The Domain Sales Email that Caught my Eye

domain sales email

My email inbox certainly could have gone without seeing this email come through and still lived a clean and happy life.  But life isn’t fair and sometimes we can’t protect the ones we love from the harsh reality of the world.  Alright, I’m getting carried away, I don’t love my inbox.  I mean, I like it a lot, but love is a strong word.

Yesterday, I received an email offering a domain for sale.  I’m not easily offended, but lets keep it clean here.  The TLD was dot io, which is popular among some startups.  In this case, the the domain name was #ocks.io and let’s say it rhymes with socks.  Roosters are often referred to by this name… among other things.

The point of this post is not the domain name itself, but the email that represented it.  The email wasn’t particularly well written.  In fact, the salutation stated “Dear Paul King.”  Clearly all recipients were referred to as Paul King (sorry Paul).  What caught my eye was what I consider to be the most important aspect of a sales email.  The title.

I opened my inbox to find about 20 new emails.  When I quickly scanned the list, one jumped out at me.  “Here’s How to Acquire #ocks.io”

I wasn’t actively looking to purchase this name and I don’t even own any dot io names.  But it did get my interest.  Looking back I tried to analyze why that caught my attention.  Obviously one reason is because I am a domainer.  But beyond that, it had me thinking… this email is about to tell me something.

If I were an end user, I would be more likely to open this email than if it simply stated the domain name as the title, or even the key words as the title.  This title presupposes that I am already interested in the name. That I want to acquire it.  I’m no psychologist or marketing guru, but I would bet that framing the title in this way introduces some sort of bias toward wanting the name.  Not some magical hypnosis that tricks you into purchasing the name, but a subtle hint that would convince an end user to at least open the email, which is more than half the battle.

Getting your email read is difficult.  Probably 80% of the email I get I don’t even open. Maybe more.  It’s not even all spam.  Some of it is from legit things I sign up for and still never read, so getting to the top of the heap of mail isn’t easy.  I do plan to give this title a shot, with a more well thought out body text than what I received.    I’ll let you know if I see any noticeable results.

Don’t Do This On Twitter

I really like using Twitter.  Recently more than I have in the past.  I like engaging with other people and bantering about domains.  I also feel like there have been better discussions recently, even just to silently observe.   I like to retweet blog articles I enjoy and I’ll also throw up the occasional non-domaining post.  One thing I don’t do is post domains for sale on Twitter.  In my opinion, it’s just not the right tool for this.

It’s one thing if you’re the @DomainKing and you are asking people to post domain names for your review on Million Dollar Wednesday but it’s another to constantly post names and spam up your followers’ feed.   I respect the fact that people are out there hustling and trying to make a sale, so don’t get me wrong, I am not domain shaming anyone (DomainShaming.com – feel free to hand reg it).

It got me thinking… what better place to ask this as a question than Twitter.  Who better to ask than domainers?  I gave it 24 hours and received 28 votes.  When the results were in, 11% claimed to have posted a domain on Twitter and made a sale while 89% claimed not to.

TwitterDomaining

Keep in mind that this is not a scientific, double blind, university sponsored, study supervised by an accounting firm.  But those numbers aren’t promising and they don’t tell the whole story.  How many domains did those sellers have to post to get one sale?    How many of those did you and I need to scroll through and see as we checked our feed for the latest news and information?  I think the name and the seller lose a little credibility when this is seen as Twitter spam.

I’d like to hear from those of you who actually have made a sale and if it was of significant value.  My guess is going to be that you’ve had better luck with other tools and methods.

 

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When I stopped hand registering domains, these 3 things happened

When I began as a domainer, I started with hand registered names and resold a few.  That gave me a taste of what was possible and I was all in.   Since that time, I have bought and sold a few premium domains, but always enjoyed the hand reg hunt for undiscovered gems.   Recently, I proactively took a break from  hand registering domain names and I thought I was going to end up with a post about how I benefited from the experience. How it made me a better domainer.  I thought I was going to end up writing about how it allowed me to focus on higher quality domain names and how my profits increased overtime.  But instead…

I lost focus

As I stopped the daily hunt for names to hand reg, I lost my focus on domaining.   It wasn’t my top of mind passion.  I slowly drifted from DBR, my favorite domain forum, and missed out on all the interactions between the sharp and ever learning domainers at every point in the experience spectrum (this was a huge loss).  I stopped browsing Domaining.com multiple times a day and reduced to just a few times per month.  I pretty much stopped blogging entirely.
It was those quick plunges into Godaddy, whenever the mood struck me, to see if a random name was available that actually kept the passion burning and my mind focused on domains.  Not that hand regs are the core of what I do.  In fact,  I probably look up and find 100 available names for any single hand reg I buy.  I typically maintain an inventory of less than 100 hand regs at any given point.   It’s the thrill of the hunt.

