Should Userbase (.dev) Upgrade to Userbase.com?

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One of the best domain names in auction at GoDaddy Auctions is Userbase.com. Despite the $7,234 (automated) GoDaddy appraisal for Userbase.com, the auction already has a high bid of $33,500 with a little more than 4 hours remaining as of the time of publication. I think it’s a great domain name and would be a solid upgrade for quite a few companies and businesses that user the Userbase or User Base branding.

One such company operates on the Userbase.dev domain name. In a Twitter thread last night, Userbase founder Daniel Vassallo asked for opinions about whether or not he should bid on the auction, which already had a high bid of $33,500:

There is quite a bit of advice from various people with and without domain name experience. On one hand, this name could sell for $50,000 or more, and that money might be better spent building the (still small) business. On the other hand, if the domain name sells for this much money, it will become much more difficult to acquire in the future – if not impossible. There might be another company called Userbase bidding on the domain name. Even if it is an investor who is bidding, the retail price of this domain name will be much higher to ensure an adequate return.

In my opinion, it is difficult to offer helpful advice about this to Daniel without knowing important details about his business and the startup’s industry or trajectory.

On one hand, the money may be better spent on growing the business now, and when the timing is right – the company is making more money or has serious funding – the domain name could become an acquisition target. Put simply, $50k+/- cash (or whatever it sells for) might be more important to the company than $250k or $500k is in 2 years.

On the other hand, this domain name already has substantial “burn down value” and it should retain its value should the startup fail and the owner opts to re-sell it when winding down the business.

One thing Daniel might want to do if he doesn’t have adequate cash reserves to fund the purchase and the business is to reach out to a third party domain name company like Domain Capital (an advertiser) to help finance the purchase. Maybe even a domain investor who sees value in the domain name would purchase it and do some sort of lease with a future purchase option (allow myself to introduce myself!)

For what it’s worth, Daniel’s poll closed already and 69% of the 915 people who voted chose “no.” What do you think?

Update: It looks like Userbase will be moving to Userbase.com after the winning bidder reportedly defaulted.

36 COMMENTS

    • It’s got nothing to do with vision.

      Sometimes it can be worth to pay more for the domain in the future as the money can be better spent in a startup/small growing company.

      The right decision is impossible to know without knowing his revenue, traffic levels, profit etc.

  1. > $50k+/- cash (or whatever it sells for)

    Thats less than 1/3 of a decent software developer annual salary in the US. Hard to imagine a software business struggling to find that amount even if they are a fresh startup. The dude’s personal website says he was making 500/year, ought to have some savings.

  2. Who knows looks like a 2 way bidding war special setup, could be bidders think they will flip it to this end user who is already engaged, and most likely not bidding, especially if it goes over $40K.

  3. I would say no. His customers are web developers, and .dev is just fine in the web development niche.

    The web development sphere is very familiar with .io, so it’s well-aware that that .com is not the only TLD.

    Furthermore, a .com domain name does not grantee success and there are businesses which succeeded without .com. For example, Twitch.tv.

      • They only bought the .com for brand protection and potential type-ins.

        Twitch is the leading website in that industry and are doing perfectly fine with the .TV as they’re main domain.

        • *their

          “They only bought the .com for brand protection and potential type-ins.”

          How do you know that? Have you been involved in the decision making process or just a wild guess?

          • A guess based on facts. Based on the fact they’ve decided not to switch over to the .com domain. Based on the fact they own other extensions and don’t use them either.

            But let’s go with your whole idea that a company owned by Amazon and that is expected to generate around $300 million in 2019, doesn’t mean business because they use .TV … come on dude, get back in touch with reality.

  4. The auction ended at $33,500, so it appears that Daniel did not buy this domain name for his company (unless he was the high bidder).

    • I bet that won’t be the final price. I’m sure they will find out someone was driving up the price just to mess with the auction like happens all the time at Godaddy auctions when the price ends up high.

