DN.com For Sale – A Domain Holdings Exclusive

DH ExclusiveDomain Holdings is proud to announce another big brand has chosen us to exclusively represent the sale of a super-premium asset – DN.com

Originally registered in 1997, DN.com is a super-premium domain name held by the same owner for well over a decade and as far back as WHOIS records show. This domain is new to the market having never been available on the aftermarket before and consisting of 2 incredible letters with very reasonable price expectations.

We expect heavy interest in this domain so now is the time to contact us and show interest.

Did you know that approx. 75% of all 2 letter.com’s are owned and/or in use by big brand domains?

2 Letter .com domain names continue to get rarer every day. With less than 200 (by our estimates) not in use by Big Brands the value of these domains continue to rise and it’s rare to find such a high quality 2 Letter domain name available at all.

Check out our list of brands who own 2 Letter .com’s as many of these are gone forever. If you are a brand owner or domain investor then we urge you to contact us about DN.com as soon as possible.

For more information contact your account rep or email sales@domainholdings.com to learn more about this opportunity today.

Ready for the World Cup?

As I am writing you this, the World Cup of soccer has just begun in Brazil and right downstairs, they just installed a giant screen for the soccer fans. The match currently on air is Portugal VS Germany and Portugal is losing … badly.

I usually do not care that much about soccer, but I admit that when the World Cup comes I love to follow the matches and support my team. Italy won this weekend against England (making me VERY proud):

Brazil Italy

Sorry, but I could not resist posting this picture 🙂

Going back to domains, last week I wrote an article about the status of the numeric market and I obtained some interesting articles in response that I thought I’d share with my readers. One is from Shane Cultra and another great one is from John Poole. They support a completely different theory regarding the future value of numeric .coms, stating that we are just about to enter a bull market.

Regardless of whoever is right, this week I wanted to try a different approach and send you a quick analysis of the best deals available at this moment, as we secured some new inventory under exclusive. This could be a great starting point if you are just starting to invest in domains.

small-spacer-short

Bouncy.com – $19,000 (price reduced)

– Why I like this name?

Because it is short, pronounceable, intuitive and extremely brandable and it comes in with a package of other extensions like .net, .org, .biz, .de and .eu. Whenever somebody is looking to start a business, you should always look to secure the complementary assets to protect the traffic directed to your brand.

– How much are similar names priced at?

Usually comparable assets of this quality, range from a minimum of $5k to over $50k.

– What are the possible usage/benefits of owning this name?

Ideal for a B2C business, possibly in the gaming or mobile space.

small-spacer-short

Package of four 3 letter .com domains: VJZ.com, OJQ.com, VYH.com, UYR.com

– Why I like these names?

I do not personally like the names per se, but I do like the asking price – $48k for the package. At this asking price you can rarely go wrong since the floor price for LLL.com is close to $8k, making it one of the most reasonable price available for LLL.com on the market.

– How much are similar names priced at?

LLL.com can be very rarely found under $10k, and retail price often goes in the $15k to $30k range.

– What are the possible usage/benefits of owning this name?

Build a business that requires some “gravitas”. A three letter .com always gives a certain authority to your business. Think DHL.com or ABJ.com (abj.com is fictitious). Customers will think that your business has been around for a while whicj will in turn result in added credibility, and therefore more sales.

The other common usage for these domains would be obviously to park them and flip them for a higher price by selling them individually to end users or domain investors looking to pay above market price.

small-spacer-short

P9.com price reduced from $70,000 to $55,000

– Why I like this name?

LN.com usually command the same degree of authority of LL.com, but they are much cheaper while retaining the same memorability.

– How much are similar names priced at?

Floor price for these type of assets is around the $35k mark (unless it contains a “0” or “o”).

– What are the possible usage/benefits of owning this name?

Branding a business that has a strong B2C and B2B component internationally. Think about the multinational j2.com and/or how good a mark@p9.com email address sounds.

WQ.com – $500,000

– Why I like this name?
It is a two letter .com with letters that are considered premium in China. We already received offers in the hundred of thousands USD for this domain and it would be likely on sale not for long.

– How much are similar names priced at?

