Rent.cc – A $4,000 Drop in the Bucket

Rentec Direct provides affordable property management software solutions to property managers and landlords. Other popular solutions offered by Rentec Direct include online tenant rent payments, professional websites and domain registration, tenant credit check services, and electronic lease signing.

Mike:  Nathan, tell me a little bit about your background.

Nathan:  I began my career in the internet industry as a partner in VISP.NET, an Oregon internet based business, growing it from a client base of less than 10 to the largest nationwide wholesale internet provider in the country.  As my real-estate portfolio grew I required a management platform designed for private landlords to manage the day-to-day operations of renting properties.  At the time nothing existed that was good enough and nothing was cost focused towards private landlords.  From my software development roots, I developed and founded Rentec Direct in 2009 which today provides property management software and tenant screening services to over 12,000 landlords and property managers.  Rentec Direct has quickly grown to be the third largest software platform within their market.

 

Mike:  You recently purchased the domain name rent.cc.  What are your intentions for this domain?  What can we expect to see once it’s developed?

Nathan:  We have big plans for rent.cc, with our primary intention of using it to assist our existing client base with growth.  Currently the market has many pay-per-lead services for property managers to buy prospective tenant leads, and most of these services just aren’t cost effective for smaller managers.  We plan on building rent.cc into the nations largest free tenant to property manager connection service.  We grow when our clients grow, so we’ll begin offering this service free to our existing clients followed by all other property managers nationwide.

 

Mike:  Can you share what you paid for the name and the process you went through to acquire it?

Nathan:  Initially we purchased the domain from a broker called NameJet; however, the sale fell through because their records were inaccurate and they did not possess the domain at the time of our purchase.  The domain had purchased by a Chinese based company from it’s previous owner (who listed it on NameJet) and subsequently listed on SEDO with a substantial markup.  We ended up paying $4,000 USD for it.  We anticipate this investment to be a drop in the bucket compared to the growth benefit our clients will receive from it.

 

Mike:  What are your thoughts on the .cc tld or any other non-dot-com tld?  How do they compare to dot com

Nathan:  Well, .com is clearly the leader and most recognizable TLD on the internet; however, it’s near impossible to register a single or double word .com these days since they are all taken.  A .com of the same wording and length can cost 1000% more than a .co or .cc domain.  Some of the more recent TLD such as .cc and .co have been gaining popularity and value every year.  The shorter the domain the easier it is to remember, so when a startup is choosing a domain or an existing company is getting online these .cc, .co and other popular TLDs are a very attractive option.

That said, .com is still king of the hill when it comes to domains and familiarity.  We have rentecdirect.com and rentec.co and we choose to still rely upon rentecdirect.com even though it’s longer just because there’s no question about the end of it.

 

Mike:  You also have a couple of other domains pointing to your main site at rentecdirect.com.  Those other domains are  propertymanage.biz, themanager.biz.   How much traffic do you gain from doing this or what advantage does this have?

Nathan:  propertymanage.biz and themanager.biz are for our clients so they can have professional websites hosted on our system.  We use these domains as generic hosting for property managers to give them a free and quick website to promote their business prior to hiring a professional web design firm.  An example is http://demo.propertymanage.biz.  Other domains such as rentec.co and rentec.biz were purchased to save words on the phone when somebody asks for our email or website.  I can just say “go to rentec.co” to see our products which can, at times, be easier than asking somebody to go to rentecdirect.com.  Aside from that, they do not provide us any additional value other than maintaining our brand and keeping our options open in the future if we ever wanted to re-brand as just “Rentec”.

 

Mike:  Do you plan on any other domain purchases in the future to supplement your business or start a new business?

Nathan:  I’m always on the lookout for short or meaningful domains that can benefit the property management industry; however, rent.cc was a very recent purchase and we’re just getting our development resources ramped up to jump on that project so I don’t have any new companies or domains in mind at the moment.  Give me a few months. 🙂

Honest Perspective from a Keyword Domain Owner

windshieldrepair

U.S. Windshield Repair is a family owned and operated business located in Central Utah.   Started in Southern California in 1990 as a full-time windshield repair service, they began designing and manufacturing products soon after as they realized there was a shortage of quality tools and products. Bill Penrod’s previous history is 12 years in the retail grocery industry, 8 years in law enforcement as a deputy sheriff and marshal and 6 months as a property manager in a ski resort.

