Michael：嘿，Sherpa Network，非常感谢您今天加入我的行列。我叫 Michael Cyger，是domainsherpa.com 的发布者，您可以在该网站上直接向专家学习如何成为成功的域名投资者和企业家。我的目标是，您将观看这些采访，了解策略、战术和想法，自己取得成功，然后回到 Domain Sherpa 并进行采访。经常有人问我如何通过域名赚钱，表面上这似乎是一个简单直接的问题，但你对行业了解越深，机会就越广泛。
这些机会之一被称为拼装域名。我们将找出机会是什么，可以产生什么样的回报，以及投资者如何实现真正的销售。我很高兴欢迎 Claim Club 的创始人 Max Guerin，他是所有拼装域名优质品牌的投资者。Max，欢迎来到这个节目。
Max：嗯，首先，我不太喜欢拼装域名这个名字，因为它对这种类型的域名非常不利，因为通常大多数互联网用户，当你谈论 hack 或 hacking 时，他们都会将这个术语联系起来一些不好的事情，或者他们将其与他们在新闻中听到的以及在媒体上读到的内容联系起来。但实际上，黑客更多的是一种玩弄……无论是用域名、拼装域名来称呼，还是玩弄单词，玩弄域名的组成部分，即您使用的单词和扩展名，[听不清 00:02:06] 的详细信息。
但人们不知道的是，第一次拼装域名攻击实际上已经很古老了。它是互联网 inter.net，我认为它是在 92 年或 94 年注册的，至今仍在使用。这是一家德国公司，我认为是德国最大的网络主机之一。当时只有几个 [听不清 00:02:34]、.com、.net、.org。因此，除了 [听不清 00:02:42].com 或 cyborg 之外，通过黑客制作它们的可能性并不多。
Max：这就是为什么我更喜欢使用“品牌域名”这个词和域名的表达方式，这是营销人员现在使用的，或者像 Bitly 这样的 URL 平台，我认为它们是最早的公司之一这创造了“品牌域名”这一表达方式。您知道，这意味着将品牌纳入域名中。唯一将品牌名称与域名分开的就是点。
Michael：对。是的。这是一个很好的观点。您知道，我很欣赏您这么说，我们应该将这些称为可品牌 [SP] 或品牌域名，因为它们就是这样，但为了保持一致性，并且只是为了能够让那些将它们称为拼装域名的人识别它们。过去这就是我们现在讨论的话题。虽然我认为……我完全理解你在说什么，“黑客”或“黑客”这个词在过去一直是负面的，但我确实看到人们谈论增长黑客，人们谈论黑客马拉松，以及整个最近，围绕程序员的文化确实从消极转变为积极。
Max：嗯，今年我没有卖掉太多域名。在 Media Holdings 的帮助下，我确实通过 Flippa.com 市场取得了一些不错的销售额，我想这家公司是去年某个时候被 Flippa 收购的。
Max：他们是帮助我进行销售的 [听不清 00:06:04] 之一。其中之一是 store.re，STO.RE，它在某种程度上使用了……[听不清 00:06:18]，但它是法国……[听不清 00:06:24] 岛屿的一部分，这有点法国北部。不要问我为什么他们有延期。我不知道。这是一次很棒的销售。我认为售后协商，它的售价为 30,000 美元。我们推出了 shopify.com [听不清 00:06:47]。
Michael：所以，shopify.com 以 30,000 美元的价格购买了 STO.RE，即 store 的拼装域名。但如果我退后一步，Max，您在 2016 年总共售出了多少个域名？
Max：今年我出售了大约 20 个域名。
Michael：大约有 20 个域名。听起来大部分都是你通过 Flippa 卖掉的。
Michael：十万美元。好的。因此，您销售 20 个域名的销售额达到了六位数，大约每月有两个域名在销售。与往年相比，这一趋势如何？看看 2015 年，情况是否也一样？是呈上升趋势还是呈下降趋势？
Max：2015 年与 16 年几乎相同，因为我收到了很多报价，[听不清 00:07:58] 报价。但我很早就决定了，我认为这就是为什么我仍然能够取得如此大的销售额，因为我知道如何评估我的域名。
由于不同的原因，大多数域 [听不清 00:08:17]，至少对于拼装域名来说，不知道这些域名的价值是什么。如果你问我为什么选择投资拼装域名而不是 .com 域名或 .co 或 .media，我拥有一些，但大多数 [听不清 00:08:43] 和拼装域名，原因很简单我在这些领域发现了这种疯狂的价值。通过我认识的网站和一些我尊敬的企业家……例如，WordPress 的 Matt Mullenweg 是第一批为其网站拥有拼装域名的人之一，该网站仍然是 ma.tt。
这对我产生了这样的影响，如果这些创新者对这些域名感兴趣 [听不清 00:09:30]。他们正在修建纪念碑。所以我决定我应该投资这些领域，而不是为了一点钱而放弃它们。
Michael：我将深入探讨您如何评价您的拼装域名行为。但我想更多地了解您已出售的一些域名。你提到过商店。 STO.RE 在 Flippa 上以 30,000 美元的价格出售。我没有意识到你卖掉了 Matt Mullenweg ma.tt。您能透露一下您将该域名卖给他的价格是多少吗？
Max：[听不清 00:10:14 到 00:10:19]，或者我意识到了这个域的价值。
Michael：是的，当然。您最近在 Flippa 上出售了哪些域名？
Max：这个卖了 4,000 美元。
Michael：哦，你知道吗？那么您拥有 INTERN.ET 吗？
Michael：两百。好的。所以，它的尺寸很好，但并不大。有的人有两万个域名什么的。所以这是非常容易管理的。在这 200 个中，您认为有多少是拼装域名，例如 l.et 或 sto.re？
Michael：那么，超过 100 个？
因此，我无法访问 domainiq.com 并输入我知道您拥有的域名，例如初创公司的域名。您拥有 STARTU.PS，这是巴勒斯坦国国家代码顶级域名。我无法先查找该域名，然后再查找您拥有的所有其他 ccTLD。那么，知道了这一点，你最喜欢什么？什么是 ccTLD，您拥有的、让您难以割舍的拼装域名，Max？
Max：只是回答你的问题。您实际上可以找到谁拥有该 PS 域名。您必须直接通过域名注册管理局。
Michael：对。你可以。我应该澄清一下。在所有域名注册管理局中，您可以访问 nick.whatever，例如西班牙的 nick.es，然后进行“WHOIS”查找。但你必须想到域名，然后查找它。我想做一个反向“WHOIS”来找出您拥有的每个域名的列表，但在节目开始之前我无法做到这一点。
Max：正如我所说，我最喜欢的拼装域名是intern.et。我喜欢……最近，我购买了一个 .com 域名，用于我的博客，即 Flipa.com。不要与域混淆 [听不清 00:14:04]。
Michael：等一下。您正在使用 FLIPA、flipa.com 吗？
Michael：为了你的博客。但不要将其与市场上的 Flippa 混淆。
Max：是的，因为我用它作为 Flip A.Com，就像抛硬币一样。这是一个文字游戏。我在博客上解释说，我决定在所有扩展名中使用这个域名 [听不清 00:14:30]，因为这就是我开始域名管理的方式。现在我想出售我的 [听不清 00:14:40] 我决定必须使用 .com。
Michael：有趣。顺便说一句，你的 Flipa.com 是否有足够的流量？
Max：嗯，因为我在蒙特利尔，所以我喜欢 m.tl，MTL 是蒙特利尔的缩写。
Max：我拥有 i.je。 Je 在法语中的意思是“我”。所以这是双I。
Max：是的。 [听不清 00:15:49]。
Michael：Max，您每年出售大约 20 个域名。其中大多数是通过像 Flippa 这样的市场出售的，但其中一些是由那些想到拼装域名、查找“WHOIS”并直接与您联系的人出售的？
Michael：你觉得它是成功的吗？还是像大多数进行外展活动的人一样，你发送的 90% 的电子邮件都被置若罔闻？
Max：已经成功了。这种情况很少见，但一旦发生，通常是为了 [听不清 00:17:04 到 00:17:06]，这不仅是因为我节省了重复使用子平台的字段。但我想说，还因为有更多的谈判空间，而不仅仅是添加……您[听不清 00:017:24] 并且您可以与该人交谈。我发现，这只是……谈判的目的，无论是在 Flippa 还是 Sedo 上，都比你与对方交谈、打电话之类的事情要好。例如，两年前，我通过联系 overstock.com 的传播总监（贾德·巴格利）向 overstock.com 出售了一个包裹。
Max：现在是 .IO，但几年前主要是 .ly。所以o.ly是最重要的。其他的都是o.cr。 CR 是哥斯达黎加的 ccTLD。还有哦。 VU是一个小岛，我不记得名字了。我认为是瓦努阿图。不管怎样，这些都是域名。这个包中包含社交媒体 URL 和账号（例如 twitter.com/o Twitter 账号），但它本身并不出售，而是品牌套餐的一部分。
Max：是的。我很早就开始使用 Twitter，所以我能够获得这个机会。有 o.tumblr.com。
Michael：哇。是的。这是惊人的。所以你看到了单个字符的价值。您不知道 Overstock 将更名为 o.co。
Max：我当时就知道了。这就是我向他们提供这个套餐的原因，因为我知道他们正在尝试将品牌重新命名为 [听不清 00:20:04]。这是在他们购买之后 [听不清 00:20:07]。
Michael：抱歉，我的意思是，当 Twitter 推出并且你获得了用户名 O 时，那时你并不知道 Overstock 会重新品牌。当时您可能甚至不知道 Overstock，但您看到了字母 O 等短品牌的价值。这就是您选择 o.ly、o.cr 的原因。 o.vu，以及各种社交媒体。总而言之，那个包裹有多大？
Max：这个包裹是用比特币出售的，因为我当时对比特币非常感兴趣，现在仍然如此。我知道 Overstock 参与了比特币并投资了大量资金，并决定用比特币支付其员工 [听不清 00:20:58]。所以我建议他们用比特币支付给我，他们同意了。因此我们同意购买 150 个比特币，2014 年 12 月出售时的价格为 50,000 美元。现在它的价值将超过……
Michael：超过 10 万美元。
