domain book review

Angry Author Attacks Sully

Back in January I did a review on a domaining book I read.  It wasn’t my first review nor will it be my last.  I’m an avid reader, and I call them like I see them.  There are dozens of books on domaining and to date, I have only found a select few that I think have any value.

I invite you to read the review and then the authors reaction in the comments below it.  I’d like to hear your opinions to better understand if I was out of line.  I appreciate your feedback!

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Domain Name Investing Guide

10 Sites to Watch in 2011… Where are they now?

Back in January, 2011 I wrote an article about Mashable’s 10 Sites to Watch.  The list included Kickstarter, Quora and FourSquare, to name a few.  Obviously we recognize those names, but I thought it would be interesting to review the full list of 10 and see where they are today.  Here we go…

1. Kickstarter.com – At the moment I am writing this, Kickstarter has an Alexa global rank of 632.  Damn, that’s awesome!

2. OpenLeaks.org – All the site has to offer is this. quote: “Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else.”
― George Orwell, 1984

3. Klout.com – If you had any Klout, you don’t any more.  As of May 25, 2018, Klout is kaput.

4. Hipmonk.com – I’m actually amazed to see this travel site still exists.  Go you brandable badass!!

5. GiltGroupe.com – Resolves to Gilt.com.  Still running a designer site and Guilt is a great name.

6. JoinDiaspora.com – Not sure on this one.  There is a site but the most prominent portion of the page reads “This is not the diaspora* project website.”

7. Quora.com – I love this site.  Alexa global rank 92, bitch!

8. GrooveShark.com – Nadda

9. Drupal.org – I still haven’t tried Drupal, but it’s alive and kicking.

10. FourSquare.com – Alex rank 2,244.  Not bad at all.  I still have never used FourSquare but still see it referenced quite often.

What are the 10 sites to watch in 2019?  Give us your opinion and maybe I’ll look back on it in 8 years and see if you were right.

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These Guys Get It

I have a strange hobby.  I like to track keyword domains that point to other sites.  I’ve explained in the past how I’m always disappointed when I come across a parked keyword domain name.  Its just a let down.  “What a great name,” I think to myself, and no one is enjoying it.  It’s like a picture frame missing it’s award winning photograph.  It’s just not a feel good.  So when I come across a keyword name that doesn’t have a site, but is instead directing viewers to another site that has value, I burst with joy.  Burst is a little sting, but I’m happy to see the name put to good use.

Here’s a quick hitter of 8 domains pointing to other sites.

skull.com points to a teespring.com store (I want one of these shirts)
Stitches.com points to ASI Magazines
God.com points to mybible.com  (Can’t really argue that one)
scrap.com points to demolition.com (I would use scrap.com as my primary site)
Compensation.com points to https://www.ajg.com/solutions/benefits-hr-consulting/human-resources-compensation/approach/ (stick with Compensation.com)
Lucy.com points to thenorthface.com (A company that folded into NorthFace)
Portal.com points to  oracle.com
Video.com points to movies.disney.com (of course it does)

 

Have any favorites that you have seen?

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Buying And Selling Domain Names

5 Ways, No Lets Make it 10 Ways a Domain is Like a Woman

Here’s another one from the archives I dusted off and updated with a few more thoughts.  I know I am looking for trouble with this one, but it’s all in good fun.  I welcome my female readers to fire back with their own comments.

  1. There’s always someone waiting to grab it when you let ’em drop.
  2. They can be expensive to acquire.
  3. It’s hard to let some go, even though you know you’d be better off.
  4. The wrong one can get you into legal trouble.
  5. They’re always more attractive when someone else has them.
  6. Some of them just don’t make sense.
  7. You’ll never fully understand them, but can’t live without them.
  8. They are everywhere you look.
  9. You google them to find out their history.
  10. You love them, but it seems to be a one way thing.
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Domain Valuation Tools Are Missing One Critical Thing

I just wrapped up some work and spent a few minutes playing with some domain name generators.  It’s always fun to spend a short amount and see what they come up with.  I recently cancelled my subscription to Estibot which I had for years.  I love the tool but anyone who has bought or sold a domain knows that any valuation tool is really not very accurate.  It can only factor in so many things.  There are an infinite amount of elements to consider.

Regardless, as I was popping available names out of these generator tools faster than I could think of them, I started to miss my Estibot subscription.  It would have been nice to see what sort of appraisal these names would get.  Then I decided to pump them through the GoDaddy appraiser which is still listed as “beta.”   Literally every name but one that I dropped in showed a value of over $1,000.  These are names that I would never pay close to $1,000 for on my happiest day.   This is when I discovered the one thing missing from any domain appraisal tool…  The offer to buy the name you are appraising at the value they are providing.

Think about it.  Lets say there is a solid formula that could really tell you what any domain was worth.  Wouldn’t be in the interest of the appraiser to make an offer on the name?  If I enter a domain and the tool thinks it’s worth $1,000 then why not offer to buy it from me at $750, or whatever number you want to set and still leave room for your own profitability.  You’ll never see that from an automated tool because it just can’t be done.  The companies backing the tools don’t trust them enough because the tools can’t determine if a domain can be sold.  It can have all the formulaic qualities to put a dollar value next to it, but it just can’t tell you if the domain is good or not.

Here are a few of the available names generated and the values GoDaddy tossed at me.

Actually, this first one is not a bad name for a gun holster site.  

I Googled this and there is actually a magic trick called “Fire Wallet” or “Flame Wallet”.

I could see some use for this one if you spend some time in the water, I guess?

Whaaaaaaaaaaaat?

You never know when it comes to diets.  There is a active site at thedietseed.com.

Not sure what anyone would do with this one.

Enjoy your favorite estimator / appraisal / valuation tool but just remember it’s for entertainment value only.  If you do come across a tool that will buy the names you are feeding into it, let me know.  I could play that game all day.

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There’s a New Podcast in Town

A couple of months back, I was out with two of my old friends.  While tipping back a few beers and munching on the delicious bar food, we got into the topic of old TV shows.  You, know, old.  Like from the 70s and 80s.  One friend, who also happens to be named Mike, half-joking, mentioned on how the conversation we were having would be an interesting podcast.  As the conversation deepened and the beers flowed, we committed to making a podcast about these old shows just for fun.   My other friend, let’s call him “Scott”…   well, that actually is his name, had no idea what a podcast is and offered to do some dance moves in the background.  We played along.