On the wholesale market, LL.com have a floor price closer to 280k, depending on the quality of the letters. On the retail market, these assets have commanded record prices throughout 2013 & 2014, like IG.com $4.7M or MI.com $3.6M.

– What are the possible usage/benefits of owning this name?

Branding a business that requires a massive amount of authority; flip the domain to an end user; invest in an asset that might appreciate in value.

In addition to these domains, we also have some new and updated inventory. If you are interested in purchasing any of these names, or simply submitting an offer, just reply to this email and I will get in touch with you.

Domains for Sale (price is intended in USD)

auq.com – $12,000
nki.com – $18,000
knd.com – $19,000
giu.com – $20,000
0k.com – $29,000
jgi.com – $17,000
0h.com – $27,000
ekq.com – $11,000
ouj.com – $11,000
zvy.com – $10,000
284.com – $70,000
083.com – $80,000
upv.com – $16,000
ysu.com – $19,000
vvo.com – $19,000
qlq.com – $16,000
hmi.com – $27,000
nus.com – $30,000
ceni.com – $9,000
pami.com – $12,000
sufe.com – $5,000
zafi.com – $5,000
gego.com – $12,000
puvi.com – $4,000
lipi.com – $8,000
meya.com – $5,000
mofe.com – $5,000
anahata.com – $27,000
olanda.com – $16,000
nzq.com – $11,000
xaqu.com – $3,000
nuqe.com – $3,000
nuqo.com – $3,000
pufe.com – $4,000
xpf.com – $14,000
koq.com – $10,000
tica.com – $13,000
3427.com – $9,000
4684.com – $10,000
5451.com – $10,000
6420.com – $9,000
6435.com – $9,000

View more of Giuseppe’s domain stories by signing up for his exclusive newsletter

Have a fantastic week – from Lisbon!

Giuseppe

Giuseppe Graziano
Director of Business Development, Europe
E: giuseppe@domainholdings.com
M: (+1) 561-819- 8468 (US)
M: (+351) 961-150-279 (PT)
F: 1-954-681-4920
S: ggrgraziano
QQ: ggrg

Are We In a Bubble?

Llourinha BeachAs the summer approaches this side of Europe, last weekend I went to visit one of my mentors in Lourinha, a great beach location in the center of Portugal:

As we sat on the beach bar, looking the sun going down in the Atlantic, we discussed – among other things – what is the current status of the domain industry.

small-spacer-short

MARKET UPDATE

Numerics have been increasing in price like there is no tomorrow. Floor prices have practically quadrupled during the past 6 months. While you could purchase a NNN.com (containing a 4) for about $16k last December, it is now rare to find any below $60k.

NN.com, that could be purchased in the low to mid six digits, have now a floor price closer to $700k. It is exactly like a real estate market where the major sellers purchased all distressed properties to artificially increase the asking price of the properties.

On the other hand LL.com have had a much slower but steadier increase over the past 2 years at rates of 5-10% per quarter, with evaluation ranges depending on the quality of the letters and floor prices now closer to $230k. LLL.com have also slowly increased and reached the $8k floor price, moving from a $4.5k floor price last December.

NNNN.com are now impossible to find under $6k and LN.com have floors closer to $35k (if not containing an “o” or “0”). Assets that used to be practically worthless, like NNNNN.com, suddenly started to have face value.

The question is now – are we in a bubble?

small-spacer-short

BUBBLE?

I get this question a lot and my answer is YES, we are in a bubble. This is for a few reasons:

A. The “traceability” of liquid assets.

While it is difficult to identify the top 100 one word generic domains, numeric and short letter domains are very easy to trace for anyone that knows how to use an excel spreadsheet and a mass whois extractor.  A higher number of people are trying everyday to track the prices of these assets by emailing the contacts listed in the whois records.

In turn, this caused sellers to be literally inundated by price inquiries. Now, think about this: if you own a property that used to get one or two inquiries every other month and is now getting 20, it is human nature to think that your property is VERY valuable – or, at the very least, much more valuable than it used to.

