As most of you know TRAFFIC in Las Vegas occurred last week. This was my first time attending the conference in its full capacity and as with any conference it had its positives and negatives. This year it was all about paying my domain investor dues. If you are part of the domaining community, I feel it’s important to catch a conference or two.
Now that I have finished paying my dues, I’ll probably wait a few years before I attend the conference again. If you haven’t guessed it by now, you don’t need to attend a domaining conference every year. Going to Webfest Global earlier this year, then attending TRAFFIC was a great way to meet some of the power players in the industry. Although I may never conduct business with these guys, it is nice to see that they are approachable and willing to help at a moment’s notice.
I won’t give any specifics but, I had the chance to network with some great people. The majority of the networking that occurred in Las Vegas happened away from TRAFFIC and the conference itself set the grounds to make all of it happen. Networking is key at these events. I had the chance to attend a dinner which had some of the greatest minds in the industry. Some of these people you know and some you have never heard of. I would of never had the opportunity to share such an experience if I hadn’t of attended this conference.
If you were lucky enough to attend both Webfest Global and TRAFFIC then you might of had a little déjà vu. This is something that I expected would happen, especially since some of the panels were identical in nature. The panels that I blogged about in my previous two entries were well attended. Even though I had heard most of the information, a few months earlier at Webfest Global, I felt it was nice to have a recap which helped reignite my domain investment spirit.
Being a “domainer on the side” requires a profound amount of motivation. I love domain investing, but it’s now time to make a little more money with it. I have a feeling that I will make more money domain investing part time than I have made in the past partaking in the field full time. When you don’t have much free time, you tend to want to grind a little more within the time you do have to get things done. In the next couple of days I will be mapping out a plan for my domaining business which will help me maximize the return for my portfolio. The fun and games are over. It is time to turn my domain investments into a real business, one that generates real returns for the time I have put into it.
TRAFFIC served as a reminder of what you could accomplish as a domain investor. The successful people which attended the event are living proof that the industry is still thriving, even if it might be dragging at times. These individuals are continuing to pivot, while moving this industry closer to one which is accepted by the public. As a domainer buddy of mine told me, in order for this industry to continue thriving we have to continue to educate those who would be interested in this investment class. New money is important for any industry and it is especially important for domaining.
This year I made an effort to attend both of the major domaining conferences, although my domain investment conference days will be slowing down in the future I still do plan on attending at least one a year. The goal for the near future is to start attending conferences outside of this industry. I will be making an effort to start attending local meetups in areas which interest me, one of which is the startup sector. Who knows what will happen in the next couple of months? One thing I can say is I will be ready for it as I will be fully equipped with a business plan to partake in bigger and bigger domain investment deals.
I’ll end it by saying this…Google will no longer be factored into the equation.
Here are some random notes that I jotted down during the Blog Roll segment of TRAFFIC. It was a very informative session which included Ron Jackson of DNJournal.com, Adam Dicker of The ArtofTheName.com, Shane Cultra of DomainShane.com, Morgan Linton of MorganLinton.com, Andrew Allemann of DomainNameWire.com, Elliot Silver of ElliotsBlog.com, Michael Cyger of DomainSherpa.com and Michael Gilmour of WizBangBlog.com. Please ignore the typos as I didn’t have time to proof read it. Enjoy!
See the trend from minisites to building business instead of just websites. Any idiot can register 100 domains. There is a lot more that people have to do. The next 12 months you will be hearing about is new top level domains. Regardless of what you think will happen with .com, there will be a lot going on with the new top level domains.
Develop businesses, do not develop websites. You can’t build that, you need to build a business. Turn your domains into a business, make it profitable and repeat. PPC is stabilizing, there is some opportunities for upside. It just depends, if you do nothing don’t expect nothing to change. If you have declining revenue, then do something about it.
You don’t need to have a widget business, something that sells something. It can be a lead generation site. Don’t shotgun approach it and do 10 domains at a time. Focus on one domain at a time.
Concentrate on one business at a time and grow it and nurture it. You have to put a lot of hard work into it to grow a business. It is extremely important to grow a business. It can be very profitable if it is done the right way.
For a lot of people who are involved in the domain space, they have full-time careers. When you talk about building a business, there is a lot more that goes into it than just paying a developer. It is important to know your limitations.
