In this interview, we talk with James Booth of BQDN about the decision to switch his brand to the domain Phenom.com, the evolution of his business, and how important is getting the right domain name for startups.
James, please tell us a bit about yourself, what led you to start BQDN in the first place?
My background has always been Wealth Management. I was based in Singapore from 2012 and moved to Manila, Philippines in 2015. While working in my Wealth Management company I fell on hard times as the new role was a commission only role with zero salary. I had spent all my savings on the move and would have been homeless if it was not for the help of my family. I borrowed $1000 from my Mum and $1000 from my brother just to get groceries and pay my bills. This is when I had to ask the question to my brother Andy who had been in the Domain space for over 10 years and operates Booth.com and Evolve.com. I asked if he could provide me some extra work on the side for me and he agreed I could help him hunt down some 3 letter .coms for him. Within my first week I had secured one for him and was paid around $2000 for finding the name. The following weeks I got several more deals and now had enough savings to quit my 9 to 5 and decided to focus full time on Domains! This ended up being the best decision in my life. After a month or 2 I had enough money to invest in my first LLL.com myself and this is where the Domain Journey officially began. I decided to start BQDN.com in May 2015 and I have never looked back.
You recently switched your brand to the domain Phenom.com, how did you come to select the name and what is the moment you realized this was the right choice?
I actually acquired Phenom.com a few months ago as an Investment and was planning on rebranding as DomainBooth.com which I acquired. After careful consideration and our main business focus being 1 Word .com and 3 Letter .com domains I decided that we ourselves needed a killer brand name and Phenom.com just fit perfectly. Phenom is globally known as a shorter version of Phenomenal and this name will resonate with buyers and sellers across the globe. The name portrays we mean business!
What does Phenom.com communicate about your brand that BQDN didn't?
When I first started BQDN money was tight so a $2000 spend on BQDN made sense at the time for Buy Quality Domain Names as at the start our main market was China buying and selling 3 and 4 letter acronyms. Now our business focus is strong 1 Word .coms and 2 or 3 Letter .coms so Phenom.com is the right fit for where the business is now at. We acquired Phenom.com for a 6 figure amount and this will resonate well with our clients that we too understand brand power and that to get a strong name you need to lay down the cash to stand out.
How has the switch to Phenom.com affected your team, business partners and clients?
We are all very happy with the new name and so are our clients. The majority of our clients are based in San Francisco and we have already received several messages congratulating us on the new name. BQDN has served us well but now it is time to go to the next level.
How would you describe the evolution of your business from day one to Phenom.com? How does the name reflect that evolution?
We have certainly evolved as has my brother going from Booth.com to Evolve.com. BQDN has closed $30 Million in Domain sales since we started in 2015 so it was time for us to up our game with our brand name.
How important is the presence of your brand online? What plays the most important role in people finding you on the web?
Being a company that helps brands evolve online and upgrade their own online presence we also need to show that with our own brand. Most people never knew the meaning of BQDN but everyone online will know what PHENOM means, especially in the US. We have been operating for 4 years and we plan on being in this industry for as long as the web exists. Having this name positions us well online and offline.
How important is getting the right domain name for startups from the outset?
It is one of the most crucial things to succeed in my opinion. It is not everything but a brand or start up will have a head start by securing a premium .com earlier rather than later. If you build a successful business which is what everyone plans then the .com further down the line will end up costing several times more. Domain values are only going to rise as the web gets bigger. It is getting much more difficult to secure premium names now than it did back in 2015. Most high quality 1 word .com domains are now developed. As the high street / malls slowly lose business, online business grows meaning you need to secure a powerful brand that stands out.
What are the risks of a rebrand? How did you address those?
Honestly we see no risks only rewards with the rebrand. BQDN will simply forward to Phenom.com and we know our client base is only going to grow from the rebrand.
What are the company's main objectives in the next year? What drives you to have this vision?
We have closed over $10 Million in sales for 2019 and we plan on doubling this in 2020 and increasing our client base. We also plan on launching a Domain Platform on Phenom.com in 2020 for buyers, sellers and brokers.
Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me today Kristina. With the right attitude, perseverance and hard work anyone can achieve success. The rule is to never give up.
We hope this will be of use to you in the process of getting your perfect domain name. If you have any questions, need any help or just want to chat to someone about the process, book a free consultation using the form below. We are always happy to hear from you.
Conducted by Kristina Mišić