New owner of Vacation.Rentals shares more about why they spent half a million dollars on the domain


I wrote a post last week about the $500,300 sale of Vacation.Rentals brokered by Brooke from Uniregistry. While I was really happy for Brooke/Uniregistry, the new domain owner, and Donuts, I wrote the post to caution new investors to not spend their life savings on .Rental domains.

Big sales like this can cause people to do crazy things and I feel that as a blogger who has a lot of new domain investors reading my blog, it’s important for me to help people stay grounded.

This post has already become one of my most-read posts of 2018 and a number of people jumped in to share their two cents, one of those people was Michael Kugler, who is actually from the company that purchased Vacation.Rentals. I think it’s pretty darn awesome that Michael took the time to comment and share his perspective so I wanted to highlight this and share it with all of you:

Hi Morgan,

Appreciate the write up and wanted to speak to a few of the replies. I have played in the SEO game as well for a long time (20 years – Warrior Forum – SEMRush – SEO PowerSuite – Moz – and many others) As of right now, we are indexing faster than we expected and inquiries are coming in a little too quick as well.

When someone says to me dot com dot net dot us my immediate question back is “What is a dot com?” When I tell the search engines we are a dot rentals – they know exactly what the site is and the niche area they need to put our site in – much like a Barnes and Noble directory tags showing a section for Travel or Music or Cooking. The old Barnes and Noble used to be fiction/non-fiction (.com – .net) Times are changing in my opinion.

In the end, we are thrilled to have made the purchase – I have been chasing this domain for 2.5 years through a monitoring service and it took me (literally) 5 seconds to settle the deal and make the offer. (Yes, the $300 was on purpose – I wanted to knock Blake Janover off of the top spot with :D)

In the end, we will market heavily and provide excellent customer service to our travelers and homeowners and I believe we will do okay with .rentals

Have a good one, Mike

Thanks for sharing Mike and congrats on the purchase, can’t wait to see Vacation.Rentals continue to grow, oh and next time I go to Tahoe…I think I’ll probably take it for a spin!

{ 18 comments… add one }

  • JZ April 14, 2018, 9:15 am

    When I tell the search engines we are a dot rentals – they know exactly what the site is and the niche area they need to put our site in –

    How does he tell search engines this? By the domain? I guess keywords in a domain are suddenly invalid? ok..

  • Alex Verdea April 14, 2018, 9:25 am

    “What is a dot com?” Really?? Sounds like the new owner is trying to make excuses of why he didn’t or couldn’t buy the .com and or pet himself on the shoulder believing it was money well spent…
    If they will market heavily, I would be curious to know how much of that traffic will be lost to the .com

  • Donny April 14, 2018, 11:59 am

    You know what is impressive to me? The broker Brooke who sold this name@ uniregistry to them for 500k. As far as search engines goes the SEO will only get harder with 4 spots being taken by google by paid ads. When google allows the next spot 5 basically 70% of page will be paid ads. Going to be tough.

    • John April 14, 2018, 12:05 pm


  • steve brady April 14, 2018, 1:41 pm

    GoDaddy sent me a Domain Transfer Authorization on behalf of a GoDaddy Auctions buyer, so I called GoDaddy asking: “Does Godaddy bill the seller a fee for transferring a domain to a new Registry?”

    GoDaddy’s phone representative replied, “How much did you sell the domain for?”

  • Joseph Peterson April 14, 2018, 1:44 pm

    As a brand name / online address, Vacation.Rentals is very different from “AirBNB”. We’ll see how the younger business fares alongside the more established brand. The domain will only be 1 factor, obviously.

  • Michael Kugler April 14, 2018, 2:56 pm

    Hi Morgan,

    Thank you for the followup post. It has been interesting to read the replies and get peoples perspectives. Honestly, it does not bother me because we – all of us – truly have no idea what will and what won’t take off. I can say with absolute comfort and tranquility I have never once regretted buying the domain. Not one single time.

    And for people saying it will have no impact on search engines, let me state this – you are wrong, period. I have irrefutable proof that it is working – and we are a brand new, from nowhere website, that has not spent 1 single penny on advertising – not yet at least.

    I am going to upload an image to this link right here that was taken last week from our PowerSuite snapshot and titled it Morgan Linton for this group to see. (Towards the bottom)

    Again, this is with ZERO marketing. No FB ads, no radio, nothing. This is a site that is sitting out there being developed as we speak and is picking up inquiries both from travelers and homeowners.

    Will we get them all? Of course not.

    But the monthly loose search volume for “vacation rentals” is 127 million (see link) Even if we only get 1% of that traffic – I can live with that and will die a very happy and satisfied man. Conversely, if we don’t even get the 1%, I will still die happy. Great wife, great kids, great parents and in laws, and the knowledge that I at least tried. That alone will put me at peace.

    Thank you again for the follow up article.

    With respect, Mike and Handan Kugler
    Vacarent, LLC

  • Brat April 14, 2018, 9:51 pm

    Firstly let me say I believe your a good sincere guy and i like your blog. The following is referring to the author of the comment in your post and not you. So when i say “you” I mean him

    “When someone says to me dot com dot net dot us my immediate question back is “What is a dot com?” When I tell the search engines we are a dot rentals – they know exactly what the site is…”

    Scratching my head….. so you asked people about .com and didn’t ask the about .rentals?
    Then you tell a search engine about .rentals and it know what it means…..Hello! Search engines pretty much know everything these days. Most people probably don’t know what zaftig is but i bet you a search engine can tell you.

