Tag - generic domains

When a Dot Com is Essential

I was driving down a main road near my home and spotted this sign placed about 2 blocks before a local nursery entrance.  It caught my eye and stayed in mind mind for days.  The website could use some serious work, but the domain was perfect for the situation.   “WantMulch.com” is very effective.  It has some of the main traits needed in a quality domain name.

  • Easy to remember
  • Short (only 2 short words)
  • Descriptive (if you want mulch, well it’s dead on)
  • It’s a dot com

That last one is a big one.  It’s a dot com.  If you’re driving by and want to remember what the domain was when you get home, you don’t want to have to deal with any of the TLDs other than dot com.  Placing anything else on a physical sign and you risk the chance of sending your business to the owner of the dot com.  I did some searching on domain names to see if I could find a better one.  The best I could come up with that was available for registration was RedMulch.net, and it’s not at all better.  Granted, I didn’t spend a lot of time on this exercise, but you get the point.  WantMulch.com is a pretty cleaver use of a name.  I was impressed that this nursery, whose primary business is plants, came up with this name.  And remember, if you’re going to be advertising on a physical sign or a billboard, a dot com is essential.

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Domain Magic

Like most kids, I was fascinated with magic tricks when I was growing up.  I would save my money and make weekly visits to our local trick shop.  I’d buy some little gadgets and practice for hours in preparation to amaze the other kids in my neighborhood.  I have to admit, I’m still a fan of magic tricks today.  Jackie Monticup of MagicTricks.com is living my dream and sharing the experience with us.

Mike:  Can you give a little background on your business?
MagicTricks.com has been in business online since 1997. Peter Monticup, a professional magician since the age of seven, opened the website as an extension of his brick-and-mortar magic shop in Charlottesville, Virginia called, appropriately, Magic Tricks. Peter has owned a string of magic shops since 1971, first in upstate New York and later in Virginia. The name “Magic Tricks” was chosen because Peter realized that previous “clever” names for his shops (including The House of Magic and The Old Curiosity Shop) didn’t always make it clear what he was selling. When he opened the Virginia shop in 1994, he decided to be direct and call the shop simply “Magic Tricks”. It worked well.

Mike:  Did you purchase the name from someone else that owned it?  What was the process you went through?  Will you share what you paid for the name MagicTricks.com?
When we decided to launch the website, we used the same philosophy, and opened “MagicTricks.com“. Fortunately, the previous owner of the name was not using it, and was letting it expire. Literally the second “MagicTricks.com” became available, we snatched it up, paying only the yearly registration fee.

Mike:  Has has owning the domain MagicTricks.com impacted your business?
Obviously, the name clearly spells out what we sell, and that helps. Also, having the keywords “magic tricks” in the domain name has helped with SEO.

Mike:  Do you have any other online marketing strategies that you follow?

Over the years, we have tried most of the popular marketing strategies. Google ads are beneficial if you have a specific strategy in mind (for example, if you know that customers are looking for a specific product, and you want to come up on the first page of the search for that exact product, you can buy your way onto the first results page). Since the beginning, though, we’ve concentrated on good basic website practices- building an easy-to-use site that offers frequently updated pages. Fresh content is very, very important.

Mike:  Did you have another domain for your site before MagicTricks.com?
Yes. When we first decided to go online, MagicTricks.com was not available, so we chose MagicSupplies.com. Even when we chose that first name, we felt that domains made from keywords were the way to go. We operated as MagicSupplies.com for a few months before obtaining the MagicTricks.com name.

Mike:  What type of growth have you seen in traffic to the site, sales, etc.
In 1997, our business was totally brick-and-mortar. By early 2000, we closed the storefront and operated totally online. It was that quick. In the last ten years, we’ve seen steady continued growth, due in part to the fact that people are becoming used to online shopping. It’s a part of our culture now.

Mike:  Has the domain been worth the cost for you?
Absolutely! All it has cost is the yearly fee.