B. The increased numbers of brokers.

While the market prices were growing so quickly, a lot more brokers saw an opportunity to get inside the market and finding buying opportunities on behalf of investors. Some of them, in order to include their commission, re-listed the domains at higher prices.

As a consequence, buyers saw a dramatic, day-by-day increase on the asking price of such assets, creating pressure to secure the domains as early as possible and putting them in weaker negotiating position.

C. Inconsistent demand from end users.

While it is true that numbers have a universal appeal, how many end users you know are willing to spend more than half a million to brand their business with an anonymous number? It is intuitive that British Airways should use BA.com and Western Union WU.com, but how many businesses do you think are looking to pursue a 64.com priced close to $1m USD?

It seems to me that the fundamentals are just not in place to sustain such a growth, and the increase in price is purely caused by market speculations.

D. Seller’s liquidity.

Usually anyone who owned numerics or short domains, registered or bought them in bulk. As some of these investors started to sell part of their portfolio, they no longer have the need for liquidity, therefore reducing the inventory available at market price.

The next question I get is – When is the bubble going to burst?

small-spacer-short

FUTURE OUTLOOK

This is a harder question to answer. I believe that the market for liquid domains will crash as soon as another economic indicator like the housing market in China and/or the stock market will crash. Typically May is a selling month in the stock market, and Wall Street just reached new heights. I found a very interesting article regarding the expected correction to take place on Wall Street last month.

Since the domain market follows the economy, I would not be surprised to see the market crash at the very first signs of panic in the Chinese housing market. We are not there just yet, however we might get there as soon as the end of the year. For what concerns the stock market, it could be in August, when a few people would be looking to cash out their profits. But, not to be pessimistic, the rising trend might last a little longer – maybe after experiencing a short term correction.

Therefore the third question is – Is this the right time to sell?

Well, maybe. For sure the upside now looks very limited – although everything happened till today was not expected 🙂

Back to my short trip in Lourinha, as we set to leave and went to the bar to pick up the tab, to my surprise, the two beers were €1,40, the equivalent of $1 each. At the current market prices, you could practically buy 100 beers with a NNNNN.com just hand registered a few months ago on GoDaddy for $2. Good way to put things in perspective 🙂

Giuseppe

Giuseppe Graziano
Director of Business Development, Europe
Domain Holdings Group

How to Contact Me?

Skype: ggrgraziano
QQ: ggrg
Q1-2015 Report

Domain Holdings Q1 Report 2014

Q1 ReportWelcome to the first edition of quarterly sales reporting from Domain Holdings! The infographic below highlights collective data from our Q1 sales in 2014. Some of the most interesting takeaways this quarter were:

  • 76.25% of sales were to end users
  • Sales were almost 21% of what SEDO reported for Q4 2013 (their latest report)
  • Our team made over 10,000 phone calls and 60,000+ targeted emails.

In 2014 our biggest investment will continue to be in people and technology – if you know any good brokers we are hiring!

Any questions or comments please contact us – a PDF copy of this report is also available here.

Thank you again to everybody who has trusted us with their business and we look forward to even better quarters ahead.

2014 Q1 Report

 

How Bitcoins, Canadian Immigration Laws and Real Estate in China are Affecting the Value of Numeric Domains

After one of the rainiest winters of the past years, Spring has finally come in Lisbon:

Sure it feels better working when the sun is out! Together with the sun, the tourists have come back, and surprisingly enough, most of them are Chinese, who this time seem very active on the local real estate market.

That brings me back to virtual real estate – I was studying my spreadsheets this weekend and noticed something amazing: numeric domains that used to sell for $40k just three months ago are now at a minimum of $50k-$55k (I am talking about domains without a 4). The few people who have not caught up to this, already sold their assets; and the many sellers who did have increased their prices.

But Why Has This Happened?

In order to understand this, we have first look at why Chinese are investing now so heavily in numeric domains. Yes they are rare and easy to remember, but there are also a few more reasons for the steep increase in value:

1. China’s growth has brought unexpected wealth to middle classes. With a strong saving culture, Chinese have been looking to invest their money somewhere. With bank returns on the low side, laws against investing abroad, and the domestic stock market being so volatile, the Chinese middle classes has been pouring their money into real estate, fueling one of the largest construction boom of the past years.

