5 With with Phil McKegney, Co-Founder of Domain Agents
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5 With… Phil McKegney, Co-Founder of DomainAgents

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DomainAgents is a negotiation platform that was built to help domain buyers and domain owners come to terms on their domain name transactions. Although DomainAgents is a relatively new company, the founders have considerable domain industry experience under their belts.

The way DomainAgents works is fairly simple, but with a unique twist. A buyer will pay a $19.95 fee to submit an offer on a domain name (more or less a fee to qualify the offer just a bit). To entice the domain owner into considering the offer, DomainAgents will pay that person $10 to review the offer, or they can choose to have the $10 donated to charity.

Phil McKegney is the CEO & Co-Founder of DomainAgents Platform Inc., the company that operates DomainAgents. A serial entrepreneur who has developed and helped launch multiple internet based companies and projects on three continents over the past 11 years. He maintains an active investment in one of Europe’s largest ccTLD domain portfolios, and recently founded a company that graduated from a Techstars affiliate startup accelerator.

ES – How does the offer and sale process work? Walk us through a transaction.

PM – For buyers the process often starts on partner sites. When searching for the perfect domain name, the buyer will come across a link to DomainAgents. From the partner site the buyer arrives on a page where they are guided through the process of making an offer on a domain name. They pay $19.95 to qualify their offer and then we go to work putting the owner and buyer in contact with each other within the DomainAgents framework.

The domain owner is contacted notifying them that an offer has been made. The owner passes through a streamlined process of creating an account and is able to view the offer within a matter of seconds. The owner has the option of accepting, countering or declining the opening offer made by the buyer.

The negotiations continue until an agreement has been reached, or one side decides to cancel the process. When the negotiations end successfully, the process is typically handed off to Escrow.com for a secure closing.

Once the negotiation has closed, successfully or not, the domain owner receives a payout from DomainAgents to thank them for taking the time to engage with an offer made via our service.

ES – What makes DomainAgents unique when compared to other services with similar offerings?

PM – Like the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. DomainAgents was built from the ground up because first and foremost, we are domain buyers and sellers. We wanted a service that qualified leads, focused on closing sales, and valued our time as domain owners. The existing services just weren’t at the level we needed.

To meet our own expectations, we designed our service around a performance model, going as far as pricing our service essentially at cost. When buyers use promotional coupons that are floating out there, we’ll even take a small loss on offers unless the buyer closes the sale via our service. Because of this, we are extremely results focused.

As domain owners ourselves we know the frustration of tire kicking domain inquiries that end up going nowhere. Time is valuable. We designed the service to have a fair and reasonable upfront fee to filter out the majority of noise and then decided to pay out a portion of this to the domain owner directly to compensate them for their time. For simply entering into negotiations with offers made via our service, domain owners receive their choice of a free DomainAgents credit, $10 via Paypal, or they may request that we donate $10 to a selected charity of their choice; Oxfam, The Red Cross, or domainer favorite WaterSchool.com.

We don’t stop working for domain owners if the first negotiation doesn’t result in a sale. In these situations, domain owners are presented the opportunity to include their name in our sales newsletter at a price that they have defined. Our newsletter is just starting, but is quickly starting to grow into something quite substantial.

ES – Who are the people behind DomainAgents and what domain industry experience do they have?

There is a great multi-faceted team working behind the scenes at DomainAgents.

Adam Strong and I co-founded the company at the beginning of the year. The two of us have a long (10 year+) history in the domain name arena and own tens of thousands of names between the two of us. Adam has been an active broker for many years, while I leaned more to the development side of things. We’ve worked together on smaller projects over the years and decided that DomainAgents would be a great project to really take a run at.

Richard Lau (who most people reading this know of from posts like this one joined as an investor and director shortly after.

The primary team is rounded out by Hicham our CTO who has worked with me for nearly 5 years now on a number of startups. Ryan who joins us in an operations capacity, formally with the Yellow Pages Group Canada. And Eric who is leading owner relations and outbound sales.

ES – Why should someone use a DomainAgents landing page rather than a direct “for sale” lander?

PM – It’s true that anyone could put up a simple lead collection page and many do so. However what we’re really doing beyond paying owners $10 to simply negotiate, is making the sales process more efficient at a level that would be difficult for an individual domain owner to achieve.

Domainers are ambitious. Without any outside help we’ll often try do everything connected to our domain portfolio, from buying, to developing and everything in between It’s a hard job. At a certain point in order to scale, or simply to ease the work load, some tasks can be delegated. This is where we really come in to the scene for domainers. We’ve built a team whose singular job is to get domain buyers and owners negotiating and to close sales.

Domain owners are in control of their own negotiations, but work within our framework. This makes the sales negotiation process efficient, secure and easy.

We reduce the noise so domain owners can focus on running their business.

