Wednesday, July 17, 2019

"Meet the Domain Prospector Turning Stray URLs Into Real Businesses"

Caitlin Dewey at OneZero:

Though most entrepreneurs acquire domains that fit their businesses, Askew takes the opposite approach: buy a good domain, then build a business on top of it. “I rarely ever come up with an idea,” he says. “The domain is the inspiration.”

...

I traveled to Atlanta to watch Askew work. His downtown co-working space lies two and a half hours and many worlds away from the small town of Vidalia, Georgia, a place so obsessed with the Vidalia onion that it built a museum in its honor. You can find onion plush toys at local hotels in Vidalia; a walking onion named “Yumion” serves as the town’s mascot. Vidalia onions are ultimately such a niche product, and Vidalia such a remote place, that I couldn’t fathom how Askew — a 47-year old from Atlanta with a background in internet marketing — found himself enmeshed in it.

Askew sometimes can’t seem to fathom it either. “I so enjoy being associated with this onion,” he says, in his excitable patter.

Askew bought VidaliaOnions.com for $2,200 in 2014. At the time, he says, he liked the domain for its Georgia connection. But months later, while ordering pears from the premium food and gift distributor Harry & David, he realized he could start a similar business for onions. He cold-called the Vidalia Onion Committee and, within a year of acquiring the domain, had shipped his first order to a New York City address.
*Previously: "A Surreal Trip to a Domain-Names Conference"