According to Wikipedia, NamePros is an online community for domain name investors. Its services include forums and domain name auctions. As part of its forums, NamePros provides a domain name marketplace, where users can buy and sell domain names. The marketplace combines various models, including auctioning, fixed price, and bargaining. Domains considered particularly valuable can be listed in a dedicated area. The forums implement a freemium business model, whereby normal usage is free, but paid subscriptions offer additional features.
Ron "RJ" James publicly launched NamePros in February, 2003. He created NamePros to fill the hole left by Afternic, a popular online community that was quickly failing. NamePros started to see success around June, 2003, four months after its launch. Ron James dismissed the idea of adopting a subscription business model, favoring free services.
==> Acquisition by Bodis
Bodis, a domain parking company, acquired NamePros in January, 2012. Speculation circulating around blogs and other communities point to a sale price in the range of $200,000 to $300,000 USD. Rumors of the sale began as early as January 11. By January 19, Matt Wegrzyn, owner of Bodis, had publicly confirmed the acquisition. Matt Wegrzyn hinted that improvements to the website and its services would follow and stated that Bodis continue to keep NamePros an open community. Former owner Ron James noted that Bodis had better resources and would be capable of supporting NamePros' continued growth. In years leading up to the acquisition, the domain investor community noted some issues with website reliability.
On May 14, 2013, NamePros released a series of updates to its service, including a new layout and the addition of a domain sales history tool. The new tool, developed by a community member, scraped domain sale information from other websites and RSS feeds. The author claimed to be indexing over 80,000 sales that members could query.
==> Platform upgrade
In May, 2014, NamePros released another series of updates. They migrated from vBulletin to XenForo, resulting in significant changes. DNForum, a competing website, made a similar update a month prior.
==> NamePros Today
According to moderator Eric Lyon, NamePros today is a vibrant domain enthusiast community with many unique services and values:
- We have a team of people, along with help from our community, hand-selecting the best news stories from around the domain industry.
- Coming soon: A free resource for people to learn everything about domains and how to make a living with them.
- Here are some of our favorites: comic-intro.png, s1-e12-sherpas-comic.png, s1-e18-gopappy-upsell-comic.png, s1-e45-blogger-judgement-day-comic.png, and s2-e40-first-service-comic.png.
- Season 3 is starting in a couple weeks.
NamePros Blog Offers A Refreshing Departure From
The Certain Sense of Sameness That Permiates The Domaining.com Feed
- We've hired a couple bloggers so far, but anyone from our community can publish blog posts here if they meet our quality standards. (Publisher comment by Owen: I've noticed the blog from seeing its posts on the Domaining.com feed. The content is superb and a pleasant departure from the usual seven-in-a-row posts all reporting the same auction results.)
- The largest free domain marketplace.
- We are programming new features to make this section more useful for everyone. For instance, we will soon have additional filters and search capabilities to make it easier to find domains of interest.
- Domain Lists
- Many more things to come in the near future. :)
As a "Pro" tip (pun intended :), a really quick way to see the hottest threads each week (with only spending 5 minutes on the site once a week) is to check out the widget on the right sidebar of the site that reads: "Popular This Week" (you can search the page for that without quotes).
The latest buzz-worthy discussions end up there, and it makes it really easy to find them.