The Rise of Alternative Domains

The Rise of Alternative Domains

Max Guerin founder of Claim.Club a domainers club which has celebrated its 10th-anniversary last year and over $1 million dollars in profit. His new venture D.NA is a premium domain boutique aimed at Blockchain entrepreneurs and other crypto startups. Max is most notably known as the “domain hacker” for having registered hundreds of (now premium) domain hacks at registration fee as did the .com pioneers in the 1990s.


 

Some domain investors have been complaining about new gTLDs (new general top-level domains) seeing in them a threat to their almighty dot-com and while the latter has not yet been dethroned as “the king extension” the competition has definitely been felt.

As an investor, you often hear the phrase competition is good and should be supported so why should it be any different from the domain industry? It’s not like .com stands for “communist” (it’s “commercial” dummies) although when you listen to people like Rick Schwartz who calls himself “Domain King” (why not “The Father of Domains” while he’s at it) it sometimes feels like it.  

 

Yet this phenomenon is not new and not limited to new gTLDs. I see in the rise of these “new” domains something I saw before with domain hacks — the best example to date is musical.ly which grew a billion dollar business on a .ly domain name before being acquired by Chinese giant TikTok — and more particularly with ccTLDs (country code top-level domains) like .io .tv .am .fm .to .ai & .et which have throughout the years proven themselves to be reliable alternative domains for their users and valuable niches for investors like myself who are not afraid of the dark and “obscure extensions” as the old .com guardians like to call them.

These smart extensions or alternative domains as I prefer to call them because they actually stand for something other than the generic “commercial” word or the countries they are associated with. They also offer many available domains and have gained in recognition and momentum thanks to their rather wide adoption by:

 

  • i/o startups
  • online “AM” & “FM” radios
  • web TVs
  • Torrents & crypto
  • the artificial intelligence or “AI” community
  • the soon-to-be extra-terrestrial community (E.T. phone home)

 

Let’s take the .to extension of the Kingdom of Tonga which as long been known for its sense of humour in forbidding offensive domain registrations but more so for its association with torrent websites and the crypto community.

The cryp.to domain has been online for as far back as 1997(!) and was registered by a German cryptographer. It’s for sale for $1 million for those interested (I asked). While Nakamo.to short for Satoshi Nakamoto (the creator of Bitcoin) is used by a Berlin-based Blockchain startup and Tether.to hosts the cryptocurrency of the same name. It can also be used to create meaningful phrase domains like link.to or tips.to. Adding additional subfolders you can create SEO friendly branded short URLs like link.to/flippa, tips.to/invest, etc. It’s also worth noting that the Tonic.to the registry and Toronto-based Register.TO have been providing free whois anonymous privacy many years before GDPR or why it has been a favorite of torrent sites and the cryp-to community (crypto strands for “secret” in greek).  Register.TO officially partnered with Tonic.to and the Kingdom of Tonga in 2012 to provide the .to TLD to Toronto and the rest of the world, to help increase its global use and popularity. Also worth noting Register.TO also provides emoji domain support and .to domain name back ordering.

Since a few years now the .AI registry has seen an explosion in the number of domains registered and has become the de facto extension for AI startups like the Microsoft-acquired Bons.ai (a domain hack of “Bonsai”) or Nuro.ai which has raised $940 million for its AI car delivery service. Let’s just say they can afford the $100 yearly renewal cost.

And the last comer (or “comet” like its top-level tld .com.et) .et which thanks to the recent liberalization of its registry Ethio telecom could soon position itself as the next big thing: space exploration. It also offers amazing domain hacks like intern.et plan.et etc.

 

Domain sales have also gone up despite not being widely enough reported on by the traditional domain press.

The startup-loving .io has been a very lucrative niche for Flippa sellers (Meet One of Flippa’s Most Successful .io Domain Sellers) with mix.io sold for $40,000 and cloud.io for $45,000 while the backorder service park.io have prided themselves to making over $150,000/month mostly catching .io domains in the British Indian Ocean Territory and selling them to the best bidder.

On the .to side alternative.to topped $11,100 late in march and au.to hacked its way at $7,200 earlier this month.

The monthly .ai auctions ran by the registry have resulted in tens of thousands of dollars in extra revenue for Anguilla and its economy.

Two .ET’s di.et sold for $10,000 and w.et for $25,000 have made their way to the top charts on Flippa for the years 2016-2017 introducing Ethiopia as a new Eldorado.

Tuvalu’s own .tv stands out with the most sales over $10,000 and five over $100,000 according to Namebio.com.

Only .am really made it big from the .am / .fm duo with the sale of the single character domains 9.am for a record $169,000 seconded by 6.am for $45,000.

 

The internet turned 30 this year and counts over 4 billion users making the top 3 gTLDs (.com .net .org) totally saturated with domains. As a 30-year-old myself if I learned anything is that I want to have more choices not less so I welcome and celebrate new (and older) extensions that have yet to show us their true potential thus to disrupt the domain world for years to come.