I became less creative

I know a guy who does a crossword puzzle from the newspaper everyday and wont rest until he completes it.  He says he does it to keep his mind working.  I haven’t purchased a paper copy of a newspaper in 15 years.   I had my own way of keeping my mind challenged.

Always trying to come up with good names everywhere I went kept me sharp.  Think about it, it’s like constantly trying to solve a puzzle.  You see something, think a little differently about it, and try to come up with one or two word dot coms that may not have yet been snapped up.  Then you think of variations on that.  Then that leads you to another related domain area to think about.  Sure, the effort doesn’t typically result in a cash cow, but neither does a crossword puzzle.

Cutting back on this exercise definitely had a noticeable impact.  I was just generally becoming less creative.  I noticed that I wasn’t quite as quick with solving problems.   I was less engaged and less interested in solutioning issues that I faced in other areas of my life.  I stopped giving creative business advice to friends.  It just wasn’t as fun or as easy as it once was.

I wasted time

Checking out availability of names or thoughts that popped into my head throught the day was a welcomed break from what ever I was doing.  Let’s face it, there’s probably not one of us that takes enough breaks in the day.  I’m sure I could dig up some research or statistics that would support my claim that taking breaks makes you more productive.
When I took breaks to brainstorm some domain names, they were short breaks.  A matter of minutes.  It felt productive even though you could argue that I was still wasting time.  Buy it occasionally resulted in an easy sale and a few bucks.
During “the break” when I wasn’t looking up domains, I would do other things online to try to fill the void.  I would watch stupid videos and visit mindless websites.  I would click on the link to see what “20 celebrities from the 90’s look like today, number 7 will shock you.”  Before you know it, a half hour has gone by and I have nothing to show for it.

So what’s next?

Hand registering domains is fun for me.  Even just the act of brainstorming possible domain names.   I enjoy it.  It motivates me and I truely believe it keeps my mind sharp.  Besides, it’s even more fun when you find a gem and flip it.  So I’m back at it, spending some of my time exploring the art of hand reg’ing.  Hey, that just gave me an idea…

Jamie Zoch – The mind behind DotWeekly.com

dotweekly

Jamie Zoch runs the domain blog at DotWeekly.com.  I’ve followed Jamie’s posts for years and his blog is a core standards in my news feed.  Jamie is a family man and all around cool guy. I had a chance to connect with Jamie over the past week and get his perspective and learn a bit more about him.

 

Mike:  When did you first become interested in the domain world?

Jamie: I owned a sign business and sold a lot of stuff on eBay. Since I was always researching what was selling, I happened to run into a lot of listings for domain names that were selling for a fair amount and a lot of them, so I started researching domain names and haven’t stopped since!

Mike:  You were among the first bloggers I read when I started learning about domaining. What led you to launching DotWeekly.com and when did you launch?

Jamie: I launched DotWeekly around February 2008. During my 2 years of digging around on domains, I was noticing that many people would share information but they often were not sharing all the details. I didn’t see any reason to hide the fine details, so I started sharing detailed step by step processes of nearly everything I was doing. I just felt it was the right thing to do, to help others looking to learn.

Mike:  If I recall, a few years back you lost your blog and all it’s contents with no available backup.  What hard lessons were learned from that experience and how has it made you stronger?

Jamie: Man that sucked! A friend of mine was actually hosting my website and he changed servers one weekend and deleted my files, thinking I wasn’t using the website any longer. WordPress is great and there are so many plugins but sadly a backup plugin wasn’t something I was using. Technically speaking, the website was backed up on the server, but that was deleted along with my website when my friend switched servers.

