10 Reasons to Upgrade Your Domain Name

At any given time in this industry you can find companies who need to upgrade their domain. Whether it’s upgrading to a .com, a shorter version of another extension or simply choosing a domain that is much more relevant to what they do.

While there are many reasons why this doesn’t always happen (budget, availability, etc.) the most common reason simply is the person in charge of acquiring domains or branding the company just doesn’t get it. This is quite understandable as its not like the value of domain names is a core class in college nor did many marketing managers even have computers growing up. As brokers we need to communicate the reasons why having a better domain is worth the investment to a potential buyer rather than just hard selling them on how .com is number one, assuming they simply “get it”.

Part of the training program here at Domain Holdings is educating our brokers on why upgrading a domain is often in the best interest of an end user and explaining how a better domain can translate into dollars.

Some of these reasons may be obvious but I also think the industry needs a solid reference point so people newer in this industry (and clients on the fence) can see in black and white why having the best version of your domain is incredibly important.


Email Security

The “email security flaw” of not owning the best version of your domain happens all the time. People naturally migrate to .com and they often default to the shorter version of your name for sending an email automatically

For example, If your company is ABCinc.com someone is going to email [email protected] instead of [email protected] sooner or later.

A friend of mine has a big portfolio and often has “catch-all” emails set up purely for the entertainment. Over the last year he has been on an internal Microsoft research thread, consistently gets emails about ad insertions for a wilderness show, numerous orders for a book published in Australia, credit card statements, daily password reset requests and has received almost 60 holiday cards over the last month – not to mention hundreds of other requests including collection requests, merchant account statements and birthday messages. These are all from people he has no idea who they are and they don’t know him. The senders simply default to the best .com version of the intended parties domain.

These are not typo or TM domains in case you are thinking. These are generic domains where somebody is using a longer version of the domain in business. In fact, these domains were never even active websites… ever.

Sound More Professional

I hate to break it to you but adding Inc. or LLC every time you say a company name doesn’t make you sound any more professional. In fact, it’s kinda weird.

Imagine people saying “Did you visit Google Inc. today” or “Let’s go to McDonalds LTD for lunch” or “I love the Victoria’s Secret LLC catalog”. The only three people who really care about your incorporation status are most likely the IRS, the state department and divorce lawyers. Your consumers only know you as Google, McDonalds and Victoria’s Secret.

Not only that, why would you want to make every employee say “You can email me at ABCInc.com” over and over. Take the pain away and upgrade to ABC.com .. bad example since that will probably cost just a smidge more than you have but you should know what I mean.

Increased Authority and Trust

The internet is full of spam and scam. Your URL is often the very first thing customers look at it and when you own the best version of your domain name (or a category defining domain) then it brings perceived authority and trust to your brand.

The beauty of this is your new domain is usually a one-time acquisition cost and not a renewable monthly bill for advertising. I know many companies who have proven that having a better domain also results in a better return on advertising dollars. Why, that is point number 4.


Easier to Remember

How much do you really expect someone to remember a domain like or DavidDental.org or DavidsDentalLLC411.com?

Certainly not as much as DavidsDental.com. Before spending any money on traditional advertising its imperative to secure the best available domain for your business otherwise you will be losing ROI each and every time your ad is shown. This is not rocket science but it’s also NOT something your advertising company is going to tell since hey… they don’t sell domains.

Better Click Thru Rates

A shorter more relevant domain can also contribute to a much higher click thru rate because of the perceived increased authority and trust we spoke about in #3. Consumers tend to gravitate to sites which “seem trustworthy” and while you certainly may have been the president of your ethics club having a second tier domain doesn’t always portray that element of trust you pride yourself on.

Remove Potential Competition

Unless you are a huge brand who has an advertising budget the size of Norway’s GDP it’s always going to be a constant challenge promoting and uniquely identifying your company with consumers. The very last thing you want to happen is for a competitor to buy the most obvious version of your name.

Take for example a name like DavidsDentalsDDS.com. After spending some money and building a client base life after Dental School is pretty good. You get married, have kids and then one day wake up to see another dentist move to town also with the name David. This David however was smart enough to buy DavidsDental.com and now your advertising dollars are sending customers his way, your blood pressure is going up, your kids teacher keeps thinking the other David is their Dad and your wife is sending sexy messages to [email protected] and the other David is responding.

While this is a fictional example don’t be surprised if it happens. Even if he just bought DavidsDental.com and forwarded to DavidsDentalsDDS.com it would be cheaper than the high blood pressure medicine bills.


