I encountered something recently that takes the digital extortion market of “Premium Domains” to a new level. I was working on a clients marketing plan and ideas were flying. As often happens the client began to think long term and broaden the scope of the plan. She wanted to expand and add a blog that has a market specific domain name and we came up with the perfect name, after launching her Facebook page. You need to be aware that if you search for domain name availability you need to be prepared to purchase it immediately if it is available. In 20+ years of performing this service for clients I have been burned twice, but only twice because I follow this principle and have for years now.
You need to be aware that if you search for domain name availability you need to be prepared to purchase it immediately if it is available. In 20+ years of performing this service for clients I have been burned twice, but only twice because I follow this principle and have for years now. Because when you look that name up cyberspace has eyes that watch your every move.
Years ago I had a customer who needed a domain as part of an SEO strategy I constructed for them. I did my due diligence and searched for the domain availability. The .com domain was available at the standard going rate. So I submitted the proposal to the client and got the green light the next day. I logged in to the registrar account to purchase the domain to find it is now unavailable!! No way!! That is statistically like winning the lottery and not playing the lottery.
The price is now more than we were willing to pay. So we pivot to a .org or .net and keep moving. I still did some research to see what could have possibly happened, just good to know these things. Each time I found out that “Premium Domain” dealers or what I call “Digital Extortionists”. Had purchased the domain the same day I had searched for availability.
These bottom feeders add no value to the market. Bring no service to the marketplace. They are just extorting money from people with dreams of doing business on the internet. Sometimes the price increase is 10,000 times the standard rate with no added value, and I mean nothing, nada. They have no skill, no talent to market, no service to provide, nothing. They just buy it at the going rate and market it up because they know someone wants it. Needless to say, I don’t do business with these people.
What happened Recently
I have a client that is putting together a social media plan with StarDM. We get everything set up on Twitter and Facebook no problem. Then she starts talking about reaching leads best found via blogging; this is great. I love a complete plan that covers all the bases. I get the okay knowing better than to search before I am ready to buy. There is a high probability that there will be no problem getting the domain I have suggested based on her SEO needs and brand recognition. Then it happens “no .com available, wow that seems odd,” I said out loud. This was a really unique name, very but oh well I thought, “Wonder who beat me to it?” Sometimes people will let you have the domain because they didn’t have any luck with it.
I pull up whois.net scan the information my eyes grow large with fright. “They are now preying on Facebook Page creators”; I said out loud. A premium domain dealer now owns the .com domain. (Have I mentioned these people are not people I recommend doing business with and loathe?) I also notice that the domain was purchased very recently. In fact, on the same day, I set up the Facebook page for the client! I know it was the Facebook page that triggered them because the Twitter name is different. The Facebook name wound up being the same as the .com they purchased. There is no coincidence here only a disgusting business model. Mark Zuckerberg vultures are circling and looking for prey at your doorstep, FYI.
To those that would say; “They are just competing in a competitive market.” I offer this example. Imagine spending hours going over trinkets in many jewelry stores to find that just perfect gift for a loved one. You find that special one and realize you need to run home to get something needed to purchase it. You run home and retrieve everything you need. You return to the shop to find it gone from the display. Asking the jeweler what happened you learn it is now part of his “Premium” collection and the price has increased 1000%. That is how premium domain dealers do business.
This article is a bit of a rant, but I hope you can come away with a valuable lesson. It could save you thousands of dollars.
- Never search for domain name availability before you are ready to purchase.
- Never set up Facebook or Twitter pages before securing the domain names you need.
Think your marketing plan through and when in doubt go ahead and buy the domain names. If it is available at standard rates it will cost pennies compared to waiting for the vultures to get it.