Marc Braunstein, VP Business Development at Lobster.com gave me his perspective on owning a single word premium domain name.
Mike: Can you give a little background on your Lobster.com business?
Marc: Lobster.com has been in business for about 6 years, but was re-launched last year into the heart of the holiday buying season. We are ‘virtual’ in the sense that our company’s owners each run companies which contribute to the success of Lobster on a daily basis, so number of employees isn’t particularly relevant here.
Mike: Has has owning the domain Lobster.com impacted your business?
Marc: No denying that owning this domain gives us some weight and respectability. Also no denying that direct traffic to the site is a great advantage.
Mike: Can you share the volume of traffic that your site receives?
Marc: No this is confidential info.
Note: Compete.com showed over 6,000 unique visitors in December 2009, which coincides with the holiday season relaunch mentioned above.
Mike: What online marketing strategies do you follow?
Marc: We are very aggressive Google ad marketers, as well as active in developing links in some unique and productive places.
Mike: Did you have another domain for your site before Lobster.com?
Mike: What type of growth have you seen in traffic to the site, sales, etc.
Marc: Very strong growth after re-launch of our business with new brand mark, new messaging and new site design. But again, specific numbers are confidential.
Mike: Did you purchase the name from someone else that owned it? If so, what was the process you went through? Will you share what you paid for the name?
Marc: The founding partner was the first one to the registry. So all he paid was registration fee. Probably worth quite a bit more now I’d be willing to venture.
Mike: The hand registration fee must have been well worth the cost.
Marc: Yes. But answer might be different if we’d had to shell out (lobster pun) tens or hundreds of thousands.
Mike: Any advice for start ups, small business, or business of any size for that matter on choosing the right domain name?
Marc: It’s going to be impossible to fall upon a name like we did. It’s even almost impossible to find a unique 2 or 3 word construction. That said, you find some amazing successes with less-than-obvious domain names, so it’s really all about the value proposition and how well the site conveys it.
Mike: What do your competitors think of your domain? What do your customers think?
Marc: I don’t know what competitors think of our domain (maybe envy?), but every customer we’ve ever spoken with LOVES our site. When we first revealed our logo, the professional design community was particularly complimentary at how well it married the simplicity of the domain with the feel of quality and authenticity experienced on the site.
Mike: Do you think you would be willing to sell your domain at any point? Have you ever received any unsolicited offers?
Marc: If the offer was an exceptional one, we’d be happy to entertain it. And yes, we have received offers in the past.
Mike: Any other information you’d like to share?
Marc: Only that we’d like all your readers to visit us and find some excuse to share the joy of lobster with family and friends. “Hey, it’s Friday!” “Hey, it’s summer!” “Hey, I just got my tax refund! Let’s order some lobster!”