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Posts tagged: David Johnston

Spokane startup Business Texter leaps to the head of the business-texting pack

It would be hard to find today's local business story looking for it on  It's just one of two locally written business stories, but we sometimes make it hard to find them.

The story looks at the efforts of startup firm Business Texter, a smart idea using good software to help businesses interact with customers' cell phones.

The photo shows CTO David Johnston and CEO Aaron Rollins, on the roof of the Steam Plant building in downtown Spokane. No, that's not their office. The business is small enough that the company has no actual office.

Johnston and Rollins are considering taking some space in the Launchpad shared office environment being put together on the third level of Steam Plant Square. Here's a schematic of that rentable space.

SR photo by Colin Mulvany


One Spokane domainer’s take on how to make money investing in business sites

The Review's story on area domainers last week quoted David Johnston as an example of a new breed. Instead of buying and holding (parking) a domain and hoping someone will buy it, more people are buying an existing or pre-registered site, then developing it.

It's akin to real estate flipping. Johnston, whose business provides website optimization,  is an example of that type of flipper. You can spend hours reading about the how-to or how-not-to make money doing this. Johnston said, in our interview, he spends hours every day trying to keep up with the domain business.

Johnston wanted to add the following comments at the bottom of last weekend's story. I didn't see that it landed there, and I wonder if he ran into a technical glitch.

So he sent it to me and I'm posting it here. (I will also add it to the story comments, citing him as the source). Go to the jump below the main box to read his entire comment.

    The new craze right now for cashing in on domains is to buy a good domain, build a site with something to sell, use paid ads like Google Adwords and Microsoft Adcenter and ramp up sales. This is done even with zero profit. Some are calling it “domain flipping.”

   Most people making a full time living “domaining” bought most of their inventory before the lion's share of good domains were purchased, or they are getting good deals buying premium domains now. I have a close friend managing 16,000 domains, and Google wiped him out as he was making money from ads. He has bought and sold domains for years and thinks the industry is too difficult to make a buck in.

   In his circle you can't even call yourself a “domainer” unless you have thousands of sites and selling them is not your only source of revenue. And yes, the renewal rates are usually higher than the discount rates you get buying it initially, especially if you are part of Godaddy's domain club.

    Anyway, when the scam domain flippers sell the website the buyer is going to look at sales to decide if your asking price is worth it. Profit is different. Most buyers think “sales” is the hard part and profit can be fixed. There is a little truth to that, but be wary.

   A site may pay almost 100 percent of the gross sales amount in advertising fees and run the business at a loss just to have high gross volume.

   Let's say Google Pay Per Click (PPC) costs $50 to make the sale, but the sales price is only $50. Google might let you buy 100 sales a day making it look like you have a million-dollar-plus business.

   The sad truth is, the person may be doing a “pump and dump” which means when you buy the website you are stuck trying to figure out how to make money where there is none to be had. Many times these situations happen in high competition markets where you don't have a chance without a big budget cushion anyway.


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The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.

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John Stucke John Stucke is a deputy city editor who helps build local news coverage and writes about health care, bankruptcy and rural affairs.

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Alison Boggs Online Producer Alison Boggs posts and manages content on and its social networking accounts.

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Scott Maben Scott Maben is a Deputy City Editor who covers North Idaho news and higher education.

Addy Hatch is the city editor, and formerly was business editor.

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