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Domain Names: Personal Use vs. Commercial Use

9

I receive many inquiries from people who specify that they want to buy a domain name for personal usage. I am not sure why they feel the need to tell me this, but I assume they think they might get a better price if they are using it in a non-commercial manner rather than if they are going to use it for commercial purposes. Suffice to say, it doesn’t matter how the buyer is going to use the domain name, the price will not change.

Contact a Former Registrant for Due Diligence – Even for Auctions

7

Due diligence is an important aspect of buying a domain name. Whether a buyer is acquiring a domain name privately without the assistance of a third party, using a domain broker, buying a domain name via auction, or using an aftermarket platform, due diligence is critical to ensure the domain name acquisition is legitimate.

I don’t think auction platforms do much (or enough) due diligence on domain names that are listed for sale. I believe some confirm that the customer who listed the domain name is the registrant of said domain name, but I am not even sure if that happens for every domain name nor do I know if it happens with every venue. Even if this is true, a thief who stole a domain name and has possession of it could easily prove possession of the domain name, so this is not much help.

As part of doing due diligence, it can be helpful to contact previous domain registrants to track the history of the domain name. DomainTools’ Whois history tool is the primary tool I use to see the historical Whois records for domain names. I believe DomainIQ also has some historical Whois records as well. Google searching for Whois and the domain name may also reveal some (spotty) results.

Charlie Gilbert Undergoing Double Organ Transplant

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Charlotte (Charlie) and Brian Gilbert are two of the most fun people I have met through the domain industry. They are hilarious, kind, and pretty much the type of people you want to be around if you want to ensure that you are going to have a fun time.

For quite some time, Charlie has been battling Pulmonary Hypertension, which has been worsening. Brian wrote an extensive article about Charlie and her fight on his blog, BrianGilbert.com. You can have a look at that to see what Charlie and Brian have been going through.

For several months, Charlie has been at Duke University working hard to become eligible for a heart and lung transplant. Charlie qualified for the list and has been awaiting the double transplant. In order for this to work, Charlie needs the heart and lungs to come from the same donor. There have been a couple of false starts where Charlie’s doctors thought she was going to get her double transplant, but those did not work out.

This afternoon, Brian announced “It’s a Go!” Charlie is currently undergoing a double organ transplant. I don’t know how long Charlie will be in surgery, but I know that she and Brian can use all of the positive thoughts and prayers we can muster. Once Charlie’s surgery is successful, she is going to have a long recovery. Charlie is strong and strong willed, and I know she is going to overcome this and thrive.

In addition to positive thoughts and prayers, one thing we can all think about doing is becoming an organ donor to help people like Charlie. Without the organ donor who made the ultimate gift, we wouldn’t have Charlie in our lives. Let’s keep that person and their family in our thoughts, too.

Here’s to a swift and full recovery for Charlie. Please keep her and Brian in your thoughts and prayers now and in the coming days.

Same Approach Won’t Always Work

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I made a mistake a few weeks ago. I had a couple of domain name sales, and I made some changes to my portfolio based almost solely on these two sales. In retrospect, I don’t think I should have made those changes. I relied on a couple of outlier sales to change my pricing strategy, and it was a bad idea.

For nearly all of my domain names that utilize my Embrace.com landing page, there is an offer form rather than a price. My opinion has been that I can collect leads and offers, and I can always try and come back to those leads to close a deal in the future should a deal not be finalized at the time of the initial inquiry.

On a handful of names in my portfolio, I have a buy it now landing page created with the asking price listed. People can choose to click the buy button or submit an offer. I don’t use this landing page on many of my domain names because my gut says the asking price will either scare most people away, or the “make offer” link will ensure they submit a lower offer rather than agree to the BIN price.

A few weeks ago, I received a fair counteroffer to one of the few names that has the buy it now landing page. I ended up working out a deal with the prospective buyer and the deal closed shortly thereafter.

Domain Investing Things I Am Doing Before the Year Ends

0

The last week before the year ends is always a mad dash for me. I typically do some traveling, and that means I need to stay on top of my business needs more than usual so I don’t forget to tie up loose ends before the calendar year changes.

I thought I would put together a list of some things I am doing before the year comes to an end. If there is anything I missed that you think is important, I invite you to share in the comment section:

  • Pay for domain name renewals into the new year.
  • Evaluate my technology and office equipment to see what needs to be upgraded while companies typically offer their best deals of the year after the Christmas rush.
  • Go through my domain name portfolio and decide what domains should have auto-renew turned “off.” Also check to make sure domain names I want to keep have auto-renew enabled.
  • Look through my credit card statements to ensure I did not miss any expenses in my accounting software.
  • Look through my GoDaddy Auctions and NameJet auctions reports to ensure I received all of the domain names I won or had a refund for them. Ensure these domain names are all correctly parked or forwarding correctly.
  • File corporate annual reports that can be filed in advance – and/or make sure everything is up to date.
  • Re-visit old offers and inbound inquiries to see if any counterparties are interested in working out a deal. Some companies have money to spend before the end of the year and some people would love to close out the year with a nice sale.
  • Set up my files for the new year.

I have found that the end of the year is typically slow in terms of inbound offers and deals. This gives me time to focus on closing out my books and ensuring that my business is ready to start the new year on good footing.

Advantages of Third Party Landing Pages

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I saw a thread on NamePros asking about using (and paying a commission) for third party sales landing pages vs. your own landing page. As someone who uses his own landing pages (via Embrace.com), I want to suggest some of the advantages of using a third party.

For starters, I had to spend time and money creating my own landing page. Much of the design that went into it was based on observing other landing pages operated by other investors and companies. I tried my best to envision what was working and what I liked to add those elements to my landing page, but it was based on my own intuition. Setting this up and keeping it going probably cost low 4 figures including the website design that was needed.

With my smaller portfolio, I don’t really have the ability to do a statistically significant A/B test. I could theoretically test the design, colors, and other elements of the landing page, but unless there is an absolute clear winner, the test would likely not yield statistically significant results. In short, outside factors could totally screw up my testing and I could choose the wrong design. I would assume third party landing page companies do lots of testing and have much more experience seeing what works to induce offers and inquiries based on their inbound leads.

Before taking this a step further, I should also add that setting up this type of testing would take technical expertise beyond my own capabilities. I would need to hire someone to set this up for me, and I would most likely need to hire someone to make changes to the test. It could end up being a cost suck on an ongoing basis while I continue to make tweaks.

After getting the technical aspect set up, I would need to hire a freelancer to help design the landing page tests. If I hire

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