Have you every brainstormed for hours trying to think of the perfect domain name for your new venture? When you finally come up with a catchy, searchable, brand-able domain name are you crushed to learn that someone has already beaten you to the punch?
This happens to me more often than I care to admit, and I wonder if all the good dot coms are taken. But fear not: there is another solution. Have you ever considered trying to contact the owner to learn if they would part with the domain for a fee? If they are not ready to sell now, might they be interested in the future? You could take advantage of their change of heart if you simply provide a way for the domain owner to contact you.
Web domains have become a new asset class of their own, and can be appraised as such. Just as you would negotiate for a new home based on its value, you can sometimes negotiate for a domain name. You can also acquire a web property, develop it – or “flip” it – and improve its value, just as you would a physical real estate property.
There are many factors that can make one domain name more valuable than another. Your domain name can have a major influence on the amount of traffic you receive to your site. If the domain includes a popular keyword, jargon, slang, or common phrase, it may improve your search rankings and make the web address easier for potential visitors to remember.
Let me share my own research into changing my domain name. My company name is Peter Otte Productions, or POP for short. When I began organizing the company back in late 1999, the domain pop.com was owned by a subsidiary of Imagine Entertainment. So I opted for my first initial and last name, or potte.com. Ideally the company name, logo, and domain should be consistent, so periodically I look into the availability of pop.com.
In order to improve my chances of finally securing prime web real estate of my own, I decided to surrender 70 of my hard-earned American dollars to hire GoDaddy’s Domain Buy Service. Essentially, this service is a go between, and acts as a mediator between the current domain owner and myself. If the current owner is ever interested in the sell of the domain name, the GoDaddy domain buy service will attempt to negotiate a sales price and help facilitate a transaction.
I received an appraisal that established the minimum value to be around $750,000! Needless to say, this gave me pause. I doubt I could raise this much money (or more) and so I began to look for an alternative. For $10.00, I registered my second choice, popsb.com. However, my concern with this domain is that “sb” stands for Santa Barbara, suggesting that we only serve local clientele. My SEO guru added to my concerns, pointing out that my current domain, potte.com, has age and authority, whereas making the transition to popsb.com would affect my traffic by as much as 20 percent. The only advantage to popsb.com is that it coordinates with my logo, something domains generally will do, and something that I should have considered earlier.
For now, I have decided to use a domain forward for popsb.com and keep potte.com as my domain. It’s a compromise to be sure, but probably the best option for now. I'm not sure whether godaddy did a good job or not and I will look to see if there might be a better domain buy service available.