The buyer turned out to be Canada-based Bill Kara whose gaming network, Hallpass Media, has millions of monthly visitors from a diverse crowd with a common interest: games, games, and more games! He's been buying up boatloads of domains totally under the radar that baffle domainers but are spot on for a specialized niche.
When veteran domainer Larry Fisher was unable to make sense of the purchase, Bill Kara responded directly:
"If you think Hallpass Media paid alot for cookinggames.com (350k) then you might be surprised at what we paid for stickgames.com…
We had been looking for a number of niche game sites for a while, in the crowded field of online gaming very few things set you apart from the next site offering virtually all the same games. Having prime domains is one of the few affordable options we had left. We filtered out our most popular content areas and stick games were consistently a top section.
“Stick Games are stick figures doing an assortment of things, most often blowing each other up in various creative ways.”
I went after the top dog of course which was stickgames.com. It was parked and owned by one of the hardest, most stubborn and least motivated sellers on earth. This was not good news for us.
The domain was getting tons of traffic (confirmed between 1000-1500 type in a day) and the owners after our first contact wanted 250k for the domain, no stats and no revenue figures to be provided. I knew the domain was making nothing for them though, by using automated parking technology I could see all the ads were displaying “stick” game type stuff. Like hockey, skating and ads of this nature. I knew the disconnect was there and viewers were coming to play games and being shown hockey ads so the click through rates must have been nil. I countered offered with a final offer of 100k after a few weeks of back and forth they relented.
StickGames.com a domain unsuccessfully selling hockey sticks and skates, with traffic coming from stickmen blowing each other up was sold for a 100k, a 6 figure sum.
We did our development and quickly gained the number one spot on google for “stick games”, even though the previous first place was to a site with SEVEN times our traffic and had been developed for at leave FIVE years before us. Generic advantage? Perhaps.
It was alot of hard work and networking with many more factors then I’ve been able to list, but the point is a good business plan, hard work and the right assets in this case strong generic domains have helped us in a very crowded and competitive market. We are on track to recover our investment cost in the next 3 months, during one of the worst recessions of our time. Still deals to be had, still many opportunities to be had. Best of luck everyone one!
PS when you’re not working, you should be gaming:) More stories to come in 2010…
www.hallpassmedia.com “Hallpass Media”
According to Fusible, a fan and follower of Hallpass who tracks progress and updates readers, "his week Bill Kara’s VirtualPets.com hit the first page of Google Search for the term “virtual pets” – a term that is searched nearly 50,000 times per month, globally.
In late June, Bill Kara launched a beta version of the website VirtualPets.com - a place where casual gamers can adopt, dress up, care for, or play with their favorite zoo, farm, exotic, house and ocean pets.
According to Compete, type in traffic to the domain name was just over 2,000 visitors per month. After being online for less than a month, traffic more than quadrupled as the site quickly rose in the search rankings. The website VirtualPet.com reported over 70,000 visitors in July.
The crown jewel of Hallpass' portfolio is Dressup.com. According to WikiPedia: "The year is 2010, dress up games have changed and evolved compared to a decade ago. The graphics and game play of the animated dress-up games have dramatically improved from the 90s. Websites update and add new games close to every week to month. Before websites would require registration to play these games, but nowadays most of them are free. Dress-up websites can help children and anyone that play with their color coordination and imagination. To parents and some teachers these websites can be considered a waste of time but imagination is crucial to a child’s growth and development. Many children play dress up because they show interest in what they want to be when they finally grow up. With the increase of internet use having games and websites that contain dress-up game content will provide assistance for their growth."Some smart choices from a very smart guy. For his purchases, tenacity, instincts, name purchases and developed domains into brands and businesses in the biggest recession most have ever known- Bill Kara is hereby anointed one of Domaning's Most Fascinating People for 2010.
Photos: Fusible, DomainGang and Barbara Dillman Neu.