There is a urban legend saying that Shanghai in the nineties used to host 1/4 of all the world’s construction cranes, just check this amazing picture. The problem is, with the demographic growth limited by the one-child policy, many apartment buildings in big cities are now empty and do not generate revenue. Many people believe that the real estate market in China is about to crash and there is a frenzy from wealthy Chinese to relocate their money elsewhere, possibly in intangible assets.

2. Canada just announced the closure of its immigration program destined to millionaires. By rejecting about 60,000 applications (mostly from China), Canada has now to refund tens of billions to wealthy Chinese that are now looking to invest their money elsewhere. Some of them are looking to invest in other places like Portugal and St Kitts and Nevis, who are offering similar programs – either way those billions are definitely going somewhere.

3. Another client of mine recently mentioned that the decrease in bitcoins investment is slowly reflecting in an increase of the money poured in the domain market. While I am not an expert on this specific market, this might be an additional reason why the youngest generation of Chinese is now looking at domain names.

Whatever the truth is, there has been a clear, noticeable 20% to 25% price increase on all numeric domains. LL.com, LLL.com, LN.com and NL.com have also increased in price, along with any domain that has a clear cut liquid value.

Will this trend continue? Only the next months will tell. As usual, feel free to contact me if you have any interest in investing in numeric domains, we have one of the largest inventory on the market available for sale. Stay tuned and all the best…from Lisbon!

Domain Holdings Secures Deposit.com Under Exclusive Brokerage Contract

Savings BankDELRAY BEACH, FL (February 27, 2014) — Domain Holdings, a leading premium domain name broker and monetization company, announced that it has been retained to exclusively broker one of the world’s most valuable domain names – Deposit.com

As a leading premium domain brokerage and monetization company, Domain Holdings Group is proud to announce representation of an exclusive premium domain offering – Deposit.com.

Super premium domains like Deposit.com have proven time after time to enhance a brand’s online presence, improve SEO, provide greater consumer trust and more. Companies who have already capitalized on the power of generic domain names include Bank of America (Loans.com), American Express (Open.com), Citigroup (Mortgage.com), Salesforce (Data.com) and many more.

“Such a key financial domain is extremely valuable in today’s world where trust and security are among the first thing consumers look for in a financial institution,” remarked Alan Dunn, SVP of Acquisitions and Divestments for Domain Holdings Group.

Descriptive, category owning domain names like Deposit.com in the financial industry have commanded some of the highest sales in history. Reported comparable sales to Deposit.com include PersonalLoans.com ($1 million), Investing.com ($2.45 million), Local.com ($700,000) and Shop.com ($3.5 million).

Financial companies spend billions of dollars a year advertising and this one-of-a-kind domain is a both a powerful branding asset for both short-term and long-term investing. As use of the internet and mobile devices continues to expand, more banks and online businesses are using the web to offer products and services or otherwise enhance communications with consumers. Recent surveys have shown:

  • 36% of US consumers would open an account with a bank that is completely virtually
  • Consumers want personalized customer experiences from banks
  • 550 million people will use mobile banking services by 2016
  • Mobile finance advertising spending has rose by 520% in the past two years
  • Virtual currencies continue to gain popularity with 2014 slated to be the “year of bitcoin” according to many industry experts

Deposit.com is the perfect name to attract the growing consumer demand for savings. “The word deposit offers a strong branding platform and its short length, spelling ease and global recognition provides the successful acquirer with instant name recognition – something which many companies often spend millions trying to create,” noted Joe Uddeme, Director of Business Development for Domain Holdings Group.

Available exclusively through Domain Holdings, parties interested in Deposit.com or other premium generic domains are encouraged to contact Joe Uddeme, Director of Business Development, at +1 410 977 0693 or joe@domainholdings.com.

ABOUT DOMAIN HOLDINGS GROUP

Domain Holdings is a world-class service provider in the buying, selling and monetizing of premium domain names, historically representing many of the world’s finest assets such as Restaurants.com, Capital.com and more. The company was co-founded by Chad Folkening, a longtime domain industry veteran, and John Ferber, co-founder of Advertising.com which was acquired by AOL for approximately $500 million in 2004. For more information about Domain Holdings Group please read our story.

