Posted Sunday, November 21, 2004
They appear to be average American women. They meet in parenting chat rooms and discussion lists to exchange photos of their kids, cheer on each other's pregnancies and ccasionally complain about their husbands' snoring. They swap recipes and advice on schools and diets. They seem normal in every way.
But these women share an obsession - a dark secret that their offline friends may not understand.
'Stop me before I domain again,' jokes Nita Jackson of OrganizeTips.com < (http://www.organizetips.com) >.
These all-American women are also webmasters; entrepreneurs who feel a rose by any other name should get registered before someone else snaps it up.
'Every word or name that you hear, you wonder if it is taken as a dot.com or dot.net,' says Wendy Shepherd of ComputerMommy.com < (http://www.computermommy.com) >. 'I dream about new domains at night, and am always looking at something and wondering if it is a domain name yet.'
According to NetNames, there are over 22 million dot-com names registered around the world with ICANN estimating that 21,000 new domains (of all kinds) registered weekly. If you've ever had a problem getting the name of your choice, this is a factor.
'Our company owns about 150 domains right now,' says Nancy Price of Myria Media < (http://myriamedia.com) >. 'To one degree or another, about 30 are in use right now. The others are saved for future development, to protect our trademarks and/or intellectual property (such as, variations of the names of our main sites) and also some generic terms.'
Like Price, most of the women buy names for their business use. Surprisingly few of them collect domains with the idea of selling them later.
'The second I bought my first domain, I fell in love. Ever since, I change projects about twice a year,' says Amy Fleeman of ColumbusMoms.com < (http://www.columbusmoms.com) >. Amy has made a little bit of money selling domains she owns, but is picky about who she sells to. 'I tend to sell cheaper than I should because I want them to go to 'good homes,' (ie other webmasters I know do good work vs some stranger on eBay).'
'I get ideas, buy the domains, and actually put them together from start to finish. I design the pages, the graphics, install the CGI, advertise, get content... Then once everything is in place, I get the fever to do a new one. So I sell the old one and go at it again! I usually have several projects going on at once. So, I guess I'm not as addicted to registering the names as I am building the actual community from ground up.'
If domain buying is ever officially classified as an addiction, Shelley Pietras would qualify for treatment. As owner of YourDomainForFree.com < (http://www.yourdomainforfree.com) >, Pietras can feed her habit with ease. In the course of one month, Pietras has tripled the number of names in her collection to 'an even 90.' She says 'Four are in use right now, and the rest - Well, we do plan to use them, sell them, give them away as gifts.'
'Each domain that was registered came from an actual business idea. When the idea hit, the domain was registered. Whether or not all these ideas will ever be put into action remains to be seen, but at least we've got the first step out of the way!'
Nita Jackson also feeds her habit by being a registrar < (http://www.PCMindToday.com) >. Like Price, she started buying names that were related to her site, OrganizeTips.com, because she did not want competitors getting them first. She spends about $500 each year on a total of 16 domains (two of which are actually operating as websites).
'I plan to develop the rest and work my fingers to the bone,' she says.
With so many names already registered, finding a good one these days is hard. Price offers this advice:
"Take your time coming up with a good name. You should probably check to see that it's not a trademarked term. Then, when you go to register the domain, also buy the common variations (hyphenated, pluralized, etc.). Finally, don't talk to anyone about your plans until you have the domain name on record!"
About the Author
Donna Schwartz Mills is editor of NOBOSS Online, the weekly newsletter for home-based entrepreneurs working the web. Subscribe by sending a blank email to email@example.com. Visit today for tools tips and advice you need to help grow your home based business while raising a family - (http://www.parentpreneurclub.com)