08|23|2011 06:22 pm EDT
Importers.com was owned by Canadian Company Live Current Media (previously known as Communicate) and was purchased by a domain investor in 2010. The domain was purchased strictly for the inherent value of the name itself with the intent to switch off the business and replace it with a parked page. Instead the domain investor was also able to obtain the current website and existing user base and has now revived the site with the help of another Canadian company.
The website was originally started in 2003 but day-to- day growth and management of the business was ceased by its previous owners in 2007. Despite a lack of leadership and support, the community continued to expand to over 400,000 members.
Left of the Dot Media, has relaunched the site with a new look and new features. Over the past year the company has worked to create a platform to support their business model and renovate the Importers.com site. Key component to the company’s business model is to lease out subdomains under premium domains and to build a directory-style site for the domain itself. Depending on the vertical the domain covers, there may be additional custom features added.
The site is now adding about 1,000 users every week and competes directly with Alibaba.com and TradeKey.com which are valued at $10B and $2B respectively. Based on a value of between $50 and $120 per customer (as used by Alibaba & TradeKey), the operators feel that Importers.com has an implied value of at least $17.5M.
Left of the Dot has introduced three different membership types and trust certifications to the site and added the ability to lease premium subdomains for prices ranging from $25-$199 per month, called “marketing names“. According to the company, hundreds of the sites existing subdomains are already listed in the top 3 search results in the search engines.
“A memorable generic name like Importers.com is equivalent to quality real estate, the Park Places and Boardwalks of the domain industry”, says John Lyotier, Co-Founder at Left of the Dot, “Importers.com represented the virtual equivalent of renovating an entire city centre and giving businesses all the tools they need to grow and prosper – it’s good for each business and good for the community. The key for us is enabling importers and exporters to lease their very own sub-domains (Marketing Names) off the Importers.com brand so that they can become a valuable part of the community.”
[via Press Release]
Disclaimer: The author, Frank Michlick, is now an external Technical Adviser for Left of the Dot Media and was CTO until the end of July 2011.