What’s the Domain Price?

A short rant and some advice from a domain broker and a commissioned salesman of 43 years.

The customer is not always right. And the customer does not always know what something is worth, especially in the domain business. In fact, they almost never have a good grip of even a ballpark value. That’s why the first words out of their mouths are: “What are they asking for it?” It is at this point where the battle for hearts and minds is either won or lost.

Although this dated reference originally applied to war, it has relevance in any sale situation. A domain broker must win the heart and mind of a prospective buyer as a consultant, not an adversary. Anyone looking to purchase something has a pretty easy time discovering the price. Even car dealers have the asking price glued to the windows of their vehicles. They do this because they always want to be the first party to the table. The final negotiated sale price may end up right there at MSRP or a vastly different figure. But that car dealer is going to tell you right out of the box where they would like to be.

As domain name sellers, we should take a tip from them and get an asking price back to the interested buyer as quickly as possible. Just like cars, we may end up at the ask or we may end up at a discounted price. We may have to dispatch a paramedic if the buyer goes into a panic attack. But that’s what we do to earn the commission we are paid. We start handling the situation through empathy, listening, and education. A very good friend of mine gave me some advice a long time ago that still rings true. We are not in the domain selling business, we are in the domain education business.

However, many of the domain owners who have listed the name on our Uni platform do not have a posted asking price. That’s OK. That’s not my beef. I use the initial interaction with the buyer to ask about the project and qualify the lead. But I need to tell them right off that I will have an asking price back to them shortly. This eliminates the price objection, for now, and allows me to get on to the business of educating and building rapport. Remember the “hearts and minds” thing.  

When we do not get back to the prospective buyer in a prudent amount of time, nothing positive comes from this.

My complaint here is not offered from some wet-behind-the-ears green pea. I spent 33 years in the retail car business arm-wrestling buyers over free window tint to make a deal. I have toiled in the domain business for over 10 years. I have a pretty good grasp of how buyers operate. They need an asking price, as soon as possible, so they can start wrapping their brain around it or get on about their domain name search.

When we do get back to the prospective buyer quickly, positive things happen, especially for the domain owner.

We have to assume the prospective buyer has an interest in securing the name. They went to some effort to look it up and fill in their contact information. When a Uniregistry Broker reaches out to you, the seller, for an asking price, they have told the interested party an asking price is coming. Please help them make that next step to a sale by responding to their request with a price or your thinking on where we need to be. Either option is immensely appreciated and can make good things happen quickly!

Costa Rican Mega Developer Gives Air to Their Signature Project

(Reading time 3 minutes)

Uniregistry brokers a sale on one of Frank Schillings premium Spanish domain names to a world-class company in Costa Rica.

Frank has held a portfolio of premium domains in Spanish for some time. Spanish is the third most spoken language in the world and he receives hundreds of inquiries each year on these short, powerful names. So it is with great pleasure to report, after nearly a year of negotiations, Uniregistry and Cuestamoras, a diversified and forward-thinking company based in San Jose, Costa Rica, shook hands on the sale of Oxigeno.com. Within hours of the transfer, it became the name and the brand for their largest and most game-changing project to date, the “Human Playground.”

And one thing we know for sure, a playground requires oxygen!

The roots for Cuestamoras go deep in Costa Rica. Originally founded in 1909 as an international goods importer and distributor, the company kept innovating and reinventing itself in the supermarket business, eventually owning over 500 retail outlets selling under four different formats. You could not take a medium walk in San Jose, Costa Rica without passing one of their stores. They were called Corporacion de Supermercados Unidos, and they were at the top of their game. However, the corporate DNA for this company has always gone well beyond just being successful.

In 2008, the Cuestamoras company is formed and they quickly leveraged a long-term business partnership that led to the sale of the entire company to Walmart. By 2015, Cuestamoras had re-invented themselves once again. They were now an innovative, diverse multi-national company operating under the simple concept of providing opportunities for all people. They operate divisions in the health, urban development, energy and forests sectors. And although these may appear unrelated, in reality, they are all interwoven in the Cuestamoras fabric.

The human playground, which was to be called Oxigeno, represents the single largest private construction project in Central America. It is a mixed-use project unlike any before. At first glance, it appears they built a park inside a full concept shopping mall. They added features rarely seen in any retail environment. There’s a climbing wall, roll glider, rope walks, walking track, swimming pool, even an ice skating rink. There is also an amphitheater seating 3000 for concerts and events. In all, there are four distinctly different “worlds” to explore and enjoy, each of them designed to create interaction and a unique experience for the entire family. This is truly a place to explore, learn, experience… oh, and shop!

