This is a guest post written by John Colascione, author of the recently published book, Mastering Your Website: Insider’s Guide To Fully Understanding Your Website, Search Engine Optimization and Building Your Brand, now available on Amazon. I asked John to write a guest post to discuss his background and the book. Feel free to ask any question in the comment section.
Hello, My name is John Colascione and since you’re reading this blog I think it’s pretty safe to assume that you’re a bit into domaining like myself. Thanks to Elliot, I’ve been given the pleasure as well as the honor of posting here on ElliotsBlog.com to both announce the recent release of my book “Mastering Your Website” as well as share some of my thoughts about “Search” in general and a little about me.
This is a guest post written by Rob Sequin, who has been a domain investor since 1999 and a domain broker since 2004. He specializes as a domain buyer broker and sales broker in travel related and geodomains. He just started the Travel Domain Newsletter featuring travel domain related news, domains wanted and domains for sale.
I have been an active buyer, seller and broker of geodomains and travel related domains so when I saw the Exhibitor List from the recent New York Travel Show, I was curious to see the domain names that tourism organizations were using to promote their regions.
I was generally impressed to learn that most of these organizations appreciate the value of a good domain name. Some use pure geo domains, others use .travel and some use a prefix such as visit or go so most are using decent to high quality domain names.
Here is a list of tourism related organizations that recently exhibited at the New York Travel Show:
Africa Travel Association – AfricaTravelAssociation.org
Alaska – TravelAlaska.com
Anguilla Tourist Board – IVisitAnguilla.com
Antigua Hotels & Tourist Association – AntiquaHotels.org
Argentina National Institute of Tourism Promotion – Argentina.travel
Aruba Tourism Authority – Aruba.com
Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority – AlanticCityNJ.com
Barbados Tourism Authority – VisitBarbados.org
Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel – FortMyers-Sanibel.com
Belize Hotel Association – BelizeHotels.org
Belize Tourism Board – TravelBelize.org
Botswana Tourism – BotswanaTourism.us
British Virgin Islands Tourist Board – BVITourism.com
Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association Education Foundation – CaribbeanHotelAssociation.com
Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce – VisitPensacola.com
Phillipine Tourism – ExperiencePhillipines.org
Puerto Rico Tourism Company – SeePuertoRico.com
Quito Tourism – Quito.com.ec
Rio Convention & Visitors Bureau – RCVB.com.br
Romanian National Tourist Office – RomaniaTourism.com
Saint Lucia Tourist Board – StLuciaNow.com
Ski Areas of New York, Inc. – iSkiNY.com
South African Tourism – SouthAfrica.com
Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau – SriLanka.travel
St. Kitts & Nevis Tourism Authority – StKittsTourism.kn
St. Lucie County Tourism – VisitStLucieFLA.com
St. Maarten Tourist Office – VacationStMaarten.com
St. Petersburg/Clearwater Area Convention & Visitors Bureau – VisitStPeteClearwater.com
Stowe & Okemo, Vermont & Green Mountain Railroad – GoStowe.com
Sullivan County Visitors Association – SCVA.net
Tahiti Tourisme North America – Tahiti-Tourisme.com
Taiwan Tourism Bureau Office in New York – TBROC.gov.tw
Tanzania Tourist Board – TanzaniaTouristBoard.com
The Tourism Authority of Thailand – TourismThailand.org
Tobago Division of Tourism and Transportation – VisitTobago.gov.tt
Tourism Council of Bhutan – Tourism.gov.bt
Tourism Fiji – FijiMe.tv
Tourism Malaysia – Tourism.gov.my
Tourism Prince Edward Island – TourismPEI.com
Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Development Company – GoTrinidadAndTobago.com
Turks and Caicos Tourist Board – TurksAndCaicosTourism.com
Ulster County Tourism – UlsterCountyAlive.com
United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism – VisitUSVI.com
Utah Marketing Organization – VisitUtah.com
Virginia Tourism – VisitShenandoah.org
Visit Orlando – VisitOrlando.com
Visit Tallahassee – VisitTallahassee.com
Whiteface/Lake Placid – WhiteFace.com
ZAMBIA TOURISM BOARD – ZambiaTourism.com
I like most of these domains. There is good use of .travel, Visit.. and country codes. All of these are very appropriate.
I have to give credit to these organizations that are using the pure geo brand; the Aruba Tourism Authority using Aruba.com, the Curacao Tourism Corporation using Curacao.com and the South African Tourism Board using SouthAfrica.com.
