General Domain Information

What Tools & Products Do You Need?

Domain ToolsI use a variety of handy tools every day to help make smarter domain acquisition, sales, and development decisions. Many of these tools weren’t created specifically for domain investors, but they work very well for our needs. Some of the tools I use just about every day include Whois History, website archive, keyword tools, reverse IP search, Alexa, and Compete.

Every so often, I wish that a specific tool or product was created and/or was more accessible or better publicized. For instance, wish there was an intuitive tool where I could type in a keyword phrase, and the tool would spit out associated domain names, Whois results, and let me know if the domain name is a developed website. This would save time and generate domain acquisition targets more easily.

On the product-side, I wish there was much more intuitive and easy to use web development software. I would love a program where I could just drag different elements into place, and it would code everything for me. I wouldn’t want something that created websites that look like they’re from the 1990s – I am talking real deal development that looks great and allows me to create cool things.

I know there are thousands of people working to build tools and products that will help web developers and many who are looking to create something that is helpful to domain investors. I am sure a few of them read domain blogs such as this to see what people want and need – and would pay for if they knew the product existed.

So I ask you, what tools or products would help you become a better web developer or domain investor?

Photo Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jannem/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

How Did You Become a Domain Investor?

I want to change things up a little bit today. Instead of writing a blog post right now, I want you to share something with me and the other people who read my blog. I’d like you to share your story about how you became a domain investor.

There are a number of public figures in our industry, many of whom have interesting stories about how they became domain investors and were the first pioneers of a relatively new industry. However, there are many interesting stories that haven’t really been shared yet, and I’d love to hear about them.

I am interested in learning how you came across the industry and what made you interested in domain investments. I am looking forward to seeing your replies… please don’t be shy!

SusanBoyle.com Now For Sale

Ordinarily I wouldn’t write about the sale of a “famous” person’s domain name, but this is a different story. Andrew wrote about Susan Boyle, the Texas artist who initially registered SusanBoyle.com several years ago as a place to exhibit her artwork. Recently, another Susan Boyle became famous after her inspiring appearance on Britain’s Got Talent, and it looks like both Boyles are going to make money from it.

According to an article in UK’s Guardian,   the American artist Susan Boyle “consulted a company called Sedo that sells domain names and, following their advice, has now put her web address up for sale for a cool $25,000. She hasn’t sold it. Yet.”

It will be interesting to see if someone buys the name, and assuming that happens, if the buyer will be able to create a non-infringing website on the domain name, as the name “Susan Boyle” has become famous. In my opinion, the production company would be wise to buy this valuable domain name, although they don’t own BritainsGotTalent.com although they do own BritainsGotTalent.co.uk. If you’re wondering, SusanBoyle.co.uk is a fan site monetized with Adsense, and currently ranked 513,478 in Alexa.

This will be interesting to watch.

Free Credit Report* .com

I read Jamie’s post about the folks behind the “Free Credit Report .com” commercials and agree that it will be interesting to see what happens with their direct marketing campaign, which includes television and interactive media. If you didn’t read Jamie’s post – or are too lazy to click over, basically the Free Credit Report people can’t say that their product is free, as a result of the new credit card legislation. They also must link to AnnualCreditReport.com, which does provide the free annual credit reports.

One thing I did notice is that the company behind AnnualCreditReport.com seems to understand domain names and consumer behavior, as they have also registered typos, including AnnualCreditReports.com, AnualCreditReport.com, and AnnualCreditReort.com. I can’t definitively confirm this because the registrations are private, but all were registered around the same date, and all are hosted on the same name servers.

However, as smart as this company is, they are also pretty dumb. They bought the typo domain names, presumably for defensive purposes, but none of them resolve! Instead of forwarding the traffic from the typos, they go to an error page. This is a stupid mistake!

If you are going to buy defensive domain names, especially if they are typos and the visitor intended to visit the site, you should make sure they resolve to the right place! I suppose it might not be necessary if your defensive registration is something like AnnualCreditReportSucks.com or something like that where you just don’t want someone else owning it, but at least lead the way for the fat fingered potential customers/visitors who mistype your correct domain name!

Quick Hits for the Weekend

I think I found a sales representative in Lowell, and he is expected to sell advertising to local businesses. My guy has 15+ years of sales experience, with the last 3 being online sales. The best part is that he lives in Lowell, and he knows the city of Lowell.   This will hopefully help to take the site to the next level.

Yesterday, Rick Latona introduced DigiLoan.com, a longer term loan company which will help people finance large domain purchases, primarily domain names that are sold via his auctions and newsletter. This is going to bring more liquidity to the domain industry, which could and should help to drive more sales in the near term.

I have always had a personal aversion to debt, but I had a long conversation about the benefits of debt with a friend who does hotel asset management. While I don’t wish to use debt as a means to buy domain names yet, I do see the value it can bring to a company – especially when a domain name comes on the market for a limited time, never to be for sale again.

Jamie had some success selling domain names to end users. I’ve discussed this before in blog posts and in a couple of interviews, and I think this is a great way to sell a domain name. It might be a bit more labor intensive and require some educating, but those sales can still be had if you have great domain names.

The auction list for the GeoDomain Expo was released last week.   There are some pretty good names on this list, although I think I have enough work on my plate…. Newburyport.com is almost finished and then I will have to start adding more time-sensitive content.

It’s 76 degrees and sunny here in NYC right now… time for a walk in Central Park.

Quick Hits for the Weekend

Time for some random thoughts and notes for the week.

I think some gTLDs like .NYC are going to be very successful. Businesses are going to want to buy them to distinguish themselves as New York companies, much like many European businesses buy ccTLD domain names. I think there will be trouble selling some gTLD extensions, but it really depends on the audience and marketing, and I have a feeling .NYC will be a winner.

After spending a few days in Lowell, I realize how important a city .com domain name is. People who hadn’t visited Lowell.com were very interested in learning more about it and how they can be on it. Getting a sales person on the ground in the area will be key to really generating revenue.

Aftermarket.com is now accepting domain submissions for the Domain Roundtable show in June.

Every day, I seem to find out something new about Google and how it can be used to increase awareness on my developed websites. Take some time to look at the main Google accounts page and check out all of the links. Almost all of the applications can be beneficial to a small company doing business online.

General domain sales may be down across the board for most domain investors, but there are still a lot of companies buying ultra premium domain names. Many companies realize there is little overhead required when buying a category defining domain name, and it can pay major dividends to do so in terms of traffic and trust. Buying a domain name in these tough times can be much better than acquiring a business, which comes with significant overhead.

Have a happy Easter, Passover, or weekend.

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