5 with… Rick Silver, n49 Interactive

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rick silverRick Silver was recently introduced by Rick Latona as the new panel moderator for upcoming Traffic shows. I had the opportunity to meet Rick (and his wife) at the Traffic Amsterdam conference, and I think Rick Latona made a great choice.

Rick Silver’s company, N49 Interactive, owns one of the best portfolios of generic .CA domain names, and almost all of them are developed, revenue producing websites. Some of his company’s sites include Dining.ca, Maids.ca, Resorts.ca, Schools.ca, Advertise.ca, Decorators.ca, and many, many more.

Right after the conclusion of the conference, I asked Rick if he’d be willing to do an interview on my blog since I hadn’t had the chance to interview someone whose done so much with so many fantastic generic domain names. He agreed, but due to both of our hectic schedules, we only just recently touched base about this.

It will be great to have Rick Silver at upcoming Traffic conferences – both because of his domain knowledge, but also because of his development expertise. Thanks to Rick for agreeing to the interview!

EJS: How do your generic domain names compare to the big brands in search engines, and how do .ca names compare to .com in search engines?

RS: Google and other search engines definitely give weight to the URL in determining rank. Just as generic domains have credibility with a human assessing a site, so too does Google give credit to generics. Take 2 plumbers; one with the URL JoeandSonsPlumbing.com and the other using PlumbersToronto.com. Assuming both sites have somewhat
equivalent content and link popularity, I would bet on PlumbersToronto.com to achieve the higher rank.

n49 network sites like AutoGlass.ca and Weightloss.ca often out rank big brands like YellowPages. Google is pretty good at returning actual plumber’s websites or niche sites in the particular vertical. Google doesn’t always want to put big brands like Yellow Pages or Home Depot at the top.

.ca’s domains and ccTLDs in general perform better when searching within the country. So .ca domain names tend to have an advantage on Google.ca vs. Google.com. It’s important to note that Google will redirect Google.com to Google.ca or Google.co.uk if it detects that one’s IP address is in that country.

EJS: Is there an opportunity for domain investors to utilize the platform you’ve built with their names?

RS: The n49 platform has been designed to allow partner domains provided they are generic .ca names that represent a category of products or services.   Typo domains or simple generic words don’t fit our model. Our ultimate goal is to provide targeted and meaningful content at generic .ca domains under a common umbrella that would promote direct navigation and provide a way to connect consumers with businesses.

In 2010, one of our goals is to replicate what we have done in Canada globally by providing a platform that allows for the rapid and mass development of generic domains on a global scale centred around connecting people with products and services.

EJS: What did you enjoy the most about TRAFFIC Amsterdam, and if you could add something to the show for the future, what would it be, especially now that you are the official moderator?

RS: Aside from the networking, the parties and meeting other domainers from around the world, the show was an eye opener for the vast opportunities in the global domain space with ccTLDs and also IDNs. Currently only a select few know the various ins and outs of acquiring country code domain names. This is the new frontier of domaining. Sure .com is king, but it’s no longer a .com world. It’s a ccTLD world. In addition we sold 2 domains at the auctions netting about $35k!

Going forward, I would like to see TRAFFIC provide greater depth in the seminars and on the panels. I come to these shows to learn something new and to discuss what strategies others are using that might work for me, and clearly improving monetization and development are key topics. And don’t talk developing unless you are prepared todiscuss SEO, CMS, UCG, building community etc. So there’s a lot to talk about.
EJS:   What do you think is currently the biggest threat to the domain investment business?

A (perceived) lack of integrity continues to dog this industry. When a guy like Arlington calls it a “Dirty Business” it doesn’t help promote investment in the industry. People would not buy stock if they didn’t trust the stock market. And while the sector, and certainly the value of domains have begun to command respect, it’s unfortunate that the actions of the few cast a shadow on the morality of the entire industry.
EJS: What do you think is the best opportunity in domaining right now and into 2010?

RS: Well first off I think that some form of development is the best way to increase the value and monetization of select domains, but as for the acquisition of domains here are my   TOP OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE AVERAGE AMERICAN DOMAINER:

a. Overabillionpeople.in – because India is experiencing massive growth and because they all speak English there and because only Jeff (and a few others) get it.

b. itsyourcctld.us – hello America! .us is your thing. One day you will get it. When I search on .com (from Canada) I figure I’m
searching the world, not the USA.

c. Justovertheboarder.ca – Sure Canadian presence requirements keep out the riffraff but really it’s so easy for the serious domainer to establish a presence. .ca is undervalued for sure. But of course I’m biased.

d. CategoryGeo.com – There isn’t much low hanging fruit in the .com world unless you have big bucks or are prepared to invest and develop. I do see a trend toward people using more hyper local keywords in searches and so domains like PlumbersArea.com, where area could be as small as a neighborhood. Plus even plumbers are wiseing up to the internet and are often buyers of such domains.

17 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Elliot,

    Nice job with Rick Silver, great questions with very informative answers from Rick.

    I have been trying to get a hold of Rick Silver to do a podcast about him and his new role at Traffic but with no luck so far. I have added him to Skype but he never seems to be on. If you could please let him know that I am trying to get a hold of him it would be greatly appreciated.

    Seeing as I have done podcasts with Rick Laton & Rick Schwartz it only seems fair that Rick Silver should get some air time as well LOL

    Cheers

    Ed Keay-Smith
    OzDomainer.com

  2. Very interesting interview, especially since my focus is also on ccTLDs.

    ” itsyourcctld.us – hello America! .us is your thing. One day you will get it. When I search on .com (from Canada) I figure I’m
    searching the world, not the USA.”

    Yes, it’s going to be interesting to see if they will get it… Americans tend to think that the United Stated IS the world 🙂

    Rick, your platform looks very interesting – what is your approach to marketing and sales? Do you have sales reps that contact relevant businesses in order to sell paid (or free) listings, or do you only mass market the sites?

  3. As a Canadian domain investor now on the verge of jumping into the deep end of the development pool, I enjoyed hearing the insights of (to me) a Canadian domain mentor. Rick’s information has given me food for thought. My only complaint – I wish the interview could have gone on indefinitely! 🙂

    Thank you to Rick and Elliot.

  4. @Trond

    we have a sales team – local advertising is typically “sold” not “Bought”.

    But we have tested ecom get listed for 95/month and we have had success with that model. Businesses will sign up and pay online but will only pay so much. We tend to get better $ with phone/meet, especially since we have a broad line up of web services beyond the listings (video, websites, etc). That said of course our selling costs are quite high compared to a form.

    • Are you the Rick Silver that was on the Oceania Cruise with fire? I was a passenger as well and would be interested in chatting with you.

  5. Great article love keyword domains.noticed rick has the same .ca domain as me but he has the s on the end,
    Google showed the domain without the s as twice the searches now Google has revamped keyword stats the domain with the s gets twice the search.
    Congratulations rick from a newbie domainer.

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