John Rampton is a self confessed serial entrepreneur, connector, writer and angel investor.
So when he purchased the premium domain name Due.com [on the Flippa marketplace for $130,000 last March], we were excited when he told us about his plans to build “the best place to pay bills, when bills are due.”
We recently sat down with John to chat about his successful launch, and how the business is performing so far.
Building Due.com – the #1 invoicing software for small business
John told us that he can “only write enough code to be dangerous,” so rather than building the software (and site) from the ground up, he acquired an invoicing company with the objective of using it as the foundation for Due.com.
He explained, “I had become friends with this particular invoicing business over the years and noticed they had a really cool product, but they didn’t know how to market the business. I’m not a great product person, but I’m really good at marketing things.”
The opportunity John saw was simple: continue building and supporting a great product offering, but grow it exponentially with the help of his marketing chops. From that point forward it was simply a matter of moving the existing business across to the Due.com domain and rebranding it with the new Due logo and color palette.
Because the invoicing business already had an existing database of over 40,000 clients, Due.com launched and became – virtually overnight – a revenue-generating business.
And John was only just getting started.
Marketing and growth
The marketing strategy for Due.com is, at its core, content-based.
The business publishes daily content on its blog and outside sources, featuring business-savvy tips [Four Ways to Build A Business That Supports Your Life] and even inspirational quotes.
John also pens work for his personal blog and large publications such as Inc., Forbes, Entrepreneur and Time. He speaks his mind on entrepreneurship and marketing, and shares more personal reflections of particular successes and failures.
“I bring into my writing my experiences and what I do, and those who come across these posts naturally end up at Due,” John explains.
In addition to their robust content arm, John and his team are constantly developing strategic partnerships to grow their user base. One partnership in particular wielded a co-branded survey and infographic which brought in over 2,000 new users in a single day.
User acquisition strategy
A sizable quotient of Due’s user acquisition strategy is its focus on acquiring businesses of a similar scope and merging these companies’ existing customer bases and technology.
John explained how the Flippa marketplace has provided a myriad of digital assets that fit this mold.
“After having success purchasing the first invoicing company, we went out and started acquiring other invoicing and time tracking businesses. Flippa has been a great source for these type of deals. I’ve spent a total of $5,000 on 4 different acquisitions which have brought in over 40,000 new customers.”
John also uses his actual product as a customer acquisition channel. Since Due.com is an invoicing tool, he uses those invoices as a way to acquire new business — over thirty new users per day. “Once we bring the user in and they start sending invoices out, typically for every three invoices that are sent out, that brings in one more user. Almost every new user over the course of five to six weeks adds one additional user.”
The Premium Domain
The big question about Due.com is: what impact has having such an ultra premium domain name had on the business?
“Having a premium domain has helped tremendously, I would say by a factor of at least 10x. When you have a premium domain name, people recognize that and it gives you instant credibility,” John explained.
He added, “When I get introduced as the founder and CEO of Due.com, people think we’ve been in business for 10-15 years just because of the domain.”
In addition to building trust and credibility, John says that owning and operating the premium domain name — particularly a .com — has increased his response rate by at least 50% when pitching stories to journalists and reporters. The SEO benefits are immeasurable, as well.
What about the cost? Six figures isn’t an easy amount of money to part with. John’s advice: “Spend the extra money and work whatever deal you can to get a good .com domain name because in the long run, it’ll be worth every cent.”
By the numbers
Due continues to scale — it has amassed 78,000 users in its first nine months, and will be profitable in its next two. John and his team have even bigger plans to expand the business beyond just invoicing and time tracking, hoping to venture full-on into the payments space.
The Flippa Team wishes the crew much success, and will be following up in due time…get it?…to see how they’re tracking.
Drop a comment or question for John below, or follow him on JohnRampton.com and the Due.com blog. Also keep tabs via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Just because someone else owns a domain you really, really want doesn’t mean you’ve hit a dead end. There are still a few moves you can try…
Define “can’t get”…
First of all, are you certain you can’t get your ideal domain name? Do you mean the domain can’t be registered? If so, that doesn’t mean the domain is not available. This simply means someone else has already registered it. The current owner may have even listed the domain for sale on Flippa or other domain marketplaces. And if the domain’s not listed for sale, you still have the option of approaching the current owner and trying to convince them to part with it. I’ve covered how to go about acquiring a domain name that is owned by someone else in another Flippa blog post, so consider that prerequisite research!