ES – Do you represent the buyer or seller in transactions, and do you assist with negotiations?

PM – One thing that we’ve found is that we deal with a large number of end user buyers and individual domain owners. Because of this, there are times when transactions require a fair amount of hand holding to close. From step by step phone calls explaining the transfer process to general assistance with transactions.

We attempt to remain a neutral third party in the transaction and as such we do not assist with negotiations directly and do not provide guidance on pricing. When assistance is requested on pricing we focus on educating the buyer or seller rather than directly inject ourselves into the middle of the negotiations. We do this by pointing them to resources such as DNjournal, Namebio, or Elliot’s blog of course.


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and professional domain investor. Elliot is President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a domain investing company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Elliot is the publisher of DomainInvesting.com.

Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | | Facebook | Email
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Comments (13)

    DD

    Solid interview. I hadn’t heard of them and may give them a go.

    September 27th, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Francois

    Original concept.

    Apparently they charge a 10% sales commission in addition of the the $19.90, if I have understood the explanation in their site. But you don’t talk about it here, do you confirm?

    Also I have some improvements, and I contacted both service’s owners about it but I did not get any response, so I am wondering if I am not going to offer myself $10 to get one ;-)

    I am kidding.

    September 27th, 2012 at 11:01 pm

      Phil McKegney

      Hi Francois,

      Thanks for the complement.

      When a person makes an offer to buy a domain name there is the $19.95 up front cost. When the offer converts to a sale there is a commission of 10% that is paid by the buyer.

      The only thing I’ve seen from you at the moment is a support ticket saying we should submit the site to domaining.com. But the day is still young and I have a ton of emails yet to read.

      September 28th, 2012 at 7:50 am

      Phil McKegney

      $100 is also the minimum offer ;)

      September 28th, 2012 at 7:51 am

      Francois

      Don’t are you afraid Phil to scare domainers?
      They use to pest marketplaces, auction venues, … are abusing asking a strong sales commission when they do nothing.
      But here you do not promote the name to attract buyers and of what I uderstood you do not even interact in the negociation, so they may think you want a big share just for a “nice” (I suppose) communication interface?

      Yes my longest message with my improvement ideas was sent to your associate through his FB account.

      September 28th, 2012 at 4:13 pm

      Phil McKegney

      Not at all afraid that we will scare domainers Francois. We provide a very clear and valuable service. We are priced extremely competitively for both buyers and sellers. I would also venture to say that we work harder than any of our competitors.

      But you are right in your assumption … we do have an awesome UX.

      If domain owners are interested in actively engaging the traffic visiting their domain, they are welcome redirect their domains to our landers. ie. http://www.domainagents.com/hockeysites.com

      We drive traffic independently and are continuously working on distribution partnerships. But this is not a marketplace format, owners are not required to list names with us in order to receive offers.

      On a related note. Our partner program is in the final stages of testing. Soon domain owners will be able to earn revenue from any people that choose to work with DomainAgents after visiting their domain. Details will be released within the next month I expect.

      September 28th, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Adam

    Francois, I don’t read facebook daily or run operations. I have passed your message on to Phil though. I have also been without a computer for 2 long days. Appreciate your suggestions and feedback in your email below.

    Hi Adam,

    I just noticed the Elliot post about a new site called DomainAgents.com, it’s an original idea.

    I suggest you to list in our directory under the broker section.

    But more important:

    As you know almost nobody have money to buy domains when launching a new company, service, product, …
    The begining is when people are unsure about their new adventure success, when money is needed to pay thousands things, …
    Offering credit from the seller through installment payments can make a HUGE difference!

    I know you are using Escrow.com (according this logo in the homepage) and I am not asking you to change anything regarding the deal you may have with Escrow.com
    But Escrow only offers the securisation of seller financing deals for transaction over $75K or for a very expensive price.
    We offer this:
    Seller financing = Rent to own = Installment payments
    From $1K sale and the cost is simple: 2%.

    So please consider this option when you negotiate and you should make make still more sales!

    I don’t know if all is manual or if there is a sort of site behind, if it’s the case I can assist you to automatize such escrow transactions.

    Best Regards

    September 28th, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Dede Olushola

    Phil. I intend to use your service. I need to sell my domain names fast. Do I get a sell now assurance and how effective is domain agent.

    September 29th, 2012 at 4:38 am

      Elliot Silver

      What is “sell now assurance,” and why would DomainAgents be able to offer that to you?

      September 29th, 2012 at 8:19 am

    Francois

    Thanks for confirming here reception of my two messages.

    But reassure me, you do not plan to do the same in your service and plubicly reveal emails privately sent to you.

    September 29th, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Matt

    Good idea for a service and I like the name. Best of luck with it.

    October 1st, 2012 at 3:29 am

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