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.
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.
A selection of names acquired over the last six months. Hundreds of hours pouring over domain drop lists and navigating the auction sites so that you don’t have to. For more information or to make an offer, email me (If you don’t hear back it slipped into the spam folder – please try again).
More great names here and here! Contact form, or…
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!
Rand Fishkin, SEO expert-founder of Moz.com, reviewed choosing a domain name recently. If you’re about to launch a company the video provides an excellent approach to finding the right domain. Rand doesn’t discuss the costs of his various examples. You can bet, for example that Gusto.com cost ZenPayroll an easy quarter million when they rebranded last year (2015).
Here’s the list of acceptable domains that Rand comes up with in the video. For fun, lets have a look at what it might take to get one of these.
PastaLabs.com is taken. In fact it’s registered to Moz! It’s parked using Enom DNS servers. PastaLab.com is owned by someone in Korea.
LandOfNoodles.com Congratulations, LandOfNoodles.com is available for registration fee! 7/26/16
MyPasta.com Is owned by the Campbell Soup company and forwards to Prego.com
PastaScience.com Hey, another Moz registration! About a year old. Again, parked with ENOM.
ThePenneIsMightier.com Registered to someone in LA who, considering they also have penneismightier.com, is probably starting a business.
PastaPerfected.com Hmm, not in the Whois database, but also not available? In transition? PastaPerfect.com has a private registration and doesn’t resolve.
Gusto.com Discussed above. Can’t get anywhere near Gusto except for obscure new TLDs.
HandCut.com Forwards to a crystal glass company.
Well, we found one at least! Certainly it’s pronounceable. Rand liked this one. I’m not crazy about it.
But the point wasn’t to find a great domain, it was to demonstrate what to look for.
1) Make it brandable.
2) Make it pronounceable.
3) Make it as short as you possibly can, but no shorter.
4) Bias to .com.
5) Avoid names that infringe on another company or another organization’s existing trademark or could be confused with that trademark.
6) Make the domain name instantly intuitive.
7) Use broad keywords when sensible, but don’t stress keyword inclusion.
8) If your name isn’t available, it’s okay to append or modify it.
Uniregistry recently shared a list of domains and prices they sold over the last year or so for a total of $42 Million! Namebio published the list on their blog.
Recent unpublished comments to this blog remind me that a lot of people hate anyone who owns a domain they’re not using (let alone companies like Uniregistry that hold millions). These people are confused and this excellent article from Bill Sweetman might help them get clarity. Taken: The Myth of Domain Name Unavailability
Jason Goldberg is the founder and CEO of FAB. In this excerpt from an interview with Kevin Rose, Jason tells us how he was able to get Fab.com for a ‘low six figures’ and Kevin tells us what he paid for Oink.com.
[Update 6/16/17 From DNGeek.com]
Virtual Piggy Rebrands As Oink – Oink.com Virtual Piggy, a payments service aimed at minors rebranded as Oink in late 2013 after buying the domain, trademarks, and social marks from Kevin Rose for $57,500. Founder and CEO Jo Webber told TechCrunch that the reason was strategic: “Piggy” sounded too infantile but “Oink” lets them retain some of the branding association with piggy banks while sounding more punchy in a way that will resonate better with the older end of the youth market — or so the company believes.
For more information or to make an offer please email me. More great names here!
(Where a Twitter handle is mentioned, I’m happy to transfer it to you for free at the conclusion of a domain sale.) Contact form, or email me…
Most of these domains are priced low to mid 4 figures.
Need a domain to run a market test? I’ll point the DNS to your test if you’ll share the data.
Are these domains an appropriate quality/price point, but not in your vertical? I can find you a domain.
Lots more elsewhere in the blog or email me!
I’m still here. Still have a few hundred what I feel are awesome names for sale. Others I’m getting closer to being able to develop myself. I sell a handful a year. Some of the names on this blog have sold. I keep hoping one will turn into a Unicorn. But a few things have happened that have caused me to pull energy out of domaining.
I have absolutely no interest in the new gtlds. None.
It seems to me the market has gotten a lot tighter over the last year. It’s harder and harder to pick up a decent dot com using my previous methods. The wholesale prices I’m seeing being paid for crap domains makes me feel like a handful of players with deep pockets and clever bots are intent in owning the entire domain space (though Chinese domain investors are certainly adding to the froth).
But what led me to cut back drastically on my domaining is that Godaddy quit displaying closing prices on domains in my Watching List! It started in March. A Godaddy Twitter response said it was due to the ‘quiet period’ around the IPO. Then the IPO ended.
Aww C'mon @godaddyauctions@Godaddy The IPO is over. Give us back closing sale prices in our Watching list. You're taking the fun out of it!
If I spend an hour combing through thousands of domains to find a handful that are interesting, shouldn’t the platform reward me by allowing me to confirm my hunches? Or conversely, If Godaddy doesn’t value my time on their platform enough to even share price data on the domains I decide to watch, what does it say about their attitude towards me, their loyal customer?
I would guess that a new manager took over the auctions at Godaddy after the IPO and decided that too many domains were slipping through their fingers for $12. And so decided to pressure users to make bids in order to see results. That’s what it felt like and that’s low!
And then they bought Afternic! Plunging head first into the domain resale business. Yuck!
How long do you think it will be before they start warehousing drops and putting premium pricing on those?
Godaddy was the last bastion of the fair shake for the little guy when it came to domains. But the lure of just a little more profit seems to have dragged them into the slime with all the rest.