women in domaining

Social media presence…contribute approximately 70% of our leads

Victoria Lee Huff is the founder and CEO of The Happy Executive.  She is an Amazon best selling author with The Road to Success, Volume 2 with Jack Canfield.  She’s a sought-after speaker, success workshop leader, executive coach, certified senior advisor, executive director and so much more.  Her company, TheHappyExecutive.com, provides professional speaking, corporate training, and executive coaching services.

Mike:  My first question which I cannot hold back is, how do you manage to do so much?  Are you also a master of productivity and time management?

Victoria:  Holding two leadership roles is a lot to manage some days.  Currently, I am transitioning out of my 10-year business and planning to dedicate 100% of my time to TheHappyExecutive.com.  I do my best to partition my time between the two entities. On a daily basis, my focus is on completing my top 3 tasks by 11 am. Time management is imperative. I also utilize automation with an electronic calendar link and social media campaigns.

Mike:  Tell me about The Happy Executive.  What type of clients do you cater to and what are they expecting to gain from your services?

Victoria:  TheHappyExecutive.com provides strategic marketing, coaching, speaking, sales training, team building, custom workshops and social media campaign building services to corporations and individuals.

Mike:  thehappyexecutive.com is an easy to remember and catchy name.  How did you come up with it?

Victoria: Thank you Mike.  I created TheHappyExecutive.com to serve myself and other busy executives doing their best to juggle a multitude of responsibilities at work and at home.  Often times, this juggling leads to a persistent state of overwhelm. Being a leader and enduring life is not acceptable. I wanted to remind other busy executives to enjoy life and create happiness for themselves and their staff every day.  If we are not happy with the way things are then we must learn to do some things differently.

Mike:  I see you leverage social media.  How much does that contribute to your business?  

Victoria:  Currently our social media presence and campaigns contribute approximately 70% of our leads. The other 30% are sourced from networking events and speaking engagements.

Mike:  I also spotted a before and after picture on your Twitter account.  Wow, even the before pic looks great.  Are you also a fitness trainer?

Victoria: Thank you Mike. I am not a fitness trainer, just a fitness competitor. Within all of our coaching engagements, strategies are discussed and agreed upon to help executives meet and exceed their health goals.

Mike:  Although you are not running an online store, it appears that your business niche depends heavily on your website and word of mouth.  Is that a fair statement?

Victoria: Yes, that is a fair statement. We will be adding an online store with various e-learning opportunities this year. Besides our web site and personal referrals, we are building joint ventures and affiliate programs.

Mike:  What is the most challenging aspect of developing your professional persona online?

Victoria:  The most challenging aspect is the differentiation in a crowded marketplace. It is important to narrow your niche focus to about an inch wide and a mile deep vs. a mile wide and an inch deep. It is within this narrow space that our avatars are identified. We also learn where and when to meet our avatars online.

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Women in Domaining

Women in Domaining: Kathy Nielsen – Neustar

Kathy’s digital career began in online advertising sales and management with BabyZone.com, a company that was eventually acquired by Disney. Her next adventure was to help build a group of content properties under a family of ecommerce sites owned by the eToys.com umbrella (Poshtots.com and BabyUniverse.com). In 2008 she joined Sedo as their Director of Brokerage. During her time at Sedo she served as Director of Strategic Alliances, then Director and VP of Business Development.

With a growing affection for new gTLD industry, she joined a domain name registry, .Green, as Executive Director of Operations and Channel Relations to help prepare .Green for the public launch. Today she works with Neustar, continuing to help educate consumers about domains, building and executing marketing programs, managing channel partnerships and developing premium name sales and auction strategy. She is active on the end user side as well, supporting several clients in domain acquisitions and helping them build domain name strategies.

Mike: How long have you been in the domain industry? Tells about your start at BabyZone.com.

Kathy: I’ve been in the domain industry since January 2010 and got my start with Sedo. But it was my work at BabyZone that really introduced me to the world of online publishing. It was the very early days of online advertising so a main component of my work there was educating about the benefits of online advertising to businesses that didn’t understand how powerful it could be to reach new customers and grow a business. We had a portfolio of directory type websites where each major city had a home on Babyzone.

I started out in my home town of Minneapolis at Babyzone.com, on the ground floor, selling online advertising to local businesses. The amazing part was seeing how some of the small businesses, like a baby photographer, could buy an inexpensive, yearly listing on our site, and it resulted in so many leads that they had to expand their business. I saw many companies that took a chance, dabbled in online advertising in those early days, who grew to be very successful. There were also major, national advertisers as well on Babyzone, but what I found most satisfying was seeing the impact that an increased online presence and traffic had on the smaller businesses.
I was lucky enough to be offered a job in Boston to come and build a network of regional ad sales reps and grow the revenue for Babyzone’s local sites.

Mike: You’ve played several roles in the business and at different companies. Did you ever feel that being a woman somehow put you at a disadvantage?

Kathy:  I never used to think about it much but have reflected on that a bit more recently. I am the youngest of 6 kids and my 5 older siblings are all boys. I grew up in a world where I was always in that mix and it seemed natural to me. One of my first jobs out of college was at an industrial tool manufacturing company. I remember many challenging times there because I was a woman. I can’t say it ever affected promotions, pay, etc. but there was certainly a disadvantage. Working in that male-dominated workplace environment was awful. It was constant – inappropriate behavior all the time that created a such a bad environment. Being subjected to that environment every day just wears on you emotionally and all I really wanted to do was work. Maybe I was too young to feel any fear, but I never thought it was OK or that it was normal because it was a male dominated industry. I always spoke my mind if anyone crossed the line. I’m not sure how I came across on that front, but if nothing else, I definitely helped raise awareness of the issues at that company and there was positive change.

Today, I’m extremely fortunate working with Neustar. I am on an absolutely fantastic team of highly motivated people, many of which are women. I greatly value each and every one, it’s probably the most motivating team I’ve ever worked with.

Mike: Have you had one or more mentors in your career? How has that helped?

Kathy:  A few people come to mind immediately. Tim Schumacher at Sedo was really the first person in my career that was great at encouraging me to try new things, knowing I would succeed with some and fail at others but in the end, learn and grow.

I have to say that the women in the domain industry have always been very incredibly supportive and open. If I ever have a question or want to float an idea by someone, I have this built in network of very talented people, in all areas of the industry, and that has been invaluable.

The two I look up to the most and from whom I have learned so much, come from the launch days of .co. I was fortunate enough to work with Lori Anne Wardi and Crystal Peterson during the launch of .co while I was at Sedo. They are fearless, smart and did a wildly successful job with .co. In the years between, they were always right there if I ever needed advice or support in any way. They have both grown into much larger roles in the industry and I’m lucky enough to be working with them today at Neustar. Grateful!

Mike: After all your success this far, what struggles do you face on a daily basis?

Kathy:  Ha! It’s been the same for a long time.
#1 reaching the target audience
#2 explaining the value prop of a domain – such a basic thing but so many different answers to this based on who you are speaking to.
#3 the slow pace of change in a niche, ecommerce world.

There are honestly so many amazing naming options out there for businesses, individuals, organizations, and everyone in between. From super premium names, to great new descriptive domains, to category killers, brandable names and more, there really is something for everyone. The trick at the ecommerce level is understanding the intent of the individual user and helping to present the best and most meaningful options to them. Today, that experience is so different in the domain world depending on where you shop, and every sales outlet has vast amounts of room for improving in the future. Luckily, we’ve got technology on our side and things like machine learning and AI should be able to play an increasing role in improving that domain buying experience for the consumer in the future.

Mike: What is the biggest challenge, if any, that millennial women face in the industry or business in general?

Kathy:  I have always worked in very male dominated industries but felt comfortable and fit in – probably due to my life growing up with five older brothers. But I never really felt like it was OK to just be me, a girl. This wasn’t a conscious decision, it just happened. Since I worked mostly with men, I always felt like I had to act more like one of the guys, just like I was with my brothers. When I worked with women, it was a totally different atmosphere and a refreshing change but then I found myself wishing there were some men on the team to balance out the dynamics.

As I began to work in more diverse teams with more of a gender balance, I saw the different dynamics at work and it was amazing. More personalities, more backgrounds, more (or fewer) egos at play – the diversity of the team brings a more open set of eyes to topics. It makes all the work we do simply better.

The importance of diverse and balanced teams can’t be understated. I’d encourage millennial women to seek them out. If you go on a job interview and don’t see any women in the company, or in leadership roles, that’s a big red flag. In the world of technology, it’s not easy to be balanced. Seek out those companies who value diversity. Help and support other women in technology so that they too can thrive and succeed in the industry. This will ultimately create a positive working environment for everyone. Don’t hold back, be yourself. Don’t ever stop learning, speak up, ask questions, participate, engage and bring your diversity to the table.

Mike: You seem like a busy woman, working both sides of the fence when it comes to domaining. How do you manage to keep a healthy work life balance?

Kathy: Personal and family time are both really important to me. Outside work and school, we’re very laid back and not a heavily scheduled family. I’m not running from work to take the kids to soccer, then hockey, then somewhere else like a lot of families do. We all pitch in to make the work/life balance work for us. My kids, my husband, all have busy lives, and we respect each other and help each other. Sometimes, you just need a break. We know its ok if you just feel like doing absolutely nothing on a Saturday or Sunday but binge watch a show or lay in bed and read all day. We also like to do things together like travel, go to a museum, a concert, a play, a soccer game, snowboard, hike, mountain bike, etc. Making time to get out together and experience new things is a big part of keeping our balance.

Mike: What would you say has been the biggest advance in the domain industry over the past decade and why?

Kathy:  I think the biggest advance has been with the registrars and their advances in ecommerce. Before they could sell one TLD, at one price, period. They can now offer more products (TLDs), at variable pricing, from a wide variety of sellers (aftermarket premiums, registry premiums, standard domains). This is great because it makes it so much easier for the consumer to find what they want in one place. It’s not complicated. There is still a lot of progress to be made but I’m optimistic that competition and innovation will drive more change.

Mike: What has been the toughest decision you have had to make in your. Domaining career?

Kathy:  Leaving Sedo. Sedo is a great company full of people I really enjoyed working with. Moving on to new challenges is always difficult but also rewarding.

