I used to have a serious domain name addiction.
Late at night was the most dangerous time. I’d get all these ideas that seemed better in the dark, when I was hopped up on my second bowl of Haagen Dazs Vanilla Bean.
This was back in 2009 and 2010. My business was young. So was Facebook. It didn’t give me the hours-worth of bored, scrolling semi-pleasure it offers now.
So when I needed a burst of oxytocin, I’d open godaddy.com and start typing things into the search box.
Clicking that search button ignited a thrilling moment of tension. Like pulling the lever on a slot machine. And then…
Unable to believe my luck — and the world’s idiocy for not scooping up that preemo URL — I’d add to cart.
Worth noting: a domain only cost $7.69 back then. Cheap as rock salt.
My domain purchases fell into these categories:
1. Business names to replace Talking Shrimp.
Around 2am (AKA the Cray-Cray Hour, when I’d also freak that there were ghosts in the basement laundry room or start tweezing an untweezable hair till I made a scar), I’d get insecure that my business name wasn’t descriptive enough. Because, well, it isn’t.
When I was feeling confident — OK, cocky — I’d think, “It’s called Apple, not ‘Cool Computers.’ My name will be iconic like that. The words Talking Shrimp will become synonymous with great copy.”
And then, other times, I’d shell out for names like these:
That was when I wasn’t thinking beyond TV promos. After copywriting gigs for entrepreneurs started picking up, I thought I’d switch to one of these:
I still own badasscopy.com. Because I think to have it and not use it is badass.
Then, there were…
2. The insane “dreams of riches” domains.
When you go down the rabbit hole of learning about online business, your head gets filled with visions of easy-income sugarplums.
One dark night of the soul, I made this tidy investment:
If I made a well-timed land grab, I reasoned, these new Youtube stars would come a-knocking, with bags of gold bullion in hand. They’d let me name my price. “Please, Ma’am, I’m a humble Millennial. I’ll pay anything for sweettalktv.com. It’s the only possible name for my channel that teaches the lost art of sweet talk.”
I also decided that marianbtv would be the ultimate birthday present for my sister, Marian. I wouldn’t even ask for a kicker when it made her a very wealthy woman. A gift is a gift.
That same night, according to my Godaddy purchase history, I logged back in and snatched a hot piece of internet real estate for my hubby. Because I couldn’t go to bed before buying him this gem:
Can you believe he didn’t turn that into a blog?
A month or so later, it dawned on me that Twitter was going to give rise to all kinds of businesses, and they would all cleverly start with a “tw.” I think I got the idea from my friend Laura Roeder, who was then teaching people to use Twitter and joked that she was called “the Tweacher.” I knew I’d be an idiot if I didn’t get:
I got Twignorant et al because nothing could be more shameful than being ignorant about Twitter. (And Twitter + ignorant = twignorant.) It was a problem, I thought, that people would pay infinite sums to fix.
Tweetgrinder because I liked the play on “meat grinder.” Duh.
And Twavel Agent, of course, because evewyone wants to put their twavel pwans in the hands of a pwofessional with a name that sounds wike baby tawk.
I also got on a ‘preneur streak, thinking every play on “entrepreneur” would soon be taken. I bought:
And, just to cover my yenta bases:
Note for the Yiddish-ignorant (note to self, see if Yignorant.com is available): Yenta is Yiddish for someone who’s a busybody. I thought for sure, that’s an online business.
Hottypreneur is versatile. It’s either a highly attractive entrepreneur, or an enterprising person who sells hotties. AKA a pimp or human trafficker.
Niche sites were hot then, too. You know, those trashy one-page sites that are all affiliate links to retail sites?
Screw copywriting, I crowed to myself. I’ll make a fortune off of those, and then teach other people how to do it, too.
So I wisely snagged:
NICHESITES101.COM, NICHEGENIUS.COM, NICHESITEHELP.COM, NICHESPAY.COM, NICHEPAYDIRT.COM
I never did set up a niche site. The giddiness wore off before I could figure them out. And that brings us to the final category:
3. What was I, high?
One night, thinking, “I know, I’ll set up a site that links out to the world’s best panini presses,” I felt unreasonably blessed to get an “available” result on this one:
Have I ever made my own panini? No. Not a single panino. And yes, that’s the singular form of panini. Saying “I’d like a panini please” is like saying “I’d like a sandwiches.” This is a pet peeve I’ve given up on because when you’re asked “Do you want to split a panini with me,” and you pointedly respond, “Yes, I’d love to split a PANINO,” nobody likes you anymore.
I’m telling you this to distract you from the fact that at one time I thought I’d set up a site about making panini.
And then, there was this final coup:
If you were a fan of Little House on The Prairie, you know that url’s based on the unforgettable story arc where Mary Ingalls, Laura’s older sister, goes blind. And then she went off to blind school, where she learned to read Braille and met her future husband, Adam. None of that explains what I thought I’d do with the URL. Maybe I thought I’d start a business life-coaching people like me who couldn’t let go of that TV memory. But in that case, why didn’t I also buy ALBERTGETSADDICTEDTOMORPHINE.COM, or get an umbrella url called RUNGETDOCBAKER.COM? That’s what someone would say every episode: Run, get Doc Baker! He was the only doctor in town, and boy – did he do a brisk business. I wonder how much he would’ve paid me for that url.
So you’re probably wondering, how’d I make out?
Sitting on that mountain of untold internet riches and all.
I sold one of those domains. EATDRINKTV.COM. Guy paid me a cool 500 bucks for it (I asked for a thousand) and, by all appearances — it’s now a parked “buy this domain site” — let it go. Someone pounce on that prize!
How much did I pay for all those? You can do some math. Add in a year where I accidentally let them all auto-renew, and then spent many hours on the phone crying to Godaddy. (Note: look up CRYINGTOGODADDY.COM.)
I think they refunded like, one domain.
Hey, there are worse addictions. Cost me less than a year of heavy crack use, which is the standard by which I measure all regrettable purchases.
Plus, I learned some valuable lessons worth sharing:
- If you’re in “what to name my business” purgatory, stop losing sleep and just pick something.
And stick with it. Build the best business you can. The name will be every bit as memorable as you are, for better or worse.
(In fact, speaking of Apple, remember when they came out with the iPad? Everyone gagged and said it sounded like a feminine hygiene product.)
- Don’t buy domains JUST because they’re available.
It’s like buying all the bread in the store before a hurricane, even if you haven’t bought a loaf of bread in 12 years. When I looked back at all these purchases, I started thinking, hmmm. Maybe I shouldn’t have let some of these lapse. And then, when I checked them, there they were, up for grabs again. (Really? Nobody wants diyrepairtv.com? It’s such a nice looking url!)
- Know when the f*ck to go to bed.
Have you ever fallen into the domain addiction void?
Have you gone through the obsessed-with-all-things-online-business phase that costs a fortune in courses and other things you thought would pave the way to collecting passive income from a hammock on the golden sands of the Seychelles?
TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS.