Product portals continue to be a hot topic. Yesterday, I went out on a limb endorsing hyphenated names and .net names, saying that they are undervalued, and can be attractive drop-catch targets for development. Today, I thought I would share a simple case study of a hyphenated name: Ergonomic-Keyboards.com.
I acquired Ergonomic-Keyboards.com last October on the drop. It was apparent that one of the domain’s prior owners did develop it, which you can see by visiting Archive.org. While it is not possible to see the actual website, it is clear that there was something there in 2004 and 2005.
When I acquired the name on the drop, I was surprised at the mismatch between the appraised value and the search statistics for this domain. Estibot values this domain at just $100. While I am huge fans of Esa and Luc at Estibot, I believe they have this one wrong. Why?
1. It is a good example of a winnable niche category with healthy monthly search volumes — 9800 exact monthly searches even for the plural.
2. The average CPC at $2.42 suggests that there are high margins in this category, sufficient for advertisers to pay top dollar for traffic.
3. The non-hyphenated name (ergonomickeyboards.com) is already developed. The owner of which has since indicated an interest in buying the name.
Here is what the site looks like:
How is it doing?
March was the second full month for the site to be live. It grossed $784 and netted $46.91. You can check out the stats here. In February, it grossed $376 and netted $19.31. So, month over month, the gross is up 100%, and the net is up 143%. In terms of site indexing, the site has 208 pages indexed in Google though it is not yet competitive ranked. It is #4 on Yahoo. It is off to a good start and has good prospects. Want to buy this site? Visit the auction listing here — the auction closes in 24 hours.
Product portal network
Product Portals are a growth priority for Epik. Product portals figure also prominently into Epik’s larger ecosystem plans for an integrated media and commerce network. As of the end of March, we have 572 sites live in the product portal network. We are adding 50-60 per week and are increasing production capacity. These are hand-crafted sites that leverage a unified platform that continues to be improved at a rapid pace.
Individual product portals will take time to mature but the fundamental logic for them is obvious: in a world of abundant choices and streamlined supply chains, we will see hyper-fragmentation of online retail, the discovery of which is enhanced by search engines. This is nothing more than taking the success formula of CSN Stores and Hayneedle, to the logical extreme of a network of “long tail” online boutiques.