Domaining v2? Why I think the Dream is Changing

Okay, so is it really Thursday night? This week has flown by, most likely because I’ve been so busy playing catch-up after a week away. Every trip I take, every conference I go to gives me new perspective on my life and the industry. TRAFFIC Dublin and MeetDomainers Manchester were both eye-openers in their own ways. Sitting behind a computer reading Domaining blogs is so different from being there in the action hearing what people are talking about.

This is the first in what I’m sure will be a series of posts that I’ll be writing as I decompress from the conferences. Nothing I say here should be taken as more than a brain dump, a way for me to get what’s in my head out there. I’m not one to make predictions of the future, I haven’t been in this game long enough. What I do know is what I’ve learned so far and what I’m learning every day. However the trip did give me a good idea of what I think is in our future…whether we like it or not and here’s how I think the Domaining Dream is changing.

The Domaining Dream is Changing. There – I said it, although I guess I’ve been saying it since 2007 and now it’s really happening. The Parking world is crumbling and the buzz right now is loud and clear – DEVELOPMENT! Notice I didn’t say Parking is dead…I once thought that but now I’m confident that it’s very much alive, but the space has become too crowded. Domainers needs have changed too – while once the focus was monetizing type-in traffic now Domainers want their pages to show-up in search engines like Google and Yahoo.

Probably the most well-positioned company at this moment is Epik headed by the well-respected Rob Monster. Rob has done a great job of focusing on developing sites rather than simply monetizing domains. Other Parking companies like Domain Advertising have completely revamped their algorithms to focus on new approaches. Why Park has completely stepped-up its platform to include Domain Apps.

So what is going on here? Companies are changing to adapt to a new kind of Domainer. It might be the same Domainer from the 90’s or the early 2000’s that bought a bunch of great names. It could also be the Domainer that started late but had the capital to buy great names. Or it could be the Domainer starting now, the fact are the same – the dream is changing.

Let’s face it, the dream started-out with the idea of buying domains, changing the nameservers and watching the money come in. As more and more parking services came-out the dream evolved into trying-out different services, heck there’s even a service that automates the process – Above.com! Now as PPC revenues have declined and search volume has become undeniably huge compared to direct navigation traffic the name of the game is Development.

That’s why I said “whether we like it or not” the dream is changing – it’s a new game. I see the first step here being a collaboration between three industries Domaining, Affiliate Marketing, and Development. Conferences could have tens of thousands of people. Web developers, Domainers, Super-Affiliates, Serial Entrepreneurs, Real Estate Investors, all together sharing ideas and working together.

The first big step towards this reality has already happened, just about every Domainer out there now knows that Development is the key to growth in this industry moving forward. You can try all the parking services you want but building a business on your domain means being able to sell that business later on, and that my friends is the new model…that is if you aren’t already doing it.

Now it’s your turn! What do you think? Do you agree? Totally disagree and want to yell at me on my blog? Comment and let your voice be heard. Good or bad I publish all my comments and I want to hear from you!

{ 17 comments… add one }

  • Mike September 2, 2010, 10:25 pm

    Development is the future. I can’t stand getting 2 or 3 cents for some of my clicks. Why don’t I try to sell visitors what they are looking for instead of giving the traffic away for pennies? I have decent mortgage domains that get .14 per click. A mortgage lead is worth $50 or more to a broker. The problem with companies like whypark and epik is that google has/will figure them out and de-index your domains. No cookie cutter system will work long term. If you are going to develop, you need to do the work and build something decent, not a bunch of RSS feeds and adsense/amazon ads.

    Reply
    • Morgan September 2, 2010, 10:40 pm

      Thanks for sharing @Mike. I think Epik and Why Park have done a good job of playing nicely with the search engines. Still – developing a full-scale business on your domain and treating it as a business is definitely the new model.

      Reply
  • Rob Monster September 2, 2010, 10:33 pm

    Morgan – good stuff.

    The industry IS changing. It has no choice. Either domains go big-time in the age of Google or they cease to matter. I really think it is that important, and the stakes for domain owners are high.

