S2E18 Tatiana Bonneau Domain names = digital real estate

S2E18 – Tatiana Bonneau – Domain names = digital real estate

Tatiana Bonneau

Tatiana Bonneau – Domain names = digital real estate. Are you sitting on a domain but not sure what to do with it? In some cases, that domain may be more valuable than you think. My next guest runs a company where she serves as a matchmaker between the domain seller and buyer. In this episode, she talks about premium domain names and why this digital asset won’t decrease in value. Please welcome Tatiana Bonneau

Payback Time Podcast

Payback Time is a podcast for investors. The goal of this podcast is to help make investing approachable and easy to understand. We will interview beginner and experienced investors and ask them to share stories on how they got started, what challenges they faced, what mistakes they made, and what strategy works for them today. The overall objective is to provide you with a roadmap that helps you become a better investor.

key timecodes

  • (01:13) – Background history

  • (03:08) – How her business niche Started

  • (11:20) – Understanding the business model

  • (15:44) – wealth assets in web domains

  • (18:11) – Why a .com domain has more value than the others

  • (20:01) – The most valuable domain

  • (25:01) –  meta.com and Facebook

  • (26:22) – Three-letter domains? could this pay off well in the future?

  • (27:36) – It’s not just the .com address, it’s your business identity

  • (29:12) – Can domains be comparable to coins, NFTs, or stocks?

