I wanted to write about the story of a recent domain acquisition that is an interesting tale of how longevity, persistence and patience all play a part.
The story begins in 2005, when I believed there would be a market emerging for backup to be delivered as a managed service. It wasn’t cloud backup then. In fact, there wasn’t even a software capable of performing the task.
I believed after suffering many problems trying to make backups function perfectly with a tape drive and backup software that a new way would emerge in the future taking advantage of the Internet and remote storage. At that time, we began to investigate what was available.
At the same time, I started to think about a name. I was thinking, because it’s going to be a service, it would be great if the name was tied to the actual service. We did research and brainstorming trying to come up with ideas. Eventually, we stumbled on to the name LiveBackup.
One of my marketing colleagues suggested it off hand over a coffee. And quickly, I checked the domain registers to see its availability. Yes, the name was available in Australia. I registered the domain almost immediately. I also saw that the livebackup.com domain was available. I found it on one of those domain sales websites. The price was $3,000 USD which converted to approximately $6,000 AUD.
That amount of money at that time was a lot to our company. That sort of investment was reserved for fairly certain outcomes.
Whilst, it was a grandiose idea to think that LiveBackup might become a global backup business, we didn’t even have the technology or vendors capable of delivering something that would work. I spent several restless days agonising over the decision to purchase.
I think it was one week later, I decided we were going to proceed with the purchase. I was so certain that the remote or online backup had to emerge in the future.
I thought the domain could probably get resold if the business didn’t work out. I came to the office, credit card ready…and logged on to the domain name site only to realise to my dismay that someone else has purchased the domain.
Immediately, my vision of global backup domination and a chance to make the service global was decimated.
I never entirely recovered from that event. I was regretful for procrastinating over the decision, however we moved on with developing LiveBackup here in Australia.
We found our hardware partners in BlueArc that has since been acquired by Hitachi. We found our software partners in Asigra and sent our engineers and senior managers to Canada to broker our relationship and receive training.
We had GCOMM to provide a robust telecommunications and data centre infrastructure to support the backup service. We had a great leader and technical expert in Craig Deutsher. We trademarked our logo.
With a sound technical infrastructure, a business system and processes in place, I began again to think about the future and whether our service could become an international player.
I registered domains in Russia, Poland, Slovakia, Serbia and the Czech Republic. We extended the trademark to Poland where I believe our first international expansion will occur.
In February 2013, I was scheduled to have a meeting with a colleague about a business opportunity in Serbia. He is a programmer and in the past we discussed how LiveBackup works. He sent me an email requesting a meeting of which I accepted.
In the content of the email, he also informed me that I must have let the domain expire. He was of course referring to livebackup.com. I quickly searched to see that the livebackup.com domain was in fact expired and that it would soon become available to purchase.
I frantically tried to find out whether it was possible to purchase, who it could be bought from and where to make contact.
It is not that easy and the countless, put your domain on backorder companies offering a $70 service to make contact with the owner are basically scams (be warned). However, with a lot of persistence we managed to find out who the seller was and purchased the domain for $2,500.
I think that was a pretty good deal after 7 years of feeling depressed about it.
Whilst that piece of “domain real estate” might not hold much value to a third party company, I think that it adds a lot of credibility to the LiveBackup business and it just re-opens the opportunity that some day, a much larger international expansion could become a reality.
What is the moral of the story? I would like to think it is “you only fail when you give up”. And I think I need to take my colleague out to lunch.