    The do-nothing strategy will not work. The guys who develop now will get ranked before the late-comers realize that they missed the boat.

    The Domain Development “Tipping Point” has arrived.

    Reply
    • Morgan September 2, 2010, 10:39 pm

      Thanks @Rob – I think you’re really doing an amazing thing and definitely leading this industry as it moves onto its next phase!

      Reply
  • Uzoma September 2, 2010, 10:53 pm

    Morgan, welcome back from Ireland. Let me commend you on a job well done; I followed your updates, and it felt like I was there. Having said that, we must stop worshiping idol gods in this industry. All parking companies have not done a good job of negotiating prices for the parker, Epik and Whypark included. The past is prologue in this business; the leopard does not change its spots over night.
    I don’t think any one is looking out for the Domainer. I don’t trust any of the leaders in this industry: the parkers, the developers, the market places. Everyone has a conflict of interest mired in their business model. You try to sell your domain in the market place, they have their own domains to sell along with yours. Guess which one they will push? NOT YOURS, THEIRS! So, before we start praising anyone, the rubric should be: What have you done to increase the bottom line, and are you eliminating all conflict, are you challenging the Big monopolist Companies that wants to pick winners and losers outside the market place?

    Reply
    • Morgan September 2, 2010, 11:02 pm

      Thanks for the comment @Uzoma – some excellent points. Still I think you might be a bit too cynical here. Some of the leaders in our industry are more than trustworthy – they are actually very inspirational. Remember it’s not all about selling domains, in the world of monetization we can all learn from each other.

      We need to focus on working together and finding similarities rather than focusing on our differences. As always you can see the glass half-empty or half-full. I agree in some cases there are conflicts of interest, but not all, and not the majority. Just like most people think of Domainers as typo or trademark-squatters, most of us are actually focused on a completely different side of the industry.

      Both Epik and Why Park are excellent companies with great leaders that are working hard to help the industry and all of us. If you don’t believe me meet one of them in-person, I’ll bet you’ll find you have more in common with them than you think…you just have to give them a chance and if you haven’t met someone in person yet or talked to them on the phone you don’t really know them πŸ™‚

      Reply
  • Leonard Britt September 2, 2010, 11:02 pm

    It has been interesting to see how minisites were promoted quite a bit in 2009 and now you don’t hear as much discussion about minisites except to criticize them as being inadequate. Most traffic goes to sites on page one of a major search engine and a static minisite just won’t maintain that ranking for long when hundreds of thousands of competing sites are also trying to rank for the same term.

    Reply
  • RH September 3, 2010, 12:18 am

    I think uzoma is more right than wrong. First because a person is nice in person and friendly does not make them a leader, or do away with conflicts of interest.

    Secondly is a developer a domainer ? He or She may use them but that does not make them a domainer. Now you could be what I call a Hybrid domainer. That you are running two strategies at the same time. I think pure domainer who someone like Frank wrote his black gold post about, there are maybe 50 in the world maybe 100. If the name needs this or that its not great on its own, it can become a great business but it was based more on the idea.

    I like Epik and use Epik, they have a long way to go IMO to be called a leader. I am sorry words have meaning, they have a chance but how is a product portal not going to eventually get bounced by Google ? I ask that hoping it does not and do not want to see that so not busting on Epik.

    I like whypark too and not to just change nameserver and hope for clicks but to use the platform for original content, combined with their apps that I can’t develop and have it all on one platform.

    Maybe the problem is that it was looked at as a dream. Many got involved in domaining I think because they thought it was easy. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. Again IMO

    Reply
    • Morgan September 3, 2010, 1:43 am

      Thanks for sharing @RH – well said…I still love the Epik and Why Park folks though πŸ™‚

      Reply
  • IM Links September 3, 2010, 3:46 am

    Morgan – Good to hear about your trip. I’m from just South of Manchester, but left the UK 5 years ago, so it was especially good for me.

    Regarding your post, this was my thinking behind IMlinks.com – links to the best resources in each area of Internet Marketing. I was finding myself researching all of the areas you mention and more and figured other people could use my findings.