  • (33:12) – Importance of dormains

  • (35:17) – High-performing domains

  • (38:17) – Branding vs Domains

  • (42:26) – The best investment advice

  • (42:48) -worst investment advice

  • (45:41)  – Get in touch

Transcription

[00:00:03.430] – Intro
Payback Time is a podcast about building businesses’ wealth and financial freedom. We try to uncover the challenges our guests faced, the mistakes they made, and the steps they took to achieve their goals. The overall objective is to provide you with a roadmap that leads to your own success. Sean Tepper is your host. Are you ready? It’s Payback Time.
[00:00:33.090] – Sean
Are you sitting on a domain name?
[00:00:34.750] – Sean
But not sure what to do with it?
[00:00:36.760] – Sean
In some cases, that domain may be more valuable than you think.
[00:00:40.980] – Sean
My next guest runs a company where.
[00:00:42.640] – Sean
She serves as a matchmaker between the domain seller and buyer. In this episode, she talks about premium domain names and why this digital asset won’t decrease in value. Please welcome Tatiana Bono. Tatiana, welcome to the show.
[00:00:58.000] – Tatiana
Nice to meet you.
[00:00:59.470] – Sean
Yes. Good to have you here. Indeed. Well, I’m really excited to talk about domains today. That’s your area specialty. I know a lot of people deal with them, especially entrepreneurs out there. So we’re going to learn a lot. But first things first, we’d like to know about your background a little bit so you could tell us about yourself.
[00:01:17.510] – Tatiana
Sure. So I don’t know how far back I go, but I guess from the very beginning, I was born in Ukraine, in the Crimea. I grew up between the Crimea and Bulgaria. So kind of Eastern Europe pretty what I found classic Eastern upbringing, which, when I came to the west since very exciting for everyone. So I’ve moved around Europe. I don’t find staying more than two or three years at the same place kind of interesting. I guess it gets harder and harder with kids, but keep trying. I got into it. I remember when I first started with it, I was selling websites and it was around the time where you had to convince people they need a website. So that’s kind of to give you an idea of timing.
[00:02:09.790] – Sean
So that would have been the early 2000s, mid 2000s, yeah.
[00:02:15.930] – Tatiana
My first son was born in 2005, so that was their first only 2000s. So I kind of naturally went from selling websites. I later on had my own It company in England. Then we moved added marketing to our services branding, and the last about four, five years. Now I’m into domain names. So that’s kind of what I really got passionate about. When I was little, I wanted to be a journalist and so words in writing and etymology has always been something that, even though I didn’t end up doing that, I was always passionate about. So with naming and the main names, that kind of clicked as well.
[00:03:08.250] – Sean
How do you go from a service business? And I had an agency between 20 06, 20 10 creating custom software, creating a lot of websites. So this was a lot of WordPress. And probably remember June Law was a thing. I don’t know how many people use that. And Drupal.
[00:03:26.470] – Tatiana
Yeah, right.
[00:03:28.330] – Sean
Those old clunky platforms. I hate to offend anybody out there who still uses those, but there’s better options.
[00:03:35.890] – Tatiana
I hated them.
[00:03:37.250] – Sean
Right? They’re nasty. Yeah. How do you go from that type of business model, which is service, to now selling domains? What I’m working towards is how do you generate revenue off domains? But first things first, what was the motivation to switch from service to domain name company?
[00:03:54.310] – Tatiana
It wasn’t intended, it was very lucky, accidental and sort of almost natural. It happened because I had a client who was looking to better present their premium domain names that they own and that kind of got me to realize there’s so many things wrong with that as an industry with domain names, if you can call it an industry, because at that point I have been already in it for quite some time and I have been myself giving advice to people because obviously when you build on a website or software, even then they need a domain name. And I was advising people like I’ll just get any domain name, it doesn’t matter, whatever. If your brand name is example, whatever, doesn’t matter. So I’ve been advising people badly on domain names simply because I myself didn’t know any better. So when I started working on the presentation for premium domain names, obviously, as with any project you undertake, you start going into what it is, what does it mean, what do they do? We want to understand it as well as possible and the target audience for that product so that you can present it better.
[00:05:17.600] – Tatiana
And that was like a whole new world for me, like domain names and domain names is brand assets, not just as the technical side of you need a domain name to host the website. And that was like months. I was gone in the whole space for months, just beating everything back and forth and existing like stories and I couldn’t find many domain names generally. The information was very I don’t want to offend anyone, but it was very like it’s like closed bubble of people who see those as something to invest in and trade and not really as a brand asset. And they buy them and sell them and they have some ways to value them and that was very much it. I’ve literally spoken to top end branding and naming agencies and they don’t know much. Like some of them can’t even make a difference between a domain name and a website. And that was really like for me, which was really weird and it was almost like I was almost nervous of getting into it because nobody is doing that. Maybe it’s just not a good idea. But I started working on the presentation for that portfolio of domain names and we started then working more towards education, educating entrepreneurs about why domain names are important.
