They appear to be average American women. They meet in parenting chat rooms and discussion lists to exchange photos of their kids, cheer on each other's pregnancies and ccasionally complain about their husbands' snoring. They swap recipes and advice on schools and diets. They seem normal in every way.
But these women share an obsession - a dark secret that their offline friends may not understand.
'Stop me before I domain again,' jokes Nita Jackson of OrganizeTips.com < http://www.organizetips.com >.
These all-American women are also webmasters; entrepreneurs who feel a rose by any other name should get registered before someone else snaps it up.
'Every word or name that you hear, you wonder if it is taken as a dot.com or dot.net,' says Wendy Shepherd of ComputerMommy.com < http://www.computermommy.com >. 'I dream about new domains at night, and am always looking at something and wondering if it is a domain name yet.'
According to NetNames, there are over 22 million dot-com names registered around world with ICANN estimating that 21,000 new domains (of all kinds) registered weekly. If you've ever had a problem getting name of your choice, this is a factor.
'Our company owns about 150 domains right now,' says Nancy Price of Myria Media < http://myriamedia.com >. 'To one degree or another, about 30 are in use right now. The others are saved for future development, to protect our trademarks and/or intellectual property (such as, variations of names of our main sites) and also some generic terms.'
Like Price, most of women buy names for their business use. Surprisingly few of them collect domains with idea of selling them later.
'The second I bought my first domain, I fell in love. Ever since, I change projects about twice a year,' says Amy Fleeman of ColumbusMoms.com < http://www.columbusmoms.com >. Amy has made a little bit of money selling domains she owns, but is picky about who she sells to. 'I tend to sell cheaper than I should because I want them to go to 'good homes,' (ie other webmasters I know do good work vs some stranger on eBay).'