Unlike most ideas, we didn’t let this one drop.  While it’s not a business venture and we’re not expecting to profit from it, it was a great reason to stay connected an get together more frequently.   We threw together a website, gave ourselves a crash course on podcasting, and recorded and released our first episode on iTunes today.  Making that first episode was a lot of fun and a great learning experience.  Looking forward to the rest of them.

While it’s not a domaining related podcast, I invite you to check it out “I Used to Watch This?” on iTunes or where ever you happen to get your podcasts.  Give us a rating if you like it and stay tuned for the next episode where we talk about one of my favorite childhood shows.  I’m not the youngest domainer on the block so some of these may be hidden treasures younger people should check out to see how good/bad TV used to be.

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NamePros

NamePros Videos Coming to SullysBlog.com

You may not realize it, but NamePros has a nice library of domain related videos.  They have done a lot of hard work producing these and they contain great information and dialog from seasoned pros in the industry.  I’ll be working with NamePros going forward to transcribe any new videos and post them here on SullysBlog.com as they become available.

In addition, I’ll be working through the backlog of videos from the library and transcribing them as well, posting them directly to the video section.  I will publish some of the most recent from the past few months as new posts, so look for those start as soon as later today.

I’m looking forward to this new addition to the blog and I hope you are as well.  Would love to hear your thoughts and comments as you have an opportunity to review them.

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domain sales email

The Domain Sales Email that Caught my Eye

My email inbox certainly could have gone without seeing this email come through and still lived a clean and happy life.  But life isn’t fair and sometimes we can’t protect the ones we love from the harsh reality of the world.  Alright, I’m getting carried away, I don’t love my inbox.  I mean, I like it a lot, but love is a strong word.

Yesterday, I received an email offering a domain for sale.  I’m not easily offended, but lets keep it clean here.  The TLD was dot io, which is popular among some startups.  In this case, the the domain name was #ocks.io and let’s say it rhymes with socks.  Roosters are often referred to by this name… among other things.

The point of this post is not the domain name itself, but the email that represented it.  The email wasn’t particularly well written.  In fact, the salutation stated “Dear Paul King.”  Clearly all recipients were referred to as Paul King (sorry Paul).  What caught my eye was what I consider to be the most important aspect of a sales email.  The title.

I opened my inbox to find about 20 new emails.  When I quickly scanned the list, one jumped out at me.  “Here’s How to Acquire #ocks.io”

I wasn’t actively looking to purchase this name and I don’t even own any dot io names.  But it did get my interest.  Looking back I tried to analyze why that caught my attention.  Obviously one reason is because I am a domainer.  But beyond that, it had me thinking… this email is about to tell me something.

If I were an end user, I would be more likely to open this email than if it simply stated the domain name as the title, or even the key words as the title.  This title presupposes that I am already interested in the name. That I want to acquire it.  I’m no psychologist or marketing guru, but I would bet that framing the title in this way introduces some sort of bias toward wanting the name.  Not some magical hypnosis that tricks you into purchasing the name, but a subtle hint that would convince an end user to at least open the email, which is more than half the battle.

Getting your email read is difficult.  Probably 80% of the email I get I don’t even open. Maybe more.  It’s not even all spam.  Some of it is from legit things I sign up for and still never read, so getting to the top of the heap of mail isn’t easy.  I do plan to give this title a shot, with a more well thought out body text than what I received.    I’ll let you know if I see any noticeable results.

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Don’t Do This On Twitter

I really like using Twitter.  Recently more than I have in the past.  I like engaging with other people and bantering about domains.  I also feel like there have been better discussions recently, even just to silently observe.   I like to retweet blog articles I enjoy and I’ll also throw up the occasional non-domaining post.  One thing I don’t do is post domains for sale on Twitter.  In my opinion, it’s just not the right tool for this.

It’s one thing if you’re the @DomainKing and you are asking people to post domain names for your review on Million Dollar Wednesday but it’s another to constantly post names and spam up your followers’ feed.   I respect the fact that people are out there hustling and trying to make a sale, so don’t get me wrong, I am not domain shaming anyone (DomainShaming.com – feel free to hand reg it).

It got me thinking… what better place to ask this as a question than Twitter.  Who better to ask than domainers?  I gave it 24 hours and received 28 votes.  When the results were in, 11% claimed to have posted a domain on Twitter and made a sale while 89% claimed not to.

TwitterDomaining

Keep in mind that this is not a scientific, double blind, university sponsored, study supervised by an accounting firm.  But those numbers aren’t promising and they don’t tell the whole story.  How many domains did those sellers have to post to get one sale?    How many of those did you and I need to scroll through and see as we checked our feed for the latest news and information?  I think the name and the seller lose a little credibility when this is seen as Twitter spam.

I’d like to hear from those of you who actually have made a sale and if it was of significant value.  My guess is going to be that you’ve had better luck with other tools and methods.

If you like this post and want to sponsor it on Domaining.com, click HERE.

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When I stopped hand registering domains, these 3 things happened

When I began as a domainer, I started with hand registered names and resold a few.  That gave me a taste of what was possible and I was all in.   Since that time, I have bought and sold a few premium domains, but always enjoyed the hand reg hunt for undiscovered gems.   Recently, I proactively took a break from  hand registering domain names and I thought I was going to end up with a post about how I benefited from the experience. How it made me a better domainer.  I thought I was going to end up writing about how it allowed me to focus on higher quality domain names and how my profits increased overtime.  But instead…

I lost focus

As I stopped the daily hunt for names to hand reg, I lost my focus on domaining.   It wasn’t my top of mind passion.  I slowly drifted from DBR, my favorite domain forum, and missed out on all the interactions between the sharp and ever learning domainers at every point in the experience spectrum (this was a huge loss).  I stopped browsing Domaining.com multiple times a day and reduced to just a few times per month.  I pretty much stopped blogging entirely.
It was those quick plunges into Godaddy, whenever the mood struck me, to see if a random name was available that actually kept the passion burning and my mind focused on domains.  Not that hand regs are the core of what I do.  In fact,  I probably look up and find 100 available names for any single hand reg I buy.  I typically maintain an inventory of less than 100 hand regs at any given point.   It’s the thrill of the hunt.