Mike:  Any advice for start ups, small business, or business of any size for that matter on choosing the right domain name?
DO consider using keywords as your domain name, or adding keywords to your personal or business name. If your exact name is not available (if your name is Bill Smith, for example), try adding a descriptive word to your name, like BillSmithPhotographer.com

There are still great names available, so don’t be discouraged when your first few name ideas are already taken. Brainstorm with your friends, and you’ll be amazed at the flow of good ideas.

DO use keywords in your domain name. Blissful is a company that sells body lotions, so bodylotions.com or blissfulbodylotions.com or even calmingbodylotions.com would be good choices. DON’T use hyphens. When you verbally communicate your domain name, it’s awkward. “Good-times.com” becomes “Good dash times dot com” over the phone.

DO look carefully at how your domain name looks in print. Sometimes it spells something other than what you intended. If you sell 50’s classic music on CD, you might consider using the keywords “oldies” and “hits”. But probably not as oldieshits.com.

DON’T use words that are hard to spell. If you use the English spelling for “color” and spell it “colour”, then people will probably misspell your domain name “ColourVisions.com” and not find your site.

Similarly, DON’T use cute or alternative spellings, such as “Books4U”.

DO use only the .COM domain. Customers think “.com”. Make it easy for them to find you. It also looks the most professional.

Mike: What do your customers think of your domain?
Our customers find our name very easy to remember, and very clear in meaning. The name is an advertisement in itself.

Mike:  Do you think you would be willing to sell your domain at any point?  Have you ever received any unsolicited offers?
To sell the domain name, we’d have to sell the whole business. We do receive unsolicited offers every few months or so, but we are enjoying operating MagicTricks.com too much to sell it right now.

Mike:  Any other information you’d like to share?
Thanks, Mike, for asking us to share our experience with you!

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Redirecting Vs. Developing

I met with one of my web design clients this evening.  This particular client, I had spent some time consulting with in the past of the benefits of owning keyword domains in their industry.  Eventually, I helped them purchase several domains related to their products and those names  now redirect to their primary site.  Particularly beneficial to them was the fact that most were hand regs, so the cost was low.

During the meeting today, the owner of the company asked why the domains don’t appear on the first few pages of Google when he does a search on the keyword terms.  He wasn’t in our prior meetings so he missed our discussion.  He had a valid question and a common misinterpretation.

As I explained, the company has, and will continue to, receive type-in traffic from those keyword domain names.  But in order to reap SEO benefits, these pages would have to be developed to some extent, which would require an additional investment by the company.   This investment, I believe, would quickly pay for itself in the form of increased sales.  I’d like to point out that I am not an SEO expert, nor is this a service I sell.

Developing these pages is a decision my client will need to make, but I thought this was a good example to share describing the differences between redirecting a domain and developing one.

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BP Gets UGLY

This week I came across some more good generic names in use by some major corporations and some by some smaller companies as well.  Even one that’s probably not owned by the company it’s pointing to, but seems highly justified.  These sites are clearly benefiting from type-in traffic and the names are being used wisely.

Just another list supporting the beauty of generic keyword domain names.

  1. BabySitters.com goes to Sitters.com
  2. Flash.com goes to Adobe.com
  3. Litter.com points to TidyCats.com
  4. Plants.com forwards to StokesTropicals.com
  5. English.com forwards to PearsonPTE.com (Pearsons Test of English)
  6. UGLY.com loads the BP.com site, although I don’t think BP is aware of this.
  7. News.com goes to news.cnet.com
  8. Kegs.com goes to www.brew-magic.com (the generic is far better than the final domain)
  9. Corks.com to AmorimCork.com
  10. Soccer.com is the doamin for Eurosport

Have some you’d like to see listed?  Send them my way and I’ll add them in a future post and credit your name in the post.