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Dial-a-Domain – Is that opportunity calling?

In the late 1980’s David Fesbinder had a vision of the great potential of vanity 800 numbers. He founded Dial 800 (Dail800.com), a company whose list of clients includes AT&T, Chevrolet, Cox Communications, Waste Management, The Perrier Group, Electronic Arts, Northrop Grumman and Time Warner. He was responsible for the acquisition of 1-800-COLLECT, the most successful vanity number in history. David is now with 1800PayPerCall.com.

Mike:  How did you stumble upon vanity numbers in the 80’s and what made you think this could be a big deal?

David:  In the late 1980’s, even though few companies at the time were using vanity 800 numbers, I saw the trend to use them increasing.  Also, in the early 1990’s a new law allowed one to move their toll-free numbers from one carrier to another.  This was a big change, since a toll-free number that was previously restricted to service with a carrier in one state,  could now be moved to a national carrier like AT&T.

Mike:   Switching from the 80’s to the 90’s, I could see the natural transition (at least in hindsight) into domain names, or in this case, complementary domain names.  How did you identify this bridge?

David:   It only made sense to integrate both domains with their matching numbers.

Mike:  How has pairing vanity numbers and domain names been working out.  Can you provide some examples?

David:   A lot depends on the industry your speaking of.   But, even if a particular industry does not commonly use vanity 800 numbers, having a good one that matches their domain looks impressive.  Especially today, when there is a natural suspicion as to whether a particular online company is legitimate, having a toll-free number that matches their domain name can be an indication that this company is not fly by night.
In the right industry, a vanity 800 number can be the nucleus of a startup.  Look at 1-800-FLOWERS, 1-800-DENTIST, 1-800-CONTACTS to name a few.  In their case, the vanity number may be more valuable than the actual domain name.

Mike:   When a business gets a matching domain and number, you are essentially providing them with branding.  Is that an unintentional byproduct?

David:   A great vanity toll-free number is one that tells you what you selling, who you are and how to reach you, such as 1-800-COLLECT did.    An 800 toll-free number that spells the exact generic name of a sought-after service or product is extremely valuable.  For instance, a company like 1-800-FLOWERS is not only a leader in their industry but when their competition advertises, they cannot help but mention “flowers”, which inevitably strengthens 1-800-FLOWERS brand.

Mike:  Is the growth of the internet, in any way, diminishing the value of vanity names or phone numbers in general?

David: Definitely.  Phone numbers were really the only way to immediately contact a business before the internet.   On the other hand, today where competition is so fierce between online businesses, those a matching vanity 800 number can now have an edge.   And the bottom line is that an inquiry via phone, which means the caller wants direct contact with a salesperson, is considered much more valuable than an inquiry made online.

Mike:  I understand you provide tracking, routing, and analysis of these phone numbers as well.  What does that mean and what does that provide for your clients?

David:   Shared use or call routing can provide a very valuable tool for integrating national marketing with local marketing.   For instance, we have the number 1-800-PODIATRIST which can be promoted via our domain 1-800-PODIATRIST.com.  When any call is made in the U.S., it is automatically routed to the podiatrist located closest to him.  In effect, we could give hundreds of podiatrists exclusive rights to 1-800-PODIATRIST in their local area, and the leads are generated from just one national ad campaign.

Call tracking and other types of analysis can give you detailed insights into how to optimize your ad campaigns, caller satisfaction, etc..

Mike:  One major risks businesses face is not keeping up with the ever-changing trends.   Is there another emerging technology you are watching for or thinking about for the future?

David: Perhaps SullysBlog.com is at the forefront of a trend right now by bringing to the attention of your followers what are the great advantages of a matching number/domains.  I would like to give you an example of how far this concept can go.  We have 1-800-2Day-Air and 2DayAir.com as well as 1-800-Free-Offer and 1800FreeOffer.com.  Since these are already well known generic brands, it should not take much marketing to have such numbers/domains go viral.

This is a new approach to the creation of a startup in that we’re working backward, starting with an already known brand that is represented by a matching number/domain.

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3 Reasons Why Your Domains Aren’t Selling

Many people enter the domain industry thinking they can accumulate hand registered domains and turn them into quick cash.  Hell, I was one of those people.  Maybe you have had some luck with a few of your names but now you hit a dry spell.  No bites in weeks, or maybe months.  If you could just land another buyer, you’d be back on track to that fortune you’re hoping to make.  So let’s take a step back and see why your domain names aren’t selling.  Let me preface by stating this is all coming from my own, hands-on, personal experience.

Reason 1 – Your Domains Suck!

Alright, that’s a little harsh, and I’m typically a “sugar coat the difficult messages” kind of guy.  But we’re trying to be honest here, right?  Let me ask you this.  Did you do your homework on each of the domains you registered?  Did you look at the global monthly search volume to see if there are a decent amount of exact match searches?  Did you check Estibot for a value estimate to get a “feel” for the value of the name?  Did you do a Google search for the exact term to see if others are investing advertising dollars on these key terms?  Did you find websites based on the key terms that lead you to believe there is a market for this name?  While none of these in part or in whole is a conclusive formula, these are the basics.

If you haven’t done this, why not go back and do it now.  See which of your names score higher and put your effort in them.  Put your focus on where you will get the best bang for your buck.  Don’t hesitate to cut your loses.  Even if you don’t have ANY quality domains.  Start over if you need to, but don’t waste your time trying to sell names that no one wants to buy.

Reason 2 – You’re Not Trying Hard Enough!

Let’s assume your names are decent enough that you get past reason 1.  The next reason your domains aren’t selling is because you’re not trying hard enough.  This isn’t like Apple selling iPhones, people aren’t lining up to buy your domains.  If they are, I doubt you’d be reading a post with this title.  Unless you have incredible names, more than likely you are going to have to pursue the buyer as opposed to the buyer pursuing you.  Sure, it happens, but not as often as we’d all like.  You have to put some effort into it.  Get them on all the right venues, contact businesses in the market related to the name, find non-domain related forums on the term and build up some rapport, reach out to others who have experience selling similar names.  There are many ways, but you need to work to get your product out there.

Keep in mind, if you are suffering from Reason 1, even if you try hard, no amount of effort is going to pay off.  Especially in the long haul and you’ll be muddying the waters for when it comes time to sell quality names.

Reason 3 – You’re Not Good At Reason 2!

If your names are decent and you’re working hard to sell them, but you still can’t, then you’re not very good at selling domain names.   But fear not, as with anything, the more you try and fail the better you get.  You can shorten the learning curve by studying sales, reading books, following forums and blogs, and asking questions of more experienced forum members.

In my experience, these are the reasons I have found that domains don’t sell.  The good news is that you can act upon each one of these to make improvements and work smarter toward your ultimate goal.

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Women in Domaining: Natasa Djukanovic, CMO of Domain.ME

An economist by education, Natasa Djukanovic is the CMO of Domain.ME, the international tech company that operates the internet domain “.ME.” She’s spent her entire career at the intersection of banking, social media, leadership and technology, and is constantly trying to figure out the secret to being in three different places at the same time.

Natasa is also a co-founder of a local NGO Digitalizuj.me which is a not-for-profit organisation that examines the transformative power of technology through various projects and lectures.

Through her effort to help the community she started with her friends a conference Spark.me, which is today one of the biggest tech/business conferences in Southeast Europe.

I last connected with Natasa back in 2011, so it’s long past due that we catch up.

Mike:  Natasa, it’s been quite a while since I last interviewed you.  What has changed for you and dot ME since 2011?

Natasa: Well, everything changed. And yet, nothing changed. We managed to almost reach the long term goals we established at that time. For us at the time the most important goal was to create a strong and safe brand. We did a brand health research in 2017 and were quite please to see that we are perceived as a strong and reliable brand. The numbers are quite as we expected, we survived the big turbulence of the market called new TLDs, mostly unshaken, and kept the profit. I have, in the meantime, grew old and mature :), although always strategically focused, now a little bit more flexible and adjustable. I started mountaineering and that activity gave me a completely different perspective on business, leadership and changing environment.

Mike:  Is there a woman that inspires you as a business leader, either in or outside of the domain industry?

Natasa:  She is more a combination of different women with their strength and their fragility, their determination and their emotionality. My inspiration is a combination of Marisa Meyer, Sheryl Sandberg, Merrill Streep, my mom, my aunt and my daughter. And they are all different, with all of their virtues and faults.

Mike:  You’ve been asked to speak, and have spoken, at several different events and business around the world.  What does that mean to you?

Natasa: I had a big fear of public speaking. My voice would tremble and it would sound like I am crying. It was embarrassing. I was determined to fight that fear, like I am fighting any fear. I am very proud to say I am over that, and people started calling me to give motivational speeches. It feels good now, because the feedback is good and it seems to me that I help people define certain fears in their pursuit for better life.

Mike:  Not only are you CMO of Domain.ME, but you also have other causes such as Digitalizuj.me and Spark.me.  Tell me about these organizations and how do you balance this all?

Natasa: Digitalizuj.me (digitize.me in translation) is an NGO that I founded with a couple of friends back in 2011 with the goal of helping the local Montenegrin community educate for new technologies. Today we employ 3 people, and have a joint project with UNICEF around creativity and entrepreneurship for children. It is recognized in Montenegro as a startup community, an organizer of workshops after which you can find a job, and lately educator in programming. Spark.me is a conference, sponsored and organized by the .ME registry. I am always afraid I am too enthusiastic and subjective about it, but I’ll tell you that 500 people come every year from all over the region, and stay in the conference room for 8 hours straight. The conference happens in a hotel at the beach and there is sun outside, it’s a sandy beach and the sea is light blue. But everybody is listening to the presentations. And the world renown speakers keep coming back. My balance is strictly connected to great team around me. I can rely on them, and they can rely on me.

Mike:  Do you feel you have faced any challenges in your career over the years due to the fact that you are a women?  How have you overcome them?

