Robert Savage, CEO of Track.com agreed to talk to me about the company’s keyword domain name. Prior to serving at Track.com, he served as Managing Director of FX Macro Sales at Goldman Sachs, where he published widely-read and insightful research focused on the foreign exchange markets and the macroeconomic environment. As well as twenty-three years at Goldman Sachs, Mr. Savage worked as the head of New York Foreign Exchange trading for Lehman Brothers and as a Director of Proprietary Trading at Bank of America Securities.
Track Research is part of Thoughtful Research LLC founded in 2009. Track Research is a top-down macro market research team with of the moment trading ideas and commentary.
Mike: Can you tell me how you came to own the domain Track.com?
Robert: Track.com is actually leased with an option to buy. This made sense from the start given the expense of a new 5 letter URL. Auctions for domain names vary and Track.com has seen many unsolicited offers over the last 4 years – the highest was $250,000. Right now the payments for the lease are reasonable in the context of the start up business. My arrangement to lease came from the VC that helped start the business with me – how he got the name is another story – one I am not privy to.
Mike: Can you tell us a little bit about your company and what exactly Track.com does for it’s customers?
Robert: Track.com is a place where wall street analysts can reach out and connect to their clients when they are between jobs or are starting out. We provide world class daily market coverage for $1200 a year. There are 4000 independent consultants doing investment research – this site is one venue for them to share a bit of their wisdom and search for new clients. The independent research business is tough – most have 20 clients and go out of business in 5 years because they can’t spend the time finding new clients. Track.com helps solve some of this problem. We provide institutional quality macro global insights to clients around the world. The clients are hedge fund managers, money managers, family offices and individual investors.
Mike: Why did you decide that owning a short, generic, keyword domain was important for your business? How has that proved to be true?
Robert: The problem of branding starts with people remembering your name. Track is one of those short and easy to remember yet neutral words. There are many others out their but not all are as simple. I spent much time looking at savvy.com but when I found out it formerly was a porn site that made the decision to go elsewhere easy. We also own thougtfulresearch.com trackresearch.com and a few other URLs – but the 5 letter one is simple and easy.
Mike: What type of traffic numbers do you see on a monthly basis?
Robert: We have a wall up for content – and that makes some of the traffic story a bit different – but we get 25,000 or more visits a month – we started in 2010 with about 5,000
Mike: With a name like Track.com, do you find some traffic outside of your target audience? I imagine you might get some type-in traffic from those looking for horse track or race track information.
Robert: The track.com name comes up with music and track and field more than with bettors or drug users. The traffic that is misplaced usually bounces immediately – and that is how we look at our branding success or failure. We find that we have a lot of people using the site and staying on it to read content – which is another way of measuring the success of a URL – time spent on the site and the number of pages visited.
Mike: What other types of online marking do you use in addition to your premium domain name?
Robert: The best way to market is to network. We use Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to push our business. We have found that connecting all of these to the site helps drive traffic and trials.
Mike: What are your words of wisdom for those looking for a domain name for their business?
Robert: Sometimes we try to think too much about a name. There is one key requirement being unique – and then marketing around that name. I think flipping for another name or rebranding isn’t something easy but if the price is right you have to consider it. Either you are in the business of owning domain names or you are in a business that uses them to help market and expand your ideas. I am clearly in the latter camp. Track.com has been a good tool but it isn’t the only way to find success in a start-up.