Owner Passed on $4 Million Offer

There’s an interesting article you’ll probably enjoy on Crain’s Detroit about entrepreneur Earl Braxton, whose company is in the portable toilet business. You’ll likely enjoy reading the article about Braxton’s business, but I think you’ll find the short part about domain names to be of particular interest.

Here’s an excerpt from the article that discusses domain names owned by Braxton’s company:

“Braxton also has proved Internet savvy. In the 1990s, he said, he bought a thousand domain names. Among them was the URL that is his primary business link online:

He said he’s been offered $4 million for the name, and another $200,000 for, but he’s not selling. He’s a toilet guy.”

We’ve all probably had the chance to use one of Braxton’s portable toilets, but I didn’t realize his company actually owns $4 million for that domain name seems like a pretty solid price, but I would be difficult to sell a domain name that is the exact match domain name for his business. It’s the kind of domain name that should always retain value because it’s instantly recognizable and meaningful.

Even though the Crain’s article is not focused on domain names, you should check it out when you have an opportunity. It’s an interesting story about a savvy entrepreneur.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn
  1. Interesting story, and his statement “We survived because we had a core business that made money” should be a lesson for all those people who these days think to make quick easy money (or to get rich fast) with domains or startups with weak or non-existent business models, like you see often during market bubbles …

    About the 4 mln $ offer he said he received for, if it’s true IMHO I think he should accept it and sell the name, since he also owns, among others, and, which exactly represent his business.
    For a company with revenue of 1.4 mln $ (between 2.5 and 5.0 mln $ according to data), a cash inflow of 4 mln $ would be very useful to expand or improve his core business, without sacrificing on marketing and online visibility.
    Based on those revenue figures, making some basic assumptions on operating profitability and financial structure, this sale would likely generate more cash resources than an IPO, but without the need to sell a minority equity stake to third parties.
    Think about it, Mr Braxton ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Elliot,
      Of course the domain should not be sold to a direct competitor in the Portable Toilets business.
      But consider that Porta John Corp is a microcap which operates in a very specific mkt segment, that of Portable Toilets, Septic Tank & Related Services.
      There are many companies active in the whole “Toilets” business (for ex. toilets for bathrooms), which is something different from the specific market niche of Porta John.
      Unless Porta John has the intention to enter the bigger and very competitive “Toilets” business, something that’s unlikely, I think it’s a good idea divesting the domain at this price.
      To be more specific, we should know who made that offer … ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. This guy must be smoking something, the domain is never worth $4m not even to himself, he hires out portable toilets not sells toilets…

  3. I feel we have to think of it from a content point of view. He’s happy where his medium sized company is. He probably lives a comfortable life too. The domain is used and gets high traffic and occasionally will bring in customers. One day when he’s near retirement he’ll sell and whether he can get 4 mil or 100k on that day I don’t think he cares much. For now its like his favorite car. He may not drive it much if at all but just having it for the neighbors to oggle is enough even if the city slicker comes by now and then soeculating wanting to purchase.

    With that said a good broker could probably get this guy to sell lol.

  4. In reply to the comments on selling the domain name:
    We are not just a portable toilet rental or manufacturing company!
    When you view our current list of published sanitation web sites you
    will see that does not adequately describe
    our business. Please visit our published web pages shown below:

    Web pages under development: ยฎ

    Portable toilets are just part of our overall manufacturing business of developing
    Patented fresh water flushing Comfort Stations, Single & Multiple Stall Lavatory
    Buildings, etc. We realized that people would pay a higher price for a clean,
    pleasant, hygienic sanitation experience.

    When we concentrated our marketing on low profit and unpleasant to use portable
    toilets, our revenues were greater with a much smaller net. So we made the
    change, and best describes what we do. You can also view our Internet
    marketing plans by visiting

    • “We are not just a portable toilet rental or manufacturing company!”
      Mr Braxton, if we check your list of domains/websites we see that your focus is clearly on toilets for “special uses”, which represent specific segments of the whole global “toilets” market, which includes, among others, toilets for bathrooms (when I think to “toilets” personally the first thing that come to my mind are toilets for bathrooms, not special toilets).
      Your revenue figures and your “products list” confirm that you are operating just in some segments of the toilets mkt.
      That’s why we said that and the other domains you own (over 1,300 as far as I can see, some of which you listed here) exactly and better represent your business.

      “Portable toilets are just part of our overall manufacturing business of developing Patented fresh water flushing Comfort Stations, Single & Multiple Stall Lavatory Buildings, etc.”
      This further confirms that your main business is in the toilets for “special uses” (when I say that I mean not the toilets for bathrooms).

      “When we concentrated our marketing on low profit and unpleasant to use portable toilets, our revenues were greater with a much smaller net. So we made the change, and best describes what we do.”
      As far as we see, your “change” was broadening your offer to other toilets for special uses, for which you already own specific domains, in order to improve your operating and net profitability.
      Wise choice, but in our view that doesn’t imply best represents what you do. Of course you do “Toilets”, but toilets for “special uses/situations”, not the “mainstream” meaning of “toilets”, which is a way bigger (and competitive) market.
      We still think the divestment of at that prices would be a better allocation of your resources.
      That said, it’s up to you, you are the owner.
      In any case, thanks for your reply and good luck with your business! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Of course he should keep it!
    Wife and taxes will waste the $4 mil in no time.
    He prob. gets a big chink of biz via this site.
    U funny flippers u need to wipe your noses before u make suggestions to the grownups

    • Being impolite and silly defining some corporate professionals as us “funny flippers”, and suggesting them to “wipe your noses before u make suggestions” just confirm how biased, uninformed or plain stupid you are.
      We work everyday with corporate clients, and clearly you have no idea what are you talking about …
      As Mark Twain said “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubtโ€ …
      I think smart readers can judge by themselves.

  6. “He said heโ€™s been offered $4 million for the name”

    Meaningless newspapers will print whatever you say. And even if someone did throw out that number they could have been playing him and not serious.

  7. IMHO, based upon many years of closing deals in the $100K-$500K range 8-20 times per year (intangible assets, not domains)…this is LIKELY either a completing B.S. story, or perhaps someone did “offer” $4 million, but it wasn’t an offer that would have ever closed, again IMHO.

    I’d be shocked to see this domain sell to an end-user for over $200K…absolutely shocked.

  8. I was at the KBIS convention in Vegas last month, the biggest thing in toilets in the seats, not just toilets.. Everything from heating to washing your puki ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I know.. I have too many other things going on and haven’t been on the computer much. I didn’t even have time to congratulate Elliot on the Patriots win. Congrats Elliot! I was rooting for the pats as well ๐Ÿ™‚ What a boneheaded call that was.

      Anyway, you guys missed out at the Kitchen and Bath show, it was great!.. I think Kohler and Toto had the biggest plumbing booths.


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