Time to play the waiting game?
Assuming that there’s no way for you to buy the domain you want from its current owner, what are your options now? If you’re not in a rush then the best thing to do is play the waiting game. What I mean by this is that you can wait and see if the current owner does not renew the domain name. Domain names are registered in periods of one-year increments, and if the current owner of the domain does not renew his or her domain at the end of its registration period, that domain will expire and could eventually be acquired by you.
The simplest way to go about this is to start by checking the expiration date of the domain. You’d do this via a whois lookup of the domain. Here’s a simple whois tool you can use for that: http://whois.icann.org/en
An expiration date will be displayed. With most domain names, the current owner will have about 25-30 days after that date to renew the domain name. After 25 days (or so) the domain may flow to an expired domain name auction (such as NameJet, SnapNames, or GoDaddy Auctions) and/or the domain will eventually ‘drop’ and be released for re-registration. In practice, however, most of the good domains never ‘drop’ so the smart play is to not count on that ever happening. Instead, if the domain that you want does expire, your best bet is to check the various expired domain name auctions to see if the domain shows up there and/or place a backorder on the domain at several of the domain ‘dropcatching’ service providers (such as DropCatch, and also offered by NameJet, SnapNames, and GoDaddy). Since most of the ‘dropcatchers’ only charge you a fee if they are successful in grabbing the domain for you, you’ve got nothing to lose by placing backorders at multiple providers. In fact, this will increase your odds of getting the domain name. Just be prepared that if several other people are also pursuing the same domain name you may end up needing to participate in an online auction for the domain.
Try switching things up.
If playing the waiting game is not your thing, isn’t possible, or you simply don’t have time, then you should explore the options to switch things up with your domain. There are three different ‘switching it up’ routes I suggest you consider when your ideal domain name is not available:
- Try to obtain your ideal name in a different legacy gTLD. For instance, if you were hoping to get a .com domain but cannot, you could try switching to the .net, .biz, or .org version. If you’re launching a startup or tech-oriented company, you could consider getting the .co or .io version, both of which are popular with the startup crowd. And if the new thing you need your domain for is focused on a specific geographical audience, you could go with the relevant country code TLD (ccTLD) such as .ca for Canada, .de for Germany, or .au for Australia.
- Get creative and obtain your name in one of the hundreds of new TLDs that have emerged since 2014. If your new thing is community-oriented, perhaps a .club domain would do the trick? If it’s a science related Website, .science might be an ideal choice. Launching something to do with photography? Take a look at .photography. With hundreds of new TLDs available, and more launching every month, you may be able to find a new TLD that is a good match for you and your name. In some cases, the end result could be a shorter domain name. For example, if you had hoped to get TorontoPhotography.com but are unable to, you might be able to get Toronto.Photography, which is 3 letters shorter than the .com version. Please keep in mind that it’s going to take a while for the general public to get used to all these new domain extensions, and you’re going to have to market harder to get your target audience to navigate to your ‘non-com’ domain name.
- Try adding a short prefix or suffix to your dream name. This is a great solution if you’re dead set on sticking with a .com domain. Verbs are quite popular as prefixes, and you could try things like getNAME.com, goNAME.com, and tryNAME.com. For suffixes you can experiment with descriptors and try things like NAMEweb.com, NAMEsite.com, and NAMEonline.com. Spend some time exploring which two and three-character words might make a suitable prefix or suffix to your name. This might turn out to be the simplest solution for you, especially if you are on a shoestring budget. While adding a prefix or suffix to your name is a compromise solution (compared to getting the exact match .com domain), lots of companies do so and consumers are used to seeing this.
Don’t try this at home.
