Follow up on my experience with Efty

Here is a follow up on my experience with Efty, the domain management platform.  Shortly after interviewing Doron, I started my free trial on the site.  I added just one domain name to my account there.  It was a hand registered name that I purchased within the past year, and admittedly, it was a pretty good name.  There are at least two books that share the same title and it’s a name I’m considering using to launch another blog.  The interesting point is, within a week, I received a serious inquiry, generated by my Efty landing page, from one of the book authors that shares the name.

She was very interested in the name.  We went back and forth a few times and I had a minimum value in mind that we just couldn’t agree on.  It’s a name that I decided I wasn’t going to let go of easily because I have a vision for it.  Will I ever act on that vision?  I don’t know, but I see more value in it than I was being offered.  The deal didn’t happen.  But it gave me some excitement around the potential for Efty.

Based on my single experience with one name (and a good name at that), I decided to add about 50 other hand registered names to Efty.  I went in knowing that the first name I listed was the best of the lot, but I wanted to see what type of results I got with even more names listed.  I quickly added the names and went about my business.  About three weeks passed with no activity.  I wasn’t surprised or disappointed.   I wasn’t expecting miracles.

Then I received another offer sent via my landing page for a domain I hand registered just three months earlier.  It was a name I registered based on an idea I was kicking around with some friends.  One I wasn’t as attached to.  After some back and forth, we agreed on $1,500.  The buyer paid me through PayPal and I transferred the domain through GoDaddy.  Transaction took all of 30 minutes to complete.

Another week goes by and a new offer comes in on a name I registered a couple years back.  I’m still in negotiations on this name so I won’t go into too much detail.  The offer came in through my Efty landing page.

My luck has pretty good in the short time that I’ve been using Efty.  The service paid for itself, and then some, with that first sale.  It’s easy to use, easy to update, and has some great features.  In fact I’m not even using all of the features yet.   I attribute the activity to the visually pleasing landing pages that allow for communication between the buyer and seller.  There are no annoying links to suggested sites based on your domain name.  It’s clean and simple.

I’ll continue to report on my progress with Efty over the coming months.  If you have any experiences to share, please leave a comment to share with the rest of us.

 

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Tough Domains

Toughdomains

Tim Koutroubas is the founder of ToughDomains.com.  Tim and I have been exchanging emails for a couple of months as we’ve discussed the ToughDomains platform.  ToughDomains.com offers Domain Parking, Sales Pages, Portfolio Management and more.  Tim and I talked a little bit about the site and what it offers.

 

Mike:  What inspired you to launch ToughDomains.com?

ToughDomains:  We saw a need in the industry to consolidate the “Domain Cycle”.

The “Domain Cycle” is Discovering / Buying, Managing the Portfolio, Earning Revenue, and eventually Selling the domain.

Domain Cycle

There are many services that address each part of the domain cycle individually.  Some services are easy to use while others require a high level of technical expertise and /or  cost.  We wanted to create an affordable Free to Premium based platform that addresses each portion of the domain cycle with an easy to use hosted execution.

 

Mike:  How many domains would you say are currently supported by the platform?   Roughly how many members?

ToughDomains:  The platform currently supports thousands of domains and hundreds of users in an open beta.  Currently, we are releasing major updates that are addressing our users wishes and requests.

 

Mike:  You have a tiered pricing plan, but your first tier is free up to 20 domains.  This is great for people who want to test it out before committing to a monthly payment.  What benefit does your platform have over parking services or other competitors in this space?

ToughDomains:  Feature flexibility is a key differentiator for us.  We allow you to use our software by itself or in conjunction with your current solutions.  Some of our differentiators include:

• Instant Domain Development- Allows you to connect premium multipage content to hundreds of domains in minutes.

• Ad Network Integration- We currently integrate with two ad networks (with more to come) including AdSense.  Simply inter your publisher ID and start earning revenue.

• Domain Analytics- We provide domain level traffic data that includes hits, referring URLs, and country of origin.  Must have information before selling the domain.

• Multiple Public Portfolios-  Create a portfolio of all your domains or a custom curated list of only the domains requested by a buyer.

• Domain Insights and Portfolio Management- Free Registrar, Expiration Date & Admin Email are currently available. Later this month, full portfolio management such as entering buy and sell info, net profit, domain valuation & various ranking metrics will be available in dashboard.

• Free Bulk Name Server Redirect- Redirect hundreds of names to a single domain or your own offer form.

• Commission Free Sales Pages- Unlike many other services we offer a Zero commission sales page.

 

Mike:  The live demos on your site showed me three options.  A sales page that was clean and simple.  A news page that looked like it might have some configurable content.  Finally a portfolio page which was a simple list of names for sale.  Are any of these more successful than the others?  Do you find the news pages get indexed by Google?

