Now We’re Talkin’…. HeadSet.com

Yesterday, I received a call from Jon Lechter, President of Call Center Products in Toronto, Canada.  Jon’s company uses the name HeadSet.com as the main URL for the company.  We talked about the domain name and how it has influenced his business.

Mike:  Jon, can you tell me a little bit about your company?

Jon: Call Center Products distributes all major brands of headsets.  We’ve been in business. Oh, I don’t know, maybe 19 years now.  We have 18 employees an tens of thousands of customers.  We know headset technology better than anyone and that’s what we focus on.  We have a major focus on customer service, which is what differentiates us from our competitors.  We actually call a decent percentage of our customers after they place an order and make sure that they have ordered what they need.

Mike:  Has owning Headset.com impacted your success?

Jon:  Absolutely.  There is no doubt that people look at Headset.com.  While I don’t know exactly what impact it has had, I know it’s a good name and easy to remember.  We also own CallCenterProducts.com, which is the company name.  One of our suppliers actually owned the name.  We had such a great business relationship that he handed it over without any problem.  We also registered some of our supplier’s names years ago.  Their lawyers eventually contacted me and asked for the names.  I handed them over willingly.  I don’t think it helped or hurt our relationship in anyway.  It was kind of a neutral move.  I could have put up a fight but I chose not to.

Mike:  Any idea what your competitors think of your domain?

Jon:  Actually, one of my competitors owns the plural, HeadSets.com.  I know him, he’s a good guy.  He’s done a nice job developing his website and promoting it as well.  I’m sure I have benefited from that… people looking at Headset.com instead of Headsets.com.  But I think it works both ways.  I’m sure he has benefited from what I have done too.

Mike:  Can you share the volume of traffic that your site receives?

Jon:  We get a lot of traffic.  I don’t really know the numbers, you can look that up online somewhere.
Note:  After the interview, I looked up the site on Compete.com.  It showed average monthly unique visitors at 1,374 which seems quite low for a keyword domain such as this.  The plural, Headsets.com on the other hand, shows over 26,000 monthly unique visitors.  Compete.com is based on a sample population of internet users to estimate results, so these results may not be accurate.

Mike:  Did you purchase the name from someone else that owned it?

Jon:  No, we registered the name back in 1995.  It was given us a great deal of credibility.  Credibility is priceless.

Mike:  Would you consider selling the name:

Jon:  No, I would only sell the name as part of the business.  We’re talking a million plus.  It’s not for sale unless the business goes with it.  I have received a few inquires for the name, but I tell them all the same thing.  It’ll be sold with the business.
Mike:  Do you have any additional online marketing strategies?

Jon:  Our plan for this year is to focus heavily on SEO.  That is where we are going to invest our time to grow the business.

A keyword domain name is a great asset to any company, but it needs to be backed up by a good product or service and additional marking strategies.  I want to thank Jon for giving his perspective as a business owner on the value of a good domain name.

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Big Companies that Find Value in Key Word Domain Names

I am always looking for evidence that keyword domains are valuable.  I mean, aside from the monetary value that gets assigned to a domain in the marketplace, I look for ways in which domains are used, talked about, or leveraged in unique ways.  It is helpful to have some additional support when I have conversations with a potential buyer.  So I spent a little time typing in keyword domains to see what I would find.

I found that, for the most part, the majority of the names were parked.  Probably making decent revenue for the owners, but certainly not at their full potential.  I’m usually disappointed when I see great names parked, even though I have many parked pages myself.

However, I did find a handful of names that either pointed to major company websites or represented the company’s actual site.  These are really just random names that popped into my head.  I had no preference for any of these companies, in any of the industries they represent, as I was keying in the domain names.  They are:

  1. TennisShoes.com forwards to KSwiss.com
  2. Dishes.com forwards to dawn-dish.com, the Dawn dish washing detergent site.
  3. DogFood.com forwards to PetSmart.com
  4. EatHealthy.com forwards to KraftRecipes.com
  5. BubbleGum.com forwards to Hubbabubba.com
  6. Bologna.com forwards to KraftBrands.com with the opening page featuring Oscar Meyer.
  7. Books.com forwards to BarnsandNoble.com
  8. Meatballs.com is the primary domain for the Spaghetti Warehouse restaurant.
  9. ToothPaste.com loads up as the Crest website.
  10. Salad.com goes to HiddenValley.com, the salad dressing company.

