This year's NamesCon live domain auction produced almost $1.5MM in sales, with 92 of the 131 live auction listings being sold. The largest sale was the $240,000 sale of Lawn.com, which was acquired by an Atlanta-based company who are already putting the name to good use. Billy Van Eaton, John Ball, and Charles Lumpkin are the team behind Lawn.com, an innovative new landscaping company. After finalizing a $2.6MM funding round last month, Lawn.com have revealed that they plan to expand their operation through staff development and customer acquisition, with expansion into other cities expected to start within the next 12 months. In this Inside Interview, we find out more about why this team acquired Lawn.com, how they came to value the domain name, and their advice for acquiring premium domain names. NP: Can you tell us about the company behind Lawn.com? Lawn.com: Lawn.com was founded by Billy Van Eaton, John Ball, and Charles Lumpkin. Billy and John have profitably operated and grown a landscaping company to one of the largest in Atlanta. As they grew their business, they developed a unique and scalable model for servicing single family homes that allowed them to deliver their high customer service all while operating at market-rate prices. The founding team capped an initial round of $2.6MM in February 2016 and is working to deploy the capital for customer acquisition, continued technology infrastructure, and staff development. All of the capital was raised locally in Atlanta with the majority coming from local Private Equity groups. Lawn.com has revenues eclipsing several million dollars and the company was cash flow positive on day one. Providing remarkable customer services experiences in residential landscaping, Lawn.com continues to intentionally operate only in Atlanta, but we will expand across the Southeast in early 2017. NP: You recently acquired Lawn.com for $240,000. Why did you choose to develop your business on a premium domain name? Lawn.com: We believe in premium domain names. You gain instant credibility from customers, vendors, and investors. We believe that we can redouble the value of the domain asset many times over. NP: Lawn.com was acquired during NamesCon’s live auction. How did you find out about the event? Were you bidding in the room? Lawn.com: Our team has a long history of buying, monetizing, and selling premium names. We watched the public auction for two months prior to the event. We did not personally attend the event, but we engaged a broker at the event that negotiated on our behalf. We have purchased other domains through him before. NP: Can you reveal your total budget for the domain? Would you have submitted a higher bid if necessary? Lawn.com: Can't show all our cards! NP: How did you determine that the domain was worth $240,000 to you? Did you use any tools (e.g., automated appraisals) or data (e.g., sales data, search volumes, search results) to determine its value? Lawn.com: Our team has a history in purchasing and monetizing domains. We were able to calculate the value to us and our strategy for monetization. I can’t tell you the exact formula, but I’ll show you some pieces of it. A company first needs to deeply understand the lifetime value (LTV) of a customer. There are several ways to calculate this, but it comes down to a series of payments and cash flows on some type of regularity into the future. You then take the present value of the margin of all those future payments to understand today’s LTV. Once you understand your customer economics, you can then begin the next series of calculations. What you are ultimately trying to prove is how much the premium name asset is worth to you now and into the future. You do this by calculating estimated lift for each marketing channel by owning the premium name vs. a generic hand registration. Once you’ve calculated the channel lift, you can project that into the future and determine the real value of the asset to your business. Assigning channel-by-channel lift takes some effort and experience, but ultimately that is what drives cash flow lift over time. You also consider (albeit with less weight) how much brand value is driven through the name. But you bet on the sure horse of increased sales and take the brand value as nice addition. Auction bidding for a premium name can then be driven by these models. NP: Was it a team decision to ultimately acquire this domain or a decision driven by one person in particular? Lawn.com: Our Board of Directors, including the founders, made the final decision to buy the name and pricing. NP: Before purchasing Lawn.com, did you ever consider acquiring and rebranding to any other domain name (such as Grass.com), or was it always going to be Lawn.com? Lawn.com: No, Lawn.com was the only name we considered. NP: Although you have only recently acquired the name, have you had any feedback from customers or staff regarding your new domain name? Lawn.com: In general, we always get great reactions when people learn about our name and company. It really does give people the understanding that our brand stands for service and quality. NP: Do you have any advice for any companies who may be considering acquiring a high-value premium domain name? Lawn.com: We highly encourage others to consider buying premium names. You really need a clear plan on monetization and a deep understanding of your underlying economics, but domain names are great assets! -- Thanks to the Lawn.com team for participating in Inside Interviews and taking the time to provide such detailed answers. I think this interview provides a fascinating look at how a company can value a domain name through specific metrics that could be useful from a domain sales point of view, as well. It will be very interesting to track the progress of this company. To find out more about the company and their services, visit Lawn.com. Inside Interviews is a blog series profiling the buyers of high-value domain names. Find out their motives, negotiation tactics, and their opinions on popular domaining topics only on the NamePros Blog.