Sramana Mitra: You don’t sell directly. You sell through other domain name sellers like GoDaddy?
Colin Campbell: That is correct. We’ve gone to all the GoDaddy’s around the world. The largest company in China is Alibaba. They’re the ones with the largest distribution for domain names and websites. We sell through Alibaba in China as well. We find the largest distributors and work directly with them, and they promote the names through their clients. Since we’re .club, we did a launch party. We did it with 50 Cent. Are you familiar with 50 Cent and his In Da Club song?
Sramana Mitra: No, I’m not.
Colin Campbell: It’s probably one of the most popular song in the 90’s. It’s called In Da Club. 50 Cent is an American rapper. We brought him in to do a launch party at the Dream Hotel in New York. I think we spent almost half a million dollars for this one day to get publicity for the name. To attach a celebrity to your product when you launch it gives you a little bit of something that can stand out. We were fortunate that a number of other celebrities like Demi Lovato launched their own .club sites. We did do another deal in India with Virat Kohli.
Sramana Mitra: Cricketer.
Colin Campbell: Yes. He owns viratkohli.club. Apparently, the second most marketable sports celebrity on the planet. He launched a .club site as well. One of our strategies has been to try and find celebrities and to get them to promote the new domain extension.
Sramana Mitra: You did this deal in 2011 and by the time you were able to start selling, that was 2012?
Colin Campbell: We actually launched on May 7, 2014. I think I started the company in November 2011. When you’re dealing with regulatory bodies, things move very slow.
Sramana Mitra: It sounds like it ramped really fast. From 2014 to 2016, you’re already past $5 million.
Colin Campbell: Last year, we did $7 million in revenue and we lost a million. We had $8 million in expenses. We wanted to be more than just an alternative to .com. We want people to use .club if they want to make their product exclusive or membership-oriented. Because of that, we want to establish a global brand versus just another domain name.
Domains are fascinating because they actually help create innovation and excitement around products. Often, entrepreneurs like myself register domain names well in advance of launching a company. When I come up with an idea, the first thing I do is go to GoDaddy. I just did that even two days ago – filters.club. Am I going to launch a filters business? I might never launch it.
I think I’ve got 50 domains in my account for different business ideas, but I know if I get a good domain name now, I can use that in the future. Entrepreneurs think first of the domain name. Some of them take domain names and build businesses around them. An example of that is called activity.club. They built a really cool app. If you’re familiar with these walking apps like FitBit, one of the disadvantages is they’re all different platforms.
What activity.club, you can keep track with all your friends across all platforms. Your friend could have Google. Somebody else could have Pebble Watch. You have the one app that brings it all together. They started with a domain name. They got a lot of excitement around that. A gentleman who owns copy.org launched coffee.club. It’s a great way to get a brand name at a fraction of the cost.
I don’t know if you follow the domain industry but some .com’s sell for millions of dollars. Even .club names are starting to go up in value. We saw wine.club sell for $140,000 in an auction. In China, we’re seeing .club names getting sold. We’ve sold over $4 million worth of premium names so far in the marketplace. This year, we’re expecting some substantial growth.