Investing in a memorable domain name that reflects your company's identity can pay off in spades. Gravity Forms co-founder Carl Hancock has first-hand experience with this. Hancock's business has been located at gravityforms.com since the product's introduction in 2009. This domain name is appropriate because it is similar to the plugin's name. It's a great asset, but it also constrains the company's ability to develop and market new goods that have nothing to do with forms.
He's always wished he could own gravity.com, but it's always felt out of reach. Earlier this year, he successfully negotiated for and secured the domain in a matter of weeks.
Despite Hancock's best efforts, gravity.com has remained in the hands of several different businesses, as he explained to Domain Name Wire. The domain was being utilized by a sports marketing firm when he first looked at it.
He said someone would rarely sell you the domain if they're already promoting it as part of their brand. "Therefore, I didn't try to contact them."
Because a technology company also named Gravity now owns the domain name, the marketing firm must have folded or switched names at some point. The new owner had already raised more money than Gravity was worth, so it still needed to be within reach.
After that IT firm was bought out by AOL, which eventually merged with Yahoo!, and the domain name was left dormant. Getting a large organization's response about selling a domain can take time and effort. Unfortunately for Hancock, his efforts were fruitless.
While discussing domain names with a buddy earlier this year, Hancock checked if gravity.com was in use again. He was taken aback to see that there was a contact form on the site for potential buyers to submit their inquiries.
He consulted with his partners to ascertain whether or not they would support making an offer on the domain. As he recalled:
I told my colleagues in business, "I just found out that gravity.com is up for sale." Also, we can afford it. Also, someone else will buy it if we don't. It would be terrible for us if they were also a tech firm. It makes little difference, even if they are technically in our territory. It implies that if we act quickly to obtain this domain, we will be able to do so in the future.
That was the consensus of his business partners. He assumed his offer, made via the contact form, would be enough to pique the domain owner's interest, so he filled it out. After a few weeks of back-and-forth with the domain's broker, he finally managed to close the deal. The domain name was under his possession in a matter of weeks.
It would be best to exercise caution when working in a "limited" domain. For example, Gravity Forms can only be used on a website dedicated to forming builders, located at gravityforms.com. The domain name gravity.com can be used for various services and goods.
Even if the firm you wish to buy the domain from is already using it, that doesn't imply they'll keep it forever. Alternately, some businesses cease operations altogether while others rebrand. You should remember the domain names you like if you need them in the future.
Take advantage of this window of opportunity. Since purchasing gravity.com, Hancock has been approached by several other businesses, also named Gravity, interested in buying the domain. If he had waited any longer, another company would have probably purchased the domain.
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