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Attacking Domainers

So, you might be wondering how we picked up 600 prime geo domains using the .IN extension so quickly. I'm going to go over how we went about making the most with our funds by targeting and attacking domainers.

While a large number of those domains were drops, over 100 of the domains we bought were purchased through private negotiations over the span of just over a month. And these aren't the dregs. Those 100+ names include 23 states, all of the provinces in Canada, 5 of the top 30 cities in the US and 2 top 10 Canadian cities. In total, those names represent hundreds of millions of search queries a month.

When we first started investing in .IN geo domains, we were looking just for available reg fee names. We found hundreds of top names from the US, UK and Canada that had either never been reg'd or had been dropped. I personally felt like we were at the right place at the right time. All of the names we were registering were taken in every extension known to man. When the .ws and the .cc's are all taken, but the .IN isn't, that is an opportunity and we made the most of it. But once we started the planning process for developing out our .IN geos, it was clear we needed more than just dropped names in order to make our ideas work. .IN is very relevant for finding information, people, businesses and events IN your city. Way better than .ME, shorter and more commercial opportunities than .INFO, just as risky as .TV and yet .IN has the potential for a broader range of content. And with enough names, we had the opportunity to essentially turn .IN into our Geo domain brand. But in order to do that we needed a massive collection of top tier domain names.

You see, before we started, there was only 1 "developed" .IN geo domain across the entire US, UK and Canadian market. Not just 1 of the top 10 cities. Only 1 total in all of Canada, UK and the US. There were a few "one pagers" but they were the exception, not the rule. And that one "developed" site... well... it wasn't exactly making headlines about how great a site it was either. If 99.9% of the exact match geo domain names using the .IN extension are all undeveloped, even if we hold 10% or 25% of the market, we are in trouble. Dot coms are successful because people trust that when they type in Their City.com, there will be a developed, relevant site there. In order for .IN to be successful, in order for it to be a trusted "brand", we had to hold a majority of the .IN domains and make those sites great. As good if not better than the dotcom. We also had to ensure that the other stake holders in the .IN geo domain space were serious about developing content for their sites or else we would all suffer. And so we started our investigation into who held those undeveloped .IN domains. What we found was that there were really only a handful of people who mattered.

Domainers like buying up domains by the dozen. It's much more efficient to target those individuals then to try to negotiate one domain at a time from some bloke who lives in the city he owns and who thinks it's the most valuable domain ever. There are also some domain holders who have the ability to hold out and will likely never sell their entire portfolio of names. They know who they are, they know what they've got and they aren't selling for less than a small fortune per name. But then there are those domainers who are vulnerable. They need to sell some names in order to pay for their renewals. They need to sell because they lost their job. They need to sell and they will take whatever offer you give them. Those are the ones you target. You search those out and you attack them and you take every one of the names you care about with you.

This isn't easy. We spent many, many days researching, planning, making contacts and trying to get to know who we were dealing with. And then when we made contact, we made sure that we were taken seriously. There isn't a single person we contacted that we didn't get a response from. There were only two domainers we contacted that we threw out because they weren't willing to deal. In all, we made a half dozen deals or so, and the best deals we got were the ones where we purchased the greatest number of domains in one big batch. The bigger the portfolio, the cheaper the price per domain. When you buy one and two domains, you pay many times more per domain name than you would if you buy 10 or 20 at a time. Buy in bulk, develop in bulk. Ignore the little one and two domain deals and focus on the portfolio holders... the ones who have to sell. You can always scrape up the little guys later - heck, they'll probably come to you. And when you are big enough, the guys who aren't willing to deal, well... they'll realize they don't have a choice because you're the only game in town.

7 comments:

  1. Owen - I'm not sure what your question is. My post was pretty clear that the way we acquired our domains was not through auctions or one domain at a time, but we went after domainer's entire geo domain portfolios in order to get the best deals. The title "attacking domainers" is to refer to the process of choosing to buy from domainers who want to sell/have to sell and buying names from them in bulk but at a huge discount per name. Like how a lion chooses the weakest prey to attack.

    If I could make it more clear, please let me know.

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  2. The problem that alternative extensions face is that of recognition. If you search for a phrase on Google and see a number of results, what influences you to click on a particular site versus another? The position is an obvious factor, the title another but I believe the domain and extension is another. A two-word non-hyphenated .COM is likely to be respected. A hyphenated .info or foreign extension is likely to receive a lower CTR.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I don't know if the article a "pr" push for your new network software; making fun of dumb domainers (or maybe lucky?) or telling us the Indian extension .IN means very relevant information ?

    Anyway, I wish you luck with your network of sites. 600 domains at a yearly renewal price of between $7-$15 is an investment that will hurt if the sites don't produce revenue in a timely fashion.

    Please publish some names so we can follow. your progress and the software application.

    Thanks,
    Paul

    ReplyDelete
  4. blogger ate my response but here is the short short version: I apologize if I wasn't clear, but I was not calling anyone dumb or trying to market our product. I was explaining why we chose the bulk domain development route and how we went about doing it for anyone who might find themselves in a similar situation.

    as to reg fees: yes, that's a definite "motivating factor" to get the sites up and running as quickly as possible.

    As to CTR for .IN domains. I think extensions will become less of a factor in the future or else we wouldn't have gone this route, but I also think that if we provide a great experience people will be more likely to return to a .IN site in the future. The question is can we provide a better user experience than the .com's.

    Thanks for the feedback folks. It's very much appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  5. He has a good point if the domains are developed correctly. My first move would be to open up a Whypark content development account and parke them there so you can get organic search results (OSR).

    Free too. You can go through my blog to get signed thru me and I'll help you with any assistance you need. I was the VP of Bus Dev at Whypark

    cheers

    Stephen Douglas
    http://www.Successclick.com
    Successful Domain Management™
    http://www.DomainRelevance.com
    "Own Your Competition™"

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete