My mother owns a store – a gallery of Native American artifacts – in Morro Bay called Earth Spirit. After all these years, she’s finally decided to make an online play. She’s been hearing from neighboring shopkeepers that they’re doing better on eBay than they’ve ever done with walk-in business. So I went on a domain hunt for her, only to find that pretty much every variant of earthspirit.com, .net, .org, plus every variant of earth-spirit, not to mention the .biz and .info TLDs, were taken. Most of them not used, just taken. Trying to access most of these domains gets you one of those default homepages you get when you’re deep in squatter territory.
Curious, I wrote to a few of the domain owners to see just how deeply they wanted to scalp me (pun intended). I wrote innocent-looking notes offering “up to $100” for each domain. The response I got on earth-spirit.net asked for $999, to which I responded:
To be sure, is that a typo below? Did you really mean $99 for earth-spirit.net? Or are you actually asking $999 for this domain? If the latter, all I can say is, “good luck” and, um, “Ha ha ha ha ha ha! You very funny man, Mark.”
Again, I’m offering $100 for this domain.
To which I received canned counter-responses listing the insanely high prices the pond scum had earned for “similar” domains in the past year. Only the examples weren’t similar – they were for .com domains without the hyphen – like comparing Beverly Hills real estate to a little lot in downtown Watts. I left it alone, and a week later received a message telling me how lucky I was – they were having a blowout sale, and earth-spirit.net was suddenly 20% off! Imagine that. Still, no way. Mum’s not going for it and neither am I. We’ll figure out some sort of creative, memorable variant that doesn’t support gravel-licking opportunists.