ToughDomains:  Our Instant Domain Development, Sales Pages, and name server Redirects are by far our most popular domain tools.  Our founding members have existing SEO expertise and we are leveraging this knowledge to increase traffic to the domains.  We are indeed seeing SEO benefits to domains using our instant domain development tool.

 

Mike:  Is there any PayPal integration or is the sale just through email correspondence and the buyer and seller work out the details.

ToughDomains:  Currently, we offer email correspondence.  However, integration to the most popular escrow services is currently under development and to be released soon.  We believe a non-direct payment option within an escrow environment is the safest solution for both buyers and sellers.  We are not sure the ecosystem is ready for a direct to purchase model.

 

Mike:  The site states “Keep 100% of the Domain Sell Price -Zero Commission Paid on any of the domains you sell! ”  My question is… how do you make any money to support the site?

ToughDomains:  We are domainers and like many domainers we do not believe in collecting a commission for a non-brokered direct inquiry of your domain.

We have 3 revenue models:

• As needed premium subscription revenue.

• Ad Supported model for content hosted for our free users.

• We are currently developing a third revenue model that we will be releasing in Q1 2017.

Domain Sales Theme – Genius Idea

Wouldn’t it be great to be in control of your domain sales?  I mean, wouldn’t you like to skip all the commissions and BS that goes along with listing your domain with a 3rd party seller?  What if all of your domains could have their own landing page / sales page?  What if you could point your domains to your own server, choose to receive offers on your domains or list them as “Buy it Now”  and handle the transactions through Escrow.com or Paypal?

Alright, that’s a lot of questions and clearly I am getting to something here.  Meet Ed de Jong, owner of Pixor Media.  I met Ed years ago through DomainBoardRoom.com and have worked with him on many projects.   He’s designed and redesigned many sites for me over the years.  Ed is a talented WordPress developer and one of his recent creations is the Domain Sales Theme. It’s impressive!

Here’s the low down in a nut shell.  The Domain Sales Theme allows you to setup your domain portfolio on a master domain where users can search your inventory.  It also allows you to provide a sales landing page that allows you to take offers or use instant “buy it now” transactions.  If you want, you can even require users to pay a small fee to submit an offer, cutting down on all the non-serious inquiries.  The ability to complete the transactions through Escrow is built into the theme!

I’m in the process of setting this up, but to provide an example, here is a parent domain that’s using the theme.

domaintheme1

The page can be customized to suit your needs.   From here, users can view your domain categories by selecting the “Categories” link.

domaintheme2

Select a category and view all the names in that category.  Then select the name that interests you.   You’ll be directed to that domain with it’s sales page where you can make an offer.

domaintheme3

 

The beauty of this is that every domain you own can quickly be setup with a stand alone landing page, just by adding it through the main site.  You can get your entire inventory of domain names setup with their own sales pages in no time.  Then you are in complete control.  No brokers or third party platforms to work through.

There are some server requirements you have to work within (VPS or Dedicated hosting with cpanel), but there are several hosting companies that have very affordable hosting plans, such as HostGator.

If you decide to pick up the theme, let me know what you think in the comments or shoot me an email.

Domains, Celebrity Skulls, and Dead Ringers

DeadRingers.com

With over 2 decades of experience and thousands of hours helicopter time plus 14 books and 5 videos to his credit, Russ Heinl is recognized as one of Canada’s foremost aerial photographers.  His love of aviation, photography and adventure has taken him over virtually every corner of Canada and Alaska as well as over America and Europe.  However this is not what grabbed my attention.  I stumbled across Russ’ site at DeadRingers.com and I had to learn more about it.

Mike: Russ, you mentioned to me that the site, DeadRingers.com, is fairly new. How long has it been up and where did the idea come from?

Russ: Yes the Dead Ringers site is fairly new and the line has not officially launched yet although we are about to do that. The last few years has been spent developing the digital skulls, the 3-D CAD design work and precision molds that were done in Germany as we needed the highest quality possible and the Europeans are known for this.

So you asked where did the idea come from. As you know Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top owns two of our Dead Ringers “Jimi” (Jimi Hendrix) skull rings and Billy asked me the same question. As I explained to him I blame the whole thing on Keith Richards as I was looking at a portrait photo of Keith and he had his hands on this face and his infamous skull ring was in full view. I call this the light switch moment; when looking at the ring I thought to myself “that is a cool ring but wouldn’t it be really cool if it was HIS skull?” Then I thought what a twisted thought but I couldn’t put it down and a few days later I started exploring forensic sculpting ( facial reconstruction ) to see if it was possible to create a digital model of Keith’s skull, we used about 50 photographs and police mug shots for this. Once Keith was done then I moved on to “Jimi” and then the rest of the line took shape. These skull rings are exact recreations of these artist’s skulls with a degree of artistic license taken to make them wearable.