Natasa: Montenegro is a very patriarchal community, but women here were always working and had an opportunity to build careers. My aunts were some of the most successful people in my home town, and I am raised with the feeling that women can do everything a man can do, from chopping wood to managing a company, raising kids, and taking care of their man. There is a saying here that a man is a head of the house, but the woman is a neck. And that is true. In many ways it places a special burden on women in Montenegro, but it also opens many doors. My aunts made fun of me and my housework choirs, as I never liked to cook. On the other side when I started working, I started managing projects very early and when I entered a meeting once, the business partner who sat at the table asked me for coffee. He taught I was a coffee lady. I brought him coffee and sat close to him and started asking questions and kept insisting we can’t accept his conditions in a deal we were trying to arrange. He was very confused at first, and then started laughing at his mistake. I overcome these perceptions by accepting them first. Yes I can be a coffee lady. But then if you are decisive and persuasive enough you can turn that in opportunity. I am not saying it’s easy for every women if they are strong enough. For some of them life is much harder.

Mike:  What impact have the new gTLDs had on .ME, if any, and what has been your marketing strategy to stay competitive?

Natasa: Of course new gTLDs had an impact on .ME. Mostly in terms of the price on a domain, which means revenue. Their marketing strategies shook up the market. It did give some kind of global awareness on domains, but in the end, I think it all calmed down, and didn’t change much. Our strategy certainly didn’t change much. We were perceived as somebody who changed the industry and we just kept doing different and creative things to stay on top. Both with end customer marketing and the relations with registrars. I think the industry is much more alive and energetic today.

Mike:  Do you consider yourself a mentor to any women in the industry?

Natasa: Not in the industry. Not really. I do mentor, however, startups and have some women that I mentor in Montenegro, and help them around marketing and business management. I am very proud of their achievements.

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Exclusive Interview with Lars of DNForum.com

I want to say it was Garmin running shamer, pro-blogger, and green-thumber Shane Cultra who first dropped the news about the new owners of DNForum.  Shortly after there was a mixed buzz on social media and blog comments reflecting the reaction of the domain community.  Some were delighted that some hope was being infused back into the once unparalleled forum while others were less optimistic about its future or even returning to visit the forum under new management.

Lars gave me a little insight into the reason behind the acquisition and the direction the forum plans to take.  I can appreciate his realistic view on what it will take to change course and his optimism that he and his partners, along with the help of the domain community, can make it happen.

Mike:  I have not been an an active part of DNForum.com in the past, but what can be expected as the forum continues on?

Lars: In the past DNForum.com was the go-to place for professional domain investors to talk and trade domain names. Our goal is to expand and develop on that past and to provide a safe and filtered forum experience focused on quality content.

Mike:  Taking on a forum in any industry is a huge responsibility.  What made the three of you decide to tackle this?

Lars: Each of us have been paid members of DNForum.com for a great many years and carry a lot of affection for the place. As such it was a pain to follow its downward slope into oblivion and its turbulent changes in management in recent years. When the chance offered itself to purchase the place we could not let it go and jumped on it. Further we believe in the potential for righting the ship and that DNForum.com can be a healthy business again.

Mike:  There has been a little bit of a mixed buzz around the forum. Blogger surveys, post comments, etc.  Some folks wishing you good luck and suggesting this is the right move while others not as pleased.  How do you react to the domaining public on this?  Do you have some PR barriers to overcome with perception and how do you plan to do that?

Lars: Realistically speaking the image of DNForum.com is at an all time low. The interest, traffic and content was allowed to leave and certain events in the past also rubbed off a bit of the previous shine. But the good news is that its hard to go much lower from here. To go into a head to head argument with DNForum.com’s detractors would be counterproductive and frankly we don’t want to begin our fresh start with an argument. Further we are firm believers in showing by doing, so we will be trying our best to prove them wrong by holding true to our plans for DNForum.com. Luckily the buzz also included a great many DNForum.com veterans and supporters which has helped us getting business back to the site almost from day one of the takeover.

Mike:  It sounds like some people “grew up” on DNForum and learned much of what they know about domaining there.  What do you see in the forum that others might not?  What is it that makes sense about “saving” this forum as opposed to walking away or trying to create a new one from scratch?

Lars: It is exactly that. It has a history of being the place to talk and trade domains in the professional sphere of the industry. A place where, if you were willing to listen, you could pick up a lot of great knowledge and in the marketplace; actual great domain deals. The site has a lot of cache amongst industry veterans even with its recent turbulent history and still has a lot of business potential from a branding stand point.

Further in our industry it does not hurt us to operate under the category killer domain name of our niche.

Mike:  You have listed several short and longer term goals in your initial announcement.  Are these thoughts that the three of you came up with based on what you feel needs to be done or was there any user input involved?

Lars: I have to take responsibility for the currently proposed strategy. I have a clear vision of where I think we need to take DNForum.com to re-establish it as a staple of our industry. Going forward we will be asking our community for input on what they would like to see happen at DNForum.com and we will be open for community suggestions. If we find them viable and they fit into the plans we have for DNForum.com.

Mike:  What is your measurement for success?  How will you know if you are succeeding and how long do you anticipate it will take to see results?

Lars: Naturally we look at financial profitability as one of the chief measurements of our success. We hope to get DNForum.com in the green within 3 months of the takeover. But to achieve that we need to reinvigorate our user base and bring them back to table to deliver the quality content DNForum.com needs to flourish. So we really look at user activity as a key performance indicator, we want to bring back our investor crowd to create a working marketplace with no fees for domain name resellers.

Mike:  What do you to critics of the paid membership model?  Are their other alternatives to generating income on a forum?

Lars: Well for us its not the revenue aspect that is interesting. If we wanted to focus on membership revenue we would go the subscription route instead and not offer lifetime memberships for a one time payment. If we are very lucky the paid memberships will almost cover the server costs. It will never do much more than pay the base bill.

The reason we need a paid membership model is because it allows the more serious voices better access to promoting their content. We think that by limiting the noise that free access to markets often create, we create a higher quality offering.

Mike:  Anything you would like to add?:

Lars: We would love to see you back at DNForum.com or come for your first visit. In the upcoming weeks and months we will be; fixing old stuff that was broke or missing, sprucing up the design to create a fresh feel, introducing a number of new partnerships and benefits for our paid members and down the line also introducing new functionalities to our board. To make it happen we need all the help we can get and hope you will be a part of it.

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Squeeze.com – Importance of a single keyword domain name

I recently had the opportunity to have a quick, yet valuable exchange with Brent Campbell, COO of Squeeze.com.  Brent is known as being passionate about building successful companies and making the people around him better.  He makes careful well-thought-out decisions supported by data and analytics.  He is driven by a winning attitude and a desire for the team to win as a whole.

Mike:  I’ve heard Squeeze referred to as a “disruptive fintech app.”  Tell me more about Squeeze and why is it disruptive?

Brent:  Squeeze.com is a comparison engine that goes to work for the consumer by tackling your recurring expenses. We compare it all, from mortgages to mobile plans and everything in between. Whether you’re looking to purchase your first home or just shave a few bucks off your internet bill, Squeeze has your back. We have been referred to as the Travelocity or Expedia for your recurring bills.

Mike:  The domain name is a great one, a single keyword, generic domain name.  Can you tell me how this domain has helped with your branding?

Brent:   Squeeze is such a brilliant word for branding. We are trying to visualize the idea of savings, which is essential to all consumers.  Having Squeeze.com,  a single keyword domain name is vital for a startup trying to make its mark.

Mike:  How does the site generate revenue and how do you plan to expand that in the near future? 

Brent:  Our revenue model is performance marketing based. We allow the user to access free information and tools that will enable them to make better buying decisions. Companies are telling consumers to “Switch” every day. We earn revenue if they switch on Squeeze.com.

Mike:  How did the company acquire the name?  Can you share the purchase price and/or the process you went through to acquire the name?

Brent:  We negotiated off and on for about two years until we felt it was time to pull the trigger. The company that owned Squeeze.com was FUTURE MEDIA ARCHITECTS, INC. We negotiated through uniregistry.com, and we finally got to a point where we felt there was value. They started at $300k, and we ended up a little over six figures.

Mike:  How does one go about getting partners or companies willing to work with a new startup?  I think that’s a challenge many starts face.  How did you overcome this?

Brent:  You have to be persistent and build relationships. Building a startup is never easy, but if you work hard enough and find the right talent, anything is possible.

Mike:  What in your past has best prepared you for where you are at in the business world today?

Brent:   Having great mentors and coaches. Jim Rohn said it best, “You’re The Average Of The Five People You Spend The Most Time With.”

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Women in Domaining: Kate Buckley, Buckley Media Group

This is the first article in what I am looking to add as a weekly series highlighting women in the domain industry.  This week kicks off with Kate Buckley.  Kate was kind enough to share information on her business, philosophy, and the topic of women in the industry.

Kate Buckley is the founder and CEO of Buckley Media Group.  Kate has 23 years in marketing and business development, with deep experience in global domains, brand development, naming, creative strategy, storytelling, and social media. Her background includes large branding agencies (Gray and Landor) as well as 20 years experience with premium domains (CCIN/The Castello Brothers). She is an expert at premium domain consulting and representation, specializing in ultra-premium .COMs. She had two of the 20 biggest domain sales reported in 2016 and three of the top 25 sales in 2017 (led by Refi.com at $500,000). Most recently, she sold inspection.com for $335,000. Kate holds a BA in Advertising/PR, an MFA in Creative Writing, and is a Certified Professional Coach (LCIOC) and Public Speaker (AMA). She is also an award-winning poet, writer and artist (KateBuckley.com).

Mike:  It seems your company, Buckley Media Group, does much more than domain sales.  Can you tell us more about what you bring to the market?

Kate:  I’m a student of human nature, and convinced that the keys to success include not only intelligence, intuition, hard work and tenacity, but a genuine curiosity and a willingness to remain teachable and open. I’m continually evolving my understanding and iterating my processes in order to better serve my client base. To that end, I believe a holistic branding platform better serves companies. Buckley Media Group offers services such as naming, brand story and strategy, visual brand identity, and, of course, premium domain representation—both acquisition and divestiture.

Mike:  I notice you have writers and directors on your staff, which led me to The Story Corp.  Is that a distinct and separate business?