There are some other options you could try – at least in theory – however none of these I recommend. I am going to mention them as a courtesy, but I believe they will cause you more trouble than they are worth and should only be considered as a last resort: You can incorporate a dash in multi-word names, e.g., go with Toronto-Photography.com. And you can also get ‘creative’ with spelling and/or drop vowels from words, but be prepared to forever be having to spell your confusing domain out to people. I’d avoid these last options if you can.
The nuclear option?
I suppose there is one other option, although it’s rather drastic, and that would be to give up on your dream name and switch names altogether. I’ve certainly seen a few people resort to this out of sheer frustration, and it’s understandable that this can happen sometime. By starting with a clean slate, however, you may open the door to many more creative and domain name options.
Good luck on whatever path you take.
Domain portfolio management tools exist, but they don’t get talked about that much. I came across a recent question on the Aussie domain forum that I help run asking what tools people use to manage their domain portfolio. The question seems to come up quite often. The common answer most people respond with whenever this question is asked is “Excel”, which after all, is the Swiss Army Knife of desktop data tools – and a valid answer. However, there are quite a few specialized tools that help with domain management, so we thought we’d take a look at what’s on the market in 2015. If we’ve missed any please make sure you let me know.
Who Needs Domain Portfolio Management Software?
Let’s first answer this question. You’ve probably heard people say “why would someone ever need more than one domain”. I don’t often come across businesses that just have one domain, even small-medium sized businesses can easily accumulate more than a handful of domain names. And once they start doing more online, that only increases. It makes good sense to keep tabs on these valuable digital assets.
It’s not just domain developers, flippers or investors that can benefit from dedicated tools to help them with their portfolio. In fact, it’s not uncommon for the average IT or Comms departments to be managing dozens or even hundreds of domains. These could be spread across different registrars, so providing a birds eye view of these assets can be very useful. It can also help reduce the risk of mismanagement causing domains to accidentally “drop”, which happens all too frequently.
If you ask experienced industry professionals what they use, many will tell you they’ve built their own custom tools, which is always a great option, but it’s not the only option. We’ll now jump into some of the off-the-shelf options available today.
Many of these tools are built for the .com/.net/.org extensions, so not all ccTLDs (such as .com.au) or gTLDs are supported. Please do your homework and check what features the software supports before purchasing.
So let’s get stuck into the actual tools!
Watch My Domains/Domain Punch
Watch My Domains have been developing domain name portfolio management tools for a long time and they have, by far, the widest range of products in this category of application.
They have several versions that cater for all sizes of domain portfolios.
The Watch My Domains product range from Softnik seem to get mentioned quite often, and it’s easy to see why.
Here’s what the various products look like, the offerings start at simple desktop applications for Mac OS X and Windows all the way up to a feature-rich, self-hosted web application.
Watch My Domains Pro for the Mac Desktop
Watch My Domains Pro for the Windows Desktop
Watch My Domains SED For Web Servers
For those looking for a serious solution, something from Watch My Domains would definitely be my pick.
More info: https://watchmy.domains/
DomainBrain 2 is an updated version of their Mac OS X application. It’s a nice looking application, something many Mac users will appreciate.
This application comes with some handy configuration options, as well as the ability to create custom categories with their own custom fields. See below for an example of a new category called “Brokering”.
More info: http://domainbrainapp.com/
Domainer is a very simple application, but if you’re not looking for all the bells and whistles, then this is something worth checking out.
More info: http://www.ragesw.com/products/domainer.html
DNS Portfolio is a free, open source web application that is primarily focused on selling. However, it still has some portfolio management features, and since it’s open source, we thought it was worth including.
You can take the demo for both the admin and the user interfaces for a spin.
More info: http://www.dnsportfolio.com/
While in beta, Efty looks promising and deserved to be included. We don’t know enough about this one yet, other than it’s a nice looking web app that has some nice features.
More info: http://www.efty.com/
IP Neighborhood isn’t just a domain management tool, it’s a complete competitive intelligence platform. Some of the features in IP Neighborhood are domain history, due diligence, IP reputation and intelligence, brand and trademark monitoring – and more.
More info: http://www.ipneighborhood.com/
DomainTools is a popular domain intelligence tool, however they also have a little known feature called “Domain Monitor”.
