What would you do for $5?

Clearly, I do many interviews for this blog.  Some interviews are done through email exchanges, but I’ve done several telephone interviews and I get a great deal of information that way.  In fact, telephone interviews usually produce the best interview results because it allows me to ask related follow up questions quickly and easily.  It also allows the interviewee to speak more candidly and less calculated which usually spurs excellent conversation.  The only drawback to the phone interviews is the amount of time it takes me to transcribe the conversation and convert it into a readable interview.  To solve this problem, I turned to the least expensive source I could find.  Fiverr.com.

I find myself drifting off and writing about some brandable names, and that’s okay.  One of my Twitter connections mentioned Fiverr.com in a tweet and I had been meaning to check it out.  The plus side to this domain, it was easy to remember.  It had been weeks since I saw the tweet and I still remembered the name.  Unfortunately, I forgot who tweeted it, so forgive me for not giving you credit.

Fiverr.com is a site where people post what they are willing to do for 5 bucks.  It’s crazy, really.  People will do things such as dress up in stupid looking close and send you a picture, to doing actual programming and solving real problems.  Now as you might expect, I have found that you get what you pay for.  I searched someone to transcribe a call for me.  The rate was $5 for 15 minutes of audio, so I gave it a shot.  Timeliness was excellent, I had the transcribed audio in my possession in less than 24 hours.  Accuracy, not so excellent.

The person transcribing was offshore and likely used English as a second language.  That said, he did a decent job.  He transcribed and got several words wrong or placed “???” in places he didn’t understand based on the quality of the audio.  There is no way I could use the service and trust the results without going through it with a fine tooth comb, but it did take the edge of transcribing the whole call.

I’m not sure if I’ll use the service again for this purpose, but it was kind of fun to test it out.  I guess it did save me some time and was probably worth the $5.  But if you’re looking for high quality and accuracy, you’ll have to ante up for a pro.

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“Rework” The Way You Domain

There is an established way of doing things.  When the business community sees something that seems to work, it is duplicated and repeated with the hopes of success.  It then becomes so ingrained in the way we live our lives that we take these things as absolute truths.  Society, and each of us as individuals,  have burned them into our mind to the point that we don’t question them at all.  We see it as our road map to success and don’t dare stray from the path.  Jason Fried and David Heinermeier Hansson challenge this in their book, “Rework.”

The author, Jason Fried, founded the company 37signals, a web application company in Chicago in 1999.  “Rework” has been described as a recap of company’s blog, “Signal vs. Noise.”  I don’t follow the blog, so I won’t comment on the accuracy of that statement, but I did find some good information in just a quick glance at the blog.

The book is a quick read and I found the first half the most compelling.  In fact, it probably could have ended there. While the information may not be entirely new, it is valuable.  If it causes you to question your current strategy, it has value.  Some might say it’s common sense, but if it is, then why aren’t these ideas more commonly practiced?  Some of the concepts covered that seem counter intuitive to how we work include:

  • Learning from our mistakes is overrated.  Learn from Success.
  • Planning is guessing. Spend less time planing and make more decisions on the fly.
  • Workaholics contribute less.
  • Finance your own operations or your decisions will be controlled by others.
  • Staying small can be better than growing.  Don’t try to enhance your products to meet all your customers needs.

Those are just a few of my favorites and can be directly applied to the domainers.  The book is well worth the read and the short time commitment to get through it.  You’ll find yourself thinking about what you do and how you can do it differently.  You may find that a small tweak that comes from the ideas in this book make a significant impact in the way you operate.

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Amazon Affiliate Store

After seeing a promote link on Domaining.com, I decided to have Mike Cohen at SiteDepot.com develop an Amazon based affiliate e-commerce store on one of my domains.   You’re probably familiar with Mike Cohen from Wannadevelop.com.  If not, then maybe from the controversy some are stirring up over Cohen’s promotion vs. Rob Monster’s Epik.com platform.  I’m not here to debate which is better.  I haven’t tried a developed Epik.com store and I can’t speak to it’s merits.  The deal I found on SiteDepot.com was too tough to pass up.