Kate: The Story Corp (and I was thrilled to land the exact match .COM) is a vertical of Buckley Media Group, concentrating on brand story. Let’s face it, with the increasing implementation of AI, computers do math better than people and digital marketing is essentially math. What differentiates a marketer or brand? Storytelling. A good brand story that connects with the end user on a meaningful basis. Which is exactly what a premium domain does—tells a story about the brand that utilizes it—its culture, values (think: leadership and longevity) and investment in consumer trust and ease of use.

Mike: As a female business owner, what do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?

Kate: Not being taken seriously. Misogyny and mansplaining is alive and well. I’ve been referred to derogatorily (by a known domainer and entrepreneur) as “that girl from Buckley Media Group.” Can you imagine referring to a 43-year-old male CEO as “that boy from Company X”? Another male domainer on a public forum, in reference to one of my larger reported sales, opined that my success could be ascribed to my gender and appearance. There are many attractive women and men in business (and domaining!), but without expertise, emotional intelligence, strategy, and skill, it’s really just “Congratulations on your face.”

However, there’s a bright side to being underestimated; one might even call it a woman’s greatest advantage in business—you’ll never see us coming till we’re already over the ramparts. Come from a place of confidence, passion, and strength, don’t give energy to detractors and you will win every single time.

Mike:  Do you feel, in your experience, that there are a good mix of males and females in the domain name industry?

Kate: It’s getting better. Back in the day, I was often the only woman at industry events save wives. At the most recent NamesCon, I was delighted to observe many women in attendance, and turning out in full force for the Women in Domaining dinner. It was also fun to catch up with female colleagues—comparing notes and best practices, and supporting one another’s success. Yet, I was recently at an industry event in which a male domain veteran yanked open the back of my dress and peered down my back asking if I had a “tramp stamp.” It took every ounce of my finishing school training not to practice my martial arts. We’ve come a long way, but not far enough.

There are tremendous opportunities for talented women to stake their claim in the domain name industry, and—happily—there are many wonderful and supportive colleagues, both male and female, ready to welcome them to the ranks.

Mike:  You’ve been in the industry for some time.  Tell me what it was like in the early days, working with the Castello Brothers.

Kate: Fun. I was recruited by David and Michael Castello in 1998 to help them take PalmSprings.com to the next level (David had done the initial launch in 1997). It was a thrilling time—the wild west of our industry—David and I would literally stay up all night researching and registering domain names! I learned a lot from David and Michael—they are both visionaries; respect them tremendously, and am very proud of our track record. At one point, with just David and myself monetizing PalmSprings.com, we had the homepage alone doing $1M a year (which was unheard of at the time). We then went on to launch LagunaBeach.com together, which I later sold for the Castello Brothers for $600K. Not a bad ROI.

It’s been fascinating to watch the industry mature, and to watch the public perception catch up with what we’ve known all along—quality .COMs are a critical and indispensable business driver, not merely a novelty.

Mike:  Is there still room for new players in the domain industry, or is it saturated?  What is your advice to someone looking to start a career in the industry, regardless of gender?

Kate: There’s always room for someone smart, hungry, tenacious and strategic. Combine that with integrity, compassion and emotional intelligence, and the cream will always rise to the top.

Read widely and agnostically. Avail yourself of the tremendous industry resources out there. There are so many generous people in our industry who regularly share their time, knowledge and expertise—Ron Jackson, Elliott Silver, Andrew Alleman, Michael Cyger and yourself, just to name a few. Figure out what works and then add your own unique spin to it—iterate as you evolve, and and don’t be afraid to pivot. There’s never a one-size-fits-all approach. Solve interesting problems and lead. Be generous. And above all, if you’re not passionate about this industry, quit. The top performers are those who are curious, passionate and confident in their abilities.

Mike:  What is the best piece of business advice you have been given and why?

Kate: “Listen more than you speak. Seek first to understand, last to be understood. Life is for service.” —B. F. Buckley IV (AKA my dad)

If I am not listening, if I am not curious, do not come to the table with humility and teachability, I cannot effectively solve problems for my clients (and for the companies to whom I sell) because I won’t have truly understood their pain points. Success is a byproduct of having solved a problem that no one else has been able to solve before. You can’t do that if you already believe you have all the answers.

Mike: Finally, you have a powerful quote on your website that reads, “Not having a dot-com Signals weakness.” –PAUL GRAHAM,  FOUNDER OF Y COMBINATOR.”  What does that mean for what we are still calling the “new” gTLDs?

Kate: New gtlds are fine for B2B or bootstrapped startups that later plan to upgrade to a .COM. Premium domains are for companies who want their brands to be taken seriously, even revered; who want to achieve brand notoriety—woven into the fabric of the culture for decades to come.

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Emoji Domains – What do you think?

Emoji domains did not capture me at it’s introduction nor has it become one of my passions.  But hell, domaining didn’t capture me at its introduction either, which is why people call me “Sully” and not “The Domain King.”  So I am not passing any judgement.  I reached out to these three entrepreneurs after seeing numerous tweets about emoji domains and I wanted to learn more about them.  Fellow blogger Alvin Brown dug into this back in January, and did a great job of uncovering information.  But, as always, I have questions of my own.  Let me kick things off by stating for the record that I don’t own a single emoji name… yet.

Emoji Empires is made up by its three co-founders, Michael Rasmussen, Eric Thoni, and Tanner Schenck.  The three partners have collaborated on this interview as they wanted it to come across as one voice.  That voice is Emoji Empires.

Mike:    As co-founders, how did the three of you meet and what brought you together on this mission?

Emoji Empires:  After attending elementary, middle, and high school together, we went our separate ways to some of the nations top institutions, obtaining degrees in various specialties to include; International Business, Marketing & Advertising, and Business Economics. After college, we made our way into respective jobs, putting our college degrees to use, but always possessing a passion for entrepreneurism.

The concept and introduction to Emoji domains was made by good friend and successful Emoji domain investor, Matan Israeli. After much consideration and planning, we instantly saw a huge opportunity for Emoji domains as a new powerful marketing tool to promote brands and businesses. Emoji Empires was founded in search of innovative marketing and branding strategies on the forefront of technology and communication. We believe Emoji Empires was our perfect entrance into entrepreneurism and introducing the world to something meaningful and ‘bigger than ourselves.’ We have attended multiple domain conferences to introduce Emoji Empires and spread the idea of Emoji domains to industry professionals and the world. We have received great feedback and ideas from many different individuals, which has continued to drive us on this new and uncharted path.

Mike: I haven’t really followed the emoji domain trend until now.  When did it begin and how is the growth?

Emoji Empires:  Emoji Empires began registering Emoji domains as early as January 2017, when we saw the unique and innovative opportunity to bring change to the domain industry. Emoji Empires was one of the first large portfolio owners involved with Emoji domains, with a couple others scattered throughout the world. After a couple months of holding our domains and waiting on potential buyers, we realized that this was going to be much different than the current domain resale market. Emoji Empires has been focused on the education and promotion of  Emoji domains, as we believe it will benefit all Emoji domain portfolio investors, companies, and individuals.  Currently the emoji domain market is saturated with sales between domain investors. Emoji Empires has a different business approach with our unique contacts and networking capabilities, we have successfully educated, promoted, and marketed emoji domains to end users. The growth of emoji domains are only inevitable due to the growing increase of usage via messaging and social media. Emojis are not going away anytime soon as they are everywhere.

The earliest registration of emoji domains began in 2001. On April 19, 2001, the first three emoji domains were registered. The process of registering an emoji domain back in 2001 was a very complicated process that very few knew how to do. In 2001, emoji popularity as we see them being used today was nonexistent. Reason being the Iphone did not make its debut until 2005 when emojis made their worldwide debut. So the early adopters is not where the trend begins because only a few individuals had the idea to combine emoji with domains. The emoji domain space really took off n 2015, when Coca-Cola launched a South American advertising campaign using www. ????.ws. In 2016, John Roig launches ❤❤❤.ws, which provided an easy to use platform for registering emoji domains that once was a strenuous process.

Mike:  Tell me about your emoji consulting service.  What are some examples of how you help businesses?

Emoji Empires:  We provide Emoji domain consulting for companies and brands who are unfamiliar with Emoji and are looking to integrate them into their new or current marketing strategy.  Emoji Empires also provides marketers with domain support, best practices for social media, and development of strategies on how to use an Emoji domain to maximize its potential.

We currently have multiple companies involved in our “Try Before You Buy” program; which allows businesses to use any of our domains in our portfolio to ‘test’ the domain out to see if it works within their companies vision and goals. We have received great feedback on this program, as it provides a new and exciting tool for companies to ‘try’ Emoji domains and it doesn’t require any payment or long-term contracts.

Mike:  How do emoji domains really work?  What happens if new emojis are created?  Don’t different platforms, take smartphones for example, use different emojis?

Emoji Empires: “Each emoji character is represented by some universal sequence of characters called Unicode, which is an international programming standard that allows one operating system to recognize text from another operating system.” (http://unicode.org/emoji/). When you type (????????.ws) into your web browser, the browser translates the emoji portion of the domain name into its IDN (in this case xn--2p8h30a.ws), looks up the domain name system information, and then loads the associated website. In this case we are using that Emoji domain as a 301 redirect to our primary website www.emojiempires.com.

Indeed, new emojis are created every year through a governed and strict process of the Unicode consortium, which is made up of large companies, as well as individuals including the three co-founders of Emoji Empires. “The Unicode Consortium is a non-profit corporation devoted to developing, maintaining, and promoting software internationalization standards and data, particularly the Unicode Standard, which specifies the representation of text in all modern software products and standards.” Every year Unicode introduces about 100-150 new Emoji characters.  Once Unicode sets the new ‘standard’ every company that offers an Emoji keyboard (Apple, Google, Facebook, Windows, Samsung, etc.) must then design their version of that Emoji character. The important thing to note is that regardless of the platform or operating system mentioned above, the underlying code & domain name are consistent across all platforms. So, ????????.ws will always be xn--2p8h30a.ws regardless of the device or platform being used. You can see the full Unicode list here.

Mike:  Do you have any data or examples around resale of premium emoji names?

Emoji Empires:  Mike Cyger (DNAcademy) has compiled a detailed guide to Emoji domains which includes a list of “premium” emoji domain resale numbers.

