It’s partly frustrating and partly amusing to see criticism of domain investors and domain speculators from startup founders who are irritated that they can’t get their desired domain name at a bargain price. Some seem to feel like they are more deserving of specific domain names.
I want to share three thoughts about this, and I welcome your thoughts as well – even if we disagree. I am sure this isn’t the first time these things have been said, but they are worthy of consideration:
- If the success of a startup is contingent upon using a specific domain name, perhaps the business plan needs to be revised. There have been countless startups who built their businesses on less than ideal domain names, and they upgraded to a better domain name when they could afford to pay for it.
- The startup should be lucky a domain speculator / investor owns a specific domain name rather than a major company like Oracle or Microsoft. It is far more likely they will be able to make a deal that moves the needle for a domain investor than it would be for a major corporation.
- There are countless real estate developers who would love to be able to go back in time and secure prime pieces of real estate so they could build beautiful and useful buildings. Buying domain name is like buying land. At one time, there were far fewer land owners, but people made them fair offers, and they sold their rights to that land.
I think a domain name is an important part of a business, but it should not be the most important part of the business, unless the founder of the business already owns the domain name. There are quite a few domain names I wish I had the foresight to buy years ago, but I am not going to begrudge the owners simply because they bought those domain names in years past.
There are many deal structures that can be put into place to make a deal that makes sense for all parties. Instead of lamenting the fact that a domain name is owned by a domain investor, that time is better spent negotiating in good faith to secure the rights to the domain name.