their community. Brandbucket hides the fact that they have one. This has implications on learnings and agility. Squadhelp is an organism. Brandbucket more of a set structure. Squadhelp are the Borg in Star Trek. Brandbucket are Star Fleet, but the Hollywood happy ending narrative is not to be taken for granted. I love both, for different reasons.

    Reply
  • Gregg June 12, 2021, 2:40 am

    What is the % of buyers who go to a marketplace just to buy a specific domain that happens to be there? In those cases, you’re paying 30% processing fees.

    Reply
  • Sten June 12, 2021, 5:05 am

    Swings and carousels. The exact percentage varies. But there is a whole host of variables and deliberations. To me and for me, the overall vote ends ”in favor”. The model likes me and I like the model. It’s chemistry.

    Reply
Cancel reply

Leave a Comment