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An Interview with

Jonathan Boswell, CEO, LeaseThis.com

By Derek Iwasiuk

June 29, 2007

Mr. Boswell, could you tell the readers of DomainInformer a little about yourself and your responsibilities at LeaseThis.com?

I am an enthusiastic entrepreneur who loves the domain industry. As CEO of LeaseThis.com it is my job to bring advertisers and domain owners together in a meaningful and rewarding way. My background is in creative arts along with technology so I think I am able to understand and communicate with both sides of the equation because I know what keeps both groups awake at night.

How did you come up with the idea of establishing a company like LeaseThis.com and launching a domain lease service?

My partners and I knew there had to be a way to get domains into the hands of people who needed or wanted them the most and at the same time bring more value to domain owners. Domains are valuable assets and purchases have become so costly that it keeps a lot of businesses that do not understand domain valuation out of the market. We wanted to create a way to bring them back to the table. The next challenge was to make the solution scalable. Of course, we are always growing and learning, but I believe LeaseThis.com has solved these issues.

Tell us more about the whole procedure, i.e. from the contact you make with a domain owner to the day when an advertiser starts using a leased domain.


Fundamentally we are a marketplace – a place where domain leasing can occur on a scalable level. Our task is two fold – aggregate domain inventory and aggregate consumers. We do broker transactions on specific domains, but much more emphasis is placed on facilitating the larger marketplace. In its simplest form a domain owner lists their domain, an advertiser finds it and secures a lease. We simply facilitate that process.

Can the advertisers and domain owners bargain to reach a mutually beneficial price or is it that the domain owners set up a price and wait until someone pays it?

We encourage transparent pricing. More than 95% of our online inventory has a fixed lease price with the option to buy at a listed purchase price. On some of the premium one-word dotcom domains there is a bit more back and forth. We have a fantastic staff that helps facilitate what would otherwise be a complicated and frustrating process for all parties. LeaseThis.com specializes in taking the hassle out of domain leasing.

What problems can arise from this quite complicated triple relationship?

I would say it’s the other way around. Often the process becomes far more complicated and risky by not having an unbiased third party. We handle all technical issues, billing, escrow, customer support, contracts, legal liabilities and the list goes on!

Have you had any yet?

Yes

Let's say that an advertiser has leased a domain has received a lot of benefits from using it. Yet, when the lease expires they cannot buy the domain. Doesn't this mean that they will thus lose a lot of traffic?

All lease terms are clearly presented to all parties involved. Everyone is in a situation they are 100% happy with otherwise there is no lease. If an advertiser has leased a domain for traffic and they stop leasing then they obviously lose the traffic. Of course there are plenty of advertisers who are interested in “brand leasing” which has the option to buy. Essentially it’s where a business - say SeattleDoctor.com - can try a domain for a year, make sure that it works for them and then buy it.

LeaseThis hosts websites for lessees. Do you plan to expand in the hosting industry?

We are in the process of partnering with one of the top hosting companies in the industry to offer valuable services to our clients.

How do you see the domain lease service develop in future? Do you think that you will soon have big competitors?

As more people begin to understand the “try before you buy” model that we are promoting I think the space will become huge. Domain development is experiencing some exciting growth. I like to tell investors, “Save your capital for development… lease the domain with an option to buy”. The domain leasing model makes so much sense that it can’t help but become huge. Inevitably competitors will come along, but we have a huge head start and have developed very advanced technologies that will be difficult to build, not to mention our Patent Pending technology. Ultimately, the most important thing is the fantastic relationships we have with our clients.

Mr. Boswell, you attended the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference held in New York last week, with LeaseThis as a sponsor of the show. Could you describe the atmosphere at the event?

Exciting entrepreneurial evolution. It sounds weird but that’s what it is. We are in this new age of change, consolidation and development within the industry. Private equity and interactive advertising are starting to pay attention. Domain owners are thinking beyond traditional monetization models. There is some unrest matched with real excitement. I love it.

What were the main topics discussed at the conference? Did anything big happen there?

The main question or theme discussed seemed to be “What is the next evolution in the industry?” The space is changing rapidly. Individuals and companies that are able to quickly adapt and respond to the marketplace will be richly rewarded.

What was it for you and your company? Will what you learned there lead to any changes in the way you do your business?

We had a major announcement with NameMedia that they have partnered with us to offer their entire portfolio for lease through LeaseThis.com.

What is next on your schedule of events?

SES and Domain Round Table. See you there!


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