I see this as strong evidence of the value of a key word domain.  These are just a handful of names that are in use by major corporations to increase exposure to their products.  I would love to know which names the companies had the foresight to register, if any, and how much they paid for the names on the open market.

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Using “INTITLE:” to Focus in on Key Words

Most of the businesses I contact when looking for potential domain buyers come from exact match Google searches for the key words in the domain name.  For example, if  I was looking to sell the name 3DUltraSoundPhotos.com, I would perform a Google search (including the quotes) for “3D Ultrasound Photos” and start with contacting those who are paying for PPC adds in the search results.  Then I would move on to those in the natural results to find interest.  To be honest, I haven’t had a lot of luck.

Recently, I decide to try using “INTITLE:” in the search.  The format looked like INTITLE:”3d Ultrasound Photos”. I had first seen this on a YouTube video showing how to find improve search results.  In using this search, I was able to find all the sites that use the key words in the title tag of the site’s HTML coding.  It makes sense that these might be better prospects to contact because they understand the value of the key words (SEO) and are using these exact words in the title.

This may not be news to everyone, but it was a technique that worked for me.  Granted, it was a low dollar sale, but I plan to use it more frequently and with some higher value domains.

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SexToys.com (I’m blushing)

This is the first interview in an ongoing series of interviews with key word domain business owners.  You’ll see how they value their domains and the impacts these premium domains have had on their business success.

I had the opportunity to speak with Mark Farlow of National A-1 Internet to gain a little bit of insight as to how SexToys.com has benefited the company.

Mike:  Can you give a little background on your business?

Mark:  Sextoys.com is owned and operated by National A-1 Internet.  National has been in business for over 15 years and employs over 200 people.  For the last 10 years our focus has been to create high quality value oriented websites for our customers.  Sextoys.com is one of those sites.  We believe in building our business for the long term, and part of that is to create relationships with our customers and suppliers based on respect and honesty.

Mike:  Has has owning the domain SexToys.com impacted your business?

Mark:  You can never go wrong owning good domain names.  The most obvious benefits to owning the domain Sextoys.com is brand recognition.  People remember the name, and come back because of it.  It allows us to effectively market the domain, and there is no question in the consumer’s mind as to what the nature of our product is.  Another benefit is the Search Engine Optimization.  Having your main keyword as your domain name really helps when folks link back to you.

Mike:  Can you share the volume of traffic that your site receives?

Mark:  Due to the nature of our affiliate program www.toysales.com, accurate traffic stats of the sextoys.com domain are not possible.  I will say that it is a high volume site receiving traffic from URL type-ins, Search engines, and affiliate traffic.  We rank highly in Google and Yahoo for most of our keywords.

Mike:  Do you have any other online marketing strategies that you follow (google ads, seo, banners on other sites, etc.?)

Mark:  We utilize a mix of Google Adwords, SEO, and our affiliate program to generate our traffic.  We have staff dedicated to our marketing and branding.  We also promote our brand through print ads, trade shows, on-line advertising outlets, and consumer shows and events.

Mike:  Did you have another domain for your site before SexToys.com?

Mark:  Yes, National A-1 Internet owns and operates a great many domains.  Our business is to monetize our key domains by offering valuable products and services to consumers.

Mike:  What type of growth have you seen in traffic to the site, sales, etc.

Mark:  With proper SEO and marketing growth has remained consistent over the last few years.  When we first launch a site, we spend considerable time performing proper SEO, and building a strong marketing network pre-launch.  This allows us to ramp up traffic quickly within the first 6 months.  After the initial launch, we reassess our marketing and SEO strategies on a scheduled basis.  This allows us to overcome any new marketing obstacles, and maintain a steady rate of growth.

Mike:  Did you purchase the name from someone else that owned it?

Mark:  We’ve owned the name sextoys.com for as long as I have been with National A-1 Internet.  I couldn’t say how we acquired the domain.  We quite frequently purchase domains either through registrars such as Network Solutions or GoDaddy, as well as at auctions or through other individuals looking to unload their domains.  The process is different in each of these situations.