    Affiliate Marketing, for example, is especially difficult to navigate because 99% of them are trying to sell get rich quick junk. Why not save a week and go directly to AffBuzz.com and WarriorForum.com where will find plenty of tips mixed in with the junk!

    Reply
  • Mac M September 3, 2010, 4:04 pm

    Minisites still work, you just have to find that sweet spot of decent CPC, decent search traffic, and minimal competition for the exact keyword. It is not too hard to create a site that makes $500 per year and every once in a while you will make 2-5x that amount. It takes research and work, but provides a decent return on your efforts.
    Mac

    Reply
  • Des Barry September 4, 2010, 5:34 am

    Hi Morgan

    Thanks for this post, it is what I wanted to finally do something more productive with my portfolio.
    Having over 1,600 domains parked yielding between $8 to $15 a month for the lot.

    So I have decided to give all the services in your post a try as the first step
    And secondly to develop one domain name a week

    Glad you enjoyed your trip to Ireland, your post did great work for Irish tourism

    Regards from Dublin

    Des Barry

    Reply
  • Steve September 4, 2010, 6:50 am

    Hi Morgan its Steve missed you on Friday in Manchester was there Thursday night
    and Saturday its very simple 90 % of current domain sales are
    Domainers to Domainers why because we can understand the potential value
    and the only way to increase values is to Develop them into websites ,so end users can see the value

    Who has the larger share of the market ?
    kit cars or factory made car ready to drive away its that simple

    Reply
  • DNabc September 4, 2010, 7:10 am

    I started as a developer, first with just one website, that I grew until 100,000 unique visitors per month, and then kept buying more domains, loosing focus. Now I have more than 6000 domains and not a lot of time to develop. I’ve been trying to create a solution for me, because I know that a single developed domain produces MUCH MORE than 6000 parked names… but developing so many domains is expensive, especially if you want unique content. I’m almost there… until then I’ll develop some as in the past, and buy some development from 3rd parties.

    Reply
  • The Beer Froster September 4, 2010, 7:18 am

    The best thing that can happen to domain investors, and some might say for the internet as a whole, is to have Google knocked off its pedestal.

    “Don’t be evil” is an oxymoronic joke. Adsense users are being paid far less than the value of their clicks with the excuse of click quality, which very few domainers seem to challenge. It’s like the “us against the manager” ruse they used to pull on people at car dealerships. Frank Schilling did a great post a few days ago where this was mentioned.

    Unless it is outright fraudulent, a click is a click is a click. It is not interruption advertising, if someone clicks a link they are searching that contact and the publisher deserves full payment. Without a viable adsense competitor out there to use competition to balance the market, it is a de-facto monopoly… which has been used against us with our compliance. Clicks should be paid for, period, but they are not.

    And since Google itself controls who it will and will not allow to be seen in search engines, it is in a position to demote its own competition, again in the name of quality, but this time for search results. Some say it does (I agree), others say it is conditional.

    No. Not talking about spam. Spam is bad. It needs to be banned. Bad spam. It bugs me to post like this and have replies that point out the crushingly obvious telling me I don’t “see” something or don’t “understand” something. Folks, assume I see it, assume I understand it, it is a posting not a comprehensive text.

    I am referring to developed sites that offer good traffic that are paid fractions of a penny on the dollar for traffic from the very same company that controls that traffic. It’s a good definition of evil.

    Reply
  • Dietmar Stefitz September 4, 2010, 7:20 am

    I completely disagree.

    Once a Domain is developped it’s not anymore a Domain, than its a web-project.
    It’s much more importante to intervene with the parking companies to put some more effort in their systems, and search engines in this case are no enemies, they are in the same boat, because they get their share on any click which is being made.
    Develop better parking systems, which includes affiliation and the Domaining will prevail, otherwise it will be development of webs. And any development needs maintenance, will you make a maintenance of a fleet of 1000’s of Domains ??

    Reply
  • Ted Olson September 5, 2010, 9:26 am

    Morgan –

    Great post – thanks for your thoughts. Keep up the great work and keep sharing your ideas and commentary. The industry needs you!

    Ted

    Reply

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