Toby Clements Makes a Good Decision

Aug 16 2011

As many of you know Toby Clements has a very popular domain newsletter.  A newsletter he ran originally with Rick Latona and now by himself.  This morning we all received the following.

All,

If you are a serious buyer of domains, please read this text. If you have ever lost a domain purchase because of a slow reply, this message is for you.

For years I have had people ask me to send them my daily list of names early so they can get a jump on the competition. Basically, shoot them the list of names for the following day so they can cherry pick from the list. I have always turned people down in order to keep everything fair and balanced.

Well, a friend of mine asked me today if I would show him my list for tomorrow and when I said no he said that he would pay me a set fee for the year if he could see every newsletter early. Right away, I realized that there is a demand for this; therefore I have decided to make an exclusive “Pre Release” group to fill the need.

We have decided to make a very limited Pre Release Group that will initially consist of only 50 people. This VIP group will get our newsletter by 6pm ET the day before the launch. It will have all the names and prices, therefore you will have the shot of buying the names quicker than most.

If you are a regular buyer of mine then there is no question that you have missed deals being we sell names so quickly. This simple solution can help fix that problem. You will still need to be quick, but only quicker than 49 other people rather than over 15,000 of them.

The subscription fee is only $1,000 per year and for this you will get the newsletter over 15 hours before everyone outside of this group.

If you buy one name in the year it will pay for itself.

Remember that we have over 15,000 subscribers and we are only starting with 50 people. The first 50 people that reply to this are the winners. The rest will be put on a waiting list. Sorry, we have to do this, but its only fair to those that act first.

Regards,
Toby Clements

I have to admit the first thing I did was laugh.  I laughed because I knew he was about to get blasted with emails from a bunch of pissed off people.  Nobody likes to get a picked over list and especially dislike the thought that you either pay $1000 or you get the leftover domains.  I’m speaking from opinion here but I’ve always assumed it’s already been picked over by the time it goes out anyway.  I know how the domain industry works.  Friends and family always get first look before things go out.  If I have someone that buys every insurance domain I have and someone sends in an insurance domain for my list, I’d be crazy not to call him first.  It’s not unethical, it’s good business.  But 50 people?  That’s a little too much picking over.

Toby has built his domain sales BECAUSE he has 15,000 people on his list.  By giving special privileges to paying members he was jeopardizing the other 14,950 people on the list.  In my opinion the success of the letter is built on the quantity of people in addition to the quality. Toby instantly got the message and sent out this email 4 hours later.

All,

This morning we announced plans to offer an exclusive pre release membership. We have had an astounding amount of feedback on this membership and after much discussion have decided not to follow through with this. Most of you have voiced your opinions on why it is and isn’t a good idea and after weighing all opinions we feel it is better for all of our subscribers to not implement this membership.

Regards,
Toby Clements

It was a good lesson for anyone following the emails.   In a desire to further monetize a business make sure you don’t unmonetize your core.  

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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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3 comments

  1. Poor Uncle

    IMO…the lesson to be learned hear is don’t make announcement to your detriment. Obviously, there are people willing to pay him money to be first in line for his news letter…so why not just charge them and do it privately. There is no law that say you can’t make money quietly is there?

  2. Truth

    Obviously Toby is not making the kind of money he had hoped, and adding $50k to the bottom line is a great incentive.

  3. Michael

    Shane, I thought the same thing, I actually yelled out “whoa!” when I read that proposed fee. I felt a little offended too even though I have yet to purchase any domains from his list, I suddenly felt excluded, and “why bother?” to even look at the list anymore.

    I understand what his thinking was, for sure, there are other services that charge for special access to services, but when you are blessed with a newsletter of interested domainers as large as his list, you just shouldn’t muck with it, you should kiss it and buy it a condo…especially when you are charging $250 min / 15% per transaction, which is one of the highest flat rate commission fees I’ve seen anywhere. Warning bells should have been going off when he was thinking about it…hell, I would have been sweating when I hit that “send” button to broadcast that newsletter, with either impending success or failure at my fingertips..

    I’ve been dealing with Toby for a few months now, and although we havent done a lot of business together, I can sense he’s really trying hard to make everything work smoothly. He’s pretty good at communication and dealing with potential buyers, and has another guy to help him out, and I trust them both with my money. Even as I write this he sold another domain of mine.

    So, I’m happy to hear that he’s reversed his idea on charging for advanced copies of his newsletter, and he’s done so with a big dose of humble pie and for that, you have to respect the guy. It takes guts to try things publicly.

    Trust and relationships are huge in this industry and so far, Toby is still my number one go-to domain broker..

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