AskPat 59 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up everybody? This is Pat Flynn here and welcome to Episode 59 of AskPat. Today's question is from Venu from Sydney.
Before we get to Venu's question and my answer, I want to get to today's sponsor which is ZipRecruiter. If you go to Ziprecruiter.com/pat you're going to see this amazing website that I just discovered that helps you post a job that you might need. If you're going to be hiring employees or something like that in your business, post it to ZipRecruiter.com because you're not just posting to one job site, you're posting to fifty with one single click. They even highlight the best candidates for you, making it easy for you to hire the right person fast. It's such a cool website and service for all of us looking for additional help. Again that's ZipRecruiter.com/pat. Thank you to the guys at ZipRecruiter for sponsoring the show.
Now let's get to today's question from Venu which is about buying a domain that might already be taken. What do you do; how much do you pay? Let's get to Venu's question.
Venu: Hey, Pat. My name is Venu. I'm from Sydney. I'm just starting my own online business and the domain I'm looking to use has already been taken. I'm just wondering how can I go about contacting the owner and also what amount would you suggest to offer? I love what you're doing. Thank you so much for the inspiration, Pat. Hope it share it. Thank you.
Pat Flynn: Venu, thank you so much for your question. First of all, I'm sorry to hear that the domain that you wanted was taken. That seems to be a very common thing these days with everybody going online, everybody using up all the words, and all the domain names, it's just hard to start a new domain name that we want because it's already taken. I'll tell you from my own experience; I just purchased a domain that I've wanted for so long. I'll tell you what that experience was like at the end of this.
I will say up front, if you are incredibly attached to this domain name and there's no way possible that you could ever just modify it a little bit, then I would go and pursue, and use the strategies and some of the tactics to figure out who that person is, and how to contact them, and how to wheel and deal with them which I'll talk about in a second. I would think about it really hard. If you can actually just add a couple words or letters in the front or the back of that domain name, and it would be okay, you should totally do that. It's going to be much cheaper. It's more than likely going to be available for you. For example, when I started my niche site to help people in the security guard training industry, I wanted SecurityGuardTraining.com. Now I found out that this person who owned this domain, who was actually selling the site through sort of a brokerage firm, or a domain brokerage company which is very common . . . That could be the case in your case, Venu. This is often the case. If a site is sort of being squatted on, people are just waiting for somebody who wants it to charge a lot of money for it. This person who was selling SecurityGuardTraining.com, who wasn't using it, was willing to sell it to me for $35,000. I was like, “Let me think . . . No.” That's way too much money. What I did was I just added a modifier. I added a couple letters at the end of that domain name. It was SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com, which you can see it's still live today and it's doing really well. That's the whole point of the story. I didn't need that domain name that I initially wanted and was very, very attached to. Obviously that $35,000 made me look a different direction. Just adding the HQ at the end, it didn't . . . I was still able to rank that site number one within three months and then since 2010 it's been earning between $2,000 and $4,000 a month. I didn't even need that domain.
The question you need to ask yourself if you find a domain that you really want and it's taken: Do you really need that domain or could you add a modifier on the front or back of it and just move on from there? Now if you really do want that domain, first thing you'll want to do is see who that person is, who owns the site. If that domain is already being used, for example, by another business, you could just go through that business' contact form, for example, and just contact that company from there.
I actually would go this route instead. I would go to a website you can find if you go to WhoIs.com. That's W-H-O-I-S dot com. If you go to WhoIs.com/whois, that'll go to a search field, or a search bar, that you can just type in any domain, and you hit enter, and it'll give you the domain information for that specific website. That is, who is the host of that website as far as the company that hosts that domain, but also, more importantly, the person who sort of is the owner of that domain, and including information about that person like address, phone number, and email. If that's available you can send them an email and sort of wheel and deal from there. That's how you find out who is selling that website, if it's being used, or even if somebody is just squatting it. Just go from there. A lot of times you'll see brokerage companies, like I mentioned earlier, who will be squatting, who are the . . . You'll see, instead of a person's name, it's a company. You can contact them from there as well or visit their website and you'll see on their website that that domain is being sold. Often times they'll tell you a price. That's the nice thing about the brokerage companies is that they'll tell you what they're asking for, but it's often pretty ridiculous. That doesn't mean that that's what they're going to sell it for. I have had companies offer domain names for $2,000 that I was able to sort of negotiate down to $500. The argument I always use is, “Hey, I'm probably the first person to ever ask for this domain name. I'm offering you $500. You're selling it to me for $2,000. You take it or leave it.” That usually is the approach that I use that works really well.
I'll tell you again that story about the big domain that I got that I paid quite a bit of money for that I've wanted for so long and how that came about. A lot of times you'll also sort of do this WhoIs.com/whois search and see that it's private. All you'll see is the domain host. What that person did is they paid a little bit of extra money when they signed up for their website for WhoIs privacy. When you sign up for WhoIs privacy, people can't see your name, they can't see your phone number, and they can't see your addresses. That's really important. That's why people do that and that's why I recommend doing that if you start up a website; it's just safer that way. You don't want people calling your house or emailing you out of the blue like that.