What did I learn? Don’t let your friend host your website, so I have switched to GoDaddy’s managed WordPress hosting AND I use a backup plugin called UpdraftPlus.

Losing all that content felt like I wasted years worth of work. There was a lot of great stories, how to articles and more that vanished. Archive.org still holds many of them, but it’s not easy bringing all that data back in. The biggest kicker, I think at that time, DotWeekly was pulling in around $1,500 a month in affiliate ad revenue. Poof, that was gone with the data!

Mike:  Domain bloggers seem to have their own niche.  Yours seems to be your unmatched ability to research and track premium domain movement.  How have you been able to stay on top of this and report on transactions no other blogs are covering?

Jamie: Hard work really. I put in a lot of time researching movements. I get up everyday at 4 am and spend around 3-4 hours every day checking movements in several different variations. Sadly, there are a couple ways that need to be looked at and my process involves “double looking at data” but both need to be done to capture as many movements as I can.

The data that I dig up is very important for the domain name industry as a whole, because it really puts a pulse on the market. Yes, DnJournal.com reports a lot of domain name sales but the fact is, the majority of the bigger ones are not included in the weekly reports. Most are not included due to private transactions or between parties that are simply not involved in the domain industry, so its not news for them to report.

Just like Domaining itself is addictive, so is knowing what is selling. Since most of my findings are not reported outside DotWeekly, it really has become an addictive form of knowing what is selling and who is buying. Then digging into the why, trying to find a price and any info to help domainers.

Mike:  According to your blog, you offer brokerage services as well.  Tell me about your service and what differentiates you from other brokers.

Jamie: I do offer brokerage services but my main focus is Buyer Brokerage. If I had to pick one thing that I like doing the most, it’s helping somebody acquire a domain name. The fact is, a lot of companies and individuals do not know how to buy a domain name that is owned by somebody else. Can they go hunting for themselves? Yes, but it takes time and they are likely not educated on value, whois privacy and so much more. Going in blind and even contacted the domain owner via email can be a bad idea, as it often tips off the domain owner. There are better approaches and using somebody like myself for a small fee is well worth the time and very often will save you a lot of money! I deeply understand the domain name industry, understand the market and have a lot of connections which is often key in buying a domain name from its current owner.

Mike:  Tell me about MailboxPark and your involvement there?

Jamie: Ah, you have done your research Mike! I haven’t been very public about this new project but I’m very excited about it. I have long thought that incoming email was a vital under-looked asset of domain names. Consider the fact that some 200+ billion emails are sent daily, email is important and they are all tied to a domain name.

From a domain owners standpoint, it’s a pain in the butt to set up a “catch all” email on every single domain name they own to view email. If one were to actually do that, then they get hit with a bunch of email and the volume is often overwhelming to deal with. Then what? It gets ignored due to volume overload and what to do with it.

250ok.com, the parent company of MailboxPark is an email deliverablity service that helps brands with better practices of emailing, fighting phishing attacks and more. They were looking to diversify data sources and offer a product that I found very interesting if I could get involved and tune it towards the domainer! I took on a director role with the company and have been working with them since December 2016 to come up with MailboxPark.com.

So what is MailboxPark? In a nutshell, it’s an easy solution for domain name owners to view all incoming email to your domain names, discover and earn some revenue with it. With building tools to view all the email, our technology categorizes all incoming email so its easier to manage and view what’s important. Personal, Social, Commercial and Other.

From the Commercial side, this data helps 250ok better serve its customers in practices of building better practices of emailing its customers. Because of this, MailboxPark is able to pay domain owners for Commercial email traffic. Is it as much as domain parking? Sometimes, because some domain names get a lot of email! In general, since most domain owners were making $0 and not even considered email to the domains they own, it’s a big plus!

Discovery is one vastly important part of MailboxPark. Since our technology categorizes the incoming email, it greatly reduces the effort to view the mail and find the things that are beneficial to you. Does one business assume another business owns a domain and are trying to communicate on this assumption, yet you own the domain? That happens A LOT and you being able to see this is really a great lead that truly makes a wise investment for the company missing these emails. Maybe you as the domain owner didn’t know of this company and the fact that they use a domain name close to yours. You now have data to alert you to this and you can discreetly use this information for a sales pitch for them to purchase the domain that they may not have know is important to them.