 

Mike:  With a domain name like WindshieldRepair.com, there is no denying that you have the market cornered.  Tell me a little about your business.

Bill:  Well that’s not true.  The name has been a boost but today larger companies with their SEO efforts and budgets have more than leveled the playing field.  In fact, it is I that have to work harder and harder to stay relevant.

Mike:  The name is a perfect fit. Were you the first to register the name, or did you purchase it from someone.   If the latter, walk us through the process you followed to obtain it.

Bill:  I was the first to register it.  A friend had told me the internet would be big some day and I should grab a good URL.  I wish I could say I was smart and saw the potential, the truth is I had good guidance and a fair amount of luck.

Mike:  Do you own any other domains?

Bill:  Yes, www.uswindshieldrepair.com ( my actual business name) and a few others.  I had hopes to grow several online businesses but find as time goes on I only have time for the one.

Mike:  I imagine you get a large amount of type-in traffic, or people that just type in your domain name needing.  Do you have any idea how much of your traffic comes from this source?

Bill:  Roughly 30%.

 Mike:  Are you willing to share your overall monthly traffic numbers?

Bill:  Hmmm, due to the extremely competitive environment I would rather not.

Mike:  What’s been the most challenging part of running an online business?

Bill:  Salesmanship.  I get a large number of potential customers that visit my site, call me, ask questions and advice, then buy from my competitor.  In almost every case they call back after making a purchase from that competitor and tell me two things:

1) I made a mistake I should have bought from your company in the first place and

2) Now that I’ve spent all my money elsewhere I have limited resources can you give me a break?  I have agonized over the years as to what I am doing wrong, what the other guy is doing right and how to turn things around.  Sadly I have not yet figured it out.  I have gone through several incarnations and surveyed these customers but not found the answer.

Mike:  Do you think there are still any good names out there for business owners to launch a site on?

Bill:  Absolutely!  With so many names already taken it is more challenging but certainly it can be done.

Brandable Names with Mike Navarini

namefrific

Mike Navarini is a no-nonsense internet entrepreneur from the San Francisco Bay Area. He’s created and run various businesses on and offline since he was a teenager. He’s always been an enterpriser and started his first business, Handy Boys, when he was 8 years old. He believe that anyone with basic computer skills can generate a livable income using the internet.

 

Sully:  What exactly is Namerific.com and why is it worth discussing?

Michael:  Namerific is a marketplace for premium .Com domains and logo designs that are ready to be used to launch your new company or business, along with products, mobile apps, blogs, websites, and more. We have an awesome and diverse selection of ready-to-use, vetted brand names in dozens of categories. Every brandable domain name comes with a beautiful logo created by top designers. These days, it is difficult to find an available “.Com” domain to register, and we’re here to solve that problem for you. We make naming your new business as quick, easy and affordable as possible!

 

Sully: As far as brandable names go, how has Namerific.com served you?

Michael:  It’s been great. Personally, I have bought numerous hand-registered domains and then flipped it within a year or within a couple of years for a few thousand dollars, all through Namerific. Also, we have been able to sell various domains for our valued members with good profits over the last couple of years.

 

Sully:  What type of traffic do you receive?

Michael:  Currently we are receiving about a thousand unique visits per day.  The range varies between I would say a thousand and two thousand a day, but it depends. Sometimes we have spikes. Sometimes we will have a low day, where it is about five hundred individual visitors, but that is basically without any of our paid advertising. That is just all natural traffic coming in through search engines and also domain redirects. So, if someone is typing in a domain that they want to buy and it turns out that that is one of our listed domains, it will redirect you to our site, so the traffic is through that as well.

 

Sully:  What characteristics go into a quality brandable domain name?

Michael:  A brandable domain is a domain that can be used to ‘brand’ your business.  It will be the first thing that your potential customers see when they interact with your company.  It will be what your customer envisions when they think about your business (name/logo).  Some domains are more brandable than others.  For example, one of our domains, Hoopio.com is very easy to spell, pronounce, and remember; it is also fun to say.  A domain like Huupeo.com has a strange spelling, is confusing to pronounce, and might be difficult to remember because of how awkward it sounds it.

 

Sully:  What are some of the more notable domain names that you have sold?