Cuestamoras has always had a deep commitment to the environment; it is one of the tenets of their core philosophy. However, few companies develop an entire business division to serve this end. Cuestamoras Forests is actively involved in planting forests in four different areas of Costa Rica. At first glance, most folks would tell you the entire country looks like a rainforest. And it does. This belies the reality. Rainforests are a fragile ecosystem and take a lot of work to ensure their health is sustained. 

Cuestamoras builds very large urban communities. There is simply no way around the enormous carbon footprint of construction and then the energy needed to run large projects like Oxigeno. However, you are able to mitigate some of these side effects by seeking carbon solutions. There has been a lot of focus on building structures that have reduced energy consumption. And if you then power that building with clean, alternative/ renewable energy sources, you can achieve what is defined as a “carbon-neutral” project. Cuestamoras was not satisfied with just being carbon neutral. Through their forests division, they are planting thousands and thousands of new trees which love to eat carbon. Their goal is to remove more carbon from the environment than their projects even produce. The health and sustainability of the rainforest increases as the carbon footprint shrinks. This is a great solution when you do business in a country that still has animals like panthers and leopards making their home in the rainforest.

Transactions like these are the most satisfying. In a classic win/win situation, Uni was able to place this great name in the hands of the perfect buyer. Cuestamoras is an example of what is truly best in business today. Should your travels bring you to the capital of Costa Rica, make sure a trip to the human playground, Oxigeno.com, is on your itinerary.


UnaPurchasing Makes Una.com the New Face of Their Growing Company

(Reading time: 3 minutes)

Uniregistry Brokerage works together with UnaPurchasing and secures a powerful domain name and brand that will serve this rapidly growing company forever, UNA.com.

From pretty humble roots, his apartment, Anthony Clervi saw a genuine need and built a company to solve it. And it is the pure definition of a “Win-Win” business model.

Large businesses have the critical mass to create substantial savings when they purchase the thousands of items needed to maintain themselves. Good for them. And the accountants will tell you that anytime you can reduce the cost of any item you purchase, you have the opportunity for that savings to drop to the net bottom line. Or you can pass the savings along to your customers. Both of these options are fabulous. However, the overwhelming majority of businesses in the world are not “large.” They are small and medium and every size in between. How can they “look big” and receive these kinds of procurement savings? Enter UNA.com.

We reached out to Vice-President in charge of Marketing, Brian Edwards, to explain how UNA does it. He told us that UNA is a GPO, or group purchasing organization. The theory behind it isn’t rocket science. Get lots of businesses and organizations to enroll in the GPO and then leverage the power of a huge buyer group to secure big savings like a Fortune 500. Cleaning supplies, office products, even construction tools. UNA gets all of these for their members at tremendous savings. And it doesn't cost a dime to be a member. But the sheer magnitude of what UNA offers is startling. 

  • They offer a shipping program that is easier to use and can usually save their clients 20-30% 

  • A travel and hotel room program that beats the competition on price and allows for reserving and “pre-paying” the stay, even with an agency credit card, right on the UNA phone app. 

  • A great partnership with Shred-It, the world’s leader in document destruction, was negotiated by UNA and now members are receiving savings up to 25% on industry best service. 

  • Their agreement with US Foods allows UNA clients in restaurant and hospitality to realize big savings through transparency and the ease of online ordering. 

And there is more, a lot more! They have negotiated discounted programs with companies like AMC Theaters, Grainger, Staples, Ricoh, Home Depot, HD Supply, and Orkin.

Because their member base is so diverse, UNA must stay on top of trends and new product introductions to keep delivering these 20-30% average savings. We asked Brian what would be one of the most unique products they were able to secure for their clients at good savings?  He told us, “defibrillators.” UNA is certainly a lot more than office, cleaning, and construction supplies!

Consistently saving your members money from their purchasing budgets is a wonderful thing. However, as we researched the clients who UNA members, we discovered a recurring theme. It isn’t just the savings that keep their member base growing. Their customers are flat-out happy with the service they receive at every level of this company. They feel a connection with UNA and believe their best interests will be represented in every transaction. Great service- Saving money. It’s not hard to see why UNA is growing so quickly. 

Having operated under the name, UnaPurchasing.com for some time, the team wanted to rebrand with a short, memorable domain name. Brian had obtained several premium names, mostly related to specific products or services, and was familiar with premium domain name values and the impact they can bring to a successful, growing company. A name like UNA.com makes the statement that we are in this business with you for the long run.

Three letter dot com domain names have been appreciating rapidly and the time had come where UnaPurchasing was ready to open negotiations. Brain reached out to Chris Aguilar and Uniregistry.com, who was the exclusive broker for the domain owner. Although it took a fair amount of patience and some negotiation, Brian told us he was appreciative of the persistence shown by Chris and the team at Uniregistry.com and said, “Likely, the most seamless domain purchase experience we have had.” That is a big compliment from someone like Brian who is delivering world-class service and value on a daily basis.