[00:06:52.960] – Tatiana
What are the main names of brand assets, how to choose a good domain name, what are the risks of not getting the best name for your business. And that has been ongoing since. And I don’t know if I answered the question there.
[00:07:06.120] – Sean
Yeah, so another piggy back to the question is, do you still provide those marketing services like building websites and doing marketing for people, or do you just focus on the domains?
[00:07:15.640] – Tatiana
Today, I would say just focus on the domain names. There’s very few. Like, at least we have plans for 15 years. I have plans as old as some of my kids who I started building websites for, and we’ve just kept that connection. But I don’t really have the time, the bandwidth to take any more clients in that room. So I’m just keeping it to really close circle of existing clients and I think they really strongly recommend someone. But I’m more focusing.
[00:07:51.250] – Sean
Because anybody can go to like a GoDaddy or Network Solutions and buy a domain for ten to $15 or $20 or whatever. How are you making money in this model?
[00:08:04.510] – Tatiana
Yes. What type of domain name? You can go and try to get some sort of objective example, but let’s say, no, that’s not a good one because they had already named Facebook, had Meta.com already when they rebranded, but for example, if they didn’t, they had the name as part of an acquisition they did in 2017 with some other company. But if they didn’t, it wouldn’t be as easy to go and get Meta.com on GoDaddy because it’s taken most of the good, meaningful pronounceablemeverable.com domain names are taken. So that’s kind of what we refer to as premium domain name. So they do have unique qualities and usually it is a.com so what we do at Markupgrade is we offer services for domain owners for a set price. So that really differentiates us from a lot of companies out there because they work on percentage only. And what we do, what I found, I think that works for us. I just couldn’t work on percentage only because it’s very subjective how you value those things. We’re talking about digital assets, so it really depends. It changes in time as well. For example, names that have Meta, something five years ago would have been considered just okay name.
[00:09:38.760] – Tatiana
And now since everything is like Meta, the metabolism, the Meta this, the meter that, everything with Meta is a hot name for a brand, same with points before all the points a name in it, those things change. And also, to put it shortly, it’s very hard to value those names. And usually we charge premium domain name owners, especially for the services that we provide, and then they’re free to ask whatever they feel that they want for their name. As the evaluation.
[00:10:17.410] – Sean
I was going to ask for your model. Do you charge is it just like an upfront fee to go out and find the domain or are they paying you like a reoccurring fee to monitor it? Do you break that down a little bit.
[00:10:28.330] – Tatiana
So we have two types of funds, effectively. One is the owners of premium domain names who come to us so that we sell their names. That’s simply put, so we do the presentation of the name online. We can do outreach if they find that or if we find that suitable. It really depends on what they’re looking to achieve. And then the other side is the buyer’s premium domain names, which is usually entrepreneurs who either already operates on a name that is a compromise. So Facebook started as be Facebook, then they got Facebook, et cetera. And that’s a very common case. Or they’re looking to launch a new brand and they want to really get the best of their marketing. And a good domain name is really an interesting part of that.
[00:11:21.600] – Sean
I’m connecting the dots now. So you start with the sellers. It sounds like looking to they already have a great domain. You start with them and then go find the right buyer. And I see where you’re going because I’ll give this an example to the audience. Like Tykr originally was Tykr Pro, tykr Pro.com was taken and we just ran with it. But that’s not a premium domain. Pro isn’t as good AS.com and we did some homework and I had the domain in GoDaddy. We found out that we could use GoDaddy’s broker service. So kind of like you, what they did is they took a percentage of the domain, but we or what they did is we engaged with their service and then they went out and connected with that domain owner, which happened to have the Tiger.com in GoDaddy and helped with the negotiation, that intermediate person negotiating. And it was a big number and we did negotiate it down. I will say this, it was in the five figures. It was well into. It was a larger five figure number and we did talk it down to a lower five figure, but we eventually got it through a back and forth process that probably took like a month.
[00:12:37.650] – Sean
And it sounds like you would do something similar. Like you’ve got a holder of the domain, they want to sell it, and then you will help negotiate and sell it to a buyer. Is that correct?
[00:12:49.850] – Tatiana
So I oftentimes refer to myself as a matchmaker. And in that respect, oftentimes people who contact me for the main name, they’re surprised because the first discussion I have with them is always about just figuring out whether that’s all the right name. And again, that goes back to I mentioned earlier, our model is not based on just we get a percentage of the sale. So that helps me really have that peace of mind of we have paid our service based for anyway. So I’m not out there trying to hammer you with buy that domain name, let’s close that deal. My job is to figure out what’s the best name for you. And honestly, if you mentioned you started on Tykr Pro when somebody and you said five figures is actually not that much of a high number. I’m telling you that people are getting more and more open and realizing, yeah, six figures is a very normal figure for short memorable.com domain name. And people get sometimes like they go into those valuation tools or statistics. Most of the sales premium domain names are not reported. I can tell you what, I don’t support any sales, I just don’t find it because it’s not the value of those things, it’s not the cash, it’s not the numbers.
