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Bido to Run Charity Auction for Animal Org

Sahar Sarid has announced that his domain auctionhouse Bido will run a charity domain auction for   Hacienda de los Milagros, an animal sanctuary and rescue center that is supported by my friend and private domain board founder Donna Mahony. The auction is for a small portfolio (and growing) of animal-related domain names.   The auction starts on April 1st at 1pm.

Great Google Lab Features

I was on Gmail today and saw the Google Labs button was red, indicating that Google has some neat new products and features under development they want to show off.

Here are my favorite experimental Gmail features, although I haven’t used all of them yet:

Muzzle
Conserves screen real estate by hiding your friends’ status messages.

Mail Goggles
Google strives to make the world’s information useful. Mail you send late night on the weekends may be useful but you may regret it the next morning. Solve some simple math problems and you’re good to go. Otherwise, get a good night’s sleep and try again in the morning. After enabling this feature, you can adjust the schedule in the “General” settings page.

Forgotten Attachment Detector
Prevents you from accidentally sending messages without the relevant attachments. Prompts you if you mention attaching a file, but forgot to do so.

Undo Send
Oops, hit “Send” too soon? Stop messages from being sent for a few seconds after hitting the send button.

Does a Big Sale Raise Domain Values?

I am in the midst of a discussion with one of my blog readers, Bruce Gittleman (who gave me permission to use his name and domain names), and the discussion centers on whether Rick Schwartz’s pending sale of Candy.com will lift the values of four domain names Bruce owns, CandySweets.com (reg’d in 1999), WeLoveCandy.com, SheLovesCandy.com and BuyGreatCandy.com. There is a saying, “a rising tide lifts all boats,” and some people liken it to a big domain sale increasing the value of similar or related domain names, but I don’t think it applies in this situation.

After a large domain sale like Candy.com, world event like the election of President Obama, or tragedy like the tsunami in Thailand, people register thousands of domain names with the hopes of capitalizing on the increased publicity. It is my belief that 99.9% of these types of domain names do not sell. Although Bruce didn’t specifically register his brandable domain names because of Rick’s pending sale, if they are put up for sale now, they will compete with thousands of other similar names on sites like Ebay.

There are several reasons that I outlined why I think Bruce will be hardpressed to sell his domain names for a profit – especially given the current economic conditions:

  1. Since nobody has contacted Bruce since 1999 (assumption), chances are good that nobody will all of a sudden want them… so
  2. Bruce will have to contact candy companies on his own to sell/market them, which is   very time consuming
  3. It will be difficult finding someone who wants these, so Bruce will have to sell them on the concept rather than just on the value of the names alone.
  4. Once Bruce gets someone interested, he will then have to convince them to spend the money.   Bruce has already invested over $75 in renewal fees alone + the time it takes to convince them that they need the domain name
  5. It’s very difficult to convince a company to spend thousands of dollars on a brandable name, when they can just as easily spend $8 to register: TheyLoveCandy.com, SheLovesCandies.com, or another unregistered brandable domain name

There are always people who spend hundreds of dollars on “trendy” domain names that are mostly a waste of money, in my opinion. Instead of spending $800 dollars on 100 new registrations like these, it would be better to buy one $800 domain name that gets some traffic and actually has meaning, rather than creating brandable domain names that nobody cared to register in the past.

Generic domain names like Candy.com and Auction.com sell for 7 figures because everyone around the world knows them.   They haven’t been developed into businesses before, yet their brand value and goodwill is already immense. Additionally, the type-in traffic is and always will be strong, and this traffic can be converted into sales immediately after turning it into a business.

In my opinion, 99.99% of the new registrations that come after big sales are worthless. In general, I do think similar meaningful names like CandyBars.com and Auctions.com become worth more as domain names, but I really don’t think brandable names become more valuable.

What do you think?

BTW, I thank Bruce for being a good sport about this and allowing me to use him and his names as examples.   If the four names he owns are of interest to you or your company, drop me a note and I will put you in touch.

My AIG Piggy Bank

This silver AIG-branded piggybank is my favorite memento from when I worked at AIG.

AIG Piggybank

Redirect Your Error Traffic

Here’s a simple web development tip that foolishly I didn’t do completely until today.   Using Google Analytics, find all of your site’s 404 errors. Locate the internal errors by seeing which internal pages sent the error traffic, open the pages up, and search for broken links.

It is also critical that you find external links that are going to a 404 page within your site. Perhaps the content moved, was removed, or the other webmaster made an error with his link to your site.   If it’s the later, perhaps you want to email or call the other webmaster and ask nicely for the link to change.   I find that calling is a better way to connect, although many people seem to be reluctant to pick up the phone.

If you find that the link is to a page that was moved or removed, you should redirect the link in your website’s htaccess file to a relevant page within your site – or to the page that moved.   It can be a pain to find the exact link that was used because Google only shows the referring website, however, you can do a site search on Google (ie search site:xyzreferrer.com yoursite.com) in Google, and you will probably find where your link originates. Instead of taking the chance that the other webmaster will remove his link, it’s probably better just to redirect it to a relevant page.

After doing this with one of my sites a couple days ago, error traffic is way down. This helps to reduce the bounce rate, which should help with Google rankings.

Schwartz Set to Sell Candy.com for $3m

Rick Schwartz has announced that he reached a deal is set to sell Candy.com for $3,000,000 + an ongoing percentage of sales. The domain name was is said to be purchased by an undisclosed US candy maker.

Several months ago, I believe Rick had been forwarding traffic from Candy.com to Hersheys.com, but I don’t know if this might be a precursor to the sale.

The recent million dollar + sales of names like Auction.com, Toys.com and Candy.com show that the domain market is still strong at the top.   Brands are great, but one word category killer .com domain names that get significant type-in traffic will always get type in traffic, and these domain names can consistently drive revenue for a company.

***Update***

Although the title of Rick’s article says “Rick scores a sweet deal,” indicating that a deal was finalized, some of the content from inside the article indicate that the deal might not be completely closed yet.   “In what will be another landmark deal, I am able to report that Candy.com is set to sell for $3M plus an ongoing percentage of sales to a US based candy company.” I don’t think Rick would have reported this on his blog if he wasn’t certain it would close, but I wanted to post this update.

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