The (Almost) Ultimate Guide to Value Investing in LLL.com

LLLValencia, Spain. 2 in the morning at the Domaining Europe conference. Discussing about domain values over a few drinks, one of the attendees mentions he owns a 3 letter domain he just bought on auction that he wants to sell for $3,500. I remember saying to myself: wow a three letter .com domain for $3,500 – what a great price. I immediately pulled out my phone and quickly sent an email with the sell request to my team. Unsurprisingly, the domain got sold shortly after.

Unfortunately, those days are long gone. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find a LLL.com under $5,000. Considering that the last Domaining Spain was only 8 months ago, something changed in the aftermarket that caused a 30-40% variation on the floor price of these assets. But besides for the fluctuation in price, what amazes me is the amount of buy requests we have been receiving for these assets. When European, Chinese and American clients are asking for LLL.com on daily basis, you know something is up.

But why are LLL.com so valuable and, above all, how can you profit from this?

There are three reasons why these assets are so in demand:

1. Rarity (supply/demand)

There are only 17,576 (26*26*26) of these domains on the market. If PriceWaterCooper owns PWC.com and Apple owns MAC.com, there are thousands other companies that have a budget big enough to purchase the acronym of their brand/product. And it is just a matter of time – sooner or later they will.

2. Liquidity

As I mentioned in my other article about numeric domains – the ability to quickly cash in on an asset considerably increase its value. There are only a few domains that have this attribute, namely numerics, LL.com, LLL.com and CVCV.com.

3. End User Value

Differently from numeric domains, LLL.com, since they can be used as acronyms, can be easily allocated to specific end users. If you were the owner of MCD.com, can you name a company that might be interested in buying your name? There you go.

LLL.com AND VALUE INVESTING

Last weekend I visited one of my mentors, a real estate developer, at his beach house in central Portugal. While the worst storm of the year was hitting the coast (with incredibly big waves), we stayed in and had a chat about the status of the real estate in Portugal and how these lessons could apply to the domain market.

A very true saying is that perception equals reality. What generates a crisis is often a large number of people who share a negative perception of the market. Think about it – Portugal (and the US) still hold the same amount of debt per person since last year. What has changed? One of the reasons the real estate and the domain market have bottomed out during last summer is because people simply got bored of thinking that we are under a crisis and decided to allocate their money back on the market, which is now trending up again.

We all know that the market is not driven by logic and but by emotions, especially greed and fear. I recently read a thread started 6 years ago saying that the minimum wholesale value of LLL.com was quickly heading toward $10k. Compare it now to the $5k floor price: some people say that LLL.com are becoming too expensive, but are they really?

As Warren Buffett would say, the intelligent investors focuses on the value, not on the cost of the asset and understand how the price relates to long term market fluctuations. There is a beautiful little site that reports the floor price of LLL.com for the past 8 years. If you insert the values in a spreadsheet and pull out a graph, this is what you get:

As we can see from the graph starting in 2005, the LLL.com quickly rose in the first years just to reach a peak in 2008, right before crashing to 2007 level. Since then, it has been steadily growing until hitting the $5,250 mark in November last year.

So, is this a good moment to buy LLL.com? Given the market activity and the previous market fluctuations, I would definitely say yes. It seems we are in an accelerating phase of the market and prices are likely to continue increasing – at least for the coming 6 months.

At the same time, more people are getting aware of market valuations. Blogs, marketplaces and brokerage houses are making the market more and more efficient, therefore with less opportunities to close great deals. Remember – in any market where there is perfect information there is no possibility for profit. Nevertheless, the domain aftermarket is still far from that and I have personally seen a few clients doing very well in the space and making substantial profits.

But let’s say you own a few LLL.com and are unsure about pricing, what is the best way to appraise their actual value?

The most common criterium that has been used until today to appraise LLL.com is their letter composition. The “book” says that there are 3 type of letters that increase or decrease the value of a specific acronym:

  • Premium letters: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, T.
  • 2nd tier letters: J, K, U, V, W.
  • Low quality letters: Q, X, Y, Z.