Mike:  Has the domain been worth the cost for you?

Mark:  Absolutely.  A good domain name is worth its weight in gold.  That being said, it is still possible to have monetize and create a strong brand with almost any domain name.

Mike:  Any advice for start ups, small business, or business of any size for that matter on choosing the right domain name?

If possible, think about keywords, and what your customers are looking for.  If you can’t get the domain name you really want, find something that is catchy or has a ring to it.  You can create a brand with almost any name if you are willing to put in the effort and resources.

Mike:  What do your competitors think of your domain?  What do your customers think?

We are well known in our market.  We have friendly competition with other sites in this market space, and while it is highly competitive I believe we all respect each other.  As far as what they think, you might want to ask them.

We pride ourselves on our customer support.  We were one of the first sexual health sites to offer 24-7 live phone support.  We offer comprehensive order tracking, and 24 hour problem resolution.  We are nothing without our customers, so we treat them with the respect and gratitude they deserve.  The fact that we have a large number of repeat customers says volumes as to what they think of us.

Mike:  Do you think you would be willing to sell your domain at any point?  Have you ever received any unsolicited offers?

At this point selling the domain is not an option.  Of course you never know what can happen. We receive many unsolicited offers to purchase our domain.  I politely thank them for their offer, and let them know it is not currently available for sale.

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Google Voice

I’m a big fan of Google and most of  what they offer.  Google docs, Gmail, and Google Voice are among my favorites (not a big fan of Buzz at the moment).  I was recently engaged in a discussion about Google Voice on a domain forum.  I was surprised how many people hadn’t even tried the service yet.  If you’re not familiar, Google will give you a new phone number, or you can use your cell phone number if you prefer.  What exactly is it?  Well, several things.  Google Voice allows you to have one number that will ring all of your phones.  For example, if you have a land line at home, a cell phone, and an office phone, you can set GV up to ring all those phones anytime someone calls you at your Google number.

That alone is pretty cool.  You just give out your new number and you can get calls anywhere from anyone.  But we’re just getting started.  If you receive a call on your cell phone through your GV number and now your at home you can press a couple of keys and pick up your home phone to seamlessly continue the conversation without burning up your cell minutes.  Or even better, if you’re at work and you’re still on a call at quitting time, you can switch over to your cell and finish the call on your way home.

GV also transcribes your voice messages to text and will email and SMS them to you.  Granted, the automated transcription isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough to give you an idea of what the message is about if you don’t feel like dialing in to listen to it.  You can also play the voice message from your GV page or through your email if you have Gmail.

The call widget is a handy feature you can use on your websites.  The call widget is something you add to your web page that allows users to initiate a call with you without actually knowing your number.  You can set the widget to call any one of your phones or go directly to voice mail.   This gives you the opportunity to customize a message for any and all pages you use the widget on.   You could even use it to provide informative messages to your audience and allow them to use the voicemail to provide feedback.  I’m currently using the widget on just one of my sites, but I plan to use it on other sites in different ways in the future.

Here is an example of a widget with a custom message:

One thing GV doesn’t have at the moment isVOIP calling (like Skype), but with the acquisition of Gizmo5, I think we can expect to see that soon.  There is a Blackberry app that allows you to make outbound calls from your phone using the GV number.  There are many more features, so I encourage you to check it out.  I have one GV invite left for the first person who wants it.

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Are Your E-Mails Spam?

Over the past couple of months, I’ve sent out my fair share of e-mails to potential end user purchasers.  The thought hadn’t really crossed my mind that what I was sending out would be considered spam.  I mean, it’s not like a was sending thousands or even hundreds of e-mails at a time.  But just for the hell of it, I decided to see what really constitutes spam.  I quickly came across the Federal Trade Commission website and the “CAN-SPAM Act.”

The first thing that jumped out at me was that the act isn’t just for bulk e-mail, but also covers “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service.”  Whoa, that’s a large net to be casting, but it also screams “THIS MEANS YOU.”  The fee for violating the regulation can be pretty stiff.  Upwards of $16,000 per e-mail.  Yes, per e-mail.  So what can a domainer do to protect him or herself?

