At the TRAFFIC Las Vegas auction, Bill McClure purchased the Bouquet.com domain name for $30,000. When the website launched soon thereafter, he was kind enough to offer some insight into his purchase for inclusion in my blog post.
In the comment section of a blog post last week where the plural Bouquets.com domain name was offered for sale, there was some discussion about the Bouquet.com purchase and a few excellent questions were posed. Bill was kind enough to offer even more insight into the purchase, which I think is valuable given Bill’s successes online.
I think Bill’s insight is invaluable, and I thought it would be beneficial to create a separate post with the questions about the purchase and Bill’s replies to them. I know Bill is a busy guy, and I appreciate his taking the time to share this with us.
Bill McClure: “Elliot Good Morning. I love the comments on whether it was a good idea for me to buy Bouquet.com. I sold EFlowers.com in 2003 to FTD for $1,000.000 and FlowersDirect.com for more than $5,000,000. Today, I own 400 Flower and Gift domains. We do thousands of orders per year.
As I sat in the auction at Traffic, I was completely surprised “Bouquet.com” was on the list. First of all, I had to do a double take on the spelling. Obviously there are many variations. I did not have to research the search volume before bidding. It was a great opportunity. I was the logical buyer in the room.
As for buying the other variations, I hope the guys who own the misspellings will become a marketing partner. I like simple word domains, many speculated when I paid $100,000 for Coffee.org it would not work as an online business. Today, our kids have over 50,000 customers across the country.
Give us 5 years, I think Bouquet.com will be worth $5 to 7 million. Time will tell. I like my bet. I enjoy your blog. Bill”
Mark asked: “Bills reply is helpful to all of us, thanks. I’ve always believed that domain brand can be key to the success of a site. The universe seems to always be divided into those who believe the name doesn’t matter and those who do…
I’m always amazed at projects that won’t even invest a few dollars in a domain brand, its the business model and the buzz they say, and that anything can work they say. and sure there are plenty of examples of xyzmeaninglessdomain.com becoming a commercial success. with enough capital and talent involved. but the right domain brand, communicates something immediately to the public. they already know what to expect when they go there. and a great generic domain, gives it immediate authority in its respective sector. no zillion dollar ad campaigns with a duck needed to get them to buy insurance at a site no one can spell correctly. but the right brand not only helps the public. it helps to raise capital. and for a new startup, anything that paints their big picture idea better with investors, helps to raise capital. I believe its no accident that projects like Diapers.com get built, and sold for $540 million.
How much longer would it have taken to make buyyourdiapershere.biz happen and get acquired? And would investor have ever believed in the idea? There is a whole list of projects which have built and acquired for huge sums, with their success beginning with building a generic domain brand. Its a niche. But its a VERY successful niche.”
Todd asked: “Hi Bill, even though its not my blog I would like to say thanks for sharing it helps us all. I sometimes hear many domainers complain about receiving emails about domains from others that are similar to the ones they own but I am curious if you received an email with someone offering you Bouquet.com for lets just say $50,000, $75,000, $100,000 would you have bought it? I would say yes because at $30,000 it seemed like a steal. Obviously the sale is already done so it doesn’t hurt to say yes or no.
I have one more question. Since you already owned Flowersdirect.com and proved its success why would you buy Coffee.org for 100k instead of just going with a 2 word dot com similar to FlowersDirect and invest the 100k into the business? Please don’t think I am questioning your business savvy I am just always interested in the way others think.
Thanks for your time.”
Bill McClure: “Mark, Todd, Elliot.
Yes, I would have paid more for Bouquet.com. “A Smile with Every Bouquet â„¢” We will now invest a lot of money and time to develop the brand.
In my opinion, the Domain is critical to building a successful business on or offline. If you get the name (domain) right, you get instant branding, credibility and powerful direct marketing. I think the most important aspects of starting a new web business is a focused vision, a strategic plan, the right brand (domain), money and tireless execution. We have failed at a number of startups, mainly because the management thought that, well, we have a great domain and website, and the people should come. They don’t. It was not a lack of capital; it was a lack of a plan, poor execution change in focus.
The domain and the website built, you are on 1st base, in the first inning. It all starts with a vision, see yourself winning, vigorously plan to win, follow the plan, don’t deviate for short term gain, always have a backup plan, do it quick, you will get discouraged, communicate with the customer s you were a hometown hardware store, you will Win. I could go on and on this subject. I truly believe you must start with a great address (domain). It will save you a lot of money in many ways.
As to Singular vs. Plural. I think it can go both ways. Would you rather have Candy.com vs. Candies.com, Coffee vs. Coffees, Bouquet.com vs. Bouquets.com, Flowers.com vs. Flower.com, and Cars.com vs. Car.com. I like Mark’s comments on Diapers.com. No way those guys would have gotten over 100 million for SusiesDiapers.com. It might have worked for Diaper.com One word is better than two. All are great domains; it is the execution that adds the real value. The dot com is important.
As far as two word domains, when Ellie and I started Coffee.org, we also bought 750 other coffee domains, CoffeeSupplies.com, HotelCoffee.com, BusinessCoffee.com, CheapestCoffee.com ChocolateCoffee.com (at 2,500.), Teas.net, DiscountCoffee.net, WholesaleCoffee.net and 740 more. It took us a while to acquire MissEllie.com (from the Dallas show) and MissEllies.com (from a cookie company). After we acquired the domains, we developed and trademarked the brand ” Miss Ellie’s Coffee” . We have partnered with Larry Fischer in developing HerbalTea.com. It will take a while, but we will win. We are focused and have the time and money to wait it out.
I like the single word over two words. You mention FlowerDirect.com. I acquired Flower Direct before ecommerce and then we built a website in 1996. It took many years for Flowers Direct to become successful online.
Our son Mark owns and runs CommercialInsurance.net. He writes in 40 states, continues to have great success with a two word descriptive domain. I think he paid 10 to 15 K when he bought it. Today, he has invested more than a million dollars in the business. He has thousands of customer’s nationwide and making money. He has not given up and has stayed focused.
Thank you for asking. Bill”