CreditNow.com

Posted August 2, 2010 by
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Great use of a domain by a local busGreat use of a domain by a local businessiness

I was driving in Maine last week and saw a few of these free standing auto financing businesses around the state, with strong signage for their intuitive domain name and address, CREDITNOW.com. It was a fabulous well done use of a domain by a growing local business establishing itself online, very very intuitively.

Key Points on the Evolving Value and Strategic Advantage of Category Domain Names

Posted July 30, 2010 by
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I wrote this piece about a year ago, and thought it was a good time to re-share…

Domain names are appreciating, hard assets just like land or traditional real estate. The difference is, that domain names (like the Internet) are still in the 2nd inning, with a “Wild-Wild West” element which often leads to returns when these assets are sold that outperform other asset classes. For instance, Computer.com was acquired for $250,000 (they had inherited the domain in an acquisition). Nine months later, the buyer sold it to Systemax (NYSE company)  for $800,000, who then sold it for $2,200,000 nine months after that.

Many of the domain sales to larger companies are under a Non-Disclosure Agreement regarding price, but most are made public, including:
Gambling.com $17M

Insure.com for $16m

Games.com by AOL for $11.5m

Fund.com $10.2m

Beer.com $7.2m
Toys.com to Toys R Us for $5.1m

Clothes.com to Zappos (Amazon) for $4.9m

Vodka.com for $3.5m

Creditcards.com $3m
Candy.com $3m
Timeshares.com to Wyndham $3M
Computer.com $2.2m
Datarecovery.com for $1.8m
Camera.com for $1.5M
Ad.com for $1.4m

MANY large brands also own and leverage their category domain name. Some examples are:

Johnson and Johnson owns Baby.com (primary address on television)

Barnes and Noble own Books.com

AOL owns Love.com and Games.com

IAC owns Gifts.com and Hotels.com
Bank of America owns Loans.com
ABN Ambro owns Mortgages.com
Food companies such as Kraft, Pharmaceutical companies, and financial institutions own category domain names that are both generic and relevant to their specific industries; in some cases, these companies manage thousands of domains internally. Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline owns and operates Depression.com and Asthma. Glaxo is able to provide their visitors with the most recent and relevant information on these particular diseases, therefore becoming an authority in that specific industry. Instantly, visitors trust the gsk brand, allowing them to market their brand of depression and asthma medications to a much wider and more targeted audience. Bank of America owns Loans.com, ABN Ambro owns Morgages.com; Monster.com owns and operates Jobs.com, as does Toys R Us with Toys.com.

Additionally, many companies with multi-hundred-million, and even billion, dollar market caps or valuations switched either their domain name from their specific brand to a category domain name, or these companies changed the name of their brand altogether, and each company experienced exponential—from increasing the consumer-to-business/business-to-business traffic, to the exit valuation. The list below details just a few companies that have benefited from this:

-Dealtime became Shopping.com pre IPO (eBay acquired shortly after IPO for $635m)

-Hotel Reservation Network paid $10m for (and became) Hotels.com pre S 1 and IAC acquired.

-Teckno Surf became Advertising.com. AOL acquired for $495m.

-Rent.com was acquired by eBay for 400m+

-Dictionary.com was acquired by Ask.com

Why Dotcom. What about other TLD’s (extensions like .us,.biz,.me)

There has been a lot of noise about other TLD”s; but that’s all it is, NOISE.

Here are a few pointers:

-800 numbers still rule. So do Dotcoms.

-If you were to consume 1 week of media from primetime TV (ie: NFL, NBA, American Idol, Desperate House Wives, etc.), listening to the radio, reading billboards as you drive, it is our estimate that within that 1 week, you will see 95 to 99 percent Dotcom (with some  dotorg, dotgov , dotedu) totaling hundreds of millions of dollars of advertising and branding. Finding Walmart online is simple; you know to go to Walmart.com. Want see what’s going on in the NFL? Go to NFL.com. Missed who got the axe on American Idol? Just visit AmericanIdol.com. Dotcom has become part of the brand and consumer mindset. If you own Chocolate.com, nothing would be better than someone buying Chocolate.tv and spending millions against it; Chocolate.com would undoubtedly garner much of this traffic, mainly because the public is conditioned, all day, everyday, for many years to trust the dotcom extension. In Germany, where .DE has prevailed as a country code TLD better than most, the top 10 websites are still .com’s. The same goes for China. The more TLD’s available, as well as the increased dilution of these TLD’s, the better the outcome for dotcom assets, as they become more important.

