500 billion cups of coffee served a year. Every time I reach for one of those wooden stir sticks at Starbucks for a 3 second stir of my coffee I get creeped out thinking of those logging trucks full of beautiful trees rolling out of the British Columbia forests. If you already know about industrial hemp, this will make a lot of sense. But whether it’s hemp or flax or sunflower stocks – why can’t we get a non-plastic stir stick for our coffee that doesn’t hurt trees?
Domaining ethics? Do I hear you laughing? See a lot of strange, creepy, domaining going on? This post will offer a suggestion for how we can make a positive contribution as well. But first…
I’m always shocked when I hear about giant corporate brands not ‘getting’ domain names–spending huge dollars advertising billboard slogans they haven’t even registered as domain names. We read about it in a blog or Forum post, often from the domainer who registered the slogan. I don’t have a problem with this if the slogan or phrase commandeered for the advertising campaign comes out of the public space. If the advertiser has taken the time and expense to develop their own slogan, then they should have had the sense to register the domain. Some do.
Personally, I would register a last OR first name (for ultimate sale to an end user), but not a first-last personal name. Holding personal names hostage with $2k price tags seems kind of creepy to me. Are people making money doing that? Personal names are protected from cybersquatting.
And of course, the darker side of domaining–typosquatting.
I know I made a few Trademark blunders right off the bat. But after reading about URDP decisions and getting it drilled into us from every corner of the Domainosphere we figure it out. I guess there must be money in it. Plug any brand name into DomainTool’s typo-checker and you discover domainers with hundreds or thousands of domains. Have a look.
And what about domainers that register and park .com versions of well-known non-profits with .org domains? Isn’t that sleezy?
Then there’s the ambulance chasers. Just to see, I looked into what was available the morning after that kid died from suicide online a few weeks ago (November 2008). Wow! Everything I could think of related to OnlineSuicide was gone. (What’s the business model there again?)
ERROR: ONLINESUICIDE.COM is unavailable and has been removed.
ERROR: SUICIDEONLINE.COM is unavailable and has been removed.
ERROR: SUICIDELIVE.COM is unavailable and has been removed.
ERROR: DEADCAM.COM is unavailable and has been removed.
ERROR: WEBICIDE.COM is unavailable and has been removed.
ERROR: WEBSUICIDE.COM is unavailable and has been removed.
ERROR: INTERNETSUICIDE.COM is unavailable and has been removed.
I do think that great domain names can bubble out of the news. But trying to figure out how to profit from other people’s tragedy is exactly the kind of behavior that makes domainers look bad.
Making a positive contribution as a domainer?
Here’s an example. I’m not meaning to blow my own horn here. I really just wanted to help the guy out, and the reason I’m writing about it is because I think it might be a way for domainers to generate some good will.
The thing is, after all your reading and research, you, as a domainer, have a valuable set of skills that can easily and affordably be used to do good.
In this case, I was listening to a podcast, KUSC’s Weekly Signals. An interview with Tyler Boudreau, twelve-year veteran of the Marine Corps infantry, on the subject of his new book, Packing Inferno: The Unmaking of a Marine. It’s a fascinating story…
Boudreau is a twelve-year veteran of the Marine Corps infantry. He trained and committed himself physically and intellectually to the military life. Then his intense devotion began to disintegrate, bit by bit, during his final mission in Iraq. After returning home, he discovered a turmoil developing in his mind, estranging him from his loved ones and the bill of goods he eagerly purchased as a marine officer.
I couldn’t help but notice that at the end of the interview Tyler could barely remember his own blog URL. I only found it when I got home because I had written it down. http://www.deeperthanwars.blogspot.com/. I also checked out the url for his non-profit http://collaborativerevolution.org/ It turned out to be parked. So I decided to do a bit of pro-active domaining on behalf of Tyler.
I bought him PackingInferno.com and also CollaborativeRevolution.com. My thinking was that I could make a much larger impact with a $15 donation in the form of domain names. I did it first and then sent him an email about my donation afterwards.
I listened to your interview on WeeklySignals. I heard it as a podcast just yesterday.
