RealTime IT News

Domains Present Business Opportunities

Most people have heard the old cliche that asks what's in a name, which implies that something should be recognized for what it is -- not for what it is called.

But on the Web, domains are considered intellectual property, something Monte Cahn took into serious consideration four years ago when he founded HitDomains.com, a Florida-based Web site brokerage firm.

"I looked at it as an investment," Cahn said in an interview. "Buying a domain name is like buying property, a house."

But what the chief executive officer, who sees himself as a kind of virtual real estate broker, hardly could have foreseen was that quality domain names are now being sold for millions of dollars. Just a few months ago, business.com fetched $7.5 million, the standing record for a domain name sale. Also, Bank of America paid $3 million for loans.com. Cahn's company has parlayed WallStreet.com for more than $1 million in partnership with New Commerce Communications. What made it special for Cahn and his team was that it marked the first time a domain name broke the $1 million mark at auction.

Recognizing that financial domain names are a hot market due to the success of many dot-coms, HitDomains.com is holding an auction slated for the week of April 24. HitDomains.com will auction five to 10 premier financial-based names, each expected to command more than $2 million, with some having the potential to draw bids in excess of $5 million. During the same week, the company will auction other financial/business-related domain names with starting bids of $500,000 and less in a separate section on the site.

To present a domain name for consideration as a candidate for the auction, the owner needs to submit his or her name at HitDomains.com. If the name is deemed appropriate to include, the owner will be contacted with further instruction, as well as an assessment of the estimated value.

Cahn said attractive domains aren't always obvious. He said some of the best are ones many would never expect people to remember.

"Look how successful Amazon.com is," Cahn pointed out. "Who would have ever thought that that name would turn into the leading online bookseller?"

Consequently, Cahn and his team like their chances of selling some hardy names. He is especially excited about financingbusiness.net, a suite of key names under the title projectfinance.com. Cahn, who stressed that this name has excellent branding potential believes this offer is ripe for a major banking entity.

Eric Harrington, chief operations officer of HitDomains.com, echoed these sentiments.

"We believe we have the most valuable names tied up for this auction. But you never know. There may be someone out there sitting on a $10 million name," Harrington said. "Financial-related Internet businesses have emerged as the leading attraction for venture capital and international investors. In this respect, the upcoming auction is perfectly timed to capitalize on the excitement surrounding these new businesses."

And, though Cahn realizes there are other domain name brokers, such as GreatDomains.com as a healthy competitor, he said his firm is "like the Sotheby's" of auctions because of its high-end flock of domain names, including the tempting stockexchange.com. HitDomains.com boasts an average domain name price of $1.6 million.