Dealing with a Domain Sales Guy

June 09, 2017

My latest children's story in Bisaya language attempts to combine science, values education and my fascination with the sun and the clouds in a simple plot. | Sunrise photo taken in Dumaguete City

A couple of weeks ago, a sales guy (let's call him F) messaged me and asked if I was interested in buying hunihuni.com. He contacted me because I own huni-huni.com, the website for Cebuano instructional materials my husband and I started a few years back.

I was, of course, interested. It was the domain I originally wanted to buy when we started our website, but somebody owned it then. I went to GoDaddy and looked it up. It was put up for auction and the minimum bid was more or less $12.

It would have been easier if I just ignored F and opted for the auction, but I didn't. I had a frustrating experience with domain auctions in 2013. GoDaddy will ask you to register for a fee before you can bid. When the thelearningsite.com was on auction, I went through their process to get more traffic for thelearningsite.info, another educational website we own.

I was ignorant then; I didn't know anything about bidding and all its mechanics. I just added an amount and assumed I was going to get it because nobody else did. I didn't realize the other bidders were waiting for the last few minutes of the auction period before they entered an amount. Long story short, another person got thelearningsite.com for $56.

How come I'm making a fuss out of this? Well, it turned out the winner was an employee from a buy-and-sell domain company. I went to their website and asked for a quote because I wanted it so bad. Their email did include a lot of convincing figures:

According to a recent Forrester Research report, e-commerce grew at 11% compared to US retail sales, which managed only a 2.5% increase.

The Economic Times recently noted that there are 1.9 billion Internet users, with millions of additional users added monthly.

Explosive growth in Internet usage is expected to continue; Javelin Research cited a 15% jump in online consumer purchases in the US and analysts expect a more than 25% jump outside the US.

And then at the bottom, they added:

"The right domain name is the difference between success and failure. On the Internet, your domain name is your 'real estate.' Get it right the first time..."

I almost agreed to everything they said, but they sold thelearningsite.com at $2,488. Seriously? SERIOUSLY? I asked why it was so pricey when I knew they bought it for only $56. No reply.

Going back to hunihuni.com, I asked F how much was the selling price. $250. Right there and then, I knew he might try his tricks on me. I didn't want to waste our time, so I politely declined and told him our website is not an earning business and we provide all classroom materials for free. He asked how much I was willing to pay, and I told him:

If you type "hunihuni" on Google, the first website on search engine results page is huni-huni.com. And Google Analytics says most of our traffic comes from social media. So we don't really need to buy hunihuni.com.

It would be nice to have that URL, though, if it's sold at regular price: $10~$12. If sold at a higher rate, I wouldn't go for it. I'd rather invest in content as that's the main factor for search engine ranking.

I know you're a sales guy, but unfortunately, you're marketing to a person who focuses on a small niche in the Philippines. And this website is something we created out of passion, not business.

If you really sell a lot of domains, you can just donate that URL to us, and then we'll add ***domains.com as the donor. But then I checked your website and saw that it's under construction.

The last paragraph was added for fun. We just wanted to know how he'd react. No reaction, no reply. :D

Nobody bid for hunihuni.com on GoDaddy, so after the auction period, it was placed back to the registry. I paid $20 for all costs and forwarded all traffic to huni-huni.com. Now I own it, so thanks to F for the prod.

Should you buy an expensive domain? Here's something: The word, "Google" didn't make sense until Larry Page and Sergey Brin perfected their search engine. Many of the brands we consider reputable now (eBay, Amazon, Facebook, etc.) worked day and night to deliver quality products and services. So what's in a name? A lot, but not everything.

P.S. In case you're wondering, thelearningsite.com is still a premium URL on GoDaddy, sold at about $50K. It has been parked for more than three years. What a waste!

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