This week we enter the mysterious, Byzantine underworld of domain sales, where people make money speculating on the website naming market. A few years ago, the owners of the popular journalism website longform.org blundered into this world when they innocently tried to procure longform.com. In this episode, we find out about their misadventures, and we hear from the Derek Jeter of URL purchases.
Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This episode is brought to you by better for him a new podcast from eighty people in each of us.
Francesca Ramsay talks to visionaries in business leaders about mistakes. They ve made how they work their way through them and came out better for listing. Listen sport
fi or wherever you get your podcast this
so it is brought to you by a Sana. A saga is an app designed to help teams plan, organise and execute all the work they do together. It helps you make sure nothing falls through the cracks, so you can focus on the work that matters most learn more.
Try Asano for free visit, Asano, dot com to get started. That's a ass, a dna dot com. There are millions of websites out there, doctors, dot com and adds that com are just two examples that seem like they be exactly what you think they'd be, but instead there blank or fill the spamming links. It's like seeing a vacant storefront in Times square. Who are the people who own these domains?
How did they end up vacant in the first place? I know now, because I went on an odyssey into the smoky back rooms of the internet were domains, are bought, sold, auction and held hostage
and where fortunes are made
from gimlet. This reply all show that the internet- I may
Scotland, my inner
into this world began a few weeks ago, with a guy named MAX Linsky. He, along
Co. Founder, Aaron glamour runs a website that collects the best nonfiction on the web. It's called long dot, org, dot, org
for ages. They ve had there. I said on another website, long formed dot com.
As long as they ve been running, dot, org dot com,
unused with a note of the top ten something like clay
here, to make an offer on this domain and so MAX Linsky would Period
We make an offer in this domain. I would email the sky, but from fake gmail accounts and ask what the price was set in wanting to know that it was me one of the long form dot org
people Emily, and so, when you send him any mail, you just create a fake gmail account. You just be like interested consumer at Gmail back yet shred of big names, and he will respond sometimes, but usually would not ok and he wanted thirty grand those, yes Press, which is not a whit. We didn't have a thirty thousand dollar url budget and it went on like this every month or so fake email. How much no answer or thirty thousand four years this continued until MAX's partner, Aaron stepped in or more accurately blundered in in April, Erin sent an email to the owner of long formed a calm, but he didn't make up a fake email address
He used his real one, his long form dot, org email address, which was considered a fuck up at the time. I assume it still has considered here, don't pay another visa ever done. That has changed yet. So I think I did
on the back of my mind, that MAX may be had already done it. I was kind of like hoping that I would do something that would be considered very productive, but not having done a bunch of work.
Like that, if he does with grow back in was like oh yeah, sure, just throw me five hundred bucks, then I would have. I would have like a big coup to report, so he gets the same thing: thirty grand and the best image red. Then, the next day we get an email from someone totally new offering to, by long form, dot Org four five hundred dollars. For years we have been not amend, listen
from our email addresses. Then we finally do in the next day we get a crazy low ball offer for long formed Iraq that crazy Lobo offer came from a guy who claimed his name was Cameron, Gordon, but MAX an errand thought that that was probably pseudonym. In fact, they were pretty sure that the Lobo offer was a trick and that the person behind it was the man who owned long formed Michael's burdens, Esquire Michael Perkins, Esquire of prominent player,
meaning facility, illustrated Michael Birchen, spend a lot of time. Thinking about how to make money under my name's is known as a wily negotiator. In October, he sold the website, Ricky Poker, dot com for twenty thousand dollars after buying it for just five hundred and when he's not
lying and selling domains he's editing. His domain industry news website domain stock recovery times, Michael Birkenau, has posted today one two, three four, five: six: seven:
eight eighty times eight times on domain industry. News, Michael Perkins, owns long formed our car the website Maxineff and wanted to buy
and immediately after MAX, an errand received a low ball offer for long firmed dot org. They heard from Michael Perkins himself saying: hey guys.
I just got an email from someone in Cameroon, Gordon wanting to buy
informed that cause he wanted to see if they wanted to bid on long formed a calm before it sold the timing.
