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Industry Wide Price Increase

I just received an email from Moniker notifying me of the price increase on domain names. On October 15, 2007, the price of registering .com and .net domain names is increasing by $.50. While this 7.2% price increase may not seem too bad, it can add up depending on the size of a person’s portfolio. I haven’t received an email like this from other registrars, but I imagine everyone will be in the same boat.

“INDUSTRY WIDE PRICE INCREASE – OCTOBER 2007

As you may (or may not) have heard, there will be an industry wide price increase on October 15th 2007. .com and .net prices are going up approximately $.50 each. If you own domains that you’re looking to hold onto for long term, save money by renewing and/or registering today!” — Source: Email from Moniker

Emailing Domain Owners

Over the past year or so, I’ve noticed a huge increase in the amount of domain inquiry spam I receive, and others have noticed, too. With the Domain Research Tool (DRT), people are able to research domain names based on various search queries, providing huge lists of domain names that meet the user’s requirements. Unfortunately, DRT can also append the email addresses of the domain name owner for each name on the list, making it far too easy for users to send out mass quantities of spam.

Although this “spam/mass email strategy” must have worked at some point, I think people should realize that it has become a nuisance for domain owners. Perhaps 5-10 owners will respond out of 5,000 emails, but for the other 4,990 people, the emailer will have tarnished his reputation and be known as a “spammer.” Just look at this thread as evidence.

In my opinion, DRT mass emails are spam by nature as they are bulk emails of a commercial nature for which the recipient cannot opt-out. Personalized emails aren’t done in bulk and are fair game. When I am interested in acquiring a domain name, I tell the owner of my interest and make a legitimate offer for the name in the initial email. When sending out mass emails, making a reasonable offer out of the gate is impossible. I believe this is what distinguishes the real offers from spammers.

I wonder if the registrars are behind some of these mass spam email campaigns to encourage users to buy their privacy guard upsell!! (Just joking)

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CuckooClocks.com & the Value of Domain Names

New Domainer and Blog Reader Writes

As usual, Frank Schilling gives a great example of why domain names are such a great unique business opportunity. As a domain investor, I often look at domain names with “rose colored glasses.” I try to buy names that are popular and have the highest paying keywords to help offset the cost of my acquisition. When I make a few dollars on a click, I am happy. However, it is very probable that I am leaving a considerable amount of money on the table by selling a “hot lead” for such a small price.

Frank, who frequently uses his RumCakes.com domain name as an example, uses CuckooClocks.com to illustrate why a great generic domain name is so valuable to an end user in that particular business, rather than to someone in the domain investment business:

“My wife bought this cuckoo clock from cuckooclocks.com .. This clock cost $2,219.00 (we paid the old price :- / ) .. How many uniques a day do you need to close a clock sale?.. 2, 5, 7 ? How much could you make selling cuckoo clocks?.. — Source: SevenMile.com

Ordinarily, a domain name like cuckooclocks.com might be worth a few thousand dollars to a domain investor based on traffic and expected annual ppc revenue. The owner would hope some of the web browsers click on the paid advertising links on his site to make a few dollars. However, for a person who actually sells cuckoo clocks rather than advertising space, this domain name is worth much, much more. Instead of trying to convince a web user to click on his link to earn a couple of dollars (or less), he is trying to get that person to buy a clock for a few thousand dollars.

Instead of a domain investor hoping that 1,000 visitors click on a link at $1.00 per click, the owner of cuckooclocks.com only needs 1 person to buy a $2,000 clock with a 50% profit margin. This is why generic domain names are so valuable to companies, and it’s also why many domain investors want to create small businesses around their generic domain names.

Personalized Brokerage Service

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When selling domain names, I believe most people either rely on end users contacting them or rely on selling to other domain investors. I think there is a market for a domain brokerage that is paid to contact potential buyers of domain names on behalf of domain owners.

The brokerage would collect stats and information about a domain name and present it to potential buyers. This is similar to my post in July, but instead of running an auction, the company would set a BIN price for a particular name or group of names that would be of interest to a company.

Currently, I believe most domain brokers work the opposite way. They receive information about a domain name and blast an email out to a random group of domain buyers. If a more personalized email was sent, the potential buyer could be enticed to make a purchase. It’s the heart of direct marketing (where I have my Master’s Degree), and it would be a great win/win/win for all parties.

Ignorance is no Excuse

Candidates locked in name game over Web domains

I’ve been seeing quite a few articles about politicians buying the domain names of their opponents, but I haven’t seen something as blatant as what the lady in the aforementioned article has been doing. The lady apparently believes that she can buy the domain names of realtors, doctors and other professionals in the hopes of selling to them for a profit. I think this is a case of ignorance more than anything else, but it certainly isn’t right. This is straight-up cybersquatting.

As domain investing becomes more mainstream, educating new investors is going to be important. I believe it is the job of the registrars’ to educate their buyers. Companies like Godaddy have gone mainstream, but I believe they are failing to educate their consumers. You wouldn’t leave out seatbelts in a Ferrari, so registrars should educate their buyers on the laws of cybersquatting and the penalties they could bring. As I said in this post, consumers should have “to check off a box acknowledging that they are aware of the Lanham Act and its penalties before every registration.

Someone needs to give this “domain reseller” a clue.

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