I became less creative

I know a guy who does a crossword puzzle from the newspaper everyday and wont rest until he completes it.  He says he does it to keep his mind working.  I haven’t purchased a paper copy of a newspaper in 15 years.   I had my own way of keeping my mind challenged.

Always trying to come up with good names everywhere I went kept me sharp.  Think about it, it’s like constantly trying to solve a puzzle.  You see something, think a little differently about it, and try to come up with one or two word dot coms that may not have yet been snapped up.  Then you think of variations on that.  Then that leads you to another related domain area to think about.  Sure, the effort doesn’t typically result in a cash cow, but neither does a crossword puzzle.

Cutting back on this exercise definitely had a noticeable impact.  I was just generally becoming less creative.  I noticed that I wasn’t quite as quick with solving problems.   I was less engaged and less interested in solutioning issues that I faced in other areas of my life.  I stopped giving creative business advice to friends.  It just wasn’t as fun or as easy as it once was.

I wasted time

Checking out availability of names or thoughts that popped into my head throught the day was a welcomed break from what ever I was doing.  Let’s face it, there’s probably not one of us that takes enough breaks in the day.  I’m sure I could dig up some research or statistics that would support my claim that taking breaks makes you more productive.
When I took breaks to brainstorm some domain names, they were short breaks.  A matter of minutes.  It felt productive even though you could argue that I was still wasting time.  Buy it occasionally resulted in an easy sale and a few bucks.
During “the break” when I wasn’t looking up domains, I would do other things online to try to fill the void.  I would watch stupid videos and visit mindless websites.  I would click on the link to see what “20 celebrities from the 90’s look like today, number 7 will shock you.”  Before you know it, a half hour has gone by and I have nothing to show for it.

So what’s next?

Hand registering domains is fun for me.  Even just the act of brainstorming possible domain names.   I enjoy it.  It motivates me and I truely believe it keeps my mind sharp.  Besides, it’s even more fun when you find a gem and flip it.  So I’m back at it, spending some of my time exploring the art of hand reg’ing.  Hey, that just gave me an idea…
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Jamie Zoch – The mind behind DotWeekly.com

Jamie Zoch runs the domain blog at DotWeekly.com.  I’ve followed Jamie’s posts for years and his blog is a core standards in my news feed.  Jamie is a family man and all around cool guy. I had a chance to connect with Jamie over the past week and get his perspective and learn a bit more about him.

Mike:  When did you first become interested in the domain world?

Jamie: I owned a sign business and sold a lot of stuff on eBay. Since I was always researching what was selling, I happened to run into a lot of listings for domain names that were selling for a fair amount and a lot of them, so I started researching domain names and haven’t stopped since!

Mike:  You were among the first bloggers I read when I started learning about domaining. What led you to launching DotWeekly.com and when did you launch?

Jamie: I launched DotWeekly around February 2008. During my 2 years of digging around on domains, I was noticing that many people would share information but they often were not sharing all the details. I didn’t see any reason to hide the fine details, so I started sharing detailed step by step processes of nearly everything I was doing. I just felt it was the right thing to do, to help others looking to learn.

Mike:  If I recall, a few years back you lost your blog and all it’s contents with no available backup.  What hard lessons were learned from that experience and how has it made you stronger?

Jamie: Man that sucked! A friend of mine was actually hosting my website and he changed servers one weekend and deleted my files, thinking I wasn’t using the website any longer. WordPress is great and there are so many plugins but sadly a backup plugin wasn’t something I was using. Technically speaking, the website was backed up on the server, but that was deleted along with my website when my friend switched servers.

What did I learn? Don’t let your friend host your website, so I have switched to GoDaddy’s managed WordPress hosting AND I use a backup plugin called UpdraftPlus.

Losing all that content felt like I wasted years worth of work. There was a lot of great stories, how to articles and more that vanished. Archive.org still holds many of them, but it’s not easy bringing all that data back in. The biggest kicker, I think at that time, DotWeekly was pulling in around $1,500 a month in affiliate ad revenue. Poof, that was gone with the data!

Mike:  Domain bloggers seem to have their own niche.  Yours seems to be your unmatched ability to research and track premium domain movement.  How have you been able to stay on top of this and report on transactions no other blogs are covering?

Jamie: Hard work really. I put in a lot of time researching movements. I get up everyday at 4 am and spend around 3-4 hours every day checking movements in several different variations. Sadly, there are a couple ways that need to be looked at and my process involves “double looking at data” but both need to be done to capture as many movements as I can.

The data that I dig up is very important for the domain name industry as a whole, because it really puts a pulse on the market. Yes, DnJournal.com reports a lot of domain name sales but the fact is, the majority of the bigger ones are not included in the weekly reports. Most are not included due to private transactions or between parties that are simply not involved in the domain industry, so its not news for them to report.

Just like Domaining itself is addictive, so is knowing what is selling. Since most of my findings are not reported outside DotWeekly, it really has become an addictive form of knowing what is selling and who is buying. Then digging into the why, trying to find a price and any info to help domainers.

Mike:  According to your blog, you offer brokerage services as well.  Tell me about your service and what differentiates you from other brokers.

Jamie: I do offer brokerage services but my main focus is Buyer Brokerage. If I had to pick one thing that I like doing the most, it’s helping somebody acquire a domain name. The fact is, a lot of companies and individuals do not know how to buy a domain name that is owned by somebody else. Can they go hunting for themselves? Yes, but it takes time and they are likely not educated on value, whois privacy and so much more. Going in blind and even contacted the domain owner via email can be a bad idea, as it often tips off the domain owner. There are better approaches and using somebody like myself for a small fee is well worth the time and very often will save you a lot of money! I deeply understand the domain name industry, understand the market and have a lot of connections which is often key in buying a domain name from its current owner.

Mike:  Tell me about MailboxPark and your involvement there?

Jamie: Ah, you have done your research Mike! I haven’t been very public about this new project but I’m very excited about it. I have long thought that incoming email was a vital under-looked asset of domain names. Consider the fact that some 200+ billion emails are sent daily, email is important and they are all tied to a domain name.

From a domain owners standpoint, it’s a pain in the butt to set up a “catch all” email on every single domain name they own to view email. If one were to actually do that, then they get hit with a bunch of email and the volume is often overwhelming to deal with. Then what? It gets ignored due to volume overload and what to do with it.

