- Dominion Enterprises, the parent company of Homes.com, is offering up six new .homes domain names for sale through a request-for-proposal (RFP) process: Dream.Homes, Retirement.Homes, Urban.Homes, Country.Homes, Ocean.Homes and Mountain.Homes.
- Dominion says it is looking for residential real estate "leaders and innovators" to use the domains in a meaningful way and provide reliable and industry-related content for consumers.
- Any proposal for one of these six domains must include how much the applicant is willing to pay to acquire the domain and renew it annually.
How much would you pay for your web address to be Dream.Homes or Retirement.Homes or Urban.Homes?
Dominion Enterprises, the parent company of Homes.com, is accepting proposals from those who would like the rights to these URLs and three others: Ocean.Homes, Country.Homes and Mountain.Homes.
“We seek leaders and innovators in the residential real estate industry to build and promote our most exclusive digital properties,” Dominion explains in its request-for-proposal (RFP) for these six domains.
“Dominion aims to encourage active and positive usage of our domains, providing reliable and industry related content for online consumers. This RFP Program is designed to identify the most suitable registrant with the strongest capabilities to maximize the development, public reach, awareness and active use of the domain name.”
Dominion Registries will accept formal proposals for these six premium domains — and only these six — through June 10, 2016. The company will inform applicants of their decision within four weeks of that date and winning applicants will be able to start using their new domains within one week, according to Homes.com spokeswoman Patty McNease.
6 premium domains
Dominion is offering up only six premium domains right now because they’re “important to the industry” and “we want to release them in a controlled way,” MacNease told Inman via email.
“It allows us to assess the different possibilities for use and allocate names to those applicants that will have a positive impact on the industry and the owner of the domain name.”
“We selected these names because we anticipate there will be significant interest in strings such as these that have specific meaning and include terms with high search volume,” she added.
“We are looking forward to new ideas that the applicants will bring to the table for the use of these names.”
Only purveyors of residential real estate services can buy and use a .homes domain. For now, real estate professionals or companies with their own registered trademark get first dibs during a “sunrise” period. The domain opens to all eligible real estate pros on May 12. The annual cost of a “non-premium” .homes domain will be $150.
The RFP process seeks well-qualified partner
But for these six premium domains, Dominion has put in place an RFP process. Applicants are asked to describe their current business operations, core capabilities and length of time in the business.
“With this, we’re looking for a long-term partner — one that has the resources, experience, marketing strength and reach to build a strong brand on one of these new domains,” McNease said.
Among other things, the RFP asks the applicant to describe how the proposed website or websites — if the applicant is applying for more than one of these six — will be used.
“We’re looking for someone that wants to use the domain in a meaningful way,” McNease said.
“Building a new brand, re-branding, developing a new category of an existing brand and marketing it on the new site would all be meaningful uses. We’d like to see the domain name publicly promoted and advertised.”
Using the domain to re-direct to another site will not be allowed, according to the RFP.
Dominion also wants to make sure that applicants have the technological and financial chops to do what they say they’re going to do, according to McNease.
“Let’s say you are not an established business but plan to start and operate a new business using one of the domains as the brand. In a scenario like this, we’d like to know what experience you have in building a new business,” she said.
“Did you just raise a nice sum from (venture capitalists) and have a pitch deck? Maybe you are the ex-(chief technology officer) and (chief marketing officer) from a major real estate company, branching out to start the next big thing in real estate. All these things would be relevant and help us understand the applicant’s capabilities for developing and operating a robust, innovative new website.”
What Dominion wants to know about potential domain purchasers
Dominion wants to know traffic data for an applicant’s current websites and any relevant experience the applicant has in developing, implementing and marketing those sites. The company also asks the applicant to detail target markets and overall marketing commitment.
“We’re looking for reach. If you are advertising and marketing this domain name, will it reach the population in Smithfield, Wyoming or all major cities in North America and Europe?” McNease said.
“Will you build a website and rely on word of mouth or will you include paid marketing spend to promote your new site? Ongoing promotions or one time launch promotions? Will you change your email addresses to the new .Homes domains – Sandy@Dream.Homes?
“If you have 2,000 employees in North America who actively use the new email addresses and have them in printed sales collateral and business cards, that would also provide a positive indicator.”
Price will also be a factor. Dominion asks applicants to include a “purchase offer” — how much the applicant would pay to acquire the domain and to renew it every year.
“We are looking for an offer in line with current market values of premium domains of this quality. Similar to the housing market, current market values for domain names are determined in part by comparable sales,” McNease said.
“There is excellent, current market data available to find comparable sales and your registrar is a good place to start in this process. Make sure you work with one of the registrars accredited to sell .Homes domain names. Here is a link to the official list: http://domains.homes/registrars/.”
Winning applicants will be able to continue to keep the domain as long as they continue to pay the annual registration fee, she said.
McNease said no minimum price had been established for each of the six domains. When asked what “an offer in line with current market values” would look like for these domains, she said, “We have not set or established a price range based on comparable sales, as the gTLD (generic top-level domain) market varies widely.” Dominion has also created an article to help with valuations, she added.
When asked whether Dominion anticipates that these six domains will be the most valuable in terms of price, McNease said, “These domains are highly valuable but the value can also depend on how the domains are used. There are many premium .Homes domains and this group is just a small representation.
“For example, other highly valuable domains include very short names, other generic names, and geographic/place names.”
There are currently no other planned RFPs, but additional premium domains will be offered in phases over time, she said.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated with an additional comment from Dominion noting that the company has not set or established a price range based on comparable sales for the six domains.