In very suspicious seemed more likely to me that this was someone that Michael Perkins was friendly way
was in business with you know and that when they
had a fish on the line. This is how they worked up. The price right
Michael organs as our at the long form, dot, org guys. Finally, email thus so lets you and get out of em. They thought they were being worked over, but they still did want long formed out com, so they put in a bid. Michael Birkenau claimed the offer he just gotten was for seventy five hundred dollars. We said ok they're, offering seventy five,
It will offer some five hundred okay, so he says no, you have to offer more than seventy five hundred if the top there offer. So is it? Ok, it best. That's more goes back to them. Then he says the offers ten so now at a bidding war to maxineff- and this was both annoying and legitimately scary- annoying because it's annoying to feel like you're being scammed but scary, because what, if it wasn't a scam and long formed a calm, fell into the wrong hands. Just just tryin imagine geared Europe Doomsday
scenario and what is it? This is not a rational fear. We deal heavily and irrational fear by most irrational fear was that someone was going to build something super similar to what we do. That was shitty, and if it was, if that was on long formed, a calm you'd be confusing. People would assume that was
so you assumed that they were faking. But, like you had this
Adding doubt in your stomach like what, if this is real and these people are just going to make a nightmare for us once this domain assault exactly yeah, the great odds are with this being theater, but on the off chance it's
It would make this thing that we worked very hard on look terrible. The bidding continued the price climbed toward twenty five thousand dollars. Finally, Maxineff said enough:
for this. They were given a data, reconsider and then Birchen said it would sell to another buyer. We're waiting for this moment when it was big moment where were the foot was gonna get switching is going to be revealed whose mystery buyer was and how we were gonna get screwed and at midnight he just went back to the old site. Nothing happened. Nothing happened so MAX in Erin. Assume that it had been a scam that there was no other buyer, that the whole thing had been invented by Michael burdens to try and build up the price. At least that was their assumption until they came to our studios due to the interview domain. If we look at her right now yet its fight, I actually looked at it today and its different every website as something called a who is record basically away for the public to find out who owns a particular site there, often inaccurate or hidden, but a who is, can we show you in a websites? Ownership is changed and when we looked at the who is record for long formed, I come well, it's changed. It has sold.
The story I came in here to tell you has a different. It is amazing, said terrifying. That's right! It wasn't a con long formed a calm actually sold on May fourth days after their contact with Perkins took place, stay with us
can I go further down the rabbit whole afterward from our sponsor? This episode is brought to you by better for it
podcast from eighty peed hosted by Francesca Ramsay. We all make mistakes better
or it looks at how mistakes have shaped the lives and careers of visionaries and business leaders and helps them think differently about what their working for you'll hear from an entrepreneur who ventured out on his, and so I went out. I took seven hundred dollars. I had in the bank, but my own pickup truck took some flyers business cards and a week later ahead of business and in each hour, rule breaker, whose learned what we all care about work in the first place, that you are proud of the work that you do. You want to be able to tell your friends at that. You wanna be able to feel like you're, making a difference, you'll hear how they work their way through their mistakes and came out better for listen on Spotify
wherever you get. Your PA casts this up
so it is brought to you by Sana picture. This a word
where you spend less time, juggling email meetings and status, updates and more time doing the work that matters. The most your team. That's the world this,
bill to create a saga is an app designed to help teams plan, organise and execute all the work they do together its built to give teams clarity,
You can all understand your goals and how to achieve them together and whatever your neck,
project is a sonnet. Can help reduce the busy work that waste your time from small
companies to global enterprises, more than a million teams across a hundred and ninety five countries get work done with Sata, learn more.
Try Asano for free visit, assign a dot com to get started. That's a s. Dna dot com
finding out the shocking news that long formed outcome had in fact been sold. We set about trying to find a home, and we found the domain listed for sale on a website called
internet for ten thousand dollar minimum bid alongside a bunch of other domains that
for whatever reason? Much cheaper? So when you, when you look at those those demands that are available on that list and long form is listed as a minimum, tenth out ten thousand dollar bed, and then you have say ABC form which I would say, objective Liese about as good a man. That's a five hundred dollar minimum. So you you get. The feeling that we ve somehow been entered into this system is big. Bigger fish, I'm not gonna cause big fish as a small medium fish lie figure dear. Your metaphor, here is important because I think the real question here is: are we the fish or we, the bait? I think we're the fish like. I think that we sent some sort of a signal up
the chain that some guys you ve got a wallet are interested in this domain and that somehow percolated all throughout this sub this sellers market, so we're all journalists how the hell are we in a figure this out? I mean, I wonder if we could get
like an anonymous like, I was a damn.
And reseller- and I am now reformed kind of guy to explain like what how these businesses actually operate for all those people who have been thrown off boats in the Florida keys everybody's dead. I think that what we should do is go to that page, where it's for sale for ten thousand dollars minimum bid and call
three nine to two to five one three four hour since get stood. Thank you for calling after neck throughout the world,
his premium domain market place. If you know your parties extension press one now to speak with a sales consultants press you I of course went into this phone call. The way I do, every coal call I record expecting someone would be taciturn
annoyed at being recorded and unwilling to help us understand just what we were fumbling into, but I didn't count on Dave Higgins, Afterdeck David and speaking. I
my name's Alex Goldman. I am a radio show host. I just want to let you know beforehand. I am recording this phone call
it is this on the radio now Alex. No, no we're not life. This is prerecorded. So don't worry about that. I am interested in just trying to figure out the who owns a particular website that I have a potential interestin and I'm wondering if you can help me out with that. I can after Nick HR, if you listening to this, please give Dave Higgins arrays. This was by far
the best over the phone customer service experience. I've ever had. Not only did he stay on the phone with us for half an hour, he essentially became our domain spirit guide, teaching us the ins and outs of the domain resale universe, starting with what his company after Nick does work domain, name brokers. So my company here we broke or approximately seven million domains that our own by
different parties and we broker them on their behalf. I assume they get percentage of it in you, get a percentage of it as well. If we're with a mental met, one of the things the Dave told us was that his company, after Nick did not own long formed a calm and was not trying to sell it
The fact that we found long formed outcome listed on the afternoon website he said was just a weird random mistake, but we like talking to Dave, so we kept him on the phone and asked him what we should do to get to the bottom of the mystery of long formed. I come an errand started at the very beginning, our while I have some add some bad news about something I did in my past at which is at one point. It was late. I was feeling acquisition and I sent an email to the old owner from errand long form. Do you think that is giving that hurt? My chances are drove the price up that that I let the cat that I know that you would keep in the bag out. Don't sugar coat, this Dave yeah, well, possibly a new global long form, but which is essential to forcing anybody would do when pricing and urbane looking at it. As a domain investor myself, I would suspect that they would.
