Category Archives: Domains

YP.com sold

YP.com was acquired by AT&T for about $3.85 Million in cash according to BusinessWire.com.  AT&T got a real deal here.  First, yp.com will be of value for mobile searches, will give SEO benefits to YellowPages.com, and most of all eliminate a competitor.

Matt Panella of Domain News comments that Alexa rankings of 70,000 implies for traffic figures of 1,000 to 3,000 visits per day.  Alexa is notoriously wrong on statistics due to self-selection bias, limited browser reach etc (for some discussions see: http://spottedwalrus.com/articles/79/the-alexa-issue-a-problem-a-solution/http://paulstamatiou.com/2007/03/07/why-you-should-completely-ignore-alexa-stats http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/07/23/152243 ).  

While I do not have access to YP.com’s traffic statistics, a traffic rank of 120,000 can get more than 100,000 searches per day and multiple times that in page views.  That is a fact.  No doubt Matt is using what information he has available, but considering it is Alexa, take it with a pound of salt. 

For example, Halloween.com had an Alexa ranking of around 52000 in October 2008. Traffic logs show many orders of magnitude over the “implied” traffic of 5000 visitors. Let me repeat that traffic implied by Alexa is off by many orders of magnitude. Another site with a traffic rank of in the 120,000 range gets 2 to 3 orders of magnitude more traffic per day than Alexa reports.  Remember two orders of magnitude means 100 times what is shown.  

So what is the point?  The point is that basing a domain price on Alexa statistics is a bad idea because the data is just not that good.  Alexa may be good for comparisons between like sites with similar demographics, but not absolute numbers.  If you are selling a domain based on Alexa traffic estimates you are probably getting taken to the cleaners.  If you are buying based on Alexa traffic statistics, you may be getting a good deal.

Likewise, anyone selling a domain name solely off of current traffic statistics is missing the boat.  When I sold Movie.com (or Miami.com or Casino.com or Gamble.com or Honeymoon.com or Flying.com or Racing.com or hotel.com or reservations.com or reservation.com etc.), I didn’t sell it based on traffic, that would have been the height of stupidity.  Domains – particularly one word, easily brandable domains – are priced based on what can be done with the name.  It would be like selling a vacant lot at the corner of a busy intersection based on the number of people who come to it instead of basing the price on the the potential traffic.  A lot on the ocean in Palm Beach (even with the current real estate mess) is a lot more valuable than a lot at the corner of Tomahawk Rd and Route 187 in McNary Arizona.  Nothing against McNary but the demands is higher for the ocean.  Domains are the same.  News.com is certainly more valuable than a domain like “this-is-the-current-california-news-site-number-1-for-news.ad”.  It is easier to remember, easier to type etc so consequently more brandable.  

Let’s be clear, under no circumstances should anyone sell a short, brandable domain name based solely on current traffic without considering the uses to which it could be put.

AT&T is all about market-share and traffic growth and yp.com will add to that.  In short, AT&T got a deal on yp.com.  Yes, current market conditions may have impacted the sale price, but it will pay off for AT&T in the mobile space and SEO.

Look at YellowPages.com (see http://www.christianriley.com/2004/11/yellowpagescom-price/).  Some people thought they were over-paying, but in retrospect, it appears they got a good deal. 

(see  http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20090114005473&newsLang=en)

Bruce Waldack, a friend

Wow.  Let me just say that Bruce Michael Waldack (Bruce or bmw) and I had fallen out of touch for a year or so. I just Googled him to see what he was up to and found this site (http://www.brucewaldack.org/).  I was shocked to see that he had passed away on June 23, 2007.

I met Bruce in 1993.    We did business together in initially the software field – statistics and tracking software for CSG/digitalNation (dn.net) when it was running FirstClass.  And then we became friends over time.  Back in early 1994, we were talking one day and I said, “Hey Bruce, if you want to write to Santa Claus on the internet, you’ll be hitting santaclaus.com on our servers.”  He said something along the lines of, “No way!  You are kidding me!  You can do that?”  (It may have been more along the lines of “No shit!  Your f-ing with me!”).  So we spent the next hour talking about names and cool things to do with them and found a lot of great ideas on the topic. He was always looking for a great idea and there were always great conversations with wild ideas to be had.  He went on to register a bunch of domain names after that conversation.