There are some acronym domains that I suppose are appropriate but they certainly won’t get much search engine love and may not be easy to remember. I have to point out the really bad domains in the list… New Brunswick Tourism using ACTP-PTCA.ca, India Tourism using IncredibleIndia.org, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Uruguay using UruguayNatural.com and Tahiti Tourisme North America using Tahiti-Tourisme.com. Sorry but in the US we spell it tourism.
This is a guest post from Jason Miner, who oversees Afternic’s Sales, Business Development & Customer Service departments while also guiding the Product and Development teams. With over 6 years at Afternic and more than 15 years of senior management experience, Jason brings adept leadership skills to the helm of Afternic.
The domain market for primary registrations and premium domains shows no sign of slowing down. From the latest Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief : “Registrations have grown by more than 20.4 million, or 10 percent, since the fourth quarter of 2010” and “the .com and .net TLDs experienced aggregate growth, reaching a combined total of 13.8 million domain names in the fourth quarter of 2011.”
It’s also been almost two decades since the first e-commerce purchase, yet recent studies estimate that around 40% of small to mid-sized businesses still don’t have a website! From McKinsey’s Internet Matters report: “All business leaders, not just e-CEOs, should put the Internet at the top of their strategic agenda.” These indicators show that there is a great deal of unmet need for premium domain names for ecommerce sites that are yet to be built.
Since a solid domain is the foundation of any business’s website, the domain industry – and especially the aftermarket – is poised for a huge amount of growth. Improvements in the premium domain transaction process and increased trust in the aftermarket have made it easier for customers to find and purchase premium domains.
Improved Processes Leads to Improved Liquidity
Afternic has made a substantial commitment to and investment in technology to improve the premium domain sales process. Whereas premium domains were previously subjected to a lengthy escrow process, those for sale through Afternic Premium Promotion are now available to the buyer almost immediately. This fluid transaction process is critically important to the growth of the domain aftermarket; customers expect that what they are buying online will be available right away.
Improved Trust by Partnering with Industry Heavyweights
This improved infrastructure has brought many of the world’s leading registrars on board with listing premium domains for sale alongside primary registrations. This both expands the audience for premium domains and lends added legitimacy to the domain aftermarket – which is newer and less known than older registrars.
New Domain Extensions Increase Awareness
Domains have been in the news a lot lately, especially with ICANN’s announcement of new TLDs and the varied responses to this announcement. Any news that keeps domains and their value “top of mind,” is good for the industry.
We expect that consumers will value past performance (.com domain extensions being the most trusted historically, for example) as a predictor of future success, ensuring that .com will still remain the gold standard.
I want to share a guest post with you, written by Lawrence Gentilello, an Internet entrepreneur who founded the startup, Screenleap. I believe Screenleap may be beneficial to domain investors, and I asked Lawrence to write a guest post to share how it can be helpful. You can read more about ScreenLeap in an article posted on TechCrunch last month.
Since registering my first domain name in 1999, I’ve had an appreciation for creating value through the use of premium domain names. I’ve enjoyed watching the industry evolve, and have bought and sold several domain names. So when I co-founded a new screen sharing service called Screenleap, one of the first things I started using it for was to help me manage what I was doing with my names more efficiently. I’ve found Screenleap to be very useful in this regard, so I wanted to share with Elliot’s readers how it can make them more effective domainers as well.
Screenleap is free screen sharing product that simplifies the process of sharing what’s happening on your computer screen with others. Our product allows you to view someone’s screen from any device with a browser, including smartphones and tablets, without having to install anything. The person sharing the screen does need to have Java though, which is already the case on most computers. Most of our users are able to share their screen in less than 20 seconds.
Below are the top four ways I’ve found it helpful in the context of domain investing:
Firstly, thank you to Elliot for inviting me to do a guest article. I was delighted to be asked.
I’m pleased to say that little by little the Aussie market is opening up at last. For those of you that thought there were just too many rules and regulations, it may well be time to have another look. Perhaps even consider putting a few eggs in other baskets?
The biggest and best change has just been officially announced in the last 24 hours by our regulator auDA. The 6 month prohibition on selling new domain names (or domains bought on the drop auctions) is being abolished come the 10th November. All I and other domainers can say is “hallelujah”! Official announcement here: http://www.auda.org.au/news-archive/auda-06102011/
Yes, we do have a few other rules and a bit of red tape, but compared to a few years back it is paradise. For those that make the effort now to become registered to buy Aussie domains, then I believe this will pay off big time in the future. Imho!