Michael：那太棒了。所以，你知道，你看到……你明白 Overstock 正在玩比特币领域，这将是一个谈判点，他们可能没有那么多投资。它可能不会像现金一样从账本上消失，他们可能能够使用比特币，并且你看到比特币可能会成为最好的硬币货币，并且你想在这个领域发挥作用。这是一个非常棒的协议。
显然，要想成为 Twitter 的早期采用者并获得 O 账号，需要大量的远见。问题之一是，当大多数社交媒体账号不会出售用户名时，您如何出售用户名……他们的条款和条件表明您不能出售。听起来您没有将其作为包装的一部分出售。您出售了域名。作为购买这些域名协议的一部分，这些社交媒体账号也随之而来。
Max：没错，是的。与 Overstock 的合同明确规定，Twitter 账号、Tumblr URL、所有社交媒体帐户都作为域名交易的一部分进行转移 [听不清 00:22:45]。
Michael：Overstock 为什么要购买 o.ly、o.cr 这些域名，而他们拥有 o.co？
Max：嗯，那是因为我看到了域名销售的趋势。 [听不清 00:23:04] 我认为是 o.co.za，即南非的 ccTLD 区域，由 overstock.com 以 6,000 美元左右的价格购买。然后我开始思考这样一个事实：[听不清 00:23:23] 追求了多个域名，就像您所说的那样，他们想拥有尽可能多的所有 [听不清 00:23:29] 。这让我想起了之前与我有过交易的 Booking.com，他们也在做同样的事情。他们试图获取所有 booking 和 bookings 域名，无论是 booking.net 还是 booking.jp，这是我卖给 booking.com 的域名之一。所以我看到了同样的趋势，我开始注册并购买所有这些域名。
Michael：明白了。所以我要回到预订，但在我这样做之前……听起来像是在 Overstock 上，你的投资假设是，我要购买国家/地区代码顶级域名中的单个字母，因为有人会想要这些单个字母-有一天的信。那家公司出现了，它是 Overstock，你以 150 比特币的价格出售它。
我假设您可能也将这种投资假设与其他单字母领域一起使用。您可能在与我们刚才提到的不同的其他顶级域中拥有 P（字母 P）。这是一个公平的假设吗？
Max：不。我买 O 是因为我知道 Overstock 会买它们。
Max：没错。我知道他们很认真地想把名字改成 O。尽管最终他们并没有成功，那 [听不清 00:25:19]。
Max：是的，对于 Twitter 用户来说，情况有所不同。这是供我个人使用的。当我开始为 Overstock 提供这个套餐时，纯属巧合。我说，“好吧，他们可能不会对 Twitter 账号感兴趣，”所以我添加了这个。
Michael：明白了。这可能肯定会让它变得更加甜蜜。这就是库存积压。所以我完全理解。他们试图购买字母 O 周围的所有防御注册，这是他们的品牌。现在，Booking 在美国开展了一场声势浩大的营销活动。他们开始使用 booking.yeah，在他们的营销材料中，它甚至不像扩展，并且与所有新 TLD 有点混淆，但他们有很多钱，并且要进入市场建立品牌。现在，您是如何得知 booking.com 正在购买域名的？
Max：嗯，当时我主要使用 sedo.com，每隔几个月我就会看到它的结果。 [听不清 00:26:36] 预订一些东西，我的销量最高，最高可达 20,000 美元，有时甚至更低，具体取决于国家/地区 ccTLD 的大小。所以我看到了这个趋势，我开始做一些研究，寻找那些Booking还没有获得的。我当时找到了 36 个可用的 ccTLD，我可以以个人身份注册所有可用的 ccTLD，而无需使用每个商标或……
Max：是的，在国内注册的公司。所以我找到了 36 个，这是我在六个月内得到的。然后我联系了 booking.com，并向他们提供了这个套餐。
Michael：您在 booking.com 上联系了谁？当您购买这些域名并拥有它们并且您知道您需要联系公司的某个人时，您联系了谁？
Michael：好的。您通常会像 LinkedIn 一样去查找WHOIS营销总监，试图找到您能找到的最高级别吗？
Max：嗯，通常我会介绍自己和我的公司。我只是指出他们购买了其他 Booking 域名，并且我能够找到他们甚至不知道存在的域名。所以我…你发现这实际上…与我用来代表自己的名字联系起来，即 Claim Club ， Claim Club 实际上是一种现象，早在 19 世纪就开始于美国，这是为个人争取土地的个人。早期定居者，他们被称为 Claim Club 和占屋者俱乐部。这很有趣，因为在域名世界中您还可以找到“抢注者”这个词，即“网络抢注者”。不过，当时“擅自占地者”一词的含义与现在不同。
事实上，这一运动被视为积极的事情，因为这些人做了很多工作。他们是第一批到达那里的人，他们正在保卫这些土地。所以这就是公司，大公司 [听不清 00:30:25] 声称拥有所有这些土地。如果我可以这么说的话，小人物就是 [听不清 00:30:35] 的趋势。所以我开始使用相同的概念 [听不清 00:30:40]。事实上，我寻求这种晦涩的、人们对晦涩扩展的看法，例如 .et，对我来说这是一个开始。通常，大多数 [听不清 00:31:03] 会变得越来越常用，因为像 Booking 这样的大公司开始使用它们。
Max：一包 36 个。
Michael：三十六个域。你把这个套餐卖给 Booking 的是什么？
Max：我以 60,000 美元的价格卖了它。
Max：这是有可能的，尤其是现在很多公司甚至懒得和你说话。他们直接前往 [听不清 00:32:11]。
Max：但就 Booking 而言，它很微妙，因为……也因为我向他们出售的域名，因为 booking 是一个通用词，即使它是一个商标，也被很多很多公司使用。 Booking 不可能把所有这些都追上来。还因为我为他们注册的域名都是很小很小的非洲国家，但 Bookings.jp（日本的 ccTLD 除外）除外。
我不认为 Booking 在这些国家/地区拥有商标。我认为他们没有将我视为擅自占地者，因为就像我说的，他们甚至不知道这些扩展的存在。所以，你知道，在我看来，如果可能是其他人最终注册了这些域名并创建了 Booking 网站，那么这将是 booking.com 的一个问题。但我所做的只是保护这些域名。通常，我从不……实际上，我不喜欢在我的域名上放置广告。如果您创建了域名，那么它就是合法的广告。所以我只是，你知道，获得了这些域名，然后我直接联系了 Booking。
Michael：保护这 36 个域名的安全并不是一个没有风险的提议。这些是国家/地区代码顶级域名，可能会从以下任何地方收费：您知道，这不是典型的 8.47 美元的 .com。其中一些每年 50 美元，两年 100 美元。您知道，只是一些奇怪的注册流程，以及您必须去小型注册商处的手动流程。注册这 36 个域名可能需要花费大量时间和大量资金，例如数千美元。
Max：没错。花费了 1,000 多美元，而且正如我所说，注册所有这些域名花了六个月的时间。有时候如果你必须等待……其实，在四年前，你必须等待很长时间才能得到任何人的回复。有时没有……您必须直接与注册管理机构打交道，而不是与注册商打交道。
Michael：是的。太奇妙了。您知道，就在我们按下记录按钮之前，您告诉我您向 Kim Dotcom 出售了一个域名，但在另一笔交易失败之前。告诉我，Kim Dotcom 最初是如何联系你的？
Max：嗯，2012 年的一个晚上他找到了我。那是 2012 年 11 月，当时他想要……他即将推出他的新系列《Mega》。几个月前，我向他提出了这个建议。实际上我是通过 Twitter 发给他的。我向他提供了一个富有想象力的域名，因为我知道他的服务不会在.com上启动，在顶部[听不清00:35:59]因为如果你还记得的话，他的域名megaupload.com和所有这些其他巨型域名被美国政府占领。
Max：所以，知道他在推出新系列时仍然与美国政府存在法律问题，推出新网站将是一个非常愚蠢的举动 [听不清 00:36:21]。我想出这个ID来为他提供mega域名。
Max：正确。其中 GA 是非洲小国加蓬的 ccTLD。一天晚上他给我打电话，然后……
Max：他打电话给我，是的。我想我的电话号码就在当时的提案中。我们聊了一会儿，他想使用该域名。他对自己的领域感到非常兴奋，并且想立即使用它。所以我们同意……提案中有一个价格，尽管我决定重新协商这些金额和报价。因为他非常迫切地需要这个域名，所以我们达成协议，我将获得他下一家公司的一定比例，这是他后来推出的 Baboom 服务的一些股票。因此，我们达成一致，签署一份合同。事实上，他想邀请我去新西兰，这样我们就可以签署合同，因为他无法离开新西兰。
Max：作为交换，我应该将 me.ga 域名重定向到 Mega 服务的启动页面，我做到了。 Dotcom 宣布新域名的方式是……这就像……他发布推文的方式以及媒体在媒体中的表现方式更像是对美国竖起中指。这引起了不小的风暴。我认为美国政府给加蓬打电话，他们决定暂停该域名。我们没有机会签合同。那时，我年轻得多。我对此感到非常后悔，特别是因为当这种情况发生时，Dotcom 决定首先不向我付款。但他也没有提供任何道歉，什么也没有，因为他觉得我对加蓬的这一行为负有一定的责任。
Michael：但这并不是 Kim Dotcom 的终结。虽然me.ga、ME.GA域名没有卖出去，但他最终还是从你那里购买了另一个域名。
Max：是的。事实上，六个月后，我收到了 [听不清 00:40:30] 提供的域名报价，该域名与 me.ga 域名一起使用，即 k.im、KI-M，其中包含 kim.com我介意，因为我知道唯一愿意为此付出大笔金钱的 Kim 就是 Dotcom。但是 Kim Dotcom，我想，是在 2000 年初的某个时候花了 50 万美元。而且，由于他的 .com 域名被查封，而 Kim Dotcom，他的名字，也面临着风险，有人告诉我，“你应该注册这个，”我做到了。他出价 20,000 美元购买这个域名，我接受了。
Michael：你甚至没有谈判，因为这是 Kim Dotcom。他有很多钱。
Max：其实当时没有，因为不仅他的域名被查封，而且他所有的钱都被查封了，而且他并没有人们想象的那么多现金。我认为他的域名的 20,000 是 [听不清 00:41:46]，特别是因为从那以后他就没有使用过该域名。他想发起……