Well, I’m not a lawyer so I won’t give out any legal advice.  You can consult the FTC website for an online compliance guide that does seem quite straight forward and helpful.  If you enjoy light reading of legal information, you can read the entire text of the law here.

But there  are a couple of things that you might like to remember.  I’m going to skip over some of the things I’ll assume you are already doing if you are an honest domainer (like using the correct header information in you e-mails).

  • Make sure your subject line indicates the purpose of the e-mail.  If it’s regarding a domain, don’t have your subject read “Long time no see” or some other misleading wording.
  • Let the recipient know how to opt out of future e-mails from you.
  • Include your physical address.

You are also responsible for what others do on your behalf.  If you have hired a 3rd party to manage your email campaigns, be sure they are in compliance as well.  I’ll be tweaking my emails going forward to include my business address and letting recipients know that a will not contact them again if they notify me in a return e-mail.  Be sure to visit the links above to get all the details you’ll need.  When in doubt, consult your internet savvy lawyer.

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Twitter a Bit Like Domaining

I created a Twitter account today.  I haven’t used it in the past for anything, but I know it can be a great tool for marketing and just for fun.  I found it frustrating that the username I wanted to use , SullysBlog, was taken.  I settled for an underscore and went with Twitter.com/Sullys_Blog but not what I really wanted.  I checked to see and someone was actively using SullysBlog, so it’s not as bad as if someone signed up with the name and then wasn’t really using the account.

This caused me to draw some comparisons about Twitter and domaining.  First, whether you use your account for business or pleasure, you want a relevant user name for your Twitter account, just as you would for your website domain.  Second, the name you want for your Twitter account may not be available, just like a domain name you desire may not be available.  Sometime you need to get creative.

If you own a business and have not yet secured your name in Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking tools, I recomend that you do.  These social outlets can be the greatest professional and personal branding tools available to you.  I came across a link that suggested how to purchase names that are currently in use.  I’m not interested in pursuing that option at this point, nor do I suggest that to others.  Eventually, it may be worth the investment, but I don’t see that value right now.

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Google Support

I thought it would be great to reference some information direct from Google on the value of keyword domains, so I headed over to the Google help center.  Of course, after several minutes of searching and finding no results, I decided to call Google and ask the question directly. But wait…. there is no support number listed in the help center, at least not one that I could find.  So back to Google for a search.  I entered “Google Contact” and the first listing provided what I was looking for.  It was www.google.com/contact/ (ok, maybe I should have thought of that first). And a phone number!!  I’m in luck!!

1 650-253-0000

After a messaging directing me back to the help center and some other suggestions, I was told to press “5” for customer service.   After doing so, I was given three options 1- to add my site to the index, 2- delete the cached copy of a page from the index, or 3- other.   My question seemed like “other” to me so I selected 3.  The friendly recorded voice then told me that I Google does not provide live support.

Of course I wouldn’t just let it end so easily.  I called back and dialed zero.  I surprisingly, it actually led to a live person.  I asked my question as directly as possible and was told something along the lines of “You can find an answer to that question in the help center.”  When I explained that I tried and couldn’t find that information, I was told Google does not offer live support and the person on the phone could not provide the information.

Interesting… I wonder if other companies could survive with a support system in place similar to this?

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Learning Continues

I’ve spent the last couple of months reading blogs, following news letters, submitting domains and just generally learning all I can.  Learning, not only by reading and research, but also by making mistakes.  I once heard someone say “You can teach by being and example of what to do, or by being a warning of what not to do.”   While I strive for the former, I will share  my experiences of the latter.

Like many inexperienced domainers, I spent a lot of time collecting hand registered domain names.  Luckily, I had a few that had some value and I have at this point broken even with just two sales.  So now, any income made from my remain domains will be profit.  Some of the remaining domains I will renew at the end of the year if they haven’t sold and others I will probably let drop.  Any purchases I make from this point will be well researched and well thought out. I’m going to start to move from acquiring domains to developing a few that I have.

On that topic, there are some tools commonly used.  Probably the most common is the Google Keyword Tool.  By filtering on exact match, this tool allows you to see how often a certain phrase is searched in Google per month.  Valuable not only to domainers, but to end users as well.  A target of 1,000 monthly searches seems to be a minimum suggested standard, but if some cases you’ll find a domain worth grabbing that is less than that.