[00:14:23.280] – Tatiana
Right? And that’s why I tell my clients I think that there was angel.com when they got because they had some variation of the name and they got angel.com for like 2 million. And their reasoning was, they said, we made the calculations and some tests of how much would it cost us to get one person to remember whatever else it was their domain name against angel.com. And we figured 2 million is a bargain. So it’s not about the money, it’s more about what makes sense to you at this point of the development of your business. So when you’re launching a business and you have 2030, 5100 thousand budget, I’ll be crazy to advise you to spend half of it in domain name. It just makes no sense. You don’t even know if it will work. You don’t. So yeah, of course, just get whatever it is, the best thing you can get and think about it later. Thinking about improving it later.
[00:15:31.050] – Sean
Yeah, I was going to say thank you so much for I always like to understand the business model and we just did that too when you said Matchmaker, I’m like you’re connecting the dots there between the buyer and the seller and Domains now for the listeners out there, because we got a lot of listeners that of course they’re into stocks or ETFs or index funds, mutual funds, and of course we get a lot of people into crypto, which kind of dabbles with this world of NFTs. And then Domains is another asset people aren’t thinking about. Like, I actually own a few Domains that I’m sitting on and I’ll look at GoDaddy to see the value slowly increase. It’s kind of like looking at my broker account to see my stock increase in value. Well, I’ve got one particular domain that’s called funder, F-U-N-D-Y-R. There’s a trend here for some reason I like that Y and a name kind of like years ago as a nonprofit type idea and never really executed on it. But I’m like, you know what, maybe that domain might be worth something. And I think in GoDaddy it’s sitting around like $2,000 as we speak.
[00:16:39.950] – Sean
It started at around thousand dollars, so it keeps going up. But I could be wrong and it’ll value changes all the time. But it’s interesting, I never looked at Domains as like an asset. So let’s dive into that a little bit and talk about how are domains valued, what makes a domain more valuable than other domains. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
[00:17:01.710] – Tatiana
That’s a tough one. I mean, it is a whole industry that is not, I guess, very popular. It’s a small world, in a way, and if you get into it, and once you start looking into it, there are a lot of materials, there is a lot of information. There are blogs, there are courses on how to pick a good domain name to invest in, how to sell it, different strategies. So it is very much a thing that I myself wasn’t familiar with until I got into the male names. So I’m probably not the best person to discuss on how to value a name, because the way I see them is more as brand assets. So for me, where I stand, obviously, it has to be like a memorable, meaningful, ideally short name. And with the.com extension and that’s a whole other topic. That’s a good tattoo.
[00:18:09.430] – Sean
I was going to sort of interrupt you there. I was going to ask, why is.com more valuable than any other top level domain?
[00:18:17.510] – Tatiana
Because it’s been since the beginning of the Internet. It’s effectively a brand of its own. Like.com itself is a brand. It was there at the beginning. And every company that has operated on the.com domain, which is you look at Fortune $500, you look at whatever list of top whatever brands, and we actually have that on smart branding. We have a category that’s called list, and we would do like, top 50 companies in the pet industry and look at their domain names. Top companies in the fintech industry look at their domain names, and it’s not my opinion on you or somebody else’s. It’s just a huge percentage of those operates on.com domain names. And the higher you go up the list, the more it’s the domain name that exactly matches their brand name. So in a way, it’s not. What makes it so valuable is the fact that you don’t have to repeat it. You don’t have to. I walk around the street and there’s a Chanel ad, and it says Chanel. They don’t need to say Chanel.com because everybody knows they’re there.
[00:19:28.040] – Sean
Yeah, good.
[00:19:29.700] – Tatiana
So you pay for that. You pay for just that extra few seconds and that extra effort that you don’t have to make every one of your customers put every time they have to find you.
[00:19:44.310] – Sean
Yeah, I wanted to ask it just to clarify, but it’s logical because.com has been.com it’s a website. Everybody thinks it’s that first, and then if it’s not because you see a lot of, like yeah, then you got to guess, and then you’re playing you’re using Google and you’re searching talk about maybe syllables and number of letters, what is hot, what is not.
[00:20:10.610] – Tatiana
There are trends. There are different trends, and they change. And then I guess you can go into is it good to ride on a trend or not? There was recently what was it? Yoga. Labs dropped the lab, so they got yoga. That’s what they call, isn’t it? The guys behind so Labs was a trend at some point back there was a lot of brands that had labs. So it’s a question of it depends, what is your product or service? Do you want to be associated with a particular trend? Because that could be a cool thing if you want to have people have that association of particular age or space or industry. So it really depends. It’s very individual, I would say. Like, if you have to go with some advice that would apply to all, I would advise not to go for things that are limiting in any way. Because however, whatever niche you launch your business into, we all get into entrepreneurships with the idea for it to last and to get bigger and stronger and add more services. Admiral or whatever. So if you have a word in the name that in some way defines what you do, then you may very likely find yourself in the future trying to get rid of it.