There are still ways to find it. You can actually go through the domain registrar if you want and sort of try and contact from there. Again, typically if people are sitting on a website they will want to sell it and on that website, even if it's not a real website and it just has some ads on there, if you search and scroll all the way down to the bottom you might see something that says “This website is for sale,” which might take you to another page with information about how much it's being sold for or how much you want to bid for it.
Now how much should you pay for it? That's really up to you. How much is that site worth to you? How much is that domain worth to you? The price is going to vary based on how much you want it and how much that person's willing to sell. It's different on a case by case basis.
To finish up, I'm going to tell you the story about how I got PatFlynn.com. My name is Pat Flynn, I wanted PatFlynn.com. I wasn't able to get it at first which is why PatFlynn.me started. Anyway, what happened was . . . This was actually 2 years ago, I found out that PatFlynn.com was taken so I did the WhoIs.com/whois search. The interesting thing about that was when you went to PatFlynn.com it went and redirected to a page that was on a photography website. It was just this person, his name is Pat Flynn of course, and it just redirected to his gallery on this third party photography site. It didn't even . . . I felt like that was sort of a poor use of it, but I found out that he was really attached to PatFlynn.com. I tested him and I offered him . . . I started low, of course, $500. He's like, “No, I'm going to pass.” Then I offered him a couple thousand dollars and he said, “No, I'm going to pass.” Then just for fun I was like, “Hey, I'll offer you $15,000 for it.” He said, “No.” I was like, “Wow. What's the attachment to this? I know it's your name, but you're just redirecting to another site. It's not even your own creation. It's a third party website that you just redirect to.” He said, “Well you know, for photographers it's a really important thing to have your own sort of name as your domain.” He said maybe he'll build a website in the future, but it just went to his gallery.
I hadn't heard from him two years after that. I wasn't going to force it, I wasn't going to do anything like that, but I just waited a couple years and I got an email from him a couple years later. This was about 6 months ago. He was like, “Hey, are you still interested in buying PatFlynn.com?” I said, “Yeah, but I got Pat” . . . This is me sharing stuff that really happened, “I don't need it as much as I needed it before.” Which meant the price could go down. That was sort of the thinking in my head. So I went, “Yeah, I'm still interested. Everybody would still be interested in their own name and dot com, but I got PatFlynn.me. It's doing what it needs to do. I don't necessarily need PatFlynn.com anymore.” He said, “Okay. I'll sell it to you for your $15,000 that you offered before.” I was like, “No. Like I said, I don't need it anymore. I already have PatFlynn.me.” So I was able to negotiate the price down to about $6,000. Less than half, almost a third, of what the initial asking price was. That was something I was comfortable paying for. PatFlynn.com is a very good domain. I had some money saved up for that so I was willing to part with that money to get PatFlynn.com which will eventually become this sort of hub for all of my projects. It sort of is if you go to PatFlynn.com right now, but it'll also become the primary spot where I'm going to be featuring a lot of my speaking highlights and recruiting more conferences to go and speak to and do more keynotes and things like that. I knew that's why I wanted it initially in the first place, so I got it and it took a lot of persistence and a little bit of wheeling and dealing. It's just really interesting how that happened. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed that story, Venu and everybody else listening.
WhoIs.com/whois is the important website there to find out information about who is behind that website. How much do you need to pay? That's up to you and also your negotiation skills. You want to have them put out the offer first and see if you can negotiate from there. There's a lot of books and tactics that go along with selling and wheeling and dealing. A lot of people are uncomfortable with doing that and the car man sales negotiation process. Which is why CarMax, for example, is a very big thing now where there's no negotiation because people hate it. It is something you're going to have to do. Potentially read some articles about that if that is something you're going to be doing in the future.
Venu, I wish you the best of luck with your domain. Again, don't forget you might be able to just add a modifier to it. Venu, thank you so much for your question. I am going to send you an AskPat teeshirt. I'm really excited to see what it looks like on you. If any of you have a question that you'd like answered here on the show, head on over to AskPat.com.
Again, I'm going to remind you about today's sponsor which is ZipRecruiter. If you go to ZipRecruiter.com you could try it out for free. If you go to ZipRecruiter.com/pat, try it out for free. There's a ton of job boards out there. This makes it super simple. Just post the job that you need, hit a button, and it goes out to the fifty most visited job board websites on the internet. Everything from Indeed.com, which I've worked with before, Monster, to eBay, classifieds, Job.com, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Glassdoor, the Ladders which is I think the 100k plus one, StartWire, JobsRadar, Oodle. All of them. You don't have to go to all of them individually: You go to ZipRecruiter.com/pat.
Thank you again for listening to this episode. I'm going to end with a quote as I always do. This quote is from Henry David Thoreau. He said, “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” Interesting, right? When it comes to domains, how much life are you going to put into that domain? How much of your life is that going to take as well, as far as the attention to get that and also the attention you're going to put into it once you do get it?
Venu, best of luck to you. Best of luck to all of you out there trying to get your domain. I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat.
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