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First Sale

I made my first sale…. well, almost.   I found a buyer for a pair of complementary domain names.   The buyer is ready and willing, but the the company I registered through is creating a bit of a problem.   Verio is the company I registered the domains through and they are still under the ICANN 60 day limit for registrar transfer.  That said, the kind people at Verio assured the buyer that they could transfer the domain if they just set up an account at Verio.  Makes sense, same registrar so the transfer can happen within the 60 days.  Well, not so fast.  Apparently, Verio uses two companies as their registrars.  Melbourn and Tucows.

I haven’t yet gotten to the bottom of this, but at the moment all I know is that this is making the transaction more complicated than it needs to be.  I am now using Moniker.com for all of my new registrations to avoid this problem in the future.

UPDATE:  The rule states that the domain can not be transferred outside of the current registrar.  Although Verio has some additional red tape to make the transfer happen within it’s own walls, it can be done.  It’s just not as easy as it is with a company like GoDaddy or Moniker.

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Domain Parking Options

I’ve spent some time talking with some of the more experienced domainers and I’m a bit relieved to learn that the domains I have asked them to review have received positive encouragement.  Over the next several months, my strategy is going to be to sell off some of my domains and focus on developing a select few.  I’ll continue to pick up some prime domains along the way if I come across a deal, but I am going to be much more selective in the process.

I’ve found a few places to park my domains while I’m trying to figure out what to do with them.  The first is WhyPark.com.  I came across this site in another blog posting and it’s where I have most of my sites parked at the moment.  There are several things I like about WhyPark.  The first, and most important, is the look of the parked pages.  They actually look like mini sites and have articles and real content.  Sure there are links and it is a parked site, but the articles give it credibility, value and some food for the search engines.  Even better, you can add your own articles and do some customization.  I really don’t like most of the parked pages I have seen elsewhere.  Sometimes I think the web is getting cluttered up with junk because of all the parked pages.  But WhyPark seems to add value… and I like that.

Another I am using for a handful of domains is Sedo.com.  I actually have many of my domains listed here, but only a handful of them are actually parked on Sedo.  It’s far more popular of a site for selling domains and parking pages, but most of the parked pages I have seen there are not overly impressive.  Pretty much your standard parked page, but it’s the power of the Sedo site that I find attractive.  Here you can list your entire inventory, set prices, categories, get appraisals, participate in auctions and more.  Definitely worth checking into if you haven’t visited the site yet.

A while back I had tried the Epik.com site, founded by Rob Monster.  You have to submit your domains and be accepted in the advanced content management system.   I submitted 10 or 12 sites and a couple were “accepted” while the others I was told could be parked.  I wasn’t all that impressed with the advanced content management and in a couple e-mail exchanges, Rob let me know that there has an even better solution using a product feed.  However this required a setup fee and although it was actually pretty cool, I opted not to go with it.

Just recently, I came across SnapName.com and found a similar option there that lets you create an actual e commerce front.  You can upload a picture, customize colors and more.  Check out CoolHomeGym.com or CoolBarFurniture.com from an example.  I just added these domains and quickly set them up.  I may go back and upload the picture and do some customizing, but for now I’m satisfied with just having something on the page.

There are many options available at little or no cost.  Some of them are alright, while others seem really good.  I’m going to put a few eggs in each basket and see which I have best luck with.

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firejeffzucker.com

A man from Mount Prospect ,Illinois has acquired the domain name firejeffzucker.com, referring to the the president and CEO of NBC Universal.   According to the article in the Daily Herald, David Thomas started the site back in 2006 after Katie Couric left the “Today Show.”  Since then, he has chronicled many of the less favorable Zucker decisions.

