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Someone wants our domain name

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by JMacBass65, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. So my band of six years has a domain name that an upstart retailer wants. The retailers name is exactly the same as our band and the domain, so it would seem to me they want it bad.

    I don't know much more than that, other than the person who contacted us seems legit. New York based, marketing person, 400+ connections on LinkedIn, background in retail and marketing.

    Anyway, my guitar player said no way, we have used that name forever.

    I said "dudes, this could be serious coin, I'd sell for the right price, we can change the band name, who cares?"

    Note: weekend warrior band playing 12/15 paid gigs a year. Following is small enough we could call everyone and give them the heads up on the name change, wouldn't impact our "following"......LOL.

    The I got to thinking, we have Facebook and twitter too, they might want that.

    Plus, we will need a new name, logo, etc, there is time and money involved there.

    So.......anybody ever dealt with this sort of thing before? What sort of money might be reasonable, all things being equal?

    I have a hunch it could be WAY more than we have ever made gigging with the name!
  2. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    No, never dealt with it directly before. But I do have some relevant background & experience.

    I'm not aware of any standard rules of thumb regarding valuation. AFAIK, the market for domain names is still in "Wild West" territory, with the price being "whatever the market will bear". It might be worthwhile to sell the name; it might not be worth your trouble. But I wouldn't expect to get rich on it. Depends on 1) how much they're prepared to offer, 2) how much brand equity you really have in the name already, 3) the costs involved in making a change, and 4) who already owns the name - and stands to make a profit by selling it?

    Suggestion: Changing your domain name doesn't necessarily mean changing the name of your band. Lots of bands with common names - most variations of which have already been snapped up long ago on the domain name market - get around it by adding a "band" or "music" to the end of it. So for example, if your band had a cheesy name like "Exotica", and your domain was exotica.com, you could change it to exoticaband.com or exoticamusic.com (though you might want to get more creative than that).

    I don't see what your Facebook or Twitter identities have to do with any of this. None of that is domain name dependent. Besides, there are lots of enterprises with the same names, but different industries, that co-exist very nicely - because their businesses don't conflict with one another.

  3. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    Two things:

    One. You don't have to change your band name or your marketing material because you're selling your domain. If your location is correct you're nowhere near the company that want your domain so you're unlikely to overlap intentions in any way, shape or form.

    Two: You're not talking about serious coin at all. While this startup really wants your domain name I'm sure that not getting it isn't going to put them out of business. I would suggest you ask them to make you an offer and if it's not impressive enough say no.

    Your website is of limited use. Bands make traction through FB these days. Nobody visits homepages of anything anymore.
  4. Subscribed.
    I wouldn{t sell it, wait for the company to get big, then start thinking about selling.
  5. sleeplessknight

    sleeplessknight Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    I beg to differ. My band gets about 300 hits a month on our dot-com, and our Facebook gets MAYBE 20 in that same period. Granted we aggressively promote our dot-com through our email newsletter, but all my marketing friends have been telling me for the last year or so that Facebook is an inbound-traffic wasteland since they changed all their rules about 'post reach' and whatnot. In my experience with ~3 different bands and my self-promotional website, dot-com is still where its at.
  6. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    That's not necessarily true at all. :eyebrow:

    If they get big without the use of the OP's domain name, that just demonstrates that they didn't really need it in the first place. Besides, why would they want to change their domain name after they'd already invested so much in it, and developed so much brand equity with it? That doesn't make even a little bit of sense... :rollno:

  7. sleeplessknight

    sleeplessknight Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    As for the OP's question, do a google search for "domain validation tools", that would be a good starting point.

    At the bottom-of-the-barrel end, calculate how much its cost you to keep the domain registered for the past however many years you've owned it. Add your annual hosting costs on top of that, plus whatever it would cost to rebrand and build a new website (figure $300-$400 for a new logo off of 99designs.com, $500-$1000 for a new professionally built website). If you have promo material (drum heads, banners, etc) that have the old band name/website on it, add on the costs to replace those. That's your absolute, bottom-line number which doesn't include things like "how attached your are to the name" (i.e. what your guitarist was bringing up).

    Now go and figure out how much the domain is worth to that company. Are they a startup? If they are a startup, where are they in the funding process (first round? second? third?) How long have they been around (check the age of their exisiting domain via WHOIS), check the wayback machine and see how many times they've changed the focus of their company, etc. I don't know what your domain is, but short-ish dot-coms that consist of dictionary words (or even just 'pronouncable' words) can be worth BANK to the right buyer - see 'twitter.com', 'flickr.com', 'tumbler.com', etc. If you've got a longer domain, or a domain with a hyphen, it can be worth less.
  8. Here is the mail we received:

    Hello, XXXX,

    Thank you in advance for your time and consideration in reading this email.

