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Meet the woman who bought a domain name instead of a house

Business founder spent house deposit on a domain name.

I got a kick out of an article in the Sydney Morning Herald today.

The story features Posse.com founder Rebekah Campbell. Campbell bought the Posse.com domain name with $28,000 of her savings.

“My mother was upset with me about that,” says Campbell. “She had found me a house to buy and I told her: ‘I can’t buy it. I just bought a domain name.'”

The domain name, normally a very cheap purchase, was already owned by somebody else which made it much more expensive.

Her mother simply asked: “Can you live in a domain name?”

No, you can’t live in a domain name. But I think domain name investor Merlin Kauffman, who sold her the domain, gave her a very fair price for it. (I’m not sure if the price was Australian dollars or U.S. dollars. Right now they’re at about parity.)

Later in the article it mentions that Campbell sank another $100,000 of her money into the startup, so I think the story about it being her deposit on the house is just a nice opener.

You can read more about Posse.com here.

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Reader Interactions


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  1. Acro

    And yet it ranks at the bottom of page #1 in Google, outranked by various Wikipedia and Urban Dictionary references. For $28k she could have made up a name for her company.

  2. Josh

    I visited the page, no immediate idea of what its all about, lost interest after 30 seconds of reading its the best place on earth 4 times and left. Maybe it just contains the wrong vowel for me.

  3. MC

    Pretty irksome though when a site requires you to login to another site to use it. I can tell you she’s lost at least one new user right off the bat.

    • Andrew Allemann

      @ Acro – if the term is descriptive of the service being offered then that’s certainly a goal. In this case it’s not descriptive. It meets the goal of being easy to remember and lends credibility to the site.

  4. @Domains

    I’d agree one word generic domains have more use than just search engine rankings. For example, it looks good for Progressive Insurance to own Progressive.com, Apple computers to own Apple.com, etc. Makes it easier for people to find your website, and it’s an ego stroke.

  5. Stephen Douglas


    Hi Theo, I have to go with Dub-A on this one. Generic keyword domains in .com are about backbranding, not about “typeins” and the old school suffering about the easy life of watching non-transparent payments come in from SE’s.

    I’ve sold domains for tens of thousands that have literally had no more than 1000 Google page results, and those domains have been bought by absorbing tech companies.

    Generic domains are clearly about one thing: BRANDING THE COMPANY’S PRODSERVS (“backbranding”). Why? Because it’s easier to remember “ToughTruck dotcom” than “F350 Ford Dual Cab”.

    (note: I did not look up who owns “tough truck”, just blathered here to make a point I think I have a lot of experience in.)

  6. Acro

    Stephen – With generics, the problem is that they are hard to brand. So to best use a generic, it really needs to be one with traffic. To get traffic naturally, the word needs to be popular and common, such as apple, cheese, cat, boss, etc. Posse isn’t. As a brand, it’s not #1. For a domain existing as a brand for 4 full years, that’s not spectacular. Not sure why the story made it now, it was sold in 2008. Also, NameBio lists the sale at $24,500 for some reason.

  7. Stephen Douglas


    Oh no… please Acro don’t say you’re giving me a “schooling” on domain branding. I don’t think I could handle it!

    A “backbrand” domain just means it represents a prodserv of a company, in the clearest generic term. It doesn’t have to have tons of typein traffic, unless you’re still stuck in 2005. All you need to do as a New Media marketing genius is to USE the backbranded domain in your adsense, and offsite branding. Hmm. I am the New Media VP of Marketing at Siemens. We make Digital Mammograms. We know that at least five other major corporations make digital mammograms too. Not a big typein domain UNLESS WE PROMOTE IT as our BACKBRAND.

    Then our competitors, our buyers, our distributors, etc, all know what domain to type in their browser to get to our site for DIGITAL MAMMOGRAM —dotcom. Yeah, that’s right. Our company OWNS the natural on this product. BACKBRANDED.

    Thanks for your attempt to help me understand tho, Theo. I was thinking I was lost without you!


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