John Legend tells Marc Maron on the WTF Podcast episode 1137 how a young Nabil Elderkin leveraged ‘squatting’ the KanyeWest.com domain into a career changing relationship. Meeting Nabil lead to John meeting his future wife Chrissy Teigen!
His big break came when he befriended the then relatively unknown rap artist Kanye West. Elderkin had heard a Kanye West mixtape and had tried to contact the rapper by looking up www.kanyewest.com. The website came up as unregistered but available for registration, so he bought the domain name on an impulse. Three weeks later an executive from Roc-A-Fella Records contacted Elderkin to tell him the label had just signed Kanye West to a multi-album deal and wanted to know how much he was asking for the domain name. Elderkin wasn’t interested in a payment for the domain and preferred to transfer the domain name provided he could meet the new artist and do a photoshoot with him, these images went on to be the artist’s first publicity photos. John Legend also happened to be at the photoshoot which led to the two forming a relationship, and future video work together where Elderkin introduced Legend to his future wife, Chrissy Teigen.
No doubt there is a lot of shady stuff that goes on around domain names. And a lot of hate generated as a result. Occasionally I’ll see a domain dropping or in the auctions I think should rightfully belong to someone and rather than let it fall back into the endless churn I’ll nab it and try to get it to its ‘rightful owner’. I’ve also reached out to non-profits and startups with their namesake dropping to let them know it’s heading for auction or available to register. I call this ‘goodwill domaining’.
In this case I saw that BruceSpringstein.com was winding down in the Godaddy auctions. It had a bid against it and to keep track of it I placed a bid as well and was later surprised to see I’d won the domain. Looking for a channel by which to communicate I ran across this WIPO case for the domain BruceSpringsteen.com where Bruce and his legal team LOST a dispute against notorious (Canadian I’m embarrassed to say) cybersquatter Jeff Burgar. Bruce hosts his site at BruceSpringsteen.net as a result.
I researched the lawyer’s names and available info in the WIPO case and didn’t find an obvious way to connect. The WHOIS for BruceSpringsteen.net shows the domain is handled by MarkMonitor. I’ve sent a couple of emails their way but what usually leads to being contacted is forwarding the domain to a contact splash page where I’m clear about the domain being a gift and how to contact me. I’ll forward the domain to this post. I encourage the domainers among you to keep an eye out for the opportunity to help out a non-profit, Mom & Pop business, or someone you’re a fan of. It might only cost you a few bucks and you know how much the right domain can mean to someone.
Excerpt from the ‘Getting a Billion People Working From Home‘ episode of the My First Million podcast with Shaan Puri. The entire episode (linked to above) is great but I wanted to focus on what Jason Chicola shares about naming his company and acquiring the domain. He demonstrates some hard-earned wisdom in his approach.
Chicola spent $400k to acquire Rev.com (a huge part of their assets at the time).
Started off with a funky (animal + keyword) $12 Godaddy domain to make clear and specific their initial product offering. Knew it was temporary. “Spend no time at the beginning thinking about a name because the odds that your business is going to work are not super high”.
Only later when the business was working and they’d found a good product/market fit did he prioritize naming the company.
“It’s really a two part problem. One is picking a name that you love, and then figuring out can you get the domain name”.
Hired two domain brokers to research his name list.
Used Mechanical Turk to evaluate names…”What three words does this name evoke?”
For more information or to make an offer, email me.
Most of my domains are priced low to mid 4 figures.
I’m up for creative deals.
Like the names but not your niche? I can find you a great name for a reasonable price.
Lots more elsewhere in the blog or email me!
Change Your Name
“If you have a US startup called X and you don’t have x.com, you should probably change your name.
The reason is not just that people can’t find you. For companies with mobile apps, especially, having the right domain name is not as critical as it used to be for getting users. The problem with not having the .com of your name is that it signals weakness.”
–Paul Graham 8, 2015
Brutal Honesty: The Developer CEO & Our Journey
So, in the end, we went with a terrible domain name – “teamworkpm.net”. Could it be worse? Captain Hindsight says we should have called it GetTeamwork.com
The upgrade to Teamwork.com cost them $675k
So you found the name you’ve been looking for. You contacted me with an email, we’ve come to an agreement on the price. Then what? How does the domain become yours? It goes like this:
I initiate a transaction at Escrow.com
Escrow emails you and if you don’t already have one, you sign up for an Escrow account. Once you accept the terms of the sale that I’ve listed (as per our negotiation) I will get an email from Escrow stating so. Escrow will now ask you to fund the transaction. Your money goes to Escrow.com.
Once Escrow has the funds, they email me with the go ahead to begin the domain transfer.
I will have already collected from you your Godaddy account# and the email address that is associated with that account. I begin a ‘push’ from my Godaddy account to yours.
Once the domain has transferred to your account, you inform Escrow.com that you are in possession of the domain. Only then are the funds released to me.
Why Escrow.com? Because they’re very good, very secure, and their pricing is fair. If you’re new to Escrow you may be asked to provide some form of identification to confirm your account. Although it can be part of the negotiation, typically the buyer pays escrow fees. The fees will depend on the amount of the transaction and the form of payment. You can calculate escrow fees here: https://www.escrow.com/fee-calculator.
Once Escrow informs me that the funds have been deposited, I initiate the domain transfer to your Godaddy account. Even if you don’t normally use Godaddy as your registrar, I highly recommend going this route because it is by far the easiest. I will simply need your Godaddy account # and the email address that associates with that account.
If you’re new to the Godaddy interface, finding your new domain can be a bit daunting. It will be found in the Domain Manager Control Panel top left under the Domains dropdown (next to DNS) in Pending Account Changes > Incoming Account Changes.
Once you accept the domain it goes into your account and you have full control of it. You can begin using it immediately. If for some reason you’re not comfortable with doing the transfer at Godaddy I would suggest using Escrow’s ‘Concierge’ service. More expensive, but hands on help in doing the transfer (explained very well here). Once you have possession of the domain (there is an ‘inspection’ period, but expediting this part of the process is greatly appreciated) you let Escrow know you’ve received it, at which point they release the funds to me. At each step of the process Escrow updates with emails. The transaction is updated in your Escrow account as each step is completed. If it’s your turn to take action it will be stated there as well.