More info: http://www.domaintools.com/monitor/
My Domain Portfolio at Flippa
Some marketplaces have bulk domain management features. If you’re an active marketplace user this might be an attractive option. If all you’re looking for is a basic overview, this might be enough for those focussed on selling providing you keep tabs on renewals at your registrar.
Flippa has a new and improved portfolio management feature, you may have noticed some recent changes or read about the improvements that were announced here just over a month ago.
More info: https://flippa.com/
Domain Registrar Options
It’s also worth mentioning that some domain name registrars have developed powerful features targeted at large portfolio holders. There are way too many registrars to mention and all have their pros and cons, but I’d highly recommend shopping around if you have a large number of domains. Most registrars will offer you some sort of discount or incentive to get your business.
What Do You Use?
Have I missed anything? Does anyone use these applications, or have you rolled your own? I’m very interested to know what you use and hear your feedback.
If you’re reading this, then you know that a good domain name is something you should own. But maybe you don’t know why. Maybe you also wonder why someone would pay 4-5-6-7 or even 8 figures to claim a URL for their business. This article will examine why premium domain names have value and also posit the idea that smaller businesses should be competitive with larger companies in bidding for these assets.
Let’s begin with some linguistics jargon.
Defining Semantics: Denotation and Connotation
Semantics is a branch of linguistics that deals with the meaning of words. What do you see when I say “apple”; do you see a fruit, a computer, or a phone in your mind’s eye? And when you see an image attached to that word, how do you feel about it? Do you think of it positively, negatively, or indifferently?
Thinking of a specific object or concept by its literal or assigned meaning is called denotation, otherwise known as the dictionary meaning of a word. When you feel something about a word, you are connoting or experiencing characteristics about it based on your personal preferences.
Image Credits: http://melae-anisma.deviantart.com
So to review, pick any word. Take note of the literal meaning attached to that word, then how you personally associate with it and the feeling or adjectives you would use to describe that object or concept. This is relevant to why domains have value, and why they serve as essential branding mechanisms for your business.
Branding Semantics: Controlling User Connotation
Branding is the promotion of a set of ideas in relation to your business. You want the denotation of a word to match the desired connotations of your brand to help target a specific behavior; mainly buying or clicking something. The job of a marketing tool, in this case a domain name, is to shortcut this process and make it more efficient.
By controlling ownership of a term you can influence the connotation and can create a semantic framework that links your business’s products or services to a certain word, phrase, or phonetics online. The denotation of a word creates the inherent meaning in the word itself, but you can also build upon it and “brand” it as you like. The power is when you blend or mind meld the inherit meaning of a term to be exclusively associated to your business while also controlling user connotations. This is why brands will also buy the generic word associated to their product or service category.
So, when investing in a premium domain, what are you investing into exactly? You are investing in the inherent semantic value of a word, phrase, or phonetics. To take it a step further you are opting to control the positive and powerful connotations between a term (or phonetics) and your business.
To recap, larger companies with big advertising budgets can pound a brand name into your head repeatedly even if the domain has limited inherent value. Conversely if you don’t have the ability to spend a large amount on advertising and can’t purchase regular TV and radio spots, then you need to invest in a domain that has natural inherent semantic value. Essentially, you need a big boy name to compete in competitive niches. You are not going to match dollar for dollar with corporate sized ad budgets that can brand anything it wants.
There can only be One: Domains are Unique Assets
There was a popular movie in the 1980’s called Highlander, and featured an immortal being that could only be killed by other immortals like himself — until there was only one left in the world. In domain investing there also can only be one. One asset, one brand that can draw the energy of a customer to that particular string of letters and extension. Only one that can harness the power of that domain.
Each unique URL represents a certain level of branding power. By holding claim to a top tier domain, that energy or the attractive force that it wields is what saves you money. If there is no inherent attraction in your domain, you must manufacture it, and manufacturing it from scratch will take an abundance of time and money.
Image Credit: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091203/
If you are small or mid-sized business (SMB), you are dealing with big companies that have both time and money on their side. They have a large workforce, and multiple departments with people toiling inside each one of them. If they match their resources with the power of the top keywords in your space, you just lost an opportunity to level the playing field. They just amplified their online strength, while you merely debated if a premium domain was worth the investment.
