Jumping the domain gold rush- 5 learnings

How did it all start ?

 In early 2000s, a few guys registered some domains for 2 to 10 dollars. They went on to sell it for a million dollar plus . This started the great domain gold rush. sex.com  led the pack and was sold for 13 Mn dollars in 2010. Domain squatting has actually became a big industry. This hurts the entrepreneurs most. Whatever domain we want, are already booked by someone else. For resale, the domain owners open their jaws like a hippo. Dotcom domains are the most sought after and the maai baap (mother father) of all domains.

Gold picker

What did we want ? When we wanted wic.com we discovered that the owner never used it and was a Spanish guy.When approached for a transfer, he asked a high 5 figure in USD. Even at 10k USD this meant INR 5.5 lakhs. It didnt make sense. We thought of wic.in but it was registered by Wadia group(Yes, Ness Wadia Preity Zinta’s ex boyfriend) only a month ago. We didnt have gumption to ask them for price. With little hope of getting it we jumped and grabbed wic.co.in the moment it was available and started building our business. The problem was that domain was 2 level deep. The dotcom however was what digital business always want.

Why cant we just buy them from domain sellers ?

I heard from one of the entrepreneurs that domain sellers like godaddy.com pass on their search logs to squatters. So ,the sqautters work like this:

  • You and your team does  hrs of brain storming. Late into the night
  • Shortlists 4 to 5 domains.
  • Checks the availability.
  •  Decides to register them next day and goes to sleep.
  •  Domain squatters buy all 4 to 5  names searched from one ip address for 2 dollars each for 10 dollars.
  • What they bought for 2 dollars now will be offered to you for 100 dollars plus.
How do entrepreneurs prevail over these ? 

The entrepreneurs know they cant burn their precious cash on these suckers. They have hence become more creative about domain names. So you have fast.er, wis.er , walk.in  or those with little spelling errors ex Flickr doesnt have an ‘e’.  Then came the craze of  .ly domains ly is for Libya and the country is making a kill by selling the domains 300 USD+  . Notable examples are bit.ly, shape.ly etc. These creative thinking helped some companies take off but dotcom still remained the prima donna.

How did we do it ? 

We kept brainstorming month after month .Booking various domains and could never settle down on a dot com domain which was short used, our beautiful W logo and was available in primary market. It was difficult for us and we were losing time.  Finally,  it was a brainwave from Ankul Bagati, a Mgt intern from Symbiosis College of Information Technology, Pune   which helped us creatively identify and acquire our dotcom. The best part of it was it was available for 10 USD :) .  We were happy when we realized that we can now plan global with a wicfy.com brand. We booked it immediately.

What can you learn from our experience ? 

The following :

  1.  Brain storm on the domain name of your business beyond the literal. For example if you are getting into business of books online think beyond : books.com, kitaab.com, pustak.com to say pothi.com or keedu.com  or booklov.er etc
  2. Do not go to more established domain sellers for searching . They are more likely to share search logs with squatters.
  3. Think of an object/animal/ behavior which reflects the actions on site. example If starting a tourist rest place look for jhapki.com  , solaybeta.com
  4. Dont pay any squatter multiple of more than 3 to 5x ( i.e max 50 USD) of booking charges of domain. We need to kill this domain pimping business. We have not bought a single domain from a reseller.
  5. Protect your digital identity whereever possible.. Buy a dot com but also buy a dot in if you intend to work in India. Buy a dot mobi if you wish to have a mobile site and dotCategory. Very soon we will have domains like Tripper.shoes, penguin.books, audi.cars..

In last one month the content of our site wic.co.in was moved to cloud and we now have moved on from the .co.in domain. All the previous urls now redirect to wicfy.com. Leveraging the power and flexibility of cloud we hope to make wicfy faster, better and more useful. Not withstanding the technology, the real fuel for the product is YOU.

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5 Responses to Jumping the domain gold rush- 5 learnings

  1. Nitin Bansal says:

    Definitely a lot of hard work !! Good Luck.

  2. Ankul says:

    Thank You WiC Team for making the internship a wonderful & memorable experience with exposure to all set of activities within the Company.
    It was great learning to be a part of the Wicfy Team.

    Best wishes to Wicfy Team

  3. Regs says:

    Thanks Ankul for suggesting ‘Wicfy’… Arun takes lonnnnng to decide names generally :D But this time it was quick one..

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