Max：我重视它们……好吧，我有三种方法。当然，其中之一是互联网公司的价值是多少。我通常会访问 estibot.com，并在 . com 中查找相应的值。一个例子是……实际上，这不是最好的例子，但是locally.com。
Max：这是最近为一家公司购买的……嗯，[听不清 00:42:51] 价值 25,000 美元。但域名被盗，local.ly，local.ly，三年前以 10 万美元的价格出售。所以，你知道，在这种情况下，拼装域名似乎更有价值。但是，你知道，事实并非如此。我不知道 local.com 最终卖了多少钱，但差不多超过 100,000 美元。所以这是 EstiBot 并没有真正给出的东西……我认为 EstiBot 主要是基于域名的流量。有些域名非常有价值，但没有获得任何流量。因此，就 [听不清 00:43:38] .com 而言，我猜他们没有获得那么多流量，所以这就是 [听不清 00:43:43] 的原因。
Michael：但是如果我在 EstiBot 中输入 kim.com，让我们看看数量级是多少，估计是多少。就在这里加载。它返回了 113 万，这可能是最高和最好的用例，可能有一家名为 Kim 的公司，Kim Electronics、Kim Medical、Kim 之类的，这可能就像一个价值百万美元的域名。三个字母。这是一个词，可以发音。但你以 20,000 美元的价格卖掉了 k.im。
Michael：这是一个很好的分数吗？一个价值百万美元的网络公司在拼装域名攻击中的价值约为 20,000 美元？
Max：就像我说的，这确实取决于情况。通常，当我说估算我的域名时，我会将它们视为……您知道，占 .com 的 5%、10%，有时 20%。这实际上取决于域名的质量。如果你采取……就像互联网一样。我猜 Internet.com 的规模可能有数千万。对我来说，100,000 美元是一个不错的估计。
Michael：所以这取决于行业有多大、用例有多大。确实。那么，国家代码也成为一个因素吗？就像如果您有一个使用非洲小国的拼装域名，比方说，与使用西班牙国家代码 .es 的拼装域名相比，西班牙的拼装域名会拥有更高的……您知道，在所有其他条件相同的情况下，西班牙的价值会更高吗，因为西班牙是一个更大的国家，你会说吗？
Max：这实际上取决于 ccTLD 的知名度。如果你再次考虑一下，埃塞俄比亚不是一个小国，但它大多不为人所知。它是如此不为人知，以至于谷歌甚至不拥有 google.et。
Max：他们有 google.com.et，但没有顶级 TLD。所以就.et而言，它确实对价格有影响。没有多少人知道它，也没有多少公司使用它。这就是为什么我通常保留这些域名。例如，我向像 Booking 这样的大公司出售一些，这些人开始使用它们。然后小公司出现了，他们也想要 AT [SP]，然后价格就会上涨。所以，这是一个漫长的过程。
Michael：好吧，所以你说就估值而言，你会看看网络公司并使用它的百分比。可能是 5% 到 20% 之间。更受欢迎的国家代码顶级域名可能会影响价格。从您的角度来看，Max 还需要考虑哪些因素来评估拼装域名攻击的价值？
Max：嗯，如果这是一个单字拼装域名，那么它当然会比双字拼装域名更有价值，我想这也可以应用于.com。尽管我们已经看到一些双字.com域名已经卖了很多钱。当谈到拼装域名时，通常超过一个单词，任何超过十个字符我想说，都是很难推销的。出售这些域名非常困难。因为，人们对这些领域的兴趣又在于它们非常小。这是获取拼装域名的要点，因为它非常短。我认为我们在互联网上进步得越多，就会出现这种简单化的趋势，简而言之，因为……我认为它确实因 Twitter 和 140 个字符的限制而流行。
然后像 Bitly 这样的 URL 平台不仅在域名领域开启了一种趋势，而且在我们处理文本等方面也开启了一种趋势。因此，在评估 [听不清 00:48:48] 时，不仅仅是拼装域名攻击。这是一项投资，但您会在小型 .com 域名（四字符 .com 域名）中发现相同的趋势。
Michael：越来越多的公司正在使用这些较短的拼装域名，因为他们确实想要较短的域名。谷歌当然会使用 GOO.GL 作为其缩短程序的格陵兰国家代码。国家公共广播电台，我不知道你是否在推特上看到了这些内容。它将是 n.pr，这是波多黎各的国家/地区代码。你知道，即使在域名行业，我也经常说它是最难使用的域名，因为它不是一个缩短器，你只需点击它即可。
您不需要提醒某人这是什么或告诉他们去 n.pr/session100 或其他什么。但 Mark Kychma 决定使用 DN Price、DNPRIC.ES（当然使用西班牙的国家/地区代码）作为他的域名。实际使用的少数拼装域名之一。同样，我发现很难告诉任何人如何到达那里，因为你需要拼写出来。Max，有更好的办法吗？我只是把它拼写出来是愚蠢的吗？
Michael：是的，我很想看看这份清单，并将其作为采访的一部分发布，如果你不介意卖掉它的话。因为我从未见过使用 hacks 作为域名的初创公司列表，看到这一点真的很有趣。
Max：如果您愿意，您可以访问我的 Twitter 帐户之一，即 Domain Hacks，twitter.com/domainhacks。你进入列表，就会看到一个拼装域名列表，其中列出了在 Twitter 上使用拼装域名的公司。
Michael：太棒了。我会发布一个链接。这就是人们购买这些域名的原因。要么是自我，就像 kim.im 一样。这是像 Overstock 或 Booking 这样的防御性目的，他们想要获得每个域名，或者是新 gTLD 一直在不断推广的缩短器。也许您找不到我们的域名的用途，但它仍然可以作为您拥有的域名的缩写，并且您可以去掉这三个 .com 字符。我认为您拥有很长一段时间的域名之一是 Tags、TA.GS，这是让我对拼装域名大开眼界的第一批域名之一，而且您拥有如此庞大的投资组合。 。作为出版商，我知道数据是被标记的，元数据以及它们在数据库中的重要性，我一直很喜欢您的域名标签。如果 tag.gs.com 是一个 500 美元的域名，我们就说价值 500,000 美元的域名。也许是 800。Max，TA.GS 值多少钱？
Max：我认为 TA.GS 的价值略低于 50,000 美元，因为几年前 Tag（[听不清 00:52:30]）以 60,000 美元的价格卖给了这家营销公司。这也是我购买 tag.gs 的原因，因为我看到那个 tag 卖了这么多钱。这实际上是我在售后市场上购买的罕见的拼装域名之一。我实际上支付了，我想在 [听不清 00:53:00] 的一次拍卖中花了 3,000 美元、4,000 美元才获得了这个。
Michael：你通常如何……你知道，大多数人问我如何去进行研究，我会说，“转到 DN 价格或转到 Name Bio，你可以输入特定的单词，然后查看这些的比较。”但您无法输入“标签”，Name Bio 会向该点发送垃圾邮件，以拉入标签，例如最近出售的标签。您如何研究哪些人购买了被域名盗用的 ccTLD，并跟踪哪些产品的售价是多少？
Max：嗯，通常情况下，我只是继续 [听不清 00:53:36]，然后查看顶级 ccTLD 销售额。我查看的销售额超过 10,000 美元。通常我不会看下面的内容。因为如果您要支付 100 美元来注册 ccTLD……我的意思是，其中一些价格较低，但其中许多，正如您之前所说，价格相当高 [听不清 00:54:06]。到了年底，你就得付帐了。因此，如果您只有 200 个域名并且没有那么多可用现金，100 美元仍然是一笔很大的投资。如果我要支付这些费用，我至少想赚到 5,000 美元、10,000 美元。是的，这就是我研究域名的方式，来自 [听不清 00:54:37] namebio.com。
Michael：是的，这是一个很好的选择。因此，如果您大约拥有 200 个域名，并且您每年销售大约 20 个域名，那么您的售出率为 10%，这确实很高。您可以通过 Flippa、Flippa 机器人域名持有经纪公司对域名持有进行主动营销来实现这一目标。您还可以将它们列在 Sedo 上。那是对的吗？
Max：是的。事实上，我刚刚在 Sedo 上列出了我的域名。在我将一半的投资组合以 [听不清 00:55:47] 名称出售给我的兄弟之前，我曾经拥有过它们，这些名称主要是 .com 域名和单字符域。我仍然是他的经纪人，所以我从每笔销售中获得一定比例，即我已经卖给他的域名。所以，上个月在 Sedo.com 上进行 AT 拍卖后，每个人都非常惊讶，他们的销售额竟然达到了 100 万美元。我不记得域名的数量，但我不认为有那么多。
Michael：没那么高。我认为 c.at，CA-T，可能是最畅销的产品之一，如果我没记错的话，售价约为 60,000 美元。
Max：没错，是的。但我说的是他们拍卖的域名数量 [听不清 00:56:44]。但是，是的，就像你说的，最畅销的是拼装域名，这是 c.at。售价 60,000 美元。我们还看到其他拼装域名表现得非常好，比如……如果我记得的话，有什么，悲伤的，还有更多。肉也一样。当我看到这个时，我在 Twitter 上给 Sedo 的首席执行官发了一条推文。我告诉他，我有这个……我来自 Domain Hacks，我的 Twitter，Domain Hacks。我告诉他我 [听不清 00:57:28] 拼装域名，我正在尝试出售我的投资组合。我们聊了一会儿，他很快告诉我 Sedo 有兴趣在 2017 年的某个时候进行拍卖。这就是我开始在 Sedo 上列出我的域名的原因。现在我们正处于验证过程中，这是一个漫长的过程，因为如您所知，有些域很难验证。
Michael：是的，当然。极好的。所以 Sedo 拍卖会在二月、三月的某个时候举行。人们怎么能……你知道，如果他们想在 Twitter 上关注你，这样他们就可以在拍卖开始时获得更新，我会尝试用该拍卖信息更新此采访页面，他们最好的 Twitter 处理是什么应遵循该拍卖通知？
Max：他们应该遵循 Domain Hacks。
Max：或者他们可以在 Domain Portfolio 上关注我，这是我的个人 Twitter 管理的。
