Domain names · Product launch

Purchasing or leasing domain names

Anonymous

November 14th, 2013

Hi all. My tech startup is gearing up for our product launch in January, and we're considering either purchasing or leasing a better / more popular domain name for our landing page. We're a pretty young company, and don't want to spend $8K on the perfect domain without testing our product in the market yet, so we thought leasing might be a good option. Does anyone have experience with this?
Specifically, how I should be thinking about ROI? Or lease terms? Or the negotiation process?
I've not done this before, so I'm open to any and all input, especially if anyone has an example contract they used for this type of situation. 

Pavel Karoukin I Fix Problems

November 14th, 2013

Launch on less-than-ideal domain bought for standard price new. and product proves itself - buy out this fancy one and set up 301 redirect from old one to new one. done.

Jeff Axup Sr. Manager, Palo Alto UX Design Research Group at Bosch

November 14th, 2013

OK, I have no idea what FD just truncated my last message. Here's the full message I sent via email:

If you are a young company without 8k to spend, I'd recommend spending it on something more important.
You can always redirect your current domain to a new domain later.
Just get creative and add a dash, or add 'labs' to the end, or do something like 'getpebble.com' who is still using that even after they have sufficient funding.

Michael

November 14th, 2013

My advice, as simple as it may be, leasing is always an option but triple check your long term goals as trust me if a company sees that you are leasing a domain that evaluation on leased price may climb.

As for purchasing one, I would be more inclined to find either a brandable domain name or one more targeted towards your audience and put the money spent towards advertising and branding efforts than buy an expensive domain.

Having done both in the past, one costing 4k , the efforts put in on less known domains with SEO and advertising netted much better results than the "recognizable" name.




Jake Carlson Software Development Manager at Oracle

November 14th, 2013

Yeah definitely don't pay to buy or lease the 'perfect' domain unless you just can't live without it. There are always viable alternatives that will do just fine. If it's an app, do <product>app.com or get<product>.com - you get the idea. Pretty much no domain should be worth spending a lot of money on until you're rolling in the dough.

Jeff Axup Sr. Manager, Palo Alto UX Design Research Group at Bosch

November 14th, 2013

If you are a young company without 8k to spend, I'd recommend spending it

Luis Avila Owner/Fullstack Architect at IdeaNerd LLC

November 14th, 2013

Depending on your product... you may be able to append a descriptive word to the domain you want. Harvest is a great example of this.

www.harvestapp.com

Easy to say and to remember.

Just an idea.

Reece Hart collaborative, hands-on bioinformatics leader

November 14th, 2013

Aasim- I don't have any experience with leasing a domain name. However, I would be very wary of anything that might break your relationship with beta customers. Some ideas/concerns come to mind: - 8K doesn't seem like that much for a product that's going to launch. I would not pay 8K for cuteness alone, but I would for a memorable and descriptive (and maybe cute) domain name. - If your company succeeds, the value of the domain name will increase (and your desperation to keep it will be obvious to the seller). Consider a lease-to-buy contract at a prearranged value. - Can the name be sold during the lease? If so, consider a first right of refusal. Good luck with the launch. -Reece

Paul Travis Multifaceted Online Executor: Product Marketing to Program Mgmt. to Business Development

November 14th, 2013

The leasing conversation is interesting, but only next year after you prove you've reached product-market fit and can scale.  +1 Pavel.

John Wallace President at Apps Incorporated

November 14th, 2013

I think that leasing is a good option if the person who owns the name is willing to do that. The one caveat is that I'd want to do it as a lease-to-own deal. That would allow me to pay for the name over time, and own it after the final payment. I'd also want to be able to walk away from that name at any time by stopping my lease payments. That would all be spelled out in the contract.

As far as negotiation process, I usually send an email. Sometimes it is answered. Usually it is not. When it isn't, I then send a US letter to the registered domain owner. In my experience, that is rarely answered either. In my emails/letters I ask if they are willing to sell their domain, and then after contact we'll communicate either by email or phone to work out the terms from there. No magic formula, just standard negotiation where I want to pay a small amount, they want to charge an arm-and-leg and we find someway to meet in the middle. Maybe.

BTW, it's probably a good idea to have at least 5 to 10 different names you are considering. Unless you have beaucoup bucks or the domain owner is actively trying to sell the domain, it can be difficult to get a name.

--John

Olivier Chaine SVP, LPO at The Search Agency

November 14th, 2013

Agreed. Leasing works only if you have a domain that his super high value (over 100k?) otherwise the paperwork and risk of the domain being pulled is too high for any potential startup.