On the other hand, they are a business using a premium domain, setting an example for others that it helps to have a premium domain in business.
If they were a domain broker using a second rate domain, what message would that send?
I agree with this 100%. You've gotta practice what you preach. And the fact is, they too want to be memorable. And it works. How many domain brokerages aer out there that you don't know about using some multi-word domain. TONS. And you will struggle to name a couple. And yet you can name 2 LLL.com brokerages off the top of your head.
I've told this story before, but, I was originally running on Bonfire.ca, which I picked up in TBR in 2004. A year later, and a household name comes knocking and wants it, so I sold it to them for somewhere in the $20K range. I switched to BonfireDev.ca just because I really didn't care, I wasn't trying to build a brand out of it, I just used the domain because I liked it and wanted a decent one-word for the site. It was my first big .CA sale that kinda helped turn the light bulb on. Years later when they weren't using the domain, I bought it back from them for pennies on the dollar. I would sell it again, happily, for the right price. But that's because to me, the brand doesn't mean anything other than to other domainers who stumble on it in whois.
So there's nothing to preclude Saw or Dan from changing their domain if they right buyer comes along and _REALLY_ wants it. And if anything, their existing use of it will obviously just jack up the price even more. But unless one of them just folds, I still see it being worth more to them using it than to sell it - unless of course its a blank check type of offer.
Plus, I'm sure when they started the business, they "sold" the domain at a good value to the new startup - as a loan. So as they make income from the brokerage, they get to take it back out of the company as a loan repayment, not income.
So I think its not such a simple decision. I think bottom line, both Dan & Saw felt they could extract more value out of it right now by creating a business than if they sat around and waited for the right buyer to come along. And they probably had a bunch of them laying around doing nothing anyway. So they just picked one and went with it. Sacrificing one to sell 99 others just like it would be worth every penny too.