Max：实际上，由于新的 gTLD，机会越来越多。如果您查看新 gTLD 销量最高的域名，您可能会注意到，大多数域名都是通过拼装域名出售的，它们是从拼装域名开始的文字游戏。这就是我的企业仍然取得良好销售业绩的原因之一。因为现在我认为 [听不清 00:59:38] 为公司命名时，再次强调的是域名的大小。我认为这真的非常非常重要，这就是为什么像 [听不清 00:59:51] .io 这样的域名现在能卖很多钱。由于这些域名可用，因此很容易获得。
对于大多数没有大量预算且尚未筹集大量风险投资资金的初创公司来说，他们无法负担 10 万美元或更多的 .com 域名。这是后来的事。但当我购买域名时，我考虑的是小型初创公司，而更多的是考虑大公司。如果它发生了，那就太好了。但我想到的是那些想要一个好的域名并以不多的钱创建域名的小家伙。我就是做这个的。
Max：我的建议是要聪明一点。因此，不要去注册长拼装域名，因为这样做的钱非常低。我的意思是，上周我在 Flippa.com 上以 60 美元的价格出售了唐纳德·J·特朗普 (Donald J Trump)。这仍然是一笔不错的钱，但它表明长拼装域名没有多大价值。所以，是的，在拼装域名攻击方面，关注越小越好。是的，要聪明一点。做你的研究。不要只关注 .io 或简单的名称，例如……像我一样。我通过了非常未知的 ccTLD，并且能够注册一些非常非常好的域名。而且你必须要有耐心。就像域王一样。
Max：非常有耐心的人。我敢肯定，其他人则没有那么耐心，在 90 年代末免费出售了令人惊叹的 .com 域名。但他很有耐心，现在他得到了他当时已经拥有的钱[听不清 01:02:38]。他是一位先驱。所以，成为先锋。
Michael：很好的建议。如果您有任何疑问，请在 Domain Sherpa 视频下方的评论中发布，我会请 Max 回来并尽可能多地回答。如果您从今天的节目中受益，学到了新东西，对投资新领域资产类别有不同的想法，请花点时间感谢今天的夏尔巴人。我将是第一个向Max表示感谢的人。 Claim Club 创始人 Max Guerin，感谢您来到 Domain Sherpa Show，分享您如何构建投资组合、如何评估域名、如何将域名出售给最终用户的信息，并感谢您成为 Domain Sherpa为他人。
Michael Cyger: I am often asked how you can make money with domain names. And it seems like such a simple, straight-forward question on the surface. But the deeper you understand an industry, the broader the opportunities become. One of those opportunities is called domain hacks. We’re going to find out what the opportunity is, what kind of returns you can generate, and how one investor is making real sales happen. Stay tuned!
Three sponsors of today’s show.
First, if you’re buying or selling a domain name or portfolio and you want an estimate of it’s value, Estibot.com is the place to go. Just like you’d visit Zillow.com to get an estimate of a house value, Estibot.com provides key information about the most important statistics so you can make an informed decision based on data.
Second: Serious about online trading? Secure your funds, keep your merchandise safe, and use a company that keeps the buyer and seller protected the whole way through. That’s Escrow.com. Payments you can trust.
Finally, if you’re a domain name investor, don’t you have unique legal needs that require domain name technical know-how and industry experience? That’s why you need David Weslow of Wiley Rein. Go search for David Weslow on DomainSherpa, watch his interview and you can see for yourself that he can clearly explain issues, can help you with buy/sell agreements, deal with website content issues and UDRP actions, and even help you write your website terms and conditions. David Weslow is the lawyer to call for Internet legal issues. See for yourself at DavidWeslow.com.
Michael: Hey, Sherpa Network, thanks so much for joining me today. My name is Michael Cyger, and I’m the publisher of domainsherpa.com, the website where you can learn how to become a successful domain name investor and entrepreneur directly from the experts. My goal is that you’ll watch these interviews, take away strategies, tactics and ideas, become successful yourself and then come back to Domain Sherpa and do an interview. I’m often asked how you can make money with domain names, and it seems like such a simple straightforward question on the surface but the deeper you understand an industry, the broader the opportunities become.
One of those opportunities is called domain hacks. We’re gonna find out what the opportunity is, what kind of returns you can generate, and how one investor is making real sales happen. I’m pleased to welcome Max Guerin, founder of Claim Club, an investor in premium brand of all domain name hacks. Max, welcome to the show.
Max: Hi, Michael. Thanks for having me.
Michael: This has been a long time in the process. You and I started having a conversation a couple of years ago. It’s finally great to have you on here, learn more about your business and domain hacks. Let me start with this, Max. Many investors may not be familiar with the phrase “domain hack.” How do you define what a domain hack is?
Max: Well, to start with, I don’t really like the name, domain hack, because it’s been quite detrimental to this type of domain names, because usually most Internet users, when you talk about hack or hacking, they associate the term with something that’s bad, or they relate it to what they hear on the news and what they read in the media. But actually, hack is more for a way of playing with the…whether it’s called in terms of domain names, domain hacks, to play with the words, to play with what makes a domain name, which is the word you use and the extension, the detail of the [inaudible 00:02:06].