Thomas has offered O’Brien the firejeffzucker.com domain name via e-mail.  so far he hasn’t heard back.  While the site hasnt been too active, Thomas claims about 2,000 new visitors have checked out his site this week.  He attributes it primarily to Google searches for “Fire Jeff Zucker”.  I’m sure the local newspaper article isn’t hurting either.

http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=351369
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Buying is Easier Than Selling

It’s obvious in hindsight, but when you are acquiring domain names thinking of all the potential for developing each one, everything sounds like a great idea.  But when it comes time to sell them, even the good ones, it’s not necessarily easy.  Exactly a week a go I posted that I hit the 100 mark in acquiring domains.  It’s not that I am trying to build a huge portfolio, but when I get on the topic, I go on a rampage.  In the past week, I have acquired 100  additional names, 90% of which are far better than the first 100.  I’m sure this will be the trend, or so I hope, that I improve at identifying valuable names as my experience grows.

That said, I spent some time trying to contact end users for one of my geo realestate dot com names.  To test the waters, I emailed about 12 agents in the city with a reasonable price.  Some might even say low.  Throughout the day I received 9 undeliverable mail returns.  All the addresses were taken directly from the websites of the agents.  That goes to show how little they understand about the power of the web if they can not be contacted through their own websites.  This has me a little worried about their ability to see a valuable domain when it is presented to them.

I also posted a couple of short lists on the whypark.com forum.  One post was with no prices and “make an offer” as compared to the other with some reasonable prices.  How did they do?  Well, it’s been a couple of days with no comments on either, so time will tell.

On two occasions in the past week, I submitted names to the RickLatona.com newsletter.  One submission, as mentioned in a previous post, was around the theme of coin, watches, and stamp collecting.   One of the names I submitted was accepted and in today’s newsletter.  The name was RareStampCollection.com priced at $1,500.  Contact RickLatona.com if you are interested.  Aside from the self promotion, I was pleased that one of the names was selected.  When the domain sells (notice I did not say “if”), I will post more about the experience.

I also submitted another name that was selected to appear in an upcoming newsletter.  That name is ChineseVacations.net.  Keep an eye out for that one.

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Last Site of 2009

The last web site that my company, Infinite Designs, Inc.,  redesigned in 2009 was for a company that sells brass fittings.  Interestingly enough, the owner of the company understands the importance of a strong key word domain name.  The top search for this industry is “Brass fittings”.   So it made sense to acquire the domain.

The name was already owned and to be honest, I don’t know if it was a domainer or a private individual as this process took place several years ago.  Regardless, the owner of the brass fittings company was able to acquire the domain at a vary reasonable price (about $1,000).  Bottom line is that website is located at BrassFittings.com and has significantly increased traffic to the site.  I will try to gather the exact statistics and post an update once I have the information.

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First Submission

I submitted my first set of names to the RickLatona.com newsletter today.  The submission is for the first newsletter of 2010 and will focus on Stamps, Watches and Coins.  I submitted over 15 names and we’ll soon see if any are picked up for the newsletter.  If so, which, if any, sell as a result.  If they don’t get picked up or sell, I actually have a plan for developing a site which I will tie all the domains to, which was really my original intention.  As luck has it, this same theme will be the focus of the first newsletter.

This is really my first test to see if I really get what domaining is all about.  There is definitely a chance that none of the names will be selected, or that some will and I haven’t accurately valuated them.  Time will soon tell and I will share what I have learned.

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60 day delay in transferring domains

ICANN 60 Day Rule

The learning continues… today I tried to transfer one of my recently registered domains, DJHQ.net, from one registrar to another only to find out about the ICANN 60 day rule.  As stated by a Moniker representative, “The rule states that the domain name have to be more than 60 days old before you can move it to another registrar.”

This is news to me, as an amateur in the field.  Of course, I have never had a  reason to transfer a domain so quickly in the past.  It’s not that I sold this domain, but I was looking to switch it over to a registrar that partnered with Snapnames.  I am going to try to sell a domain or two there as an experiment, to see how the process works.  I’m also going to try some other avenues to just test the waters.  But it’s good to know about the 60 day rule as I’m sure it ultimately impacts the sale of domains if the ability to transfer registrars is impacted.

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First Milestone

Yesterday I hit my first milestone.  I now have over 100 domains registered.  This is where I need to stop myself and roll up my sleeves.  I’ve had so much fun learning about domaining and finding good names, but now I need to take a break on the buying end and see if anything I have is of any value.  I definitely feel confident that my choices over the last  week have been much better than when I began, even though I think I have a few good ones from my initial group.  Regardless, I’m in it for fun right now.

