Monday, October 15, 2007

A Cautionary Tale: webbooks.com -- web books--NOT! How about vvebbooks.com instead?



I say tomato, you say tomahto, but in the end, it doesn't matter whole lot, but when it comes to buying domain names, the difference between tomato and tomahto can mean the difference between $0 and thousands of dollars.
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So it here that I come to you with a heavy newbie heart and tail tucked between my legs to reveal a tale of woe and, yes, perhaps tinged with greed and premature glee.
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And a giant kudos to Pool.com, who believes that good customer service is worth more than my paltry purchase. I will continue being their customer, and some day, when I can buy at a higher level, I will probably go to them first--more on that later.
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About a week ago, I was checking out Pool for some aftermarket names relating to my field, books and such--two weeks ago I had purchased fictioncritique.com from them for nearly reg price, and I think that it's a domain worth developing; a book review company might eventually be interested in such a generic domain, so I was happy and am still happy, though it's not a direct navigation domain.
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So when I saw what I thought was webbooks.com for a really good "Buy it now" price, I jumped and bought it. Then I ran the numbers: it was TOO good for the price I paid--something wasn't right, so I checked Domains Tools Whois. The domain wasn't parked on Pool's parking page, and it looked as though it was happily making money for its owner, so I queried Pool about the status of the domain. Even then, I knew that, logically, the domain couldn't be mine. I thought maybe the domain had been bought previously and that a computer glitch was still listing it. In fact, I was about 99% sure that is what had happened and that I'd get my money back, and that would be that--disappointing, but not fatal.
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When their answer came back, it was like a cinder block had dropped on my head.
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Duh.
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In truth, I had bought vvebbooks.com instead of webbooks.com; when you enlarge the font, you can, in a comparison, see the difference, but, even there, if you didn't have a point of reference, you might still think that double v was a w. And when the letters are small and in Ariel font (like they tend to be on auction pages), it's easy to get excited and act impulsively, which I did.
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Besides, it never once occurred to me that I was bidding on a double v domain. I'm 'fessing up here (although I feel like a total idiot) because I don't want anyone else falling into the same trap.
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When I pointed out my mistake to Pool.com, they offered me a partial and fair refund--and I happily accepted. They probably could have said, "too bad, caveat emptor," but they didn't.
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From their standpoint, they did make a good point:
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We do sincerely apologize for any confusion regarding the spelling of the domain. We have made every effort to make the fonts on our website as clear as possible but regardless of what we do, what seems clear on one computer just may not appear the same on others just because of different standards for video cards and computer monitors depending on the manufacturer.
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Despite that obvious reality, I'm happy that Pool was able to understand what had happened to me--a company that can develop empathy with its customer base is definitely worth my continued business.

My bright new shiny domain may be pretty worthless, but you just never know--stranger things have happened to me, and someone may make an offer on it. That vv beginning might be important to someone (though I can't imagine it). In any case, I'm just going to consider it as "tuition" for the school of hard knocks and redirect it to this post, along with WorVV.com (cute, isn't it? I wish I could include a question mark.)

By the way, the w and vv problem can also affect sellers in a negative way: suppose you're selling "savvy.com" but buyers see "sawy.com." You could lose lots of money.

I think that most domainers, even newbies, are familiar with common regging mistakes, but since I'm on this topic, letter/number confusion warrants a review:
  • 1 (number) vs. l (letter).
  • I (capital letter i, depending on font, this can look like an "l") vs. l (letter).
  • q vs. g (GoDaddy's font is confusing; they look similar; the tail on the "g" has a slight curve to the left, while there is no curve on the "q").
  • p vs. q--one can really get skunked on this one.
  • m vs. nn.
  • 0 (number) vs. o (letter)--this is a biggie. I often get caught here in word verification (Blogger, GoDaddy, etc.).
  • Double i (ii) and double l (ll)-- with the small fonts and the slim configuration of these letters, one sometimes misses the doubling. In fact, I purposely reg'd Jenniifer.com, just for that reason.

From this experience, I have learned that if a domain seems too good to be true, then it probably is and, thus, warrants deep breath and a closer look.

My newbie recommendation: highlight the domain in question, copy it to a Word document, blow it up, and change the font to Times New Roman. In the case of "w," make sure it is a "w" and not "vv"--if your cursor nestles between your vv, then you know it's a double v and not w.

Also, change the font from lower case to capitals or visa versa; If your l turns into an !, then you know it's the number and not the letter.

Forgive me if this sounds so obvious, but when it comes to spending money, it pays to review letter/number confusion, even for experienced domainers.

Happy domaining!

Best,

Ms Domainer

7 comments:

  1. Well,

    Mr. or Ms Anonymous.

    Thank you so much for your erudite comment, which probably says more about you than it does me.

    Have a nice day!

    Ms Domainer

    ReplyDelete
  2. You never know. Might be worth more than all the rest of your portfolio!

    Very Vain Eccentric Billionaire Books? Who knows what business or interest might be out there looking for a home.

    Keep smiling!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey, Spambait,

    Thanks! You know, it pays to have a sense of humor about such things.

    But it would be very ironic if vvebbooks.com ended up being an "it" website, though I'm not holding my breath.

    ;=)

    Ms Domainer

    ReplyDelete
  4. But take a look at something like rnakeup.com
    Obviously it's not going to get any type-ins, but if you could get some Makeup based traffic onto it wouldn't that traffic convert as well as the real thing?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Woolwit,

    You're right, of course. Developed typo domains can do very well.

    ;=)

    Ms Domainer

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think you may be in luck on your purchase. Thats a clickalike domain name and most all of them have been gobbled up. I stumbled upon your post because our company is looking for a certain one asap. You shouldn't have too much trouble finding a buyer for yours.

    ReplyDelete

Word verification has been enabled to circumvent spammers, not to censor bona fide posts. ;=)

I welcome your comments!

Ms Domainer

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