    Recently, myself and two other partners have started a retail business under the name of XXXXXXX. We are actively securing this title and business name, and do anticipate a successful process and outcome. To this end, we find serious interest in also securing a web domain name, which effectively and accurately represents our business; hence, www.XXXXXXX.com. If possible, I would like to initiate a professional dialogue with you to learn your near future plans for this domain name and/or your willingness to relinquish. Should you have questions or concerns relating to this request, please do not hesitate to make contact as I would be more than happy to provide clarification.


  9. Philonius

    Philonius Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2009
    2k W of the Duwamsh
    Wait; they're using a gmail account?
  10. Our domain Is an exact match for their company. We also own a hyphenated version of it. I'd look to include twitter and FB because again, we have exact matches.

    The appear to be a start up.

    If I had to guess, they might be a designer jeans type place with an urban vibe, based on the name they have chosen.

    I spoke with a corporate lawyer friend who has dealt with this before, but in the big corporation arena. Based on what I told him he sort of said "whatever they are willing to pay, $50k might be a good starting point, since you don't really have revenue connected with your use of the name."

    Let's just say that's a far larger number than I anticipated.
  11. I don't find that odd.

    She looks to have a marketing gig elsewhere, this other thing being a venture w/ two others. Not surprising she'd use a personal email.
  12. Don't bother getting rid of your Facebook page, just add Band to the title. You can't change a Twitter username, but you shouldn't get rid of those pages. Pretty sure it's in the policy of both websites that you can't sell their pages.
  13. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I'd let it go for $20K.
  14. iamjustin


    May 9, 2010
    Rhode Island
    If you write a kind enough email you can change both without losing anything, a band I was in just switched both facebook and twitter over
  15. Not to derail with a debate, but...
    Let{s say a band is called "The Postmen" and their website is "postmen.com"
    All of the sudden this shipping company wants the website because it is there name...the band declines. So they make a "postmenshipping.com" domain.
    More and more people hear about the company by word of mouth and try to check them out by typing in "postmen.com" they get a band and are discouraged.
    The shipping company realizes this and wants to secure that they get as much website traffic as possible, so they offer to buy the website (at a higher price) in order to have it automatically re-direct.

    For the record, I mainly posted to subscribe but decided to offer my 2 cents on what I would personally do (assuming they offered a low amount first)
  16. Nagrom


    Mar 21, 2004
    Western Canada
    For some reason I smell a scam brewing, perhaps a variation of the old we accidentally wrong the cheque for too much send us the difference" con.

  17. K2000


    Nov 16, 2005
    I would too, but i don't think startup companies have this kind of money to spend on a domain name. The company could easily use the domain name "_______jeans" or some other variation, instead. I don't smell a big payday here, but I could be wrong. For one thing, the contact message was not a letter from a lawyer. That indicates there isn't a lot of money at stake. Plus their line of questioning was what did the band plan to do with the domain name in the near future (hey, you guys breaking up any time soon?)

    See what they offer - I'll be surprised if it's more than 2000 dollars.
  18. Jsn

    Jsn upright citizen

    Oct 15, 2006
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Yup. I've sold numerous domains, and the first step is to ask for their offer. If possible, employ language that says, nicely, "skip the lowball offer."

    Whatever their offer, it's less than they're willing to pay. Add 50%, and if THAT's a number you like, make it your counteroffer. Otherwise, just say "sorry, that wouldn't make it worth our while" and leave it at that. DO NOT throw out your own number, just repeat variations on "making it worthwhile,"

    They'll come back with a new offer (if not, they were just lowballing in the first place.)

    Repeat process.

    At some point, your +50% counteroffer will be met with a +25% counter-counteroffer. Usually with language like, "let's meet halfway."

    You can either accept that offer, or counter with, "yes, let's meet halfway. But that means between what I want and what YOU want," i.e. a 37.5% increase (25% + half the distance from 25 to 50, which is 12.5). It's a good tactic for getting the most out of the buyer, while still seeming fair.

    I used this methodology for the last domain I sold. Ended up with a sum that was 1500% of their initial offer.
  19. Your intentions are to continue to prosper with your existing branding. Establishing new branding entails significant risk to your ability to maintain your current fanbase and continue your success. Bird in the hand...

    I would be telling them it probably isn't worth your while but if they want to make an offer to make you sit up and take notice, go ahead.
  20. JansenW


    Nov 14, 2005
    Cambridge, MA
    I would promote your band thru Facebook.

    I would be nice to the upstart retailer and show interest in working with them but share your problems (costs). Find out how much capital is behind their start up.

    My old company had a similar name (not a domain name) to what another much bigger company had. To their surprise, we had this name 6 years before they existed. Instead of being tough with them, we offered to change our name and had them pay all the costs (including marketing) of changing our name. This additional money helped grow our company. Because of this new relationship, they eventually started a significant business with us in which we became their leading distributor (>$350M/yr). YMMV

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