  5. It doesn’t sound like his business offers the ‘highest and best use’ for the domain name Userbase.com so, no, he should not be the owner of the domain name — another company with grander plans should be the “off the market forever” owner of Userbase.com.

  6. No, it is is an unrealistic price for a small venture to pay. Only in the domain industry do people think founders should spend 35% of capital on a domain. In many ways the industry is “out of touch” with business.

    He should be investing in his product/service. He can worry about the small things like the domain later.

    • “He should be investing in his product/service. He can worry about the small things like the domain later.”

      Hey Snoopy, we finally agree on something… πŸ™‚

  7. I wonder if someone was playing with this to flip it to him, and it looks like auction dead stopped as soon as he stopped, or started talking about how he know longer wants it.

  8. Great example of the changing market mindset.
    69% awareness in this example. Cool.

    Userbase.com More generic
    Userbase.dev – More specific

    Its no longer a generalized B2B market.
    Whoever bought .com will have increasing limitations of use the longer it lingers in undeveloped land reducing value.
    B2B clientel could careless what your domain is.
    B2C – short term dif. maybe, longterm
    No.
    Nice save Daniel!
    Cheers

    • He bought userbase.dev because it was cheap. It is not a good name just a cheap name. People who try to resell names like this because of a trickle of usage will lose badly.

  9. Snoop poop
    I get the path of waiting for wealth to drop it’s pants for you, well, just because your so uniquely .common

    The new path of buyers wealthy or not prefer the options game which will thrive right along with the old corp. game.
    A growing number of old corps are on the new path too! Clearly, they are not loyal to your tiny market game.

    There will always be more buyers that don’t need .com to thrive than ones that do going forward.
    200+ million of the 350+ million registrations are not .com, 98+ % are not waiting in long lines to get one.
    B2B clientel could careless what your domain is. Service/Product Value is the only consideration ever.
    Sorry you can’t accept the new mindset wealthy or not, doesn’t follow your tiny market game.
    Millions of good names started out cheap, millions more started at .99 cents.
    Got a better excuse?
    Cheers

  10. Apparently, the winning bidder at GoDaddy defaulted on the auction. As the underbidder, Daniel Vassallo was given the option to buy Userbase.com for $24,990. Not only did he agree to buy this domain name, but he is moving his business from the .dev to the .com:

    “It’s done! β€” It’s coming to where it belongs after getting parked in 1995!

    Userbase will launch with a .com before the end of this month.”

    https://twitter.com/dvassallo/status/1215435611890319360

    So, now we can see that Mr. Vassallo was given the chance to buy the brand match .com domain name for $25k, he took it, and he is going to move his business (upgrade if you will) to the .com domain name.

    “It’s done! β€” It’s coming to where it belongs after getting parked in 1995!

    Userbase will launch with a .com before the end of this month.”

    https://twitter.com/dvassallo/status/1215435611890319360

    So, now we can see that Mr. Vassallo was given the chance to buy the brand match .com domain name for $25k, he took it, and he is going to move his business (upgrade if you will) to the .com domain name.

      • Looks like he controlled the auction, outbid himself through a proxy, went back and forth with that proxy up to a level no one else wanted to bid. Then the proxy to default and boom.

        Key takeaway: .dev is a hobby TLD, .com is the real deal.

        • I highly, highly doubt that. Aside from being totally unethical, it would be risky as well since GoDaddy could have banned him if this happened, which would have cost him the name. In addition, he would have to know the platform well enough to know GoDaddy Auctions allows underbidders to buy names when a higher bidder defaults, since some auctions do a re-auction instead. I imagine non paying bidders are a real problem at all auction platforms.

          I can’t disagree with your takeaway though – but it’s more like people will almost always get the matching .com domain name if they can afford to buy it.

          • Yes, you’re probably right. He would need to know the platform in and out. But above a certain amount (5 figures) Godaddy goes the list down and even calls bidders directly. Re-auctions are in the lower range.

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