With Age Comes Respect

Category defining names such as DentalEquipment.com or CommercialBanking.com have such an inherit amount of value that any company in the respective industries who own these names could easily capitalize on.

It’s only natural to assume that a company who owns DentalEquipment.com knows a thing or two about dental equipment and as the internet ages there is also that perceived age which is also valuable.

We often hear people say “that’s a great name I wish I bought that 15 years ago”. Well, guess what… customers also think… that’s a great name… they must be around for a while.

Think about it. I prefer to deal with companies that seem like they have been around for a while, don’t you?

Short Social Media Handles

If you think your website DentalEquipmentMasters101.net is not long then imagine when you set up Facebook and all of sudden you have http://www.facebook.com/dentalequipmentsmasters101 – I have a headache just from typing this.

Shorter is better. This applies to almost everything online… almost everything.

More People Will Link to You

SEO has changed 100 times the last couple years but one thing has remained the same. The more authoritative your site is the more people will trust linking to you.

Webmasters are more careful than ever before to link to sites and if your website URL looks “spammy” or “less than a great URL” you may very well miss out on links.

Let’s take this a step further.

If I am writing an article for Forbes and referring material from another website than I want to reference a source which I believe my viewers would find credible. If I have a choice between referring source material on DentalEquipmentMasters101.net or DentalEquipment.com then you can probably guess which website I would choose.


Reduce the Regrets

There are a wealth of stories around from companies wishing they had a better name or finally upgrading to the domain they really should have after dealing with confusion for some time.

One quote I love is “Anything less than your best is like you never tried”. When starting a business you often put weeks into a business plan, consult with business experts, engage a tax professional, hire a lawyer, spend money on marketing and so much more.

  • How much of those funds are allocated to analyzing your domain name or consulting with professionals in the domain community?
  • How much of your budget is allocated to the most visible asset of your company?

Think about it.

Need help or want to talk about upgrading your domain then contact us at [email protected]

Selling a Domain – How We Connect with End Users

What I love about this industry is everybody has their own niche. Whether its GoDaddy’s including only products they own in the shopping cart, SEDO’s international marketplace reach, Namejet’s golden expired inventory from Network Solutions or any number of other companies who have significant advantages of their own right.

When I joined Domain Holdings it was a decision that took a while to make. Working from home was a luxury I loved but deep down I also wanted to be part of something bigger. After a couple cruises, many nights out, a DomainFest conference, a Traffic conference and Jason and John’s consistent harassment I finally caved in. It was one of those few decisions in life you don’t regret.

Over the last year Domain Holdings has had some tremendous growth both in our brokerage division and our technology side. We have been pretty quiet on the PR side of things due to a large string of NDA’s on sales and a simple focus on building something much bigger. There are so many great things happening here I wish we could share with you but you’ll just have to wait. 2014 will be a huge year for us, our employees, our shareholders and our customers.

Our most visible asset is our brokerage division and with very good reason. Not many people can provide the level of service we can for premium domains and it’s something we continually invest in and refine.

When the company was founded a few years ago the vision of the brokerage team was not to sell massive amounts of domains through a marketplace, run auctions or compete in the drops. We had one simple goal – Build the greatest outbound brokerage team ever.

Today we have an extremely smooth process and our success over the past year has proved time after time that our customers truly value how we are different from other brokerages.

As we go into 2014 and you are thinking of selling (or buying) domains then I think its important to highlight the many things that make us the best choice in the industry.

Domain HoldingsCollective Wisdom

Do you know that every time we consider representing the exclusive right to sell a premium domain we have 14 people sit around and talk about potential companies who may be interested in the name?

This group of people includes John Ferber, Chad Folkening, myself, all of our brokers and more. We never make a single phone call or contact a prospective client until we have this meeting.

We also have built our own proprietary collective wisdom technology to get those people’s appraisal opinions in an unbiased fashion + our own unique proprietary software which uses tens of thousands of historical transactions and some of our own proprietary factors to determine the probability of a domain name selling at a specific asking price. This is so much more than an appraisal – it actually helps define the probability of selling a domain at a specific price point.

Why is this so important?

Simple. Knowledge is power. There are so many people with industry experience here it would be nothing short of unacceptable if we didn’t embrace that. You deserve nothing less.

Domain HoldingsDedicated Outbound Brokerage

Once we define potential candidates we make the effort to contact them. We will never list your names in a marketplace and just let you know when somebody randomly finds your name in a sea of domains. We have invested in multiple lead generation people, numerous applications and have even built our own technology to help find prospects who have a high probably of interest in your domain. This is above and beyond our large list of end users and clients who we already have relationships with.

