Frager Factor

Friday, August 24, 2007

Domain King, Meet Oak King.

I've lived a lot of places in my life and times.

Done a lot and seen a lot from user and seller perspectives.

This gives me unique insights to understand the application of the web in ways few do. And tremendous advantage.

In college I made deliveries for an antiques store so I got to see Brownstones in Brooklyn and learn why this furniture we throw in the Boston trash was valuable in NY.

Moreover I learned how to repair and refinish from a master and knew that the parts could be worth more than the whole. That mirrors or canning could be custom fitted cheap, replacing wood panels and turning an old armoire into an entertainment center. That from barber poles to NYC bus fare boxes (which later I bought the entire fleet) there was money to be made, $10 here and occasionally $100 there.

So when I went back to my hometown for a visit after graduation, I went to an auction and couldn't believe the prices and the money I could make. I borrowed $2000 from a credit card to finance that purchase, rented a truck and took it to my parent's garage (their neighbors in this upscale suburb called the police because I parked a truck on the street and was bringing mouse-infested crap, in their words, to spread disease).

The next day I called a big wholesale dealer who used to sell to the shop I worked for in NY. Again had I not worked in the retail side in the NY market, I'd have never made this connection.

I asked for $2800 and he took out (27) $100 bills and told me "that's all that's in it for me." That was the first of thousands of times I'd hear or use that expression. It meant final offer.

Transaction took five minutes and the feel of cash was superior to the credit card receipt I started with.

I was thrilled to be a kid out of college making $700 in day. After repaying the bank which became a daily habit.

I began to see a billion dollar industry that was flying totally under the radar. Very much like domains with its Franks and Kevin’s at the top. I was hooked.

A year later I had cleared $400K for all self-financed growth, drove a 20-foot truck 1500 miles buying and selling between Boston and the coalmines of PA every week. Sometimes I filled and shipped as many as 3 45-trailers out from three garages where I held merchandise for assumed needs and used polaroids and US Mail to close the sale and keep me liquid.

I developed my sources. And they were characters.

And clients who came from Seattle and California with $50K in a suitcase and made the return trip of 45 foot fruit trailers profitable with antiques back rather then empty.

One customer, Hank, was an airline pilot who set a business up for his wife in Laguna. He had the ability to travel the world to shop without the cost others would. Another lesson in why something is worth one number to you but another elsewhere.

I'd literally pick him up at on the Tarmac in Hartforf after his flying cross country then he'd browse and talk and go for Chinese food at 3AM, leaving me anxious what he was going to finally buy. But it was a rouse, a negotiating tactic.

He'd wait till the last minute before we'd have to depart for the airport and say I'll give you x for all if you give me that roll top desk for $150. I paid $300 for it but that's what he needed to close the sale so I built it into the other part.

Then I'd have to drive him two hours back to Hartford and two hours back before I could go to sleep. And he was in command of 300 lives. He claimed that the thrill of the hunt was like adrenaline to him. I had driven eight hours round trip to listen to his babble. And have to mark up the price to anticipate the usual last minute game.

Two months later I was vacationing in Laguna and decided to check out Hank's ritzy shop in Dana Point. There was the $150 rolltop desk out front, refinished with a price tag of $13,500 marked sold.

The customer was Charles Bronson. A big eye opener about value I often think about when people appraise domains.

Though featured in the montage of prior life's experiences that contribute to who elsedomain success, I haven't talked much about my life and times as the Oak King. Other then sharing with Frank's blog the Wilson events, which were our Traffic, back then.

Or the tale of the #6 Larkin Chair. It's a lesson in value creation that WILL change the way you'll think about domains.

And me.

Stay tuned.


**Now who else used to be a traveling furniture salesman and claims that past life helps him "get" the net.

Btw, that $2000 load I sold for $2700- had I taken a 33 year nap instead of selling it the value today would be over $100K. Thankfully, when I left I padlocked a selective stash in storage and made an agreement with my tenant not to allow me to access till age 65. Best investment I ever made.


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About The Author: Owen Frager is an Internet marketing expert ready to help take your company to the next level.

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