On the Record: The Story of Print.com

Media Options is excited to partner up with James Iles for a new series of articles called: On The Record.

When I first started brokering domain names James had a big part to play in my education. He has been interviewing and writing on the domain industry for years. The story of a domain name sale or acquisition is really the story of a brand. Domain names are at the intersection of strategy, scaling and branding.

This new series of articles will get into the details on several amazing brands and why they acquired their perfect domain name.

On the Record: Why This Entrepreneur Paid a Pretty Penny for Print.com

It’s been well over a decade since Dutch entrepreneur Marco Aarnink founded his first printing company. A wealth of experience and a history of success in the print industry meant that he was able to secure the incredible Print.com domain name for his new venture.

With Print.com in his possession, his new company has grown from strength to strength. In this edition of “On the Record”, we talk with Marco about his purchase of Print.com, discovering why he chose to pay a rumored seven-figure fee for the Print.com domain name.

print.com screenshot

Can you tell us a little about Print.com and your business background?

At the end of 2005, I founded Drukwerkdeal.nl/Printdeal.com: the first online printing company that combined orders. Rapid growth followed, and we quickly became a manufacturer with 200 employees. Our playing field was the Netherlands and Belgium. I decided to sell the company to Cimpress (formerly known as Vistaprint) in 2014. Drukwerkdeal.nl/Printdeal.com was the first B2B, “upload and print”, acquisition in their portfolio.

On your website, it says you purchased the domain name in August 2017. When did you first consider acquiring Print.com?

It’s no secret that I’m very passionate about the printing industry. I bought Print.com in 2017 and wassurprised that nobody beat me to the punch. After all, short domain names that contain such a distinctive product name are the real estate of the future. And they’re getting scarce: most of them are taken by now.

How did you first learn that the domain Print.com was for sale?

I thought ‘let’s try typing www.print.com’ and found an empty page.

Were the negotiations fairly straightforward? Did you have a firm budget in mind considering your background in the print industry?

I knew what I wanted to spend, but I did hire a domain broker to assist me.

Did you use any data (such as similar domain sales prices) to determine your best offer for the domain?

Not really. Sure, I took it into account but above all, I based my decision on my knowledge of the print market. I know how big it is and how to earn money in this industry.

Can you disclose the price you paid? Why was the name worth that amount, for you?

Sorry, no can do. There are some speculations, and yes: it cost a pretty penny. But it was money well spent as far as I’m concerned. This domain is my most important marketing tool, especially since this is the second time I’m entering this particular market. Only the best ingredients are good enough for this adventure.

How have your customers and colleagues reacted to your Print.com domain? Have you had any feedback on the domain specifically?

Absolutely: people like it, and it’s easy to remember. Back in the day, people used to abbreviate ‘Drukwerkdeal.nl’ to ‘drukwerk.nl’. Annoying! That won’t happen with this domain name.

Print.com seems to be rapidly expanding, with the acquisition of two companies and a new office location this year alone. What part, do you think, did acquiring Print.com have in this success?

The Print.com domain and especially the investment that came along with it says everything about our commitment to the market and our huge ambitions.

What would be your advice for a startup, or established company that may be interested in purchasing a premium domain name?

It’s the “real estate of the future”. Choose wise, and you’ll be off to a great start.


This interview has been edited for clarity