But something that people don’t know is that the first domain hack is actually very old. It’s Internet inter.net, which I think was registered in ’92 or ’94, which is still used today. It’s a German company, I think one of the largest web hosts in Germany. Back then there was only a few [inaudible 00:02:34], .com, .net, .org. So there was not many possibilities of making them in hacks, besides [inaudible 00:02:42].com or cyborg.
Michael: So, it’s interesting that you bring it up because in interacting with you, leading up to this interview, one of the things that I noticed is that you are a creative person. And, you know, just like people who write content, you know, write poetry, write novels, appreciate play on words, you as a domain and name investor appreciate the play with words, the wordplay that comes into domain names and how you can use a top-level domain like the country code for Spain .es and work that into words. So the right of the dot and the left of the dot. If you were to move the dot, that’s the word that you’re trying to make.
Max: That’s why I prefer to otherwise use the word “branded domain name” and the expression by the domain name, which is what marketers nowadays use, or URL platforms like Bitly, which I think were the ones who were one of the first companies that coined the expression “branded domain name.” Which means, you know, to have the brand incorporated within the domain name. The only thing that separates the brand name from the domain name is the dot.
Michael: Right. Yeah. And that’s a great point. You know, I appreciate you saying that, that we should call these brandable [SP] or branded domain names, because that’s what they are, but for consistency and just to be able to identify them to people who have known them as domain hacks in the past this is the topic that we are discussing. While I think that it is…I totally understand what you’re saying, that the word “hack” or “hacker” has been negative in the past, I do see people talk about growth hacking, people talking about hackathons, and the whole culture around programmers has really shifted from a negative to a positive recently.
So, you know, I’ll just throw that out as one side of the coin, but I completely see where you’re coming from. Max, you know, people often turn on to Domain Sherpa and they watch the show and they want to know right off the bat, you know, I understand the concept, but is the interviewee, is the person that’s giving the interview somebody that’s actually doing something that I should pay attention to? And the way that we record that is by sales volume. So if people are having some sort of sales volume, people want to get an idea of the level of success. What was your sales volume over the past year, or if you just look at 2016?
Max: Well, this year I haven’t sold too many domain names. I did make some great sales through mostly the flippa.com marketplace, with the help of media holdings, which was acquired by Flippa, I think, sometime last year.
Michael: Domain Holdings.
Max: Domain Holdings.
Max: They were one of the [inaudible 00:06:04] helped me with the sales. One of them was sto.re, S-T-O.R-E, which uses the… [inaudible 00:06:18] in a way, but it’s part of France’s…the islands of [inaudible 00:06:24], which is a bit up north of France. Don’t ask me why they have an extension. I don’t know. It was a great sale. It sold for $30,000, I think post sale negotiation. We launched the shopify.com [inaudible 00:06:47].
Michael: So shopify.com bought STO.RE, the domain hack for store, for $30,000. But if I take a step back, Max, how many total domain names did you sell in 2016?
Max: I sold roughly 20 domain names this year.
Michael: So about 20 domain names. You sold most of them through Flippa, it sounds like.
Michael: And tthen, what was the total sales volume? Like, the total top line sales, before commissions, before costs, holding costs, things like that?
Max: About $100,000.
Michael: A hundred thousand dollars. Okay. So you’re doing six figures on the sale of 20 domain names, roughly almost two domain names per month that are selling. How has that trended compared to prior years? Like if you look to 2015, was it about the same? Was it trending up or trending down?
Max: 2015 was pretty much the same as was ’16 because I got many offers, [inaudible 00:07:58] offers. But I decided early on, which I think is why I’m still able to make such great sales because I knew how to value my domain names.
Something most domain [inaudible 00:08:17], at least with domain hacks, didn’t know, which was the value of these domain names, for different reasons. If you ask me why did I choose to invest in domain hacks instead of dot com domains or dot co or dot media, which I own some, but most [inaudible 00:08:43] and domain hacks, and the reason is simply because I found this crazy value in these domains. Through the websites I knew and some of the entrepreneurs that I respect…for example, Matt Mullenweg of WordPress, was one of the first individuals to own a domain hack for his website, which is still ma.tt.
This had this impact on me, that if such innovators are interested in these domain names [inaudible 00:09:30]. They’re working on the monumentals. So I decided that I should invest in these domains and not let them go for little money.
Michael: I’m gonna dig into more on how you value your domain name hacks. But I want to understand a little bit more about a few of the domains you’ve sold. You’ve mentioned sto.re. S-T-O.R-E sold for $30,000 on Flippa. I didn’t realize that you sold Matt Mullenweg ma.tt. Are you up to say how much you sold that domain to him for?
Max: No, no, I didn’t sell that.
Michael: Oh, you did not. Okay.
Max: No. What I said is that…
Michael: That his use has made it more popular to use domain hacks.
Max: [inaudible 00:10:14 to 00:10:19], or I realized the value of this domain.
Michael: Yeah, definitely. What are a couple more domains you’ve recently sold on Flippa?
Max: Recently, I sold one, .et domain name, which .et is the ccTLD for Ethiopia. The domain was l.et, L.E-T.
Michael: What did that one sell for?
Max: This one sold for $4,000.
Michael: Four thousand dollars. Do you own b.et? B.E-T?
Max: No. Unfortunately, I don’t own this one. But I do own intern.et.
Michael: Oh, you do? So you own I-N-T-E-R-N.E-T?
Michael: Oh, wow. What do you value that one at?
Max: Well, this one is one of my personal favorites, so I would sell it for at least six figures, I think.
Michael: Six figures. Awesome. So how large is… You mentioned that you do have some domain names besides those that are domain name hacks using a country code top-level domain. How big is your entire investment portfolio, Max? How many domain names?
Max: So far I have about 200 domain names.
Michael: Two hundred. Okay. So, it’s a good size, but it’s not massive. Some people have 20,000 domain names or something. So it’s very manageable. Of those 200, how many would you say are domain hacks, like l.et or sto.re?
Max: I think more than half of them are domain hacks.
Michael: So, over 100?
Michael: The difficulty that I find with domain hacks is that you can’t run a “reverse who is” look-up on the domain name. Country code top-level domain name registries operate who has databases that are hard to query, they’re slow. There’s no one-stop location.
So I can’t go to domainiq.com and type in a domain name that I know you own, like start ups. You own S-T-A-R-T-U.P-S, which is the state of Palestine country code top-level domain. I can’t go and look that one up and then look up all the other ccTLDs that you own. So, knowing that, what are your favorites? What are the ccTLDs, the domain hacks that you own that would be really hard for you to part with, Max?
Max: Just to respond to your question. You can actually find who owns that PS domain. You have to go through the registry directly.
Michael: Right. You can. I should clarify. In all the registries, you can go to nick.whatever, nick.es for Spain, for example, and do a “who is” look-up. But you have to think of the domain name, then look it up. I want to do a reverse “who is” to find out a list of every single domain name that you own, and I couldn’t do that, leading up to the show.
Max: My favorite domain hacks would be intern.et, like I said. I like…more recently, I bought a .com domain, which I use for my blog, which is flipa.com. Not to be confused with the domain [inaudible 00:14:04].
Michael: Wait a second. You’re using F-L-I-P-A, flipa.com?
Michael: For your blog. But it’s not to be confused with Flippa the marketplace.
Max: Yes, because I use it as Flip A .Com, like flip a coin. It’s a word play. I explain on my blog that I decided to use this domain name [inaudible 00:14:30] of all extensions because that’s how I started in domaining. Now that I want to sell my [inaudible 00:14:40] I decided I must use .com.
Michael: Interesting. As a side note, do you get a decent amount of traffic going to flipa.com?
Max: I get a few thousand a month.
Michael: Interesting. And so, what else do you like in your portfolio?
Max: Well, since I’m in Montreal, I like m.tl, which MTL is the abbreviation for Montreal.
Michael: Oh yeah, that’s a great one.
Max: I own i.je. Je in French means “I.” So it’s double I.
Michael: I.je. Nice.
Max: Startups is a good one as well. What else? Twe.et. I own twe.et.
Michael: So T-W-E.E-T?
Michael: Another Ethiopian one.
Max: Yes. [inaudible 00:15:49].
Michael: So, Max, you sell about 20 domains a year. Most of them are sold through a marketplace like Flippa but some of them are sold by people who think of the domain hack, look up the “who is,” and contact you directly?
Max: Yes, sometimes this happens, but not quite often, especially since I don’t have a…I used to have a website marketplace for which I was sending these domain names. But I wasn’t satisfied with the design so I decided to take it offline. Nowadays I mostly use flippa.com, ceedo.com. Or I contact the end users directly.
Michael: Oh, you do outreach on some of the domains?
Max: I do outreach, yes.
Michael: How does the outreach go?
Michael: Do you find that it is successful, or is it like most people that do outreach, that 90% of the emails that you send fall on deaf ears?
