Jamie Zoch runs the domain blog at DotWeekly.com. I’ve followed Jamie’s posts for years and his blog is a core standards in my news feed. Jamie is a family man and all around cool guy. I had a chance to connect with Jamie over the past week and get his perspective and learn a bit more about him.
Mike: When did you first become interested in the domain world?
Jamie: I owned a sign business and sold a lot of stuff on eBay. Since I was always researching what was selling, I happened to run into a lot of listings for domain names that were selling for a fair amount and a lot of them, so I started researching domain names and haven’t stopped since!
Mike: You were among the first bloggers I read when I started learning about domaining. What led you to launching DotWeekly.com and when did you launch?
Jamie: I launched DotWeekly around February 2008. During my 2 years of digging around on domains, I was noticing that many people would share information but they often were not sharing all the details. I didn’t see any reason to hide the fine details, so I started sharing detailed step by step processes of nearly everything I was doing. I just felt it was the right thing to do, to help others looking to learn.
Mike: If I recall, a few years back you lost your blog and all it’s contents with no available backup. What hard lessons were learned from that experience and how has it made you stronger?
Jamie: Man that sucked! A friend of mine was actually hosting my website and he changed servers one weekend and deleted my files, thinking I wasn’t using the website any longer. WordPress is great and there are so many plugins but sadly a backup plugin wasn’t something I was using. Technically speaking, the website was backed up on the server, but that was deleted along with my website when my friend switched servers.
What did I learn? Don’t let your friend host your website, so I have switched to GoDaddy’s managed WordPress hosting AND I use a backup plugin called UpdraftPlus.
Losing all that content felt like I wasted years worth of work. There was a lot of great stories, how to articles and more that vanished. Archive.org still holds many of them, but it’s not easy bringing all that data back in. The biggest kicker, I think at that time, DotWeekly was pulling in around $1,500 a month in affiliate ad revenue. Poof, that was gone with the data!
Mike: Domain bloggers seem to have their own niche. Yours seems to be your unmatched ability to research and track premium domain movement. How have you been able to stay on top of this and report on transactions no other blogs are covering?
Jamie: Hard work really. I put in a lot of time researching movements. I get up everyday at 4 am and spend around 3-4 hours every day checking movements in several different variations. Sadly, there are a couple ways that need to be looked at and my process involves “double looking at data” but both need to be done to capture as many movements as I can.
The data that I dig up is very important for the domain name industry as a whole, because it really puts a pulse on the market. Yes, DnJournal.com reports a lot of domain name sales but the fact is, the majority of the bigger ones are not included in the weekly reports. Most are not included due to private transactions or between parties that are simply not involved in the domain industry, so its not news for them to report.
Just like Domaining itself is addictive, so is knowing what is selling. Since most of my findings are not reported outside DotWeekly, it really has become an addictive form of knowing what is selling and who is buying. Then digging into the why, trying to find a price and any info to help domainers.
Mike: According to your blog, you offer brokerage services as well. Tell me about your service and what differentiates you from other brokers.
Jamie: I do offer brokerage services but my main focus is Buyer Brokerage. If I had to pick one thing that I like doing the most, it’s helping somebody acquire a domain name. The fact is, a lot of companies and individuals do not know how to buy a domain name that is owned by somebody else. Can they go hunting for themselves? Yes, but it takes time and they are likely not educated on value, whois privacy and so much more. Going in blind and even contacted the domain owner via email can be a bad idea, as it often tips off the domain owner. There are better approaches and using somebody like myself for a small fee is well worth the time and very often will save you a lot of money! I deeply understand the domain name industry, understand the market and have a lot of connections which is often key in buying a domain name from its current owner.
Mike: Tell me about MailboxPark and your involvement there?
Jamie: Ah, you have done your research Mike! I haven’t been very public about this new project but I’m very excited about it. I have long thought that incoming email was a vital under-looked asset of domain names. Consider the fact that some 200+ billion emails are sent daily, email is important and they are all tied to a domain name.
