- "Nailing" Down the Final Steps of Development |
101 Domain – “Nailing” Down the Final Steps of Development


DCA Ambassador of the Year award winners David and Michael Castello have quietly launched one of their company’s flagship domain names, Although is still in its embryonic stage, the Castello Brothers are willing to peel back the curtains and allow domain investors and developers the rare opportunity to see the final stages of development of this great generic domain name. Once completed, will feature manicure tips, product information and much more.

The full and celebrated launch of is expected to be in about a month, but we will have an inside look at the final steps to developing this generic domain name into a fully functioning, multi-purpose website. David is willing to share daily updates with readers as the website continues to grow, creating a reference tool for other developers who may be facing the same struggles. I think this is a great opportunity for anyone who is going down the path of development and wants to see how the professionals do it.

Feel free to post comments or questions, and I am sure David or Michael will be happy to address them.

About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.

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Comments (26)


    Site looks good i am glad the design side of the page is being embraced. It seems more and more directories specific to a subject are popping up.

    January 31st, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    David J Castello

    Thank you, Art. We’re literally building this site brick-by-brick. Last night we built the Business Directory Listing form. Decided the format, etc. Listings will be free for the first 3,000 businesses (this is what we did with It’s open to nail salons, day spas, beauty shops, etc. To qualify, they must offer manicures as one of their services.
    It is important to note that these first 3,000 businesses must sign-up themselves. We’re not just going to throw up a database and have the site sit there like a bump on a log (common mistake). Even for free, attracting those 3,000 businesses is a challenge, but it is absolutely essential that does it under its own power and name. However, we’ve done it before ( and will do it again. We’ll describe the strategies of how we accomplish this later.

    January 31st, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    TIm Davids

    Great name…site looks great…I had looked for names in the past about nail-art…a section showing off nail-art would be a good “social” area.

    January 31st, 2008 at 2:03 pm


    Hmm interesting, i am developing the two word .org directory (thx for sharing your views on it in previous post),and thinking going the same way, making business sign up themselves, but i have about 200-300 people target market at the moment, so its very niche.

    In your case you have much larger task, 3000 business is not small fit by any measure. How did did? did you promote it directly (mailing, phone calls, industry journals) or did you let people find you? Was/is sign up rate sufficient on daycare?

    January 31st, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    Michael Castello

    That’s a good question Art. Looking back, we never parked our names. We had a splash page with the domain name’s logo and an email address. From the emails, we read what people were looking for and that gave us an intuitive starting point. In my opinion, parking hurts a generic name because you will see a slower ramp up when the site is finally developed. It took about a year to get the first 3,000 daycare facilities on That gave functionality to the search and there was no looking back after we broke the 3,000 barrier. We then discovered that daycare owners or parents were looking for specific information and we simply provided it. In turn, they would spread the word by telling others and the readership quickly compounded itself. The search engines then started ranking at #1 for the word “daycare” and it pretty much has held that position. Between the intuitive and search engine traffic, receives a daily visitor base of around 3,500 uniques a day. Most daycares sign up for the $15 three month basic listing, but many take advantage of the premium options we offer. We now see may packages being sold in the $100 and $200 range for extended needs. We also utilize an AutoPay system that continues paying for the listing without the need for manual renewal (in the beginning, everything was manual). has now become a virtual reference tool that is accepted as a qualified and trusted standard in the daycare field. The public has pretty much supplied the content. At some point you have to give it to the public and allow the site it move on its own power, much like an educated child. All in all, has provided the blueprint for the generic names we are presently building (,,, etc) much the same that became the monetization model for our GeoDomains.

    January 31st, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    Steve M.

    Thanks much guys for being willing to share your creation & build out; an invaluable gift to the entire domain community … and to you as well, Elliot, for providing the venue.

    The Internet: What a place to be in the still-new millennium.

    January 31st, 2008 at 3:22 pm


    Hmm, i really like the first (certain number of people for free) , it has great built in marketing call to action. Thanks for the info, gave me some new ideas on how to develop, i was thinking something as just directory, but i can really build it out with seminars, events and etc. Interesting.

    January 31st, 2008 at 3:50 pm


    Did you give the first 3,000 listings to them for free in perpetuity or was it for a limited period of time?

    January 31st, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    Michael Castello

    Sam, it was for a limited time. We had to move over to paying customers and also insuring that there were results for the database search inquiries. Those that did not pay slowly revolved down the reach results as those that paid had a higher placement. Then an interesting thing happened. If a provider that was not listed on our site did a search and saw a competitor listed, it compelled them to sign up. Of course we also had an option for $10 more a month to have “premium” placement at the top. Some then paid for that. There was competition for placement going on within our search results to get top billing. We can see why Google and Yahoo make so much money.