250ok.com, the parent company of MailboxPark is an email deliverablity service that helps brands with better practices of emailing, fighting phishing attacks and more. They were looking to diversify data sources and offer a product that I found very interesting if I could get involved and tune it towards the domainer! I took on a director role with the company and have been working with them since December 2016 to come up with MailboxPark.com.

So what is MailboxPark? In a nutshell, it’s an easy solution for domain name owners to view all incoming email to your domain names, discover and earn some revenue with it. With building tools to view all the email, our technology categorizes all incoming email so its easier to manage and view what’s important. Personal, Social, Commercial and Other.

From the Commercial side, this data helps 250ok better serve its customers in practices of building better practices of emailing its customers. Because of this, MailboxPark is able to pay domain owners for Commercial email traffic. Is it as much as domain parking? Sometimes, because some domain names get a lot of email! In general, since most domain owners were making $0 and not even considered email to the domains they own, it’s a big plus!

Discovery is one vastly important part of MailboxPark. Since our technology categorizes the incoming email, it greatly reduces the effort to view the mail and find the things that are beneficial to you. Does one business assume another business owns a domain and are trying to communicate on this assumption, yet you own the domain? That happens A LOT and you being able to see this is really a great lead that truly makes a wise investment for the company missing these emails. Maybe you as the domain owner didn’t know of this company and the fact that they use a domain name close to yours. You now have data to alert you to this and you can discreetly use this information for a sales pitch for them to purchase the domain that they may not have know is important to them.

MailboxPark is just getting started and is very exciting! It’s similar in a way to domain parking but also vastly different. By simply setting MX records on your domain name, you can use MailboxPark. Did I mention it’s free! Very similar to setting Name Servers to use a parking service. By only needing to set MX records, this allows MailboxPark to be “non-disruptive” and you can continue to resolve the domain name as you choose, like using a parking service. MailboxPark does not reply to any incoming emails, nor serve any ads what so ever, so the service really runs in the background and you know 100% what is going on.

It is my job to make the service very helpful to domain owners and worth while. Based on a lot of feedback, the discovery aspect is highly enjoyed and the revenue is an added bonus. We understand that revenue is important and are working on a few things that can help continue improve the revenue aspect of MailboxPark. I have a creative mind, so this helps when looking at data. Domainers should be really excited about the service and the future it holds. Curiosity alone should entice domain owners to give MailboxPark a try, but it’s a very valuable service. 250ok is a really great company that is open and honest and truly open to building a great service for domainers and the reason I’m so excited about it and glad to be a part of.

Mike:  One of my goals is to educate domainers.  What advice do you have for domainers?  What are some of the common mistakes you have seen?

Jamie: Domainers are forwarding thinking individuals and some really smart people. Domain names are a very important and businesses are pretty slow to realize how important the internet is. Thankfully, many companies are finally understanding how important it is to be online, the communication aspects of email, apps, advertising and branding. These movements will reward many domain name investors handsomely that own premium generic one and two word domain names. .com is and will always be king, something that will very likely never be any other way. The ball started rolling a long time ago (1985) and it’s really the trendy, most common nature extension to use!

So from an investment side, .com domain names and in one and two word nature are the best investments. Look at what many of the largest companies in the world use, what some of the hottest new startups are using. It’s often 8 characters or less and matching .com domain to the branded term of the company.

From a business aspect, if you are not using a .com, you should! If your domain name is hard to spell, type, added words, hyphen etc., you need to deeply consider an upgrade! There is so much that relates to your domain name, from the power play of: “Hey, we mean business, look at our domain name” (aka, owning Money.com compared to, MoneyServicesOnTheWeb.com) to word of mouth advertising and easily being able to say and spell your domain, to email communication and the common/natural fit to your branding. All of this relates to your domain and much more (SEO, trust etc).

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 Peter Prestipino Wrote the Book on Domaining Fundamentals

Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise” – Michael Jordan

I recently received a review copy of Domains 360: The Fundamentals of Buying and Selling Domain Names by Peter Prestipino, Editor-in-Chief of Website Magazine.  By chance, it turns out that Peter and I both live in the Chicago area not too far from one another.

The book begins with a brief history of domain names, citing the first domain name ever registered, Symbolics.com and moves quickly into the recognition of those early domainers with the foresight of what was yet to come.  A brief mention of cyber-squatting, some top selling domain names, and the foreshadowing fact of Mike Mann registering 15,000 domain names within 24 hours back in 2012.  Richard Lau and NamesCon is quoted and we hear from Donuts, Inc. and this is all in Chapter 1!

Domains 360 doesn’t go into the history of domaining to the level of detail that The Domain Game does, but that’s by design.  The book is subtitled “The Fundamentals of Buying and Selling Domain Names” and that’s what it focuses on, while laying a foundation for a broader understanding of a domains technical components.

Chapter 2 covers IP addresses and IPv4 / IPV6 protocols in a manner that is easy to understand. The book goes into TLDs, Registrars vs Registry and things to consider when choosing. Chapter 5 goes on to explain general domain management, name servers, expiration, privacy, and locking.

Chapter by chapter, just about every area is touched on and explained from flipping and valuations to the mindset of a domainer and the day to day activities.  If you’re an “expert” domainer, this book isn’t for you, although you still may enjoy the read.  If your of the mindset that there is always something to be gained, there are definitely some nuggets in here to be taken away.  I took notes on each chapter.

It’s clear Peter is passionate about domaining and as Editor in Chief of Website Magazine, knows a few things about the business.   I found value in reading his work and I’m happy to add this book to my library.

 

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Busy? – 5 Podcasts You Need to Follow

Life is busy.  You don’t have to remind me.  We’ve all got our own story about why there aren’t enough hours in the day, and I’m not denying that those stories are legit.  The day job is really interfering with your side gig…   Wait, you still need to find time to eat, sleep and spend quality time with the family?  Should you hit the gym today or use that hour to catch up on something else?  Do you have time left to hit Domaining.com and read up on the latest in the domain industry?

Aside from being a domainer, I’m also a productivity freak.  Always looking for ways to do things better, faster, more effectively.  When it comes to a busy schedule, there is one easy way to stay up to date on domaining.  Podcasts.