From a domain owners standpoint, it’s a pain in the butt to set up a “catch all” email on every single domain name they own to view email. If one were to actually do that, then they get hit with a bunch of email and the volume is often overwhelming to deal with. Then what? It gets ignored due to volume overload and what to do with it.
250ok.com, the parent company of MailboxPark is an email deliverablity service that helps brands with better practices of emailing, fighting phishing attacks and more. They were looking to diversify data sources and offer a product that I found very interesting if I could get involved and tune it towards the domainer! I took on a director role with the company and have been working with them since December 2016 to come up with MailboxPark.com.
So what is MailboxPark? In a nutshell, it’s an easy solution for domain name owners to view all incoming email to your domain names, discover and earn some revenue with it. With building tools to view all the email, our technology categorizes all incoming email so its easier to manage and view what’s important. Personal, Social, Commercial and Other.
From the Commercial side, this data helps 250ok better serve its customers in practices of building better practices of emailing its customers. Because of this, MailboxPark is able to pay domain owners for Commercial email traffic. Is it as much as domain parking? Sometimes, because some domain names get a lot of email! In general, since most domain owners were making $0 and not even considered email to the domains they own, it’s a big plus!
Discovery is one vastly important part of MailboxPark. Since our technology categorizes the incoming email, it greatly reduces the effort to view the mail and find the things that are beneficial to you. Does one business assume another business owns a domain and are trying to communicate on this assumption, yet you own the domain? That happens A LOT and you being able to see this is really a great lead that truly makes a wise investment for the company missing these emails. Maybe you as the domain owner didn’t know of this company and the fact that they use a domain name close to yours. You now have data to alert you to this and you can discreetly use this information for a sales pitch for them to purchase the domain that they may not have know is important to them.
MailboxPark is just getting started and is very exciting! It’s similar in a way to domain parking but also vastly different. By simply setting MX records on your domain name, you can use MailboxPark. Did I mention it’s free! Very similar to setting Name Servers to use a parking service. By only needing to set MX records, this allows MailboxPark to be “non-disruptive” and you can continue to resolve the domain name as you choose, like using a parking service. MailboxPark does not reply to any incoming emails, nor serve any ads what so ever, so the service really runs in the background and you know 100% what is going on.
It is my job to make the service very helpful to domain owners and worth while. Based on a lot of feedback, the discovery aspect is highly enjoyed and the revenue is an added bonus. We understand that revenue is important and are working on a few things that can help continue improve the revenue aspect of MailboxPark. I have a creative mind, so this helps when looking at data. Domainers should be really excited about the service and the future it holds. Curiosity alone should entice domain owners to give MailboxPark a try, but it’s a very valuable service. 250ok is a really great company that is open and honest and truly open to building a great service for domainers and the reason I’m so excited about it and glad to be a part of.
Mike: One of my goals is to educate domainers. What advice do you have for domainers? What are some of the common mistakes you have seen?
Jamie: Domainers are forwarding thinking individuals and some really smart people. Domain names are a very important and businesses are pretty slow to realize how important the internet is. Thankfully, many companies are finally understanding how important it is to be online, the communication aspects of email, apps, advertising and branding. These movements will reward many domain name investors handsomely that own premium generic one and two word domain names. .com is and will always be king, something that will very likely never be any other way. The ball started rolling a long time ago (1985) and it’s really the trendy, most common nature extension to use!
So from an investment side, .com domain names and in one and two word nature are the best investments. Look at what many of the largest companies in the world use, what some of the hottest new startups are using. It’s often 8 characters or less and matching .com domain to the branded term of the company.
From a business aspect, if you are not using a .com, you should! If your domain name is hard to spell, type, added words, hyphen etc., you need to deeply consider an upgrade! There is so much that relates to your domain name, from the power play of: “Hey, we mean business, look at our domain name” (aka, owning Money.com compared to, MoneyServicesOnTheWeb.com) to word of mouth advertising and easily being able to say and spell your domain, to email communication and the common/natural fit to your branding. All of this relates to your domain and much more (SEO, trust etc).