    January 31st, 2008 at 5:20 pm


    It would be neat if you had a “ask a manicurist” section where people can submit questions and have them answered by professionals. This would be good for stickiness and add content.

    January 31st, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    Michael Castello

    You are correct Elliot. We will pepper the site with links like that and resolve it to the forum pages. Currently we are working on the “How To” section with the idea of linking the products that would needed to perform a Manicure. We want to attract the visitor who may be trying to learn how to do a French manicure and while there, be more inclined to buy our products.

    We constantly tweak and adjust as we go. Visitor feedback is also crucial.

    January 31st, 2008 at 5:40 pm


    Eliot great idea! your idea just added a future section to the site :)), especially in my field.

    Michael, i am banking on the competitive factor too, that they will want more exposure and thus will want spend more on complex listings.

    January 31st, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Lance Raab

    Speaking on behalf of those of us who are looking to shift to development our domain names, I just wanted to thank you all for your willingness to share your experiences and insight. It is much appreciated.

    January 31st, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    Michael Neu

    Thanks Michael, David & Elliot for publishing your current and past development strategies. Information like this is extremely valuable to us who are looking to take on similar endeavors. Keep it up!

    January 31st, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    Michael Castello

    Thank you all. WE are compelled to offer our experiences because of the wonderful opportunities the internet has provided us all. The web should be as simple and complex as the world we live in. I for one do not want to see it driven by sheer money and greed, to be gobbled up by old world powers or monopolized. Those of us looking for brighter futures have something special that has never been available in the history of mankind. For all of us to develop our niche in who we are and what we offer as an experience can never be copied or created by the “suits” or current power brokers. We have the ability to profit like they profit. We are stronger in numbers if we develop this land ourselves. Let’s take the future and truly free ourselves from old world corporate bondage. They have been the gatekeepers long enough don’t you think?

    January 31st, 2008 at 6:59 pm


    First and foremost, congratulations and best wishes on the success of the site.

    Now, I noticed the site uses Amazon’s Associate store system. Is there any hard data behind the decision to go with that platform? To me, it’s just a step above affiliate banners. I would think that with such a great domain, some time and investment would have gone into developing an actual store front. Maybe this is part of the next phase of the site?

    Also, how do you get around users who would question buying from an unknown (unreliable) source when they could, in this case, go to a well know cosmetic brand they buy from and have trusted for years?

    I look forward to your reply… like those before me have said, I appreciate your willingness to share which in turn makes us all better at what we do.

    February 1st, 2008 at 12:03 am

    David J Castello

    Hi Pixelbug:

    You are correct. We’re basically using the Amazon store temporarily to provide beauty products to our viewers. On the down side, they only pay 4%. On the up side, we can choose exactly which products to present to our viewers and specify them by category. Regardless, it will only be matter of time before we search for the best product/commission relationship.

    When we started, many people asked the question: “Why will people book a hotel reservation through when they can simply go straight to the Hilton, Hyatt or Wyndham Hotel web site?”

    After watching generate millions of dollars in hotel reservations, I can tell you that the answer is that we’ve never tried to compete with brand loyalty. What a good site does is expose viewers to other great products they may not be familiar with and do it in a professional and responsible manner. And that is how a site builds credibilty. On the other hand, if you expose people to junk you will lose that credibilty. We depend a lot on viewer feedback and are well known for taking products and advertisers off of our sites. In fact, became notorious for taking hotel advertisers off who would not respond to customer’s complaints. This was completely unheard of (most web sites wil do anything for money), but it pushed’s credibilty through the roof.

    However, I must stress the immense pyschological marketing power of a name like The Golden Rule is that people expect a MegaGeneric like to live up to its name. We first experienced this phenomenon with, we experienced it with and we experienced it with when we attended WhiskyFest in NYC. At WhiskyFest NYC, Michael and I were hounded the entire evening for our opinions about new products and asked to pose for dozens of photos with Scotch and Bourbon distilleries.

    Now, it just so happens that Michael and I know more than a fair amount about single-malt Scotch and Bourbon, but these people at WhiskyFest had no way of knowing that. All they knew was that we had and badges on our jackets. Owning a name like instantly made us experts.

    February 1st, 2008 at 1:59 am

    Michael Castello

    Pixelbug, there are a couple of ways to go about developing a website. You can either spend lots of money or spend a little. There may be very little that separates the two from the public. So far has cost CCIN:

    $50 for skin
    $100 for forum software
    $12 a month for offsite database usage
    Our time = It’s fun and not work (priceless)

    Not too bad for a global name that is a category killer.
    The Amazon Store system is what is available at this point in time to provide and sell products. Yahoo Shopping is working on a similar beta application. The visiting public expects to be able to buy product and it is provided within the site and we keep this visitor inclusive. It may not pay too well but it does not cost us anything to use. If the site takes off we can spend money as we grow with little risk. Many small businesses fail because of out of control expenses. We do not have that problem with At some point our may provide a better shopping feed or we could even create our own brand and products. The public will decide and we will deliver.