Emoji Empires took part in the first ever Emoji domain auction on NameJet.com this past December 2017.  The highest domain sold during the auction was “????.ws” for USD $3,100.  We expect to see more Emoji auctions on NameJet this year and are currently working with them and Emoji domain investors around the world to continue these specific auctions.

Mike:  Are there any examples of big business leveraging these names?

Emoji Empires: Currently, there are a number of big businesses using Emoji domains including Budweiser (❤????.ws), Sony Pictures (????????.ws), and Phoenix Rising (????.ws). These brands are early adopters to Emoji domains, using them only as redirects to their primary websites. Once consumer awareness increases, big businesses will realize the many opportunities for Emoji domains within their already existing marketing and advertising efforts.

In addition to large brands, we have seen multiple startup businesses using Emoji domains including Weapon Depot (????.ws), Rekindle Candles (♻????.ws), and Renee’s Raw (????????.ws).  Weapon Depot recently announced plans to develop the pistol emoji domain (????.ws) into an open source Emoji URL shortener, with the intent to share the pistol Emoji domain with the entire hunting, camping & fishing communities.

Emoji Empires believes there are many ways for businesses to leverage Emoji domain names, and we want to be the leading Emoji domain company implementing Emoji domains globally.

EVERYONE SPEAKS EMOJI.

Mike:  Could emoji be a trend or just be a fad or is it here for the long haul?  Why?

Emoji Empires:  The widespread popularity of the Emoji language gives people an easier way to express emotion and communicate globally. Businesses have embraced Emoji in marketing & advertising to further connect their brand with new and existing customers. The Emoji domain era is in its infancy, but like mentioned above, once big brands and consumer awareness increases, will we see a real Emoji domain adoption. Emoji domains are short & memorable, transcend language, and stand out as a marketing tool to increase brand recognition and create customer acquisition, like never done before.

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Dave Evanson has completed more high value, published sales than any other broker in the domain industry

Dave Evanson is the Senior Sales and Brokerage Consultant for Sedo.com, the world’s largest domain aftermarket and monetization platform. He specializes in identifying and presenting domain name and website investment opportunities for corporate clients plus negotiating high-end exclusive sales for the purchase and sale of super-premium internet assets.

I’ve wanted to interview Dave for sometime.  He’s not only an impressive broker with some serious sales under his belt, he’s also one that always comes across as professional, and gives the industry a good name.

Mike: Dave, how did you get into the domain brokerage business?

Dave: It all began right after I bought my first domain. I had founded a global, marketing and strategic planning consulting firm about 35 years ago. In the late 1990s one of our clients was (and still is) a multinational financial services corporation. A couple of my consultants were preparing a power point presentation for the client and gave it to me to review. While I was pleased with the slides on mutual funds, stocks, investment banking, etc., the slide on inheritance was light on content. I wanted to embellish it but didn’t know much about inheritance so I went to the emerging web (formerly referred to as The Super Information Highway) for help. Not much there (yet) so I bought the inheritance.com domain in the aftermarket that afternoon with grandiose ideas for development. Within the next year I had about 5,000 domains. I was already gaining experience in buying and selling domains. In 2006, I began attending domain conferences and I submitted a few hundred domains to an auction. Over 60 of them sold and I realized both domain brokerage and auctions work synergistically and represent a career change opportunity for me. I was already brokering for some friends and clients but there weren’t enough hours in the day. While I was preparing to close my management consulting firm to concentrate on domain brokerage full time I was also on a few boards (including Afternic’s Advisory Board). In late 2010 I closed the firm, resigned from the boards, and joined Sedo so I could broker full time with the support and backing of the leading global brokerage and marketplace company.

Mike: You’ve been involved in countless domain sales, what have been of your largest?

Dave: As you know, most $100,000 plus sales are not made public due to NDAs. I have been involved in over 300 six and seven figure sales over the years but most are confidential. A few I can mention that are $250,000 or more are: MM.com ($1,200,000), Furniture.co.uk ($650,000), Give.com ($500,000), Webhosting.co.uk ($500,000), Jobs.ca ($450,000), Broker.com ($375,000), True.com ($350,000), DJI.com ($300,000), Spend.com ($275,000), Grid.com ($275,000), Moms.com ($252,000) and Flashcards.com ($250,000).

Mike: Sedo boasts “Dave Evanson has completed more high value, published sales than any other broker in the domain industry.” Has it been a difficult journey building up your contacts, reputation, and success? Any secrets to your success?

Dave: I wouldn’t say it has been a particularly difficult journey. Rather, I would say it has been a long journey involving many years of hard, dedicated work. Building contacts and reputation takes time, trust and luck. It also takes diligence, persistence, honesty and drive. I have been blessed with years of job positions, projects, assignments and engagements leading to professional relationships with nearly one thousand successful business people, many of whom I go back to when looking for leads to sell a premium domain in their industry or professional network. I am very proud (and lucky) to personally know so many senior corporate executives and business leaders.
I try to put my focus on my clients and their needs. I try to communicate with them through the channels and methods they use to communicate with me. I work very hard to get them the highest prices for the domains they are selling. When I am hired to help them buy domains my full attention goes towards finding and negotiating the best prices for them. If you deliver for your clients, they will refer business to you in the future.

Mike: Do you have a favorite domain story you can share?

Dave: Well there is one but I am unable to mention the domain. It sold for $125,000 in a confidential sale. I was working for the seller. He was very difficult, demanding and even condescending at times. I found the buyer who made the seller look like an easy going, fun loving person who I’d get a beer with anytime. As the negotiations began I questioned myself as to whether or not I could facilitate a deal with these two extreme personalities. Not only that but they were from different countries with different cultures and accepted practices. It seemed to be beyond challenging to say the least but I wanted to get the deal done. There were ups and downs but we were moving along with several back and forth offers and counteroffers. Then, a comment from the buyer set the seller off and the seller began countering with higher prices which caused the buyer to lower his offer a couple of times. I thought I’d wait a day or two to let them calm down. Instead the seller was skyping and emailing me with complaints about a buyer who was lowering his offers. The seller didn’t think it was relevant that he started raising prices first. The buyer kept calling me and he seemed to have plenty of time on his hands to complain about the seller (my client). This negotiation was really wearing me down. I tried a shot of scotch, a workout at the gym, a chapter in a good book but I couldn’t get the negotiation off my mind. Anyway, the only thing I could think of was to ask seller and buyer to role play. I asked seller to think like buyer and buyer to think like seller. After a short conversation with both sides they resumed offers and counter offers from where they were before they started bidding in opposite directions with seller going higher and buyer going lower in the middle of the negotiation. The next day we had agreement on price.

Mike: What should a domainer know prior to hiring a broker for assistance in selling a domain name?

Dave: The seller should have a good understanding of what the broker is going to do to get the domain sold for the highest price. The seller should know about commissions and any other fees plus how long the agreement is in place. Seller should know what to do if someone contacts him about the domain and how the broker will provide feedback during the engagement.

Mike: How can an end user benefit from working with a domain broker to purchase a name?

Dave: The end user may know the exact domain name they want. They may not. If they don’t the broker should be able to help with name suggestions. Either way the broker can hide the end user’s identity and probably negotiate a lower price. The end user may not be able to track down the owner(s). Brokers know how to do that. The end user may not wish to negotiate. The broker has a better chance of getting the domain and can save the end user time and money.

Mike: While you focus on the cream of the crop domain names, what advice do you have for those that are working on the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to selling domains?

Dave: Everyone has to start somewhere. I started delivering newspapers after school on my bicycle when I was 11. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Read domain blogs. Join domain forums. Do some valuations. List names on marketplaces such as Sedo. Go to conferences. Meet and develop relationships with other domainers and brokers. Try some auctions. Do some basic targeted outreach (such as email/phone/social media). Use an escrow service. Try to scale.

Mike: What is your opinion on the flood of newer TLDS that have hit the market? Is that a new opportunity of just some noise in the background?

Dave: I`ve brokered some premium new domains and Sedo sold a ton over the marketplace. Startups are grabbing them. Some large established companies are investing in them. It’s an ongoing process with some making good progress and taking hold. Dot com is still king but the landscape is gradually becoming more interesting.

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Online Jobs – Does country code even matter?

John Jonas is an internet marketer and the founder of onlinejobs.ph.  He is known as the guy to go to for how to replace themselves and live the 17-hour work week. He’s all about spending as little time working as needed, and spending more of that time with family, golfing, and helping others live the lifestyle he lives.

Mike:  What gave you the idea to create an a resource for finding virtual assistants and other workers online?  

John:  I created it for myself!  In 2008 there wasn’t a good way to find people in the Philippines.  I was frustrated with having to go through a service and being at the mercy of what someone else thought was a good fit for my business.  I wanted a way where I could decide for myself who is the best person, as well as not pay a 3x markup fee on someone’s salary every month. So I created what I wanted so I could find talented workers and have them work from home.

Mike:  Why specifically Filipino workers?

John: There’s a combination of 6 cultural attributes that makes the Philippines different from anywhere else in the world.

1. They’re very westernized.  They watch American movies and TV. Elementary school is often taught in english.  They think the way we do so communication isn’t an issue.

2. They’re honest. My workers have access to my credit cards, bank account, paypal account, personal email… They don’t want to steal from you. They just want to work for you.

3. They’re loyal almost to a fault. If you treat them well, they’ll never quit. Even when they get a job offer from someone else making much more, they’ll keep working for you. This changes our commitment level towards teaching them.

4. They’re very well educated.

5. They have computers and internet access.  The internet isn’t super fast, but they all have access at home. This helps avoid typical outsourcing middleman markups.

6. They’re not entrepreneurial.  They don’t want to steal your ideas. They don’t want to steal your domain or your business or your software.  They just want a job.

When you combine all these cultural attributes you’re much more likely to have a better outsourcing experience with the Philippines than almost anywhere else in the world (including first world countries)

Mike: Your domain name, OnlineJobs.ph is a descriptive, keyword name.  When I searched “onlinejobs,” it was the first two results returned from Google.  That said, ph is a county code TLD for the Philippians.  Have you had any difficulty using dot ph with a US based target audience?

