Dot Com Domains Are Still Cheap. A Domain Is Giving You A Sign The Whole World Will See

Dec 30 2010

Sometimes I feel like I am successful in business because I have fortunate to see things a little ahead of where others see them.  I’m certainly not smarter than the people I talk to as they are also very successful in business, I just feel people have spending money on things they don’t understand. It’s the same people that have a business of shippable products that will spend $10,000 on a sign for the front of their office that 80,000 people will see but not spend $10,000 on a domain that the whole world will see.  Fortunately for domain investors there are still enough business owners that are a step behind that it still gives us a chance to acquire top domains without competing with million dollar corporations.  But the window is closing every day.

A domain name is your company’s sign.  It is the first thing they see and recall when trying to access your company on the Internet.  It represents your name and what you do.  While it certainly doesn’t have to be generic, it better say who you are and be memorable.  Here’s where the tricky part comes in. The amount you spend should be relative to the total audience you are trying to reach.  What kind of name do you pick if your name is Smith Brothers Carpet Cleaning.  Do you go with Smith.com, SmithBrothers.com, SmithBros.com, SmithBrothersCarpetCleaning.com, or even CarpetCleaning.com?  It all comes down to money and the reaches of your company.

If you only cater to a local economy then spending big money for a domain that reaches the world is a waste of money.  Your goal is merely to have your local residents remember your domain name.  If you want to sell your products worldwid,  Buck up.  There is no better investment than a memorable domain.  If I am in this type of business I want TWO domains. I want the dot com of my company’s name and I want the generic domain of the main product I sell, and maybe some for other products I sell.  I 100% believe that you can be very successful in business without owning one generic domain.  As a matter of fact I think you should initially concentrate on building a good business rather than put all your money into a domain.  You can have an incredible sign but once they walk in and the place is a dump with terrible service and bad products how much good did that sign do you?  But you should never lose that goal of owning the generic.

Your goal should always be to make enough money to own that main product or service generic no matter what the cost.  Owning that generic gives you the appearance of being the leader in your field. The publicity of owning many generics is worth millions of dollars.  A company should always be building their name and who they are.  I believe your company’s name should never paint you into a corner.  At some point in time you will be a different company than who you are now. You may have been Shane’s Buggywhips at some point but now you make break pads.  The original name should have been Shane’s….with a nice tagline about buggywhips.   Now they should own Shanes.com and either own or hope to own breakpads.com.  “But I don’t want to pay $200K for breakpads.com”

My answer is simple.  You sold 20 million dollars of break pads last year.  Spent $1 million on advertising.  Hell, you spent $75K on pens, free shirts, and 20 boxes of letter openers at the trade shows LAST YEAR and you don’t want to spend a one time expense of $200K?  It’s like the guy at Vegas that blew $500 at the craps table but won’t pay $20 for the all you can eat buffet.  If a person doesn’t see value in something they won’t spend the money, no matter how much they blow on other meaningless and less valuable things.  My job is to make them understand.

As a domain seller I show them how many people type in the name. No Google, no links. They just type in the name thinking that the biggest player in that game must already own the domain.  If you own it they come to YOU, not your competitor.  Next I show them how many people searched for that product and we see how many people came from those searches on Google.  I own coleus.com and plan on selling coleus plants online.  It’s one of my top selling annuals.  I talked to one of, if not the top sellers of coleus in the world and told them I would give it to them for $50K.  I’m not sure I would do that now because I can make more than that from the selling of plants but back then I would have.  They thought I was crazy.  Then I explained.  I asked them how many people come to their site now.  I told them that I got half that many to my site and it’s a parking page.  I also reminded them they presently had brokers that sold their product and received 10%.  The website could easily match the brokers in retail sales and would pay for itself in two years if you “paid” the website commission.  After our discussion they did see the value but just didn’t feel comfortable spending $50K on a domain.  They went with another name with coleus in it and rank in the first page for coleus. But I will soon have their attention again.

As soon as my site is ranked higher than theirs they will be again be interested. And it WILL be ranked higher with little effort.  The easiest way to make a sale is to rank in Google above the person that you are trying to sell your domain.  Nobody wants to buy a car that’s worse than the one they own.  They will be able to own TWO of the top 5 searches for a product they sell a million dollars of.  That’s worth a ton of money.

Finally, I can’t say these same words about anything but dot com.  The rest do have value. Business can and will be done on all the other TLDs but they are secondary compared to dot com.  Sure, countries have their specific country codes that dominate their local market but we are talking worldwide,  and dot com is THE domain you want to own for worldwide sales. I’m not quite saying LAST CALL but I am saying the drinks are getting more expensive so you better take them to go.

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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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9 comments

  1. Dean

    Shane, your so right, you think these savvy businessmen would “get it” about domains, yet it’s like trying to explain some complex equation to a kid.

    In my (humble) opinion the only country in the world that seems to value their ccTLD and has as much value as the equivalent gTLD (.Com) is Germany. I think it’s a Germanic trait or gene in that culture that makes it so.

  2. Robin Ong

    Great article Shane. But most business originated from the old pop’s store so it might take a later generation coupled with internet savyness (did I get the spelling rite??) to understand the viagratic oomp of the generic dot COM. Enjoy your post n keep em coming……

  3. ggc86

    “It’s the same people that have a business of shippable products that will spend $10,000 on a sign for the front of their office that 80,000 people will see but not spend $10,000 on a domain that the whole world will see.”

    Brilliantly stated. Someone in our industry should be compiling important quotes like this.

  4. DomainTweeter

    Great end user post Shane. I’ve enjoyed your posts this year and value your perspective since you are both a domainer and a brick and mortar business owner. All the best to you in the new year.

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