As I mentioned, I saw the promoted link for a developed Amazon affiliate store for $150, but then  I did a little research.  A quick Google search and I found a discount code for an additional 25% off.  Not bad… I’m in.  I placed my order and soon got an automated reply asking if I would like to host the site on their server or on my own.  Turns out that SiteDepot will host the site on there server for no additional charge… FOREVER.  I host several sites for web design clients and sites of my own, so I chose to host my own site.  I sent Mike the login info and with in a day, the site was ready.  Well, there were a couple of delays, but it was that the developer was waiting on me because I had limited access to email.  The domain I chose was Mens-Razors.com (yeah, it has a hyphen) because I felt that Amazon has a good inventory to choose from.

I haven’t yet done any off site optimization or any means to promote the site, so I can’t expect it to do well until I do.  End result is that I now have a developed affiliate store with a custom header, fully functional, and it was done for less than I could have done it myself.  At least less aggravation.   I’m pleased with the result and I feel the value exceeded the cost.

Maybe I’ll try one of Rob’s sites one of these days and let you know what I think.

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Crush It! If You’re A Domainer

Several weeks back I read “Chrush It!” by Gary Vaynerchuk.  Well, I actually listened to the audio version, and I think that’s an important distinction and I’ll soon explain why.  Before “Crush It!”, Vaynerchuk was probably best know for his work on the Wine Library TV video blog as the guy that knows his shit when it comes to wine and isn’t afraid to talk about it.  To be honest, I never heard of him before.  A friend of mine suggested the book and I picked it up on audio due to all the craziness in life.  Audio is just sometimes easier.

After listening for just a few minutes, I was hooked.  Some people say he comes off as cocky…. maybe, yeah, I suppose.  But more than that, the guy is real.  He talks from experience and provides great food for thought.  Much of the information can be applied directly to your domaining business, if you’re passionate and serious.  The book explains how he took his families business from a “little something” to “a whole lot sales” in a short period of time.  That’s not what the book is about.  It’s about being passionate about what you do, or better yet, do what you are passionate about.  Vaynerchuk explains how technology and social networking have expanded our ability to reach and server our customers and created amazing new opportunities.  But we all know that, right?  He takes it a step further and explains what has worked well for him, that you too can apply.  He makes it completely clear that these are tools, but you are still going to need to work way harder than everyone else to be the best.

I highly suggest the audio version because Vaynerchuk jumps off the script whenever it seems appropriate, which tends to be quite often.  It’s also a couple of buck cheaper. It’s like having a conversation with one of your friends who is really excited and doesn’t let you get a word in edgewise.  If at this point you’re a little unsure, do a search for some of his videos (he’s everywhere) and you’ll get a sense of what his energy and passion is all about.  One of my favorite videos is this one.


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The Domain Game

I spend a lot of time reading about domains. Most of it comes from online reading of blogs and forums, but when I came across “The Domain Game” by David Kesmodel, it caught my eye. Based on its subtitle, “How People Get Rich from Internet Domain Names,” I thought it was going to be a descriptive process of how to buy and sell names in the domain market. Instead, it is a fascinating and detailed history and evolution of domaining. Different than I had expected, but not at all disappointing. What is most fascinating to me is that many of the large players mentioned in the book can be found online today on forums, blogs, and business sites of their own. The history has barely passed, and new history is still being made.

The book opens with some interesting stories of the early domaining days and Internet successes. A watermelon farmer with a vision, a bankrupt furniture salesman (Rick Schwartz) with forward looking business sense and many more similar stories. All presented in a way that paints a historical and promising view of the dawn of domaining. We learn about the Network Solutions, their struggles, and the birth of other registrars. The author presents ICANN and difficulties with dispute resolution. The evolution of pay per click advertising and the companies/people behind it. We see how picking up names on the drop became a strategy that some were better at then others. I found the large domain portfolio owners stories most interesting and the processes they went through to collect and sell their names.

Some of the domainers today were a part of this history, for others, it’s an excellent history lesson. If you are new to domain names, I highly recomend reading “The Domain Game.” I don’t know that it will bring you any direct success in your business of acquiring and selling names, but if you strive to know all you can about the industry, it will give you a solid background to build on.

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