As someone who spends a lot of time looking at/for domain names I couldn’t help
but notice that you had a little trouble with your blog URL on the air. Then when
I got home I checked out CollaborativeRevolution.org and found a parked page, i.e.
you bought the domain name but don’t have any content there yet (so what we see
is the ads the registrar puts there in the meantime).
I also found that PackingInferno.com and CollaborativeRevolution.com were available.
I purchased both those domain names and offer them to you as a donation. Right
now I have them pointing to your deeperthanwars blog. If anyone types either URL
into their browser they will end up at your blog.
If you would feel better actually owning the domains I’m happy to transfer them to
you. That would be to a GoDaddy account, as that’s where I have them registered.
If you open a (free to open) account there I can easily ‘push’ them to you without
any money having to be spent.
I just thought you had a very compelling story and hope that a lot of people hear it.
I’m thinking that being able to tell people to go to PackingInferno.com will make it
easier for them to find you.
Tyler wrote back and was very grateful…
“Thank you for your interest and your help. Above and beyond! Excellent.”
It turned out that in the meantime Tyler had picked up tylerboudreau.com–he was on the case! Not the easiest domain to spell, but between us I think we have it covered now. Tyler’s doing a lot of readings and planning a summer bicycle book tour. Tyler has an important message. I’m just happy to be able to help make it a little easier for people to connect to.
Do you have a favorite charity, cause, or non-profit? Check out their domains. You might be able to easily help them out with .com purchase for their .org. You might see an obvious domain acquisition that would get them some organic traffic. Leverage your domaining skills to help spread a message you care about.
P.S. Do you have a philanthropic domaining story? Please feel free to post it in the comments or send me an email and I’ll be happy to post it on the blog.
Things have changed but I still have…
As a matter of fact I recently got my hands on Trixters.com as well!
PRICE FOR TWO DOMAINS $6000.
From Stars and Stripes:
Not playing around: Army to invest $50M in combat training games
November 23, 2008 …Game development has become a multibillion-dollar industry in recent years, with large game studios employing thousands of developers and sales that compete with Hollywood’s blockbusters.
…In addition to the $50 million, the Army gaming unit has an undisclosed additional budget to purchase a state-of-the-art commercial video game system that will be fielded for training in February.
And if the military develops its own games, wouldn’t they be freely released and have little or no copyright restrictions as in (I’m not a lawyer!) public domain? I found free games to download from the Army, Navy and Air Force. One could easily have CombatTrainingGames.com up and running as a download hub or directory for these and future games coming from militaries all over the world.
Or maybe you have an inside connection with the military. It was difficult to find those free game downloads. Might not someone in a position of power see the wisdom of having a one-stop download site for all the US Military’s various combat training games?
Hell, this always happens. By the time I finish researching all the possibilities around a good name, I don’t want to sell it any more.
But with all that money floating around combat training games, doesn’t it seem like $1000 is a reasonable price to ask for the category-killer domain name? What do you think?
Domain Names For Sale:
FireCrews.com Google: 832,000 for “fire crews”
PrivateFireCrew.com 34 for “private fire crew”
PrivateFireCrews.com 2,280 for “private fire crews”
Why generic domain names are a better way to brand your business.
Photo by Oldonliner
Price for three domains $3500.
A recent LA Times headline
Private fire crews gaining ground in the field
Hopefully you’ll never need one, but if you did, do you think it possible you’d soon find yourself at PrivateFireCrews.com?
Or maybe you’ve got a couple of summers of US Forest Service firefighting under your belt and you’re ready to put your crew on the market. Need a domain name?
Perhaps you’re a just a savvy domainer with experience in the Job/Recruiting CPA affiliate marketing end of things and you know how to turn these domains into little online oil wells. I may end up developing these. But right now they’re for sale. Please contact me if you’re interested.
