By Mark J. Claypool
9/30/2011 10:35:15 AM
I recently received the following e-mail, and maybe you did, too, or something similar:
To whom this may concern,
We’re in the domain name business, and we have an opportunity that only one of you will get.
We have CollisionCenters.com. We’re offering to lease this name to you at a very low rate. This is a perpetual lease which only you can cancel, so you would have as much control as if you owned the name.
Our intention is to lease this out and go on to the next names. We own tens of thousands of names, so we keep the monthly prices cheap so we can find a “tenant” and move on down the road.
Here’s the low rate that we’re charging. This is a first-come, first-serve deal. The first one of you who says you’ll take it, gets it. CollisionCenters.com only $299.00 monthly (nothing down!)
We also offer lease-to-purchase options, which can be discussed in greater detail on a case-to-case basis.
This premium name will only be available like this once. You could control this. Here are the details you might be interested in. In the interest of full disclosure, the other important terms are below so you won’t have any surprises.
1. There are no upfront payments other than the first month’s “rent”
2. You can cancel at any time with 120 days notice.
3. We can’t cancel unless you don’t pay us.
4. There is a 5% annual escalation due to inflation.
If you have any interest at all in this proposal, we encourage you to contact us. We just want to do a friendly deal with you and go on to the next name on our list as mentioned earlier. This is a genuine offer, and we’re a real and established company. Please Google us if you need any proof of that.
(Name, Address and Contact Info Withheld for This Article)
P.S. Buyout option exists, contact us for more info.
Beware, dear reader…sharks patrol these waters, and venture capitalists are pumping millions into the domain name broker industry.
There are so many things to say about this special “opportunity” I don’t even know where to start. But I’ll make the effort because I want you to know what to watch out for:
1. First of all, the domain name they’re trying to peddle, CollisionCenters, uses a term that six times fewer people actually use when searching for the services our industry provides. The term people use way more than anything else is “auto body” and their city and state. If this domain name were to help you get one car a year from searches, I would be very surprised.
2. They’re offering to “lease” this domain name. My advice: Never do that. Own the rights to your own domain name registration.
3. According to this domain name brokerage house, they’re offering this special “opportunity” at a “very low rate.” What a steal at just $299 per month! For just under $3,600 the first year, you could have no actual rights to the domain name at all, and they promise to stick you with a 5 percent increase in that fee per year to adjust for inflation. Unbelievable! At least they don’t require anything down! Registering your own domain costs only about $10 per year. Hmm, $3,600 vs. $10 you don’t have to be a mathematician to figure this one out.
4. They offer a lease-to-purchase option, too. Imagine how much they would want for that special deal. It’s no surprise that this outfit also peddles watches and time shares, too.
While what these brokerage houses do is totally legal, they leave a particularly sour taste in my mouth. They soar over domain names like patient, hungry vultures, waiting for these names to lapse. Then they swoop down and pick them up for an average of around $10 per year and try to sell them for thousands of dollars, or, worse yet, lease them for thousands a year.
Pay close attention to your domain name. Watch for e-mails from the company you register with (GoDaddy, Network Solutions, etc.) and make sure you verify your contact information regularly so that you stay out in front of your renewals. Set up reminders 90 days in advance of your renewal date. Don’t lose your domain name to one of these outfits. It will likely prove to be very costly if you do.
BSB Contributing Editor Mark Claypool has over 27 years of experience in the fields of workforce development, business education partnerships, apprenticeships and training. He is the owner of two companies, Select Tech, which provides standard operating procedural development through www.sopmd.com, and Optima Worldwide, which provides website design, development, search engine optimization (SEO) services and Social Media Marketing Management. Claypool is a former vice president of operations for VeriFacts Automotive and the founder of Mentors At Work (now a division of VeriFacts). Claypool is the former executive director of the I-CAR Education Foundation, the National Auto Body Council (NABC) and co-founder of the Collision Industry Foundation. He was the national director of development for SkillsUSA and serves, on a volunteer basis, as the Skills- USA World Team Leader for the WorldSkills Championships.
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