interviews A Chat With A $30,000 Internet Official Finalist

Spaceship Spaceship
Verisign are running a competition that you may have heard about; The Internet Official Competition, where entrants can win up to $35,000 for registering a .COM domain name. This competition is celebrating 30 years of .COM. I had a brief chat with Adam, the winner of a $5,000 prize for registering ElectricMotorcycleClub.com. His ElectricMotorCycleClub.com is now competing against 11 other domain names for a $30,000 grand prize. You can view and vote for your favorite domain name here.

1. Could you give us some background information on yourself?

My background is in automotive journalism but I've done a few other things. My web area of expertise is in SEO. Like a lot of people I researched how to make my own sites, auto and non-auto related, rank better. People started asking me for advice, which is a good way to get started.

2. Could you give a brief overview of Verisign's Internet Official contest?

The contest is to encourage people to find a great .COM that is available to register for a business or service. With millions and millions of .COM domain names registered it can be challenging but there are still good domains out there. ElectricMotorcycleClub.com shows that I believe that's true.

Here is a nice video about the contest:

A panel of judges (including Mike Berkens) along with public votes will determine the grand prize winner. The public voting phase is open now and I’d appreciate if people voted for Electric Motorcycle Club. You can do so through June 27th and vote once per day.

3. How did you go about finding that ElectricMotorcycleClub.com was available to register? Did you do specific research around popular terms, or was it purely a lucky registration?

I started wondering if there was a club for Electric Motorcycles that I could join. Clubs are popular in automotive and motorcycle circles, so I thought there would be one. While there are a few online communities for electric bikes currently there is no club, so it's a classic entrepreneurial story of, "Why don't I start one?" I checked and the domain was available so I registered it.

4. When did you enter Verisign's competition, and how did you find out you'd won a $5k prize?

I can't quite remember when I entered the contest but it was close to when I bought the domain. I was contacted at the end of March that I was a first prize finalist.

5. What makes ElectricMotorcycleClub.com stand out from the rest of the finalists?

If you check ElectricMotorcycleClub.com, you’ll see I’ve written quite a few articles. Many of them are extensive and well researched too. I've even gotten some positive feedback about articles already.

The other first prize finalists have nice domains/ideas, which I think are good. Most have no website up or just a landing page without much actual content though. I’ve demonstrated that I’m going to actually use the domain name and build something on it. Also, it is easy for someone to understand what the “Electric Motorcycle Club” is about before they visit. Some of the other domains need explanation and it’s still not clear to me how the site or business will work.

6. I noticed that ElectricMotorcycle.club has been registered since 2014 - before you registered the .com. Do you think this is a case in which a new TLD better suits a phrase, or is .COM always preferable?

Most people aren't aware of new TLDs. It's always preferable to stick with extensions people are familiar with, .COM, .NET, and .ORG.

7. What plans do you have for ElectricMotorcycleClub.com after Verisign's competition?

I have some ambitious plans but logistically many of them will be difficult without a large amount of cash. After the competition, I'll likely just try to get it off the ground with gaining the first group of core members. I'll also work with a designer to make the site look good for visitors and be able to handle our future needs.
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You are kidding right? ElectricMotorcycleClub.com is not worth reg fee much less any sort of prize. I would look to Verisign's motives in nominating it. This looks more like an attempt to encourage anyone with a dictionary and three words to spend money on a domain registration. When was the last time that a three word .com sold for more than $5,000? I sure don't see them in the top sales of the week list.
Check some of the other domains in the contest.