Adapting to the Changing Internet Landscape

Back from a short trip to the beach. I’ve been reading quite a bit on the new vanity TLDs, and the best conclusion I can come to is that nobody really knows for certain how things will play out. Neither the people who are vociferously stating that .com will always be king (myself included), nor those who are saying that new extensions will cause major sweeping changes to the Internet, really know for sure whether their opinions will be accurate.
What is for sure is that some people will take a big financial risk with these new extensions and some people will remain on the sidelines. In five years, there will be some obvious winners and there will be some obvious losers, but the answers will not be seen over night. I am eagerly observing from the sidelines for now, observing what my friends are doing, getting ready to make changes to my business model if they are necessary. Change is essential to growth, and being able to adapt to industry changes is fundamental.
The domain industry has changed quite a bit, even in the five years that I’ve been involved in the industry. The one constant thing is that the people who are able to adapt to the changes and work within the new parameters are those who are successful. While my thinking about .com may be inaccurate, I (and others) will still manage to do well if we are able to notice changes quickly, and are able to adapt to these changes rapidly. Just because I didn’t buy my first domain names in 1995 doesn’t mean that I wasn’t able to be successful. I found the industry later than many, but I learned as much as I could, took some risks and the rest is history.
It is great to see all the dialog about the new extensions on domain forums, blogs, and other news outlets. We are at a time of major change in the domain industry and in the history of the Internet. If you are reading this blog and other domain resources, it is likely that you realize how important this time is for all of us. Pay attention to the things going on in the industry, watch the industry veterans and media companies to learn about their plans, and invest wisely. You don’t have to be a trendsetter to make money, but you have to be able to adapt to the changes to avoid becoming obsolete.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn
  1. Elliot,
    I’m sitting like a duck now, watching the boat go by and not caring at all. Why? Because I have a plan for my portfolio and anything that doesn’t fit that plan, I don’t pay attention to. Sticking to that philosophy helps my portfolio move forward and avoid names that carry too much speculation. Not cracking on .mobi but I only own one of them and even that fills a specific purpose. I also own 1 .org and maybe a handful of .net. ALL of my names serve my business purpose. Therefore, I’m staying in the sidelines with you.
    Tia Wood

  2. I agree with David and Tia – smart development is king, independent of whatever the future may hold for the underlying net architecture.

  3. Development is only king is you don’t plan to sell the name. Developing a decent name can be a waste of time and money. If you end up selling the name to someone else then all of your development could be wasted.
    Most of the smal-time developers would be beter off washing cars and saving that money. Developing the big names isn’t really domain development….it is running a business. That is a different mindset.
    A domain name is worth X; not X, but with development XX. That is stupid talk that you see often. A domain name is a domain name and a business is a business. Some names make it a lot easier to start a business.

  4. Agree Lord Grillo, well said. Perhaps that is why is on PPC, who knows what would come out the end if developed.

  5. Very good post Lord Grillo. Mr Costello is majorly overstating the development angle I think, in my view it is very hit and miss with the misses far outnumbering the hits.

  6. Snoopy:
    We’ve always made money on every name we’ve ever developed. Of course, you have to be clever about it and give the public something they want to visit and read.
    Note to all:
    Castello is Italian
    Castillo is Spanish
    Costello is Irish.
    Michael and I are of the Italian variety (Castello).

  7. Lord Grillo, if domains were black and white that would be true. But since people, not only domainers, buy domains for a multitude of reasons you can’t paint development that way. Even though I develop most of my names, my purposes are still different from the Castello brothers. Not all people buy domains to run a business and not all popular domains are businesses.
    “Development is only king [if] you don’t plan to sell the name.”
    Yes, that’s true. You don’t want to waste money. However…
    “If you end up selling the name to someone else then all of your development could be wasted.”
    Not if it increases the value of the name. Again, my statement is black and white. But no, development does not ruin a good domain. If that was true, all domains would be parked. Sometimes it’s the developer who is the problem.