Domain HoldingsCustom End User Reports

Have you ever listed your name with a broker and then 90 days later wonder what outreach they did? With us you never have to worry about that. We will provide you with a complete list of all the companies we have reached out to and even include their responses.

Domain HoldingsCompetitive Commission

Why pay 20% commission for listing your name on a marketplace when you can pay less and have a team of dedicated brokers calling end users for you? Our commission is highly competitive and you end up getting much more for your money.

Domain HoldingsCustom Landing Pages

Would you like a Custom for Sale landing page for your domain? We often invest in custom landing pages for super premium domains listed exclusively with us.

Domain HoldingsOver 10 Languages

Our brokerage team consists of industry professionals who speak over 10 languages fluently including Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Mandarin, Canadian and more.

Domain HoldingsFREE Escrow

All transactions using our purchase and sale agreement come with free escrow through our Domain Holding’s escrow service.

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These are just 6 of the many reasons we pride our brokerage division but the most important statistic in my mind is the percentage of sales we have to end users.

Whether it’s August.com, CID.com, ContactUs.com (or any of so many more) we see our footprint in businesses all across the world. This dedicated outbound reach we provide is second to none and our brokers often work 7 days a week to help you find a buyer for your domain.

Are We for Everyone?

We certainly say no more than we say yes but there is logical reasoning beyond this. It wouldn’t be fair to those who own premium domains (nor to our brokers who work on commission) to allocate time to anything less than a great domain.

Our primary focus is to represent the best inventory available and if your domain or portfolio qualifies then we want you to know our resources are dedicated to you.

So if you have a premium domain with reasonable price expectations and want to engage a company who is 100% vested in finding an end user for your domain then you should contact us. We can never have enough inventory and are always hiring more people to help provide you the best service in the industry.

Domain Holdings is more than just a company. We are a team of industry professionals who care about you and your assets.

How to contact us – Email [email protected] or visit this page.

Numeric Domains, Chinese Culture and How You Can Profit From It

Chines NumbersMy fascination with numbers in Chinese culture started in front of a newspaper stand in Shanghai. I was about to purchase my first Chinese sim card associated to a phone number and the clerk presented me with a number of options. Oddly enough, I noticed that the numbers had different prices, with the numbers containing more 8s being priced higher.

I asked the reason why – my Chinese friend promptly explained to that the number containing more 8 were more expensive because considered lucky. Coming from Italy, which is a very superstitious country where we usually think about luck: “It’s not true – but I believe in it”, I resorted to paying the equivalent of $7 to get a phone number containing 3 consecutive 8s.

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Coming back to the domaining industry, Elliot Silver recently quoted in a recent blog post that the value of numeric domains seem to have peaked in the past few months. Almost every broker or aftermarket newsletter is now featuring premium numeric domains for sale at increasingly higher prices.

I think there are several reasons for this peak in value:

1. Liquidity

The ability to quickly cash in on an asset considerably increase its value. If you add to this the buzz about bitcoins and other forms of virtual currencies you understand why numeric domains are becoming so popular. There are only a few domains that have this attribute, namely LL.com, LLL.com and CVCV.com – with numeric domains being the more “appraisable” ones. The current market FLOOR prices (using very conservative values) for these type of assets are:

  • NN.com – $100k
  • NNN.com – $15k
  • NNNN.com – $2k

2. High Demand/Limited Supply

Numeric domains are sought after mostly by Chinese buyers – we can safely say that 80% of the players in this market come from China. The reason for this is because Chinese businesses have historically used numbers or pinyin versions of Chinese characters to brand their websites. English keyword domains are difficult to remember for native Chinese speakers, therefore most of the popular websites in China use numbers (eg 163.com) or pinyin (Baidu.com, Youku.com etc.). Add to this the limited supply of only 100 NN.com and 1000 NNN.com, then you can quickly understand the rising value.

3. Recent Transactions

We have seen quite an increase on the average price of numeric domains recently with some of the most notable transactions including:

  • The domain name 1001.com sold for $100,000.
  • Frank Schilling’s Name Administration sold 88888.com for $245,000.
  • 114.com sold in early 2013 for 2.1 million dollars, getting in the top 5 disclosed transactions in 2013.
  • 55.com to this date is the numeric domain sold at a highest price – $2.3 million in 2011.

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A couple years ago I had a conversation with one of my Chinese clients – when asked about his criteria to price numeric domains he said: “you should spend many more years in China to understand the meaning of Chinese numbers”.