For additional information, please visit them at UNA.com.



Uniregistry Brokerage: Where Your Money Goes

Is it worth 15% to have Uniregistry brokers sell your names?

(Reading time: 5 minutes)

I worked for the Volvo Motor Company for twenty some years selling their quality automobiles. Volvo built their cars to a “standard” as opposed to a “price point.” If a car should have anti-lock brakes, crumple zones and roll cage to make it a safe car, then Volvo put those things in the production and the price was what it was. There also was not a lot of mark-up built into their vehicles. You could never judge the deal you received by how much you got discounted. So every year, Volvo sent out these great books to the salespeople that helped them learn and convey to prospective buyers, “Where Your Money Goes.”

It is completely free to list for sale an unlimited amount of domain names on the Uniregistry “Market.” The commission is only applicable once Uniregistry completes the sale at the price you accepted. If you own domain names, have a persuasive, consultative demeanor, love doing follow-up, making tons of phone calls and thrive on hearing the word “No,” you likely are a good candidate for selling your own names. Save the 15% commission. But for those portfolio owners who don’t fall into this category, I’m going to show you where your money goes.

Rejection is not something even seasoned brokers enjoy. When I was a green-pea salesman 40+ years ago, my first boss once told me, “I have heard no so many times, it’s starting to sound like yes.” Professional brokers see the word “no” as simply an objection, a speed bump they need to navigate. The customer is not necessarily saying “No,” but rather, they need to “know” more. This is usually done through active listening, educating and empathizing. Often, the objection goes away over time, so persistent and consistent follow-up is such a critical piece in the Uniregistry sale process. And they are exceptionally good at doing this for you. There is no magic or rocket science involved. Effective follow-up needs a tool and a system that never forgets.

We operated as the entity, Domain Name Sales, for several years before Frank Schilling decided to build the Registrar and Registry called Uniregistry. The first item on his to-do list was a CRM built for the domain business and that never forgot, anything. When I arrived in Cayman in 2013, the first two people I met were programmers writing every line of code, from scratch, to Frank’s vision. Everything at Uniregistry is custom built to be better because it is built for people in the domain business. There were plenty of off-the-shelf CRM’s that would do OK and were a lot less expensive. But doing “OK,” is not good enough for Frank, or for Uniregistry, or for our clients. This is where your 15% goes.

After 43 years in the commission sales business, I probably qualify as an old dog. And I have learned over time that some things never change. There are three basic traits a broker must manifest to be successful. They need to be excited about the name. They need to get the buyer to like and trust them. And they need to figure out a way the buyer can secure the name he really does want.

This may sound simplistic, but it isn’t. It takes energy, passion and research to be excited about the name. It takes time and empathy to really listen to the buyer, to sense the reality and motivation behind their dream, and build the rapport it takes to develop trust. Our Vice President, Jeff Gabriel, has an amazing eye for seeing these qualities in prospective brokers. Kudos to him. That’s why he’s in charge. That’s why you pay 15% commission. 

What Uniregistry charges in commission is the same as everyone else. I just believe they deliver more for your money. Let’s take a quick peek at how a day goes for a broker at Uniregistry. 

  • Uniregistry has an office in Manchester, England. So they start the day 5 hours before the Cayman office and get a jump on the European time zone prospects. This is a big advantage for a seller.
  • In addition to Manchester and the HQ in Grand Cayman, there are a dozen or more brokers spread out across the globe. They all share the phone system, so an inbound call gets a “live" person answering in almost every time zone in the world. 
  • There are more than a dozen languages spoken by Uniregistry brokers. Four of the brokers speak Mandarin; a language used by a large percentage of “your" domain name buyers. It is also not uncommon for a non-broker employee to phone a prospect in his native language. Believe me, that kind of effort is not lost on the buyer. Uniregistry, at its core, is a solutions business. 

  • On average, a Uniregistry broker makes 50 phone calls every day. Anytime they can make a connection by phone, the likelihood of a sale just doubled. They also send out thousands of text messages every week looking to make a connection at any level. They use social media frequently to discover additional avenues for connections. 

  • A broker at Uniregistry sends over 100 personal emails a day. This is in addition to the emails auto-generated by the CRM. Remember, the “system” never forgets a prospect. And you never know when the objection first voiced by the prospect, may no longer be such a big objection. Quality follow-up just delivers more sales. 

  • Uniregistry draws on the individual and unique talents of many different employees for their success. Jeff felt strongly about sharing the knowledge that made each person excel. Putting a “Uni” spin on the old adage, “each one teach one," every month a different broker presents to the group what makes them successful. I have picked up something worthwhile at every one of these. One of my “old school” bosses used to say, “Even successful people need to be reminded what makes them successful." 