Contact someone successful you know who has done what you have done and go to them. This is one of those unique industries where people will give you advice for free. You can’t do two things at once. What you would have to input to get performance. INPUT PERFORMANCE
People don’t have a clue of how many hours it will take to really get that business plan rolling. A lot of people figure they have a great name, but they don’t have a business plan. Everything has a business plan. Everything done has a business plan behind it. There is a motive behind every action we take.
The biggest problem with this industry is it was easy to make money. Things have changed now. People haven’t changed their mindsets about how to advance to a new level and how to change direction. Developing multiple revenue streams. You have to be totally pationate about a subject and it is incredibly time consuming.
You can buy and sell domain names and start small. If you can think of five different ways to develop revenue streams then you are great.
A lot of time you don’t have a few thousand dollars to layout in cash. There are traditional ones like PPC.
They wanted advice on the domain industry, you can consult for people.
Wouldn’t go down a single path and it needs to be coupled with focus. Look at everything from a publishing lense. Revenue declining and llooking at your assets. The way you make more money is by taking out intimediaries. Have direct advertising relationships. Take off Google Adwords.
Every single one of your domains has a business model attached to it. Once you know what the business model is for your domain than you can take active steps.
Domainers tend to also not be so good at managing domains. When they do manage it takes up a lot of their time. More domainers will be outsourcing the management of their domains.
If you can outsource that problem, then you can get your time back. There is a huge opportunity cost in managing your domains. Every business needs a business plan. How are you going to earn your first dollar? Just want to see the one dollar, see the revenue cycle completed. How to get to that point as fast as you can. It is not technical problem anymore it is a business problem. Spend a little bit of time looking at wordpreess.
Everybody needs a little project on the side to learn from. Really consider those things and get those side projects happening.
From a domain investing and selling perspective. Everyday sending emails out and prospecting. There are a lot of opportunities out there to acquire domains. If you make a less than competitive offer you have your foot in the door to strike a deal.
The 10k-15k-20k deals are happening monthly. See what domain brokers are looking for and are selling look at Ron’s report and try to get similar names. Buy names that are good deals and if you have the capital it is a buyer’s market.
It takes more than a business plan, need a marketing plan, need a budget. You need to know what revenue is. With the dwindling PPC I have to have other businesses to help with renewal fees. It is not ok to just be a domain investor unless you can afford to sit on the names and wait.
For those of you who couldn’t attend TRAFFIC, here are some random notes in no specific order that I had the chance to take during the Selling To Startups segment. This panel included David Evanson of Sedo.com, Morgan Linton of LintonInvestments.com, Braden Pollock of LegalBrandMarketing.com and Joe Uddeme of DomainHoldings.com.
Crunchbase is a great site to find out who is funding companies, then you can use a tool like namebio or go onto dnjournal to find out what the specific names were purchased for in the past.
Find out where the money is coming from VC wise.
Brokers take the emotion out of a sale.
If startups don’t find the right name, they move onto the next.
Get educated and know what a startup is about or else you are going to leave money on the table.
Sometimes companies want the generic, but can’t pay upfront.
Do the research and understand the client.
Startups will start small at times and then when they get another round of funding, they might buy the name they originally wanted.
Understand the client and ask questions.
Make sure a broker has demonstrated sales to startups.
Has the broker put out releases or announcements for those types of situations.
Call broker on the phone and ask questions.
Selling to a startup is different from selling to normal companies.
Goes to places where startups go. Startup Weekend, Lean Startup Machine, AngelHack.
Get the brokers to know what type of names you have.
Startups tend to prefer to work on mobile apps first, because they don’t have to deal with Google.
2.5 million raise is the typical Series A raise.
Always provide alternatives to the original domain inquiry.
Defensive registrations are a good way of protecting your brand. Pick up plural and the dash names.
If startup doesn’t have funding and Series A is far off you can offer a lease. Most startups don’t think about leases, but they actually love them.
Broker makes money on lease and commission.
Leasing is a win/win for everyone. Best option is having an option on the back end.
Link profiles of domains are important. Scams hurt the names, make sure the domain is monitored when it is in a lease.
Make sure the language is clear in the lease agreement.
Time variable in selling domain to a large company company vs startup. It is easier to sell to a large company. Big companies take about 3 – 6 weeks to complete a transaction versus 5 – 20 weeks for a startup.
Standard broker fees still exist and the average is around 15% charged to the buyer or the seller.
Startups like .me and .co as alternatives to .com.