Not discouraged by his statement and, feeling a bit like in the movie Lost in Translation, I made my own research. While it is impossible to cover the whole subject in a blog post, this is what I found:


0. The Number 0 (零 or 檸, Pinyin:líng or níng) is a whole number and it is also an even number for the money ends with 0.

2. The number 2 (二 or 两, Pinyin:èr or liăng) is most often considered a good number in Chinese culture. There is a Chinese saying: “good things come in pairs”. It is common to repeat characters in product brand names, such as double happiness, which even has its own character 囍, a combination of two 喜.

3. The number 3 (三, Pinyin: sān) sounds similar to the character for “birth” (生, Pinyin: shēng), and is considered a lucky number.

6. The number 6 represents wealth in Cantonese, this number is a homophone for (祿 Lok). 6 (六, Pinyin: liù) in Mandarin is pronounced the same as “liu” (溜, Pinyin: liù) and similar to “flow” (流, Pinyin: liú) and is therefore considered good for business.

7. The number 7 (七, Pinyin: qī) symbolizes “togetherness”. It is a lucky number for relationships. It is also recognized as the luckiest number in the West, and is one of the rare numbers that is great in both Chinese and many Western cultures. It is a lucky number in Chinese culture, because it sounds alike to the Chinese word 起 (Pinyin: qǐ) meaning arise, and also 气 (Pinyin: qì) meaning life essence.

8. The word for “eight” (八 Pinyin: bā) sounds similar to the word which means “prosper” or “wealth” (發 – short for “發財”, Pinyin: fā). There is also a visual resemblance between two digits, “88”, and 囍, the “shuāng xĭ” (“double joy”), a popular decorative design composed of two stylized characters 喜 (“xĭ” meaning “joy” or “happiness”). The number 8 is viewed as such an auspicious number that even being assigned a number with several eights is considered very lucky. To give you an idea about the obsession that Chinese have with the number 8, here are a few interesting facts:

  • Most airlines, including United Airlines, KLM, Air Canada, Cathay Pacific and Singapore airlines reserve their flight numbers starting with 8 for flights to Asian destinations, especially China and Korea.
  • A telephone number with all digits being eights was sold for USD $270,723 in Chengdu, China.
  • The opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Beijing began on 8/8/08 at 8 seconds and 8 minutes past 8 pm local time (UTC+08).
  • A man in Hangzhou offered to sell his license plate reading A88888 for RMB 1.12 million (roughly $164,000 USD).
  • The Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia each have 88 Floors.

Even the online poker and casino operator 888 Holdings (owner of 888.com) chose its brand carefully to attract Asian gamblers.

9. The number 9 (九, Pinyin: jiŭ, jyutping: gau2), was historically associated with the Emperor of China, and the number was frequently used in matters relating to the Emperor. It also symbolizes harmony.


4. The number 4 has such a negative implication that Asians in general, and in particular Chinese, go as far to have a pathological fear called Tetraphobia. The reason is because the number 4 has the same sound of the word “death” (死 pinyin sǐ). Due to that, many numbered product lines skip the “4”. In East Asia, some buildings do not have a 4th floor. (Compare with the Western practice of some buildings not having a 13th floor because 13 is considered unlucky.). In Hong Kong, some high-rise residential buildings omit all floor numbers with “4”, e.g., 4, 14, 24, 34 and all 40–49 floors, in addition to not having a 13th floor.

5. Five (五, pinyin: wǔ, jyutping: ng5) is associated with “not” (Mandarin 無, pinyin wú, and Cantonese 唔). If used for the negative connotation it can become good by using it with a negative. Also, any number of repeated 5s: “五” (wǔ) sounds like an onomatopoeia for crying, and is sometimes used in internet slang to express unhappiness.

(Source: Wikipedia).

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Now you might be thinking – ok, this is interesting, but what are the real life application when buying or selling a numeric domain?

The general guidelines for pricing a numeric domain can be summed up in 8 lucky rules:

  • The less digits, the higher value. This is an obvious rule – there are only hundred NN.com versus a thousand NNN.com and so on. Therefore 75.com is more valuable than 750.com.
  • Numeric domains ending in zero have usually a higher value. The more zero’s at the end, the higher the value (i.e. 800.com is more valuable than 810.com etc).
  • Conversely, numeric domains beginning with a zero have usually a lower value. A domain like 065.com would usually bear less value than 650.com.
  • Lower numbers are usually more valuable than high numbers. The reason for this is the Benford’s Law (link) which explains how low numbers are more frequent than higher numbers in a variety of data sets like street addresses, stock prices, population numbers, etc. Therefore each domain starting with 1 is usually more valuable than a domain starting with 2; each domain starting with 2 will have a higher value than a domain starting with 3 and so on.
  • Numbers that appear in a sequence are usually more valuable than numbers with no specific order. For example 123.com is more valuable than 132.com or 231.com.
  • Pairs are considered lucky and therefore more valuable, i.e. 2233.com is more valuable than 2273.com or 3223.com
  • Any numeric domain containing a 8 has a higher value. The more 8s in the domain, the higher the value: 888.com > 788.com > 718.com > 712.com.
  • Domains containing a 4 have a lower value. Any 4 decreases the value of the domain up to 50-70% less than a similar domain without a 4 (eg. 672.com vs 674.com).

