Several days back, I interviewed Ari Rabban of Phone.com. During that interview, I came to realize that Phone.com was one of Mike Mann’s companies. Mike has quite a history in the domain industry. Most recently, he’s held the first reported aftermarket .CO sale of Flying.CO for $3,500, and has since sold Auctions.CO for $15,000 as Fusible.com recently reported. Mike is said to have one of the best .CO portfolios in the industry. Mann dominated the domain headlines when sex.com hit the market along with the controversy that entangles that domain. Some of Mike’s other properties include, DomainMarket.com, SEO.com, and Skateboards.com among countless others.
Sullivan: You serves as Chairman of Grassroots.org (a 501c3), a global network providing free services to other nonprofits and promoting social action. I’ve seen the logo on many sites. What’s the goal of the organization and how can others help the cause?
Mann: Grassroots.org provides free technology and consulting services to 501c3 charities, about 4000 so far, the object is to adopt 10,000 charities and provide each $10,000 year of free services until we are providing $100M per year of value to the nonprofit community through Grassroots.org. We engage in many other innovative charitable ventures as well. Grassroots.org is mostly funded by our charitable umbrella fund Make Change! Trust.
Sullivan: You have several charitable organizations listed at MikeMann.com in addition to Grassroots.org. The others are MakeChangeTrust.org, Relief.org, Interns.org. What is your involvement in these organizations and what drew you to the non profit sector?
Mann: They are all ours, Relief is barely built yet and needs help. Interns.org is a recruiting site for other charities including our own.
Sullivan: DomainMarket.com has over 139,000 domains. Are all the domains owned by you or is this an open listing for domainers?
Mann: All ours
Sullivan: What’s the secret to developing a phenomenal portfolio. You seem to have proven with .CO that it can happen today and is not just for those with foresight in the 90’s.
Mann: Its really a grind of studying lists of domains, aggregating and studying data, buying and selling and buying and selling, beating down competitors over an extended period.
Sullivan: You’re not only an entrepreneur and a philanthropist, you’re also an author Make Millions and Make Change!: Secrets to Business and Personal Success (aff). One reviewer on Amazon entitled the review “A mix of common sense + ingenious tactics.” I’m now looking forward to reading the book. What can readers expect to learn from the book?
Mann: This is actually a real and relatively simple formula to ensure you can make millions and in fact change the world. I am sure. But you have to read it and pay attention or its merely theoretical.
Sullivan: Tell me how and when you got involved in domains.
Mann: I had some left over names from my ISP days like menus.com government.net etc, once I sold menus.com for 25K I realized that I needed a lot of domains since it had only cost me $70 per year. So aside from noncompete periods I have bought as many as possible ever since as long as they seem to be below my estimated FMV.
Sullivan: What was your goal when you founded BuyDomains.com in 1998? Did you accomplish that goal and what made you decide to sell the majority of your interest in the company?
Mann: Our goals was to sell $500 per day worth of domains, 1 name, that cost us $70 per year, we rather blew that way out of the water as I intend to do in all business venues if possible. We sold some stock because finally someone realized what an enormous bargain it was, the many other suckers bid way too low. DomainMarket.com is like BuyDomains.com was at the time but very light overhead. We own fantastic assets right now that are growing precipitously, see MikeMann.com and click around.
Sullivan: Tell me about AUX.com. A small sample of domains listed here include Crime.org, Favorites.com, and AutoServices.com. Is your goal to find partners for charitable as well as for profit ventures? What is the process if someone is interested in working on one of these domains?
Mann: Our goals is “to find partners for charitable as well as for profit ventures” If someone wants to help us with anything they can contact me on facebook or email me. Contact info on my site.
Sullivan: As a role model for new domainers, what advice do you have for someone looking to make their way in the industry today?
Sullivan: What else do you have for us as far as information or insight?
Mann: I think there is tremendous opportunity ahead in building and managing internet technologies and brands, everyone should engage in best practices for the network and the clients for the long term. Thanks for promoting our charity work. Cheers.