    I believe will be considered a trusted brand to most visitors. The name itself sounds reliable and people know it already. That is why generic domain names are so valuable. This is no different than or which do very well with the public. These sites will be developed more over time but you do not want to exceed beyond what is cost effective for your business while being an effective site for the public. We want to keep this simple at the beginning.

    February 1st, 2008 at 4:52 am

    Michael Castello

    BTW Tim, that is a great idea regarding a section for nail-art. I was also considering a kid/girl/teen section since kids these days are also getting nails done artfully.

    February 1st, 2008 at 5:11 am


    This is priceless, instant branding. Any companies dream.

    “However, I must stress the immense pyschological marketing power of a name like The Golden Rule is that people expect a MegaGeneric like to live up to its name. We first experienced this phenomenon with, we experienced it with and we experienced it with when we attended WhiskyFest in NYC. At WhiskyFest NYC, Michael and I were hounded the entire evening for our opinions about new products and asked to pose for dozens of photos with Scotch and Bourbon distilleries.

    Now, it just so happens that Michael and I know more than a fair amount about single-malt Scotch and Bourbon, but these people at WhiskyFest had no way of knowing that. All they knew was that we had and badges on our jackets. Owning a name like instantly made us experts. ”

    I think Manicure is amazing for the idea you guys developing.
    Category killer name indeed.

    February 1st, 2008 at 3:45 pm


    David & Michael I think you guys are definitely on your way to another successful site.

    I guess as an Art Director coming from the advertising world, I am spoiled and often tend to think/believe that everything needs to look well designed — and unless it looks like a hundred thousand dollar site, it shouldn’t be trusted.

    I look at a site like and it blows my mind that it makes the kind of revenue it does. How much of it is from (loyal) return visitors? Please don’t take offense to this comment. Just one man’s opinion and as long as it’s making money,… :)

    To close, it’s unfortunate that we all can’t be owners of generic words like manicure. some of us have to opt for sub par generics like frenchTips for example. Is there a point where a niche is so small that it’s just not worth it? or is the key in your opinion, building up MANY niches to live up to the success of one very generic domain?


    February 1st, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    Michael Castello

    Art and Pixelbug, I believe that many of our sites including and need a cosmetic over-hall but we need to be careful. Much that has gone into these sites was tweaked for their success. I have seen small changes have large conversion rate losses for unknown reasons. So we are not as keen to changing these sites so soon. I can tell you many of the same visitors come back year after year because the businesses from Palm Springs are part of We are bringing the global visitor right to the local merchant and the sales are being made there. That is what the visitor expects. The look of the site is secondary to its success but make no mistake we would like to bring the look of these sites into the 21st Century at some point.

    Lastly, if you can not afford a category killer name why not attemp Fractional Domain Ownership much like what happened with It is an option. Thanks for all your questions!

    February 1st, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    David J Castello

    I remember the first time I saw Google’s front page. Every graphic designer I knew laughed at its minimalistic almost amateurish design, but I was blown away by its simplicity. Many times I’ve discovered that the secret to success in this business is Less Is More.

    February 2nd, 2008 at 3:14 am


    David and Michael,

    Thanks for sharing your experience and insights in developing your domains. What you both and Elliott are sharing with regards to domain development you simply cannot find in a book, how-to-guide, etc. Really appreciate what you all are doing!

    The site looks great. I like how you are using Amazon aStore to offer relevant products and services. I think it’s a great starting point.

    February 2nd, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    Greg Nelson

    @ David’s #23 – David is right on and I think it is where the web is reverting to and what people most come to depend on – the quality of the content, not necessarily the aesthetics of the site, is what matters. In fact, the most successful sites google, craigslist, wikipedia could be laughed at from a “look” evaluation.

    Even the top CMS right now (wordpress – blog) does not create pleasing designs. The themes at best look fine, but why are we on this blog – good content, the design really doesn’t matter.

    Yes, look professional but deliver value. CCIN is delivering value.

    February 3rd, 2008 at 12:39 am


    Greg, design does matter, and it will matter for years to come. In fact as we moving on, design will matter more and more. I am not just talking about sites, i am talking products over all, as we reaching a point where high quality and service is given, design is only substantial thing that will differentiate us from a competitor.

    that said, to Michale and David, I can see how changes to site might affect ranking, and agree that if it affects it, then its better to keep it the way it is, since as long as it provides information that visitors need, its good to go.

    February 4th, 2008 at 3:18 am

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