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Why Not Wait?

For one reason or another, you may feel that it's best to wait on the domain name decision you're considering.  It's important to undertand why each of those reasons is a mistake.

We already have a website.

Of course you do. But prospective customers often search for a type of product rather than a particular brand or company.  You think of your brand as different and special, but to many folks out there, it may be just a commodity like a brand of milk or butter.  Or if they're new to the category, they may realize there are significant differences among brands, but not know yet what these are.  In either case, they may start their search by going to the category.  Shouldn't you want to own that category?

I can see us needing that down the road, but not now.

Maybe so.  And if you could get this domain name down the road — whenever you actually need it — then it would make sense to wait.  But if you can't get it down the road, that changes things, doesn't it?  You need to estimate the value lost by being without this domain — and having it in the hands of a competitor instead — for all time. You need to estimate that now.  Because that's the decision you'll actually be making — one way or another — right now.

If a competitor gets this domain instead of us, so what?

If a competitor gets the domain instead of you, you can expect aggressive deployment that will take business away from your own company.  That competitor will be smart enough to recognize the value in having this domain — otherwise, they wouldn't have bought it.  And they'll be aggressive and quick on their feet — otherwise they wouldn't have beaten their competitors (including you) to the purchase.

Another reason you can expect the winning competitor to deploy the domain quickly and aggressively is that they'll feel pressure within their own organization to justify the  purchase.  Wouldn't you?  Of course, if you act quickly enough to secure the domain, you'll have a chance to be that aggressive competitor — a much more comfortable position!

So chances are, the winning competitor will deploy the domain very strategically and effectively.  In your risk assessment of a competitor getting the domain instead of you, this worst-case scenario is the rational default assumption. 

Ask yourself:  how much business could that smart competitor take away from you with this domain?  How much damage could they do?  Year after year, what could be the total cost?

Are you willing to sit back now and let that happen?

We need to think it over.  We want the domain, but this just isn't the right time.

Of course you should think it over!  And perhaps this isn't the right time.  Anyone who's ever been in sales — or talked to a salesperson — will be familiar with these standard objections, and may be expecting the same familiar answers.

But the situation here is a little bit different, and so are our answers.

Purchasing the domain means purchasing a corporate asset.  Companies have procedures they go through when purchasing an asset.  They calculate cost/benefit, ROI, appreciation or depreciation, net present value, amortizing and so on.  On that basis, they determine (a) whether the asset should be purchased or not, and (b) if so, when it should be purchased.  Get it now, or get it later?  Then room for it must be made in the budget.  These things must be planned.

That makes sense for most assets.  There's time to plan, and the option usually exists to get it later.  Bu a domain name is different in several ways.

  1. The time to plan is limited — and you don't know how  limited — because the moment a competitor snaps up the domain name, it's gone.

We're not saying, don't think about this.  We're just saying that each moment of thinking increases the risk that what you're thinking about could suddenly be snatched from your grasp.  It's a simple fact.

  1. When the domain name is gone, it's probably gone for good.  The moment a competitor purchases it, they have complete control.  No matter how badly you want it later, and no matter what you're willing to pay for it, they can just say no.
  2. Most assets change in price and value over time.  But not like a domain name!  As we saw earlier, Apple Computer reportedly paid $4.5 million for iCloud.com.  But the original registrant paid about $10.  That's an increase in price of 45 million percent, over a period of probably no more than about 15 years.  That comes to about 3 million percent per year.  Talk about appreciation!
  3. Apple certainly didn't want to pay $4.5 million for iCloud.com.  They would have preferred to pay $10.  But by the time they realized they needed it, another company had purchased it, invested in it, developed it, and was profiting from it.  Why should they give it up?  For $4.5 million, that's why! — and not a penny less.
  4. Of course, not all domains appreciate in value, and some actually lose value.  It all depends on what is done with them — and often, what's done with them is nothing.  But consider the domain name you're thinking of getting.  You already missed the chance to purchase it for its original minimal price — just the registration cost — and so did your competitors.  From that standpoint, you're all on even footing now.

    But let's say you fail to get the domain this time around as well.  A competitor realizes its value to them and snaps it up instead.  They've just paid a substantial sum for it.  With that much invested in a domain name, don't you think they'll invest whatever is needed additionally to develop and exploit it?  Their marketing department would have to do that to avoid looking like fools!  They'll make sure this thing generates a strong ROI.  Wouldn't you?

    Then three years from now, you realize you should have gotten the domain now, when you had the chance. You see your competitor deploying it effectively and making money with it.  But they're not just deploying it — they're deploying it against you, using it to take business away from you, and that may well be costing you more than the cost of what's being asked for it now  — perhaps much more — every year, or even every month.  So finally, you decide you need to buy this domain from your competitor, so you can use it against this competitor instead of them using it against you.

    Can't you just hear them laughing in your face?

    That's why Apple Computer had to pay $4.5 million for iCloud.com.  Fortunately for them, they had that much change in their pocket. Got that much change in yours?  More to the point, do you really want to risk having to spend, as Apple did, far more for the domain a few years from now than you could get it for now?

  5. That is what makes a domain name different from other assets, which calls for a different strategy of evaluation, decision and purchase.  With other assets, you can take the time to plan for them, see how they work with your budget, and decide whether to get them now or later.  With other assets, you can think it over, and take your time doing it.  And when you can do this, it's a very sensible way to proceed.  But with a domain name, (a) a competitor might snatch it up while you're thinking about it; and (b) from the moment they do, there is no "later."

Perhaps you're familiar with "sudden death overtime" in sports.  It's a way to break a tied game, and it's very simple:  whoever scores first, wins.  Game over.

This is sudden death.  That's the rules of this domain purchase.  But it's not a game, it's real.

And there is no "later."

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