This Ice Cream Shop Owner is an Idiot

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An unassuming lady walks into an ice cream shop. She orders two ice cream cones. She pays the $12 tab with cash, and she walks out of the shop. In the parking lot, the lady walks up to a Tesla and hands the man behind the wheel the two ice cream cones. The driver is none other than Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

As the ice cream hand-off is taking place, a domain investor is walking in to the ice cream shop to order his regular – a four scoop banana split with extra whipped cream on top. When he gets to the counter to place an order with the friendly shop owner, the domain investor can’t contain himself. “You idiot,” he bellows. “Those two ice cream cones were bought by Elon Musk! The guy is worth billions. You should have charged him $10,000 for those cones. Maybe if you were smarter, you would be a great domain investor like me,” he continued.

Nearly every time a notable domain name is sold, there will almost always be some domain investors who immediately criticize the owner for selling the domain name cheaply. When the newly named Washington Commanders announced their Commanders rebrand, there were some people who were quick to comment about how cheap the domain name was at $20,000 when it sold this Summer via Sedo.

Yes, in hindsight, Commanders.com at $20k seems like a great deal for a professional sports team. On the flip side, if the NFL team chose a different name – the Red Hogs or the Red Wolves, Commanders.com at $20k seems a bit expensive with limited prospective buyers.

According to NBC, “Washington co-owner and CEO Tanya Snyder confirmed a list of eight finalists for the new name in September.” This is about two months after the domain name was sold in July. Put simply, the seller of Commanders.com didn’t necessarily have any idea the NFL team was going to want to buy Commanders.com. By the time Commanders was revealed as a finalist for the team name, the brand match domain name had already been sold – likely to the NFL team.

Like the domain name seller, the ice cream shop owner did not know Elon Musk was behind the ice cream cone purchase. Maybe he could have charged more, but maybe Musk would have gone elsewhere. Who knows what role the cost of the brand match .com domain name played into the rebranding process. Maybe the relatively light cost on the domain name was the factor that pushed this domain name over another option. Who knows.

Of course, a domain name is a unique asset – unlike an ice cream cone. No two domain names are alike, and you can only sell a domain name once. You give a price and the buyer can take it or walk. Some people don’t care about letting a buyer walk. They want the best deal possible or they won’t sell. That’s a fine business model for those who can afford to pass on good offers with the hopes of getting a great offer. Awesome for those who do maximize every sale but there’s no need to shit on someone else for having a different business model.

When someone blindly inquires about one of my unpriced domain names, I do some market research and then provide a purchase price. I make money selling domain names – not sitting on them until I die. I use the cash flow to continue to improve my portfolio. I use the cash flow to support my family and our lifestyle. I do not have the luxury of sitting on a portfolio of priceless domain names I bought 30 years ago where I could close one massive deal every year or two to make the same living I make now. I don’t think I would enjoy this business much if I was only going to sell one domain name a year.

I am sure I leave money on the table on a regular basis, but I am not going to complain after booking a solid sale. I am certainly not going to insult someone else for doing the same.

Yes – it looks like the Washington Commanders scored a great deal when they likely  bought Commanders.com for $20k. I think the NFL team deserves praise for its timely acquisition rather than criticizing the domain investor who sold it.

About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the DomainInvesting.com 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

23 COMMENTS

  1. point well taken.
    works both ways – i know at least four domains I sold into the six-digits over the years that are not even used anymore – two of those by fortune 100 companies. And one of those four them i bought back for $69 off the drops 15 years ago.

  2. Ice cream analogy is a false one.

    Ice cream is a consumer product with an across the board objective price. URLs can’t be objectively priced in most situations. Buyer inquiries, comparable sales history, research # of end users, and monitoring changing trends via media announcements and feeds sets the market.

    WashingtonCommanders.com was registered in July 2020, and searching web forums highlighted Commanders was a suspected name by many back in July 2020. It was acknowledged as a finalist in September 2021.

    Also, Commanders was the name of San Antonio’s AAF football team, so a strong hand speculator would suspect the potential buyer was at least a pro sports league.

    True, $20k was a steal for the NFL no matter how you look at it. Yet, the market rate on such a URL is no less than $200K and that is true as well.

    • “Yet, the market rate on such a URL is no less than $200K and that is true as well.”

      I do not agree.

      I paid $1,000 for Phenoms.com at auction a couple of years ago and I think it is a similar type of name as Commanders.com. I would be happy to sell for $20k. I could price it at $250k and pray a professional sports teams wants it, but if I held firm at that silly price level, my kids’ kids would inherit it.

      • Phenoms.com would be in a similar position to Commanders.com if there was PRIOR proof of use by PRO teams.

        Commanders was already used as an nickname for San Antonio Commanders in the market place. You are side-stepping the fact that it was known to the PUBLIC and Washington NFL through market research and focus groups to be an acceptable name.

        San Antonio Commanders of the AAF drew an average of approximately 27,720 fans to each home game, were by far the best-attended team in the AAF but was shutdown due to COVID.

        This was public knowledge available with a basic Google search.

        If Rangers.com sold for the equivalent of $441K in 2022 dollars, Rams.com is priced over $400K and Cowboys.com as; in no way is at least $200K minimum a ‘silly’ price.

      • BTW, Phenoms.com would be a great competitor site for Rivals.com.

        Phenoms is often used to describe Blue chip recruits in sports.

        Sports brands like Fox Sports, Bleacher Report competing with ESPN and Rivals.com might be very interested in buying Phenoms.com.

  3. OK J.R. –
    “URLs can’t be objectively priced in most situations. ” – that’s why we have those clown geniuses at EstiBot Who “APPRAISE” it at $21K
    https://www.estibot.com/appraise?a=get&id=5577129&domain=commanders.com&source=appraise

    “WashingtonCommanders.com was registered in July 2020”
    A $99 subscription at DomainTools.com would have provided key information for the seller to get a better strike price ?

    Should of….. Could of….Would of….

  4. I have had this happen a few times. Selling to a buyer not knowing who they are and giving a price much lower than I would of had I known. It sucks but when I can take a domain I bought for $10,20 or even $100 and turn it into a $10,15, 20 thousand dollar sale over and over again its not a bad deal, just not the best deal if I knew how deep the pockets were going in.

  5. It’s funny to see that MOST domainers still try to value domains based on who the buyer is or might be rather than the value of the domain.
    I would leave it at, To each their own, rather than get into merits.

  6. Bulls: Yes you can get 3 gallons of cheap ice-cream that has no taste. Ironically that’s like domains, you get what you pay for.

    Eric@boredhumans, i tried few random appraisals and they are all way off: cars.com ($211,304), news.com ($22,503) and sex.com ($38,756).

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