Doron Vermaat is an entrepreneur and domainer. He’s a co-founder and Head of Product at Efty, an online domain portfolio management system and the publisher of DNgeek.com, a blog about brandable domain names, startup naming, and branding. Efty helps you manage your domain portfolio, giving you clear insight into your performance while helping to boost leads, sales, and revenue. Efty helps you manage your entire domain name investment portfolio in one place – with a secure and confidential platform.
Doron: Efty separates itself from the pack by offering a complete solution that not only includes domain name management, tracking, and financial insights but also the right tools to help you sell more domains. Efty’s theme gallery hosts a selection of 40+ top-notch, customizable For-Sale landing pages that have been designed for optimal visitor-to-lead conversion as well as 4 templates to help you quickly launch your own, customizable domain name marketplace (Such as the ones you can see at NameRockstar.com or DNBX.com). Efty users don’t need to download, install, update or host anything and do not pay any commission on sales made trough the platform. Instead, our users pay a very affordable monthly or annual fee starting at just $4/month. We also take pride in offering top-notch customer support, constantly shipping new features and improvements to the platform and having a very clear governance on privacy and not having access to user data.
Mike: In what ways have you found that Efty helps contribute to domain sales?
Doron: The best platform to sell a domain name is the domain name itself. With Efty’s For-Sale landing pages you can make it crystal clear that the domain name is for sale when a potential buyer types in your domain name which significantly increases the number of offers and inquiries compared to a parked page that is optimized to generate pay-per-click revenue from ads. Inquiries and offers via Efty also provide you with much more intel on your buyers such as the Name, Email, Phone number and the IP address. This makes it easier to conduct research on your leads before making a counter offer and helps you to maximize the deal size.
Mike: All great ideas come from somewhere, what spawned the idea behind Efty?
Doron: The idea for Efty came to me after I was investing personally in domain names for about a year and I noticed that it was getting more and more difficult to stay organized, track renewals, expenses and calculate my P&L. At the same time, I also started looking for a solution to help me better showcase and sell my names by use of good looking For-Sale landing pages rather them populating them with pay-per-click ads that hardly made me any money.
I also thought it was crazy to pay commissions on sales when they happened through direct navigation (when a buyer types in your domain name directly in their browser). When I realized there was no solution on the market to help you manage, track AND sell your domains without paying commissions I knew there was an opportunity and the idea for Efty was born.
I reached out to long-time friend and software entrepreneur Lionel Petitiaux and we started working on Efty in November 2013. Six months later we rolled out our beta.
Mike: You have chosen a brandable domain name for this business. What can you tell me about the name “Efty” and the benefits to selecting a brandable name?
Doron: We went with Efty because we want to build a brand. People want to deal with real brands now and by using a generic domain you risk coming across as just another solution in the market.
Mike: You’re based out of Hong Kong. Does that affect your ability to do business as a domainer in anyway? Has that location provided opportunities you might not have had if you were living in the states?
Doron: The main challenge is the time difference with the US which is forcing me to work with proxy bids instead of competing live towards the end of domain name auctions on NameJet, GoDaddy auctions etc.
Mike: What’s your background and how did you get involved in domaining and internet businesses?
Doron: I’ve co-founded and worked for internet startups most of my professional career, many of them related to the recruitment and staffing industry. In 2016 I co-founded an employment website for the Greater China region. That company didn’t make it and was shut down four years later. The domain, which was administered by a web development company, was neglected and ultimately expired from Network Solutions a few years ago. I had plans to relaunch the site so I did some research to find out how to gain ownership of the domain again once it would drop.
This led me to NameJet where all the expired inventory from NetSol is being auctioned. At NameJet I learned about the domain name aftermarket, drops and auctions. That month I won the auction for the NewChinaCareer.com domain name but also started bidding on several others that caught my eye. I was hooked right away.
Mike: Do you have any other projects you’re working on at the moment?
Doron: I just kicked off a consulting project with Hong Kong-based online fashion retailer Grana. They recently secured a large Series A round in funding from Alibaba ventures and have ambitious plans to make their clothing available to the entire world. I will be working with them on building their technology team so if you’re a talented coder and are interested in working in vibrant Hong Kong please do get in touch : )
Mike: What advice do you have for others that are about to embark in an online business? Anything to watch out for or any surprises you have found?
Doron: Most important is that you find a need and fill it. Try to do so in an industry or sector you’re passionate about and establish an expert reputation for yourself. Constantly follow up with your customers and improve your offering based on popular request.