 

 

Sold on Flippa: A SaaS business that builds your Instagram following

Sold on Flippa: A SaaS business that builds your Instagram following

With 800m users worldwide, Instagram is a critical marketing medium for small business. Brands can tell stories, share customer stories and start a dialogue and all this leads to engagement and ideally paying customers. Pushgram, a SaaS business that sold on Flippa helps businesses and users grow their Instagram community and increase engagement with their brand.

 

What is the product?

Pushgram is marketing software that helps small businesses on Instagram by automating activity including comments, likes and follows. It’s designed to boost interactions, engage with users and to connect with their target audience. Rather than manually carrying out such activities and searching for your target audience, Pushgram does it all for you.

Pushgram charges its users a monthly fee and has three different pricing plans based on the number of ‘actions’. This differs to most competitors who charge based on time. ‘Actions’ are the tasks the software undertakes on its user’s behalf. When a users Pushgram account likes a picture, comments, follow or unfollows a user, each of those actions is counted as 1 action.

 

What makes this such a popular product?

The service is reliable, effective and reasonably priced. If users settings are optimized and they’re using likes/comments/follows and unfollows, they can expect to gain as much as 75+ real and targeted followers a day. It mimics a user’s natural behavior.

Pushgram also works from a branding perspective. It can be set up so that it engages with audiences that are interested in your brand. This is particularly important for users and business that rely heavily on Instagram as a sales funnel. It’s also safe to use.

Customers are not breaching any Instagram rules by using Pushgram. Instagram has terms and conditions around selling or purchasing fake followers and likes but not for this type of software. The increased engagement that you gain from Pushgram is organic, from real users with real accounts. It is an easy solution to an otherwise manual and arduous task.

 

Who is the Pushgram customer?

The Pushgram customer is individuals and users who use Instagram for business and want to increase their following and grow their brand.

 

What made this business so appealing to prospective buyers?

The business has been operating for almost three years and has annual profits of $40,000. The business has a low time commitment to run, with the previous owner spending a few hours a week replying to customer emails and engaging the assistance of a developer when necessary. The business is well set-up, has an established customer base and a social presence of over 10k.

How did Flippa assist with the sale?

Flippa carried out a direct marketing campaign for Pushgram which included an interview with the seller which was written up and sent out to our database in a marketing email. From this, a buyer came forward and made an offer. Pushgram’s listing had over 648 views and the owner utilized Flippa’s escrow service which guarantees safe and secure payment.

Sold on Flippa: A SaaS business that integrates Dropbox to servers

Sold on Flippa: A SaaS business that integrates Dropbox to servers

DropDAV is an 8 y/o SaaS business that connects servers to Dropbox for a monthly fee. 

 

What is the product?

The product connects Dropbox to businesses IoT devices that don’t have first-party clients. For those of us who are unfamiliar with the Internet of Things (IoT), it includes a wide range of software and items but in this instance, mainly things like file servers and legacy devices. First-party clients imply that the business does not have an in-built provider to authorize credentials.

 

Essentially, Drop Dav safely connects businesses software or file servers to Dropbox, so that items can be stored safely and securely in the cloud.

 

What makes it such a good product?

DropDAV lets businesses and users connect their Dropbox flows deeper into their tools, allowing them to be more productive. The previous owner has not needed to invest in the product or carry out any upgrades since its inception in 2011. Since then, this simple but highly functional software has continued to work without any customer issues, creating a steady revenue stream for its owner.

 

DropDAV operates in a niche and it hasn’t had a credible competitor since 2012 when their direct competition closed down. This is due to the challenging nature of getting a WebDAV server implementation correct. Thus, DropDAV has been tuned for the most popular WebDAV clients and currently dominates this market. 

 

DropDAV charges their customers $5 per month, making it a reasonable and easy purchase for customers to make.

 

Who is the DropDAV customer?

The DropDAV customer is a business or individual user who wishes to seamlessly connect their file servers to the cloud sharing platform, Dropbox.

 

Why was it so appealing to prospective buyers?

DropDAV has a history of being reliable, fast and secure. It has served almost 100,000 users 5,000,000+ requests, over 256-bit SSL and 10-Gbpsservice with 99.9+% uptime. It also works across multiple apps including many with custom implementations.

 

DropDav prices haven’t changed since it started in 2011, presenting an immediate opportunity to increase revenue by raising its prices. Despite the reasonable price point, it has been generating over $14,500 in annual profits.

 

How did Flippa assist?

Flippa now has over 120,000 registered buyers representing purchase intent of just under $1.2bn. This combined with marketing efforts meant that DropDAV was targeted at Flippa buyers looking to purchase a SaaS business below $50,000. DropDAV’s listing had over 1,260 views and the owner utilized Flippa’s escrow service which guarantees safe and secure payments.

 

Sold on Flippa: Cases Tech

Sold on Flippa: Cases Tech

Platform: Website

Business Model: eCommerce

Business Age: 1 year

Sell Price: $30,000

 

What is Cases Tech?

