Interview with Mann on CNN FN





Tucker: Making an impression: If the name of your business doesn’t exude success, your bottom line may not either. Internet domain names are the first step in attracting customers to your site. Joining us with tips on how to pick a name that gets noticed is Michael Mann, president and founder of RareDomains.com.


Mann: Thanks a lot for inviting me.


Tucker: What does RareDomains.com do? If I come to you as a young entrepreneur and say, “Look, I’ve got this great business and I want to move onto the Internet,” what’s the service that RareDomains provides?


Mann: RareDomains.com owns the world’s largest and—we think—the world’s best collection of Internet domain names, so if you go into our website, you’ll see an interface that’s somewhat similar to what you’d see at something like Yahoo!, where you go in and there’s a search box. You can type in a keyword, so if you’re a banker, you can type in the words “finance, bank, money,” and it will pull up potentially hundreds of Internet domain names that are for sale that match the words you’re typing in. And there’s also a browse category, so you can just click on the category “finance,” for example, and find those same names.


Tucker: Now these are names you own, right? If I sat out there and thought up my own name, and it happened to be a name you owned, then I’d have to come and talk to you anyway, correct?


Mann: Basically. But in general, people buy right off our website. You’re welcome to talk to me.


Tucker: What’s the cost of a typical domain? Do they vary by rarity?


Mann: It’s based on what we find to be the quality of the name. Most of our names that are market are approximately $500 each. On the other hand, we do have some names like Government.net and Resume.net that are tens of thousands of dollars.


Tucker: Because of the uniqueness?


Mann: Yeah, they’re extremely rare.


Tucker: What sort of service do you provide the customers who come in and say, “Gee, I like that name; I want that name.” What do you provide? Do you register it to me in the case that I’m the entrepreneur?


Mann: Yes, sir. We’ll transfer it right over to you. Basically, next to each name there’s a little button that says “buy now.” If you want to buy it, you fill in the form, sign it, put in your credit card number, fax it in, and then we’ll arrange the transfer so your company will then own that name.


Tucker: Do you offer companies advice, though, that are looking to get started on the web? Do you have any kind of service, or if you don’t or if you do?


Mann: Well, certainly there’s links on our site that provide some information, but in general we like to tell people that they want to have a key word in their domain name that’s relevant to the type of business they do. Therefore, search engines on the Internet are more likely to pick up on their website.


Tucker: So a unique identifier.


Mann: Exactly.


Tucker: What about, you know there are other ways to go about this business also. I could go to Yahoo! and get a “My Company” page. Do you advice people to avoid using ISPs in the form of their address?


Mann: Well, we certainly do. We think it’s much more appropriate for a company to be using their own unique domain name in their Internet dealings. For example, I would prefer to have my company be www.raredomains.com as opposed to www.yahoo.com/raredomains. And same with an email address: I’d rather be mike@raredomains.com instead of raredomains@aol.com.


Tucker: How do you add value to a name? I noticed that’s one of the things you advise as well, but how do you do that?


Mann: Basically, we think that the names are adding value automatically. For example, somebody could own a domain name for an investment even if they weren’t
going to use the name. We believe that the value of these names will continue to rise because huge numbers of new companies are continuously getting on the Internet, and they’re clamoring for good Internet brands. Those brands are contained in the names that people use to look up the company.


Tucker: Excellent, Michael. We thank you very much for being with us. We’re out of time; but Michael, the president and founder of RareDomains.com, thanks for that. That is it for Entrepreneurs Only. I’m Bill Tucker. Goodnight from New York. {Recorded in 1999}