Some of the strategic reasons to own a generic domain name:

-Leads to being rated higher for relevancy and thus optimizes better in the major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

This is the most important of many points. The algorithms that Google uses to rank sites constantly changes, but the one component that is consistently weighed higher than the rest is a site’s relevancy score. Google is trying to deliver the most legitimate and relevant results to cut out any “spam” sites. It has been proven that when the keyword being searched is in the domain, that relevancy scores are high, but when the domain fits that term, then you get the highest relevancy score. There are still “naysayers,” such as SEO agencies, that don’t work with the best domains, but will claim that they can deliver top performances by utilizing great SEO blocking and tackling techniques and ultimately obtaining high rankings on Google. To put this in simpler terms, all that an SEO firm does is add content–LOTS of content to your site, as well as add links (preferably one way, inbound links to and from other sites. If one site does a fabulous job with SEO, including pages of relevant content, and then a new company with a generic domain name does a lousy job with SEO and just has a parked site, then the lesser domain should, but not always, win in free search, mainly because the lesser domain is simply a more developed site (sometimes the domain can even prevail here in less competitive categories). However, if both sites are equally developed, the category and keyword domain name will win every time on relevancy given time.

This leads to the question: How do domains help with Paid Search, PPC, or SEM? Anyone can pay out a few bucks for placement in the paid search, but there is emerging evidence that category domain names attract more clicks; paid placement would positively influence your free, organic search results (paid companies are seen by the spiders as more relevant), and mort importantly, when someone does click on a link in the paid search results, if the link/domain name is generic your visitors are more likely to remember the domain name, and therefore they are more likely to return to it at a future date, and even more likely to refer their friends to your site.

The final key point as it relates to search is direct navigation to your site. Let’s say an Internet user has never heard of neither MerchantAccounts.com, nor MerchantExpress.com. Of the two, the generic domain name (MerchantAccounts.com) is more likely to be typed directly into the browser by the user, whereas names such as MerchantExpress.com would not; free and paid search traffic that has typed in or searched the words “Merchant Account” is the highest qualified lead on the Internet. For example, at InsuranceQuotes.com, 50 percent of Direct Navigation and free search traffic becomes an active plicy, and the overall conversion including paid search is 30+ percent.

-Creates an intuitive address and brand in your industry

The Internet has a lot of clutter in every category, also reflected in Google. Having an intuitive domain cuts through it all. Even if you are an established brand, such as Johnson and Johnson or Barnes and Noble, it is often the case that a consumer still has not made a brand decision. By being both BN.com and Books.com, or Baby.com, the established brand has a chance to educate and acquire customers from an unbiased point, leveraging their category domain and address.

- Has instant credibility with consumers and businesses.

Consumers are conditioned to see a category term domain and assume it is credible, in the same way Google sees as relevant. Sometimes there is one opportunity to get that visitor or customer and the credible address wins.

- Establishes your business as the authority in its category.
When salespeople call customers as Creditcards.com, at the business development level, they come in door with inherent credibility.
-Is proven to significantly increase recall when advertised or marketed.

With offline advertising such as radio, TV or billboard, a memorable easy to spell intuitive  address(Baby.com for J & J) will be recalled when the target is ready to visit your site. It’s possible someone doesn’t need  insurance the day they see the ad. Then in 6 months they do and it is proven that they are more likely to recall and visit a category site like InsuranceQuotes.com .

- Leads to dramatic reduction of lost traffic due to lower retention and misspelling.

- Provides the most authoritative Internet address even for proven brands.

- Protect yourself from a competitor having the category domain.

Groupon Makes It Official

Posted July 28, 2010 by
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Very interesting news from Groupon. For those of you who don’t know Groupon, they have emerged as a leading coupon site, the “Gilt Group” of coupons. Well, they didn’t own their domain name until they just paid $250,000 for it (see story below). Its good to see a deal like this get done, a win win for the domain owner and the company, where no one tried to screw the other. Companies big and small should pay heed and ensure they own their generic category dotcom domain name, and brand of course, especially if the brand is generic in nature. See my blog post on Facebook.com a few months ago. Here is the Groupon link. http://www.keepingitrural.com/groupon-trademark-acquire-grouponcom

A Brilliant Move

Posted July 23, 2010 by
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I get very excited when I see a new company “get it” with regards to the power of a generic dotcom domain name as a primary brand. My friend Bob Diener got it when he acquired Hotels.com and changed the company name to it; Dealtime got it when they switched to Shopping.com. This week, my friends and very savvy Online Entrepreneurs at SwapTree.com acquired Swap.com, and will be doing a complete re-brand and shift to Swap.com. They just killed the category, the equivalent of starting the Marathon in mile 7. They still need to execute but they are now doing so with the intuitive,category address. Kudos! Others should wake up !

Click here for more:

http://blog.swaptree.com/index.php/2010/07/22/swaptree-com-acquires-swap-com/

Pepsi getting into the Prime Time Domain Know-How

Posted July 14, 2010 by
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Great job Pepsi. Happy to see another brand that understands the power of a domain name. Last night, during the ho hum MLB All Star Game, Pepsi ran ads for a community giving back program, RefreshEverything.com. As you all know, every time a “Pepsi” type uses a domain name like this in prime time, on TV, to tens of millions of people, it is a wake up call to the value of an intuitive, generic dotcom domain name.  As I continue to preach, at SimpleDomains.com we have these names and are selling them at BELOW market value prices, giving all of you and our newsletter subscribers a chance to make MULTIPLES on your money. Many of you have, others are a bit asleep at the wall or over thinking things. Pay Attention before there are none left or our prices multiply.