Michael:  We have sold names in the 5-figure range to date. We are now looking to sell more premium inventory in the 6-figure range. Our recent acquisition of Projects.com and other inventory, including working with domain sellers with similar inventory, is going to help us reach our goals of selling high value domain real estate.

 

Sully:  What is your take on the new TLDs in the marketplace?  Worth registering?

Michael:  I think .COM is still king. Even if you did find a really great .IO or .ME, your visitors, your customers are going to ask, “All right, who owns the .COM and why don’t you?” The .COM has been around for so long that everyone kind of considers it  the primary domain, so I think that whatever business you start you should try to have the .COM at the minimum. You could also pick up those other extensions, but you should have the .COM because that shows that you completely own that brand.

 

Sully:  In your opinion, how do brandable names compare to generic domain names?

Michael:  Generic domains are very expensive, like dictionary words such as Motorcycles.com. Generic domains basically describe a category and also in a way they are not unique. Invented domains on the other hand may perfectly describe your business in a unique way that inform customers and give them insight into what your business is all about.

 

Sully:  I’ve noticed that the names on your site all have logos associated with them.  How does that work?

Michael:  This is a breakdown of how our system works: when you list your domain name, you actually choose the price that you want to list it at for the actual sale price on the site, the retail price, and then it shows a breakdown of where the proceeds will go when the domain sells. So, a cut of that will go to the logo designer. You can choose to award the logo designer between one hundred and one thousand dollars for their design.

 

Sully:  What advice do you have for the average domainer looking to sell a name?

Michael:  Try to gain as much knowledge regarding domaining by checking various domain related blogs and forums. In addition, check for latest domain trends as well as domain sales history through Namebio etc. Basically, if you have lots of time to learn stuff but a limited budget, then hand-registering domains is your best bet. Patience is the key, meaning if you have more time than money, focus on hand-registering domain names as there are big profits to be made from these domains.

The Naked Truth on the “dot fit” TLD

naked.fit tld

Farhad is the Founder and CEO of Naked Labs. Inspired by his life-long dedication to fitness and technology, he set out to create the only fitness tracker that gives you a full picture of how your fitness and lifestyle choices affect your body.

Prior to founding Naked Labs, Farhad held several business/product management and engineering roles in the semiconductor industry. Most recently at Maxim Integrated, he led the Wireless product line as Director of Business Management, serving both Automotive and Consumer markets. Farhad is also an avid cyclist and a certified spin instructor at Bay Clubs.

Sully: My first question, for those that don’t know, what is Naked and what does it do?

Farhad: Naked is the world’s first home body scanner–Naked is a full-length mirror embedded with Intel RealSense 3D sensors. When you step on our scale/turntable, you rotate 360 degrees in 20 seconds, allowing the sensors to capture your accurate volumetric body model. From this body model, we are able to extract accurate measurements, calculate body fat %, and provide you with a progress map showing where you are gaining/losing muscle and fat, all of which is accessible from our companion app for iOS and Android. You can also set and track goals and create time-lapses of your body’s changes!

Sully: Where did this idea come from?

Farhad: Fitness has always been important to me, so even while I worked as a business director at Maxim Integrated (Nasdaq: MXIM) prior to founding Naked, I was adamant about keeping a work-life balance and was a part-time spin instructor at the Bay Clubs. I saw first hand the influx of new members each January, then the 80% dropout rate after only six weeks. I also realized that people who saw visible progress were much more likely to stick with a regimen or a diet. The issue was that even though the newcomers to the gym were making good progress, it was not reflected on a scale (weight without context is meaningless) or in the mirror (subtle changes are difficult to see with your own eyes), and they quickly lost motivation. With this observation, I met up with an old friend, Ed Sclater and founded Naked Labs, with the mission to inspire health through honest insights and motivate behavioral change by helping people visualize progress much faster and more accurately than what you can see on a scale or in a mirror.

Sully: The company selected the .fit tld for the domain name naked.fit. Tell me what went into your name selection and why .fit was chosen over a .com name.

Farhad: We knew that we wanted a short, memorable domain name to make it easy for people to find us. Having a product name like Naked meant that a lot of the domains we were interested in were already taken, and we wanted to brand with the product name (rather than company, which is Naked Labs). When we saw that naked.fit was available, it was a no brainer! We are a first-of-its-kind product with an already playful name, so it just made sense to pick a domain name that broke away from the ordinary.

