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Is Owning the”Dot Com” Still Necessary?

Is Owning the”Dot Com” Still Necessary?

Is Owning the"Dot Com" Still Necessary?

Recently, I had lunch with two very smart guys, and one of the main topics was whether or not a new company needs a dot com in its website address.  It was an interesting conversation.

If you have tried to register a domain name recently, you understand where this is going.  Seemingly every two to three word combination of words followed by a dot com has already been registered.  One word domain names?  Forget it — gone ages ago.  But if you choose a lesser regarded dot net or dot org, then you can own nearly anything you want.  In fact, while nearlyanything.com is taken, nearlyanything.net, .org and .info are wide open.  Looks like nearlyanything.com is owned by a squatter who is sitting on it with the hope that one day the next Steve Jobs will offer him a million bucks for it.  (My fellow squatters know who you are.)

This story starts with a new business idea that I and a few partners have been discussing for the past few months.  It has to do with how companies deal with rogue bloggers and stems from an experience we had with a client earlier this year.  The concept is to offer a way for companies to effectively respond to negative blog posts written about them online, and I thought I had come up with the perfect name: Web WatchDog.  Not only did the name fit the message but I fell in “business love” with it.  Of course, webwatchdog.com was already registered but I was undaunted.  I bought webwatchdog.us and decided “damn the torpedoes,” full-speed ahead.

Then I went to lunch.  The smart guys at the table said they thought the new business idea was a solid one, but what about the dot com?  If we wanted the entity to be the “Web Watchdog” they said, then we needed the dot com.

“But, but, but,” I protested.   I said these days, doesn’t the value of the domain have more to do with what you do with it than the address?  I suggested that the word Google meant nothing before it was marketed  Amazon is a river first and a retailer second  And I then I offered that I know of successful businesses that don’t have the dot com.

I was shot down.  Almighty Google is a dot com as is Amazon.  New companies that choose to go without the dot com must have enough marketing firepower to counter the downside.  And what if you build your brand and then a competitor forks over the dough to buy the dot com associated with your name.  Not a good situation.  Overall assessment: A company is better off owning their dot com.

In this instance, I decided to try to buy the dot com; and if I didn’t get it, be prepared to change the name.  Alas.

Later that day, I called the guy who owns the domain and asked if he was willing to sell.  Turns out that he was a domain name broker, and he was absolutely willing.  I asked how much he wanted for it?  He said: “I generally don’t like to give a price as I have found it works better if you make me an offer first.”  Voice in my head: “This is not going to end well.”  We went back and forth on his philosophy, and it reached its frustrating peak when I said “when I’m selling something, I generally disclose what the price is.”  In the end, the broker said he was looking for at least five figures for the domain — way out of the ball park.

While I could go into a full-phased rant regarding the guy’s sales technique and analyze why he’s holding out for five figures for a domain he has owned for eight years, I will not.

One reason is that I also happen to be a domain name squatter, but I’m fairly confident that none are worth five figures.  Here are some that I own and why:

  • MiamiPRFirm.com and several variations.  Why: to control web real estate in my market.
  • EmmaDavid.com and JackDavid.com.  Bought them for my kids.
  • Blogifact.com.  Early working name for the reputation management entity.
  • ProjectCuba.com.  Just seems like a name someone will want someday, hopefully sooner than later.
  • Roverback.com.  Sounds kind of cool and I was surprised it was available.

Are you squatting on any dot coms, hoping for a future payout that will fund your retirement?  Ever had someone make an offer?  I would enjoy hearing your stories.

As for our new business idea, we have chosen a new name and one I have also fallen in “business love” with.  Soon I will be telling you more about WebFactCheck.com.  It’s a business concept that we believe has great potential.  The website was just completed, so if you choose to visit, you will see the angle we are taking.  And you will also see that it ends in dot com.



Author: John P. David

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