We spent the next 14 years in the Internet space, talking on the phone, emailing, and generally just being friends. I was looking him up today for just that reason – to see how he was and to see what was new on the horizon, bounce a few ideas off of him and generally catch up.

I’d get emails in 1995 and 1996 with things like, “Glad you got it!  I didn’t want to tell you this, but Cynthina [perhaps he meant Cynthia!] set it out with 1 stamp on it.  Thus it came back last week!! Sorry!”  All the previous week saying it was in the mail – which it was, just not enough postage, but that was just Bruce, reluctant to do anything to disappoint, but coming clean in the end.  Ready to BS when needed, but someone with a good heart.

After not hearing much from him since January of 1997, out of the blue on December 8, 1997 I got:

“I just mistyped [he’d sent me an email by mistake]. <g> Hope all is well with … you.  Lori and I  had two baby boys (Copper and Colten) last Monday, so we have been quite the busy bees.  Hope your holidays are happy and safe.”  My own daughter Christi had been born in September and so we had a lot to catch up on with kids and business and mutual friends.  And then we’d be emailing or phone-ing back and forth for a few months updating each other and running ideas by each other.

Sometimes we’d go for months without talking – both busy with our businesses, fun, and new families and then out of the blue one of us would call or email the other to just see what was going on, new things that were in the works.  To update each other on things like sale of dn.net to Verio in 1999 or us selling casino.com.  I think the most we went was in 1997, but sometimes it would be just a quick note.

He was always very generous and whenever we did anything, it was fun times, always intelligent conversations and lots of humor.  He was a friend and someone who I could bounce ideas off of and who would do the same for me.  I will miss his laugh and his sharp mind.  I will miss his out of the blue call or email seeing what’s up.  I’ll miss a friend who made a difference for a lot of people.

I will never forget in 1993 we were talking about hosting issues on the internet and how to do some things and he said, “You know, right now there are probably only half a dozen people in the world who would know how to do what we are doing right now.”  And then about 6 months later, discussing domain names saying (this isn’t an exact quote): “Think about this, today you have more domains registered than anyone else in the world, but I’m going to register some too.” (Which we did until late 1995 or early 1996 when Proctor and Gamble surpassed us).

But most of all as I write this, I hope that his family is well, that he is enjoying himself as much above as he was here on earth.

If you find this an were at dn.net or elsewhere and have comments, please feel free here or on the site above.

(And Drew Ladner, what are you up to?   Looks like honeymoon.com is now with some group in the UK.  Been almost exactly 10 years since we sold it!)

(And if you are looking for great Mac support in the Washington, DC/Virginia area, 4macsolutions (http://4macsolutions.com/) is a good choice. Will is great!)

YellowPages.com Price

It appears that BellSouth and SBC paid around $100 million for YellowPages.com.  Certainly a good price for the name and the site from both the buyer and seller’s perspective.  With some branding, some advertising, and additional information BS and SBC will have a big leg up in the yellow pages directory search.  The value of a good brand should not be underestimated, but is often underestimated when viewed solely from a domain perspective traffic perspective v.s. a potential/branding perspective.

With even average traffic of 100,000 yellow pages searches per day (which I think is very low for yellowpages.com), that implies around 36.5 million searches per year and between 109 and 150 million page views per year [Dec 2008 update: I think those figures are definitely low today].  At a $20/cpm [2009 update: I think that figure is low now] that would imply close to $3 million per year in revenue.  This a similar number of white pages search, which implies $5-6 million annual in revenue.  Personally, without any inside information, I believe they do 500,000 to 1,000,000 yellow pages and white pages searches per day, which implies $25-$30 million in annual revenues just from the yellowpages.com site.

An improvement in the SERPs, which will probably happen with large companies behind them could easily double or triple that figure.

The actual value and implied value there is tremendous, and with more branding their price will seem like a bargain.

(see http://www.redorbit.com/news/technology/100344/bellsouth_sbc_buying_yellowpagescom/index.html )

1993 and 1994 domain names

Going back a few years here, but some of the sites we registered and developed/sold/kept.  As you can see we had a nice collection of domain names and still have a fair number.  In 1994, we had the largest number of domains registered  in the .com (or other) TLD space – several hundred – and it wasn’t until the end of 1994 or early 1995 that people began to catch on and registered more than we did.  Procter and Gamble was one that went and registered a lot of names that were appropriate for their business and ended up with more names during August 1995.  (A few were registered for relatives.)  This is not the entire list, but it is a start, I’ll be updating it as time progresses.

