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James Iles

Inside Interview: Why This Company Spent $825,000 Buying Challenge.com and VI.com

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By James Iles, Jan 19, 2016
  1. James Iles

    James Iles Top Member PRO Gold Account VIP Trusted Blogger

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    In 2012, one company made a big investment in their future by acquiring two six figure domain names in a short amount of time. ViSalus, lead by CEO Ryan Blair, bought Challenge.com for $500,000 and VI.com for $325,000, and both domain name sales were reported in an October edition of DNJournal's Weekly Sales Chart.

    ViSalus, which passed $1billion in sales in 2013, created the "Body-By-Vi Challenge"; a 90 day challenge to improve participant's lifestyle through exercise and healthy eating. In a smart move by the company, they acquired both Vi.com and Challenge.com after launching . Today, over 1.5 million people have taken part in the challenge.

    Why did ViSalus acquire these two domains? How did they go about buying them? What are their plans for both domains? We ask ViSalus CEO Ryan Blair all about the purchases of Challenge.com for $500,000 and VI.com for $325,000.


    NP: Can you give us a brief description of your company ViSalus

    Ryan: ViSalus is a healthy lifestyle company, committed to transforming lives through entrepreneurial freedom, and as a platform for people to achieve their personal weight loss and fitness goals. ViSalus is a multi-level marketing company, our products are available through distributors in both North America and in Europe.


    NP: Could you tell us why you bought the domain name Challenge.com?

    Ryan: After launching the Body-by-Vi 90 Day Challenge, and its massive success, we started securing domain assets around it. Currently, we have a big vision for challenge.com that we are working on implementing for 2016.


    NP: How did you find out that Challenge.com was available to purchase? Did you actively seek out the name, or was it a domain name that was offered to you?

    Ryan: We sought out the name, and then negotiated the purchase directly with its owner.


    NP: How did you determine the domain was worth $500,000?

    Ryan: We looked at various methods of appraisal when we were considering buying challenge.com, but the deciding factor was that ultimately we didn’t want our competition to own it, so that’s the main reason why we paid a premium ($500,000) for it.


    NP: Would you have considered paying more than you did for Challenge.com?

    Ryan: No, $500,000 was our maximum.


    NP: At the same time as your Challenge.com acquisition, you also purchased VI.com for $325,000. Why did you acquire VI.com?

    Ryan: I acquired vi.com because I wanted to have one of the shortest email addresses on the planet ([email protected]). Second to that motive, “vi” is actually the first two characters of ViSalus, and it’s the Latin word for life. Also, ViSalus isn’t the easiest thing to spell for everyone, and we wanted to communicate our URL and our company name globally, and in multiple languages, as simply as possible.


    NP: Since your purchase of VI.com, the floor price for two letter .COM domain names has risen to over $500,000. Have you ever been tempted to cash-in and sell VI.com?

    Ryan: Yes, I would consider selling vi.com. Everything has its price, but ours would have to be 8 figures at least.


    NP Who was the decision maker in these acquisitions - was it an overall company decision to spend $825,000 on the two domain names?

    Ryan: At the time we decided to purchase both domains, our company was owned by Blyth, so I had to seek approval from my board which was very supportive.


    NP: Did you use any tools (e.g., automated appraisals), services (e.g., manual appraisals, domain brokers) or data (e.g., sales data, search volumes, search results) to determine your best offer and/or the value of either Challenge.com or VI.com?

    Ryan: When we were deciding whether or not to purchase the domain names, we looked at traffic to the domains, the simplicity of our marketing campaigns, the universal appeal of the word “challenge” and the word “vi”, but most importantly we wanted to make a statement about our marketing excellence. So, we thought it was worth far more than the $825,000 total we paid for the two.


    NP: Have you seen any benefits (increased brand awareness, increased traffic etc) since your acquisition of these domains almost three years ago?

    Ryan: We’ve seen all of the above, although we have yet to fully launch challenge.com. We have big aspirations for that asset.


    NP: What does the future hold for both Challenge.com and VI.com? Do you see yourself still owning these domains in five years time?

    Ryan: Yes, five years from now we will own both. Stay tuned, we’re investing heavily in these properties.


    NP: Would you consider purchasing more premium domain names?

    Ryan: Yes, if we thought they would benefit our company as much as vi.com and challenge.com have.

    --

    Thanks to Ryan for taking the time to speak to us. Vi.com and Challenge.com are both excellent assets, and this company obviously knows exactly how to use each to their fullest potential. There are plenty of interesting points that Ryan made during the interview, including the fact that part of their motivation for buying Challenge.com is that they didn't want any of their competitors to own it!

    You can find out more about ViSalus by visiting VI.com or by following them on Twitter @ViSalus.



    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.
     
    The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
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  4. James Iles

    About The Author — James Iles

    James is a domain name industry professional currently working on numerous domain industry research, acquisition and sales projects. Contact [email protected] For all inquiries relating to NamePros stories and interviews, please email: [email protected]

    This is James Iles's 134th blog post on NamePros. View all blog posts

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  5. Comments (5)

  6. dotbay

    dotbay BrandChimp.com VIP

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    Great interview! Thank you!
     
  7. ZapNano

    ZapNano :( VIP

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    "They don't want the other competitors to own it" At least this company was being honest... bout that.
     
  8. London555

    London555 Top Member VIP

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    James as always great. I think it was JD.com the very large Chinese retailer that paid ( my figures might be incorrect) $3 million for JD.com but thus far have saved over $20 million by direct type in vs having to pay for traffic.
     
  9. NetworkPearl

    NetworkPearl Top Member VIP

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    300k for VI how?
     
  10. Keith DeBoer

    Keith DeBoer Top Member PRO VIP

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    another good one, James!
     
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