John:  Not really.  I mean, occasionally someone says “Wait… dot ph?”.  But usually people know that we only deal with the Philippines so .ph makes sense.

In terms of search engine rankings, we’ve never seen any issues with it.

Mike:  You also founded replacemyself.com.  Tell me a little bit about this and how it differs from online jobs.ph.

John:  ReplaceMyself.com was born out of people wanting to know how/why I was hiring Filipino workers.  I started teaching it and put the website together to deliver trainings to Filipino workers on behalf of their employers.

OnlineJobs.ph is the database where you find workers.  ReplaceMyself is where you learn how to find/hire/manage those workers.

Although…today most of the teaching I do from ReplaceMyself.com can be found on OnlineJobs.ph

Honestly…the training’s we’ve provided to VA’s at ReplaceMyself.com are a bit outdated right now.  We’ve mostly stopped doing it.  We’re currently re-inventing that training as part of OnlineJobs.ph

Mike:  Is it really possible to replace yourself?  I mean, can you really outsource the majority of your work and still be successful?

John:  Yes! I’ve been doing it for 12 years now.  I’ve worked about 17 hours/week for the last 8 years.  I’ve seen lots of other people do it. The key is to hire long-term people rather than project based or contract workers or freelancers.

The other key is to make decisions about what your business will do based on who has to do the work.  If you have to do the work, don’t take on that kind of business.
It’s not an overnight thing.  Hiring Filipino workers isn’t a magic bullet.  It requires effort.  But from everything I’ve seen over the years, hiring a Filipino VA gives you the best shot at lowering your workload in an affordable way.

Mike:  I imagine you outsource 🙂 this but how easy or difficult is it to launch and run an online business?

John:  It’s hard. It takes a lot of hard work.  Not physical labor, but thinking work.  And most people aren’t willing to do that much hard thought work.  They just want someone else to tell them exactly what to do step by step.  That kind of a business won’t succeed online very often.

In order to launch and run an online business you have to think through lots of processes.

And yes, I outsource everything except the thinking.  I do the thinking and people in the Philippines do the actual work.

Mike:  Are there any success cases you can share?  How would a guy like me replace myself?

John:  I see success stories all the time.  So often that they almost became commonplace for me.  Here are some more in depth case studies I did a while back:

http://www.replacemyself.com/philippines-outsourcing-case-study

as well as a few success stories we’ve published out of the thousands we’ve seen:

https://www.onlinejobs.ph/success-stories

There are really two keys to replacing yourself:

1. Hire someone in the Philippines to do something you are currently doing in your business.  Don’t outsource something you don’t know how to do.  “Insource” (bring someone into your company) from overseas and get them doing something you do know how to do.  Get something off your plate. The distinction between something you do and something you don’t know how to do is critical.  You can only replace yourself if you work on outsourcing things you DO know how to do.

2. Don’t expect success the first time.  Be willing to work with the person over and over until you get it right.  Not until “they” get it right.  Until YOU get it right with THEM doing the work.  It takes patience.

But once you get it right once, the second and third times are easier and easier.  Pretty soon you’ve gotten 2, 3, 10 hours back in your life.

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Chili.com – Not what you would expect

Giorgio Tacchia is the Founder, President and CEO of the CHILI.  CHILI is an European digital entertainment player.  In August 2017 CHILI launched the only Entertainment Centred Marketplace.  A transactional service which offers Cinema Previews, New Releases, a digital catalogue with over 50.000 films and TV Series, DVDs and Blu-Rays, Exclusive Gadgets and lots more.  CHILI provides its service on Smart TVs, Blu-Ray players, PCs, Tablets and Smartphones.  There are no monthly fees nor activation costs.  CHILI offers the widest range of titles with thousands of movies and TV Series, thanks to agreements with the most important production companies, local distributors and independent labels. Founded in June 2012, CHILI is controlled by its founding managers. Other shareholders of note are: Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Viacom, Warner Bros.

Mike:  Giorgio, what makes Chili.com different that other entertainment providers?

Giorgio:  CHILI represents the first entertainment centred marketplace that enhances the transactional experience, including first vision, cinema previews, news, information on cast, reviews, photos, clips and customer ratings on theatrical releases and also cinema ticketing and booking, movies’ merchandising and DVD/BluRay Disc. CHILI offers a wide range of titles with more than 50,000 movies and TV series, thanks to agreements with the most important Major Studios, local distributors and independent labels.

Mike:  What factors led you to selecting the name CHILI for your service?

Giorgio: At the beginning, we wanted to find a brand name which wasn’t directly related to movies, the digital distribution or internet. We liked the name CHILI because is international, easy to remember and easy to play with (like our section the chillest). Our domain name was initially CHILI.tv but we changed to CHILI.com in order to become more international and to emphasise our presence on all devices. It is also possible to represent CHILI with a self-explanatory icon, t’s a short name near the beginning of the alphabet.

Mike:  CHILI.com sounds like a really great service.  When I type in CHILI.com I’m greeted with the message “Sorry! CHILI Cinema is not yet available in your country. We are working to make it happen.”  Why is the service not yet available in the USA?  What is the primary market that you serve?

Giorgio:  CHILI was founded in 2012 in Italy as a pay per view-streaming platform for watching on demand movies and TV series, and thanks to the domestic success we extended the perimeter of distribution to Austria, Poland, Germany and the UK. Now we are focused on commercially launching the new platform in these countries which represent 60% of the European market. At the moment we are concentrating our efforts in Europe, to further extend distribution perimeters is one of our future goals and  we will definitely start with English speaking countries.

Mike:  Can you tell me how you acquired the domain name?  Was it a complex process?

Giorgio:  Easy process, just expensive!

Mike:  How has owning a premium name like CHILI severed your business needs?

Giorgio: For sure, at the beginning, having a brand name which doesn’t immediately bring to mind our services in phase where we are creating brand awareness has been complicated, on the other hand the name is intriguing and stimulates curiosity. Now in Italy, after 5 years, the brand notoriety has increased, overseas will catch up following the launch

Mike:  What type of traffic numbers do you see at CHILI.com on a monthly basis

Giorgio: We have reached more than 1.3 million clients and we are increasing 50/100k clients monthly.

Mike:  What are the types of hurdles you face as on online media business?

Giorgio:  At the end the hardest issue is to catch the consumer attention in a very competitive arena, consumers are targeted in many different ways but the time they have for media consumption doesn’t increase.

Finally the piracy still remains rampant even though the  quality is very low.

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The Laughing Stock of Domains

LaughingStock Comedy Company is the funniest company in business.

For over 20 years, members of LaughingStock have been lampooning America’s corporate culture at banquets, association meetings, customer fetes, trade shows and other special events. They have created comedy mayhem live on stage, on audio and video industrials and on-line.

LaughingStock’s success is a result of extensive background research into every single audience for whom they perform combined with quick-witted comedians taking and using audience suggestions during the performances. LaughingStock’s experienced actor/comedians are well schooled in improvisational comedy techniques and — armed with their background research — spontaneously create fun and funny scenes based on the work lives of the audience.

Mike: Dean, tell me a little bit about yourself. When did you first get involved with comedy? What has your comedic career looked like?

Dean: In 1979 I was on the radio in Portland, Maine as a morning “personality.” One day this guy comes in to promote his new comedy act opening at a local club. He was plugging a “media night” with free food and open bar. As a starving DJ, I – and the whole media community – went. That night “Abrams & Anderson” made its comedy-improv debut. I – nor the whole media community – had never seen anything like it. Especially the guy’s female partner. I knew from the first night she was an “it” girl. I returned several times and brought my friends. Over the next two years we became good friends as their act really took off. They started in the clubs moved on to fairs, festivals, colleges, associations and corporate events. In 1983 they asked me to join them as the world’s first “comedy roadie.” I took over the role of road manager, contributed as a writer and and taught them how to run a business. I started getting on stage a little bit in some of their sketches that required more than two people, eventually appearing in about half the act. Between 1983 and 1993 they migrated their focus to the corporate and association markets almost exclusively, traveling the nation and commanding decent fees. In 1993 the guy decided to head to Hollywood to pursue his dream of movie stardom. The “it” girl and I reformed the act with another partner and launched LaughingStock Comedy Company as an official trio. Oh yeah, along the way the “it” girl and I got married.

In 1998 we moved to Tucson, Arizona and in 1999 we lost our third partner and shrank back to a duo. We used other improv-actors from the local market and around the country to supplement our cast as we continued to present a trio. Business was good until 2008 when the big banks screwed the entire corporate entertainment industry by handing out bonuses and throwing lavish corporate meetings while the rest of the economy went down in flames. All that bad press just killed the idea of anyone having fun at a business meeting and anything other than a motivational speaker got dropped from the budgets.

happy-286152_960_720

Of course, that’s what we saw looking back. It took five or six years before we realized our market had disappeared. I spent two years marketing and selling LaughingStock 40 hours a week with literally zero results. In the meantime my partner went back to school and got her Masters in Theatre Studies and got a part-time job as a Christian Education Director at her church. She was so good at it they encouraged her to get her certification to become a lay pastor. Which she did. Almost immediately she was offered a job as a pastor at a small church here in Tucson. And in the meantime I applied for Social Security benefits early as I needed the money. Apparently no one wanted to hire an ex-comedian in his 60’s.

In the last two years I have realized I am fully retired. And behind every successful retired man is a wife with a job in town. We do continue to perform pro bono shows for causes in which we believe, but the commercial aspect of our business has passed.

Mike: Let’s talk about your domain name. I love it. Laughing.com is short, descriptive, to the point, and puts a smile on your face. Did you purchase the domain from someone or were you the first to register it? If you purchased it, can you talk about the process you went through?

Dean: Sometime in the 90’s a guy came to the office and said we needed a web site. We said, “Okay! What’s a web site?” Actually we had been doing quite a bit of work for the tech industry in the Route 128 loop around Boston. I remember a top-level VP explaining the difference between hardware and software to us. Anyway, the guy says he’ll build it and all we have to pay for is hosting. When it came time to pick a domain name Laughingstock.com was taken. I think there was only .com, .edu and .gov available at the time. Laughing.com was available so we registered it. Later we registered laughingstock.info as a site dedicated to our speaker bureau partners who want a contact-free information delivery scenario.

