In my opinion, honesty is one of the most important qualities in negotiating a domain sale. Since a majority of the domain investment business is done online, the important handshake and face to face encounter is eliminated. If a potential buyer or seller catches you being dishonest, you can kiss your deal goodbye. You may be the most sincere and kindest person in
John Berryhill, a highly regarded domain attorney, was kind enough to reference this important UDRP case that may impact domain owners. The facts of the case are:
1) Original registrant sold CreditKeeper.com, a name that he registered in 2001.
2) UDRP was filed by HSBC Finance Corporation, as they have two registered trademarks for “Credit Keeper,” one granted in 2004 and the other in 2005, both of which were filed and approved after the domain name was created.
3) Respondant argued that he should be allowed to keep the name as it was registered prior to the TM, and those rights of the original registrant should be passed to him.
Attorney Berryhill argued that the new domain owner acquired all rights of the domain name, including the important rights that existed because the registration pre-dated the trademark approvals:
The Respondent contends that it acquired all rights to the domain name under a certain
While leaving the restroom at TRAFFIC on Thursday, a gentleman held the door opened for me, and I introduced myself on the way back to one of the panels. I learned that he was from Baltimore, and after a brief conversation I found out that he bought and sold Jewish-related and Hebrew domain names among other business pursuits. When he asked if I had any of these names, I responded that I owned one that I hadn’t done anything with and was willing to sell it.
Rewind a few months…
When I originally purchased the name, I told a close friend of mine that I would give all of the proceeds to his non-profit Jewish organization. My friend is the Rabbi who runs the Mitzvah Tank organization in Manhattan, and he has one of the biggest hearts out of anyone I know. I’ve seen him give money out of his pocket to help people in need and he is always willing to lend an ear and give advice.
Back to the conference…
My new acquaintance asked me what my asking price was for the name. When I told him the story about the sale going entirely to tzedakah, he made a very generous offer for the name. I accepted the offer, and my company will match his offer to double the contribution. It certainly wasn’t my highest financial value transaction, but it was definitely the highest value transaction I’ve had, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I made a new friend in the process.
Although there are several things I consider when selecting a domain name to target for acquisition, I believe the most important thing is the generic nature of the name. I believe that owning a generic, industry descriptive domain name is the most important thing someone can do to build their online business. It is even more important to own a generic domain name in a smaller niche industry, especially if an industry leader does not exist.
In my opinion, if you are entering a market without a dominant industry leader, the greatest thing you can do for yourself and your business is to purchase a generic name that describes the industry in the shortest way possible. To illustrate my point, let’s take an industry that is well established with many industry leaders. For example, let’s say you want to check out the score of the Red Sox game. Chances are good that you wouldn’t go to BaseballScores.com, but instead, you would either hit up ESPN.com or RedSox.com knowing that you will find the score of the game, box score, and maybe even a summary. Sites like these are dominant industry leaders, so although a generic domain name is good, it would still be difficult for your company to thrive with huge competition already fully developed and well known by web users.
However, let’s say you are interested in buying a flag for Independence Day. If you were to directly navigate to a website, chances are good that you might go to AmericanFlags.com, as there isn’t a well-known industry leader in the flag business (to my knowledge). AmericanFlags.com surely receives a good amount of type in traffic from patriotic Americans (and probably from anti-American people as well). This traffic is inherent with the domain name, and the company doesn’t need to expend advertising dollars to attract these highly motivated visitors who want to buy American flags. There is nothing better than when a customer knows exactly what he wants, and he finds himself on a website that can provide the product for him.
The other distinct advantage of building a business around a great generic domain name is that it is easier for a business with a generic domain name to get higher search engine placement than a company with an unrelated “brandable name.” To continue using the example from above, AmericanFlags.com has top placement in Google for “American Flags.” This is a HUGE advantage for an online company like this because consumers who choose to use a search engine instead of direct navigation will see the company right at the top of the unpaid search results, and many will trust this company, without knowing anything else about it. There is a good deal of comfort in a consumer’s mind knowing that they are clicking through to a company that is built around the term they are searching.
Could the people from AmericanFlags.com be successful without this domain name? The answer is probably yes because they have a great leader and team, however, it would have been more difficult and much more expensive.