I’m not saying that podcasts can or should replace your daily news feed, but they are a great alternative on those days where you know you’ll be sitting in traffic, working out at the gym, or riding the train for an hour.  But where can you catch some domain love via podcast?  Here are my top five picks at the moment.

1.  DomainSherpa.com

Michael Cyger hit the domain scene up side the head when he launched DomainSherpa.com.   Since that time, he has produced some of the best and informative video interviews and discussions the industry has ever seen.  Michael is serious about delivering information and the program often runs over an hour long.  In all honesty, I don’t have the time or attention span to sit in front of my computer at home and make it through a full episode.  I do however spend a lot of time commuting.  It’s a great opportunity to get some of the industry’s best information facilitated by Cyger.

2. DomainNameWire.com

Led by Andrew Allemann, DNW is the longest running blog covering the business of domain names.  Allemann talks about the latest news in the domain industry and interviews relevant guests as well.  I have been a long time fan of the blog but only recently began listening to the podcasts which go back to October of 2014, so I have some catching up to do.

3. Domain Masters

Domain Masters is actually the first domain podcast I ever listed to.  They help you become “The Master of Your Domain” (feel free to insert your own Seinfeld reference here).  It’s also the longest running podcast in the industry.  However, there hasn’t been a new episode on itunes this year.  I’m not sure what the fate of the program is, but there is an extensive backlog of episodes to help educate you.

4. OZDomainer.com

Ed Keay-Smith is the founder of OzDomainer.com.  The domainer from down under has a catalog of past podcasts running back to 2010.  There seems to be a gap in audio between 2013 and 2016, but the blog and podcasts are worth checking out.

5. InternetBusinessMastery.com

I stumbled across this podcast a couple of years back.  While it’s not domain specific, it’s all about online business and making money online.  I actually interviewed Jeremy and Jason, the guys behind the podcast, a couple of years ago but some technical difficulties in the the recording prevented me from posting it.  Maybe I’ll clean up what I can and post it soon.  There websiste is pretty “salesy” but there is some excellent content these guys share in their podcasts.

Let me know your thoughts on these podcasts and what your favorites are that I haven’t mentioned.  I haven’t done a ton of exploring here so I’m hoping to here of some additional domaining podcasts from you in the comments that I can add to my library.

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Domains and SEO – Are you doing these three simple things?

James Richardson started his online career running online Sports Fan sites, with the pinnacle being a write up in the Sunday Herald Sun ‘Wired’ column. His professional career began at ASX listed company Melbourne IT where he held various senior roles across the Sales and Marketing teams, before deciding to venture out on his own. Running several successful online websites and businesses himself, he is well placed at understanding what your business needs.

Mike: James, you founded SEO.com.au. Excellent keyword domain to say the least. How does .com.au compare to .com?

James:  com.au is the primary domain name used by Australian businesses. As we are mainly focused on the AU market – this work great for us and conveys trust to our customers. In the au market, as a general rule you have to be a registered business to be able to register a domain name, and you must also list all your details publicly, so with that comes an element of security.

You get all the benefits of a great .com domain name, but obviously a slightly smaller market!

Obviously when we are talking about value, it doesn’t compare to the .com which sold for $5 Million in 2007, but the domain name still carries some great value in our smaller market from a resale perspective.

Mike: Tell us what you do at SEO.com.au.

James:  SEO.com.au is as the name suggests, an SEO company. Our main brand is Optimising.com.au, and we use SEO.com.au as our higher level brand.
We’re focused on high quality in house SEO, with a big focus on technical audits. At the moment the website acts more as a lead generator than a stand alone website, but we have plans to expend the brand more fully in the future.

Mike: In your experience as an SEO expert, how important is a keyword domain to a businesses success?

James:  Google has rolled out lots of updates to curb the benefits of EMD’s, but we still see a nice bump from having one. In addition EMD’s are usually older domains with some good authority and history behind them which always helps!

I would not say it’s a deal breaker to business success, but its certainly beneficial. The domain creates a great ice breaker in conversations and also gives the impression we have been around for a long time to get such a great domain name.

Mike: Knowing that keyword domains have a high level of importance, explain how businesses based on brandable domains often do well.

James:  I would actually say it can actually be more difficult to build your business around a generic domain name. It can actually make it more difficult to build a ‘brand’ as the domain name is not ‘unique’, the other issue you have is all the other in your industry using the term. If it is a dictionary word, it’s going to be tough to stop them using it and confusing your customers!

When we bought the domain, it had previously had an old website on it that had been up for about 10 years. When we took ownership we redid the branding, and created a website that better aligned with what our company was. The biggest benefit we see overall with using such a great domain name is its memorable. Clients can easily remember it if they meet you at an event, it’s say to remember when someone wants to mention it a a colleague, and it’s really going to stand out in any advertising we do.

Mike: What are the top 3 SEO tips you have for small businesses trying to get their sites ranked in Google?

James:  The biggest thing overall is that SEO can be done by anyone, it just takes time and effort (I am talking about the basics here. There is so much business owners can do themselves so easily, but most do not even bother. People need to start really utilising their website, which is a huge potential asset as a marketing and branding channel.

  1. Build great content: Get great content on your website that visitors to your site would want, and expect to see. When they get to your website you want to ensure they can find everything they could potentially need to make a decision.
  2. Great code: Ensure that your website is built well, loads fast, and works seamlessly on all devices.
  3. Build great links: Links are still a HUGE part of ranking well on Google so ensure that there are other websites out there linking to your pages, and the great content you are writing.

Simple!

Mike: How did you get the name SEO.com.au? Can you talk me through the process you followed to purchase the name?

James:   We actually suited this domain name about 4 years ago when it came on the market. Myself and my business partner Daniel felt that it was an opportunity too good to pass up and one that only comes up once in a lifetime.

We had been talking to the seller for a reasonable amount of time before he sold it, and when he was ready to sell he came straight to us and we were ready to acquire it quickly.

Mike: What type of traffic do you see?

James:  Without putting in any real effort, we see a few thousand uniques a month, which as you can imagine converts to a very tidy lead source for us. This comes through pure organic searches, as well as Google Maps. We have plans to expand the link building efforts and flesh out the website some more which would further increase organic traffic.