- Private fire crews raise questions
- Private California Fire Crews Find Rich Niche
- Wealthy Calif. homeowners get private fire crews
- Wildfires fuel demand for private crews
- Risky business: Growth of private fire crews worries forest officials
- Saving million-dollar homes – Insurance company sends in private fire crew to protect expensive homes
- Finding Wildland Firefighting Employment Online
- USDA Forest Service Jobs
“Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic anxiety disorder most commonly characterized by obsessive, distressing, intrusive thoughts and related compulsions (tasks or “rituals”) which attempt to neutralize the obsessions.” (Wikipedia)
If you’re an OCD domainer (OCDomainer.com available as of 10/17/08) the ‘Drop’ is very likely to become a ritual you feel compelled to perform daily. Ask me how I know. The Drop has all the ingredients necessary to inspire a full-blown obsession. It’s seductive. There’s the mystery–information is a little hard to come by. It’s full of possibility–”With my special knowledge around the topic of (DNA Gene Sequencing, Farley Torque Sprockets, Gaspers) I might discover the Dropping Gem that will catapult me into the sphere of Elite Domainers! (You picture yourself shaking Frank’s hand). Maybe you stumble upon a story of catching an expired name, like this one, (It’s a little dated, add NameJet.com to the list of back-ordering services, but still the best overview I’ve come across). Or maybe you stumble upon a site like DropDude.com or GoDrops.com – a lot of action going on here with The Drop. It could be a forum post, where you read someone nonchalantly boasting about catching ‘spareparts.com’ in The Drop for Reg. fee. “Maybe I should look into this!”.
So you start collecting details and one day you hit a goldmine of drop information like these posts from DotWeekly.com:
Domain Name Drop Times and Partner Domains, and Tips for using Redrops.com. Inspiration! Maybe this ‘insider seeming’ info will help open the gates to Domain Riches!
However you come to it, sooner or later you end up with a very long list of deleting domains on your screen. A VERY long list.
And one morning around 11am PDT you start loading your names into GoDaddy’s bulk checker 500 at a time. Harvesting the Availables you scan them for desirability. Whew! What a load of junk! Who would have registered this crap in the first place? No wonder they’re dropping. Wait, what’s that? NewportBeachPizzas.com? Hmm… would this be a good candidate for my ‘Geo Portfolio’? Let’s Reg it! Oops, gone already.
A couple of days (weeks, months) of this and you’re thinking, “There’s got to be a better way. Maybe I should look for the names I want first and only try to catch those!” So begins the search for a method to massage that list into something useful, hopefully valuable.
You get lucky and the first site you find is one of the best, LazyMate.com. Or you mess around with spreadsheets and bang your head against Excel’s raw ugliness. Maybe you have a favorite text editor that lets you search using Grep. Finally, poking around in tomorrow’s list you discover a couple of domains anybody would want. And a few dozen more that you’d have to think twice about.
Round 2. 11am PDT. GoDaddy bulk checker at the ready. And they’re off! Over the next hour you plug your list into the checker over and over waiting/hoping one of the names you covet will become available long enough for you to register it. But, unless you’re looking for some pretty obscure stuff, you don’t. Somebody else gets them. “Who’s getting these great names? It’s like Free Money falling from the sky.” Who indeed!
Inside a Drop Catcher’s War Room Command Post! War Room! Quite a bit of competition for these dropping names (and that was written in 2004). I guess I’m a little behind the curve. The Big Boys have Armies of Servers at their disposal. So what are they leaving on the table?
This takes you to the next tier of The Drop– Back-Ordering companies, who for a fee, will use their army of servers to try and grab the domain you want as it drops. They’re in competition against each other, so if you want that name you’ll register it at all of them, or at least the big three: SnapNames, NameJet, and Pool. If you’re the only bidder and your back order gets won, congratulations, you become the new owner of the domain. But if more than one person had the domain on back-order then the domain enters into auction and you may well find yourself bidding against some very deep pockets. I got lucky a few times–grabbed a domain that wasn’t on anyone else’s radar for $60. Spent more money than I wanted to a couple of times– $400 I couldn’t afford for a development domain I still have parked a year later. And got blown out of the bidding immediately a few times where a domain I thought might be under the radar had been spotted by a dozen deep-pocket domainers who bid it way out of my league.
But with so many domains dropping daily there MUST be great names falling between the cracks, so what else are the ‘little guys’ doing with The Drop?
