Domain Profit SharingMike Sullivan
I originally reached out to Doug Marks, Vice-President of Click Shops, Inc., to inquire about the keyword domain “MassageChairs.com”. Here I had found a nicely developed e-commerce site with a great generic name and I wanted to learn more about the company. I soon found out that there was a great deal more behind Click Shops. ClickShops.com has other great names in their portfolio, including GunSafes.com, LeatherFurniture.com, BackupGenerators.com and more. Additionally, DomainProfitSharing.com is another facet to the company. Doug and I had a great conversation about the business.
Mike: Tell me a little bit about ClickShops.com. How many sites do you have under the ClickShops.com umbrella?
Doug: It’s constantly changing. I think we currently have about 30 sites. Even though we are involved in online e-commerce, our customers really benefit from our customer service. There are people that don’t want to talk to anyone, and the online sales work fine. But for those that do, our customers are assigned a customer service representative that are with them through the entire order. The satisfaction our customers have expressed has really been exceptional. ClickShops.com has 10 employees, all in Sanpoint Idaho. There are a couple of contractors, but just a couple. The company has been in business since 2004. GarageCabinetsOnline was our first store.
My brother Richard is the founder of the company. We founded it together and he was working it full time. As it grew, we got an office and I just recently left the private law firm I was working with and came on full-time. We started with a couple of names and then bought a couple more and built them from scratch. We’ve developed a number of them over the years. We’ve acquired our names from private individuals, a partnership, and brokers as well.
Mike: How did DomainProfitSharing.com come into existence?
Doug: It’s really just an extension of ClickShops. Domain Profit Sharing came about because as we were interested in domain names for our business, we found that people were emotionally attached to the names they were selling. It’s a strange business, maybe it’s a bit like real estate, but we found that the price they were asking were really not justified in many cases. DPS gives us an opportunity to establish sites on good domains and gives domain owners an opportunity to make more money than they would if they just parked the name. We also like to include the option to buy the domain in a set number of years at a fixed price. That fixed price is often close to what the domain owner believes the domain is worth.
Mike: How do you determine what you are willing to pay for a domain?
Doug: We do all the keyword research on our end. We can make a pretty good projection of what a domain is going to be worth based on the number of sites we have taken from nothing to page 1 in Google and the other search engines. We can compare the keyword research with actual results. We don’t have to guess what a name will be worth.
Mike: Among the estimated 30 sites you are operating, how many of those fall under the Domain Profit Sharing model.
Doug: At the moment, none of them are operating at under the DPS model. That’s something we’ve reserved for big domains that are really going to make money. We haven’t really put a lot of effort behind promoting DPS. We haven’t taken out any ads or anything like that. Part of the reason is that we just bought LeatherFurniture.com and we’ve been focusing on some of our other sites. It’s not our main focus at the moment. We are in discussions with a couple of domain owners, but nothing has been finalized.
Mike: What criteria are you looking for in domains?
Doug: We look for a lot of searches and related searches. We also look for names that will support products with fairly good sale prices. We don’t really want to get into the $20 – $30 per sale market. For example, we’re selling massage chairs anywhere from $200 to $7,000. Same with gun safes. They’re big and they’re heavy and they are higher priced items. We’re looking for just generic names for big items.
When we first started with online sales, the word was that you can’t sell big items online. You need to sell books and clothes. We just kind of asked our selves “why?” Especially with GunSafes.com and then GarageCabinetsOnline.com. It’s a great deal for customers to be able to look at a huge selection online. Much more than any store can carry. If they do buy, they can have the items shipped to their home.
Mike: How important are exact match keyword domains as opposed to brandable names?
Doug: It’s hard to say. They’re important. Having the key word name makes it easier, there is no doubt about that. We have both kinds. For example, GarageCabinetsOnline.com incorporates the keyword but it’s not exact. But for “Gararge Cabinets”, “Garage Storage”, “Garage Storage Systems”…for all the biggest phrases, we’re right in the top of the search engines. So it can be done, we know how to do it. Getting to the top in Google is a lot harder if you don’t have a keyword domain name. But it can be done.
For anyone interested, there is a submission form on DomainProfitSharing.com where you can submit your domains for consideration for a Click Shops site. The email will go directly to Doug for review. Keep in mind that they are looking for keyword domains with good search value. They aren’t looking for brandable names. They offer 3% of total sales, not just 3% of profit.