Follow Along as a Category Killer Domain is Built from the Ground Up

I’m not writing this post because Rick sent me bottles of wine.   I am writing this post because I think we all have a great opportunity to observe the launch of a new brand on a generic domain name – By following the progress of this company from its infancy, I think we can all learn quite a bit for our own projects.

Over the coming weeks and months, keep your eye on site changes.   Do Google searches to see how rapidly pages get indexed by searching See how the pages rank for competitive terms like “wine of the month club,” “wine club,” “vino,” and other related search terms.   See how Rick and his team go about building and getting back links for the site by searching for in Yahoo Site Explorer.

You might even consider signing up for the service. For $69/month, you will get some unique wines, but more importantly, you can see what offline marketing efforts Rick and his company are making to promote their brand. As a wine of the month club, the hope is that people won’t cancel their subscriptions, so you can see what they are doing to keep membership active.

It’s not often that we have the chance to follow a start-up, but Rick has given us this opportunity.   As much as its important to follow the success of, it will also be great to learn insight about how an entrepreneur builds a business on a great generic domain name. Rick announced that Latona’s has launched a consumer products division, and that is going to be interesting to follow as well.

I recommend these things to follow along as grows:

  • Join the newsletter
  • Test the customer service
  • Navigate the site
  • See SEM efforts in Google and Bing
  • Sign up for the club

My hope is that Rick will share some insight into the site’s growth. It would probably be in his auction company’s best interest to show how an entrepreneur can take a generic domain name and build a business on it.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. Do you think Rick will try to buy the domain as well? It looks as if it’s available and it’s currently being used by a rebel radio station the FCC is trying to shut down. Could be a great domain “pairing”.

    I can see it now, Rick will send this email to his “abusers” …

    Ummm, ya. Our records show you have signed up for 20 monthly subscriptions. We love the business, but well, that’s a lot of wine. Perhaps you should visit our sister site And to answer your last email query, no we don’t carry Boone’s.

  2. Great name yes. Category killer no. killed that category long, long ago. When was the last time you heard someone use the term vino in a real conversation when they weren’t trying to be cute?

    The site itself has pop ups, lots of fine print ($69 per month for 2 bottles of wine – fair enough…but as of last week you had to send back AN EMPTY BOX in order to cancel your membership? Now there is some pretty odd language about “service fees” without saying what they are)

    Elliot – what is your relationship to the site? They are using your home address as their NYC office listing (along with some other obvious fake addresses to make it look big time).

    I wish them luck, the wine business is booming online and with their SEO skills they can probably do pretty well on the wine club front. The site that ranks #1 right now – is an affiliate site that is making a KILLING because wine club commissions are very high. Probably 80% of the business for the year just happened last month so they have a long time to prep their rankings and rake it in next holiday season.

  3. Agree with Gordon. No category killer here – a catchy name, actually more a brandable name than anything specific. I can think of a dozen names in the wine industry a hell of a lot better and they all contain two words.

    Nobody uses the word vino and as for the addresses, funny stuff

  4. You guys say people don’t use the term “vino”, but Google disagrees.

    Google keyword research says “vino” is included in 2.2 million broad searches a month. I’d die to have a domain with that many searches.

    Here’s what I think on –
    – they should consider serving other markets where the word “vino” is used (like Italian!). a good webmaster can show a version based on where person is searching.
    – site is good looking, but obviously not influenced heavily by a good direct marketer. that white font on dark background is a big no-no for any marketer that knows how to convert online. way too hard to read.

  5. Vino isn’t a word often used in any type of conversation. I don’t see how anyone could argue that.

    Elliots posting was the first time I can remember ever seeing the word vino.

    Anyways, good luck to them. If they make a good living off their business that is great for them.

    Personally nobody in my circle of family and friend’s drink wine. But I know there are people out there that do.

  6. @ Gordon

    I have no stake or vested interest in the site or company.

    @ Open Domain Market

    Rick’s mini site business wasn’t a success, but his other domain-related businesses have certainly taken off. If you don’t take risks, you don’t make money.

    He probably had one of the few domain companies that hired additional employees in 2008.

  7. One way to measure the category killlerness of a name is to determine market and use.

    Although Vino is italian for wine most of the market for ecommerce online are english speaking countries. Don’t confuse this with me saying the web is only english – far from it – however the largest serving markets for anything involving drop shipments, XX of the month clubs and anything overnight shipping is the UK, USA and Canada with the USA being the most dominant market. is a great site for a wine maker or distributer and could fetch well into the six or seven figures for a company brand however trying to establish a wine of the month club and categorizing this as a category killer for wine is not correct in my opinion (which, again, usually counts for shit)

    The test for words not commonly used in the english language are how they extend to second tier names. for example.

    The keyword wine extends to wine clubs, wine bars, wine bottles, wine of the month, etc…..

    You can not do this for Vino.

    vino clubs, vino bars, vino bottles, vino of the month ….

    yep, some of you just heard these vino words for the first time.

    Its a good name and always interesting to see how development occurs but the pat on the back here should go to Rick for trying something with a good name and not over valuing the domain name itself.


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