Anyone who has set up a new business and looked for a catchy domain will know exactly how difficult it is to find one that isn't already taken. Nearly all solid .com addresses have gone, and from a digital marketing standpoint, your domain is often the first impression of how credible you are as a business.
However, businesses go bust, domains stop being used, and companies rebrand. All of this means that potentially lucrative domains often come back up for use in the free marketplace.
Step forward, Dan Rubin. Dan runs justdropped.com, a website specialising in old domains that were registered but either the business never took off, or the domain was never put into use. Dan registers these recently dropped domains for himself then adds the most interesting ones onto his marketplace. I spoke with him about his unique business model and his thoughts for domains for the future.
Chris: "Morning Dan, so selling web domains, how did you even get into that?"
Dan: "Morning Chris. Back in 1999 I became aware of the domain business and slowly started registering domains. I needed a tool to help filter out the thousands of domains dropping each day. In 2002 I developed justdropped.com to assist in the process. About 1 year into it I tried selling a small list of domains to my subscriber base. It was hit and the domain name newsletter was born.
Chris: "What is the future of web domains given the 'land grab' that has gone on over the past 15 years?"
Dan: "I see the market continuing to evolve. Many new domain extensions have been introduced, so people now have many choices. Many of these new extensions will not survive. I do not see domains going away at least not in my lifetime."
Chris: "What advice would you give a startup looking for a great domain for their website. Also, should the business be named after the domain, vice versa or neither?"
Dan: "If I was a new business I would stick with a .com as it is the most recognized extension. Many try to save money and go with an alternate as the .com they want is registered. A domain needs to make sense. If you heard it on the radio would you remember the name? The domain does not need to match the business name. You could use a catchy domain that has no meaning which is just a made up word. Use your imagination, there are so many possibilities."
Chris: "How many domains do you have to scan through each day to find the good ones?"
Dan: "Take tomorrow for example. In the next 24 hours, we have 73,123 domains due to hit the free market again. Most of those are unattractive but there are always gems that I'll register for my site in there. It's a bit like mining! I do the heavy lifting then you can cherry pick from the ones I like for a small price in domain terms."
Chris: "How do you value how much you sell each domain for?"