Alan Dunn is the Senior Vice President of Strategic Media for Domain Holdings, and he is someone I respect and admire.
One of the industries earliest domain name investors, Alan started focusing on development as far back as 1998. Over the last 14 years he has built and sold sites to companies like Quinstreet and ZipRealty, was one of the first 100 Google Certified Adwords Professionals, generated tens of thousands of leads across many of the key financial verticals, and he brokered/sold over $10m in domain names.
Recently, Alan joined Domain Holdings as Senior Vice President of Strategic Media and won the 2012 TRAFFIC Award for Developer of the Year. I appreciate that Alan took some time to answer a few questions for my blog.
ES: What is Strategic Media?
AD: A lot of people ask me this and it’s a fair question. Strategic Media is essentially a broad term incorporating strategy planning, optimizing and building brand value for different types of media assets. While a premium domain is no doubt often the greatest asset to formulate a business plan around, it really is just one element of the entire business. Companies today have social media assets, domain names, databases and more. In short, Strategic Media is not just about domain development but about helping clients maximize different forms of media assets to help add value to their brand.
ES: Why did you join Domain Holdings?
A combination of good timing and great people. I’ve known John, Jason and Chad for a while and the more you get to know these guys the more you realize their vision for the future is something you want to be part of. We are still a very young industry and anytime you have an opportunity to work with people you love (and can learn from) its very hard not to jump at that offer. Plus it gave me the ability to scale what I was doing before which was a primary goal of mine.
ES: What kind of Website Development does Domain Holdings do?
We try and focus on premium assets from owners who understand the time and commitment needed to bring a vision to life. There is so much more than simply ranking a site or building a few pages to website development. Every asset is unique but with the right development you can add many multiple times value to a premium domain for a fraction of this extra value.
I compare premium development to home buying in many ways. When you buy a house for $500,000 you can either (a) opt to flip it for a profit or (b) invest some money on renovations and earn an even higher return. It’s the same with domains – except the money spent on renovations can often lead to a much higher return.
ES: Why did you shut down your Blog?
AD: The industry has seen a few blogs come and go. There was no single reason for mine to disappear except I didn’t find it productive for me anymore. I never sold advertising nor really spent much time on it over the last couple years anyway. Plus when you become a Dad you tend to value Thomas the Train more over taking about domain names in the little spare time you do have.
ES: Where do you see domains in 2 years?
AD: On the surface it’s very easy to think owning domains is all about buying, selling and parking but it’s really not. Just as Google has changed loveable characters like Penguins and Pandas into serial killers one must plan and expect change in the domain industry. Many times owning these assets provide you with a very real opportunity for liquidity to upgrade your portfolio (sell 10 of your mediocre ones for a great one for example), invest in other areas outside of the domain channel and more. If anything, today is the time when you need to start looking at your portfolio as a business and not just a bunch of domains with collective value.
Elliot only gave me 5 questions so let me end this with a few quotes I have heard over the years.
“My kids have no interest in my names” …. Reason #1001 to price your names realistically.
“Always sell a domain when you get an offer for more than you think its worth”
“Never take the first offer, but don’t be a greedy fool and turn down a very good first offer”
“We Are Family”
I steal this last one from Judi Berkens and her acceptance speech of a special award honoring Mike and Judi’s dog Bandit at the recent T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference. Judi has inspired so many of us over the years and this really hit home with me. The domain community is small, so small it really is like a big family. A family I am proud to be part of and one where new family members are always welcome. For people who are struggling with this industry or cannot find the right opportunities then learn to embrace the community. You may just be surprised how many people will help and how much your business will grow.
Alan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org