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 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"