Innovation HQ Acquires DUIAttorney.com in Seven Figure Deal

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DUI Attorney .comJust before the end of the year, I had dinner with Brian and Charlotte Gilbert, portfolio managers for Innovation HQ, the company that owns and operates Grants.com,  MortgageCalculator.com, Unemployment.com, WhatIsMyIP.com, Earth.com, and many more descriptive domain names. They were excited to share the news that their company had just acquired DUIAttorney.com in a “seven figure deal.”

This is much more than a domain acquisition though. Operating online first as an attorney’s website, DUIAttorney.com has been a legal directory for the past two years. It has become a leading website for people looking to hire a DUI attorney anywhere in the US.

Many lawyers and law firms who understand the value of marketing on a site of this nature have locked in exclusivity on their region, and the company continues to field inquiries about advertising on a daily basis. As a result of the category defining domain name, as well as smart SEO, the website ranks very well in search engines for a variety of DUI-related terms.

The website has become a cash cow, and Innovation HQ’s acquisition will help the website grow, both in terms of traffic and revenues. The company intends to put a significant investment into marketing, search engine optimization, and content. All of these things will drive a strong ROI and enhance the value proposition for current and future advertisers.

Although seven figures might seem like a lot of money, I understand that the revenue multiple on this acquisition was very fair, and the company should see a strong return.

An official press release announcing this significant acquisition will be sent out by the company in the coming days.

Congrats to Brian and Charlotte Gilbert and the team at Innovation HQ.

47 COMMENTS

  1. @ wanna develop

    LOL.

    Based on the revenue multiple alone, they got a hell of a deal (although I can’t disclose what it is, I can say it’s surprisingly low).

    Why would traffic matter that much when the revenue multiple is low, they have long term deals locked up, and they have a waiting list for advertising in some regions?

    If anything, they got a steal because there is room to grow significantly, which would justify an increase in advertising costs.

  2. It’s too much money to pay for a website that is maybe 1 year old and has very little value other than the domain itself and some content that is worth a thousand bucks at most… You simply do not know whether current advertisers will continue to renew, etc. Lots of variables come into play.

    Wish them all the best though… Nice to see people take a good domain + simple directory concept + some direct advertising and things clicking.

    Lets re-visit this post in one or two years and we will know if it was a good investment or not 😉

    • @ wanna

      I wholeheartedly disagree with you.

      Content can be added, SEO can be done, and traffic can grow. The most important thing is the money coming in, which it is. They have commitments from advertisers. In some areas, they have commitments and a waiting list if an advertiser drops off.

      Cash flow is king, and this has significant cash flow with limited costs/overhead.

  3. They bought a successful business in one of if not the most lucrative niches online. I could see this making over a million dollars a year.

    I think this is one of the best domain buys I’ve heard in a while and with Brian and Charlie ay the helm I am confident they will take the business to the next level.

    This is the new era of Domaining and it’s time we call a name like this what it is, a business, not just a domain.

    I do respect everyone’s opinions in here, no right or wrong answers here and always great to have a lively discussion!

  4. The price is always the price you will sell,
    whatever people say.

    Age of the website is a misconception. Domain names are not like wine.
    15 years old web site with zero traffic is not better that a new domain. In many case, bad backlinks are even worse a for a new web development.

    People who buy at this level have a ton of investment advisers and consultants. They know what they do.

    Great Deal!

  5. This is wonderful news! The term for seven figure deal is not the most descriptive because 1,000,000 is seven figures but so is 9,999,999 so there is a broad interpretation, but either way for those of us in the legal domain name world…that is a great sign.

  6. Somebody got a good deal here, I think it’s the seller… LOL 🙂

    “significant cash flow with limited costs/overhead”

    ^— so you mean to tell me that crappy website does low to mid $XXX,XXX per year? and there is all this potential…

    Then wtf did the seller get rid of his baby.

    Come on… Get real 🙂

  7. Yes, I looked around the website and like I said originally, the website / current business is around 1 years old (very new) and if they paid anything over $1.5m, they overpaid big time… There is very little value to the whole operation right now other than domain and the content that has been favored by the engines which has resulted in some nice rankings.

    Look at all of the counties in NY or NJ. They only have one lawyer in NY apparently displayed throughout all counties, and maybe a few that I can count on my right hand in NJ.

    One word = LOL.

    Not sure where they are racking in all this “cashflow” …??

  8. @ wanna

    Perhaps that lawyer is paying $xx,xxx for that entire region. I don’t see how you can discount all of the advertising revenue.

    FFS, if a dog walker said, “Elliot, I will pay you $10,000 a year to have all of New York, Connecticut and New Jersey so when someone looks any area in those three states up, I am the only listing” and I was only making $1,000 a year from the other advertisers combined, I would say fuck yeah, and you’d be a dummy if you didn’t!

