“I’m a model you know what I mean
And I do my little turn on the catwalk
Yeah on the catwalk on the catwalk yeah
I do my little turn on the catwalk”…Right Said Fred


So, the other day, I got this very interesting email from a domain seller:

I am the owner of ______ . We are now offering our domain name www.______.com for sale to companies. with "______" in their company names who would benefit from the simplicity, elegance and ease of use of this single-word domain name. As you may be aware, there is only one such address available, so that if it is purchased from us by another "______" company it is unlikely to become available again, as with most corporate domain names. The value of the domain name ______.com could be quite significant, depending on your ability to use it as part of a branding program, and to benefit from making your corporate website and email addresses more memorable and more easily recognized and accessible by your customer base. We have received a bid for the domain name which we are considering now. However, the bid is slightly below our price threshold. Please let us know by return mail if you may have
an interest in acquiring www.______.com at or above our threshold price of
$$,$$$. If you prefer to speak in person, please feel free to call me . With
best regards, xxx

Now my initial impression of this domain seller was extremely favorable. This was probably the best domain sales email pitch message I’ve ever seen. He was marketing a one word, common last name dot com domain that certain would be worth a five figure sum to the correct company. He realized he had a unique and intrinsically valuable asset and wanted to cash it out since he didn’t feel it to be necessary for his business.

So why do I ultimately think this guy is a F’ing idiot? Because he owned a prized asset and shamefully neglected it. A little research shows that he bought the domain 15 years ago and over those 15 years, he only generated (according to Yahoo Site Explorer) 13 inbound links to the site (and all the strong links to his URL appear to be accidentally confusing his site with better known companies that shared the same name). He isn’t ranked in the top 100 results in Google for his own name despite owning the dot com domain (domain name in URL likely the strongest SEO signal of them all). Even a minimal amount of SEO work should have achieved a top ranking for his keyword (and related search terms) and would have added a considerable premium to the prospective sales price.

Being blessed with a category-killer domain name is like being blessed with great genes. Before maturity, the owner probably might not recognize the intrinsic value of what is possessed. But at some point, when the person could perceive the social and societal value of what they have, whether it be a killer domain name or a killer body, great care is definitely needed to be taken to maximize the value and longevity of that asset.

For people, it’s nutrition, exercise & style / fashion. For domain names, it’s content and links. Those at the top of the gene pool might have to work less to achieve optimum results…but if they don’t work at all, they negate any and all inherent advantages of what most folks would see as blessings.

The gym is full of people who were pretty average in the gene pool but through hard work and effort, have made themselves look pretty hot. Similarly, despite any and all obstacles thrown at them (e.g. Vince), sites with B & C quality domain names can get top search rankings if they put the time and effort into earning them.

One of the worst things that can be said about a woman is that she has a “pretty face” because the implied message is that the rest of her is unattractive frequently due to her own self-destructive behavior. I can’t think of a better phrase to describe the domain that was offered to me. I see the domain owner trying to sell me 15 years of wasted potential…a platform upon which he could have sold and marketed himself to a top position in his industry. I do think the ultimate purchaser will see the value of the asset and position it accordingly and since the domain is almost as virginal as it was back when originally purchased, the new owner won’t be getting sloppy seconds.

2 thoughts on “The Domain Sales Catwalk

  1. Hi Todd,

    Very nice article! It’s a beautiful example of how domain owners, or even “potential domain owners” don’t understand what to do with a power premium natural domain. It sells the point that a lot of people “don’t get it” about domain values, even when they own a great domain. What’s ironic is that thousands of domains like this have been “devaluated” regarding your expertise of SEO placement because the owners of the domains chose to park them at PPC landing pages. As we all know, PPC pages don’t get indexed by SE’s. So these domain owners chose to make the quick easy cash that the PS’s paid them.

    This doesn’t include Internet Real Estate, with Zappy, Andrew Miller, and Peter Hubshman, who have built chocolate.com into a business that could sell for $100+ mil. However, they paid big bucks for the domain and then invested even more into building it into one of the world’s top online chocolate sources, competing with See’s, Ghiradelli, Hersheys, and Mars, all billion dollar companies.

    So your initial complaint and disgust about the domain in question not being built out is correct, except many domain owners of “natural” domains couldn’t afford to move in that direction, or didn’t have the understanding that investing/getting capital to build out the domain would have been very lucrative to them.

    The key phrase in your article, is that you said:

    …”He was marketing a one word, common last name dot com domain that certain would be worth a five figure sum to the correct company.”

    Todd, I know if you had this domain in your bag, and you were advising this domain owner even three years ago, that the domain name would be worth HIGH SIX FIGURES, not “five figures”.

    So if this guy is selling a domain name that hasn’t been promoted online properly, and he’s selling it at five figures, it might be a STEAL for a company to nab it and then work on it to bring it up to speed. You know that certain domains may come with baggage in relation to the SE’s, but if this domain isn’t in that category, then a fresh start is new ground, and five figures is a great price.

    Ultimately, your mention of the price for the domain is logical. I understand your point to be “how could this guy not utilize the value of this domain for 15 years?”. That’s a great question. But for domain buyers/investors/endusers… this domain is RIPE for the picking! Maybe you should contact him and get an exclusive broker agreement with him, and get a commission shopping it around.

    You have to admit, a category-killer one word domain, for only five figures, is a sweet canvas for an SEO expert like yourself to unleash a tortured Van Gogh masterpiece upon it, making it worth 20 times more than what the investors paid to purchase it and spent to build it out.

    It’s all relative bro, but I get your intent in your article. I think there are hundreds of us domainers all guilty of allowing this to happen to our domain names by parking them instead of building them out. That’s why I joined up with WhyPark last year as the VP of Biz Dev… and am weekly adding my generic ccTLD’s, non dotcom, and longtail niche domains to their service.

    If any of your readers want to get my inside help in building out their domains that they know are potential power websites for an enduser, they can sign up through my link below and take advantage of my knowledge and connections in making sure they have their domains handled “with care”. However, I know your expertise in SEO, which is something you should also offer to incorporate within the domain content development websites as a service, like WhyPark.com, AEIOU.com, DevHub.com, and NoParking.com. All of these respected websites have a plethora (yes, I just used that word) of clients who NEED your services to utilize all these companies’ great content building features.

    For your readers who care about their domains that aren’t making much at Parking Services (PS’s), and they want to do what you are writing about in your article (begin to utilize the power of their domains), they should sign up here: https://tinyurl.com/l5ahkx

    After they sign up, they should contact you for your services in helping them establish their domains across the SE world, using the new and easy features offered by Whypark.com and other content building companies. (I’m avoiding the “duplicate content” argument right now, because I believe every website should have original content mixed in with any possible “duplicate” content. We all know that syndicated services (AP, Reuters, etc) send out duplicate content every hour to thousands of news websites, and those websites aren’t “blacklisted” on SE’s because the news sites also throw in page design changes, different articles, and basically “mix it up”.

    Hope to see you at the next SEMPDX meeting in August, and the PacNorwest Domainers first meeting around the same time.

    .-= Stephen Douglas´s last blog ..WHAT DO END USERS REALLY THINK OF DOMAINS? =-.

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