  • It sometimes takes a village to make a sale at Uniregistry. There is a term in the sales business called “change of face.” Prospects are rotated to a different broker for follow-up when a sale is not made. It does not imply the original broker did a bad job. It’s just that a new face may have a different spin or a new idea that gets the prospect to move toward a deal. Remember, the new broker has never heard “no” from this buyer. Brokers at Uniregistry are also constantly reaching out to other team members for input and insight that may help them close a deal. Ego is checked at the door when you come to work here. Our seller clients are paying 15% on “Sold” deals and Uniregistry doesn’t care if it took the entire village to get the name to the sold column. 

Uniregistry is constantly improving its system, staying on top of changes in the industry, and training and improving the brokerage team. Please consider listing the domain name portfolio that you are interested in selling on the Uniregistry Market and allowing them to show you where your money goes.

SEO or a Premium Domain Name – It Isn’t “Sophie’s Choice” Any Longer

Reading time- 4 minutes

This is a very real dilemma faced by many uniregistry.com customers. When you are a medium-sized or larger company, you have a budget for securing a great name and a marketing team to promote the brand through advertising, social media, public relations, and SEO. (This doesn’t mean every company, even with deep pockets, is able to secure the name they really want.) 

If they feel the pinch, a company can’t afford to choose between getting a great name or investing in SEO. Startups, smaller businesses, and entrepreneurs feel this pressure acutely. The unfortunate reality is, it isn’t a “Sophie’s Choice” situation any longer – almost all businesses need the best name and the best SEO they can afford. Dreams and aspirations come in all sizes. So do domain names and SEO budgets. Let’s look at how we got here.

SEO is constantly changing. When Google implemented the Panda algorithm in 2011, it created a lot of consternation for website owners. 12% of sites were impacted directly with lower rankings. Panda had completely redefined what Google considered to be a quality website. There was a silver lining, however: Panda provided a new blueprint for web builders and SEO marketers to follow if they wanted to see better search rankings. The implementation of Google’s Hummingbird Algorithm update in 2013 increased the emphasis on what humans actually “mean” when they type something into the search engine. One thing we can be sure of is that Google will keep adapting their search parameters.

What else do we know?

  • SEO methods and marketers will adapt to whatever changes Google makes. This is what you pay them for.
  • The folks you entrust with this task had better be diligent, aware, and up-to-date.
  • SEO will always have some limitations.
  • There is a lot more to successful SEO than technical applications.

While the nuances of search engine optimization may stuff our brains until we fear a “Scanners” type explosion, domain names are much more approachable and easier to understand.

The term “premium domain name” is thrown around quite a bit, sometimes with fairly thin evidence to back it up. The best place to start learning about real domain values is Domain Name Journal (dnjournal.com). There, you can easily see year-to-date sales prices on actual sales. Scroll through a few past years and you will have a much better basis for making your own name decision.

There are many factors that can determine the inherent value of a premium domain name. Here are a few of the big ones.

  • They tend to be shorter. However, well known phrases can command good money even if they are longer.
  • They are easy to remember once heard (they pass the “radio test”).
  • They are rarely misspelled.
  • They create interest. Think of Ring, Zoox, Google, or Zappos – these names just look cool. But so does a zebra – what do you do with them? It’s still up to you to make the brand into something that deserves a great name. Amazon was a jungle and a warrior woman before Jeff Bezos made it the brand of the world’s largest marketplace.
  • They often contain exact-match keywords. If these keywords match what a typical human would type into a search engine, you have a good name and the chance for a category dominator that lends itself to smooth Anchor/Link text. Some examples are UsedCarsForSale, UsedBoatsForSale, and NewportBeachRealEstate. As you can see, great names are not always short. Keyword-rich names will always enrich your SEO efforts.
  • Great domain names are brandable. They eliminate confusion. They become a valuable asset for the company and the face of the business. They clearly define the product or service in consumers’ minds.
  • Premium domain names are often generic, like CeilingFans.com. These are composed of words that rarely conflict with existing trademarks because they are too generic to trademark.

Steli Efti and his team recently acquired Close.com to re-brand their growing company. The business development team at uniregistry.com uses their CRM. Steli points out in his blog entry:

“We knew that owning this domain would illustrate to future customers that we’re here to stay for the long haul.”

This decision goes well past SEO, exact match, keyword, generic, or brand considerations. Every day, every hour, the name Close.com is telling their clients and potential clients, “We will be here for you.”

SEO and a strong domain name is no longer an “either or” proposition. To succeed, a business needs to buy the best name they can afford and pair it with the best SEO people they can put their hands on. If the price of your ideal name is out of your comfort zone, make a counter offer. The worst you will ever hear is, “No.” Ask if the price can be paid off over time. Be diligent and persistent. The price you pay for a quality domain name is only relevant on the day you purchase it. If you buy the wrong domain name, you will think about the price of it every day.