Sully: How have customers reacted to the .fit tld. While it seems to be a perfect, natural fit, has it caused any confusion being a newer tld?

Farhad: Surprisingly, there has been minimal confusion. People think it’s a pretty cool domain, and we’ve received a lot of compliments. Sometimes people get confused and say, so I should email you at “info@naked.fit.com“? But, overall, it’s been manageable and easily corrected.

Sully: Naked is available for pre order right now. When do you expect it will ship?

Farhad: Naked is expected to ship in March 2017.

Sully: What advice do you have for others that are considering launching their business on a new tld such as .fit?

Farhad: Since so many new businesses are popping up on the internet, clean and professional domains that end in .com are becoming rarer and rarer. We’ve seen a lot of companies launch with unique domain names like ours, such as camera companies using the .camera domain. We’ve also recently noticed an increase in companies rebranding their websites using creative domain names, such as venture capital firms using the .vc domain. We encourage businesses to take the risk and go with the new tld! Soon enough, using new tlds will be the norm, and you’ll be considered ahead of the curve for your decision.

Your Name or a Brandable Domain Name?

SumoLeap

A couple of years back, a wrote a post about people who owned their first and last name as a domain name.  Jared Banz was one of the people I spoke to.  Here’s what he had to say back then:

“Owning the dot com version of my name / business has been most helpful for ranking (SEO) and branding. When I first bought the domain over four years ago, I didn’t know what I would end up using it for, but I wanted to secure it in case someone else had the same name as I. Eventually, a few years later, I ended up starting my own company, so it was very helpful to have the dot com version of my name.”

– Jared Banz, JaredBanz.com

Jared has modified his position since then and here’s what he has to say.

Mike:  What made you decide to switch from jaredbanz.com to sumoleap.com?

When I first bought my personally branded URL (jaredbanz.com), I intended to use it for blogging and consulting purposes. I had a “day job” at the time, so it was intended to help me pursue outside consulting on digital marketing projects unrelated to my 8-5 job.

As demand continued to grow for my consulting projects, I wanted to get away from a personally branded business name. I didn’t want to appear as just a one-person company, and I had intentions on growing my company much larger. That said, I came up with the name “SumoLeap”, registered the domain, filed a DBA and redirected my old site to the new site.

Mike:  Why sumoleap?  What meaning does the name have for you or why did you think it would be an attractive choice?

Coming up with a new company name was difficult. Every marketing idea that I could think of for a digital marketing company was already taken. That being said, I realized very quickly that I’d probably have to come up with a fictional name.

I started brainstorming by looking at other companies that I liked. One trend that I liked was to use the name “Sumo” in the business name. Some other technology companies (i.e. BuzzSumo, AppSumo) were doing it, and I decided to jump on the bandwagon.

I toyed around with several names, and I finally arrived at SumoLeap. I liked it because it was fun, creative and trendy. I also like the underlying meaning of a 500+ lb Sumo wrestler leaping and applying that to our digital marketing campaigns. We like to think that we can help companies “move the needle” with their digital marketing, even if it seems impossible.

(To read an extended article on the origin of our name, check out this blog post.)

Mike:  Did you hand register the name sumoleap.com or did someone own it?  Were there other names you were kicking around?

I hand registered for the domain and quickly registered any social media profiles that were associated with it. Thankfully, the domain was available.

I did consider some other names, but none really stuck out to me or the domains were already purchased. That being said, I was happy to land with “SumoLeap.”

Mike:  What has the switch done for your business?

Since re-branding to SumoLeap, I have gone full-time with digital marketing and web design. I’ve assembled a team of entrepreneurs that I work with, and this has been huge for the success of my company so far.

As far as the name “SumoLeap” goes, I definitely get some interesting feedback from it. Almost everyone I talk to wants to know the origin of the name, and it usually leads to a good conversation about our business.
Mike:  As a web designer, do you have any advice for domain owners around the world? 

Yes! Make sure your domain(s) are set to auto-renew. If you don’t believe it’s important, just ask Jeb Bush.

I also think it’s a good idea to own your personally-branded URL, even if you never intend on using it. This could come in handy down the road if you ever want to start a blog or do some sort of consulting. It will also enable you to protect your name (and reputation) from someone else buying it and posting material on it that doesn’t represent you or your values.