Forwarding Traffic to an End User to Sell a Domain Name
I haven’t done this before, so it’s purely speculation, but if I wanted to sell a high-traffic category killer domain name to a large company, I might voluntarily forward the traffic to the company’s main website for a month to prove its worth. If I owned (and wanted to sell) a name like Tools.com, I might consider forwarding the traffic from that name to Craftsman.com (toolmaker owned by Sears). Assuming traffic to the name was strong, I wouldn’t even have to tell them I was doing it, as they would see a spike in their traffic, and their web analytics would tell them it was coming from Tools.com. Since they are a manufacturer and distributor (via forward to Sears.com), they would have the highest profit margin on tools, and a converted lead would be worth the most to them.
After seeing the Craftsman website and their redirect to Sears to make a purchase, I can tell the web marketing team at Sears must be fairly strong. Knowing this, I would imagine that they would be very intrigued if they saw a large unexpected spike in sales, and they would attempt to track why this spike occurred. I am sure they would be happily surprised to see Tools.com forwarding to them (at no cost), and they would then be disappointed when the test was abruptly ended. Armed with the data from the test, they might be willing to make a strong offer for Tools.com, since they would certainly have the data to justify a purchase.
Oftentimes, buying a category killer domain name means making a huge purchase without any hard data on the domain name. A buyer may be able to determine approximate traffic details, but they wouldn’t be able to get a great sense of who is visiting a domain name without actually having the data from the site, and they certainly wouldn’t be able to give a fair estimate on the traffic conversion. This makes it difficult for companies to spend hundreds of thousands (or millions) of dollars on category killer domain names. If they had the data, they may be more inclined to make an offer – or perhaps the domain name isn’t worth as much as we think it’s worth.
Boiled down, the value of a domain name is determined by the value it can bring to a company. Most companies doing business online use ROI (return on investment) calculations to determine how much to spend on a marketing campaign or expense. If we give these companies the opportunity to see what they are missing by not owning a category killer domain name, they might actually realize just how important a domain name is to their brand, and how valuable it could be in a competitor’s hand.
Again, I have no experience with this, but I would imagine it would be worth foregoing a month of PPC to do this test. Also it would be important to consult with a domain attorney (like Brett Lewis or John Berryhill) to ensure you are not putting your name at risk by potentially confusing consumers with the forward – obviously should be done before you start your campaign.
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