Interview with Estibot.com Owner Dr. Esa

Posted on 07 October 2008   

Estibot.com is one of if not the most popular free domain name appraisal service available, for this reason I had to find out more about the man behind the site. If for some reason you have not used the service please visit Estibot.com. The appraisals are free, they also offer a paid membership which helps you find domain names.

During the interview process I learned some interesting facts about Dr. Esa, yes I said DOCTOR. I am just going to let everyone read for themselves.

Q. How old are you Esa?
A.
Let’s just say I’m in my 30′s. My son is 10 months old :)

Q. What is your educational background?
A.
I have two doctorate degrees, an M.D. and also a Ph.D in Neuroscience. I originally majored in IT for a year but then decided to pursue a career in medicine and life sciences. I’ve come full circle now. I think that my scientific training has helped me to develop a systematic approach to domain valuation and other domain name research.
Q. Why did you get into domaining?
A.
I was surfing the web casually and stumbled upon NameNewbie.com, I think it is a part of DNJournal.com. I have a novelty seeking personality and I get easily excited about new things. From there I started to do some research and figured that there was still plenty of room in that young market for new players.

Q. How long have you been domaining?
A.
Since 2006

Q. What did you do before domaining?
A.
I’m a neurosurgeon by profession, and still very much involved in that. Domaining started out purely as a hobby and an investment opportunity. Between Estibot and my other web projects it has taken more and more of my time these days. I try to find a balance between my work as a doctor, domaining and web development ambitions.

Q. How many domains do you own?
A.
About 1,000

Q. What is the most you have made on a single sale and what is that domain name?
A. $7,500 OfficePartitions.com, I have had higher sales but this was one with largest profit margin. Bought it for about $600 at NameJet.
I have since moved away from actively selling my domain names, I am more into acquiring names for development these days.

Q. What are the top five domain names you have for sale right now and at what price?
A.
Some that come to mind are Hypnotherapist.com, DieselExhaust.com, MedicalDoctors.net, DrugIndex.com, MedicalAirTransport.com, they are all “make offer”. However, I am only listing about half of my domains for sale. The other half are there for either parking revenue or development purposes. I’m actually not hugely interested in selling any of my domain names. Of course, if the right offer comes along, I would sell.

Q. How much money would you estimate you make annually in this business?
A.
How much money you can make depends on your personal capabilities and your business model. I have moved from buy and sell to buy and develop. On the other hand, I know many domain flippers that make a lot of money, but I don’t think I have the knack for domain name flipping. Development suits me better.

Q. Why did you create Estibot.com?
A. I never figured Estibot would be a popular website. I made the tools for my own use, but at some point I was encouraged by others to make them public, so I did. Now it is a pretty popular site with over 2,500 registered members and logs over 800,000 hits each month. My motivation for making the appraisal and research tools was that wanting to make sense of domain valuation and automate most of my domaining. On top of that I really enjoy coding quite a lot.  You can read more about this in depth in my blog by clicking here.

Q. What types of domains are you buying?
A.
Generic 1, 2, and 3 keyword domain names in the .com TLD and some ccTLDs. I’m also hand regging a lot of 2 and 3 word generic .coms. I think hand regging is underestimated as a means to acquire domain names. I’ve recently found dozens hand regs with natural type-in traffic and others with great development potential. It’s not hard to rank high in Google for niche keywords once you have the right domain name. You just have to be very picky about which domains to register. Searching for hand regs manually is no good, I usually reg maybe one for every few thousand potentially good names that I find, sometimes even less. For this type of research you need some good bulk tools. I use my own tools, which are available for anyone with a membership to use at Estibot.com. With my tools, you can scan thousands of domain names in minutes. You can also start your research from certain keywords, or even websites or magazine articles, and let the Estibot tools find available names based on that.

I think the difference between Estibot and other domain finder/domain ideas tools is that Estibot finds names that make sense, have search popularity and represent a certain niche market. Many tools just spit out semi-random word combinations, but Estibot attempts to find meaning and value in the keywords, and returns only domain names that it thinks make sense from a business point of view.

I think the expired names auctions are also a great way to find bargains. I’ve started publishing pre-analyzed Snapnames and Namejet lists on my site in order to help people spot the potential bargains more easily. I hope to add GoDaddy/TDNam lists there soon, talks with them are ongoing. These are the very same lists that I myself use when hunting for bargains in the expired names market.

