Buying Domain Names

Not a Smart Start for Yahoo’s Kickstart

Yahoo recently announced the launch of Kickstart, a new social networking site.    I wanted to check it out, so I navigated to Kickstart.com, and I found a Network Solutions “Coming Soon” landing page.    Curious, I did a Whois search for Kickstart.com, and I learned that Yahoo doesn’t own this name.    It’s owned by a company called Toe-Food Chocolates, and has been owned by them since at least February of 2003.    Yahoo’s Kickstart website is actually located at kickstart.yahoo.com.    

Although this is in line with Yahoo’s other brands (http://finance.yahoo.com as an example), I think this is very shortsighted.    Perhaps Yahoo is looking in to acquiring this great generic name, but wouldn’t it have made more sense to acquire the name before launching the brand?    I can’t even imagine the amount of traffic that has been lost in the last few days. It would probably be better if Kickstart.com was a developed website so visitors would know to look elsewhere. Because of the landing page that is currently on the website, visitors may just assume the site hasn’t launched yet.

Good Unregistered Names to Be Found

I just found a couple decent names that were unregistered. I was able to register HMOCompanies.com and HMOCompany.com. Although there aren’t a ton of Google listings for these two names, there are advertisers on the top and side of Google. With some decent SEO, these names can possibly produce some valuable clicks.

Moral of the story: There are still good GENERIC domain names to be found out there without having to turn to the aftermarket. Keep on searching. Landing a decent new registration feels almost as good as reeling in a great one-worder in the aftermarket – with less financial risk.

AC/DC Acquires ACDC.com Legitimately

AC/DC wins back website from porn business

According to this news article, AC/DC now owns the domain name ACDC.com. Although the article’s title led me to believe that this was a WIPO decision (“wins” rather than “buys”), it appears they acquired it the old-fashioned way – paying for it. From the article:

“For years the domain name acdc.com was held by a porn site with metal fans perhaps getting more than they bargained for every time they clicked.

But after years of wry tolerance the band’s management in New York has finished negotiations to reclaim the name and launch the brand at its rightful place online.” — Source: News.Com.Au

This really was a smart move by the band’s management team. Considering the amount of traffic the domain name probably receives, the price was clearly significant. The band could have easily tried to take the name in an underhanded way, via WIPO filing, but they opted to go about it the more legitimate way. Had they filed a WIPO, it would have cost the owners quite a bit of money to defend the name, and it might have irritated them enough not to consider selling it had a decision gone in their favor.

Kudos to AC/DC and their management for realizing the importance of ACDC.com, and for buying the domain name that is of highest value to them.

Avi Gets It!

As Frank Schilling pointed out yesterday afternoon, the Swim.com auction netted $214,500. By clicking on the bidder ID of the winner, everyone could see that the email address was none other than the owner of ClubSwim.com, Avi Benaroya. Some quick research shows that Avi also is the owner of other swimming related domain names such as SwimOutlet.com, Swimmer.com, SwimLessons.com, SwimmingInstructor(s).com, and many more. With his purchase of Swim.com, it shows that Avi and his company get it! They know the most valuable domain name in their category is Swim.com. They fought off other bidders, and they won the crown jewel domain name. Very impressive.

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!

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