Kewty.com - The Domain Name Game
My brief experience with domain name auctions.
A few years ago in 2006 I experimented with creating and marketing a few domain names. I had heard stories during the dot com bubble of elite domain names selling for millions of dollars. Who was making this money? How did they get there first?
The domain name rush was a bit like a real estate grab - whoever gets there first gets the prize. But when I finally figured out what was going on the bubble had already burst. The question was -- could anyone still make money selling domain names? I had eBay experience and noticed that there were a lot of domain names for sale on eBay. How many were selling for millions? Few, if any! It was rare to see a domain go for more than a few dollars. Today I checked eBay and found 7994 domain name sales which had ended. Which was the highest priced? There were several priced at $21,000,000. Yes, that is twenty-one million dollars! Needless to say, they did not sell. What sold in the last few weeks? Hotv8.com (an automobile related site) sold for $300,000. This site exists and it looks like a valid sale, but sometimes these sales are not legitimate. People will bid outrageous amounts and not pay! Out of thousands offered for sale, only a handful priced over $1000 sold. In fact, most domains sold by auction on eBay will bring in $50 or less! That is a long way from $21 million!
But, being the naive person I was back in 2006, I decided to give it a try. I wanted a short name because they usually sell for more. But the one-, two-, three-, and four-letter names were mostly unavailable. I did not want a name with a number in it (letters only) so I decided to come up with a five-letter word. Most dictionary words are also taken so I had to create a unique word -- something that sounded like a real word even though it wasn't. I came up with a simple rule that the first letter of the word would be a consonant, followed by a vowel, followed by two consonants, followed by a vowel (CVCCV). This combination gives words that sort of look like dictionary words. I also had the idea to write a simple computer program to help generate the different combinations of letters. I chose the Pascal language because, though obsolete, it was easy to use and ideal for working with character strings and words. After a bit of programming trial and error it worked and I had it run through all the possible combinations of letters following the CVCCV rule. The program dumped all of the words to a file and later I visually scanned the file for something that looked interesting. The word KEWTY jumped out at me. It sounds like "cutie" and is easy to say and remember. So KEWTY it was! I used the whois service (http://www.internic.net/) to see if the domain was taken. It was free! So I registered the domain name and "parked" it.
Now I will become a millionaire!
After the registration task was completed, I created an eBay auction. What should I use as a photo? I didn't just want some bland letters, so I had the idea to put together some antique letter blocks to create an interesting and classy photo. The photo is displayed with this article.
I launched the auction for www.kewty.com and started the bidding at $9.99. I was optimistic that it would do well because it was a somewhat rare five-letter name and was a clever spelling of "cutie". The possibilities were unlimited! Yet after a thrilling seven-day auction my domain name received only one bid and sold for a mere $9.99. What a disappointment! But, being the honest seller I am, I completed the sale and arranged the transfer of the registration to the buyer.
I was curious to see what the new owner would do with the name. It remained "parked" for a long time but eventually I saw that someone was building what appeared to be an "adult" website! Oh no! Not quite what I wanted to see. But how big would the site get? How many millions of dollars would the new owner earn? Well, the new site was around for a short time and then disappeared. I don't think the business ever got off the ground. Kewty.com is still registered but set to expire again in 2011. Perhaps I could buy it back then?
So, in the end, I did not make my fortune in the domain name market -- but I learned a lot in the process!
- Do's and Don'ts of Securing a Domain Name
Consider these six tips from small-business owners and experts before deciding on a website name.