Mike: Laughing.com is home to LaughingStock Comedy Company. As described in the opening paragraph’s, this is a business and a funny one at that. Tell us how you work with companies and what you bring to the table. Why hire LaughingStock Comedy Company?

Dean: Publicly we promoted ourselves as a improv group, but we learned early on that incorporating inside information to our sketches paid big dividends from the audiences. We essentially customized every performance. We would do extensive research on the group for whom we were performing. We conducted a long interview with our sponsor, conducted several phone call interviews with people who would actually be in the audience and asked for lots of materials from which we would glean little details about what the folks in the audience had to deal with day in and day out. We created sketches that allowed us to integrate suggestions from the audience with the background material we gathered in advance. Our goal was to have folks ask how long we had worked for the company. The material was that inside.

Comedy brings a lot of things to a successful meeting. A great comedy show is memorable. It helps make the other message deliverables memorable, too. Comedy is a great stress reliever. We performed for lots and lost of stressed out audiences, including one group of back-office workers getting laid off because of a merger. Comedy is a great reward, we performed for countless incentive programs and bonus reward audiences. Comedy can drive a message. With the ability to control our content we were able to deliver and/or support corporate messages in a fun way. Laughing makes you breathe and oxygenates your brain, leaving you more open to new information. And comedy is cathartic. I am most proud of performing for breast cancer survivors. Twice!

Mike: How much traffic do you receive on the site. I imagine you get quite a bit just from people typing in “laughing.com” to see what comes up.

Dean: I have no idea. I stopped getting metrics from my host several years ago.

Mike: Say something funny. Just kidding. Is there much competition in an industry like this?

Dean: Tons. When we started there were very few improv groups outside New York and Chicago. And even fewer clued into the corporate/association market. Now the world is lousy with them. I use that word purposely. Then there are the “theme” companies, specialty bands, DJ’s, impressionists, magicians, hypnotists, celebrities, celebrity look-alikes, circus acts, politicians, Olympic heroes, authors, photographers, faux speakers, TED talkers, the list goes on and on. In our peak years our best competition was Second City and the Capitol Steps.

Mike: Have you received unsolicited offers for the domain name? Would you ever consider selling? Can you tell us how much you have been offered?

Dean: We have received inquiries over the years. I used to reply it was for sale for “One Million Dollars!” Funny, no one ever got back to me on that. Then as business started declining, I’d ask what it was worth, but no one ever came back with a figure. Yes, I would consider selling it at a premium. The premium part is me being sentimental about what laughing.com represents in my personal and professional life.

Mike: I see there is a laughingstock.com, lughingstockcomedy.com, laughingstockcomedy.co.uk. Do you feel there can be any confusion across these domains?

Dean: Certainly. When the site first went live Laughingstock was on the first page Google return for a search for improv groups. But we never worried too much about the other domains. We considered our site as one giant brochure and marketed to potential clients by driving them to the site. I would say we never made more than 10% of our sales from folks who stumbled on our site. When we got the domain we were allowed one email address. We chose propaganda@laughing.com since there were three of us sharing an in-box, and we thought it was an interesting email address for folks to use to get more information about us. With the advent of social media I started using lol@laughing.com. In a sense, the email addresses were more important than the site itself.

Mike: You mentioned you are retired.  Laughing.com is currently says “under construction.” What can we expect in the near future?

Dean: As our business declined it made no sense to keep up the many aspects of maintaining the site: Updating the client list, list of engagements, letters of recommendation, new videos, photos, promotions, etc. So one day I pulled everything off except the video (which tells our whole story anyway) and posted that the site was under construction. We have no future plans for it.

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Day 21 – Feedback

This is it, the final day in the 21 days to becoming a better domainer.  That said, this is not the end of your journey to improve, to become better, to reach your goal.  It’s nearly the end of this series.  So let’s get on with it.  On Friday, we talked about assessing how and what you have been doing.  Adjusting what isn’t working against what is working. This is all internal to you.  Your reflections on your experiences.

“There is no truth. There is only perception.” – Gustave Flaubert

Now it’s time to ask for some external feedback. on what you’ve been doing and how you could improve.  This is valuable because you maybe doing things that you think are positive and effective, but if your potential customers find them not to be, then the reality is they are not positive and effective.  This is often hard to fathom.  “How can they not see the value in this?”

This is where external feedback is extremely helpful.  What are some ways to source this feedback?

  1. Ask for feedback from recipients of unsuccessful email campaigns you have sent
  2. Ask customers you have successfully sold to
  3. Bounce your methods off of some of the trusted mentors and contacts you developed earlier in this series

Ask for feedback from recipients of unsuccessful email campaigns

You’re probably thinking, “if they didn’t respond to my sales email, they aren’t going to respond to a request for feedback.”  You’re probably right…. well mostly.  I recently sent out a batch of emails on a restaurant name with no responses.  It was pretty frustrating because I really thought it was a great name for the recipients I targeted with my email.  I had high expectations and zero results.  WTF.

In my frustration, I decided to send a second email about two weeks later to the same group.  I titled the email “What can I do?”  My email stated:

I understand you don’t have interest in acquiring this domain name. This is a big part of my small business effort and I’d appreciate any feedback you can give me on what I could have done differently to have at least gained your interest.  You don’t owe me anything but I would consider it a favor from one small business owner to another if you would reply.

Out of the batch, I only received 2 responses.  Hey, that’s a better rate than my original email.  One email stated “Let me talk this over with my business partner and I’ll get back to you.”  Wow, either this person didn’t originally see my first email or he is considering the purchase.  Great!!  The second email said “The domain has nothing on it and doesn’t have any traffic.  If you can build it up and get some traffic, I might be interested.”  Great feedback here.  Not part of my sales plan, but something I will certainly consider for this name.  I can see how that would make it more attractive than trying to build the initial traffic yourself after buying the name.

Ask customers you have successfully sold to

As off this writing, I haven’t actually tried this one out, but I plan to.  What better source is there for what a customer wants then from one that has made a purchase from you.  While I haven’t contacted a buyer for feedback, I have contacted buyers for repeat sales and been successful.  It’s worth asking, “what made you buy?” to gain some insight into what works.  Maybe they already understand the value of a keyword domain and other buyers don’t.  Maybe you worded your initial email in a more persuasive manner.  Ask.  Find out.  Adjust. Repeat.

Bounce your methods off of some of the trusted mentors and contacts you developed earlier in this series

Hopefully you have gained some new contact on the message forums, reaching out to bloggers, working on Twitter.  These are people in the industry with a whole different set of experiences than you’ve had.  If you’ve developed a strong enough relationship, reach out to one or more of them and say “Here’s what I’m doing…  What’s worked well for you?”  You’d be surprised how domainers are willing to share.  I’ve said it before in different ways, overall, domainers I have meet have been stand up, quality people.  There are the exceptions, but overall a very good group!

Hopefully this series has helped some new domainers take some actionable steps toward growing with their new found passion.  I also hope that some of the seasoned domainers have found some reminders of old habits and dusted them off for re-use.  Remember, this is not the end.  This is the start.  I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions so feel free to post you thoughts in the comment section or shoot me an email.  Good luck!

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Day 20 – Reflect on your experience

Day 20 of 21 days to becoming a better domainer and today is about taking a look back on what has worked and what has not.  It’s only been 20 days, but periodically, you need to stop and take note of what’s been going on.  Often times, you’ll get so caught up in the hustle of doing that you forget to pay attention.  You need to check in with yourself an discover what’s working well for you, what is not, and make some adjustments.

An example might be your email pitch.  If you’ve sent out hundreds of emails and have gotten no replies, there are plenty of things you need to analyze and revisit.  Here are some questions to ask.

  1.  Is my email server actually working?
  2. Does my title suck so bad that everyone is deleting my emails?
  3. Are the names I’m trying to sell of no interest to anyone?
  4. Am I targeting the right audience?
  5. Is this the most effective medium I should use?

I’m sure you could come up with plenty more to help you get to a better place.  May you need to do some research on writing sales emails.  Maybe you need to do some research on investing in better domains.  What you know for sure is you need to take action and try something different.  Then, after some time, you need to stop and ask yourself if that change has had an impact.

Another example might be that you found when making sales calls, you actual make a sale every 1 in 50 calls.  If that’s the case, you know how many calls you need to target for your next sale.  You can also ask yourself how you can improve that rate.

  1. Am I calling the right people?
  2. Am I saying the right thing?
  3. Is there a better time of day I should be calling?
  4. Should I speak with a British accent?
  5. Any patterns that can be identified?

It could be that you find that by calling before 8am you are more likely to get a hold of the company owner, thus the decision maker.  Maybe most of your successes happen on Tuesday’s after 10am and before 2pm.  Then you know when you need to spend your time making calls and when not to.

You could be making more meaningful contacts at one particular domain message forum than another.  It may be worth your time adjusting home much time you spend on each site.

There are hundreds of other things you could assess.  The answer to all these questions can also change over time.  That’s why it’s important to stop and look around every once in a while.  The grind is great.  The hustle is power.  But you just want to make sure you are doing the right things more often.  Call it sharpening the saw, call it the 80/20 rule, call it whatever you want. Just make sure you do it.

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Day 19 – It’s time to make the call

A couple days back I wrote about the importance of the domain sales email.  It’s how I’ve made the majority of my sales.  It works.  It’s not easy, but it works, sometimes.  I’m always surprised when I send out a batch of emails on a domain name and get no takers.  I’m convinced I worded something poorly or titled the email in a way that was not intriguing enough to bother clicking on.  Email is a great way to reach many people at one time.  Or is it?

According to HubSpot, 76% of sales emails go unopened.

Plan B

I am no salesman, let me be honest with you.  Never have been and never will be.  Not in the traditional sense.  I just don’t have that type of personality.  I’m in the wrong business, right?  I have to let the product and facts speak for themselves, which is what I did when selling a couple of geo business names.  Since the names were local towns, I decided to pick up the phone for a more personal touch.  Instead of sending out a couple dozen emails, I picked up the phone and started calling.  I used my land line because I thought it might be more appealing for the prospect to see a local number coming in.