MailboxPark is just getting started and is very exciting! It’s similar in a way to domain parking but also vastly different. By simply setting MX records on your domain name, you can use MailboxPark. Did I mention it’s free! Very similar to setting Name Servers to use a parking service. By only needing to set MX records, this allows MailboxPark to be “non-disruptive” and you can continue to resolve the domain name as you choose, like using a parking service. MailboxPark does not reply to any incoming emails, nor serve any ads what so ever, so the service really runs in the background and you know 100% what is going on.

It is my job to make the service very helpful to domain owners and worth while. Based on a lot of feedback, the discovery aspect is highly enjoyed and the revenue is an added bonus. We understand that revenue is important and are working on a few things that can help continue improve the revenue aspect of MailboxPark. I have a creative mind, so this helps when looking at data. Domainers should be really excited about the service and the future it holds. Curiosity alone should entice domain owners to give MailboxPark a try, but it’s a very valuable service. 250ok is a really great company that is open and honest and truly open to building a great service for domainers and the reason I’m so excited about it and glad to be a part of.

Mike:  One of my goals is to educate domainers.  What advice do you have for domainers?  What are some of the common mistakes you have seen?

Jamie: Domainers are forwarding thinking individuals and some really smart people. Domain names are a very important and businesses are pretty slow to realize how important the internet is. Thankfully, many companies are finally understanding how important it is to be online, the communication aspects of email, apps, advertising and branding. These movements will reward many domain name investors handsomely that own premium generic one and two word domain names. .com is and will always be king, something that will very likely never be any other way. The ball started rolling a long time ago (1985) and it’s really the trendy, most common nature extension to use!

So from an investment side, .com domain names and in one and two word nature are the best investments. Look at what many of the largest companies in the world use, what some of the hottest new startups are using. It’s often 8 characters or less and matching .com domain to the branded term of the company.

From a business aspect, if you are not using a .com, you should! If your domain name is hard to spell, type, added words, hyphen etc., you need to deeply consider an upgrade! There is so much that relates to your domain name, from the power play of: “Hey, we mean business, look at our domain name” (aka, owning Money.com compared to, MoneyServicesOnTheWeb.com) to word of mouth advertising and easily being able to say and spell your domain, to email communication and the common/natural fit to your branding. All of this relates to your domain and much more (SEO, trust etc).

 Peter Prestipino Wrote the Book on Domaining Fundamentals

domains 360Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise” – Michael Jordan

I recently received a review copy of Domains 360: The Fundamentals of Buying and Selling Domain Names by Peter Prestipino, Editor-in-Chief of Website Magazine.  By chance, it turns out that Peter and I both live in the Chicago area not too far from one another.

The book begins with a brief history of domain names, citing the first domain name ever registered, Symbolics.com and moves quickly into the recognition of those early domainers with the foresight of what was yet to come.  A brief mention of cyber-squatting, some top selling domain names, and the foreshadowing fact of Mike Mann registering 15,000 domain names within 24 hours back in 2012.  Richard Lau and NamesCon is quoted and we hear from Donuts, Inc. and this is all in Chapter 1!

Domains 360 doesn’t go into the history of domaining to the level of detail that The Domain Game does, but that’s by design.  The book is subtitled “The Fundamentals of Buying and Selling Domain Names” and that’s what it focuses on, while laying a foundation for a broader understanding of a domains technical components.

Chapter 2 covers IP addresses and IPv4 / IPV6 protocols in a manner that is easy to understand. The book goes into TLDs, Registrars vs Registry and things to consider when choosing. Chapter 5 goes on to explain general domain management, name servers, expiration, privacy, and locking.

Chapter by chapter, just about every area is touched on and explained from flipping and valuations to the mindset of a domainer and the day to day activities.  If you’re an “expert” domainer, this book isn’t for you, although you still may enjoy the read.  If your of the mindset that there is always something to be gained, there are definitely some nuggets in here to be taken away.  I took notes on each chapter.

It’s clear Peter is passionate about domaining and as Editor in Chief of Website Magazine, knows a few things about the business.   I found value in reading his work and I’m happy to add this book to my library.