There’s no way to sugar-coat it, today we are an industry divided

2017 marks my tenth year in the domain industry. Ten years ago I had real money to invest for the first time in my life; I was 25 at the time. Instead of investing in mutual funds (which was what my Dad wanted me to do) or real estate (which is what all my friends were doing), I took all of my savings and put it into domain names.

I’ll be honest, in the beginning I felt like it was probably the biggest mistake I had ever made in my life. I lost almost all of my life savings – yes, like most new Domainers I bought a lot of junk. Note that at the age of 25 your life savings isn’t a lot of money, still, putting all of it into domains felt like taking my nest egg and exchanging it for magic beans.

Fast forward to today and I couldn’t be more grateful to have put my money into domain names, it changed my life forever. At the same time, today the industry is more divided than ever. I can still remember my first TRAFFIC Conference, it was back in 2010 in Las Vegas.

Honestly attending my first conference was like meeting all of your favorite celebrities all at once. It was overwhelming. The first morning Ron Jackson invited me to breakfast and I sat with Rick Schwartz, Howard Neu, Ron Jackson, I got goose bumps, it was amazing.

Now, with new gTLDs dominating the industry news we are an industry divided. We’ll get through it but it’s a bit sad to see. What I always appreciated about the domain industry is that it was a small group of people united by a common passion. Today, we’re just not united in the same way, not matter how you slice it we are arguing with each other like it’s going out of style.

That being said, argument is good, sharing opinions is important, and I’m actually glad in many ways this is happening. Still I do hope that a year or two from now we can come together again because one thing I can tell you is that we’re all a lot more similar than we are different. Or at least I’d like to think that we are.

What do you think? Comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 13 comments… add one }

  • Konstantinos Zournas March 16, 2017, 11:37 pm

    New gTLDs is not the only thing we are arguing about. This is the least of our problems.

    Problems start because we are trully competitors… And competitors know stuff and have opinions.

    These days the problem is trust. Very few people were affected and not by a lot with Frank’s decision yet that decision opened a can of worms… Nobody was expecting this reaction from people and yet we have a lot more to see….

    • Morgan March 17, 2017, 8:06 pm

      Great comments everyone and good points all around. It’s true the divide we’re seeing isn’t just because of new gTLDs and yes, we are all in one way or another competitors. Still the Domaining world is a small place and the more we can do to find our common similarities vs. our common differences the better.

  • Snoopy March 17, 2017, 12:28 am

    I think the problem is registries and registrars are in it to make as much money as possible, and that includes extracting as much cash as possible from domainers. It is an win/lose situation. Essentially a “flawed product” has been sold over the last few years and that product has had no uptake outside defensive registrants and domainers.

    Lastly domainers are split into ntld/anti ntld camps. Some people have seen it all before whilst others are newer to the industry or still willing to take a gamble. Having said that the domainer split is narrowing as the failures of ntlds become more obvious. Many are moving from pro new tld camp to anti ntld.

  • Mark March 17, 2017, 1:31 am

    It’s kind of like politics. There’s the legacy domains only party, new gTLD only party and I like a little of everything party including ccTLDs. Times change…

  • Marius March 17, 2017, 4:59 am

    Times change, Morgan… ten years ago there were far less people involved in domaining, I remember the friendly atmosphere on forums, people willing to help each other, lots of deals between domainers, much more end user sales. I won’t blame just the new gTLDs but they defo “helped”a lot…

  • Joseph Peterson March 17, 2017, 6:23 am

    There’s a rift. But I don’t think it’s really about nTLDs vs. legacy extensions. Most of us aren’t partisan about inventory. We’re happy to sell whatever sells. And it all sells. Just depends on the particular name.

    To be sure, there are a lot of domainers who like to go in circles year after year debating that false dichotomy of .COM versus nTLD. We hashed that out publicly back in 2014, didn’t we? By now, it’s just tiresome.

    That monotonous argument isn’t the malady; it’s barely a symptom either. It just shows up everywhere as a distraction.

    The real rift, if you ask me, is about how this business is organized. Among domainers, there’s a widespread perception that celebrities and established companies are out to deceive or take advantage of them. This suspicion was really amplified during the Adam Dicker scandal awhile back. That was a turning point.

    But that “us versus them” motif is also bound up with a big industry reorganization that began with the nTLD program. Many domain investors “turned on their peers”, in a sense, by becoming registry operators. And those that didn’t became “market share”. nTLD hype early on was aggressive, and this put people in an almost adversarial relationship. The money fueling the hype went coursing through blogs and podcasts too. End result: A lot of people seem (to some domainers) tainted or suspect.

    Behind the nTLD program’s excesses, behind the Chinese surge’s excesses, very little progress has been made in this industry. A lot of money has been diverted chasing both those 2 big trends. At the end of that chase, a lot of people are out of breath and frustrated. What they remember is the hype and the money, the cheating and the false promises. It’s not about nTLDs. It’s about lack of progress and lack of cooperation. Camaraderie doesn’t exist because few domainers work alongside one another.

    • Andrew Rosener March 17, 2017, 12:06 pm

      Incredibly well said Joseph Peterson. People should bitch and moan less and focus and collaborate more.

  • David R. March 17, 2017, 7:11 am

    The lesson has been learned. Namely, .com or BUST !
    I fully expect premium .com domains will become more valuable.

  • MM March 17, 2017, 7:40 am

    It used to be a community where people cared about one another and were cheering to the success of the fellow domainers. Those who didn’t have something positive to say stayed out of the way. Enter Trump Age. Today the naysayers are the talkers and the good guys stay away.

    Simple as that.

    • Konstantinos Zournas March 17, 2017, 8:34 pm

      Let’s just don’t blame Trump for everything.
      As much as I dislike the guy he didn’t change the world in the past 3 months. (or even the past year or so)

      There was always cheering but arguments as well since 2002 when I started. I think what is changed it that there are a lot more people in domaining. And a lot more people paying attention…

  • Mark Thorpe March 17, 2017, 9:50 am

    There would be a lot less arguing if the domain name Industry was regulated properly.

    • David R. March 17, 2017, 10:12 am

      To that end, there would be a lot less arguing if the First Amendment were abolished. Let us see how absurd we can be 🙃

  • Mike Sullivan March 17, 2017, 2:34 pm

    Come on, group hug. Bring it in.


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