My next step needs to be the decision process.  Which domains do I want to try to develop, which do I want to hold on to for the future, and which do I want to try to unload, sell, lease, action, etc.   It’s tough to decide where to begin.  There are a couple of domains I have picked up that are Geo domains (city name) and others that might make excellent directories.  I have a couple that might make for good blogs, but I’d have to find some help in posting to them since there is only so much time in the day.

To keep my initial investment low, I have only registered domains that weren’t registered at the time.  That is to say, I have not purchased any domains on the aftermarket.  Now that will likely change for me in the future it I can get into a groove with what I am doing, but it seemed only reasonable to keep it simple in the beginning.

I have one domain that I have had for over 10 years and semi-developed into… well… not too much.  But I have several ideas around this domain and I’ll be posting more about it soon too.

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Tube Amp

Guild Thunder

Back in the day, as a kid taking guitar lessons, I bought an old used amplifier.  It was a Guild Thunder tube amp.   I still have it today and it works fine, although I no longer play guitar.  Turns out it’s a bit of a collectors items, worth a few hundred bucks.  I’ve tried to sell it a couple of times on Craig’s List but usually wound up with e-mails from an Egyptian prince who needed help to avoid a governmental take over and it all depended on him transferring $10 million into my personal bank account.  The only other inquiry would be from some local guy who called on it every time but never ended up buying it.

To avoid these deceptive emails and phone calls, I set up a one page site at GuildThunder.com.  It has pictures of the front and back of the amp as well as the serial number plate.  I added a Google Talk widget which allows visitors to call me without revealing  my phone number.  From the widget, I was able to customize a voice mail greeting specific to those who call me from the site.  I am selling the amp and the domain together as a package for $500.  Let me know if you’re interested.

The site comes up in the number 1 position for a search on “Guild Thunder” without quotes and number 2 with quotes.

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Does .Net have any value?

Is anything other than .com worth the time?

One rule I set for myself when purchasing domains was to stay away from anything other than .com names.  It just makes sense to me.  If I were starting a business (which I have), I would want my company site to end in .com.

I already broke this rule.  Yesterday I purchased ChristmasMorning.net.  Not that I think this will be bought by someone looking to name their company after it, but because it sounded like a good name for a shopping site or some other Christmas related site.  Needless to  say that the .com was already registered.  This is maybe one of two .net names I own and I really don’t plan on purchasing others until I learn a bit more about successful domaining.

I also need to stop going on gut reaction and apply some of the domaining advise from those experienced in the field.  Is ChristmasMorning.net a good name?  Not sure.  It’s currently parked on WhyPark.com with most of my other domains.  I put a sale price of $900.  I’ll post any progress I make with this site as far as an actual sale or if I choose to try to develop it.

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The Launch

This is the initial post to my latest site, “Sully’s Blog”.  I own a small web design company called Infinite Designs, Inc. (www.InfiniteD.com) and have been involved in design and internet marketing for several years.  I designed my first site back in 1994 and I have designed for several industries since then.  The real purpose of this site is just so I can familiarize myself with WordPress.  I am really intrigued by the flexibility I have seen with WordPress and the types of sites I have seen that were designed around it.  I haven’t spent much time working with it, so what better way then to dive right in.

A second reason I have decided to start a blog is to talk about my most recent obsession of domaining, or domain investing.  While doing some research for an existing site I own, CoolBars.com, I came across a site called ElliotsBlog.com that centers around domain name investing and has some awesome tips.  I’ve learned a great deal over the past couple of weeks just from reading this blog.  Now I was not into the domain name investing scene at all before I came across this site.  I really only had this one domain that I feel has some serious potential with the proper backing.  But then I started brainstorming on some other names that might fit well with it and sweeten the package.  I’m not going to reveal any of those names right now, but I may in future posts.  Then I drifted into some other ideas and and ended up securing a few more domain names.   As of now, in the span of about 30 days, I have collected about 85 domain names.  I’m sure most of them suck and I’m still a rookie, but there may be one or two good ones in there.

Time will tell, but I want to thank Elliot for my new interest and I hope it turns into something long term.

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