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Mike Mann: Domain Industry Pioneer Unlocking the Value of Premium Domain Names
By SmartBranding Team access_time 5 min read


Our guest is Mike Mann, a visionary entrepreneur, domain name expert, and author who has been a significant domain industry figure since the mid-1990s. He has founded and grown multiple successful digital businesses, including,, and, and actively contributes to philanthropic causes through his Make Change Trust.

Meet our guest

Name: Mike Mann

What they do: Mike serves as the CEO of and is also the founder and operator of, widely recognised as the top domain name appraisal company in the world.

Interesting fact: Mike transitioned into the world of internet entrepreneurship without prior skills or experience but excelled by hiring talented individuals to help him build various companies and charities over the years.

Where to reach them:


Mike Mann is a visionary entrepreneur, domain name expert, and author who has been a significant domain industry figure since the mid-1990s.

Despite the wealth of online resources available, there needs to be more widespread education about the value of premium domain names among small business owners and the general public. Those who understand the importance often profit greatly, with premium domains leading to exponential growth and increased profits. In the last 20 years, the average sale price of premium .com domains has consistently risen, suggesting this trend will continue.

Mike Mann

People often overlook the potential of great .com domain names, especially for technology or web-based companies. Millions of companies don’t have great domains but still have great companies. So, people try to point those out as case studies. But what they’re overlooking and missing is that those companies would have been even more successful had they been building upon a great .com brand name at the same time.

Mike Mann

The wealthiest, smartest CEOs in the world, 500 out of 500, 100% use .com, and they have teams of the world’s smartest marketing, web, and advertising people all leveraging .com. If the smartest and wealthiest individuals choose .com, there’s gotta be something to that.

Mike Mann

Short overview

Mike shares how he entered the domain business in the mid-’90s, initially starting with an internet service provider in Washington, DC. After selling that company, he retained several premium domain names, like, underlining the growing importance of such assets. We talk about how the perception of domain names has shifted over time, leaving owners of valuable names with a positive outlook and leading to frustration for small business owners trying to register domains due to scarcity and difficulties valuing them.

Regarding domain names and their branding value, Mike stresses the need to educate small business owners and the public about their significance in building brand recognition and profitability. He emphasises the importance of premium .com domain names, stating that despite the initial high cost, they prove to be wise investments as their value appreciates over time, benefiting both the domain and the company. Mike notes that all 500 of the wealthiest CEOs worldwide exclusively use .com for their online presence.

Mike addresses the hype around AI domains and their value, acknowledging the popularity of .ai extensions but emphasising their lower value compared to .com domains. He highlights potential confusion and dilution of a brand when using non .com extensions, noting the increased value of owning the .com domain when others build on alternative extensions. Mike suggests that even if one cannot afford the .com domain, opting for alternative extensions like .ai may not be the best choice, as .com domains are generally more valuable and reliable. He also cautions against trusting other registrars with certain extensions due to potential risks and email issues, underscoring .com domains’ importance for corporate security.

Mike shares his journey in the charity world through his organisation Make Change Trust, discussing his shift towards supporting small organisations in South Florida personally, dedicating 80% of his charity efforts to local initiatives.

Talking about AI and domains, Mike emphasises the importance of human expertise in domain valuation alongside AI insights. He believes that human judgement remains critical in determining domain value, particularly for corporations, even as AI provides valuable insights. While domain valuation is complex, Mike’s company,, excels by combining human expertise with advanced tools for accurate appraisals and auction services.

A key priority for Mike in 2024 will be to enhance his company’s domain appraisal system, improve user interfaces, and optimise landing pages for search engines. Using artificial intelligence to purchase domains more intelligently at auctions, adapting to AI innovations, and maintaining a leading position in the domain name industry are some of his strategies.

Key moments

  • Domain name entrepreneurship and valuation. (0:03)
  • Domain names and their value in branding. (10:28)
  • AI domain names and their potential value. (22:44)
  • Domain names, risks, and legal considerations. (29:02)
  • Charity work and business investments. (32:47)
  • Leveraging AI for domain name valuation and sales and its potential impact on the industry.. (38:08)

We host engaging conversations about naming, branding, and entrepreneurship, exploring everything from initial triumphs to the hurdles along the way. If you’ve got insights on innovative branding strategies, lessons learned from entrepreneurial ventures, or thoughts on the significance of a solid domain name strategy, and you’re keen to chat about them, we’d love to hear from you!

Premium domain names are an important consideration when it comes to building and protecting your brand. If you’re ready to take the next step and invest in a premium domain name for your business, contact us to learn more about our available options and how we can help you get started.

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