Nice Asset, Sure Would Love to Lend Against It

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domainer expo“Sean,” said the moderator, “where do you see domain names in five years?”

At the inaugural Domainer Expo in Las Vegas this week, I was sort of a self-proclaimed emissary from the lending world, there to tell everyone that domain names had a lot more potential utility than what most people probably realize.

“When businesses are looking for capital, there’s sort of a diagnostic checklist,” I said (in substance). “You ask the business how much revenue they have, you ask them if they have equipment, you ask them if they have real estate, etc. and lenders are trying to figure out which of those assets is something they can use as the basis for financing, but nobody asks about their domain name.”

Maybe they should. If a million links on the internet point to a business’s domain name and search engines rank it, then that domain name is integral to the sales generated on the site. And if a business got a loan against a domain name that they’re using to generate tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands in sales per month, they probably wouldn’t want to lose it because it’s worth a lot.

Usually in the business loan world the story ends here. Ok, domain names? sounds complicated, too techie, waste of time, dollar amounts are too small, nobody wants to deal with that, etc.

city viewBut you’d actually be surprised. The technology is just about there that if a business doing $1 million/year in website-originated sales said that they’d be willing to put up their domain name as collateral for a $100,000 loan today, you could send them a link that automatically transfers their domain name to escrow in seconds without them experiencing any disruption to their site. Then if they default on the loan, the domain name transfers to you, where if you understand anything about e-commerce, you should immediately be able to monetize their domain and capture those sales for yourself.

That means no trying to foreclose on a property, no trying to chase down equipment, no suing them, getting a judgment and then hiring an expert to find if they have assets anywhere. Just click-click yours, a revenue generating asset that you can use as leverage to cure the default or monetize immediately and start making your money back with. If you don’t know anything about websites, then maybe this concept wouldn’t be enticing for you as a lender.

I could go into the technical mechanics of how this domain loan process would work, but for now just imagine talking to a business owner generating a lot of revenue that really doesn’t have many assets to make use of. They need $100k and they can’t get it any other way. You tell them they can use their domain name as collateral with no disruption to their website. It will happen instantly. There’s no tax returns needed, no credit check. It’s based on sales, something we might all already be familiar with. Will some business owners say “yes” to such a proposal or would they tell you they’d rather have nothing instead?

Last modified: December 7, 2023
Sean Murray

Category: Business Lending

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