Lately, we have been getting quite a few questions on how we were able to land our 3 letter domain name (lob.com) and so we have decided to share our experience and give advice to future domain hunters.
I'll preface this post by saying that this process is not fun or entertaining but tedious and very annoying. Hopefully this post will allow those scouring for a cool domain name to hone in on the process and better use their time.
We started off by brainstorming all domains that we would potentially want. Our goal was to have a 1 or 2 word dictionary .COM that was less than 10 characters. Some ideas were paper.com, ribbon.com, compose.com, flyprint.com, sailed.com, flypaper.com. These days 90% of these domain name are taken - and by taken I mean DOMAIN SQUATTED.
We began looking up domain owners email addresses in the WhoIS database and started emailing them offers in the $5,000-$10,000 range. We wanted to show them that we were serious bidders looking to buy their 3 letter domain name but also seem like we had many options on the table. Within a day or 2 we started getting responses. All the responses were the same and were in the format of "Sure we are willing to sell, we expect a bid in the mid to low 7 figures."
At some point we realized that we could not be picky and we were going about the process in the wrong way. Instead of thinking of which domain we wanted, we went through a huge list of 3, 4, 5, 6 , 7 lettered dictionary words online and selected any name that was remotely interesting. You can also shop through sedo.com and godaddy looking at available names for auction. We looked at vague domain name forums where people were selling domains but weren't where the masses were looking. We then mass emailed all of the 3 letter domain owners with a simple email that stated we were interested, had other names to choose from, and a serious enough bid to get their attention.
As emails started coming in, we had a separate list of all the domains that had reasonable offers. This would be our list where we could choose which domains we liked.
Ultimately we narrowed our list down to 5 names that had great offers and ended up choosing lob.com. While there's no doubt that luck ultimately plays a large portion in finding the best domain name, here a few things we learned along the way:
- Don't lowball domain squatters. They will not take you seriously and won't email you back.
- When the price for a domain you like is really high, consider lease-to-buy options to give you flexibility.
- Don't get attached to any domain name.
- When you find something you like, move FAST and close it as soon as possible. Often times you might not have a second chance.
- No only means no after the 3rd or 4th time.
- If there is a phone number on the whois, don't be afraid to call it and negotiate on the phone.
- Good domain names get offers many times a week. Think about how you'll make your email stand out from the rest.
- Use domainworth.com to get a rough idea of how much their domain is worth.
- Use instantdomainsearch.com and leandomainsearch.com to help you check your desired names or come up with new ones.
While the process is tiring, there are domain names out there that can be purchased for reasonable amounts. Good luck and let us know if you snag an awesome name!