    Without knowing how much revenue is being generated and without knowing how much the site cost, it’s not possible to make a logical assessment of whether it’s a good deal.

    Being privy to some of the private details, you’ll have to trust that I can assure you they got a good price.

  9. Yes, but this guy can’t be all over the state, no lawyer will travel much when it comes to DUI’s, may do referrals or whatever if he has a good network and has been around for a while… But that is besides the point.

    In my opinion there is nothing “as is” to justify the price tag of even $1m+ yes the whole “lead capture” concept works and there may be some cashflow, and opportunities to further expand but dropping 7 figures on something 1 year old is risky business. It’s their money though… Let em do whatever they want. Could have spent $10M, I could care less… But when people are jumping on the bandwagon and saying “AWESOME!” without having a clue…. BLAH 😛

    • @ Mike

      You don’t have a clue about the revenue, and you’re the most vociferous, so blah at you. Actually, we are both equally vociferous, and I do know the revenue multiple… so blah blah. 🙂

  10. LOL I just can’t see at face value what makes this site / biz so good and worth that much and I tried to come at it from all angles… I am sure IHQ could have acquired duilawyers.com or duilattorneys.com for a little less and spent $ at proper development and SEO… but to each his own.

    We’ll see what happens with this in a few years… Lets just hope it’s not a parked page 😛

  11. This is the right of the buyer to buy at this price and in his view this is the right decision.

    Buying a domain name is not just buying a physical domain.

    It‘s a lot of more.

    In this case like many big sales, this a real project, a future development for the web and the business.

    The value includes the future benefits and a cut on his advertising budget. This is a big plan.

    A domain name at this level is a real marriage for your business. Also a smart and quality domain name will give more reputation to the buyer, this is an inestimable value.

    We only can say one think,
    Great Deal!

  12. @Elliot, thanks for the article!

    @Morgan, thanks for the kind words. You hit the nail on the head….IHQ bought a business built around a great domain name and niche.

    @wanna, the numbers have to be there or IHQ doesn’t buy.

  13. Hello Elliot,

    Great point Morgan! Whenever I am talking to prospective buyers I reference domains as Business Addresses, because that is exactly what they have evolved into. Want my advice scratch the domain name and use Business Address !

    Gratefully Jeff Schneider (Contact Group)

  14. Gee. What a surprise.

    Wanna challenges the fact-based, reasonable conclusions of someone (Elliot) who knows this business’ actual financials including sales price.

    A more accurate nom de plume would be Wanna Complain.

    Would someone please direct this joker back to the rabbit hole he crawled out of.

    • @ WST

      I don’t know the exact purchase price and I don’t know the exact amount of money the site makes. I do know the approximate revenue multiple which gives me a fair idea of both, and that’s the reason I think it was a good buy… well, that and the fact that I know the Gilberts well enough to know that they know WTF they are doing.

  15. They have one of the best adult portfolios as well as one of the best cherry picked mainstream ones… As for what they know about dui lawyers and legal marketing + lead capture, it’s a whole different argument for another day as it has nothing to do with Grants.com, MortgageCalculator.com, Unemployment.com, WhatIsMyIP.com, Earth.com etc.

    Nice to keep on diversifying though… I’m all for that. That is the only positive I can take away from all of this, and my last 2.5c worth 🙂

  16. Mike you are making an ass of yourself and may be turning away the miniscule population of prospects thAt still trusts you.
    Put down the pipe buddy and don’t post until you have few days rest and drink a lot of water to get that stuf out of your syste

  17. Seems like a good investment and profitable niche. At first, I thought, Rob Monster sold him DuiAttorney dot com, but I reviewed Epik’s recent blog post and see that is duilawyers.co . DuiAttorney dot com has a #1 listing in Google, so it’s doing something right in the SEO space!

  18. If those guys paid 7 fig’s to purchase this name, I’m sure its worth it. With zero income the name is worth well over $1.25 million. This site as is if you added adsense you would be getting over $12 per click. This is really a cash cow and anyone who doesnt see this has no right to be in the web world making a living. Great buy and much success to you guys on this new phenomenal buy.

  19. Mr. Fragger, go back to grammar school and learn English if you want to be taken seriously 😉

    Heh..

    When the guy is not copy/pasting yester-years news, he is now hitting up the blogs looking for some action… Sad.

  20. Hey, Elliot,

    Am I on the right track with these domains?

    DrugDefense.in
    DrugDefense.org
    DrugImpaired.ca
    DrugImpaired.co.uk
    DrugImpaired.com
    DrugImpaired.net
    Drug-Impaired.com
    DrugImpairedDriving.com
    DUID.ca
    DUID.co.uk
    DUID.info
    DUIDAttorney.net
    DUIDAttorneys.com
    DUIDDefense.com
    DUIDDefense.net
    DUIDDefenseAttorney.com
    DUIDDefenseAttorneys.com
    DUIDDefenseLawyer.com
    DUIDDefenseLawyers.com
    DUIDLawyer.net
    DUIDLawyers.com

    kind regards,

    Robert McLean

    • @ Tricky

      I am not sure what track you’re on… selling/developing?

