Domains That Will Float Your BoatMike Sullivan
I first reached out to Mike Gallucci to discuss Boating.com, but soon learned there was more than meets the eye. Mike Gallucci is Director of Marketing at Triton Web Properties, owners of Boating.com and other quality names. To avoid confusion with the same first names, I’ll be using last names in this interview.
Sullivan: Can you tell me a little bit about Triton Web Properties?
Gallucci: Triton Web Properties was created with the realization that our existing e-commerce strategy that operated SportsMemorabilia.com had huge potential to be a blueprint for new ventures. Triton as a parent company is only a few months old but the basic principles and platform all stem from SportsMemorabilia.com which we acquired and redesigned in 2006. The initial team that supported the first functional year of Triton’s first property included 4 guys; and currently, throughout all properties, it has turned into a 50 person operation.
The realization came when our numbers from Sportsmemorabilia.com were just rocking. We saw huge increases in our year over year and now we are hovering around a 70% yoy increase for 2010 with impressive EBIT numbers that continue to rise as well. The increase is contributed to a unique blend of team members from our marketing team to phone agents, building on what we learn from analytics and reporting every day, and great leadership from our c-suite executives. That being said, the application of our platform to our other properties has been successful and we are already seeing positive results. We’re really excited about the future of Triton.
Sullivan: Among your properties are Boating.com, Yachting.com, Biking.com, Barbecuing.com, Skiers.com and SportsMemorabilia.com. How have these domains positively impacted your business?
Gallucci: The strong domain names that lend themselves so easily to branding are huge impacts. Their names are easy to remember and not only support an efficient natural organic search strategy but type-in traffic as well. Besides customer-centric branding, the domains attract attention from some of the largest and most well known industry leaders for obvious reasons. If you are a vendor of ski gear it makes perfect sense to partner up with “Skiers.com”, and if you are a top barbecue manufacturer “Barbecuing.com” should definitely be on your radar as well. The same can be said for all of our other properties.
As the offline world starts to understand the importance of partnering with companies who own prime time real estate online as well as know how to market online, our potential as a corporation to do some really special things increases. Let me also say there are still challenges to this practice. If we didn’t have the revenue numbers and analytics from our previous ventures made of the same mold, it would be much more of a frustrating process to find partners for product/services. For example, when I pitched Boating.com to the major companies we have already partnered with, if I lacked a strong foundation of WHY we make sense as a partner besides our domain, I would have a frustrating time getting their attention.
If you want to stick your foot in the door of big time partners to talk about site development you better have your track record on hand and not just be taking shelter under your domain name. So, it’s fair to say the premium domain is not necessarily the “secret sauce”, but it is part of the equation for our success.
Sullivan: Does Triton own any other premium keyword domains?
Gallucci: The Triton line up includes: SportsMemorabilia.com, Boating.com, Yachting.com, Biking.com, Barbecuing.com, Skiers.com, BabyFormulas.com, HollywoodMemorabilia.com, and CigarMarket.com.
Sullivan: What type of marketing strategy does the company use?
Gallucci: If you play around with various memorabilia search terms on Google you will find there is no secret that SEO is a big part of our strategy. Thankfully we train and operate our SEO strategy in house. The bill SEO firms hand over when they take on strategies like ours are extremely high and can run you into the ground if you aren’t careful.
It’s almost advantageous if our competitors seek outside SEO companies for help because chances are it drains their marketing budget while never actually getting them to a point they need to be at to compete. This is the reason most partners choose to work with Tirton – they know our capabilities of mastering the search game in their industry and they often don’t have the time or want to spend their budget testing SEO firms. We cover all other aspects of internet marketing but our complete strategy is obviously something that we keep safely inside the doors of our office.
Sullivan: Can you provide the volume of traffic that any given site in your portfolio receives?
Gallucci: We’re still a privately held corporation so we currently don’t release traffic numbers. I can tell you currently SportsMemorabilia.com receives the most traffic from any sports memorabilia site on the net according to Alexa’s traffic rankings. Our other properties are still new in our hands but we’re successfully growing traffic exponentially on all sites.
Sullivan: What is the main source of traffic to your sites?
Gallucci: Google is king in our world but it can’t end there. Traffic flows in from a host of different places including type-in and shopping channels.
Sullivan: How did you go about acquiring these names? Can you share the process you went through with one of them? Will you share what you paid for any of the names?
Gallucci: The initial consideration comes from Triton’s CEO Jesse Stein, who has been the mastermind behind acquiring these high profile names. Once he gets the initial batch of domains available, our EVP Stefan Tesoriero jumps in to add to the brainstorm. It’s a lethal combo of minds that takes it to the next level. They decide which of those domains mesh nicely with our model while researching our competition to find an opportunity in a market.
Companies or individuals can have a great domain name but if the potential to build the platform and strategy isn’t there then you are just a one sided player, which we aren’t. Basically, you can look good in the uniform but if you can’t play the game then you’re not a valuable player. The strong domains are just a facet of our game. Some of the domains carried a high price tag, I can tell you the Boating.com & Biking.com properties were among our larger domain investments.
Sullivan: Are you still acquiring quality domains or are you focusing on the ones you have at the moment?
Gallucci: Jesse is a serial entrepreneur, his wheels are always spinning. You never known when you’ll come into the office and hear about a new domain or strategy we’ve been commissioned to build out. For the sanity of the Triton programming team I’ll say we are currently focusing on the ones we currently own. In any event, Triton Web Properties is an exciting company to be a part of and everyone in our office is always up to the challenge of a new venture.
Sullivan: Are you involved in any partnerships / joint ventures or do you own all of the domains outright? If not, would you consider this?
Gallucci: All are owned and operated by Triton Web Properties, Inc. If someone comes along and wants Triton to be a part of their build out of a premium domain it’s possible. But right now we’re doing very well on our own. We consider anything, we enjoy hard work and success.
Mike: Any advice for start ups, small business, or business of any size for that matter on choosing the right domain name?
Gallucci: Like I mentioned before, it’s all about what you can handle. Choosing the domain is a big step, especially if the domain is premium, but just know there is a lot going on behind scenes to make it actually work. I think most people have these grand ideas of what they want to do but end up spending a ton of money on programming and design without knowing what actually generates the revenue. In the end it’s the marketing that sells your product so make sure you have the right team and a smart strategy ready before spending your capital on a domain. If you don’t, appropriate capital elsewhere.