Cases Tech is an eCommerce business that sells high-quality phone cases and phone accessories. This fully automated, dropship business model sells over 40 different types of covers and phone cases. These include leather cases and phone covers in animal print, glamour, floral and other more simple designs. Cases Tech best selling products include a leather case that fits credit cards, a magnetic phone holder and an ultra slim silicone cover.

The business has enjoyed strong sales, with annual profits of $29k. A well laid out website, high-quality products and excellent customer service have all contributed to this.

We asked the buyer of Cases Tech a couple of questions around why he bought the business and what’s his plans are for Cases Tech. 

 

What was attractive about this business?

I was interested in the business strictly because of the seller. I follow Irene and received notification that she had another listing for sale. I was in the running for one of her previous listings and her communication with prospective buyers in the comments section was excellent. While I didn’t win that auction, I knew that she produced a quality product and was determined to acquire her next project. So when CasesTech hit the market, I performed quick due diligence on the site and contacted her to negotiate a BIN price. The rest was smooth sailing and the site is running great.

 

What are your immediate plans for the business?

My immediate plans are to enjoy the turnkey site as it requires minimal effort. As a working professional, I needed something that was already running smoothly. I plan to scale the business by adding new products and implementing Facebook marketing.

 

How long have you been looking for a relevant business?

I have been looking for a business for about 5 months and will continue to evaluate quality assets in the future.

 

 

To find other great businesses like this one for sale, check out Flippa.com

SOLD on Flippa: A SaaS dog business for trainers & professionals

SOLD on Flippa: A SaaS dog business for trainers & professionals

Platform: Website

Business Model: SaaS

Business Age: 7 years

Sell Price: $210,000

Terms: Seller Financing

 

Dogbizpro was designed by a dog lover, owner and most importantly a dog trainer. Stephanie (the previous owner) noticed a gap in the market when looking for software to manage her dog training business. Coming from a web design background, she decided to build her own.

 

What is the product?

DogBizPro is a fantastic online software application for dog trainers and other dog business professionals. The full feature online software application helps trainers and dog professionals manage all aspects of their dog business. It enables users to look up and store any information needed on the client or their dog.

 

What makes it such a good product?

The software offers modules for training, therapy, daycare & boarding. All modules allow users to manage their client and dog information, client and dog history, client waivers, all transactions, balances, invoices vaccine records etc. It also features class scheduling, document management and location and instructor availability. It’s a one-stop shop for dog professionals.

The software is easy to integrate into any website and enjoys excellent reviews from its customers, many of whom claim the software has cut their computer admin time in half.

 

Who is the DogBizPro customer?

Any person with a dog training, dog walking or dog daycare business that needs help with onboarding, scheduling and managing appointments.

 

Why was it so appealing?

The business was designed by a part-time dog trainer who also happens to be a web designer, thus all the user’s needs were identified and catered for early on. The business was founded in 2011, it’s profitable, well established and has a high google ranking. It was also generating on average $10,450 in profit per week.

 

How did Flippa assist?

Flippa now has over 120,000 registered buyers representing purchase intent of just under $1.2bn.. There’s huge demand.. Once they pop up, sellers like DogPizpro benefit from the self-service platform, an easy way to connect and negotiate with buyers, flexible sale terms and a safe, easy to manage funding process.

 

Case study: Pixel Football Logos – Sandbox Colour by Numbers

Case study: Pixel Football Logos – Sandbox Colour by Numbers

Platform: Android

Business Model: Gaming app

Business Age: 4 months

Sell Price: $56,000

Pixel Football Logos: Sandbox Colour by Numbers allows users to colour in drawings of their favourite football players and team logos. The game mainly appeals to soccer fans and enthusiasts and to date has had over 500,000 downloads. It has been monetized through advertising and subscriptions and users can pay to unlock premium items like popular soccer league teams.

 

What is the product?

Pixel Football Logos: Sandbox Colour by Numbers is an app that is available for Android and can be downloaded from the Google Play store. On the app you will find a range of football logos in the style of pixel art along with instructions around how to draw on the pixels of world famous footballers. 

 

What makes Pixel Football Logos such a good app?

All logo and player images are illustrated by a designer so to avoid any copyright issues. Users can select from a large range of soccer player drawings and logos to add colour to. In terms of financials, the average monthly revenue is $7,996 and profit is $6,942. This demonstrates how effective the owner has been in monetizing the app and also in keeping costs down. The app has over 100 reviews in Google Play and ranks highly amongst soccer league fans.  

 

Why was it so appealing?

Easy to understand why this app had a lot of interest among the Flippa buyer community. Healthy margins, strong consumer reviews on Google play and high levels of engagement – Pixel Football Logos has over 220,000 active users. All of these combined, it’s no surprise the owner quickly found a buyer. 

 

Who is the Pixel Football Logos app user?

Predominantly football fans particularly those who are creative. 

 

How did Flippa assist?

Flippa’s platform has a large pool of buyers that the Pixel Football Logos app had exposure to. It had over 4,300 views, 20 bids and there was a flurry of discussion and interest surrounding it. On top of this, the owner utilised Flippa’s escrow service which guarantees safe and secure payments.