Day one at Webfest Global opened up with a bang. I arrived just a few minutes after lunch started and was able to cross a few things off of my checklist. Before I get into how the rest of the day panned out I just wanted to stress the importance of meeting people face to face.
In my book, there is nothing that comes close to being able to talk one on one with an individual. There was one person in particular that I had communicated with via email for quite some time. I ran into this specific individual at the conference and was able to finally hash out a few things within seconds of speaking to them. The time we spent talking was much more meaningful then the email exchanges we had in the past. This was a big priority of mine and was one of the main reasons why I decided to attend the conference to begin with.
After this conversation I headed to the Starlight Ballroom for the panel on Domain Monetization Options Beyond Parking. The expert panelists included Braden Pollock, Zappy Zapolin, Jay Champman, Lavin Punjabi and Michael Gilmour. While attending this panel I posted a picture of the session of it on my facebook and the following comment was made:
“So tell us about monetization beyond parking … reveal the secrets!”
In an effort to keep this post short and to the point, I’ll try to explain a little of what I learned. The panelists stressed the following points:
1. Parking shouldn’t be considered a viable way to generate real revenue off of your domains.
2. Focus on building a business, which starts with a business plan and gains traction with a solid domain.
3. Understand the type of traffic your names can potentially generate or are generating and exploit it.
4. Look towards avenues such as lead generation to help.
5. Look for verticals with mature markets that will have buyers.
6. Don’t just develop any domain, choose a solid one that gives you credibility when developing a brand.
7. Zero click and mobile are two avenues that domain investors tend to ignore or know nothing about.
8. Analyze your domains and see what future categories will be.
9. Partner up with those who have the skills you are looking for.
10. Parking will not grow at the same pace as it has in previous years.
I enjoyed the panel, but I have to admit that as a domain investor I’ve heard people stress these points before. For me, developing a brand has become more of a focus of mine but is easier said then done. Since that is the case I will be focusing the majority of my efforts on no more than three brands this year.
Next up was a workshop called How to Negotiate a Fair Price for a Domain. The expert panelists in this workshop included Andrew Rosener, Paul Nicks and Morgan Linton.
I might be bias in saying this, but this was by far the most informative session I attended so far during the conference. (I’m currently at the Moniker Live Premium Domain Name Auction.)
Here are a few points that the panelists stressed during the workshop:
1. Pricing a domain is a fine art and it is a lot like pricing art.
2. People tend to put ambiguous values on domains.
3. Metrics are important when calculating the value of a domain.
4. Exact match domains are still important.
5. The key to selling a domain for a decent return is to place the domain in front of the right person at the right time.
6. For domain investors, there will be a number of new landrushes. The investor base is not big enough to accommodate the flood of landrushes. With all the new TLDs launching there will be more exposure for the industry.
7. VCs want startups to spend more money on marketing. A startup that raises an initial round of $500,000 will be given a $50,000 budget for marketing efforts which include things such as a domain name.
8. Startups haven’t always taken the domain they begin with seriously. Some of these businesses start off with a 2 or 3 word dot com domains then realize the brand they are creating would be better off with a 1 word TLD.
9. Startups are starting to understand that it pays off tremendously to start off with a strongly branded domain.
10. Every domain name has a price.
11. Mobile is going to effect search trends.
12. Increased PPCs lead to increased domain name values.
13. When it comes to your domain names, don’t get married to a particular number.
14. The buyer sitting in front of you is probably the best buyer you’ve got.
15. If you are an active outbound seller, the most powerful sales tool is to get the domain in-front of as many people as possible.
16. When a buyer comes to you, the price is completely different from when you approach them. An inbound hot lead on a domain is much easier to get a higher price with.
17. Don’t ignore inbound leads, regardless of what the initial offer is. Be polite to all offers and give the person inquiring a counter-offer you feel is fair.
18. If a domain is not for sale, find out what the owner is using the name for. It’s important to understand the type of friction you can potentially create and what the costs to migrate to a secondary domain would be.
19. Never give out the price first. As a domain investor, you have much more information than the end-user has.
As you can see, this particular workshop was full of amazing information. It was one of those workshops that was so informative that I found myself typing up as many notes as I possibly could to help implement a few of the points in my own business. If I could go to this workshop again I would.
A little later that night we all headed over to La Sandia and Zengo for the opening night dinner networking reception. These restaurants were exclusively reserved for the event. I had the pleasure of enjoying my dinner with none other than Ron Jackson, Diana Jackson, Shane Cultra, Howard Hoffman and Kina Merdinian. Not only did I receive a second education in domaining, I had the chance to enjoy some amazing stories as well. To top it all off the food was extremely good.
Just to note, it took me a couple of days to type this blog entry. With all of the sessions and great events it truly is tough to cover this conference in its entirety. I’ll start typing up a recap for Wednesday today and hopefully I can have it up soon.
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