Building MotherBoard: The $1.6M Offer

MotherBoard. We’re a little obsessed with the name over here. But it’s more than a name to us, it’s the platform from which to launch our community.  It also happens to be an “important piece of electronics” according to the person in the Cayman Islands who has been holding an iron grip on the domain name since 2003.

One of our top priorities was to bring MotherBoard to life with a proper domain name. And not just any name- one that gave due respect to the strong brand we were building. Searching for our ideal domain name felt a bit like match day for medical residents.  You put in your desired name and hope for your first choice as the Safari rainbow swirl pulls your fate out of the internet abyss.

No sooner could we say “MotherBoard” did we have our answer:

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 10.01.49 PM

We found comfort in the fact that while the domain name was owned, it was not in use. Surely we could purchase it. We could see that the owner had purchased it in 2003 (if only we had thought of this sooner!) and that the person was registered to an address in the Cayman Islands (pretty far from Cleveland).

MotherBoard Team, meet your squatter.

You can thank “cybersquatting” for contributing to the fact that most of the English language seems to be taken on the World Wide Web. The chances of registering a dictionary word as a domain are slim as more and more are registered to both legitimate users and squatters whose intent is to purchase a domain in order to turn a profit when someone comes along who reeeeallly wants it. Like us.

We conferred with our tech guru and he told us we had a few options:

  1. Fight for it.  Use an online bidding service through any domain registration site (Uniregistry, Go Daddy, etc.) and see what happens.  They charge about $70 and then 10% of what you settle on.
  2. Find the next best domain name.  There are many website extensions available and because so many dot com names are already taken, most people don’t view a creative extension as unusual anymore.
  3. Change your name or use additional words in your website name.

It was time to fight.  We all agreed that we needed “motherboard” and would give the bidding service a shot.  If that proved fruitless, then we would go for an alternative extension which would  be http://www.motherboard.me.

Channeling our best businesswomen acumen, we signed up for the bidding service and sent our first message to the site owner offering $500.  Gathered around Jess’s laptop, we anxiously awaited the response and within minutes we had a counter offer!

$1.6

One thousand six hundred dollars?  NO.

$1,600,000

This was obviously a tactic to get us to go away. We decided to go in with a much higher offer to show our squatter that we were serious. In addition, we would send a plea as to why this website was so important to us.  Surely the sunny Cayman Islands must soften this squatter’s heart.

$2,000 and a love note about our dreams to launch this business.

The response:

Thanks so much for your message, but the domain describes an important piece of electronics, so it is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to us. Best wishes on your wonderful project.

Neither does he know that while the term “motherboard” might be an important piece of electronics, a group of women in Cleveland, OH are launching a website – a movement – to turn the meaning on it’s end.

Together, with the community we are building, we will rewrite the definition as a term that embodies the new working mother.  The woman who has integrated her career and parenting. Who no longer feels torn between competing identities and approaches her life as a whole entity, balancing herself and the world around her with no apologies.

http://www.motherboard.me

It’s time to get on MotherBoard.

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