At the time it was a land rush and very few people were seeing the value of what was available.  You could go and find a nice name and register it in the hopes of developing it.  It wasn’t until a year or so later  (late 1995 or 1996) that people began to wish to purchase the name and web site (if there was one).  From then until summer of 2000 there were a lot of offers for various names.

law.com (didn’t register it, but was Director of Operations, 1993)

games.com (July 15, 1994) – Hasbro/Parker Brothers wanted this. AOL has it as of 2009.

casino.com (July 14, 1994)

court.com (August 4, 1994)

gamble.com (July 14 1994)

hotel.com (August 4, 1994) –  HotelSupplies.com Inc bought this

Halloween.com (August 30, 1994)

SantaClaus.com (August 1994)

EasterBunny.com (December 1995)

phonebook.com (July 14, 1994) – We began with web directories here, Miami.com, and at coral.net for clients and business in Florida and the Caribbean.  Lots of realtors and destinations.

palmbeach.com (May 24, 1994)

rights.com (August 30, 1994)

dive.com (July 30, 1994)

Havana.com (Sept 1, 1994)

Coral.net (Sept 8, 1994)

Sequitur.com (June 1994) – The opposite of non sequitur.  Ended up letting it go.  Silly me.  😉  (We considered Sequitur for the corporate name, but ended up with Coral Technologies after a few people in the State of Florida government didn’t get what it me and thought it might be obscene. Just ended up using it as the follow-up name for The Rising Sun BBS (Ft. Lauderdale 1982-1993) which was running TBBS and we switched to private software, then FirstClass.

diving.com (July 29, 1994)

talk.com (June 1994) – HotWired need

sale.com (June 1994) – J.Lee bought it.

racing.com (July 30, 1994) – 

national.com (April 1994)

cruise.com (May 1994)

cruising.com (July 30, 1994)

movie.com (June 1994) – Well, you can see who owns it now.

miami.com (April 12, 1994) – Miami Herald needed it.

Boca.com (June 21, 1994)

Pompano.com (June 1994)

FtLauderdale.com (May 1994)

ebank.com (1994) – a Bank

reservations.com (June 1994)

reservation.com (June 1994)

dolphins.com (August 10, 1994)

shark.com (July 30, 1994)

holiday.com (June 1994)

keylargo.com (June 1994)

honeymoon.com (July 30, 1994)

boating.com (July 29, 1994)

flying.com (July 30, 1994)

keywest.com (July 29, 1994)

flores.com (Aug 29, 1994)

oceans.com (Aug 30, 1994)

marina.com (June 1994)

bahamas.com (Sept 9, 1994)

medical.com (July 14, 1994)

read.com (June 1994)

mart.com (June 1994)

realtor.com (June 1994) – At the time I didn’t know it was a trademark, just thought it was generic like “realestate.”  Younger and more naive. They were friendly about it all though!

islands.com (July 30, 1994)

zodiac.com (July 1994)

SonsOfLiberty.com (April 30, 1998)

Daughters-Of-Liberty.com (July 18, 2001)

Liberty-Tree.com (July 7, 2001)

 

Some of the names we registered for clients/friends:

For Rick M. at St Martin Rentals: stmaarten.com, stmartin.com (April 1995)

Standup.com – For KE, who let it go.  😉

And a few other random ones:

onlinenews.com (Sept 5, 1994)

thekeys.com (Sept 5, 1994)

keylargo.com (Sept 5, 1994)

novel.com (June 1994)

novels.com (July 30, 1994)

marina.com (July 30, 1994)

gallion.com (July 29, 1994)

read.com (August 4, 1994)

videonews.com (July 1994)

hurricanes.com (June 4, 1994)

hurricane.com (June 4, 1994)

goldcoast.com (Sept 9, 1994)

oneearth.com (Sept 9, 1994)

iplaw.com (Sept 19, 1994)

netlottery.com (August 1994)

internetlotto.com (June 22, 1994)

jugar.com (spanish for play) (June 5, 1994)

loteria.com (June 6, 1994)

allmylove.com (Jan 5, 1995)

sendgreetings.com (Jan 5, 1995)

goldmarket.com (for a client, Dec 6, 1995)

goldwww.com (Dec 6, 1995)

internetlottery.com (June 15, 1995)