The $50,000 Domain Dilemma

The $50,000 Domain Dilemma: A Guide for Domain Investors and End Users

In the dynamic realm of startups and online businesses, the significance of acquiring the right domain name cannot be overstated. Zalmi Duchman, a tech-savvy entrepreneur, shares his journey through the intricate process of domain acquisition in search of the perfect brand identity. For both domain investors and startups seeking premium domains, this narrative offers valuable insights into the challenges and decisions involved in the acquisition process.

Although the story is not breaking news, having been penned eight years ago on, it remains a compelling read, providing a glimpse into the mindset of startup founders, often the target audience for domain name investors. You can find the original Forbes article here.

While the company in focus of this article was founded in 2010 with a mere $500, it went on to successfully raise over $2 million in venture capital funds, it eventually ceased operations in 2016 after being sold in 2014 to Innovative Food Holdings and then sold again in 2016 to New Fresh LLC.

Interestingly, the domain name is now in the possession of Name Find LLC, a.k.a. GoDaddy, it was acquired through their purchase of Michael Berkens’ WorldWide Media Inc in 2015 ( you will find out why by reading the below and the Forbes article.

Here are our Key Takeaways from the Article and what you can learn when dealing with Startups / Founders, think about how you can get paid…

The Initial Choice: Duchman’s startup, initially named Zone At Home, confronted the common challenge of securing an available and affordable domain that aligned with the company’s identity. Adopting a bootstrap mindset, he opted for at a reasonable cost of $9.99, underscoring the importance of financial prudence in a business’s early stages. (Note: was later dropped and has since been registered by New Ventures Services, Corp, part of Network Solutions).

The Unforeseen Rebranding: A legal dispute necessitated a significant rebranding effort, leading Duchman to choose “The Fresh Diet” as the new company name. However, the preferred domain,, was already taken, prompting the adoption of at a nominal cost.

The Missed Opportunity: Recognizing the potential value of for his growing brand, Duchman contacted the domain owner, who initially quoted $20,000. Hesitant to commit to such a sum, Duchman later discovered the price had skyrocketed into the low six figures. This realization highlighted a missed opportunity – a chance to secure the domain for a fraction of the eventual cost through creative payment options.

Domain Investors Get Creative when selling your domain names – Think about offering – Rental/Lease To Own Deals: The article emphasizes the enduring importance of rental/lease-to-own deals in the domain industry, particularly when engaging with startups.

While upfront cash may not be maximized, the option allows for recurring revenue and the possibility of reselling the domain if the buyer fails to complete payments, Mike Berkens sold his companies domain portfolio including the domain name to GoDaddy for a over $35 Million USD!

The Entrepreneurial Lesson: Duchman’s journey underscores the need for forward-thinking and creative problem-solving in both entrepreneurial and domain investment endeavors. The narrative advocates a proactive approach to domain acquisition, stressing the importance of early strategic planning and exploring unconventional payment arrangements.

Duchman’s hindsight suggests that a modest initial investment of $20,ooo USD could have securing the domain and would have saved a substantial $50,000 USD in the long run, however for the domain name investor that might have been money left on the table, so when offering domain names for sale – I think before you quote a price understand, are you buyer Cash Payers or would they have interest in Rental / Least To Ownership of the domain name.

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