The retail value of a LLL.com composed only by premium letters is closer to $25k/$30k. Any combination of premium + low quality letter is valued somewhere between these two extremes. From my experience, any 2nd tier letter increases the value of the domain of 1-2k. And any premium letter increases the value of the domain by 3-6k.

Then there are the less obvious rules:

  • Letter structure – Specific letter structures might increase the value of the domain. For example any palindrome (symmetrical letters – e.g. PTP or LKL) usually has a higher value.
  • Couple of letters repeated like FFQ, PPO, etc, also usually hold a higher valuation.
  • Word meaning – a combination of 3 letters often. One of the example is fix.com that recently sold for $850,000. Whenever the combination of three letters has a specific meaning in the natural language, that increases the price considerably.
  • Potential buyers – you heard what the old domainer’s saying – the value of a domain is how much somebody is willing to pay for it. While this can be an easy way out to appraise a domain, it also beholds some truth: the value of a LLL.com corresponds to the budget for domain acquisitions of the richest company/person with a legitimate interest in purchasing your domain.

What about selling to End Users?

Yes, but how can you know what are these companies and how much is their budget? Well, it is not easy, but you can get there. This is what we do on a daily basis at Domain Holdings and we have an awesome team only dedicated to that!

You can always contact me at giuseppe@domainholdings.com if you are looking to invest in a LLL.com – we have over 200 for sale at the moment with some great investment opportunities.

Next week I am going to attend DomainPulse in Salzburg and later on in May I will be participating in a panel about domain evaluations at Domaining Spain in Valencia – Dietmar and Jodi always do an amazing job of making everyone have a good time and I encourage you to sign up for the event. I would love to see you there and meet you personally!

Never Settle – Why You Need a Domain Broker

WHDo you remember the moment of inception? Where you there when it happened? Or have you only heard the story?

The moment a light bulb went off. For some it happened in the shower or stuck in traffic. Others over far too many glasses of wine and thankfully it was scribbled down on cocktail napkins.

The idea for your business was conceived. You invented a better mouse-trap. Or realized that no one was providing that product or service in your area. Or boldly, you knew you could do it better than existing businesses.

However the prologue was written, your business was born. That euphoric moment soon to be followed by the hurdles, hard work, blood, sweat and tears required to get you to where you are today. A journey of joys, successes, heartbreaks and disappointments; one that you’d do again in a heartbeat.

For many one of the first setbacks experienced comes shortly after settling on a name for your new venture; likely scrawled on that cocktail napkin. The trademark was filed, the DBA applied for and then came the disappointment.

You logged into the domain registrar of your choice to register the perfect dot com for your business; but it was taken. You brainstormed, trying alternate permutations of your perfect name only to find time after time, they too were unavailable.

If you were savvy you tried to figure out who owned the name, thinking perhaps you could contact them and buy it; only you were presented nonsensical contact information and an email address of alphabetnumericsoup@totallyprivate-donttrytocontactme-secretregistrar.com.

It may have been instinctive or under the guidance of a talented web developer; but in that moment you were unaware of the importance of consumer Domain Bias, coined by a 2012 Microsoft study – a users propensity to believe a page is more relevant just because it comes from a particular domain. A domain that industry insiders would describe as a premium name or a brand defining name.

How could it be possible that all the good names were taken? And yet they were. So you made the executive decision to settle for what was available. You hyphenated the name or opted for a non-dot com version. Domain Professionals will refer to this as a non-premium name.  Possibly you added words, creating what would be referred to as a long tail domain.

The star of your story… The star of your business…  Settled that day.

And that is not something a true entrepreneur wants to do.

It matters not how long you’ve owned your domain, be it hours or decades. One fact is undeniable, it isn’t the name you originally wanted.

For most of you the story includes tremendous effort building your website, constructing your brand and market strategy around that domain. Let’s face it, that domain is familiar to you now and you’ve grown like it. Though it still isn’t the name you originally wanted; and worse still it may not be perceived as relevant enough to your potential customers…losing business to your competition.