A typical adviser to a startup gets between .25% and .5% of equity.
If you can’t reach a deal, then tap into create ways to get the deal done.
I hope these notes prove to be useful for some of you, back to the conference.
These days, my normal schedule consists of going to work at 7am and heading home around 3pm. Once I am home, I normally work out, spend time with my girlfriend or go straight to bed. I’m still getting acclimated to this new schedule, but I wouldn’t trade it in for anything in the world. Although I’m not working for myself on a full time basis any longer, I am working for a start-up and the experience I am gaining from this is priceless. As most of you know my domain investment endeavors have taken a back seat.
I will always be a domain investor, but I can’t ever see myself doing it on a full-time basis. I am a Linux nut and every job I have ever worked has revolved around the operating system. I am a self taught Linux Systems Administrator with many years of experience. My current job is only 10 minutes away from my house, so I consider myself very lucky. I’ve never had a job this close to my place of residence, but figured if the opportunity ever presented itself that I would jump at it.
During the interview process I stressed to the company that I now work for, that I had two important commitments to tend to during the first couple of weeks of starting work. The first commitment was attending my little brother’s graduation at Yale. They were fine with that and understood the importance of me attending such an event. My job has been more than accommodating. Although I haven’t been at the place long enough to accumulate paid time off, I was able to take the days off without pay. Last week I hopped onto a red eye flight headed towards the east coast and embarked of my first commitment.
I am very proud of my brother and was glad to see him graduate. I am looking forward to seeing what he accomplishes in the future, something tells me this is just the beginning.
Although I knew I would be missing an important week of training, I had to request time off for another “prior commitment”. Without any questions being asked the time off was granted. Like I said above, I feel that I am very fortunate to be working for a company that allows their employees to have a life. This may be one of the last times I get to attend T.R.A.F.F.I.C. in its entirety, but I was never a big conference goer to begin with so this isn’t much of a shock to me. In the past I haven’t been able to make it because of work, but this time around I felt it was important to really make the effort to attend.
One of the main reasons I am attending is to get a better idea of where we all stand with our domain investments. I would be lying if I said that I haven’t noticed a drastic change in business in the last year. Yes, there are people who are doing well out there, but I think the majority of us have seen that lately it is not as easy to make a solid return in this space. With that said, I will be paying close attention to the conference to determine what the state of the industry currently is.
In addition to this I am really looking forward to enjoying some quality time with some friends that I haven’t seen in a while. I am sure there will be several opportunities to meet new people, but I am more concerned with reconnecting with those that I have already developed a bond with. I’ve been a domain investor for quite some time and have seen plenty of people evaporate into thin air. Fortunately, the close friends I have developed in this industry have been here from day one. Friendship will always mean much more to be than business and the friends I have met in the domaining world have become a staple in my life.
It is Wednesday morning here on the west coast and I am going to get a few more hours of sleep before I pack and hit the road. The goal is to reach Las Vegas in time to attend T.R.A.F.F.I.C Orientation and Early Bird Networking at 4pm. The drive takes around 4 – 5 hours from Los Angeles, so I’ll need to leave sooner than later. I’m looking forward to the drive, especially since I love the open road. I might even snap a few photos on the way and post them here later on the blog. If you are in Las Vegas this week, feel free to shoot me an email.
There was a time where I thought about my domain portfolio every single hour of the day. At this time that is not the case. I find myself only checking in on it once or twice a week. I was recently hired by a startup company here in Los Angeles and am now only looking at my domain portfolio as an additional income stream. This has happened to me in the past, but this time it is a little different.
Although my domain portfolio doesn’t receive much of my attention these days, I’ve set myself up to still generate an additional income stream from it. Before I continue, I’ve never been one to boast about how much I make from domain investing. Anything I’ve blogged about or posted on facebook has been purely for educational purposes. In all honesty I don’t care to talk about that aspect of it. My goal is to focus in on the systems that we can all create for ourselves and generate a few extra dollars while doing so.
The system I have created for myself is one that has been used by many for years. There is nothing unique about what I am doing. Now that the majority of my days are spent at work, I truly had the chance to test out this system. As most of you know I am not really acquiring additional names at this time. The one thing I am doing is parking my names. Almost all of my domain portfolio is currently parked with DomainSponsor.