Each business niche has a small percentage of truly valuable domain names that have maximum natural semantic power. Your goal should be to grab the best domain you can acquire with the best budget you can muster. If not, your competition will scoop it up and further empower themselves.
The Scarity, Social Proof and Authority Principles
Robert Cialdini, a professor of psychology and marketing argued that there are six main principles of influence: reciprocity, commitment, social proof, authority, liking, and scarcity. The following is a quick look at three of those principles in action:
Scarcity + Social Proof Principle – Take for example 2 letter dot com domains. The permutation of 26×26 gives you a total combination of 676 domains. Only 676 out of 100 million plus dot coms. Without even understanding how scarce these types of domains are from a mathematical point of view, a general customer will conclude how special they are based on who else owns and uses them. The social proof of seeing large corporations having ownership would signify that someone who owns one is special in some way. To enter this club you must have a 6-7 figure budget, and for good reason, it signifies to the public that you are a big fish.
Authority Principle – Similar to how social proofs (testimonials, for example) can validate your brand, something can inherently contain a social proof. Like an offical uniform, the right domain can signify competence and professionalism. One word dot coms with a word relevant to your industry conveys that you are a leading presence in that field. How valuable is it to you to already be pre-sold to your customers as an authority? To many this instant foot in the door is very valuable and thus the reason for a 5-6-7 and sometimes 8 figure valuation on such assets.
Image Credit: http://www.slideshare.net/onlinedialogue/webs-of-influence-nathalie-nahai
Budgeting for a Professional Domain Name
Every business website needs a budget for hosting, web design, programming, SEO, social media, content, site maintenance, HR and so on — but often undervalued is the core foundation to all of this. The brand you want to build needs to be rooted in something that has room to grow. A weak brand has weak roots while a strong brand has healthy earth-gripping roots that will support the rest of your efforts.
If you look around at some of the successful people and businesses online you will see a trend. Either they invest in a premium domain upfront, or they build their business to a profitable point and reinvest into a premium domain later. Both have merit, but if you analyze the data, the companies that wait usually take more time and effort to thrive — and pay more for buying domains after this hesitation.
But the bigger question is why do successful companies upgrade their subpar domain name after they have achieved some success with their initial brand? The answer is efficiency, a cheaper way to get market and mind share. Each business metric or KPI focuses on efficiency. Every smart business wants to know how they can acquire a new user or client for less marketing dollars and effort; the never-ending quest for increased ROI.
If you want to build your foundation with a manual screwdriver instead of a power tool — that’s your decision. But know that a premium domain is the tool that can build your business faster and more efficiently online — and should be a serious chunk of your upfront marketing budget.
What kind of chunk are we talking about? A rule of thumb is a budget in the range of 25%-50% of your projected budget for your first 3 years of operation. Say that number is $50k; then invest $12,500 – $25,000 in your brand to buy domain names that are the best and most memorable you can land.
If you are looking to acquire an ultra premium domain you must budget for a starting price into the six figure range. The goal is to be practical, yet bold. After you configure your cash flow and projected earnings, you can determine what your operational budget is.
When investing this portion of your operating capital on buying domains, understand it is more than the intellectual property itself but essentially a discount on your traffic buying purchases. More organic traffic means less in paid PPC advertising costs, or lower per-click costs from a search engine if it helps you establish a better quality score. And remember that this is lifetime savings applied to your asset. Once you own a domain you can make it a fixed cost for a decade if you register it out for 10 years.
The exception to this rule of thumb is if you are buying as a pure investment. Then there are other metrics that come into play, such as the growth and appreciation trends per the domain category, the value to your company to stifle another company’s acquisition to a term, or longer term budget projections. Sometimes buying domains to “shelf” it for future use is an intelligent strategy, if you have the cash flow or bank account balance to do so.
