I was surfing the other day and I just happened to wonder what type of business would be running on the domain name Stops.com. So, I typed it in, half expecting to find this keyword domain parked by its domain owner, waiting for an offer to come along. I was quite pleased when I came to find the Stops app living on this page.
With Stops, you can easily create your own geo-based content and products and keep them private or shared with specific people. You can also contribute them to the community (public) and share them outside the app to anywhere you want. Once you share, only those specific people can discover your content floating around in Augmented Reality, on Maps or in Search Results.
Eitan Chamberlin, CEO & Founder of Stops.com, Ltd. took on the questions I had for him about the name and running a business on a keyword dot com.
Mike: Tell me more about the app. How does it work, what does it do, and how do people leverage it?
Eitan: Stops is a geo-spatial search engine that helps people and businesses create and discover local content and products in 3D (Augmented Reality).
Our app also has lots of geo-tools like a ‘geo-based’ text messenger, allowing users to connect, share locations and collaborate on geo-based data. Users can also create their own stops by connecting any digital form of content (.doc, audio, link, image, video, product page) to any 3D location, and can adjust the altitude for drone considerations. Like you mentioned, a stop can be private, shared or public and you can either physically or virtually get to them.
All you need to do is open the Stops app and you’ll automatically discover the closest stops around you, from location-based Wikipedia articles, Yelp reviews, Google Places, social Meetups, YouTube videos, Spotify songs and user-contributed facts. We call this type of experience ‘passive search,’ given that search comes to you (by default), rather than you going to it by typing or using a verbal command. Every time you’re bored at a bus stop or train stop, just pop open our app and you’ll be surprised by what you might learn around you.
By the way, you can also ‘spoof your location’ by searching as if you are standing at any other location in the world. When you do, you’ll see the closest content to it (even your own), and that’s when you begin to see the magic of Stops and how our startup is building useful geo-centered tools for Travel, Education & Real Estate.
Mike: Stops.com is a short, descriptive keyword domain. How did you arrive at the name for the company and what made you decide to go after Stops.com?
Eitan: In 2005, I founded a travel company called SamsonTours.com. I’ve had the pleasure of personally guiding thousands of people, handling their reservations, and everything and in between (like spending nights in hospitals with travelers suffering from dehydration). Over the years I’ve gained a lot of wisdom and insight about the user travel experience – in particular how people try to connect factual data to real 3D locations and further, how they record and share their memories as they go from stop to stop.
It began to occur to me how often the word ‘stop’ is used in our day-to-day vocabulary (bus stops, train stops, pit stops, campaign stops, etc.) and really how the expression ‘stop and smell the roses’ encapsulates the essence of taking a moment to stop and learn about the things nearest you.
Once I came to the realization that all content has time and place – where and when it is from, its current status, and where it will be at any point in the future – my eyes were opened to the possibilities of Augmented Reality and I knew I had to have the Stops.com domain and create the brand.
Mike: Can you tell us what you paid for the name and what went into the acquisition of the name?
Eitan: On September 18th 2011, I made an initial offer to Telepathy through SecuredOffers.com.
Their asking price was high as I recall (around $40K). I was living with my wife in a small apartment at the time and I don’t think all our assets combined were worth that. I sent low counteroffers every few months after that, but they really stuck to their guns. I continued to save money and on July 22, 2013 they agreed to a final price of $16,500.
Mike: How important of a role do you feel geo-tracking has become and how will it continue to evolve?
Eitan: “Geo-tracking” is a scary term for most. People certainly enjoy the benefits of using mobile devices – navigating with maps, accessing local weather, ordering a taxi, booking a nearby hotel, or finding the store nearest them. Traditionally apps have had to be exceptional (like Google products) for the user to ignore their own paranoia and enjoy the benefits of faster, location-based search at the expense of personal privacy and data collection.
Fortunately, GDPR has been a real game changer for everyone and any startup that thinks that they can ‘track users’ without their permission doesn’t have a future.
Opt-in geo-tracking with companies people trust will ultimately remove much of the paranoia and let users communicate with IoT (so that your home’s air conditioner automatically turns on when you approach your home), engage differently with local businesses and products (local magazines and discounts auto-open based on location), discover the closest product or thing (like the closest store to buy a toothbrush) and receive better aggregated weather, traffic and security alerts for the user’s current location. In the future geo-tracking will also be used for validating and reducing risks for insurance and legal claims.
Mike: Because of the name alone, I imagine stops.com pulls in a high volume of traffic. Can you share your monthly traffic stats? How many people find the app the way I did, by typing it in?
Eitan: We might see a few hundred hits to our website on an average month from direct type-ins, several we assume to be out of domain curiosity. We’ve only recently made our app available to the public but do not currently spend marketing dollars. So, we know that at least with a good brand name you’ll have people peeking into your store or following your progression until your product makes sense to the market that needs it the most.
I get approached at least once a month by people interested in buying the domain – it’s always great to find someone else who has had the same brand epiphany for ‘Stops.com.’
Mike: Every entrepreneur I have met that has a great domain name has told me that a domain name alone is not enough to make you successful. What else goes into being successful online?
Eitan: The complete determination not to quit. To continue to believe that you are working to organize and access data in a way that will be useful for people.
Mike: Can we expect other apps to come from Stops.com, Ltd?
Eitan: Absolutely! We already have apps for Android, iOS & web. We’ve also built prototypes for Microsoft HoloLens, Apple CarPlay and Apple Watch and plan to launch those in the future. We expect that users will want to seamlessly access and sync their data across multiple platforms and devices.
Mike: For those that may be curious, how difficult is it to take an app from concept to reality?
Eitan: It’s really not much different from the hit series ‘Silicon Valley.’ It is highly advised to check your gag reflex before entering the startup scene.