[00:21:39.150] – Tatiana
And that’s obviously a new rebranding is a risk, right?
[00:21:43.330] – Sean
Do you recommend, in that case, to just keep it really simple? Maybe shorter is better?
[00:21:47.430] – Tatiana
Yeah, definitely. Simplicity is the ultimate.
[00:21:50.370] – Sean
Sophistication that was well phrased.
[00:21:54.620] – Sean
Let’s take a quick commercial break.
[00:21:59.970] – Sean
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[00:22:02.590] – Sean
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[00:23:07.570] – Sean
I want you to correct me if I’m wrong on this one, but I always paid attention to two syllable words in tech. You got Facebook, Google, Uber, Tesla, a lot of two syllables. And I noticed this over the last 1015 years because I run into a tech founder and they come up with, like, a long kitcheny name with four syllables or more. And I’m like, I’m not a marketing and branding expert by any means, but I know enough to be dangerous. And I’m like, It doesn’t roll off the tongue, buddy. Right? So that’s why looking for a name. Like in our case, Tykr. We had a few working titles. I had one years ago, and it was not trendy. My audience will laugh at me for this, but it was most engine margin of safety is what MoS MoS Engine. But it’s just a working title. And I’m like, this is not this is not the name. This is a horrible name. But I didn’t have any other name, so I went for, okay, what are two syllables short and sweet and relates to finance or investing. And that’s essentially where Tykr came from. So does my strategy there, does that.
[00:24:23.940] – Sean
Kind of check out?
[00:24:24.750] – Sean
Does it make sense?
[00:24:26.150] – Tatiana
Yeah, it does. Well, the one you mentioned.
[00:24:34.190] – Sean
Most engine like, it’s like an engine in a car.
[00:24:38.210] – Tatiana
I can guarantee if you had gone with that, you yourself with your team and your users would have ended up calling. It just moved. And that’s what happens.
[00:24:48.130] – Sean
Yes. I’m actually heading to I’m sure mos.com is taken.
[00:24:53.690] – Tatiana
Yes.
[00:24:56.450] – Sean
Banking, that gets you ahead. Interesting. It is a finance related app, but that’s gone. I’m actually going to Meta. I’ve never actually gone to Meta.com to see a Facebook. Facebook bought it. I’m sure somebody was they hadn’t before that.
[00:25:12.400] – Tatiana
No, they had it since 2017. Really? Yeah. That’s when they said they’re rebranding. I was like, they’re going to rebrand some better. I know that because they have that with his wife. Mark has philanthropy sort of organization. And they had acquired the company in 2017 that had the Meta brand. So they had the name before that, and then they spent 60 million to get the brand name trademark from MetaBank.
[00:25:46.550] – Sean
60 million?
[00:25:48.290] – Tatiana
Yes. And the funny thing is, I was looking at that today, actually, just before we got to talk, now that yesterday, Zuckerberg announced that he’s rebranding Facebook pay to Metapay, and the Metapay.com domain name still goes to MetaBank services that offer a very similar thing. So they haven’t figured something out that they haven’t sorted out something. Because if they spend 60 million to get all of those rights and they don’t have the Metapay and they’re branding to Metapay, that’s just weird.
[00:26:21.120] – Sean
Sure. Okay, before we jump on the live call we’re talking about there’s a lot of people sitting on three letter domains, and they could be random letters. It sounds like those could be really hot premium domains. Is that correct?
[00:26:38.870] – Tatiana
Yes. I’m sure you’re aware of anything that’s rare and unique. It has some sort of value that minimal value, at least, and then you cannot have the qualities to it. So two letter and three letters from domain names, there’s a limited number of combinations of those. And also they can use the acronyms for many things. And also obviously yes. So there’s a whole list of different applications that you have there’s. Obviously given memorability the fact that they’re rare. Just if you launch a business on a three letter.com domain names. You are just by that in itself alone, you’re saying, I know what I’m doing, I have the confidence, I have the cash, I have the expertise in my field. Like people know that nobody if you launch a business on that sort of.
[00:27:35.490] – Sean
Thing, that is amazing to hear because I’m sure there’s a lot of people out there overlooking that what you’re just saying there is. The value of your company can be increased from the domain name itself, especially if it’s three letters and it’s a.com yeah, absolutely.
[00:27:54.170] – Tatiana
The cases like that and it’s something that we’ve been aiming to do actually on smart branding, but I just really haven’t got the time to get around to it. But we wanted to look at company valuations before and after they upgrade their domain name. We have a short list of cases where you can clearly see that, literally you can see it, but I wanted to have some more to have some good study on that. So I’ll update you on that once we get to it. Sure. And also since we’re talking about investments now, we’re talking about Domains as brand assets, as developing brands, but those type of names, like the two letters, the three letter domain names as the investment assets, they’re also interesting and something that a lot of people overlook as well. And I mentioned to you earlier, there is a report from Espro.com on that where they compare domain names over the past 1015 years I think has value that they’ve held and actually increases over time. And it has been better than things like real estate or Bitcoin, like you wouldn’t expect to see that.
