I reached out to Andy Schepper,VP of Operations at Summit Sports Inc. once I saw the long list of sports related domains the company owns. Andy gave me his perspective on generic, keyword domains over brandable names, as well as a peek into the companies marketing and business logic.
Andy: Summit Sports in a specialty sporting goods retailer. These category specific domain names have given us the ability to create a specialty store shopping experience online.
Mike: Can you share the volume of traffic any of your sites receive? Do you happen to know what percentage of your traffic comes from direct navigation (type-in traffic)?
Andy: In season some of our higher volume sites will see 25,000+ unique visitors per day. Direct traffic typically accounts for 10-20% of our traffic.
Mike: How did Summit come to acquire these names? Are you the original registrant or were they purchased on the after market?
Andy: Most of the domain names that we own were purchased. We have purchased them through many different sources including: private individuals and online auctions.
Mike: What type of online marketing strategies do you follow for these sites? What about offline or traditional marketing?
Andy: Our marketing strategy both online and offline is the same. Our goal is to create an online shopping experience as good, or better than an in store shopping experience. Therefore, we are very specific in both our marketing and site content to maintain the specialty store emphasis. We participate in every from of online marketing and we also use many traditional forms of advertising including print and billboards.
Mike: Is Summit actively pursuing additional sport related domains?
Andy: We are always looking for new sporting goods categories to expand into and grow our business. We own several hundred additional sports related domains that we have not yet launched sites for.
Mike: Would you consider selling any of your domains at any point? Have you received any unsolicited offers? Have you thought about venturing outside of sports?
Andy: Currently we do not have any of our websites listed for sale. We do receive unsolicited offers on a regular basis. We will be using our sporting expertise to focus on launching site for the domains that we already own in the future.
Mike: What made you chose the generic keywords over something more brandable like “SummitSkates.com?”
Andy: As I have mentioned, we are a specialty sporting goods retailer and how much more of a niche site domain can you get than the search term itself. Many people who are shopping online type in the keyword of what they are shopping for followed by .com or .net to see what comes up. I even do it to this day. Most recently I was shopping for a new digital camera and visited both cameras.com and digitalcameras.com.
Mike: What advice do you have for others starting new businesses and selecting a domain name? Do you have .com, .net and .us. Have you found them all to be valuable?
Andy: Your domain alone will not be the success or failure of your business. As far as domain extensions are concerned .com is still king. We have also had great success with .net sites over the last few years. Our .us and .biz sites are very new but showing some early successes.