Max: It has been successful. It’s rare, but when it does, usually it’s for [inaudible 00:17:04 to 00:17:06] not only because I save fields from reusing a sub-platform. But also because there’s more space, I would say, for negotiation, other than just adding…you [inaudible 00:017:24] and you’re able to speak with the person. It’s just…it’s out to negotiate, I find, whether it’s on Flippa or Ceedo, than if you were to talk with the person, make a phone call, that kind of thing. For example, I sold a package to overstock.com two years ago, which was through outreaching to the communication director at overstock.com, who was Judd Bagley.
Michael: So tell me about that. What did the package include? Which domain names?
Max: The package included the domain names, o.ly, O.L-Y, which at that time was still relatively successful. You probably remember, [inaudible 00:18:25] a lot. A few years ago many startups started to call themselves something “ly.”
Max: Nowadays, it’s IO, but a few years ago it was .ly mostly. So o.ly was the most important one. The other ones were o.cr. CR is the ccTLD of Costa Rica. And o.vu. VU is a small island that I can’t remember the name of. I think it’s Vanuatu. Anyway, these were the domain names. And there was, included with this package, which was not sold per se, it was part of the branding package, were social media URLs and handles like twitter.com/o Twitter handle.
Michael: Wow, twitter.com/o, the username O.
Max: Yes. I was early on Twitter, so I was able to secure that one. There was o.tumblr.com.
Michael: Wow. Yeah. That’s phenomenal. So you saw the value of a single character. You didn’t know that Overstock was gonna re-brand to o.co.
Max: I knew at the time. That’s why I offered them this package, because I knew they were trying to re-brand as [inaudible 00:20:04]. This was after they bought [inaudible 00:20:07].
Michael: I’m sorry, what I meant to say was, when Twitter was coming out and you secured the user name O, at that point you had no idea that Overstock was going to re-brand. You may not even known of Overstock at the time, but you saw the value in short brands, like the letter O. And so that’s why you picked up o.ly, o.cr. o.vu, as well as various social media. All in, how big was that package?
Max: The package was sold in Bitcoins because I was very interested in Bitcoin then, still am. And I knew that Overstock was involved within Bitcoin and invested a lot of money and decided to pay their employees [inaudible 00:20:58] in Bitcoin. So I proposed that they pay me in Bitcoins, and they agreed. And so we agreed on 150 Bitcoins, which at the time of the sale in December 2014 was $50,000. Which now would be worth more than…
Michael: More than $100,000.
Michael: That’s fantastic. So, you know, you saw…you understood that Overstock was playing the Bitcoin space that would be a negotiation point where something that they might not have as much invested. It may not come off the books as cash, that they might be able to use Bitcoin and that you saw that Bitcoin was probably gonna be the best coin currency and you wanted to play in that space. That’s a fantastic agreement.
Clearly required a ton of vision to be able to be an early adopter on Twitter and get that O handle. One of the questions was going to be, how did you sell the usernames when most social media accounts won’t…their terms and conditions say that you cannot sell. And it sounds like you did not sell it as part of the package. You sold the domain names. And as part of an agreement to buy those domain names, these social media handles just rode along with it.
Max: That’s correct, yeah. The contract with Overstock, it was clearly stated that the Twitter handle, the Tumblr URL, all the social media accounts were transferred as part of the domain name deal [inaudible 00:22:45].
Michael: Why did Overstock want to buy these domains, o.ly, o.cr, when they had o.co?
Max: Well, that’s because I saw a trend in domain name sales. [inaudible 00:23:04] I think it was o.cu.za, which is the ccTLD area of South Africa, which was bought for something like $6,000 by overstock.com. So then I started to think about the fact that [inaudible 00:23:23] went after more than one domain name, which like you said was all the [inaudible 00:23:29] that they wanted to own as many as possible. Which reminded me of booking.com with whom I had a prior deal, were doing the same thing. They were trying to acquire all of the booking and bookings domain names, whether it was booking.net or booking.jp, which is one of the domains I sold to booking.com. So I saw the same trend and I started to register and buy all these domains.
Michael: Gotcha. So I’m gonna come back to the bookings, but before I do that… So it sounds like on Overstock, your investment hypothesis was, I’m gonna buy single letters in country code top-level domains because somebody is gonna want those single-letter some day. And that company came along and it was Overstock and you sold it for 150 Bitcoin.
And I assume that you probably used that investment hypothesis with other single-letter domains as well. You probably own P, the letter P, in other top-level domains that are different from the ones that we’ve just mentioned. Is that a fair assumption?
Max: No. I bought the O because I knew Overstock was going to buy them.
Michael: Gotcha. So you did go out and buy them with the intent to sell them to Overstock, who was trying to consolidate the market?
Max: Exactly. And I knew they were serious about renaming into O. Even though, in the end, it didn’t work out for them, that [inaudible 00:25:19].
Michael: Yeah. But Twitter started I don’t know what year. You secured that handle way before you started buying the country code top-level domains.
Max: Yeah, for the Twitter handles it was different. It was for my personal use. It was a coincidence when I started this package for Overstock. I said, “Well, probably they wouldn’t be interested in the Twitter handle,” so I added this.
Michael: Gotcha. And that probably definitely sweetened it. So that was Overstock. So I completely understand it. They were trying to buy all the defensive registrations around the letter O, which was their brand. Now, Booking went out with a tremendous marketing campaign in the United States. They started using booking.yeah, which in their marketing materials, which wasn’t even like an extension and was kind of confusing with all the new TLDs, but they had a lot of money and they were going out to the market to build brand. Now, how did you hear about booking.com was buying up domain names?
Max: Well, at the time I was using mostly ceedo.com, and every couple months I would see the results of that. [inaudible 00:26:36] booking something, I was in the top sales selling for up to $20,000 or sometimes less depending on the size of the country, the ccTLD. So I saw this trend and I started to do some research and looked for the ones that Booking had not secured. I found 36 of them at the time which were available, all the ccTLDs available that I could register as an individual without needing every trademark or…
Max: Yeah, a company registered in the country. So I found 36, which I got within six months. And then I contacted booking.com and I offered them this package.
Michael: Who did you contact at booking.com? When you buy these domain names, and you have them and you know you need to reach somebody at the company, who did you reach out to?
Max: Usually, I reach the marketing department of the company, the chief marketing director or someone working in the marketing of the company.
Michael: Okay. And do you typically go to like a LinkedIn to look up who’s the director of marketing, trying to find the highest level you can?
Max: Usually, you find all this information on the website of the company.
Michael: So you just went to their public website, looked up and found out who the chief marketing officer was?
Max: Yeah. Most of the time, though, you have to figure out which email address they use, which is something quite easy, actually. It’s kind of like trial and error. You have to try a few times. Usually, you end up finding the right email address.
Michael: Yeah. So you found the person, you emailed them. What does your initial email look like when you’re trying to sell some domains like that?
Quick break from three sponsors of today’s show:
First, if you’re buying a domain name from a private party and want to know what else they own, DomainIQ.com is the tool you should be using. View their entire portfolio, filter by Estibot value and be a better investor. $49.95 for 250 queries per month. Visit DomainIQ.com/portfolio to learn more.
Second, Efty was built by domain investors to increase your inquiries, sales and profit. Forget spreadsheets and archived emails — manage your entire investment portfolio in one place using a secure and completely confidential platform. Learn more at Efty.com, that’s e – f – t – y, Efty.com.
Finally, if you’re struggling with how to buy, sell, and value domain names, you need to check-out DNAcademy.com. Published by me, Michael Cyger of DomainSherpa, and trusted by Uniregistry to train their new employees, you too can learn using the DNAcademy accelerated learning system for domain name investing. Learn more at DNAcademy.com.
Michael: Yeah. So you found the person, you emailed them. What does your initial email look like when you’re trying to sell some domains like that?
Max: Well, usually, I introduce myself and my company. I just, you know, point out the fact that they bought other Booking domain names and that I was able to find domains that they didn’t know even existed. So I…you find this actually…make connection in the name I use to represent myself, which is Claim Club, the Claim Club was actually a phenomenon that started in the U.S. back in the 19th century, which was individuals who were securing lands for early settlers and they were called claim clubs and also squatter clubs. Which is interesting because you also find this word of squatters, cyber squatter, in the domain name world. At the time, though, the word squatter didn’t have the same meaning as now.
Actually, this movement was seen as something positive because these people were doing a lot of work. They were the first there and they were securing these lands. So that’s corporations, big corporations [inaudible 00:30:25] were claiming all this land. The little people, if I may say so, are the trends in [inaudible 00:30:35]. So I started to use the same concept [inaudible 00:30:40]. The fact that I seek this obscure, what people think of obscure extensions, like .et for example, to me it’s the beginning. Usually, most of the [inaudible 00:31:03] kind of becoming more and more used because these big companies like Booking start using them.
Michael: Yeah. And so, how many…so you registered booking.et, bookings in other country codes. Maybe you had a domain hack in there. How many total domains related to booking did you accumulate before you approached them to sell them?
Max: It was a package of 36.
Michael: Thirty-six domains. And what did you sell that package to booking?
