Brandable Domain Names
These days, making up a word doesn't even guarentee the domain you want.
If you’re not willing to pay for a single-word domain name, then don’t even waste your time thinking about it and go ahead with a short phrase domain. Even if your single-word is not a real word, there’s a good chance you’re still going to pay dearly for it.
There are different schools of thought about what type of domain names are more effective in getting traffic to your site. I tend to side with marketing guru Seth Godin who advises against real words like podcast.com and slideshow.com, preferring made-up names like google.com and squidoo.com.
When we renamed and rebranded our company in March, we liked the idea of having a made-up name because it’s unexpected, intriguing, memorable, like our work. When it was time to research our domain, guess what? Even with a made-up name like Mottis, the domain was already taken. It had been registered five months before our search by a teenager in Norway who was using it for her personal blog. OK, well surely this teenager would be interested in a few hundred dollars for her domain, right? In our case, it wasn’t that easy.
We decided to purchase our domain through Go Daddy, who also promoted brokerage services. We hired Go Daddy to represent us in attempting to negotiate a purchase price with the seller. But, Go Daddy doesn’t have anyone on their staff to negotiate these transactions in languages other than English, nor do they contract with anyone who could. So, we contacted the seller directly using translation services and over the course of several months, finally agreed to a price.
Now, for the domain transfer. Again, Go Daddy was not able to facilitate the transfer of the domain. They have an English-only opt-in electronic system the seller would need to go through to permit Go Daddy to transfer the domain to us. The system was complicated and a point of frustration for the seller. She abandoned the transaction completely and didn’t respond to my direct correspondence for months. We started coming up with a backup plan for other domain names we could use.
Months passed and I continued to monitor “mottis.com”. The owner’s blog was down and the domain was unused. I checked ownership with Go Daddy and the domain name still belonged to her but was expiring in a few weeks.
After reaching out to her one last time with, again, no response, I back-ordered the domain from Snapnames for $69, only to learn that just because you back-order a name doesn’t mean that if the current owner doesn’t renew it, you have the right to buy it. What? That’s right, folks. In my observation, if you backorder a domain name, the system alerts domain speculators that there is demand for the name. Then, when it expires, it goes up for auction, not into my Snapnames account for purchase. Now, in my experience, when you backorder something, that means that you can purchase it when it becomes available right? Not so with domain names.
So, what then? We contacted an attorney because we owned the name Mottis legally and had no infringement issues with it at all. And we had a written agreement from the seller on a price she was willing to accept in exchange for the domain. Our attorneys referred us to a company called Safenames. Ironically, we have had two international domain name acquisitions this year and they both went through with ease now that we know about Safenames.
They are experts in global domain registration, corporate domain portfolio management and online trademark protection. This is what they do and they don’t work on commission. They are fee-based (and very reasonable, I might add), so you know they are fair. They worked very hard to help us acquire our domain in time for our conversion and the launch of our new company. In fact, Safenames came on the scene with less than one month before our launch (after almost a year of dealing with this) and were able to have feet on the ground in Norway to help get the domain transferred within 24 hours of our first print run. Whew! We were sweating bullets.
Their account representatives are legal consultants who know the process and what it takes to get things done. I can’t say enough about how helpful they were. So, thank you Micah and Jason for all that you did. We are thrilled to have our six character domain and love our new website!