    Looks like he intentionally uses a play on words………

  • Jonathan April 14, 2018, 11:03 pm

    So you’re ranking for stuff people don’t search on. But for the terms you want to rank for right from your title tag:

    vacation homes for rent – Let’s do a Google search:…….0…1..64.psy-ab..0.0.0….0.zOSzxEeBJto

    Page 1 – not your site – not your site
    bunch of other sites, usually brandables

    Yours, nowhere to be found in first 10 pages

    • SEO April 15, 2018, 1:59 am

      I see them on page 2 for “vacation rentals”

      Not too shabby for a domain launched 2 weeks ago

    • Michael Kugler April 15, 2018, 6:03 am

      “…So you’re ranking for stuff people don’t search on…”

      Strange you would say that, because you are again absolutely wrong. Every single day we receive calls from homeowners who have “found” us and want to list on the site.

      Next thing – you brought up vacation homes for rent. I will tell you this and you can accept it for fact or fallacy. I literally changed the title tag 2 days ago to begin pursuing that. Previously, it was “No Fee Vacation Rentals” which ranked very well for us. In other words, we are trying different combinations of things to see what works and what doesn’t. We are in the infancy stage and will play around with many combinations to see what creates the desired result.

      (Have to run… phone’s ringing – it’s someone else who found us on the internet and wants to list…)

  • adam April 15, 2018, 9:42 am

    Although I totally disagree with your thoughts about this name, ranking, etc and think the domain buy was foolish, I commend you for having the fortitude to believe in yourself and your methods and go for it. It takes a lot of guts to lay out $500k for ANYTHING , let alone a new TLD domain name. There’s not a lot of people who have that nerve or who have done that before. I like your attitude about the whole thing. Good luck man ! Curious did you pay all cash for the name ? Finance ? That’s a big chunk of marketing money that you could have used to make other moves.

    • Michael Kugler April 15, 2018, 10:14 am

      Thanks Adam, time will tell. If I am wrong, it was a fool hardy. If I am right, it was sheer cunning. I was willing to take a stab at it just to see how it goes.

      We paid cash – 3 payments as agreed.

      Several people wondered why Donuts insisted on the extra 300. Here’s the thing – they didn’t – I did. It was my idea to tack on the extra $$. The reason is very simple. Everyone remembers who won the Superbowl but it is very rare when you find someone who can tell you who lost the Superbowl. Same holds true here.

      We have had an astonishing amount of free press and discussion over this for the past 3 or 4 days that would have set us back a small fortune if we would have had to buy this kind of exposure. For $300 more it was a steal.

      Plus, we were aware of this website as well, and wanted to leap frog Blake by a couple of spots. Putting us just over and under

      The 500 was never in question – adding a couple extra bucks to get immediate and heavy exposure (we didn’t ask for this – it has just happened) has been priceless.

      Yes, we could have went with something like or and used the other 499 to market the blazes out of it, trying to get someone – anyone – to remember

      Or, we could take a veritable SEO monster, throw some solid cash behind it beyond the purchase price, put together a great CS team and product and see how this one goes.

  • Andrew Hyde April 15, 2018, 10:01 am didn’t cut it, went back to A few years back someone bought for 1 million, not sure how that worked out, but guess is was not well. Vacation rentals are globally sought out and searched for, people understand .com universally, but having more relevant domain names that point to segments of your business can’t be bad. And, it’s still better than traditional advertising rates. We have some long tail vacation rental domain names on the block now, and a few more, combined they would sell for more than what was spent on this purchase.

  • Richard Hearne April 16, 2018, 4:54 am

    Google has stated multiple times that they do not use or recognise the TLD, apart from using ccTLD for localised national results. It’s important to correct the claim that using a .rentals or .anything TLD will directly impact how Google and other search engines will view your site. There may be some indirect relevance passed via anchor text, but nothing due to the gTLD used.

    • Michael Kugler April 16, 2018, 8:41 am

      Richard, you are 100% correct and I knew this more than a year ago. Conversely, Google is not going to penalize either. So in effect I bought “Vacation”…. The .Rentals part is what makes it easy to say and remember for clients and travelers. Just an opinion and nothing more. But I apologize if I portrayed the TLD as being immediately relevant to the industry.

      (Then again… if things shift…. 😉 )

      Have a good one, Mike

      • JZ April 16, 2018, 9:06 am

        Yeah but you said this

        ” When I tell the search engines we are a dot rentals – they know exactly what the site is and the niche area they need to put our site in ”

        which makes it seem like you don’t know what you are talking about.

        • Michael Kugler April 16, 2018, 9:23 am

          Not necessarily, because I still believe that it will happen. That is just me. As Google, Bing, and Yahoo are forced to start dealing with more and more of these gTLDs they will either have to ignore them outright or start looking at them more like .gov, .mil, .edu

          They may not and it will still not change the position that I am in which is that I am completely comfortable with the purchase we made.

          A simple search for “Vacation Rentals” on Google this morning and we are #12. I can live with that – especially considering that the site is 6 days old.


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