Interview with Abdelraziq, Co-founder & Managing Director – asamies.com – Middle East and North Africa’s first marketplace for brandable business and domain names.
To start a business, you need a catchy domain name, branding and a nice logo. Ever thought that an online venture can provide you all that and if in confusion, a clear business idea too?
That is exactly what asamies.com, the newly launched company, in the Middle East and North Africa is all about. Co-founded by Aamir Shaikh and Ahmad Abdelraziq, asamies.com is a website that provides premium domains in English as well as Arabic. Interestingly, it also offers “(dot)shabaka” domains as well, the first Arabic top-level domain which will help you register Arabic script domain names.
Let us bring to some of the excerpts of our interaction with Mr. Abdelraziq, Co-founder & Managing Director – asamies.com – Middle East and North Africa’s first marketplace for brandable business and domain names.
We started off by asking the secret behind the name asamies.com
Our entire business is all about creativity and branding. It’s no coincidence that the name should reflect the quality of what we do and professionally represent us. asamies is a clever mashup of أسامي which is an Arabic word for names, and the plural suffix –ies (e.g. cities).
How we came up with the idea…
We saw a hidden frustration behind entrepreneurs, brand managers, bloggers and SMEs not finding a desired name for their brand—especially, as a “.com” domain. When you walk into shopping malls or drive down highways, so many names are just not good. Moreover, we also felt that Arabic language is under-represented on the Internet. Given the fact that more than five percent of the global population speaks, reads and understand Arabic, we thought that it is important for us to make the Internet relevant for them as well.
Not just that, there are people who wish to sell the domain names that they have blocked and there are many others who might actually want to buy them. But there are vulnerabilities and negotiations involved. We wanted to bridge that gap too.
On the demand for brandable domains…
It is globally accepted today that a brandable domain name can do wonders for any company. Experts suggest that one needs to look at the brand recall of the name apart from length (shorter the better, but not necessarily), it should be appealing and should convey a meaning that resonates with your business idea.
Coming up with brandable domain names is not a cake walk but then once you invest quality time into this, you can cherish it in terms of brand awareness that it can bring about.
This is where we come into the picture.
Apart from domain names asamies.com also provides business ideas. Can you tell us more on how this works?
Some business enthusiasts are clear on details such as type of businesses to establish and the kinds of models and all they need is a name. Another set of people could be those who have the energy and passion but just do not know how and where to start from. So, we suggest brand relevant names. While we do not suggest business models, users can browse and the domain names which come attached with “possible uses” section.
We leave the usage on the users’ imagination as well. For example, kteerspicy.com is one brandable domain name that suggests multiple applications including an online database for recipes. This name may entertain “embeddedly” a user for example to start up an online recipes business for spicy food lovers and possibly from all different cuisines (we won’t go deep in details though, in order to keep names open for users imagination but we put them in possible and useful directions).
How it works is simple:
– A buyer would browse the site one page at a time, or they could search keyword or even select a category from the drop-down list which covers various topics.
– They submit an inquiry or select to buy it
– They may buy a name outright or in instalment
– We assist the customer through all the stages to ensure proper delivery and client satisfaction.
Which are the most popular domain names that you have dealt with? What was the price?
We have a variety of names that will be made available on the site; some are premium and popular than the others.
We are positioning ourselves as a premium provider, and based on our pricing model, the prices will start US$700 onwards with no ceiling.
What are your charges for a domain? And for an idea?
Pricing is not driven by whether we are selling a domain or an idea. We are offering an upfront pricing for each name based on set criteria. It’s the user approach that will determine whether they are after a name or an inspiration as to what business to kick off. As mentioned earlier, our customers can be determined on what they need to do and need just a catchy business name, or they could be someone who needs some stimulation.
What advantages does one get when they buy a domain from asamies.com, compared to other globally reputed companies?
– The most important advantage is the localised naming which requires local market understanding. Our users in MENA will relate to the names we will provide.
– Every customer is entitled to the well-crafted logo alongside the domain name, this way they would save money on consulting a graphic designer. These logos are not designed via random online logo generator; they are actually professionally designed by a real graphic designer.
– Option for an instalment plan (users can pay off the due amounts over 3 or 6 months) which not all premium domain name providers actually make available to customers. We understand the flexibility that a new business need when just starting and hence made this service available.
– There is a popular saying that goes “.com is king” or “you can choose any name you want as long as it is .COM”. We pride ourselves offering this extension as every business values it with a localised name.
– We pride ourselves also being the first in the world to offer brandable [dot]Shabaka names that users would not get elsewhere.
What tips do you recommend for buying a good domain?
I could answer this question in two ways (either when buying from asamies.com or in general), I will choose what buyers generally need to bear in mind, in short:
– Brandability; emotional connection is key to build brand loyalty and stand out from competition.
– Easy to remember and easy to spell.
– A name can be totally made up, but It should rhyme cleverly or be unique enough.
– Not to have hyphens, prefixes like “a”, “my”, or suffixes like “inc”, “biz” as it shows the business is incapable of coming up with a catchy name.
– Not to have geographic names or codes like “mena”, “jo” as it limits the future growth of the brand location-wise.
– Avoid keyword combinations over two words.
Trading in domain names has become a good business model these days. What are the pitfalls to avoid?
Reserving an Internet domain names is like buying your own real estate. If you are lucky you could become a millionaire overnight with your domain name if it is a popular or becomes popular in the future. In the past some of the biggest domain names were sold for millions, including the top one Insurance.com which was sold for a whopping $35.6 million in 2010 and VacationRentals.com which was sold for $35 million in 2007.
However, a domainer should:
– Consider the right channels for selling their domain
– Bear in mind the tips mentioned above when picking a domain
– Refrain from cybersquatting
– Do enough research to avoid trademark infringement
What are the legalities and trademarks that one should be aware of, after buying a domain?
Since our domains are applicable to multiple sectors and can be purchased by anyone for any use, it would not be feasible for us to undergo trademark registration for each name.
Should a buyer be interested in a domain listed, doing some research and seeking legal advice is recommended in order to ensure that the name does not have an existing trademark by a competitor in the industry. If the name has a trademark unrelated to how the buyer intends to use it or simply is not trademarked, then they have a good chance to register a trademark for the name themselves.
If, however, a trademark exists, the buyer may register a trademark for the name as long as their business is in a different industry.
What are the top things to do after buying a domain?
It really depends for what purpose a domain name is bought (investment vs. starting a business).
Assuming a buyer wants to start up a business:
– I would recommend reserving the social media platforms they intend to use to communicate with their clients.
– Depending on how big a buyer wish to grow their business, registering a trademark for the intended industry to enter is crucial.
Assuming a buyer wants to invest:
– Consider the right channels for selling their domain
– Domain flipping including but not limited to: building a website for that domain, and SEO.