The first time I tried this was for a GeoPlumber.com name.  I decided to pick those plumbers that were paying for Google Ad Words for the term and give it a shot.  I called about 5 businesses in the area.  I talked to administrative assistance, voicemail boxes, one guy I’m not sure spoke English, and finally a plumber.  We talked for about a half hour and I explained to him why I thought he could benefit from the name and some options he could leverage using the name.  He asked me to come by so I swing into his office for about another half hour.   When I left, I had a check in my hand and a new contact in my list.

According to Grasshopper.com, “Phone calls are 10x more likely to lead to sales.”

I took the same approach with some geo chiropractor names.  It worked for a couple of names but not for a few others.  In one case, I was invited into the office to pick up a check for the name.  While I was there, I noticed on his paperwork that he had a practice in another town nearby.  I went home and registered that name.  I called him back a week later and made a second sale.  I’m not sure if I’m ashamed of that or proud of it.  I think I’m proud of it.  Grabbing ahold of an opportunity and doing something with it!

I’ve had luck with this approach with geo names, especially those local to me.  I plan to implement this approach more often for all my names, no need to limit it to geo names.

I came across a domain called SorryNoCalls.com.  It’s an article about a guy who doesn’t often take or make calls.  Some of the reasons he gives for not taking calls are the exact reason why you should be making calls.  Here are a couple:

3. I have a really hard time saying “no”. – Well, yes, of course.  That’s why I want to talk to you on the phone and ask for the sale.  Most people have trouble saying no.  It’s easy via email, just delete it.  But on the phone, there is a real live person on the other side.

4. I’m pathologically polite, and just can’t get the timing right. – Yet another perfect reason.  It’s easy to be mean via email.  Mean by not reading it, mean by not responding, mean by writing bak with some type of sexual insult about my grandmother and prehistoric animals.  But on the phone, people tend to be nice. They “hear you out.”  You actually get to make your point.   You can talk about monthly searches, Google Adwords, type in traffic, building out another site.  You can provide examples of what other companies are doing and the person is actually more likely to listen than if you were to send an email

There are times when a phone call just isn’t going to work.  If you’ve been breaking rocks at the day job from 9 to 5 (or longer) you probably have missed the window of opportunity to catch someone during business hours.  You don’t always have the option to leave a voicemail or message and to be honest, it’s just not the same as talking directly to someone.  The weekend might be another time that phone calls don’t work as well.  It’s the weekend and although you’re hustling your ass off, most people are not.  There not going to be sitting by the phone waiting for you to call on Saturday afternoon.  In these cases, an email is a great alternative.

Give the phone a try.  Work on your pitch. Fine tune it.  Revise it. Master it.  Let me know how you do and your thoughts on this approach.

If you want to catch up on this series, visit 21 days to becoming a better domainer.

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domain name books

Day 18 – Can reading a book make you a better domainer?

The end is near.  Day 18 of 21 days to becoming a better domainer.  Let me take your back a bit.  When I was in school, I HATED reading.  Alright, hate is a strong word and I would actually have had to do some reading to be able to hate it.  I guess I did read a little. The ingredients of the cereal box in the morning, the back cover of the book I was doing my report on, the answer key floating around for the literature test coming up in 9th hour.  But that was it.

My first summer out of high school, I actually bought a book one of my friends recommended.  No, it wasn’t a self-help book, just a fictional book and I actually enjoyed it.  I mean, I read the whole thing and I didn’t even HAVE to.  That was pretty much my slow climb to the point I’m at today where I really enjoy reading.  Mostly non-fiction, business related books.

There is a lot off information online and you might be thinking, “there’s no need to read books, that’s old school.”  I beg to differ.  When I first started domaining, I couldn’t find enough information.  It was all available on the internet, but in 10,000 different places.  I wanted to know the history.  I mean, I wanted to know why in the 90’s it cost $70 to register a domain.  Who were the pioneers?  Then I came across a book.  The Domain Game.

It’s full title is The Domain Game: How People Get Rich From Internet Domain Names, which I feel is very misleading.  Maybe good for sales, but it’s really more of a well written history of domaining.  You can read my review, but I learned a ton.  Foundational stuff.  Not how to sell, but how it got to where it is today.  You’ll likely even recognize some names in there.  But this is info that hadn’t all been gathered in one place for me to read online.  It took David Kesmodel’s time and effort to research and interview people to put this together.  Many other books are just like that.  They collect great related ideas, concepts and information all in one place.

Since then, I have read dozens of books on domains, website development, marketing, sales, business principles.  Some have been great and well worth the time while others have completely sucked and were a waste of time.  But you won’t know until you start digging in, asking for recommendations, or just taking a chance.  I’ve learned more from reading and trying then I learned in college, which makes sense.

As I mentioned in a prior post, podcasts and audiobooks are great, but reading a book is an experience of it’s own.

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Day 17 – The Domain Sales Email

I don’t know about you, but even just writing these past 16 posts has re-energized my domaining flow.  I’m pumped.  Do the kids still say that?  On to day 17 of 21 days to becoming a better domainer. The other day we were all about landing pages and listing your domain names for sale online.  That’s all well and good, and you really need to do that.  But sometimes its the more direct approach that gets you the sale.  By that I mean targeted emails to highly qualified potential buyers.  That, in my book, is not spam.  Because my book has never been published, I will give you the Google search result for “define spam”:

domain sales letter

The fact that we want to target relevant end users in a small population, we are not dealing with spam.  Now, if I were to send the email to ever domainer that walks the earth, which I have seen happen, I would consider it spam.  But those are my rules.  Debate amongst yourselves.

As far as I have found, there is no one, solid, end all domain sales email template that will ensure you get a sale every time.  But there are a few variations I have found more successful than others.  Here are a few posts I’ve written about various emails I’ve tried or received.

  1. Domain Sales Email – From a Domainer to a Domainer
  2. A Domain Sales Email That Worked!
  3. Domainer Emails
  4. The Domain Sales Email that Caught My Eye

No matter what you do the single most important thing you need to do is to tailor your email to your audience.  Don’t try to blast out some generic templated mess that could be churned out by a VA in a Mexican prison for $.30 per day. Think about who it’s going to and why they might care about the name.

Some are cut and dry.  If you’re selling ChicagoBakery.com then there is not much you need to say if you are emailing bakeries in Chicago.  When I first started domaining, I sold a bunch of spray tan related domain names by emailing spray tan services.  I didn’t say much other than the name and my price.  However, if its less obvious to your buyers, you might want to explain why it’s relevant and how many searches per month are done on that term.  I’ve done that with names that I thought would sell easily.  Then I found I had to pack in more evidence to support it’s worth in my next set of emails because it didn’t sell the first time around.

You’re going to have to stumble and try different formats.  See what works and what doesn’t.  What works for some types of names may not work for others.  Scan the forums to hear what’s worked for other people and what they advise against.  Domainers are a pretty good bunch and tend to help each other out.

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Day 16 – How much are domains selling for?

We’re in the home stretch, week 3, day 16 of 21 days to becoming a better domainer.  The lesson for today is to simply get comfortable researching what domain names are selling for and also to look back historically at what names were selling for a year a go, 5 years ago, 10 years ago.

Where do you go to find out these things?  Well, you’re already familiar with some of the blogs in this space and probably have noticed which bloggers tend to report this out.  Jamie over at DotWeekly.com does an amazing job of tracking which big businesses are buying and selling which names.  The best blogging resource on actual prices has to be Ron Jackson at DNJournal.com.  Ron has the latest newsworthy prices posted at dnjournal.com/domainsales.htm and a whole history can be found in the archives.

Other than blogs, you can head to NameBio.com and search the various sales venues for what certain domains have sold for.  They have a great search feature there that allows you to enter keywords, old, price, etc.  You’ll even see the history.  For example, here is the results when I search for “cooldomains.”  Someone made a good investment.

namebio

There are other options as well.  If you have explored some of the automated valuation tools such as estibot.com, you’ll see that estibot returns some historical domain sales for you to see as part of the valuation result for the domain you enter.  Not quite and customizable as NameBio, but something to keep an eye on as you search.

There are plenty of other ways to get at this information.  The important thing is that you start to pay attention to it and understand it.  You’ll see patters.  You’ll see randomness.  It’s all there for you to sort out.

There is no perfect formula for coming up with a sale price for a domain, but a little education goes a long way.

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Day 15 – Time to sell some domain names

Happy Friday and day 15 of 21 days to becoming a better domainer. It’s been a busy three weeks if you’ve been following along and trying to incorporate these tips into your domaining routine.  We’ve talked about getting information and learning on a daily basis, reaching out to more experienced domainers, building your net work, assessing your domain names, determining your focus, and today its all about selling.

You acquired some names and you’re you’ve done some learning so now it’s time to get those names out there were people can find them.  You have some options as to where you list your names but before you do that, my suggestion is that you create a landing page for each of your domain names, bulleting out some of the benefits of owning the name and  giving potential buyers a way to contact you with an offer.

You have some options here as well.  One option is to create your own landing page.  You probably know a little html and if not, you could learn enough to create a basic page easy enough.  Another option is to use a domain sales theme such as the one developed by Ed de Jong.  I’ve tried a few different approaches, but the one that worked best for me has been Efty.  Back in May, I wrote an article about my early experience with Efty.  Worth reading if you are considering giving it a go.  Just the other day, Omar and Will posted a video about landing pages vs parking.  Which route you decide on is up to you, my advice is to just get something out on that page that allows buyers to contact you.

Adding a landing page greatly increases your odds of being contacted with an offer.  Most end users are just going to type the name in and see what’s there.  If there is nothing, they have no idea how to contact you.  But don’t stop there.  Get your names listed on sites like Sedo, Afternic, and NameJet to name a few popular platforms.  The idea is to get your names where people can find them.  This is an important step that is often skipped.

I also like the premium listings and auction options at GoDaddy.  Having your names available on GoDaddy is great because it’s probably the most popular registrar in existence (I have no data to back that up, nor do I feel like searching for it).

You’ve done lots of homework and learned quite a bit and you deserve to make some sales.  Don’t just sit on the information you have, get your landing pages in place and get those names listed where they can be seen by buyers.  I’m looking forward to hearing which platforms you like the best.

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