WordPlay.com: Interview with Dharmesh Shah on his #domain acquisition at Sedo

Mr. Dharmesh Shah – Photo courtesy of HubSpot.com

The six figure sale of WordPlay.com stood out as this week’s top domain sale at Sedo.

The domain was acquired by Mr. Dharmesh Shah, co-founder and CTO of HubSpot, a popular developer and marketer of software products for inbound marketing, sales, and customer service.

Despite the $100,000 dollar ticket price, this transaction did not involve HubSpot; WordPlay.com is a pricey yet ideal upgrade from WordPlay.today. Registered in 1994, the domain was listed for sale on Sedo.com with an $100k price tag.

Already an active web site, WordPlay.com is now hosting a souped-up version of Wordle, the wildly popular mind game of words.

Just like many others around the world, Dharmesh Shah loves playing Wordle and created his own version as a personal challenge and to demonstrate to his 11 year old “what was possible with programming by actually developing an application and launching it to the public.”

We reached out to Dharmesh Shah about his domain acquisition and he’s been extremely kind to provide us with a quick interview:

DomainGang: Why did you pick “WordPlay” as the name of your Wordle variant, as opposed to a made up name?

Dharmesh Shah: This project originally started as a weekend coding project called “First Word.” For that project, I bought the domain name FirstWord.com. But, later, I decided to make a full-fledged game and came across the domain name WordPlay.com. Although it was for sale for more than I was looking to spend, I fell in love with the domain name.

DomainGang: What made you decide to use a dedicated domain name? Once you found out it was taken, what was the process to acquire it?

Dharmesh Shah: I’ve been a long-time acquirer/investor of domain names. In this particular case, it was listed for sale, and I didn’t negotiate the price. I was looking to close something quickly, as the app was really taking off and I didn’t want to have it live on the initial domain which was WordPlay.today.

DomainGang: WordPlay and HubSpot are both two-word composites. Such combinations create interesting brands. Which is your favorite similar brand and/or domain from the entrepreneurial world?

Dharmesh Shah: I like two-word composite names, because they give you some of the benefits of a purely synthetic name, but are often more approachable and easier to remember because they use common words. The OG (Original Gangster) composite-name in tech is Microsoft. A more recent one is ServiceNow.

DomainGang: Wordle has simple rules and it’s lean visually. WordPlay is graphically enhanced, with added functionality and add-on effects. Which classic game would you want to have a go at recreating?

Dharmesh Shah: Candidly, I’m not really a game developer — that’s not really my thing. I usually build business tools, such as Grader.com. WordPlay is mostly a hobby project that I built to meet my own needs. Then, it started taking off, so I build features for it on nights and weekends.

DomainGang: Your advice to entrepreneurs: Buy the best domain & then build the brand, or get the domain once the brand is built and known?

Dharmesh Shah: I generally advise entrepreneurs come up with a really good name for their startup; it’s worth the calories, so get the associated domain name early on. I don’t advise spending as much money as I did for WordPlay.com — but you can get really good domains for $1k-$5k.

DomainGang: Dharmesh, thank you very much for your time and for sharing with us some really important, and fun information about WordPlay. Wishing you best of success with the WordPlay project and with your future projects as well.

Follow Dharmesh Shah on Twitter, and make sure you go play WordPlay!

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5 Responses to “WordPlay.com: Interview with Dharmesh Shah on his #domain acquisition at Sedo”
  1. Scott says:

    Nice interview. Great domain insights from an entrepreneur/domain name buyer.

  2. DomainGang says:

    Scott – Thanks! It’s refreshing to witness this type of positive, creative approach with regards to domain names and brands.

  3. BullS says:

    Dharmesh Shah: I like two-word composite names————totally agree with him

    so what other domains does he own?

  4. Sky says:

    I sort of need to think twice whether wordplay is one word or two, like with footloose, cannonball, crossword, football.

    I do of course think wrong time in world ever to buy this lovely domain, but maybe it was a “strike while the irons hot” affair, especially if PR / pitch tactics are involved.

    There’s probably a few hundred million word game players floating around atm and nobody owns this tribe, or the aspects/sentiments/componants it values, which i think are a mixture of human, independent, geeky, underdog, non-exploitative, grassroots, enthusiasm.

    “it’s worth the calories” Love this.. Can’t stop, must shop.

    Good luck Mr Shah!

  5. Sky says:

    Play “TipOfTongle”
    Hint: Aspects
    Hint: Sentiments
    Hint: Components
    Hint: —————-
    Hint: —————-
    Hint: —————-
    Input: Characteristi__

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