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GraduationParty.com could use your SEO tips

After graduating from the University of Minnesota, Ginger Venable started her business career in the wild world of Direct Mail in the mid 1980s. Fast forward to the dawn of the internet in the late 90’s where she  quickly jumped into online marketing, corporate communications and specialized in event planning. She loves to host parties. In 1998 she co-wrote a book on graduation party planning with a friend. Her 3 children and many of their friends have enjoyed very well planned and well attended parties. In addition to running the website, she is an event planner. She is usually juggling 3-6 projects at the same time. Ginger live in Minnesota and has attended over 100 graduation parties! When planning a celebration her main goal is to make the guests feel welcome. That is what they try to do with their website as well.

Ginger Venable, co-owns and maintains GraduationParty.com, with Susan Kielly, another mom with graduation party and web design experience.

Mike: Explain what the site, GraduationParty.com is.

Ginger:  GraduationParty.com is the go-to site for people planning a graduation party. We provide advice on everything from start to finish: selecting a date, time, location, what to serve, how to decorate and who to invite are addressed along with helpful tips to make the celebration special and low stress. With over 3.3 million students graduating from high school every year parents are looking for insider advice, creative ideas & fun products. Our website is filled with tons of graduation party needs, from graduation invitations to graduation decorations to catering ideas and so much more! Most of our content comes from moms who share their party details and our party product affiliates.

Mike: GraduationParty.com is a dream name, how did you come across it? Were you the first to register the name or did you buy it from someone? If the latter, can you share the price?

Ginger: I registered the name and developed this site back in 1998. At that time the name was available, so our timing was perfect. I had just co-wrote the book, Graduation Parties: Everything You Need to Know from Start to Finish. Our original intention was to sell the books, but over time we realized that content was king and moved most of the book content onto the website.

Mike: The book is available on the site. What will the book teach us that the site won’t?

Ginger: The benefits of having a web page (full color images, the ability to update as trends change and to generate income) made the book somewhat obsolete. Some people appreciate the structure and checklists that come in the book. There are more details in the book than online as web pages need to be short to keep people’s attention.

Mike: Do you use social media to promote the site? If so, what are some examples.

Ginger: We have a blog gradpartyblog.com and Facebook page . We have also conducted a few contests for graduating seniors and have published the results of surveys we’ve conducted with our customers.

Mike: How much traffic does the site receive month to month?

Ginger: Graduation Party planning is a very seasonal business. Our visits peak in May with over over 87,000 visitors this year. Back in 2010, in our peak year, we had 210,000 visitors in May. Getting higher ranking in search engines is so darn tricky. We were number one or two on all the major search engines for many years, but then the logic changed and we’ve slipped. Maybe you could ask your readers for suggestions!

Mike: It looks like you link to some affiliate sites. What is the main way you generate revenue on the site?

Ginger: We sell advertising on our site and generate revenue through affiliate sales. The internet sales tax issue here in Minnesota has dramatically reduced our income as many of our largest affiliates have stopped offering affiliate programs in our state. We are hoping to sell the business to someone outside of Minnesota so they can partner with these affiliates again.

Mike: What do you find to be the most rewarding part of running an online business?

Ginger: Being at the top of the search engines for many years was very exciting. As search engines changed we’ve slipped a bit recently and are trying to figure out how to get back on top. Working with various advertisers and affiliates on new products every year is also an exciting challenge. Helping other parents plan their celebrations is rewarding as well. Many parents appreciate our prompt responses to their many questions.

If you have any SEO suggestions for Ginger, please post them in the comments.  I’ll be sure to follow up in the future and see how your tips have impacted rankings.

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Walk this way…

John Z Wetmore was born in a neighborhood in Minnesota with 6-foot-wide sidewalks. After his family moved to Illinois, starting in kindergarten he walked to school along 5-foot-wide sidewalks. When he was in sixth grade, his family moved to a suburban neighborhood in Maryland … half a mile from the nearest sidewalk! Thirty years later, his family celebrated when the County finally built a sidewalk along their street.

Mr. Wetmore received a B.A. with High Honors from Princeton University and an M.A. and M. Phil. in economics from Yale University. He is an independent television producer, specializing in documentaries when he isn’t working on Perils For Pedestrians.

Mike: Pedestrians.org is home to the television series “Perils for Pedestrians.” Tell me a bit about the program.

John: “Perils For Pedestrians” is a public affairs series that looks at problems confronting pedestrians in communities like yours, and solutions to those problems from across the United States and around the world. It’s on 150 Public Access Cable Stations around the country. The title is a little misleading, because we also look at bicycles, transit, and urban design. And we look at good examples when we find them, not just “perils”.

Mike: Is this a for profit or not-for-profit endeavor?If for profit, what is your business model?  How do you generate revenue?

John: “Perils For Pedestrians” is not-for-profit. Since it runs on non-commercial public access channels, there is no advertising to support it. We keep production costs low and get some donations, particularly in-kind donations to help with travel costs. I make my living with the other video projects I work on.

Mike: Were you the first to register the domain name or did you purchase it from a third party?

John: We were the first to register the domain in 1998. I had struggled for a year with a long URL full of slashes and tildes. When my web manager pointed out that pedestrians.org was available, I followed her advice and obtained it. I plug my site at the end of every television episode, and it is essential to have something that viewers can remember without writing it down.

Mike: The dot com and dot net are both parked pages, available for sale.Have you inquired about purchasing either of those? Why or why not?

John: I don’t think there is a high level of confusion between my URL ending with dot org and the alternatives. Back in 1998 when I told people my new URL, people rarely said, “dot org or dot com?”. What they did say was, “pedestrian or pedestrians?”. A week after I got pedestrians.org, I got pedestrian.org. About a fourth of my traffic comes through pedestrian.org even though I only promote pedestrians.org.

Mike: Where did your passion for sidewalks develop?

John: It all started when I was a wee little lad, literally. I went to grade school in a town with sidewalks on every street, and I walked to school starting in kindergarten. In the middle of sixth grade, my family moved to a suburb where I was half a mile from the nearest sidewalk, and I had to take a bus to school. By the time I graduated from high school, I realized the government wasn’t going to build sidewalks until people asked them to build sidewalks. It took 17 years to get the county to put in a sidewalk so that my elderly aunt could walk to the bus stop and the drug store without struggling on uneven grass.

Mike: The episodes show copyright of 2012 and the site looks like it may not have been updated in a while.Are you still maintaining it?Is it active? Are there more recent episodes?