The Next Steps in Buying Domain Names
If you are doing business or planning a business that will utilize online marketing to sell your goods or services, you need something that will help lure in your targeted demographics. Summoning the linguistical power of the brand and creating strong positive semantic connotations to your idea is what can make all the difference in your success. More importantly it’s about creating efficiencies on an asset that you can control and manipulate. Hopefully this article clarified some reasons why a domain name can help you do just that.
To start a list of possible acquisitions to acquire, check Flippa’s most active domain auctions and the Editors’ Choice premium domain name picks. As an online entreprenuer these are two places to constantly monitor what the market deems valuable and also to keep on the radar any domains that would benefit your business ventures. If you have a budget for a category-killer type domain you should also speak with a broker at Domain Holdings, a division of Flippa, or visit the brokered domain names section.
Your turn. What are your thoughts?
In this day and age we have local council’s using Google Earth to find illegal structures in people’s backyards. In Queensland, Australia, for example, if you put in an aboveground swimming pool in your garden, you end up with someone knocking on your door, handing you a fine and demanding you drag the kids out of it and destroy it – all because you didn’t comply with the pool fencing regulations! Ok, rant over and I hear you asking, what on earth has pool fencing got to do with domain names?
Well, I was thinking of presenting you with the a-z of regulations for domain names (local registrar = local council) and explaining why every one of them is a possible road-block to your dreams. But in the end I thought that would not only be boring, and potentially stop you from chasing the fun of a great deal, but ultimately unnecessary because in the end it really is quite simple.
What it comes down to is:
- Does the person selling the domain name actually have the legal right to sell it?
- Does the person selling the domain name actually have the present ability to transfer the domain name upon sale?
- Who else out there is likely to want to fight you for the domain name?
And in reality, just like local councils, unless something is out of the ordinary it gets channelled through the automatic processes with very little consideration and comes out the other end transferred, or not transferred. All the regulations only become an issue once there is a problem, and a high percentage of the time there simply isn’t a problem.
So how do you best ensure your transaction is one of the majority that don’t have a problem?
Does the person selling the domain have the legal right to sell?
Remember that domain names are like post-boxes. You only have access to it for as long as you pay the annual fees and the annual fees give you a licence (key) to use the domain name.
In the days before WordPress, lots of development companies registered their client’s domain names. Often this was simply because the client didn’t know the difference. Even today, there are plenty of companies out there that retain a domain name when their clients want to build a site. All those ‘free website’ building packages do exactly that. So the right to transfer a domain name is not necessarily straightforward.
Naturally the first thing to do is check ‘Whois’ to discover who is listed as the named registrant. Only the registrant has authority to transfer the domain name. As a buyer or seller, you don’t want to get a message like this:
This transfer was cancelled as the whois information provided does not match current registrant. When submitting a fax transfer, the registrant information you input when initiating the request must match the current whois information (registrant/admin contacts and address/phone – email does not have to match) from the current registrar. If this information does not match, the transfer will be rejected.
Don’t assume that just because you get the billing information and other updates from the registrar that you are the named registrant. You might just be the listed tech, admin or accounts contact. I’ve seen people go for years thinking they were the registrant because they got all the information, only to discover at the crucial moment that they are not.
If the registrant was a long lost developer we at least have the benefit of LinkedIn and Facebook to find people, something much harder even seven years ago. Issues you need to be prepared for before contacting a long lost developer:
- Does your registrar charge fees for changing the registrant? Some do.
- Who is going to pay a transfer fee? Hint: That would be you.
- What if the developer wants a fee before transfer? The cost of dispute resolution under uniform domain name dispute resolution policies starts at around $2,000, so be prepared.
- What process do you have to go through and how much can you do yourself without the cooperation of the developer?
Tips about negotiating:
- Don’t make demands, ask questions and be helpful.
- Prepare before any conversation and don’t get angry. Most people can’t tone their language down enough to take the anger out of a conversation whether it is via email, skype, phone or text message. Breathe and stay calm. The easy solution is to be persuasive, not combative.
- Know your bottom line and what it means to you if you don’t get it. Be prepared to walk away.
If you can’t correct the registrant details, you can still change the admin, tech and billing details. It is a higher risk, but some people are prepared to take that risk.
