Domain Spotlight:

Bill McClure Cremates the Competition When it Comes to Domaining

A couple of days ago, I came across CremationServices.com in my journey across the internet. Curious, I reached out to the owner for an interview.  Bill McClure answered my query and it turns out he’s a longtime fan of DSAD and Domain Shane (I mean, who isn’t?).   You may recognize Bill’s name from the 1999 purchase of eFlowers.com from Marc Ostrofsky and the later million-dollar sale. 

Bill describes himself as a “half-baked developer,” always moving forward with the intention of developing.  I can relate to that as I’m sure many of you can.  Bill has a nice portfolio which I was able to find online and some great sales under his belt as well.  Bill was kind enough to share his thoughts and experience with us all.  

Mike: Bill, I always love interacting with other domainers.  Can I venture to guess that, based on some of your past sales, domaining is your full-time gig / hobby?

Bill:   Yes, domaining is one of my full time gigs. At my age of 65, it is time to be paring down my domains.  I do not have a child who is interested and it is time to clean house. My wife Jammie and I work full time in the domains space to either develop what we have or put it up for sale.

Mike:  I came across CremationServices.com and I see you have several other names in this category.  What event or circumstance drew your attention to this space?

Bill:  I was raised in the funeral business, we lived above the funeral home in my little “one hearse town of Sentinel, Oklahoma.  It was my first career and I owned 4 funeral homes by the time I was thirty. 

Today, the way families think about death and dying has changed in the past 25 years.  In 1970, less than 5% of the deaths in the United States were cremated and 95% chose traditional burial.  In 2015, cremation surpassed and more people being cremated than the choice of ground burial. By 2030, industry experts believe the cremation rate will be 70%.

With Baby boomers’ deaths are on the rise.  Younger generations are choosing cremation and green funerals ……with a rise expected in both.  As the popularity has grown, so has the acceptance in religious faiths world-wide. Religions that once frowned on cremation are accepting it and even building columbarium’s on site.

Mike, I know this is a long answer, but it is why I chose to find the owner of www.CremationServices.com, buy the domains and develop it into a national service for millennials and serving baby boomers.

It also why I sought out and purchased several cremation and funeral related domains, including CremationSocieties.com, CremationInsurance.com and FuneralExpense.com. All two-word of these domains that are primary category end-user properties for the funeral industry.  

I believe these are perfect properties to partner with either as a new national provider, group or chain operator in the death care industry.  It can be an answer to industry disrupter, Cremation.  I would sell this domain.

Mike:  You mentioned that you’re a developer.  Long ago I decided that I wouldn’t buy any domain I wasn’t willing to develop myself.  Do you have a similar philosophy?

Bill:  Yes, I have always bought domains in industries that I liked, knew something about and felt like we could develop and build a business.  Unfortunately, it becomes an addiction and you cannot start that many businesses and do any of them well.

Mike:  How long have you been in the domain game? How did you get your start?

Bill:    In 1994 I bought Flowers Direct, an 800 flower phone company.  We acquired the cured trademark and the domain name in about March of 1995.  We later sold that Company to FTD 2002.  I was hooked on buying domains.

Mike:  What is one of the best names you have ever owned? What is the highest amount you have sold a domain for?  

Bill:  My favorite domain of all time is my last name McClure.com.  Garry Chernoff, a fellow domainer made me a fair deal on it a number of years ago.  

The best Domainneflowers.com.  In late, 1997, we bought eFlowers.com when EBay, eToys, eTrade and every other e-something was hot.  In 2002, FTD bought this domain for $1 million and at the same time bought the Flowers Direct company for over $6,000,000.   

In 2002, My son Mark, and a fine young man, Chad Jaquays, started TrafficStrategies.com, headquartered in Tampa, Florida.  We built this lead gen company up and sold it (and 40 real estate and mortgage domains) to Rakuten, Tokyo, Japan in 2007 who also bought Linkshare and Buy.com as well.

In 2008, we bought Coffee.org from a coffee grower in Hawaii for $100,000.  We tried to buy Coffee.com at the time and didn’t close the deal. We then bought a couple of coffee roasters and began roasting coffee and shipping online.  We also bought the domain www.Coffee.Club  (which is a subscription coffee business), CoffeeSupplies.com, BusinessCoffee.com, HotelCoffee.com, CoffeeRoaster.com, CoffeeBags.com and many more.  We have shipping over 30 million cups of coffee the past 10 years.

My son Mark, started a Commercial Insurance agency with CommercialInsurance.net.  He has grown it to over 15,000 customers and over 100,000 insurance leads a year. He has recently sold off the book of business and now has the lead gen business.

I have acquired a number of good flower domains and built them in to operating sites, ie www.Bouquet.com, (a new launch coming in a week.)  USAFlorist.com, ExpressFlorist.com, MilitaryFlorist.com and 300 more.

Mike:  I mentioned you have a nice portfolio. Would you say you make most of your revenue from selling names or from developing them?

Bill: I have never really been a seller of domains.  I have sold a few along the road, so most of my revenue has come from ecommerce stores or lead gen affiliate domains.

Mike:  What have you found to be the most effective means to sell your domains?   Do you wait for a buyer to find you, leverage brokers, domain sale platforms?

Bill:   I am just now listing my portfolio of domains for sale on a variety of platforms, Afternic, Epik, Godaddy, Efty, NameJet and Sedo.  Because I have had developed sites, I have not received inquiries.

Mike:  What advice do you have for those looking to make their mark in domaining?

Bill:  Number 1. Buy the very best domain you can afford.  Do that 10 times.  Develop them, next year, do the same thing.  In ten years, you with have 100 sites.   Sell a few along the way.  Do not go and buy 1,000.  It is too confusing.  I wish my life was simpler.

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2 Replies to “Bill McClure Cremates the Competition When it Comes to Domaining”

  1. I met Bill at Rick’s Asheville meetup, but only briefly. I wish I spoke to him longer because he was a very nice guy and likely had a lot of wisdom to share. Great interview!

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