Many of you have asked why I tend to use DS for my parking needs. To bluntly put it, I like the results that I have seen so far. Although I only earn a few dollars from parking my names with the platform, it is enough for me to continue doing so. My domain portfolio would be considered small in comparison to those who have focused their efforts on building a parking portfolio. My goal was never to build a parking portfolio. The goal for me was to park a name, until a better opportunity presented itself.
Domain parking has taken on a new meaning for me, because I don’t have much time to focus on anything more than that. I do plan on building a team to help sell names, but I don’t see that happening in the near future. For now my focus will be on parking names, answering inquiries and developing one site. One of the main things I like about domain investing is the fact that you can have a full-time job and still make a decent profit.
One thing I have learned is if you are not parking your names, then you are not only missing out on valuable analytics but you are also leaving money on the table. Regardless of what you are planning on doing with your portfolio, a domain should be parked until you have developed a plan for it. I wasn’t always a believer in domain parking, but I am now. Especially since Adsense, can’t necessarily be depended on for minisites anymore. I’ll go more into this later, but to make a long story short I’m not happy with the Adsense program right now.
On March 27th I posted a poll titled: “Are You Buying Or Selling“. This poll was well received and a whopping 51 votes were placed in total. According to the poll, the majority (24 votes) of you are Buying And Selling names. I used to fall within this category but have since decided to shift gears and concentrate on selling.
Selling Domains was the second most popular choice with 15 votes. I originally decided to conduct this poll because I noticed a number of premium domains being liquidated at discounted prices. Buying Domains came in 3rd with 10 votes. I wasn’t surprised that this was the case. I know a number of domain investors who have slowed their buying habits down within the last few months to concentrate their efforts on selling and developing.
I’m Not Buying Or Selling Domains came in fourth with a total of 2 votes. I’ll guess that the two people who voted for this option are most likely developing or simply holding onto their domains.
This poll was fun to conduct. I like the fact that Buy and Selling was the top selection, but have struggled to actively do this for myself. Although I like to multitask, I am much better when I concentrate my efforts on a single task. With that said, the majority of my efforts will be on selling for the rest of the year. Here’s a great article from Inc. magazine on why you should do the same: Don’t Multitask: Your Brain Will Thank You.
I just wanted to commend Jamie Zoch on returning to the blogging landscape. Your unique writing style was missed and I am glad that DotWeekly.com has returned. This goes to prove that you can’t keep a good writer from writing. I’m sure I speak for many when I say this, welcome back and we look forward to your future domaining contributions.
On another note, if you are a domainer that has always wanted to start a domaining blog for yourself, feel free to contact me and I will help with this process.
My Father passed away on April 2nd, 2013. As most of you have noticed, I have not written anything since April 1st. I decided to step away from the blog for a few weeks to really focus my efforts on handling his affairs. In this time I also had a chance to reflect on the life he lived and the amazing things he did while he was here. On April 20th, my brother and I held a tribute service for our Father. Our goal was to provide those in attendance with a picturesque view of our Father’s life.
Before I go any further I personally want to thank Morgan Linton, Daina Linton and Yan Huang for attending the tribute service. My brother and I have received some amazing support during this time and the three of you helped contribute to this tremendously.
After thinking about it for the last couple of days. I’ve decided to share the speech I gave at my Father’s tribute service. I want as many people as possible to hear his story. Although this is only a small glimpse into Dr. Jay Dell Thompson’s life, it will give you a good idea of how our Father chose to live his life.
If I were to summarize Dad in four words, it would have to be:
Brilliant, Compassionate, Dedicated And Selfless
He was brilliant because his mind operated without limitations. He was constantly learning, regardless of what the topic might have been. His thirst for knowledge has and will always fascinate me. His form of Sunday reading took place not just one day, but every single day of the week. I remember asking him why he felt the need to keep all of the Medical magazines he received. He simply replied that he planned on reading them. And he did just that.
The apple didn’t fall far from the tree, as his mother Mae Thompson was a school teacher in Illinois. My Father was fascinated with his mother’s mind in the same way that I am fascinated with his.
He was compassionate because he cared. He cared so much about people, that he found himself wanting to become a Doctor at an early age. In my opinion this was his destiny, one which he fulfilled in a remarkable fashion.
Compassion filled his veins and overflowed into the local communities he served for over 30 years. He made the utmost effort to make sure everyone received the proper medical attention that they deserved. There are countless times where I witnessed him exchange his services for baked goods. My Dad never went into medicine for the money; he went into it because he understood what it truly meant to be a Doctor. In my opinion, Dr. Jay Dell Thompson was a Modern Day Medicine Man.