Domains Here on SimpleDomains.com

Posted July 12, 2010 by
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As all the many dedicated, awesome readers of this blog know, we have never posted about our own domain names. But, with a recent flurry of activity around our names, I believed it was time to shed some light. At SimpleDomains.com, I have handpicked, dotcom only, generic domains that I believe are of incredible value. Our stated objective from day one was to sell our domains at below fair market value so buyers, whether they be small businesses, large businesses, large corporations, start up companies, or entrepreneurs, could acquire domain name assets for their brands, address online, or to simply re-sell for a profit. Yes, of course, we profit from a sale but we are truly selling well below the actual value of our domains. In the past months, we have sold 40+ domains for an average sale price of over $13,225 per domain. When you look at the prices on the SimpleDomains.com website, and even more so, the specials in our daily newsletter, there is so much room for all of you to make money. We are literally giving you a license to make money. Take advantage of it, understand the values, because we will be increasing the prices at some point as the asset values continue to grow. I have vetted ever domain we own. They are all incredibly valuable as brands, addresses, assets. Good Luck!

State Farm at it again

Posted June 14, 2010 by
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Last night, while watching my Celtics take the all important game 5 (BEAT LA), I saw a prime time commercial on ABC for State Farm with the Domain Name WhyAgent.com. I had 2 reactions. The first was , yah, another generic domain name in prime time by a major brand, something as you all know, I monitor. But then, who are the F’in morons (sorry) making the decisions to not have the word insurance in the domain. I was the Founder of InsuranceQuotes.com, so this is an area I know a little bit about. Insurance is possibly the #1 category online right now. Insurance lead generation is a great category and State Farm should be the LEADER. They prepared the cake batter but forgot to turn on the oven (they used a generic domain to make their point in prime time, but, it was not very intuitive). Regardless, it is our job to continue to educate the masses, the ad agencies, and the marketing departments at these large companies. Every day Isee a domain in prime time. I just returned from visiting 5 baseball stadiums in 3 days, an annual pilgrimage for Prostate Cancer Foundation, www.PCF.org, who understood they needed to be PCF.org and replace ProstateCancerFoundation.org, something i helped them do. In every stadium, I saw several generic domain name based ADS throughout. However, it blew me away that some companies that were large brands who DO conduct online transactions had ads with NO domain at all. Until next time. Remember, we have the best generic domains and combinations at prices where you can buy them and make multiples on resale!

Milken Global Conference 2010

Posted May 11, 2010 by
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I have had a prolonged blog absence. I only want to say something when there is something very relevant to say about domains. SimpleDomains.com’s sales continue to be solid, and we have a couple marquee names in the Moniker auction today in FL (Approvals.com being a highlight marquee name). I really see domain assets continuing to become more important, and more and more prime time media ads are featuring more and more generic 1,2,3 phrase or word domains. ALL DOT COM as always. I wanted to share video of my recent panel discussion at Milken Global Conference, http://www.milkeninstitute.org/events/gcprogram.taf?function=detail&EvID=2224&eventid=GC10 .

SimpleDomains.com sales and brokerage

Posted March 22, 2010 by
Tagged As: | Categories: domain sales, Domain Wisdom, SimpleDomains.com Recent Sales | 2 Comments

We are excited that SimpleDomains.com is generating so many domain sales to Domainers via the website and the newsletter. It goes to show that we are selling six figure brands at below fair market prices. We are excited about our new brokerage or listing option that we are about to go live with at SimpleDomains.com. We will ONLY be listing VERY exclusive, .com only, generic word domains, ones that fit the criteria of the names that we own in our own portfolio. Sign up for our SimpleDomains.com newsletter to hear more.

Friendcasting and other Monday thoughts

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What a weekend. My Cornell Big Red is somehow looking like a potential Final Four team, making the Sweet Sixteen, running roughshod over 4th and 5th seeds, and putting on an offensive clinic. Hockey,Lacrosse, sure but this is a once in a 100 year event. Speaking of March Madness, State Farm ran a bunch of prime time ads on CBS during the games with the domain name Discountdoublecheck.com, promoting State Farm Agents and finding one online. Another multi billion dollar advertiser using generic word combinations in their Prime Time Ads.

My friend, a former superstar analyst on Wall Street, and I, just picked up the domain names FriendCasting.com and FriendCasting.net. Friendcasting is the fast evolving term on Facebook for when a friend uploads a link to content and someone clicks on it.  It is already a larger driver of traffic to sites like Yahoo and MSN than Google, according to Compete.com. If Facebook successfully leverages its new relationship with Microsoft’s Bing, implements more social search tools, grows its fan pages, and enables the continued natural growth of “friendcasting”, Facebook should surpass Google as the largest driver of traffic globally later this year. Exciting domains to own.

Cheers