How the use of a gTLD domain saved a marketing director money and frustration

This is a true story, but some names have been changed to protect upcoming marketing plans. 😉

Lana’s comment on a business forum was full of frustration, anger, disgust:

“They stole my domain and for a year now I’ve been trying to prove it, to no avail. I would contact ICANN next but it’d take a lot of resources and money for litigation.”

Connecting with Lana on LinkedIn wasn’t easy.

A busy marketing director with more than 15 years of experience with large clients on the West Coast, she had personal reasons to be leery of strangers like me who offered to help out of the blue.

And yet, there was no underlying agenda on my part, other than a true interest in listening to her domain-related issue and to offer my professional assistance.

Lana’s first email contained some statements that were not supportive of what I was inquiring about. I needed some facts about the incident in order to help.

I put forth an honest argument: I could spend a considerable amount of time trying to establish trust, or the same amount of time towards resolving her problem.

A couple of days later, Lana responded, with an apology; she had recently been ripped off on Craigslist and was very skeptical about offers of any kind. Regardless, she sent me the information I had asked about the domain that had been “stolen,” along with communication between her and the registrar involved.

I took a good look at the domain’s particulars and it was obvious that it had been left to expire and drop, only to be caught by a very “huge” player in the domain drop-catching business.

The domain was now on sale for $4,000 and that price tag was a slap in the face for Lana, who kept the domain as her personal brand for almost 15 years.

From my research, the registrar either failed to warn her of the domain’s upcoming expiration, or the emails ended up in her spam mail.

When Lana contacted GoDaddy to transfer the domain there, she was correctly told that the domain needed an authorization code in order to be transferred; at the time, it was also in redemption. Subsequent attempts to obtain the authorization code from the registrar it was at, garnered no response.

The domain was a two word .com, consisting of a noun and a gerund; the latter, is also an active gTLD managed by Donuts.

After I explained to Lana what had happened, I offered the following suggestions:

  • Negotiate a discounted rate with the current registrant, which might be 10% maximum.
  • Register an alternate “old school” TLD such as the .net.
  • Register a .com domain that incorporates her brand and adds a related keyword at the end.
  • Go for the Keyword.gTLD that matched her brand 100%.

The last option was particularly intriguing, as the gTLD domain in question had expired and due for deletion.

I asked Paul Stahura of Donuts about the gTLD deletion cycle, and he confirmed that it follows that of regular TLDs.

With that in mind, I followed up with Lana a few days later, to let her know that the gTLD domain that matched her brand was available for about $25 dollars at GoDaddy.

Lana took that option, satisfied with both the ability to retain her 15 year old brand intact, and naturally, with the cost of the domain. When one faces a cost of $4,000 versus $25 the choice is obvious.

Through this incident I had the opportunity to assist a fellow professional and educate them about options currently available with regards to domains and branding.

I feel good about turning a dead-end situation into a positive solution; Lana will now focus on investing in development and marketing, versus recovering a “stolen” asset.

The new Internet namespace expands the existing horizon for branding and marketing, allowing for creativity and affordability. In the future, more stories such as this will become the norm, and domain investors skeptical to embrace gTLDs will hopefully begin to diversify their investments.


  1. Good to see that your client could understand that a new gTLD could bring her value. In less than two years new gTLDs have achieved a high position in the “fallback hierarchy”. So high that it actually can trumph a .net.

  2. Christopher – I think that an exact brand match will beat any other TLD. When the keyword+gTLD is your exact brand, even the .com becomes of lesser importance, particularly when it’s parked or for sale.

  3. New TLDs give more choice to consumers and that is great. As long as we do not get into the old dot COM is doomed like some blogs I have seen we are all on a valid discussion. Exact matches, where the GTLD is part of the brand is great, at the end of the day it is all about the customer.

  4. You describe the domain name as a “stolen asset” yet it seems she neglected to renew it because she was not aware it was expiring. Am I missing something or was this name stolen?

  5. Joe Ray – I think it’s very clear that the domain expired and dropped. Any references to it being “stolen” are included in quotes as made by Lana. Part of my initial feedback to her included explaining what really occurred.

  6. Some people may wonder whether she’ll ultimately buy the .COM she lost to be used alongside the nTLD replacement. Maybe. Maybe not.

    This story is really 2:

    (1) She judged the nTLD version to be viable even after having owned and used the .COM. And she judged that any risk associated with the compromise or rebrand would be preferable to spending $4k. Agree or disagree, it’s good to see how buyers perceive things.

    (2) The industry she blamed for “stealing” her domain is also the industry that came to her rescue. Good job, Theo.

  7. Thank you, Joseph. The timing of the drop of the gTLD has to be considered a kind of cosmic karma. Without that exact match she might have been unmotivated to pursuit anything else, other than bicker about the loss of the .com.

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