John: The site underwent a major overhaul a few years ago. Prior to that, the design had not changed much since the 1990s. I added a couple of new sections last year. The part that needs attention most right now is the “Episodes” section, which is missing the last couple of dozen episodes. They are all available on my YouTube channel, but have not been embedded on my site yet. My web manager does a good job, but she has limited time to work on the site. That’s one of the perils of having a limited budget.

Mike: You mentioned to me that your web manager really understands SEO.Can you elaborate?

John: We have consistently shown up on the first page of results for [pedestrians] since Google was started, although as Google personalizes search results that is more difficult to measure. The most important part of that is having good content that encourages organic incoming links. However, there are design details that matter. For example, since the site relates to a tv series, it is very visual and I have pictures throughout the site. Each jpg has alt text, which helps out blind users but also helps out the search engines. We also have pages devoted to specific topics. Once again, that is good for the user, but it also helps us show up for search strings like [sidewalk obstruction] or [sidewalk setback].

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Darren Rowse from ProBlogger.net Talks Domains and Blogging

Blogging was a medium that Darren Rowse stumbled upon by accident in 2002 as he was researching a new project – little did he know that just 18 months later he’d be one of the world’s first professional bloggers and making a living from his blogs.  Darren works mainly on two blogs – ProBlogger.net and Digital Photography School where he’s also published a growing library of eBooks.   Problogger.net was my go to website when I was learning how to start a blog for my domain blog and it’s still a valuable resource for me today.  I am excited to ask a few questions of Darren and share his answers with you.

Mike:  Since my focus is domain names, lets start there.   ProBlogger is an excellent name for a Professional Blogging site.  Were you the first to register the name or was it acquired on the aftermarket?

Darren: The name ProBlogger was one that I came up with when brainstorming with a friend and trying to come up with a name for monetising blogs. I remember saying during that session that it was similar to an amateur golfer wanting to turn Pro. Within moments of saying it I was checking to see if ProBlogger.com was registered.

Turns out it was but it was not being used for anything and so my next stop was to buy ProBlogger.net which I began ProBlogger on.

I tried for quite a few years to get the ProBlogger.com domain but the person who owned it originally had plans to use it to develop a blogging platform (like WordPress). They never ended up doing anything with it but I had the challenge of trying to buy it while all the time making it a more and more valuable domain name because the more I blogged the brand grew and the more people started to refer to bloggers who went full time as ProBloggers.

Luckily I ended up getting it in an auction of the domain. it didn’t come cheap but it was well worth grabbing.

We initially used ProBlogger.com as the home for a membership area but on closing that down 2 years ago have now slowly been transitioning the rest of what we do to that domain from ProBlogger.net (a slow process as we have many many thousands of articles on the .net site).

Mike:  You also .net, .com, .org and perhaps other TLDs for your site.  What are your thoughts on the importance of other online businesses doing the same?

Darren: The main reason I grabbed a few main domains other than the .com and the .net was as a bit of a defensive moved I guess. I didn’t want to see other ProBlogger blogs start up while I was getting established.

Having said that – there have been many copycats over the years with a number of them using similar names and one even completely replicating my design, logo and content! However ever time someone has tried to use the ProBlogger name my readers have been my best defence so it’s not been too much of an issue.

Mike: As I mentioned, ProBlogger has been a fantastic resource for me.  Being among the first bloggers, I imagine you’ve learned a great deal from trial and error.  What would you say your biggest learning has been as a professional blogger?

Darren: There have been many lessons and much experimentation along the way. Let me give you a few really quick ones:

1. It’s so important to start. So many PreBloggers have great ideas for blogs but sit on them so long and never do anything with them because the idea isn’t fully formed or they don’t think they can do it perfectly. No blog is perfect when it starts – the key is to get going and let it evolve!

2. Consistency is so important. Establish a regular rhythm of posting. You don’t need to publish daily but regularity is key as it helps you as a writer get into the rhythm of creating content but also your readers come to expect content from you and will show up expecting it at the intervals you tend to publish.

3. Take your readers on a journey. Tie one piece of content to another and your readers have more reason to stick around and will come to appreciate that you’re being thoughtful with your content.

4. Bring about Change – great blogs change the lives of their readers. Do some thinking about who you want to reach and how you want to change their live. It could be by educating them (as I do on my blogs) but it could be inspiring them, giving them a sense of belonging, entertaining them etc. Focus upon bringing about change and you’ll find readers will be attracted to your blog and will share it with others.

5. Get off your blog and promote it. Don’t just have a ‘build it and they will come’ mentality. You do need to put a lot of work into building a great blog but nobody will promote it for you (especially in the early days) so you’ll need to get off your blog and promote it. Write content for other sites, leave comments on other blogs, engage on social media, attend events and join forums relevant to your niche. Work out where your potential readers are gathering and go be useful in those places.

Mike:  You also have a podcast.  How are you using that to supplement the site?

Darren: Some people love to read – others prefer to learn through the spoken word. Others till prefer video and or visual learning. So one way to reach more people is to use different forms of content.

One thing to consider when you choose what medium to use is your own skills and preferred styles of communication. My first love in communication was public speaking so I long wanted to start a podcast to practice that.

I create two teaching episodes a week (and occasionally feature guests) and a segment of my readers really enjoy that addition to ProBlogger. We also create transcripts of the episodes for those who prefer to read.

By adding the podcast we’ve grown our reach but also it seems to have personalised the ProBlogger brand a lot as podcasting is a very personal form of communication.

Mike:  The dot blog TLD (.blog) will soon be available.  In your professional opinion, will that be the route to go fro blogs of the future?

Darren: I’m not overly sold on the idea of TLD’s. While it might be useful for some who struggle to get the .com I still think .com is the ideal home for most people’s blogs. It ranks well in Google and is so easy to remember.

Having said that I’m not really a domaines so have not researched it too much!

Mike:  What do you believe is required of an individual to make blogging, a lucrative, full-time career?

Darren: Many things but let me try to sum up some of it in a sentence or two.

A long term dedicate to serving your readers, the ability to communicate effectively, a topic that there is demand for information on, a willingness to experiment and learn from what you find and a willingness to put yourself out there for public critique.

There’s so much more of course but they were the first things that came to mind.

Mike:   What words do you have for anyone considering writing a professional blog?

