When Rick Latona and I were chatting about business development a couple of months ago, he mentioned that his company was going to launch a watch website with a similar model to companies like Cash 4 Gold and others. Customers would visit WeBuyWatches.com and they would send their watches to Latona’s company in exchange for cash. It would be a quick transaction to allow consumers to trade their luxury watches for money.
I read an article on Fusible.com this morning (a site that provides good insight into what domain investors and others are doing with top domain names), and I followed up my conversation with Rick regarding his newest venture.
You’ve recently launched two consumer sites with Vino.com and WeBuyWatches.com. Are these long term plays, or are you looking to build these two business and sell them in the shorter term? What else is in the pipeline?
They are definitely long-term plays. I’ve been an internet guy a lot longer than I’ve been a domain guy. In a lot of ways, I’m just getting back to my roots.
My business partner Ryan Steel and I have a lot of experience creating and working with revenue generating sites for other people and this is a focused effort to put everything we know into one high-quality site at a time.
Is WeBuyWatches.com solely a Rick Latona, LLC venture?
Many members of our team have a piece of the action but there are no third-party companies that are involved. For instance, Escrow.com isn’t involved. They are only on the whois record because the domain was purchased on payments over just a few months. The record will update soon.
Do you find that people are apprehensive about sending a high value watch through the mail to a company they don’t know? Does having a name like WeBuyWatches.com give you added credibility in the marketplace?
Some are apprehensive but we are getting through a lot of the objections. Honestly, I don’t think the name has much to do with it. This really isn’t a domain play. It’s basic internet marketing. After that its all about negotiating deals and helping the customers. This is a business in and of itself, just like Vino.com.
Our new consumer division has nothing to do with domains other than all of the sites will have one. If we don’t want to be in the business we won’t build the sites.
I know you closed AEIOU late last year, but would your company help build a business like this for other domain investors?
No. Honestly, there is too much that has to go into building internet businesses. These are full-time gigs with their own staff and expense structures. We are incubating our own properties and simply don’t have the time and resources to do them for others.
How has your experience as a pawn shop owner helped you with this site?
Heh. Tremendously! Without going into details I’ll just say that there’s a certain art to dealing with hard goods and customers in this sort of environment. It’s not something that can be mastered in less than a few years.
Can domain owners who invest in domains part time do something like this, and what would you advise someone who wanted to build a business like this?
There are different types of domainers. I was never the type to build a portfolio of names that generated healthy PPC returns. I fall in the category of domainers that buy and sell for a living. As far as I’m concerned, what I do is buy things to sell at a profit. I really don’t care if it is a domain or a Rolex. If you are a domainer and think like me than I don’t see why you couldn’t do something similar. Just find a niche other than watches because I don’t intend to leave much room. 🙂
How important is the domain name in this venture when compared to other things like SEO, marketing, customer service…etc?
It’s not important at all. We bought WeBuyWatches.com because we though the domain would make a good brand. To us, it is worth more than watches.com which would sound like a retail site. It’s all about SEO, marketing and customer service.
What else would you like people to know about the start-up and/or Rick Latona, LLC as it relates to consumer websites?
You ain’t seen nothing yet. Vino and WBW are a result of 3 months effort. Wait until we are fully rolling.
Great follow up Elliot, thanks for posting. We updated our story with a backlink to yours, so readers could find out more.
I am a Rick Latona client and fan; good luck on your new ventures…I see no reason why they cannot succeed. Good and entertaining post Elliott….
Like their others (and to no great surprise), an excellent idea and a great looking site.
Prescient to apply the “we buy gold” cos’ model to another similar/related and large “imperfect market” niche.
Relatedly, our WhatWeBuy.com (see, i.e. ThingsWeBuy.com) is available.
I have not wore or bought any watches since cell phones came out.
You see anybody wearing watches now?
It is just another useless tool to carry.
I love my watch 🙂
great to hear Rick tell it how it is – the domain name is not important at all. generic domains have their place but its nice to see a domainer acknowledge that brandable names can be even more powerful than generics for some businesses. and they’re cheaper too!
I agree with you, but keep in mind that Rick has spent quite a bit of money on building the site as well as advertising/marketing to get traffic to it.
A solid business can be built on any domain name, and this is a business first.
I’ve got a very nice Jaeger LeCoutre that might be a good fit with WBW.
Maybe I’ll give a trial run…
What kind of prices are they paying?
I understand purchasing old Rolexes or Omegas…
But this company is buying almost any watches. Even the absolutely worthless ones. I have a couple that I no longer wear, let me see what I can get for them.
The website is very nicely done, looks like they spent a top dollar.
Looking forward to your follow up interview. As I’m sure many of your readers NOW have MANY follow up questions.