[00:29:12.290] – Sean
Well, to me, Bitcoin, and I’m just going to use some comparisons here like Bitcoin and NFT’s, the value can go up one day, way down the next. Highly volatile real estate. To me, you can see some volatility, but the logic there and talking to people in real estate though, agree with me is people keep reproducing, which means we need more homes and homes are never going to be like a thing like, oh no, that’s going out of trend. We don’t need that. Like homes will always be needed, therefore real estate is always needed. With Domains, I think it’s in the same category and I love to hear your thoughts is like people need some kind of site. Even if they create an app, like a mobile app, you’re still wanting to brand your business on some kind of website. It’s needed. It can be a one page site, static HTML with buttons to either Google or Apple. Right. Would you agree with that? Like Domains are not going to devalue?
[00:30:15.690] – Tatiana
Absolutely, I mean, it is the real estate of the internet. That’s exactly what it is. And it’s funny you mentioned that they’re not going to devalue because there’s been so many things that so many times where people went, oh, okay, domain names are bad, like they are going to be up. Everything is going to be up. Nobody’s going to need domain names. Everything is going to be ups, and domain names are still there. Then there was Facebook. Everything is going to be Facebook and Google. We don’t need domain names. Everything is going to be whatever. And now, actually, you see the opposite trend, where people jumped on to social networks and search engines as the brilliant solution to look at how am I going to connect with my audience. It’s going to be brilliant. I’m just going to put my stuff there, and that works for some time. It was easy and free, and the guidelines were easy and free and all that for how to do that. And then we all know how it went because there’s no free lunch. So now it’s like, if you want to be on the top of Google, you have to pay.
[00:31:17.590] – Tatiana
If you want to be on the top of whatever, you have to pay. If you don’t pay, you have a list of things that keep changing that you have to comply to. And there’s so many people who, like, you can literally lose your audience overnight. You can lose your content overnight. And effectively, a lot of people are like, hold on a minute. So I’m bringing people to whatever social network or whatever search engine. They’re coming, they’re looking for me. I have to pay for that. So I don’t own that audience. I don’t have a direct connection with them, and I can be thrown out at any point and lose my content and my connection with my audience. Like, what’s the point of that? What’s the logic? And we’re talking about, oh, my God, six figures is lost for domain name. That’s yours, that’s your space, that’s your website. And I always give Mike as an example because I love how they were really on top of it. And I’m sure there’s probably other brands, but they were really on top of it for a long time now. They withdrew their products from Amazon. They really focused on building their own brand.
[00:32:23.190] – Tatiana
And sure, they have a huge advertising budget, and that’s always the thing. But they’re really focusing on if you want to get something that’s Nike, you go to Nike. I mean, why would you go to Google? Why would you go to Amazon? Why would you go to Wyatt? They just make it so easy, and they give you a lot of incentives to do that. Not to go via other channels, but to go directly to them. Like, I have my account, I have my personalized history and suggestions and perks and whatever. And it’s a pleasure and it’s a nice feeling that you have that connection with that brand. And so then that’s not extra dollars every time I go back to them, and I don’t even go to other brands.
[00:33:11.510] – Sean
Right? I like how you phrase that. If you go back a little bit, was the comment on the real estate of the Internet. And that was like the immediate AHA moment. Like, you’re right. You could lose your Facebook page or whatever social channel or get your app taken down, but that domain, that’s yours. I love that. That’s a great call. And I was listening to a podcast over the last week. I think I really like the podcast acquired. And there was somebody talking about how if you’re going to create an app, they did emphasize the power of you still want to create a website version or at least have a website that markets your app. You can’t just create an app, go to the market store. Otherwise you have a big branding miss. And I was like, I totally agree with that because I have seen people just create a mobile app and you try to look them up because you want to do homework on them and learn about them. Learn about them.
[00:34:10.060] – Tatiana
I find it suspicious. Yeah. If I don’t find a website, I’m like, Let’s thank you.
[00:34:15.660] – Sean
Right? And there are certain apps that I was looking at. I’m like, I want to know, okay, so where are they based? Like, just show me a city. Right? And I want to know the team, how many founders or owners do they have and is there venture capital behind it? And when you can’t find any of that, then you’re right. I’m super suspicious because it’s even more personal.
[00:34:34.770] – Tatiana
It’s not like you can visit the website and then you don’t accept anything and raise your history, whatever. But you’re downloading an app on your phone, you want to know who’s behind that. You’re installing a thing on that thing that’s always with you and listening to you in your pocket and with all your passwords and banks and whatever. Of course you want to know everything about them.
[00:34:55.250] – Sean