Aha! There are scripts and an API! And DomainResearchTool (alas, PC only)– Scan large lists looking for expired domains with traffic! You can run your own version of the War Room! No more manual GoDaddy submissions. DropDude offers the Dynadot Drop Catcher. (Also check out Jason’s article on his business model, The Flip). See how it’s done live with other domainers at GoDrop’s Live Chat and Drop. I also signed up for the daily list of best-of-available-drops emailed 3 times a week from DailyDomainDrop.com.
So what are these guys catching? Good stuff? Well… I guess it depends on how you measure the results, right? If you measure it by ROI, then Jason at DropDude, using his self-hosted script method, scoring mostly Premium LLLL.nets, is probably doing pretty good. He seems to be making about 200% on an $8 name, i.e. flipping it for $20-30 without too much trouble. The other guys I mention seem to be more about building inventory than flipping. Domain inventory might turn out to have some value. Or it might not.
Here’s a short list of the kind of domains people are catching off The Drop themselves with their various methods.
“The 4 I grabbed were, elnt.net, lghg.net, rgfc.net and thcb.net.”
“I got lucky today, picked up 8 quad premium llll.net domain names. I am already looking to unload them at my standard $9 price tag. These small sales are what helps me fund other projects like the one I started yesterday.”
“I grabbed dumpsterdivers.net yesterday and have already started it on it’s way to a money making mini-site.”
GoDrops (See also: GoDrops Grabs)
babyheadstart.com, fasthandyman.com, excellentringtones.com, 17452.com, d-w-a.net, publicsurf.com
17164.com, 30997.com, tintwindow.com, 5051.net, geobabes.com, beerscore.com, f-d-a.net, humboo.com
DailyDomainDrops (List published as available drops).
DialogueBlog.com, GeoPatrol.com, HiTechAnalyst.com, LiveSeeker.com, MemberCam.com
SatelliteEye.com, ScottsdaleEstatePlanning.com, SoCalNights.com, IsraelAccommodations.com
BritainAccommodations.com, GreatBritainAccommodations.com, GreenerClothes.com
GreenRecreation.com, YourAnchorage.com, YourProvidence.com, YourSaltLakeCity.com
And on and on.
Now, I didn’t call my blog DomainNoob for nothing. Frankly I’m not making ANY money domaining (apart from a tiny bit of Parked PPC) so what do I know? But personally, I’m sort of baffled by a lot of the attention paid to these long-tail double keyword domains, and also the whole LLLL phenomenon. I don’t really get this part of the market. I look at the auction lists and understand why those names are going for big bucks. I subscribe to Rick Latona‘s Daily Domains Newsletter, and the prices for those domains make sense. It’s just this short end of the marketplace that I’m not making any sense of.
And if these are the kinds of domains I’m going to find left over between the cracks after combing through deleting domain lists until my eyes bleed I have to ask myself–Is it really worth the trouble?
What do you think?
This will be a lightly posted blog where from time to time I’ll attempt to document one of my domain experiments. “Fail Fast!”. they say. Well I’m three years into an OCD relationship with domains and domaining and the only reason I may even yet be breaking even is because of what got me started in all this- a completely random Black Swan of a domain sale. I owned my name.com and a handful of ‘idea’ domains I had eventual plans for. Plans that would require a lot of development I couldn’t do myself. About 6 years ago I got an email with a $200 offer for one of my idea domains. What? A totally obscure name- a quote from Spinal Tap- You want to buy it?!! The idea was worth more to me than $200 so I passed. I heard from him a couple more times and about three years ago he came up with a mid 4 figure offer and I said sure. Since then I’ve been learning as much as I can about domains. I have a motley collection of around 300 names that are probably mostly extremely average. I’ve recently decided that the only way to really know their worth is to start trying to sell some.
Perhaps in the telling of some stories I’ll help a few people just starting out. Perhaps I’ll attract a mentor or at least some sage advice. Or maybe in the writing thereof, it will become apparent to me that I have no business trying to be a domainer- that I’m just not cut out for it.
Are you also in the newbie phase of your domaining career? I invite guest posts from anyone with a story to tell. If you see a post that inspires a comment, please consider writing a post instead. I promise minimal (but some) editorial oversight.