And she's expression Jack the price by looking at a website, which is a good thing. Why would you think they wooden Jack the press? Because it's it's not working from what I can see? It's, not a household name where they see dollar signs.
Nothing- I guess you, gentlemen, I'm not really organization like doing right now. You hear that Dave.
Long form, domain spirit guide? He doesn't even have faith in its value,
Ok, so if it's not all that valuable, why did it get beat up to twenty five thousand dollars? Beckoned email, negotiation with Michael Burdens, Esquire and in the end,
was it actually sold for twenty five thousand dollars. They couldn't tell us the answer to those questions
but he did tell us who long formed our common sold to a company called Mark, monitor which does something called brand protection,
I went to my monitored. Ask them for an interview and their communications Department told me that with
Company does essentially is managed portfolios of domains for huge corporations. So if I'm Procter and gamble and I've a new product of fresh, clean Martin,
it'll go out and find twenty domain names for fresh cleans, new website afresh
da comes unavailable mark monitor, will help him procure fresh, clean brand duck or by fresh cleaned outcome from whoever owns it and then once
Operation has that domain mark monitor, will protect the brand by
elimination of confusing and potentially fraudulent use of your brand online mark, monitor spokesperson was very clear that they wouldn't tell us who bought long formed outcome or for how much,
He is basically the Anti day, so there is really only one person left to turn to the man himself. Michael Perkins Esquire. His phone line was pretty bad, so I'm enough to break in and translate. Sometimes Perkins is self employed workers out of an office at his home, and he says that Big Demain retailers like after Nick are not the entire market by a long shot. It's made up a full time. Investors like him, hobbyists dabbler corporations, a whole thrumming ecosystem of domain investors trying to bear the perfect domain with perfect
and how's it going for yourselves. Seven agrees that domain names every year with your business, specifically, I mean you're you're moving over a million domains a year. If you, if we're talking, seven figures are merely the man knobs, meaning in dollars.
Millions of dollars. Ok, ok, ok! So how many doom
would you say you buy and sell it here. A few hundred.
Man makes over a million dollars a year buying and selling a couple hundred domains. He told me he's lucky to have found is calling
and made himself to another natural who found his calling dared cheater whatever we like lead in a different direction and eat in without limited than the terrible failed her door. Maybe the terrible lawyer, but not one of the aims of bacon domain, not occur. Deleting all those people love your vision. Did he get because through the list of a hundred thousand a mainly in every day and
twenty or thirty ones. That are worth something. I think that's the talent ass for how he chooses the domains he procures. He operates mostly on instinct, and one form is a perfect example. When Birchen saw it, you didn't think to himself some journalistic outfit is just dying to take this off my hands. He thought infinite, possibility novices back then, but it ain't like the one account would want it in case you couldn't hear that he said obviously its attacks thing. They could be anything like it's you, an account would want it yet long. One e number balls brandyball mean it valuable. Perkins told me that despite Maxineff and suspicions, he didn't create or employer Cameron Gordon to bring the press up. When I brought up how bazaar was that a bunch of people showed interest in long formed a calm at the same time, he said that the bidding war was coincidental and not very common, but it was real mark monitor.
People sign non disclosure agreements, so he can't say how much you sold it for all he'd say is that long forum dot com is now likely owned by a fortune, five hundred or fortune one thousand company. So even though Aaron and MAX didn't end up getting long forum, dot com, there still a bright side to all this. Whoever owns it right now. The deal was brokered by the Derek Jeter
domain names, a man who some more potential in long form than anyone. It's sticky, its memorable. It could be.
Reply was hosted by Pga Vote and me outcome.
Our producers, Lienemann cities in the show, is edited by Caitlin Roberts, stoutly kind, and I wish we were not labour- is the world's Thomas Mann
theme. Song is by the mysterious big master cylinder. Who also did
press. The music in this episode are add. Theme is my build buildings. If you like
so, please think about reviewing it on Itunes, believe it or not. It makes a big difference for us. Our website is not ever apply all that calm, but you can find it at reply. All not fail. Really, that's our website gave it a shop they,
listening see you next week.
Transcript generated on 2020-02-14.