If you are the seller, you may have to talk the buyer through this and be prepared to take a cut in your ideal selling price. Know the history and be able to reassure the buyer that the registrant has done nothing in the last 5 years, so you don’t expect that to change.
If you are the buyer in that situation, consider the risk and whether or not it is worthwhile to you. If you’re building something small you can move quickly where the branding doesn’t necessarily match the domain name, is that domain name worth the risk? Maybe. If its big money or brand-centric, the answer is probably ‘No’. Not unless you want to take the legal action to regain control. Always seek the strongest rights possible to control what you are investing in.
Does the person selling the domain have the present ability to transfer the domain upon sale?
This is more of a techy issue than anything else. There are loads of enthusiastic amateurs who don’t actually know what needs to be done to transfer a domain name fully and promptly.
If you are the seller, be prepared to do all the hard work to get the domain transferred. Even if you put in your Flippa add that the buyer has to sort it out, once you take payment for the domain name you are legally obliged to do everything reasonably possible to get that domain name transferred to the buyer. If the buyer is not sophisticated, what is considered reasonable can be a lot more than you expect. Be prepared!
If you are the buyer, don’t expect the domain name to magically appear in your account overnight. Find out who the current registrar is and what is involved in moving a domain name to either a new account, or a different registrar. If you are using a different registrar, look up the rules and processes that your registrar has before the sale is due to complete. Again, be prepared! The more proactive you can be in the process, the quicker you get your domain name. Once the transfer is through, double check all the tech, admin, billing and registrant details to make sure they match what you wanted, and tell the registrar about corrections immediately.
Any delays in a domain name transfer can increase the risk of registration lapsing and you losing your rights.
Who else out there is likely to want to fight you for the domain?
We’re delving into the area of business names and trademarks here. Some examples of cases I’ve been involved in over the years are:
- A person with the same name as the domain name (eg. BarbaraSmith.com).
- A foreign company wanting to move into a new market, whether or not they have any existing presence in that market.
- For generic names, every other business of that type! (eg. Cheapsheds.com.au).
- The supplier of a product or service who has distributors adding the trademark to their domain name without permission (eg. every MYOB site out there).
- Anyone else with a registered trademark of a different class.
Trademarks deserve a little more attention. There are 45 classes of trademark and you can register the same name in different classes without infringing on the first trademark. A great example was when Internet access provider RoadRunner Computer Systems ended up with control of the domain name Roadrunner.com. Not surprisingly, Warner Brothers complained, but had little basis to do so. RoadRunner CS had just as legitimate an interest in the name. The dispute was settled, however, and Time Warner now has control of the domain name.
Look around. Do some online searching and at least check your country’s trademark register before you get too excited about a domain name. It might be alright to own it, but if you have a battle looming as soon as you start to use it, what is the point?
If you are the seller, do your homework and be able to show the buyer how you have mitigated the risk. I’ve recently worked with a client who was excited about buying a niche website just right for them only to discover that someone else had the registered trademark (unused) in the same class and the same country. The cost of a trademark dispute can be anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000. We had to look at the site income, their strategy, risks and prospects. You’ll understand that what they were prepared to pay was immediately reduced.
Different countries have different rules. In some places, it is ‘buyer beware’ and in other places, the seller has to provide full disclosure of all the risks or be liable after the sale. Know the rules that apply to you and be prepared. If there is a risk that there will be an argument over a domain name, whether you are the buyer or the seller, you need to know where you stand and what strategies you are going to use to get the best deal.
The Domain Catalog has been updated to your Flippa Domain Portfolio !
With over 60% more sales going through Flippa in 2015, it’s never been a better time or easier to upload, sort, filter and update your domain portfolio. Thanks to your feedback, here’s what’s new:
Easily upload 1 or 1 Million Domains
You can now add over 500 domains using our CSV Upload Service.
Improved Portfolio Management
You can now easily filter sort & search through your portfolio as well as bulk update prices across multiple domains.
All listed domains include access to a free Domain Sales Page, allowing you to redirect your domain’s direct traffic to increase visitors, bids and sales.
UPLOAD MY DOMAIN PORTFOLIO TO FLIPPA