Max: I sold it for $60,000.
Michael: Sixty thousand dollars. Okay. And were you at all worried that because they had trademarks on the word “booking” that they may just turn around and say you were a cybersquatter and you were registering their trademark in the different domain names and just take them from you?
Max: This is possible, especially nowadays where a lot of companies don’t even bother to speak with you. They go straight to the [inaudible 00:32:11].
Max: But in the case of Booking, it’s delicate because…and also because of the domains I was selling to them, since booking is a generic word, even though it’s a trademark, it’s used by many, many companies. There’s no way Booking can go after all of them. And also because the domains I was registering for them were small, tiny African nations, except for bookings.jp, which is the ccTLD of Japan.
I don’t believe Booking had a trademark in these countries. And I think they didn’t see me as a squatter, because like I said, they didn’t even know these extensions existed. So, you know, in my mind, if probably someone else where they ended up registering these domain names and started Booking websites, then it would have been an issue for booking.com. But what I was doing was just securing these domain names. Usually, I never…actually, I don’t like to put ads on my domains. If you make a domain name, it’s legal advertisement. So I just, you know, secured these domain names and then I approached Booking directly.
Michael: And it’s not a non-risky proposition to secure those 36 domain names. These are country code top-level domains that may charge anywhere from… You know, it’s not your typical $8.47 dot com. Some of them are $50 a year, $100 for two years. You know, just sort of odd registration processes, and manual processes as well where you have to go to small registrars. It probably took a lot of time and a decent amount of money, like thousands of dollars to register those 36 domains.
Max: That’s correct. It took more than $1,000, and it took, like I said, six months to register all of these domain names. Sometimes if you have to wait… Actually, at the time, which was four years ago, you had to wait a long time just to get a reply from anyone. Sometimes there’s no… You have to deal directly with the registry and not a registrar.
Michael: Yeah, in some of the countries, the process is manual, where you actually submit a form online and it probably gets printed someplace in another country and it needs to be processed.
Michael: Yeah. It’s amazing. You know, just before we hit the record button, you were telling me that you sold Kim Dotcom a domain but not before another deal fell apart. Tell me, how did Kim Dotcom approach you to begin with?
Max: Well, he approached me one night in 2012. It was in November 2012 at the time where he wanted to…he was about to launch his new series called Mega. And months prior, I made this proposal to him. I sent it to him through Twitter actually. I was offering him an imaginative domain name because I knew that his service was not going to be launched on a dot com, on a top [inaudible 00:35:59] because if you remember, his domain names, megaupload.com and all these other mega domains were seized by the U.S. government.
Max: So it would have been a pretty stupid move to launch his new websites knowing that he still had legal issues with the U.S. government to launch his new series [inaudible 00:36:21]. I came up with this ID to offer him the mega domain name.
Max: Correct. Which GA is the ccTLD of Gabon, which is a small African nation. And he called me one night and…
Michael: He called you up?
Max: He called me, yes. I think my number was in the proposal then. We talked for a while and he wanted to use the domain. He was really excited about his domain and wanted to use it right now. So we agreed on…there was a price in the proposal, though I decided to renegotiate these amounts and the offer. Because he needed this domain so urgently, we came to the agreement that I would get a percentage in his next company, which was some stock in his Baboom service, which was launched later on. So, the agreement was that we would sign a contract. Actually, he wanted to invite me to New Zealand so we can sign the contract because he was not able to leave New Zealand.
Max: And in exchange, I was supposed to redirect the me.ga domain name to the launch page of the Mega service, which I did. And Dotcom announced the new domain name as…it was like a…the way he tweeted about it and the way it was represented in the media was more of a middle finger to the United States. This created quite a storm. I think the U.S. government called Gabon and they decided to suspend the domain name. We didn’t have a chance to sign the contract. At the time, I was much younger. I regretted this a lot, especially because when this happened, Dotcom decided to not to pay me, first. But also, he didn’t offer any apology, nothing, because he felt I was somewhat responsible for this action of Gabon.
Michael: Well, he was the one that was promoting it and getting people over there to take a look at what was going on.
Max: Exactly. But if you look at the history of Mr. Dotcom, you would find a lot of this. The way he’s portrayed in the media is actually quite ridiculous. But then you have to do your own research, which I did because I had to…I tried to get my money through my lawyer but, like I said, since we didn’t sign any agreement. It was just talking on the phone, emails.
Michael: Right. And he got the benefit of you redirecting it until the deal was done. So, in hindsight, if you had to go back and redo that event again, what would you have done differently, Max?
Max: I would have signed a contract directly. I would have flew to New Zealand and I would have met the guy and signed a contract.
Michael: Before redirecting, before allowing use, before even allowing him to promote it, potentially.
Michael: But that wasn’t the end of Kim Dotcom. Although the me.ga, M-E.G-A domain name didn’t sell, he ended up buying another domain name from you.
Max: Yeah. Actually, six months later, I got this offer from [inaudible 00:40:30] for a domain name which I did along with the me.ga domain name, which was k.im, K.I-M, with kim.com in mind because I knew that the only Kim who would be willing to pay a good amount of money for that would be Dotcom. But Kim Dotcom, I think, for half a million dollars sometime in the early 2000. Also, because of the fact that his dotcom domain was seized and that Kim Dotcom, his name, was at risk, something told me, “You should register this,” and I did. He offered me $20,000 for this domain name, which I accepted.
Michael: You didn’t even negotiate because this is Kim Dotcom. He’s got a lot of money.
Max: Actually, at the time no because not only his domain names were seized but all of his money, and he didn’t have so much cash that people think. I think 20,000 for his domain was [inaudible 00:41:46], especially since he has not used the domain since. He wanted to launch…
Michael: So let me ask you, Max. Let’s take a step back. For investors that are listening to this that maybe own some domain hacks or are thinking about buying any, if you’ve allowed any to get through and there are some to register, how do you value domain name hacks?
Max: I value them…well, I have three ways. One is, of course, how much the dot com was. I usually go on estibot.com and I look up the value of the equivalent in dot com. One example is… Actually, it’s not the best example, but locally.com.
Max: Which was recently bought for a company…well, [inaudible 00:42:51] was $25,000. But the domain hack, local.ly, local.ly, was sold three years ago for $100,000. So, you know, in that case, the domain hack appears to be more valuable. But, you know, it’s not the case. I don’t know how much locally.com ended up selling for but pretty more than $100,000. So this is something where EstiBot doesn’t really give… I think EstiBot is mostly based on the traffic of the domain name. Some domains are very valuable but don’t get any traffic. So in the case of [inaudible 00:43:38] .com, I guess they don’t get so much traffic, so that’s why the [inaudible 00:43:43].
Michael: But if I type in kim.com into EstiBot, let’s see what the order of magnitude, what the estimation is. It’s loading right here. It comes back with 1.13 million, which probably highest and best use case, there’s probably a company named Kim out there, Kim Electronics, Kim Medical, Kim something, that’s probably like a million-dollar domain name. Three letters. It’s a word, pronounceable. But you sold k.im for $20,000.
Michael: Is that a good fraction, a million-dollar dot com is worth about $20,000 in a domain hack?
Max: Like I said, it really depends. Usually, when I say estimate my domain names, I value them as…you know, five, ten percent, sometimes 20% of the dot com. It really depends on the quality of the domain name. If you take…it’s like Internet. Internet.com probably was in the tens of millions, I guess. For me, $100,000 is a good estimate for that.
Michael: So it depends on how big the industry is, how big the use case is. Definitely. And so, does the country code become a factor as well? Like if you have a domain hack that uses a small African nation, let’s say, versus a domain hack that uses the country code for Spain, .es, is the Spanish one gonna have a higher…you know, all the other things being equal, is the Spanish one gonna have a higher value because Spain is a larger country would you say?
Max: It really depends on how well known the ccTLD is. If you take, again, .et, Ethiopia is not a small nation but it is mostly unknown. It’s so unknown that Google doesn’t even own google.et.
Max: They have google.com.et but not the top TLD. So in the case of .et, it does have an impact on the price. Not so many people know about it, not many companies use it. And that’s why usually I hold on to these domain names. I sell a few to big companies like Booking, for example, that these guys start to use them. And then the small guys come along and they also want the AT [SP] and then the price goes up. So, it’s a long process.
Michael: All right, so you said in terms of valuation, you’ll look at the dot com and use a percentage of it. Could be anywhere from 5% to 20%. More popular country code top-level domains may affect the price. What else goes into valuing domain name hacks, from your perspective, Max?
Max: Well, if it’s a one-word domain hack, it’s going to have of course more value than two-word domain hacks, which I guess can also be applied to dot com. Although we have seen some two-word dot com domains which have sold for a lot of money. When it comes to domain hacks, usually the more than one-word, any more than ten characters I would say, is a hard sell. It’s very hard to sell these domains. Because, again, the interest in these domains is the fact that they’re very small. That’s the main point in acquiring a domain hack, is because it’s very short. I think the more we advance on the internet and there is this trend for simplicity, for short, for… I think it really was popularized with Twitter and the 140 character limit.
