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Thinking Ahead to Buy Domain Names

http://frankschilling.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/06/christmas-on-th.html

Reading Frank Schilling’s blog got me thinking about buying holiday-related domain names right now. Oftentimes our minds think about specific types of domain names because they are triggered by seasonal events. We think about acquiring shopping and Christmas-related names in October, November and December, and we think about beach related names in July and August. Well, it’s time to turn that upside down. Just like it’s better to buy a new pair of skis in the spring rather than in the fall, it’s the same way with domain names. There is no way you’ll find a bargain buying a high traffic Christmas name in late fall. Also, you won’t even have time to build a website in time to capitalize on the traffic (if that’s your plan).

You need to be at least two or three seasons ahead of your target acquisitions. If you want to create a Christmas themed portal, now is the time to buy (well, probably a month or two ago), but you get the point. I attend the NY International Gift Fair with my parents in the Spring when they are buying for the holidays, and the big retailers are doing the exact same thing. It’s important to think like consumers, analyze like marketers and act like businessmen.

Domain Registration Pre-Dating a TM

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http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/decisions/html/2007/d2007-0062.html

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

Doing Good Things

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.

Importance of a Generic Domain Name

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.

Special Thanks

There are a couple of people I want to thank for their help in putting my website and blog together.

I’d like to thank my friend Kevin for developing my website https://domaininvesting.com and for building this blog. He and his team were able to put it together in a short period of time, and I think the work speaks for itself. I asked for several specific things for my site and blog, and I was very surprised with the amount of support Kevin was able to give. As an aside, Kevin has a deep rolodex, so if you are looking to sell a premium name or two to corporate America, Kevin may be able to help you out. If you want to get in touch with Kevin, shoot me an email and I’ll send him your details. A sincere thanks to him for his help.

Secondly, I want to thank Tasha Kidd for her help designing my logo found on https://domaininvesting.com . It was Tasha who was one of the first people to reach out to me when I was learning about the business, and she put me in touch with many members of the domain community less than a couple of years ago. It is crazy to think that I was learning about domain investing on my own from various articles found online, but up until February of 2006, I didn’t even know DN Forum (or any of the other forums) even existed! I certainly would not be where I am at without Tasha’s advice and assistance. She has some great ideas, and she is one of the nicest people you will meet in this business. If you would like to be put in touch with Tasha, please contact me and I will send her your details.

Shameless Plug

Top Notch Domains, LLC Domain Names for Sale:

CommunityCenter.com – Make offer
FlightDiscounts.com – Make Offer

Email: DomainNames@Gmail.com to make offers.

Other Name for Sale (Not Owned by Top Notch Domains, LLC:)

FreeGifts.net

Email: DomainNames@gmail.com to make offers.

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