Verisign has a tool called DomainView which can be used to see what types of .com and .net domain names are being registered. You can use the tool to search daily registrations as well as registrations for a set period of time of your choosing. In addition to the novelty of seeing domain registration trends, the tool can also be used to help identify an inbound inquiry.
Oftentimes, people who are interested in buying a domain name in the aftermarket will hand register other, similar domain names that are unregistered. They do this because they want to protect the brand they are planning to create. If you are able to see other domain names they recently registered, you may gain valuable intelligence that can help you respond to their inquiry. This is especially the case if you don’t know the identity of who is inquiring (ie a Sedo inquiry or broker inquiry).
Let’s say someone inquires about Lilac.com, a domain name my company has owned for quite some time. I can search the DomainView tool to see all the .com registrations that have lilac in them. If I see other lilac registrations that are tied to the person who inquired (or even if not), I may be able to learn who is behind the inquiry and why. If I saw that domain names like LilacVC.com, LilacVentureCapital.com, LilacCapital.com…etc. were hand registered, I am able to learn that a company might want to buy Lilac.com for their venture capital firm. I presume a VC company might be willing to pay more than a flower nursery or something along those lines.
A few months ago, someone inquired about one of my domain names. They offered $500, which was far less than I paid, so I passed. They balked at my 5 figure price and told me they hand registered something else. I was able to spot the domain name they hand registered because it had my keyword domain name within it and was registered in the name of the person who inquired. I can now follow along with his company’s progress. Should it look like they are picking up steam, I might email him back and see if he wants to upgrade his domain name.
The DomainView tool is neat for trend following and trend spotting, but it can also provide good intelligence to help with a negotiation. Tomorrow, I will share another usage of the DomainView tool that I thought about while writing this article!