Darren: Give it a go but be ready to work hard and work at it for several years while your traffic builds up!

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Rent.cc – A $4,000 Drop in the Bucket

Rentec Direct provides affordable property management software solutions to property managers and landlords. Other popular solutions offered by Rentec Direct include online tenant rent payments, professional websites and domain registration, tenant credit check services, and electronic lease signing.

Mike:  Nathan, tell me a little bit about your background.

Nathan:  I began my career in the internet industry as a partner in VISP.NET, an Oregon internet based business, growing it from a client base of less than 10 to the largest nationwide wholesale internet provider in the country.  As my real-estate portfolio grew I required a management platform designed for private landlords to manage the day-to-day operations of renting properties.  At the time nothing existed that was good enough and nothing was cost focused towards private landlords.  From my software development roots, I developed and founded Rentec Direct in 2009 which today provides property management software and tenant screening services to over 12,000 landlords and property managers.  Rentec Direct has quickly grown to be the third largest software platform within their market.

Mike:  You recently purchased the domain name rent.cc.  What are your intentions for this domain?  What can we expect to see once it’s developed?

Nathan:  We have big plans for rent.cc, with our primary intention of using it to assist our existing client base with growth.  Currently the market has many pay-per-lead services for property managers to buy prospective tenant leads, and most of these services just aren’t cost effective for smaller managers.  We plan on building rent.cc into the nations largest free tenant to property manager connection service.  We grow when our clients grow, so we’ll begin offering this service free to our existing clients followed by all other property managers nationwide.

Mike:  Can you share what you paid for the name and the process you went through to acquire it?

Nathan:  Initially we purchased the domain from a broker called NameJet; however, the sale fell through because their records were inaccurate and they did not possess the domain at the time of our purchase.  The domain had purchased by a Chinese based company from it’s previous owner (who listed it on NameJet) and subsequently listed on SEDO with a substantial markup.  We ended up paying $4,000 USD for it.  We anticipate this investment to be a drop in the bucket compared to the growth benefit our clients will receive from it.

Mike:  What are your thoughts on the .cc tld or any other non-dot-com tld?  How do they compare to dot com

Nathan:  Well, .com is clearly the leader and most recognizable TLD on the internet; however, it’s near impossible to register a single or double word .com these days since they are all taken.  A .com of the same wording and length can cost 1000% more than a .co or .cc domain.  Some of the more recent TLD such as .cc and .co have been gaining popularity and value every year.  The shorter the domain the easier it is to remember, so when a startup is choosing a domain or an existing company is getting online these .cc, .co and other popular TLDs are a very attractive option.

That said, .com is still king of the hill when it comes to domains and familiarity.  We have rentecdirect.com and rentec.co and we choose to still rely upon rentecdirect.com even though it’s longer just because there’s no question about the end of it.

Mike:  You also have a couple of other domains pointing to your main site at rentecdirect.com.  Those other domains are  propertymanage.biz, themanager.biz.   How much traffic do you gain from doing this or what advantage does this have?

Nathan:  propertymanage.biz and themanager.biz are for our clients so they can have professional websites hosted on our system.  We use these domains as generic hosting for property managers to give them a free and quick website to promote their business prior to hiring a professional web design firm.  An example is http://demo.propertymanage.biz.  Other domains such as rentec.co and rentec.biz were purchased to save words on the phone when somebody asks for our email or website.  I can just say “go to rentec.co” to see our products which can, at times, be easier than asking somebody to go to rentecdirect.com.  Aside from that, they do not provide us any additional value other than maintaining our brand and keeping our options open in the future if we ever wanted to re-brand as just “Rentec”.

Mike:  Do you plan on any other domain purchases in the future to supplement your business or start a new business?

Nathan:  I’m always on the lookout for short or meaningful domains that can benefit the property management industry; however, rent.cc was a very recent purchase and we’re just getting our development resources ramped up to jump on that project so I don’t have any new companies or domains in mind at the moment.  Give me a few months. 🙂

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Honest Perspective from a Keyword Domain Owner

U.S. Windshield Repair is a family owned and operated business located in Central Utah.   Started in Southern California in 1990 as a full-time windshield repair service, they began designing and manufacturing products soon after as they realized there was a shortage of quality tools and products. Bill Penrod’s previous history is 12 years in the retail grocery industry, 8 years in law enforcement as a deputy sheriff and marshal and 6 months as a property manager in a ski resort.

Mike:  With a domain name like WindshieldRepair.com, there is no denying that you have the market cornered.  Tell me a little about your business.

Bill:  Well that’s not true.  The name has been a boost but today larger companies with their SEO efforts and budgets have more than leveled the playing field.  In fact, it is I that have to work harder and harder to stay relevant.

Mike:  The name is a perfect fit. Were you the first to register the name, or did you purchase it from someone.   If the latter, walk us through the process you followed to obtain it.

Bill:  I was the first to register it.  A friend had told me the internet would be big some day and I should grab a good URL.  I wish I could say I was smart and saw the potential, the truth is I had good guidance and a fair amount of luck.

Mike:  Do you own any other domains?

Bill:  Yes, www.uswindshieldrepair.com ( my actual business name) and a few others.  I had hopes to grow several online businesses but find as time goes on I only have time for the one.

Mike:  I imagine you get a large amount of type-in traffic, or people that just type in your domain name needing.  Do you have any idea how much of your traffic comes from this source?

Bill:  Roughly 30%.

 Mike:  Are you willing to share your overall monthly traffic numbers?

Bill:  Hmmm, due to the extremely competitive environment I would rather not.

Mike:  What’s been the most challenging part of running an online business?

Bill:  Salesmanship.  I get a large number of potential customers that visit my site, call me, ask questions and advice, then buy from my competitor.  In almost every case they call back after making a purchase from that competitor and tell me two things:

1) I made a mistake I should have bought from your company in the first place and

2) Now that I’ve spent all my money elsewhere I have limited resources can you give me a break?  I have agonized over the years as to what I am doing wrong, what the other guy is doing right and how to turn things around.  Sadly I have not yet figured it out.  I have gone through several incarnations and surveyed these customers but not found the answer.

Mike:  Do you think there are still any good names out there for business owners to launch a site on?

Bill:  Absolutely!  With so many names already taken it is more challenging but certainly it can be done.

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