If you like to consult with us about how to invest in a numeric domain and what are the available opportunities on the market, just send me an email to [email protected]

Right now we have available one of the “luckiest” domains on the market, 80.com. And, if you are wondering about my US phone number, it contains three 8s as well 🙂

Sign up for Giuseppe’s Newsletter for Premium Domains today to stay in touch!

2014 Domain Market Predictions

Happy Holidays

Wow. How time flies. It’s been almost 2 years since I’ve published anything online and this industry seems to have changed more over that time than the entire decade before.

A few years ago new GTLD’s were just a discussion, long tail exact match domains were getting big dollars, many domain owners would never sell, Lana Del Ray was just Rob’s daughter Lizzy, SEO was a sure thing and Brian from the Family guy was alive.

Today is a different story.

Google has changed the SEO landscape forever by introducing updates fondly named after cute animals (who now have Chucky like qualities when you think of them), almost 1,700 new GTLD’s have started rolling out, Lana Del Ray is a true rock star, killer premium domains are available and Brian from the Family guy is dead (for now).

As we enter 2014 I truly think we are going to see the best of this industry.

My predictions are numerous but I will provide a few that I would bet on.

Premium .COM Names Will Get Higher Values

Over the next year we will enter into a very defining period. One without much room for mediocrity as thousands of alternative options become available in the new GTLD market. The premium .com market will only get stronger.

New GTLD’s will be a Booming Success

You can’t ignore this. Some will fail, some will succeed but the learning curve for the registry operators to understand what works will be quicker than you think.

As a brand agency, domain investor or business owner what you need to do is understand the definition of a good domain name. Not many people can do this on scale in my opinion. As a very small industry my bet is there are less than 1,000 people in the world who can define what a great domain for investment is outside of the obvious mortgage.com or sex.com type names on any level of scale. It’s a rare talent which you must learn now. There will be millions of dollars made in the new GTLD market and many more millions lost but you can win all day long if you know what you are doing. Try to stay on the happier side of the fence.

Another Industry Changing Event Will Occur

When Frank Schilling introduced Internet Traffic it shook up the parking industry, when NameJet launched it shook up the auction industry. In 2014 my prediction we will see another huge shift of a service to an entirely new provider who has spent the time and money to innovate while existing companies sit around and talk about strategy. In fact, I already know what to place my bet on but that secret is under lock and key.

Rick Schwartz Will Make Another Big Sale

Two things are predictable with Rick. He will get mad at someone and he will have a BIG sale (we love you Rick)

The Boston Red Sox will Not Make the Playoffs

This is my article, we are Baltimore fans in the office and Elliot likes the Red Sox

Brands Will Be More Important Than Ever

Keyword domains have a place but when the monster of search (Google) is moving to a brand world and invested in the new GTLD’s then you better be hedging your portfolio on brands. A lot of people still work on the assumption that Google results will stay constant. Whether it’s 2014 or 2015 my bet is you will wake up one day and see .sexy, .web, .build, .guru and many other new extensions with very cool brands overtaking almost every search result. Embrace the change now or risk being a dinosaur in 24 months.

Personally, I can’t wait to see how 2014 plays out. This industry is full of incredible people who are risk takers, innovators and good hearted souls who deserve a chance at collective success. When I started in this industry around 1996 it was unknown and like the wild wild west. Around 2004 it started becoming more of a family with structure and conferences but even then many portfolios were built and many players already defined. This new window of time is an opportunity we have never had before on such scale and one where many stories will be written.

About 18 months ago I joined Domain Holdings and this has been a great 18 months. We have built an amazing book of business, have an incredible staff of people and are working on some really existing stuff for next year.

While the above predictions are mine and not representative of Domain Holdings (yes, we have lawyers also) I can say for everyone here that we wish each and every person in this industry a truly joyous holiday season, filled with memories and happiness to last a lifetime.

This industry is like one big family and from our family to yours …


Happy Holidays!