      I probably wouldn’t spend the time or money developing those… I don’t know what DUID is. I am not sure it will be easy to find a buyer, but you can search Google for potential buyers.

  21. I more agree with Mike @Wanna D. here.

    If there’s one thing I know, it’s not to trust domainer’s stats – they are ALWAYS over-bloated.

    And don’t trust a buyer’s word because no one is going to admit they over-paid significantly for something.

    I’m a brand manager at a top media company and no one is paying $10k for an ad on that site. Even if it’s a great domain name.

  22. @dcmike
    Brand manager ? DUIAttorney.com doesn’t need a “top media company” to pay 10k for an ad. It needs a smart laywer or 2 who want clients and know how much those clients are worth and are willing to pay for those. This isn’t about branding this is about directly converting clicks to clients. This is as highly targeted traffic as you can get and thus you can charge a premium for that. It’s traffic that makes the client money, it’s not some bucket full of run of site traffic you’d get at the LA Times or another ‘branding’ opportunity site. Do a little research on what the top DUI attorneys spend/spent on phonebook ads sometime or better yet look at what targeted traffic and the clients that come from that is worth to them.

  23. There is a big difference between traffic, leads and clients…

    A lead doesn’t automatically mean you got yourself a client. That is only when the work begins…. Also with these crappy directories / lead capture setup, not just on duiattorney.com but all the other duilawyer.com duilawyers.com if the conversion rate is 1:100 (client:views) that is freakin awesome!

  24. @ wanna

    As far as I am aware, it’s not a lead gen site… it’s a paid directory, similar to what I have with DogWalker.com. A difference is that lawyers can pay for a city or region for exclusivity, and on DogWalker.com, there is no exclusivity offered.

  25. Thank you everyone for the kind comments. We Look forward to seeing those of you at DFG! If you are not attending, i am sure we will meet up soon at conference! Without meeting you all years ago and learning the industry, adhering to your great advice and guidance, this possibly would not have gone as well as it did.

  26. I can confirm that a great company bought a great business asset in this transaction, and that there was extensive due diligence from both sides. Innovation HQ is an awesome company to work with, and Brian is a very smart guy with a lot of character and business sense.

    BTW, DUID stands for “Driving Under the Influence of Drugs.” It is not a very commonly used acronym, and hence why there are a lot of good domains that contain it still in the wild.

  27. Wow!

    @Mike – You’re a developer so I’m not buying the nonsense you’re writing, although I do appreciate your stirring the pot. makes for a lively exchange! While it’s true they could have purchased DUIattorneys.com for less (it’s mine), they were looking for revenue, not just a domain. Also, just about every state has a couple of state-wide DUI firms (as in more than one lawyer and more than one office). It goes without saying that these firms also advertise statewide.

    @Louise – For the record DUILawyers.co is my site built on Epik’s platform.

    @dcmike – I have clients that pay substantially more than $10k per month for their listings on my DUI directories. Perhaps those numbers don’t pencil out in your verticals, but they do in DUI and many other verticals.

    Here we have a bunch of domainers discussing the sale of a BUSINESS as if it was a parked domain. The valuation metrics you’re accustomed to using aren’t applicable here. This business was sold based on a fair multiple of net revenue, period. There’s no speculation. The client base is contracted and the attrition is minimal. Dan Jaffe has done a great job building this site into a nat’l directory and getting to the top of the SERP’s. The site is not 1-2 years old. He was a practicing AZ DUI attorney and this was his firm site. A couple years ago he converted it to a directory.

    BTW: I know Dan and can tell you he is a stand-up guy that would have provided completely accurate books. Certainly IHQ did their due diligence.This was a fare deal for all involved.

  28. I read the first 20 posts or so, but then had to skip to the end. Those posting that the price was too high show no respect for the buyer’s ability (not that I know them, I don’t) and no knowledge of the topic of the domain, so let me share with you what I think I know on the topic:

    – The average DUI/DWI costs the person arrested $10,000 to $20,000 and may be more depending on how bad you want to get off and if it was your first offense or not. This doesn’t include the cost of any bribes…

    – I don’t have the stats, but many, many offenders will continue to offend several times. In Minnesota we hear all the time about someone arrested and it was their 10th time.

    – The average CPC for the keywords is about $30, but if you get local, the CPC jumps to $45-$100 according to Google.

    We have a few of these domains and they do very well while parked. Thanks for posting about this, I have a new directory to build! 🙂

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