There’s another good point. Like, you’re installing this thing on your phone. Your phone has all your, like, my phone, I’ve got my broker and my bank and everything here. That’s a good call. If you download the wrong app, I mean, you could be susceptible to cybersecurity issues there. That’s really insightful I like to talk about. I have run into entrepreneurs that gravitate towards creating longer domains. They could almost be a sentence. We’re talking two words, three words. It sounds like you being a branding expert in this space, you’d probably advise them to rethink their domain name and try to go for something shorter. Correct?
[00:35:34.970] – Tatiana
Yeah. I’m not sure I can say much more of that. When we talk about I’m going to jump back a bit. Like when I was doing websites and software, and a huge problem I had with people was when we sit on the table and we’re like, okay, let’s do that website, and we go, what do you need? What are you selling? And very quickly, a huge percentage of people end up going, yeah, but I like, green, and I want that there, and I want that to be that tape, and I want a picture of my dog there. Are you building a website for yourself? Are you building a website for your clients? That’s not the same thing. You can like and want whatever you want. You are not your client. And I have the same thing with domain names. Like, you can like whatever, you can think, whatever. But it’s about your clients, it’s about your customers, about your business partners, about your investors. And you may like or want to save on or don’t care about that domain name. And you can have two lines. I don’t know, what’s the limit? Actually, it must be about 100 characters of a domain name.
[00:36:50.710] – Tatiana
And I think it’s something crazy. But you can do that. You can do that, but it’s literally disrespectful to your audience because every one of them will have to remember that every one of them will be taking risks with the security of their data because you have people sending personal stuff and important information by email. So if they misspat your domain name every time, because it’s hard to remember, or because there’s a dash and they forget there’s a dash, or because of whatever, that’s your building, their time and their trust. So it’s not about you, it’s about them.
[00:37:28.410] – Sean
Thank you for the comments. And when I had an agency, I dealt with the same issue as I dealt with I worked with a lot of small businesses and quite a few mid sized businesses. So it’s really that SMB market. And I found that you would run into those small business owners. They wanted their colors the way they wanted, and they wanted their domain name, which could be like the name of their two kids. So you would have these long strings and all this kitschy stuff that you’re right, it was for them, it wasn’t their customer. And I always raised a question, are you buying from you or your customers buying from you? And they’d be like, Oh yeah, that’s a good point, but I still want the pink colors with the long. It was an uphill battle and eventually.
[00:38:13.090] – Tatiana
Got out of that space. Yeah, I can relate.
[00:38:17.910] – Sean
Well, this has been really educational on domains. I’ve never looked at them as an asset class. I know you’re really focused on the branding side, but my audience is probably going to be very interested in going to GoDaddy or Network Solutions or Cloudflare to register domains. And you want to be looking for those shorter domains, those catchy domains, something that’s more brandable and think long term because somebody could approach you like yourself someday and be like, hey, I’ve got a customer.
[00:38:48.510] – Tatiana
Yeah. I would advise them to do a lot of learning before they get into that, as with anything else. But there is a lot of information. I myself, I told you when I got into domain names, there was like months of reading and I didn’t like I came from a tech background, but I just haven’t looked at them as brand assets or investment assets. I just had the technical part of it. How do you buy domain name? How do you set it up? So there is a lot of information, and we also try to put a lot of information together on smart branding, on the branding side, and the importance and also the lists I mentioned on what type of domain names do the best companies have. So that’s kind of indicative as well of what’s good and what’s not. But there is DN Academy. I believe there are quite a few good folks in the space and blog that cover some information on that. So definitely before you throw yourself into buying domain names to read about it.
[00:39:49.830] – Sean
Thank you for saying that, because I’ve got a quick short story, which you’re going to laugh at this a little bit, but I was talking to somebody who they came upon a sum of money. I don’t know if it was inherited from somebody who passed away in their family or if they sold the business. I can’t recall what it was. But anyway, this person bought, like, we’re talking several hundred domains. I think it was like 500 domains and sat on it. And he was like, most of them have not gained value over the last ten years. And I felt like I wasted all this money. And that’s the flip side of the equation. You could probably buy a few good domains that maybe they’ll value someday, but you probably have a lot of bad ones. He probably wasn’t following some of the tips here you gave, but to the audience out there, just don’t go over to GoDaddy and start buying like 1000 domains tomorrow.
[00:40:40.020] – Tatiana
Yeah, just do your homework, learn about it a bit more, and then you can get it. Just like with anything else, I guess. But because it seems so easy and it’s digital, I think when we’re not talking about physical things, people are a bit like, Yeah, let’s go.
[00:40:59.130] – Sean