Q. What strategy(s) do you use? Parking, Flipping, Full Development or Mini-Sites? Maybe another I am missing.
A.
I’m always developing. I start with parking to monitor the revenue and type-in traffic potential. I park at Sedo and Parked.com and the ones that make decent parking revenue, I leave parked initially, but the ones that don’t make money, I develop to the point where they start making just a small profit. Then I move on to the next domain name. This way I make sure that I don’t have domains lying around causing losses. But if a domain makes money by just being parked, I won’t touch it unless I have a big idea for it. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Usually I start the development with mini-sites of about 4 to 5 pages. Out of the developed mini-sites, I’m planning to take to another level the ones that perform well as mini-sites. So it’s a three step process for me, 1. park, 2. develop mini-site and 3. full development. My goal is to have every single domain name in my portfolio making a small profit. That’s when they become attractive to buyers as well.

Keep in mind that generic dot coms are always the best because they will always have a trickle of traffic, regardless of how you do in the Google SERPs.

Q. If you could give just one piece of advice to the domainers out there what would it be?
A.
Network with people. Be polite. Help others. Keep an open mind. Embrace your competition and be courteous to your competitors. Collaborate. Don’t behave unprofessionally in the forums. Act like a Pro from the start. Domaining is just as much about people and relationships as any other business. I think many domainers forget that.

  1. Allen Taylor says:

    Nice writing. You are on my RSS reader now so I can read more from you down the road.

    Allen Taylor

  2. Kellie says:

    Great interview Patrick. I had no idea about this background. Thanks for doing/sharing.

  3. Wallace says:

    Fantastic interview. I’m actually switching from buy and sell to buy and develop. I commend you on your interview. Very informative…

  4. Antonio says:

    Thanks for the interview

  5. Great insights into an interesting person. Thanks for the interview. I’ve focused on Generic 1, 2, and 3 keyword domain names for about 4-5 years now – and have had much fun – as it is still a hobby with me. Looking foward to trying out the valuation model at Estibot.com.

  6. Steve says:

    Esa is a great guy and very helpful. He answers questions constantly and had no idea he was also a doctor. I will add DnKitchen to our resource directory tonight, nice site.

  7. NewEnergy says:

    Very inspiring.
    We share something in common. I work with neuros too and got the idea of putting videos on surgery

    neurosurgeryvideos.com is a big hit

    thanks

  8. Amazingly excellent article. Is Dr. Esa your subject’s real name?

    Everything he stated is important, except for comments about the domain forums. Forums can be tricky, misleading, and inflammatory. I personally wouldn’t “disagree” with someone on a forum unless you know their deep roots and obsession with proving you wrong (don’t mess with posters who have over 3000 posts) I know this from personal experience. lol

    The important part of domaining is not forum behavior (unless you’re fraudulent), but attending domain conferences and meeting the players who can change your domain business in a day. Posting comments on legitimate blogsites like DnKitchen.com and many others will gain you trust.

    I strongly agree with the buy-and-develop model Dr. Esa promotes, which is why I decided to join WhyPark. Their inexpensive domain development model is the reigning powerhouse for bringing SE positioning and revenue to domains that don’t perform at traditional parking services.

    Great article, one of the best I’ve read.

  9. ***** You can delete****** Patrick, please contact me and I’ll set you up with 100 free tester accounts for your readers to test 10 of their non-performing generic domains at Whypark for 90 days. We will give you the results of any conversions from the free offer, plus 10% refcomm on signups. We welcome comments from your readers for suggestions and how using Whypark changed their nonperforming domains into something better.

  10. Damir says:

    Great information – Many thanks

    I like this part:

    Q. If you could give just one piece of advice to the domainers out there what would it be?
    A. Network with people. Be polite. Help others. Keep an open mind. Embrace your competition and be courteous to your competitors. Collaborate. Don’t behave unprofessionally in the forums. Act like a Pro from the start. Domaining is just as much about people and relationships as any other business. I think many domainers forget that.

  11. Amaranth says:

    Keep up the good work.

  12. med says:

    How can be a person be a NeuroSurgeon, with being 30 years old, wow, i thought it has 12 years of residency, in united states, any explanation on that?

  13. Veli says:

    Very good interview, thanks.

    I also started developing most of my domains and it’s refreshing to hear about success in this industry.

    Well done, thanks for estibot, and all the best of luck in the future to all!


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