As we all know, he was dedicated to his craft but what you may not know is the fact that he was also dedicated to being a Father figure. He was the absolute best father that Eustace and I could have had. I honestly can’t remember a day of him not being there. He made sure that Eustace and I were busy at all times by filling our schedule with basketball games and other activities. Although my Father didn’t know how to play golf, he made sure that I learned to do so.
He understood the doors that golf would one day unlock for me and he found himself coaching me and many others through a sport that he had never actually played himself.
While he was actively participating in my life, he made the same effort to do so with countless kids in the communities that he practiced in. Kids who thought that the cards of life had already been dealt didn’t realize there was a medicine man right around the corner from them and just like the medicine men in ancient times he was ready to provide his tribe or village with the leadership, support and attention it deserved.
For those kids that were growing up without Fathers, he filled the void by becoming one. He understood what it felt like to grow up without a father and made sure that those kids would never have to feel the pain he had once felt. For those kids who felt they would have to settle for sub par educations, he went to parent teacher conferences for them and made sure that their voices were heard. He even helped some get scholarships to both high school and college.
When it comes to being selfless, I could simply reiterate all of the points that I touched on above or I could provide a little insight into just how selfless Dr. Jay Dell Thompson truly was. Although I won’t go into much detail into how our Father passed, I can say this. He was filling prescriptions for his patients up to the day he took his last breath.
My name is Jason Meyer Thompson and I am proud to be one of Jay Dell Thompson’s sons. He was a father, a friend, a community hero and now he is a legend and I look forward to sharing his story for the rest of my life.
I created a memorial site, which can be found at JayDellThompson.com. Feel free to share this story and the memorial site with anyone and everyone.
This morning I woke up to an email notifying me that a few of my domain names had been frozen. This didn’t surprise me considering what has been going on lately. What surprised me were the reasons given for why my names had been frozen. I didn’t realize there was an authority out there that was judging the quality of names in one’s domain portfolio.
According to the notice that was sent to me, the domain names were frozen for the following reasons:
1. Too many characters in it.
2. Doesn’t represent a company brand at this time, but it could in the future.
3. The name was owned by someone else in the past.
4. The name will be owned by someone else in the future.
5. The name was registered using a promo code which has since expired.
Fortunately for me, the names which were frozen in my account would be considered to be the bottom of the barrel. I didn’t think that these names were going to sell and from what the notification says there is a chance that I will receive a refund for these names in the near future.
Out of curiosity has anyone else received a notification like this in the last week or so? I’m trying to make sure that I safeguard myself from any legal ramifications which could potentially stem from something of this nature.
I haven’t typed up one of these entries in a while, so what better day to do it then on Easter. I’ll have to make it quick, as I am craving a smoothie and feel like going on a run. If you are like me, then you know you have to work out when you feel like doing so or you won’t do it at all.
Before I get into the domaining side of things I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Easter. I had the pleasure of attending mass last night at the Church of the Good Shepherd. I haven’t been to church in quite a while and it was very refreshing to attend a special service, where my older brother was being baptized for the first time. I’m glad I was able to attend and support him through this process.
Alright, now onto the domaining side of things. This week marked the transition from being a buyer to a seller. I’ve accumulated some great domains over the past couple of months and am now ready to profit from these acquisitions. There are a few domains I plan on holding onto, but there are several which I will be flipping for flip sake.
I tend to do this a couple times during the year. It allows me to focus on the areas which are going to profit me the most. It also allows me to stockpile some cash for when I return to acquiring domains. Best of all I can now free up a little time to really refocus my efforts back onto development. Some of my development efforts are purely to help me in the flipping process and the rest of my development efforts are focused on one main project.
I’m really excited to get back to business and can’t wait to share my future successes with you. Hopefully all of you are having a great weekend and remember to get some relaxation time in for yourself. Until tomorrow!
- Konstantinos Zournas on Should You Be Planning for Self-Employment?
- Aaron Strong on My GoDaddy Domain Name Aftermarket List 12-8-2013
- AbdulBasit Makrani on My GoDaddy Domain Name Aftermarket List 12-8-2013
- Jason Thompson on My GoDaddy Domain Name Aftermarket List 12-8-2013
- AbdulBasit Makrani on My GoDaddy Domain Name Aftermarket List 12-8-2013
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