Buying Domain Names

Location, Location, Location

One of the first lessons in a real estate course is that the most important factor in site selection is the location. As the famous saying goes, “location, location, location!” If location is the most important factor in where to purchase real estate, why wouldn’t the domain name be one of the most important factors in where to open an online business? Why is it that most business schools merely gloss over the domain business?

I don’t believe a bad domain name can break a company with a good business model. I think a bad name can be detrimental, but it’s nothing that good SEO, Keyword advertising and old fashion marketing can’t fix at a high cost of course. I do believe that a great generic domain name can position a company much better, and it can make it easier for customers to find the company. If two companies offer the same product, same customer service and fulfillment, and similar advertising, I believe the company with the better domain name will see better results both in terms of search engine placement and natural traffic.

After 4 Years, Salesforce.com Buys Force.com

Salesforce.com and the Force family name
Pricing a domain name doesn’t always have to do with a specific valuation strategy. Sometimes a person has a sentimental attachment to a domain name, and he is unwilling to sell it for any price. Take Gordon Force, Sr. of San Jose, CA. for example. He registered Force.com in the early 1990’s for his company, Force Technology, a technology consulting and design services company. After nearly 4 years of negotiations (WOW!), Salesforce.com was finally able to acquire Force.com from Mr. Force. They must have made one big offer!

Emailing Domain Owners

Over the past year or so, I’ve noticed a huge increase in the amount of domain inquiry spam I receive, and others have noticed, too. With the Domain Research Tool (DRT), people are able to research domain names based on various search queries, providing huge lists of domain names that meet the user’s requirements. Unfortunately, DRT can also append the email addresses of the domain name owner for each name on the list, making it far too easy for users to send out mass quantities of spam.

Although this “spam/mass email strategy” must have worked at some point, I think people should realize that it has become a nuisance for domain owners. Perhaps 5-10 owners will respond out of 5,000 emails, but for the other 4,990 people, the emailer will have tarnished his reputation and be known as a “spammer.” Just look at this thread as evidence.

In my opinion, DRT mass emails are spam by nature as they are bulk emails of a commercial nature for which the recipient cannot opt-out. Personalized emails aren’t done in bulk and are fair game. When I am interested in acquiring a domain name, I tell the owner of my interest and make a legitimate offer for the name in the initial email. When sending out mass emails, making a reasonable offer out of the gate is impossible. I believe this is what distinguishes the real offers from spammers.

I wonder if the registrars are behind some of these mass spam email campaigns to encourage users to buy their privacy guard upsell!! (Just joking)

BuyDomains.com Introduces Live Chat

In an effort to connect with users around the world, BuyDomains.com recently introduced a live chat feature on their website. While searching for a domain name, a small pop-up appeared, asking me to chat with a representative.

At almost any time of the day, click the “Chat Now” button, enter your name, and begin chatting with a BuyDomains.com. According to the representative I chatted with, the service is available long hours to accommodate the growing worldwide need for domain names. BuyDomains.com has been making headway in countries such as China, and this could be a good way to communicate (language issues aside, of course).

Based on my two short conversations, I would suggest a couple of things to enhance the service:

– Ask for the customer’s email address while logging in to chat to make a follow-up conversation easier (and to resume a conversation if it is dropped)
– Follow-up each chat with an email from the representative thanking the customer for chatting and offering domain names that might be of interest.
– If there is a wait, let the customer know how long the wait will be.

Registering New Domains – Discovering Gems

I have frequently seen people lamenting that “all of the good domain names are taken.” I think this defeatist talk is far from the truth. Yes, just about all of today’s relevant one word (and most two word) domain names are taken. However, there are still some targeted, high paying keyword .com names that have never been registered before, and they are just waiting for you to buy them. These domain names are hidden gems just waiting to be found.

A few months ago, I was reading about subprime credit and mortgage issues. I did some searching, and I registered SubprimeHomeMortgages.com. Just a couple of weeks ago, I sold it for over a hundred times my investment. Some people thought I might have sold it for less than full value, but why be greedy? Registering new domain names is as easy as keeping up on the news and following trends. Many people I know in the business enjoy the thrill of hunting for great unregistered domain names as much as buying 6 figure names.

A couple pieces of advice on registering new domain names:
1) NEVER register names with trademarks. If the company wanted it, they would have bought it. Also, if there was traffic, unfortunately a tasting company would probably have bought it already. You are just looking for trouble.

2) Always read various newspapers, blogs, industry journals…etc. Domain registration is about speculation. I saw that there is new insulin technology, so I bought DisposableInsulinPump(s).com. Domain names cost $7 – you have much better odds than the casino!

If you are a person who thinks all the good names are registered, here are a few that I just registered last night:
TruckDrivingInsurance.com
CheapToiletries.com
NewYorkInsurer.com
NewYorkInsurers.com
PeepShowBooth.com
PeepShowBooths.com

Buying from BuyDomains.com

BuyDomains.com is one of the best partners I have in the domain business. They are one of the larger NameMedia properties, and they own somewhere around 800k domain names. When I first got into the business, I thought they were over-priced, and I never bought domain names from them. They were selling domain names at prices that I would sell domain names, consequently outpricing me and not allowing me to buy from them. Over the past few months, my opinion has changed, and I believe they can provide a good value to domain investors.

About a year ago, I found a few keyword domain names of interest. After inquiring about them, I was introduced to an Account Manager who was able to give me more competitive prices than what was listed. Since this original transaction, I believe I’ve purchased some great names from them at great prices, and I imagine they are happy with the business I have given them.

Just as any other business, cultivating relationships is essential. My Account Manager knows what types of names I like to purchase, and when she finds a name at a good price, she sends me an email with the name and the best discounted price. This saves me the time and effort of searching through their massive portfolio. Frequently, I will inquire about names I’ve found that they own, and I will almost instantly get a response with a price.

I believe domain investors frequently overlook BuyDomains.com when searching for domain names. Although their target audience is small business end users, they are happy to work with – and give deals to – domain investors. One tip for potential buyers is to inquire about domain names towards the end of the month. Just as in any market where the proprietor is willing to make a deal before closing, BuyDomains.com is sometimes willing to give the best deals at the end of the month.

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