  8. The Castellos have the names that are perfect for using for online businesses. They are very successful at it, and they were successful in their previous endeavors not related to the domain business.
    However, the moment they decided to register those names….and keep them through the years, that’s where the initial millions were made. If they had chosen to, they could have simply sold the names and retired. They saw what others didn’t see, and they went the extra mile and turned the names into nice businesses.
    Rick Schwartz saw the same thing that others did not see. He chose a different path. He is more of a one-man operation type of guy. Just the thought that he could sit at the beach for the rest of his life and make money without doing another thing is the type of financial freedom and power that motivates him.
    The one thing that gives the Castello Brothers and Rick Schwartz the option to do what they choose with their time is the POWERFUL DOMAIN NAME. It is that simple.
    Major television networks and other media companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars (if not billions) trying to develop the next MySpace or YouTube. It just doesn’t happen as often as you would like to think.
    The one man show with an average domain name really has no chance…no chance at all. Most of the great development stories in the world happened because someone was passionate about a certain subject and they started very small, and then the wave hit and they rode the wave. These people rarely pull it off again. Their is no magic formula to create the ininitial snowball effect.
    If you have great names you pretty much get to control your destiny in life. Do whatever you want and enjoy your days. Anybody trying to develop a name that is not a strong dotcom generic needs to come down from the clouds and realize that they have a better chance of being struck by lightning AND winning the lottery on the same day, as they do of becoming the next big thing. To even think that you can sit around and jump back and forth trying to develop 4-5 sites with below average domain names and have any chance at big success is really stretching it.
    The big dream should be in securing the best names you can possibly get….then go from there.

  9. “The one man show with an average domain name really has no chance…no chance at all”
    that couldn’t be further from the truth.
    I’m all about the domain – beautiful, generic domains. But my #1 site is a 2 word .net with a dash in it. Remember – Google doesn’t care what your domain name is, and if you are good at development, seo etc you can make money on anything. Would I prefer to have a better name? Absolutely. Can you make a ton of money with a crappy name? Yes.
    The domain simply makes some pieces of the process (selling / marketing / branding) easier and puts a better and (more valuable) face on the business.

  10. Well said again Lord Grillo. “Development” is not adding contrived content, Google Adsense, and a dash of SEO fairy dust. That’s still PPC resting on a tenuous Google dependent algorithm. True development is business development. Its easy to tell the difference–one sends customers to others, the other receives and cares for those customers itself. That’s why its not a one man show.


    I don’t think you necessarily need a full business to have a great website that makes money and does well in search engines. is an example of one of my websites. It has a ton of unique, well-researched and well-written content, it is anchored with Google Adsense, and there are also advertising banners on the site paid for by a new client. I am a one man show with some good resources 🙂

  11. Elliot (et al), you know I am heavily involved with .mobi.
    It may also be a surprise to some that I am heavily involved in .com, .net and a other worthy extensions…yes, .us does do very well on some parking sites.
    I do have to agree that development is the key. I read your other post regarding “minisites”.
    Allow me to use one of my own sites as an example.
    This morning I noticed the ranked #34 out of about 11,600,000 for raced on Google. No extension, just the simple dictionary word raced.
    On Yahoo, thank you very much, it is Number One out of 36,000,000 for raced. Again, the word. No extension included.
    I am using this as an example. It could easily have been a .com, .net, or .org or even .info.
    But it happens to be a .mobi.
    Please, before everyone gets their panties in a wad, this is not about .mobi. This is about SEO and development.
    I do not own the .com, .net, .org, or the .info but I do own the .mobi which, presently, are considered the 5 most used and recognized gTLD’s. Yes, .mobi is a gTLD.
    What you will find with the .com, .net, .org, and .info are parked pages or domains (.net) that do not resolve at all.
    So out of the 5 common gTLD’s, 80% are parked. That also means that 100% of my gTLD counterparts are not sites at all.
    How became number 34 or so illustrates your point about development and SEO. Sure, in your search you may come across or before you get to But how many parked pages and portals can people handle?
    So there can be 100 or 1000 more gTLD’s (vTLD’s) and to me it will still not matter. Speculators will speculate and those that buy will be domainers and those domainers are likely to park.
    Lord knows, I’m tired of relying on the parking entities to give me my fair share when I never knew what my fair share was to begin with. Nor will the parking companies even divulge their methodology.
    I can not imagine being a parked site and still being a source of pride and inspiration to yourself. Or being a portal for bird food, bird feeders, and pet food.
    So, really…this is not about .mobi. It is about building and optimizing and the satisfaction of creating something worth bragging about and feeding your creative juices to continue on.

  12. So, being on the sidelines means…
    1. Your going to cut the size of your portfolio and keep the lean and mean ones?
    2. You gonna clear out and only keep those that are intended to be developed?
    3. Your gonna keep your safe bets and only buy/keep the best .coms?
    4. Your gonna go into a state of inertia and stop exactly where you are. No sales/buys?
    Where do you stand? Personally, with so much of uncertainty, I would rather keep my portfolio lean and mean, keep the ones I know have an intrinsic value and/or can be developed as a business.

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