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More Examples of Generic Domains in Action

By now, you you probably know this is one of my favorite things to do.  That is, point out how companies are using generic keyword domains to further promote their business.  I’ve mentioned how I like to drop examples in conversations with prospective buyers to hint at how this can help them promote their own business.  I see it as a form of education for the prospect.  Here are some more examples I’ve come across.

  1. Weigh.com forwards to Totalcomp.com (Scales)
  2. Worms.com is the site for 1-800 COMPOST
  3. Words.com to Dictionary.com
  4. Poontang.com goes to JustFreePorn.com
  5. Glasses.com goes to 1800contacts.com
  6. Fuses.com goes to littelfuse.com
  7. BarberChair.com SalonFurniture.com
  8. SnowBlowers.com goes to Loftness.com (commercial products)
  9. RidingLawnmowers.com goes to GrasshopperMowers.com
  10. Porkchops.com is the Calumet Diversified Meats company site.

The evidence is endless.  Why are these companies using generic keyword domains?  Because it works!

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Leaving Money On The Table

A common discussion item I hear is that people fear selling a domain for too low of a price.  In fact, that first sale that I made and discussed on a forum received some heat for the amount I sold it for because the buyer had a nondisclosure clause in the contract.  Obviously because of the nondisclosure, I didn’t discuss the name of the domain or the buyer, just the fact made a sale and what it went for.  Some people thought that because of that clause, the buyer must have perceived the value of the domain to be much higher than my asking price.  That may or may not have been true.  I was pleased with the amount I received and it was far greater than what I had purchased the name for.  But that criticism had me wondering.

Looking back on that sale, I think the price was quite fair.  It was a good name at a good price.  I have gone into some sales discussions with a high number in mind, and ultimately lost the sale because of that.  Will the same name sell in the future for what I was hoping?  Who knows, that’s part of the risk.  It maybe that you’re better off settling for a definite sale at a lower amount than holding off for the jackpot that might not come.    Some of those names I would have been happy with much less and probably would have sold them if I had started at a more reasonable price.  The reverse holds true as well, I have a few domains, even hand regs, that I am willing to hold onto for the long haul, until the right offer surfaces.  I’d almost rather let them drop than let them go at less than my target.  Long term, you’ll probably sell some names for less than they’re worth and some for more than they’re worth.

Bottom line is that the market decides the value of your domains, not you.  As a seller, you need to ask yourself some serious questions and be at peace with your answers.  It will cease to be enjoyable if you second guess your decisions.  Take every day as a learning opportunity.

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Even More Companies That Find Value In KeyWord Domains

As you might expect, I send out emails several times per week looking for end users for domains.  I received a call from one recipient of my email that didn’t understand what I was trying to convey.  Once I explained, she said “why would companies want to buy a domain name if they already have a website?”   She wasn’t trying to be a smart ass, she was actually asking so that she could understand where I was coming from.

I used this as a good opportunity to drop a couple of the previous examples I had posted.  To be exact, I used the “Toohpaste.com points to Crest.com” and “Honda also uses Scooters.com to get more visitors to their site.”  At that moment, she got it, and she realized the benefit.  Unfortunately, she was not a decision maker for the company but ensured me she would get my message to the right person…. we’ll see.

But since I love this concept, I have a few more examples to share.

  1. Drinks.com goes to DiamondStandardVodka.com
  2. Eat.com goes to Ragu.com
  3. Sleep.com goes to Mattress.com
  4. Drumsticks.com is register to Zildjan, but when I checked the name did not resolve to any site.
  5. Shades.com directs to SunglassHut.com
  6. Chips.com goes to Intel.com (I was expecting potato chips)
  7. BabyBottles.com goes to iis.net, a Microsoft site (and I have no idea why)
  8. Locks.com is Acme Security System’s main site
  9. Storage.com goes to ExtraSpaceStorage.com
  10. Lift.com goes to OtisWorldWide.com (elevators)

Let me know if you are aware of any others or when you come across some.  I love these.

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