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When to purchase the .com domain for your nascent startup

I'm working on a business for which I've purchased a .net domain. I'd like to have the.com version of my name, but I have to buy it from GoDaddy for $2200 (discounted). I don't want to pay this much for a domain until I get proof of concept with some in-market success and then get funding. On the other hand, once I get traction and funding, I'm concerned that GoDaddy will increase the price of the domain. Does anyone have insight into GoDaddy's pricing algorithms and how in-market success will impact pricing for a domain. Thanks!
Sharon

18 Replies

Rick Stratton
1
0
Rick Stratton Entrepreneur
Great States Software / Feed.Us / MKEcribs
From my experience, the price won't change much from where it gets originally priced. I don't think it's that sophistacted.
Scott Winterroth
4
1
Internet Marketer | Founder
Sharon, In my opinion, you should buy it while you can. It's probably one of the most important investments of your startup.
Mark Wing
1
0
Mark Wing Advisor
Client Engagement Director at Small Back Room
My how the cost of a url address has shot up !!

That seems like a lot of money to me. As an alternative, try to define your strategic proposition (brand promise), and then see if there isn't a more relevant idea to inform your choice of business name and/or url - you never know, it may be cheaper (I'm sure market forces must be having an influence on the popularity of your own name)
Dimitry Rotstein
0
0
Dimitry Rotstein Entrepreneur
Head of R&D at SafeZone
I've had this exact problem with two of my startups.
My preferred solution is to find a slightly different domain name, or even change the product name to fit an available domain.
I don't think it's worth investing thousands of dollars - you could find a lot better use for it. True, having a .com domain is important, but it doesn't really have to fit your company/product name exactly/ Moreover, it doesn't matter much what your name is - it does improve your marketing process, but not by much. If you're solving a real problem, people will come no matter what your name or domain is, and if you're not, then no name will help you.
Sharon McCarthy
0
0
Sharon McCarthy Entrepreneur
Chief Marketing Officer
Thanks everyone for your input. I can change the name, but unless it's a neologism (which I don't want) or a very long name, in my experience, it's going to be about the same price or more. I'm reluctant to spend too much money on a domain until I have proof of concept. SoI'm trying to assess the risk of waiting... will GoDaddy charge more for a .com if the .net is launched. Thanks for your thoughts on this.
James Tucker
0
0
James Tucker Entrepreneur
Director of User Experience
If you have a product name that most people will search then click then you can have a variation of the name in the URL and still have the .com TLD.

If you have a name where the URL will be the core brand recognition then the .com will be important (i.e. booking dot com). There are a lot of TLD's out there that can be clever and will be used more and more over time.

See list: http://data.iana.org/TLD/tlds-alpha-by-domain.txt
Robert Lee
0
0
Robert Lee Advisor
Lifelong entrepreneur, inventor and artist
Let's try a little thinking-outside-the-box here. Why are you stuck on GoDaddy? That's so old-school! You may want to try some of the other alternatives out there, not the least of which is... http://RightSide.co

You'll be pleasantly surprised - maybe even shocked - at the selections that they now have available. They even offer domains like .lawyer .democrat .republican .social and tons more that many people aren't even aware of just yet!

And you'll end up with an easier-to-remember and unique domain name that will stick. Best on your launch!
Scott Winterroth
1
0
Internet Marketer | Founder
There are lots of extensions out there, which at the front end will save you some money. But, in my opinion, long term they can be very costly due to harder SEO strategy and loss from users typing in the common .com version.
Anurag Mehta
0
1
Anurag Mehta Entrepreneur • Advisor
VP, Wireless & New Media at NeuStar, Inc.
If you feel like you've picked the right name for your product/company, I'd suggest that you go ahead and buy the domain name. $2K seems like a pittance when compared to the time, energy and resources you'll likely devote to your startup in the weeks/months to come.

You can check that box and move on to the company building activities as opposed to having the nagging fear about whether or not the price of that domain name will go up or if it will even be available when you're finally ready for it.

In the worst case, should you decide that the concept/company is not viable, you will have the opportunity to sell the domain name to someone else and get at least part of your investment back. If you are willing to pay $2K for it, I'm sure it's likely not that obscure a name and there may be others that want it when you choose to dispose of it.

Lastly, everything is negotiable. Just because they're asking for $2200, doesn't mean that's what you'll have to pay!

Good luck!
Dimitry Rotstein
2
0
Dimitry Rotstein Entrepreneur
Head of R&D at SafeZone
@Anurag Mehta,

Sorry, but that's a terrible advice.
Let me illustrate.
A few years ago I developed a product (a software library) that I named "Elgrint". The name was carefully and painstakingly chosen, and integrated into the product so deeply that changing it would take a lot of effort and destroy backward compatibility.
I tried to buy the elgrint.com domain, but as in this case it was already taken by squatters who wanted $1700 for it. I got them down to $1100, but ultimately decided not to buy at all, and instead created a sub-domain on my main site (miranor.com), i.e. "elgrint.miranor.com", which costed me nothing.

It turned out to be a very good idea, because the product was a dead end regardless of the domain name.
Has I "invested" $1100 into a useless domain (and counting, since I'd have to pay for renewals too, possibly for the rest of my life), I'd feel pretty silly. And I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to resell it, because even after all these years this domain is still for sale, despite the fact that its owners are actually trying to sell it - something I wouldn't want to waste my time on, and despite the fact that it's a kick-ass name.

Now, if, against all odds, my product would've been a success, then I'd consider buying the elgrint.com domain. Yes, there would've been a chance that the price could get higher, but I'm pretty sure that it would've still been relatively small, because the squatters do want to sell the domain, so they wouldn't ask more than you can afford painlessly, as long as you negotiate the deal well and don't act like it's so important to you.

And you truly have no reason to act like that, because nowadays the domain name isn't as important as it once was. In ancient times (2010 and earlier) people did try to guess the company's web address from its name, but then all major browsers had merged the address bar with the search engine, so not many people guess addresses anymore - it's easier and faster to write the company's name and click the first search result. Most visitors wouldn't care about your domain name and many won't even notice it.
So your real goal should be the SEO - to make yourself the top Google result, whatever your domain is.
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