Yeah. But to leave the audience with a good tip is like, if you can find shorter domains, you probably won’t get any three letter domain.com anymore. But if you can find something short, sweet, maybe a trend will come your way and you could sell it for a nice penny. Maybe that domain I’ve got funder with, y, maybe someday somebody will come to me and ask questions. What I’d like to do next is transition to the Rapid Fire Round. We’ve got a few questions where we get to find out who Tatiana really is. They’re a bunch of fun questions. If you can, try to answer each question in 15 seconds or less. Are you ready?
[00:41:37.440] – Tatiana
Okay.
[00:41:38.490] – Sean
All right. What is your favorite podcast that you listen to?
[00:41:43.290] – Tatiana
Mark Randall. That will never work. That will never work, yeah. I love it.
[00:41:49.460] – Sean
Okay. All right, good to know. What is a recent book you read and would recommend?
[00:41:54.510] – Tatiana
I got into audiobooks, which I used to hate for a very long time, and actually, at the moment, I’m listening to Mark Randall’s book that will never work. I’m going to repeat myself, but in French because I read the book in English, so I’m trying to kind of better my French. So that’s a good idea.
[00:42:13.720] – Sean
Cool. Okay. What’s your favorite movie?
[00:42:17.250] – Tatiana
Mr. Nobody. Yeah.
[00:42:19.010] – Sean
Mr. Nobody. Or is that Nobody with Bob?
[00:42:23.490] – Tatiana
Mr. Nobody.
[00:42:24.430] – Sean
Got it. All right, I’ll put it on the list. What is the best business advice you ever received?
[00:42:35.130] – Tatiana
That’s a tough one. And I don’t listen too much advice, which is a good thing and a bad thing, but I like to make my own mistakes. So.
[00:42:48.430] – Sean
We could flip that. I got a question that goes with it, which we flip the equation, which is what is the worst business advice you ever see? Has anybody out there ever given you some bad business advice that maybe you kind of laughed at or maybe you followed and made the mistake?
[00:43:02.450] – Tatiana
I haven’t laughed at, but that’s a general practice that a lot of people do when they get into a business or a new industry. They do stuff very cheaply for free, and I’ve been advised to do that, and I have done that, and that’s a really bad idea. I don’t think anybody should do that. Anytime anybody says, do that and you get whatever business or you like, Oh, that’s a huge name, I’m going to do that for free or cheaper because of whatever. It’s not a good idea. You should always value your business, value your services and expect the same from other people.
[00:43:41.890] – Sean
I love that advice. I was actually watching YouTube video today, just re emphasizing the importance of don’t be that person that creates a service or product that’s exactly the same as somebody else’s and then charge a lower price. It shows you how weak you are in business, and you probably won’t have a sustainable business. They did say if you’re going to start a business, charge more. It can seem counterintuitive, but it gives.
[00:44:07.250] – Tatiana
A better no, you have to deliver, obviously. But I don’t see selling on price is a good thing.
[00:44:15.300] – Sean
Right, agreed. And then last question. Here is the time machine question. If you could go back in time to give your younger self advice, what age would you visit and what would you say?
[00:44:29.750] – Tatiana
Probably about 1415. Yeah. And I think I would tell myself to trust myself a bit more. It’s funny, I don’t know if that’s an exception in my case, but I think a lot of people, we do that at that age. We have all those ideas and aspirations, and then we look around and, like, the world kind of gets a bit more complex and we start thinking there’s so many people doing a job, they don’t like living with people they don’t love and that’s normal. And we go, Okay, I should do that because that’s normal. And then some just stay there forever and some, I guess, like myself, get out of that at some point. I go, no, it’s not normal. Actually, what I thought it’s 1415 is what I want to do as work, as personal, as business life. Normal is what you make it’s not whoever around you says is normal.
[00:45:40.870] – Sean
Sure. Well, great advice and thank you so much for your time. What I’d like to do next is turn it over to you. If you could share with the audience, where can they reach you?
[00:45:49.400] – Tatiana
I think what I would like to recommend is Smartbranding.com. That’s where we put a lot of information on branding and naming. We have interviews, we have different resources, we have research, generally advice on the topic of naming and branding. And I think that can be useful to everyone and it’s really available, so everybody can browse that and I hope they can benefit from it. And the other site we have is Markupgrade.com, which is more on the domain name size, and obviously they can Google my name and send me a message on LinkedIn. I’m always happy to help with tips.
[00:46:28.470] – Sean
And it will also promote these URLs you mentioned on our site, and then social media, of course, so people can easily reach out to you. But Tatiana really appreciate your time talking about domains again, very much overlooked asset that I think a lot of people have access to and it shows you the power of digital real estate domain names. I loved it.
[00:46:50.590] – Tatiana
Yeah, thank you. Thank you for having me. It was really a pleasure.
[00:46:54.100] – Sean
Awesome.
[00:46:54.750] – Sean
Hey, we’ll talk soon.
[00:47:02.170] – Sean
Hey, I just want to say thanks for checking out this podcast. I know your time is valuable and there’s a lot of other podcasts out there you could be listening to. So thanks for taking the time to listen to my guest story. If you did enjoy this podcast episode, could you head over to itunes and leave a five star review? That would be much appreciated. Thank you. And last but not least on this podcast, some episodes we do talk about stocks. And please keep in mind this podcast is for entertainment purposes only. So if you did hear any buy or sell recommendations, please don’t make those decisions based solely on what you hear. Alright, thanks a lot. See ya.