Getting your .com – how we picked up edublogs.com and wpmudev.com

Via HN, I just read How we got the Hall.com domain, over at the hall.com blog and was pretty impressed with how they operated.

The fundamentals they followed were not that dissimilar to the ones I’ve used over time, getting wpmu.org (and the .com and .net), not to mention wpplugins.com and a few other choice bits of internet real estate.

Namely:

  • Believe that you can actually get a great domain
  • Then persevere, for as long as it takes, don’t give up
  • Don’t insult the owner too, especially not with a low ball offer
  • And be sure to do a TM search, to make sure you can use it

So, on that front, and as per the title of this post, I figured I’d share with you how we picked up (and what value we’ve got from) two pretty nice (and important!) domain names over the last few months.

Edublogs.com

I have wanted edublogs.com, and been trying to buy it, for literally the last 7 years.

I’ve probably made an offer every year (it’s been on Sedo for at least the last 4), and only ever had one response, which then disappeared when I refused to make an offer (and rather asked them to set a price).

So, earlier this year, I significantly upped my offer, from the few grand that I’d been initially offering, to 12.5k. At which point they decide to talk,

Needless to say, there was a bunch of back and forth, but we agreed on, eventually, a price of $20,800 (including v significant sedo fees, nice work if you can get it!), and it’s now all set up and working beautifully for us, for example, larryferlazzo.edublogs.com works just as well as larryferlazzo.edublogs.org.

And, was it worth it?

Absolutely. Hell. Yes.

From the minute we set it up we saw an instant boost in our overall site traffic of over 6,000 visits / day! It’s massively increased general usability of the site (folk often just type in the .com) and I reckon it’s added a heap of value to the company too.

So, basically, persistence works, and making a realistic offer (the guy knew I was the edublogs chap, and really wanted it) really helps too.

WPMUDEV.com

I tell you, never start a business with just .orgs… it’s gonna cost you down the line ;)

Given the more tech-savvy DEV user, I always assumed that the .com wasn’t that important, and so though I wanted it, I never really persisted… especially as my initial inquiry was met with a price of $50,000, ouch!

And even more so when I heard from the Sedo broker I hired to negotiate for me that it had somehow gone up to $100,000 in the following two years.

So, I decided instead, to play a bit of hardball.

I guess as I felt we didn’t *really* need it I could try my hand and see what came out, and I also had another little weapon, we own the TM for ‘WPMU DEV’.

So, I put in an ‘absolutely final’ offer of $5k, which got him talking again, and, with various sticking to my guns, and saying that I was prepared to go after it on TM grounds if I couldn’t buy it (I don’t actually know if I could or not, it was kinda a guess) picked it up, in the end, for $8,500 (inc sedo fees)… not bad down from 100k.

And, was it worth it?

To be honest I don’t know yet with this one.

Fundamentally I think it’s a valuable thing to have for the company as a whole, and it’s an important ‘defensive’ position.

But the TM did kinda cover that on its own, and who knows, maybe I could have got it through that process for less.

And traffic wise, I’m not sure if it’s actually had any real benefit – although we did pick up a bunch of links that had been incorrectly made using .com, so maybe Goog will love us a little more.

So, there you go, a tale of two domains, I hope which may be of use to someone out there, and which I’m sure you’ll have your own opinions of in terms of value and all that…

And as far as other ones go, too, I have a few in mind, but we’ll have to see how that pans out ;)