If I could own a dot com of a month of the year, It would certainly be December.com. Yeah, October is a cool month and all but nothing screams “sales” like December. Plus, it’s a great holiday month, if you want to get all nostalgic about it. I can imagine what my e-commerce site would look like. All Christmas-like with tons of over priced products. Valuate puts the domain at $123,000. My dreams aside, I caught up with John December, owner of December Communications, Inc. and owner of December.com.
Mike: What a fabulous keyword domain name. Were you the first to register December.com or did you acquire it from someone? In either case, can you describe your experience of getting the name?
John: I was the first one to register december.com. In May 1995, I was writing some books about the World-Wide Web and the Internet and providing online support for my readers. I was a graduate student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York, and I was using my student account as my Web support site. I had been providing information about the Internet and Computer-Mediated Communication since 1992. Web traffic to my personal account on the RPI servers grew so high that it got noticed, and I knew that I needed my own domain name for my online efforts. I was inspired by an early Internet researcher, Carl Malmud, who created his domain name using his own name as email@example.com. I decided to register december.com. Remember, this was a very early time for the domain name business and even Web hosting for individuals. MTV VJ Adam Curry registered MTV.com before it was apparent that Web sites would be part of media strategies. My goal for december.com at that time, as it is today, is to be a platform for my various projects and online content.
Mike: Obviously, December is your last name and used for business. I’m sure you get traffic from all over for things related to holidays and other topics. Do you still gain value from this traffic?
John: Yes. One of the content niches on my site is my coupon codes section. I work with a company to provide coupon codes for online sales, and I have no doubt that people searching for coupons during the busy shopping season of December find my site for that reason.
Mike: What is it exactly that December Communications, Inc. does?
John: The site hosts a mix of legacy reference content from the early days of the World Wide Web and the study of Computer-Mediated Communication (including the archives of Computer-Mediated Communication Magazine). Also, it contains my personal interests now, continuing in online reference. I have an online book about voluntary simplicity. A recent example is that I prepared a page that brings together some interesting sites about robotics.
Plus, I use the site to present my photography and an evolving album of sites in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where I live related to my interest in organizing city information. Just as in 1995, the site serves as a platform for my current interests and a repository of content accumulated over more than 2 decades–some of it of interest for only historical reasons. I do earn money through affiliate programs and individual advertisers in the Market and Directory sections of the site. These earnings provide me a way to enjoy an independent life.
Mike: How much traffic does the site receive monthly? How much of that is from type-in traffic?
John: 181,306 unique visitors for January 2017.
Mike: Have you received any offers from people looking to buy the domain name? Do you find that to be offensive or flattering?
John: Yes, I have. The offers are difficult to evaluate. Simply put, spam email, scams, or non-serious queries are so simple to send that I have chosen to ignore them. If the person seems somewhat sincere and business-like, I will respond “no” so that they can go in a different direction for their project.
Mike: Do you own any other premium domain names?
John: No. I have johndecember.com which is parked on top of december.com.
Mike: How much has your business benefited from the name. For example, if you had DecemberCommunications.com do you think you’d do as well?
John: I think the shorter name has helped and as been instrumental throughout the early years of the Internet–easier to say, promote, and type in. Since my company is primarily the legal framework for my business and not a well-known name or brand, my effort is not to promote the company name itself, but the accumulated online content that I have curated for over 20 years.