And then these URL platforms like Bitly, these started a trend not only in the domain name world but also in how we approach text and all that. So, in evaluating [inaudible 00:48:48] on not just domain hacks. It’s one investment but you find the same trend in small dot com domain names, the four-character dot com domain names.
Michael: More and more companies are using those shorter domain hacks because they do want the shorter like. Google of course will use G-O-O.G-L as their Greenland country code for their shortener. National Public Radio, I don’t know if you see those in your Twitter feed. It’ll be n.pr, which is the country code for Puerto Rico. You know, even in the domain name industry, and I’ve often said that it’s the most difficult domain name to use because it’s not a shortener, which you just click on it.
You don’t need to remind somebody what it is or tell them to go to n.pr/session100 or whatever. But Mark Kychma decided to use DN Prices, D-N-P-R-I-C.E-S, which of course uses the country code for Spain, as his domain. One of the few domain hacks that’s actually in use. Again, I find difficulty telling anybody how to get there because you need to spell it out. Is there a better way to do, Max? Am I just silly by spelling it out?
Max: Not only GN Price is not many in the industry, but domain hacks are used by many, many, many websites. If you want, I can send you a list. There’s many startups, which is another reason I’m still buying them, is because there’s big demand for them.
Michael: Yeah, I’d love to see that list and post it as part of the interview, if you wouldn’t mind selling it. Because I’ve never seen a list of startups that are using hacks as their domain names, and that would be really interesting to see.
Max: You can go, if you want, on one of my Twitter accounts, which is Domain Hacks, twitter.com/domainhacks. You go on the list and there’s a list of domain hacks, of companies using domain hacks that are on Twitter.
Michael: Awesome. I’ll post a link to that. So that’s why people are buying these domains. It’s either ego, like kim.im. It’s defensive purposes like Overstock or Booking who want to get every single domain, or it’s shorteners, which the new GTLEs have been promoting constantly. That maybe you don’t find a use for our domain name but it can still be a shortener for a domain name that you have and you can shave off those three dot com characters. One of the domains that you’ve owned, I think, for a really long time, that was one of the first domains that opened my eyes to domain hacks and the fact that you had such a large portfolio, was Tags, T-A.G-S. And being a publisher and knowing that data is tagged, and metadata and how important that is in databases, I’ve always loved your domain tags. If ta.gs.com was, say, a 500… Let’s just say order of magnitude $500,000 domain name. Maybe it’s 800. What is TA.GS worth, Max?
Max: TA.GS I would say is worth a little less than $50,000, based on the fact that Tag, the [inaudible 00:52:30] sold for $60,000 a few years ago to this marketing company. That’s also the reason I bought ta.gs, because I saw that tag sold for that kind of money. It’s actually one of the rare domain hacks that I bought on the aftermarket. I paid actually, I think it was $3,000, $4,000 during an auction on [inaudible 00:53:00] to secure that one.
Michael: How do you typically…you know, most people ask me how do I go and do the research, and I’ll say, “Go to DN Prices or go to Name Bio and you can type in specific words and then look at the comps for those.” But you can’t type in “tags” and Name Bio will spam the dot in order to pull in t.ag, for example, that recently sold. How do you research who’s buying ccTLDs that are domain hacks and keep track of which ones are selling for how much?
Max: Well, usually, I just go on [inaudible 00:53:36] and I look at the top ccTLD sales. I look at sales that are over $10,000. Usually I don’t look at what’s below this. Because if you’re going to pay, let’s say, 100 bucks to register a ccTLD… I mean, some of them are less expensive but many of them, like you said before, are quite high [inaudible 00:54:06]. By the end of the year, you have to pay the bill. So, 100 bucks is still a big investment if you only have 200 domain names and not so much cash available. I want to at least make $5,000, $10,000 if I’m going to pay these kind of fees. Yeah, that’s how I research the domain names, from [inaudible 00:54:37], namebio.com.
Michael: You’re relying on people who are selling these domains to make the information public?
Max: Yeah. Well, we were talking about tags. That’s what I did in tags. I looked at the set of t.ag. And also because, like you said, tags are everywhere.
Michael: Yeah, that was a good buy. So if you own 200 domain names, roughly, and you’re selling about 20 domains per year, you’ve got a 10% sell through rate, which is really high. You’re doing that through proactive marketing with domain holdings through Flippa, Flippa bot domain holdings brokerage. You also have them listed on Ceedo. Is that correct?
Max: Yeah. I actually just listed my domains on Ceedo. I used to have them before I sold half of my portfolio to my brother on a [inaudible 00:55:47] name, which were mostly of dot com domain names and single character domains. Which I’m still a broker for him, so I get a percentage in each sale, the domains I already sold to him. So, after the AT auction last month on ceedo.com, everyone was so amazed that they were able to reach $1 million in sales. I don’t remember the number of domain names but I don’t think it was so much.
Michael: It wasn’t that high. I think c.at, C.A-T, might have been one of the top sellers, and that was about $60,000, if my memory serves me correctly.
Max: That’s correct, yes. But I was talking about the number of domain names they auctioned for [inaudible 00:56:44]. But yeah, like you said, the top sell was a domain hack, which was c.at. Sold for $60,000. We also saw other domain hacks performing very well, like…if I remember, there was what, sad, and a couple more. Meat as well. When I saw this, I sent a tweet to the CEO of Ceedo on Twitter. I told him, I have this…I’m from Domain Hacks, my Twitter, Domain Hacks. I told him I [inaudible 00:57:28] Domain Hacks and I was trying to sell my portfolio. So we talked a bit, and quickly he told me that Ceedo was interested in working on an auction sometime in 2017. That’s why I started to list my domains on Ceedo. Right now we’re in the verification process, which is a long process because some domains are hard to verify, as you know.
Michael: Yeah, definitely. Fantastic. So that Ceedo auction is gonna happen sometime in February, March. How can people…you know, if they want to follow you on Twitter so they can get updated when the auction goes live, and I’ll try and update this interview page as well with that auction information, what’s the best Twitter handle that they should follow to be notified of that auction?
Max: They should follow the Domain Hacks.
Michael: Domain Hacks on Twitter.
Max: Or they can follow me on Domain Portfolio, which my personal Twitter handle.
Michael: Okay, great. I will put a link to those in the…down below to your bio as well. Hey, Max, is the opportunity to purchase good domain name hacks gone? Or is there still an opportunity for under market value purchases?
Max: There’s a growing opportunity actually because of new GTLEs. Something you might notice if you look at the top new GTLE sales, most of these domains which are sold domain hacks, they are these word plays that started with domain hacks. That’s one of the reasons my business is still making good sales. Because nowadays I think the [inaudible 00:59:38] on naming a company is, again, the size of the domain name. I think it is really, really important, and that’s why domains like [inaudible 00:59:51] .io sell for a lot of money nowadays. Because these domains are available, they’re easy to acquire.
For most startups who don’t have a big budget and haven’t raised yet a lot of VC money, they cannot afford $100,000 or more dot com domains. This comes afterward. But I’m thinking of the small startups when I buy my domain names, and that’s so much thinking about the big guys. If it happens, that’s great. But I’m thinking of the small guys who they want a good domain name and create a domain name for not so much money. That’s what I do.
Michael: So here’s the final question for you, Max. For newer investors that are watching this, or investors that are watching this and haven’t contemplated buying domain name hacks in the past, what advice can you offer them about investing in domain name hacks and making that a wise investment?
Max: My advice would be to be smart about it. So don’t go registering long domain hacks because there’s very low money in that. I mean, last week I sold Donald J Trump on flippa.com for $60. Which is still good money but it shows that there’s not much value in long domain hacks. So yeah, focus on the smaller is the better when it comes to domain hacks. Yeah, be smart about it. Do your research. Don’t just focus on .io or the easy names like… Do like I did. I went through the very unknown ccTLD and I was able to register some very, very good domain names. And you have to be patient. It’s like the domain king.
Michael: Yeah, Rick Schwartz.
Max: Very patient man. Others were not so patient and sold amazing dot com domains, I’m sure, in the late ’90s for nothing. But he was patient, and now he’s getting the money that he was already [inaudible 01:02:38] back then. He was a pioneer. So, be a pioneer.
Michael: Great advice. If you have any questions, please post them in the comments below this video on Domain Sherpa and I’ll ask Max to come back and answer as many as he can. If you received benefit from today’s show, learned something new, thought differently about investing in a new domain asset class, please take a moment to thank today’s Sherpa. I’m gonna be the first to say thanks to Max. Max Guerin, founder of Claim Club, thank you for coming onto the Domain Sherpa Show, sharing your information about how you built your portfolio, how you valued your domain names, how you sell them to end users, and thanks for being a Domain Sherpa for others.
Max: Thank you very much, Michael. This was special.
Michael: Thank you all for watching. We’ll see you next time.
Watch the full video at: https://www.domainsherpa.com/max-guerin-claimclub/