The truth is, that taken doesn’t always mean unavailable. Individuals and corporations bought domains speculating, much like real estate investors, with a belief that the values would increase. They bought verbs, adjectives, numbers, colors and generic terms.

They bought the perfect name for your business; the one you originally wanted.

So where does a Premium Domain Broker fit into your story? Well every good story should have a hero. Someone with special powers like deciphering secret codes (alphabetnumericsoup@totallyprivate-donttrytocontactme-secretregistrar.com) used to rescue the star of your story from mediocrity.

Do you remember the excitement? Do you remember the dream? To what heights you were going to take your company? Your product? Your service?

And then you settled for something other than the domain name you originally wanted.

There are still chapters to be written. The epilogue can still end Happily Ever After…taken doesn’t necessarily mean unavailable. In the distance a Premium Domain Broker sits upon a white horse, waiting for you to call for them.

GoTo.com is Back – 5 Questions with GoTo

GotoA couple months ago Andrew Allerman wrote a piece on the acquisition of the GoTo.com domain by a group of previous employees and I couldn’t resist trying to find out what they paid for the domain.

Anyone who has been around long enough in this industry can remember the influence GoTo.com had on search.

Founded in 1998 by IdeaLab, GoTo.com was an early search pioneer and invented a new way to connect businesses and consumers that we now recognize as sponsored search. Yes, they invented sponsored search and even coined the phrase “paid introductions” for CPC ads.

Much like BINGO is part of our grandparent’s vocabulary (or Thomas the Tank Engine is to my son) both GoTo and Overture were key words in my every day discussion with people who knew about domains.

Even after Yahoo’s acquisition of Overture in 2003 the GoTo/Overture Keyword Suggestion Tool and Keyword Score continued to be part of everyday life. Whether it was buying PPC ads or researching domain opportunities the amount of wealth created from these tools has to be several billion dollars I would imagine and anybody who bought domains in the first 13 years owes a debt of gratitude to IdeaLab for making this data public.

Then June 30, 2008 happened and these tools disappeared.

Fast forward to today and Google is slowly privatizing all keyword analytics data, still providing strings of the same “exact match” numbers – like 9,900 or 5,400 or 1,800 – making the data much less predictable than the Overture score and paid data models are popping up everywhere.

When you stop and think about it we had a wealth of information for free and many of today’s portfolios would have never been built without the help of GoTo/Overture.

Some things become cooler with age and as part of the “search” generation the GoTo brand is simply iconic to me, as much as a Commodore 64 would be to an Apple freak, William Shatner is to a Trekkie or as important selfies are to Justin Beiber.

Recently, several former GoTo executives purchased the domain, Joshua Metzger among them.  I reached out to Josh and he fielded a few of our questions.

Q. How did you manage to acquire the GoTo.com domain name?

A.  Some of us who trace our professional roots back to the early days of GoTo have kept abreast of the domain since it was more or less retired in 2001, when the company became Overture Services and changed its business model from B2C to B2B.  You’ll recall that Overture was acquired in 2003 by Yahoo.  Last year, a fairly benign inquiry to the domain’s owner suggested it might be available and a few of us joined together to acquire it late in 2013.

Q.  Did you use a domain broker or privately acquire the domain?

A.  It was a private deal.

Q.  What are your plans for the GoTo.com domain and brand?

A.  We’re doing a fair amount of experimentation and testing in the area of search – let’s call it enhanced search – and it’s likely we’ll continue to do that for a while.  You can check it out at the website, which has been resurrected as a simple search engine with the look and feel of the old GoTo.com.  And, by all means, we’d welcome feedback.  You can leave comments by clicking on the “About GoTo” tab.

Q.  When can we expect GoTo.com to start ruling search again?

A.  You have a good sense of humor.

Q.  How cool did you become with your friends after you owned the domain?

A.  Our friends have always thought we’re cool – that’s why they’re our friends.  :–)

Q.  Any last words to GoTo fans?

A.  Keep searching.

As you can tell my career for the New York Times is limited but this is a shining example of how even some of the best domains just may be for sale.