Mike: The rings are pretty bad ass. You actually make them?

Russ: Thanks, glad we got your attention. As I like to say in a previous life I was in the rock & roll industry and am now a photographer doing aerial work and car racing photography however I am not a jeweler, that is why I hired the best in the industry to help me develop the line from it’s initial concept. The silver rings are cast and finished in Canada and the gold and diamond versions are done in Germany.

 

Mike: DeadRingers.com is a premium domain name. Tell me about how you acquired it and can you share the purchase price?

Russ: Dead Ringers started as DeadRingers.ca as the .com was of course taken. A bit of history for you here: The name of the company is perfect for a few reasons. First we are dealing with “Dead” and human skulls with the exception of Keith and that is whole other story. Then we have “Ringers” and we make rings. The real hook here is that the origins of the phrase “Dead Ringers” means “an exact duplicate or replica” which is what we’ve done by recreating these famous rock star skulls. The phrase “Dead Ringers” was originally used as a “ringer” was a stand-in for a horse race when owners would secretly replace a slower horse with a faster horse of vice versa for later betting purposes. So of course the horses had to look very similar in order to pull off this con. The use of the word “dead” here is like “dead on” or “dead right”.

Now back to your question Mike. We had DeadRingers.ca and I never dreamed of owning DeadRingers.com as it was such a premium domain name then one day out of the blue I had an email from a domain registrar who had sniped DeadRingers.com as it was let go by the former owner. They had a price in mind in the low 4 figures but we ended up buying it for about $500.00 which I believe was money well spent. To protect the brand we’ve also been busy buying all of the other “Dead Ringers” domain names such as DeadRingers.rocks, DeadRingers.online, DeadRingers.jewelry etc etc.

 

Mike: I realize the site is young, but how much traffic are you receiving at this point? What means are you planning to use to promote the site in the future?

Russ: As mentioned the site is very young and we have no expectations for how much traffic we ought to be getting at this stage although it is encouraging to see it increasing on a daily basis. In the last two weeks we got Dead Ringers onto Etsy and eBay and began an ad campaign with Google AdWords. We were able to acquire an extensive media contact list that covers all the appropriate media outlets in North America and Europe, we will be sending out press releases to all of them in the next few weeks. We are at the moment working with a few other celebrities so we are holding off on the press releases until a few things are finalized.

Last week we became an official sponsor of Rock Legends Cruise VI 2018 which is a hugely successful floating rock and roll cruise going into its 6th year of operation. Each Rock Legends Cruise sailing has about 2,000 die hard rock fans aboard and the entertainment is supplied by about 15 to 20 famous rock bands that play through out the cruise. As a sponsor we will be featured in all their newsletters and member updates, their membership list is very, very large so we know Dead Ringers will enjoy a lot of exposure from our association with them. We are also planning a few other high profile sponsorships.

 

Mike: There are celebrities wearing your rings, people like Johnny Depp. Have you gotten feedback from these celebs?

Russ: Yes we do have a few celebrities wearing Dead Ringers skull rings. Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top is a friend and he has been very supportive of what we do and as you know he owns two of our “Jimi” rings, I recall when I gave them to him he said in his distinctive Texas drawl “Nice….. really nice. And the background story…… priceless”. The “Jimi” rings have special meaning for Billy as his first band the Moving Sidewalks toured with Jimi Hendrix in early ’68, both guitarists became close friends.

Richard Rawlings the star of the reality TV show Fast N Loud, owner of the Gas Monkey Garage and Gas Monkey Bar N Grill owns a “Jimbo” (Jim Morrison) skull ring and he has told me a few times how pleased he is with “Jimbo”.

Johnny Depp I’ve not spoken to directly as I work with his publicist and she has passed on that JD likes his “Keith” (Keith Richards) ring.

 

Mike: How is it running an online store? What are some of the challenges you’ve experienced?

Russ: The first challenge was getting from the concept of recreating a person’s skull to the making of fine art jewelry and I think we did a good job of that. The next hurtle is getting recognized online in a world awash with so many competing products. I have no idea how many people or companies are making skull rings but safe to say there are hundreds of them. So how do you get noticed with all that competition? We have a few things going in our favor. First, we have a truly unique product in that we are the only ones to ever use forensic sculpting or facial reconstruction to recreate a person’s skull and then take that digital skull and turn it into fine jewelry.

Secondly, we have rock and roll celebrity on our side in that we have recreated the skulls of four of rocks greatest legends. Everyone loves a great story that accompanies a fine product and I think we’ve got that. Now the next challenge is getting the word out there and getting some media buzz happening.

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. 🙂