My Take on the New GTLDS – Joe Uddeme

Joe UddemeOver the past 18 months a tremendous number of clients and colleagues have been beyond apprehensive regarding the impending introduction of roughly 1,700 new  Generic Top Level Domains (GTLDS) into the current marketplace. What will happen with domain values? How will these new domains affect the internet? Who will buy these domains?

These are just a few of the questions I am asked daily.

One point I keep hearing is that only 20 percent of users worldwide (in developing countries) have access to the Internet so this means the domain industry is still in its infancy. I tend to agree with that assessment…

Over the past few months, as a broker I have seen a more simplified approach from my buyer channel, specifically only buying .coms that are short, brandable or generic in nature. Many buyers and sellers are waiting on the sidelines for the dust to settle from the new GTLDS and no one really knows what will happen for sure. I do however have some key observations that I think are paramount to our business specifically, from the last 12-18 months.

  • Owners of premium .coms have been more willing to sell at some incredible pricing that we have never seen before.
  • Fewer and fewer transactions in the premium .com market (although there has been a nice uptick especially specifically since Sept 2013)
  • Supply is high while demand is stagnate, meaning the pricing for .com have dropped
  • The value of the .net has precipitously continued to decline, telling me that it will become the odd man out.
  • Some clients intend to acquire the new TLDS as a defensive play to protect their existing assets.

How Will The New GTLDS Affect the Evolution of the Internet?

Its simply too early to tell. In my opinion, Google is the unknown. They continue to shape the user’s experience with relevant searches that only Google wants the user to see.  Will Google, who has applied for more than 35 new TLDS, give them to their user base for free? Is this going to be the norm as we move forward? With all of these unknowns, I think its an incredible time to be in the domain space.

Companies continue to find creative ways to capitalize and engage their audience with short brands that people can remember.

Will users become adopters of this new strategy? Will brands have their client’s type in the likes of My.Bid to navigate to sites like Ebay or other auction platforms?

I certainly don’t have a crystal ball, but I do have the knowledge and marketing background to understand that this is a very lengthy adoption process and it appears it will take many years for clients and users to get aligned with this new system….

Why The .Com Will Reign Supreme?

One of my biggest arguments is the fact that if you spend any time watching television, you will see that your average brand typically markets their website in their commercial marketing. In a one hour television show, the networks cram in up to 16 minutes of advertising. In a normal break of 3 minutes and an average television spot of 30 seconds, you would have 6 commercials airing. We see as many as five out of six companies marketing their .com. In addition, it has taken over twenty years for consumers to take a liking to and see the credibility of online brands. Over that period, the .com has become the absolute dominant force of driving traffic and branding to some of the largest companies across the globe. Furthermore, you will see some early adopters that buy into the new GTLDS with a few of those new extensions becoming very effective tools to increase brand awareness and exposure on the Internet.

However the next few years play out I am certainly looking forward to it!

About Joe Uddeme

Joe joined Domain Holdings Group in 2010 and has been integral in the company’s overall growth. After 16 years of developing brands into successful businesses, he brings a wealth of hands-on knowledge from the business owners’ perspective and is well versed in Domain development and Internet marketing techniques including SEO and SEM. In addition, he is proficient in pay-per-click campaign management and has been certified by Google.

His main concentration is attracting new clients to the various service offering of Domain Holdings and maintaining relationships with those clients.Prior to joining Domain Holdings, Joe was a principal for Encompass Communications, which offered marketing solutions and developed web strategies for small businesses.

Joe graduated from Towson University with a degree in Marketing and Advertising and has been a lifelong Entrepreneur.

“For the past three years, I have been on the front lines working with buyers and sellers to position, market, negotiate and close many premium .com transactions for some of the largest companies in the world. I am fortunate to have sold more than $12MM in premium .com domain inventory and have established quite a following of buyers and sellers who enjoy direct end user outreach to companies on a global scale…

Back in 1994 while some of my clients were acquiring premium domains, I was out wreaking havoc on the world, spending my time finding other ways to make a living. Who would of thought that it would take this long to see such an expansion of the Internet to take effect? Interesting times for sure in the domain space.”