Our ccTLD is .com.au / .net.au etc. Currently there are just over 2,230,000 domains registered. So we’re still a baby compared to other markets. And therein lies the opportunity imo.
The beauty of our fledgling market (compared to .com) is that there are some absolute bargains to be picked up on both the drops and the secondary market. But the other exciting factor – particularly for domainers – are that there are some excellent “enduser” sales starting to happen as well.
Two other worthy sales this year were Poker.com.au and Deals.com.au – both went for $100,000. Top Aussie sales this year are listed here on DN Trade. I’m a partner in this forum, and would invite anyone keen on learning a bit more about Aussie domains to please join up. Adam Dicker of DNForum.com was very kind to give us an introduction on DNF as well.
If I can help anyone with information on how to easily set up an Aussie account, or if you have any further questions on the Aussie market, please email me.
Best wishes, Ned
Ned O’Meara is a full-time domainer who lives in Queensland, Australia. Aussie domains are his passion – and he also is the administrator at DN Trade – a domain forum for Aussie domain owners. He was also a panel member on the recent auDA Secondary Market Working Group (that recommended the abolishment of the 6 month rule). He can be contacted at ned at dntrade dot com.au (don’t forget the.au!)
First off, thank you Elliot for giving Left of the Dot the opportunity to tell you a bit more about our re-branding and our re-launching of Importers.com.
Whenever we take on a brand, we look at several factors before we begin development: what is the natural business model implied by the name, what is happening within the name’s specific vertical, and who are the big players within the domain’s market category.
With Importers.com, we discovered a market that was filled with fraud and uncertainty. Trading partners did not trust trading partners. Scandals were plaguing the incumbent market leaders (See: The Economist “Alibaba and the 2,236 Thieves“). And the brand perception among potential consumers was that they “all look the same and seem sketchy”.
For us, this spelled opportunity, and it was clear that if we were going to differentiate Importers.com in this market (and resurrect what should have been a dominant global brand before being abandoned by its previous owners), we needed to emphasize the concept of ‘Trust’ first and foremost.
Many Domainers already know that a good generic carries with it a certain amount of implied trust. If you have a category-owning concept – be it Importers.com, DogWalker.com, or Villa.com – your name provides you with multiple benefits, each of which stems from this implied trust:
You get better click thru rates on your paid search advertising. This increases your quality score and lowers your cost of new customer acquisition. And if it costs me less to get a customer on Importers.com than it does for an upstart brand that nobody has ever heard of… I win.
You get ranked higher in search engines. Initially, this was entirely dependent on keyword match, but with the Panda release, how customers or peers perceive your site has become much more of a factor (think of the +1 as a trust endorsement).
Customers (and strategic partners) are more willing to listen to you and give you the benefit of the doubt.
With this knowledge in our back pocket, we decided to play to our strength. The name “Importers.com” conveys a trusted brand in a market that is screaming for somebody to trust.
As we started to peel back the layers of Importers.com, more opportunities opened up. We were able to call on partners that may not have taken our call had we been a “just-born” brand. One of these partners is a group that allows us to do fraud and identity verification as part of a new Importers.com “Trust Certification” program, which now implemented, fosters even more trust between our members.
We are also able to convey this intrinsic trust down through the participating members of the Importers.com B2B community through our unique Marketing Name service.
For those who don’t know, key to Left of the Dot’s site development strategy (which we feel is a good alternative to domain parking for the very best domain names on the planet) is to allow small businesses to lease sub-domains to the “left of the dot”. For example, a hardwood importer may choose to lease from us Hardwood.Importers.com. When deployed on Importers.com, businesses and trade associations can lease names ranging from $25 to $200 per month. With this model, a business can either have the sub-domain pointed at their existing directory listing [referred to as a Trade Page on Importers.com], redirected to an external website, or with some properties … to a fully-hosted website hosted by Left of the Dot.
For the member who has leased Hardwood.Importers.com, he has a brand that he can use in his own marketing campaigns, and in so doing… he leverages the intrinsic trust of the Importers.com domain name.
However, deploying our sub-domain platform is but one part of taking on the resurrection of a brand like this. As you know, building a website is hard… but we found that re-building a website is even harder. We had to ensure that we had a website that stood out from the incumbents (visually anyhow), and when a first-time visitor arrives at the site, their experience is aligned with our brand promise of Trust.
And with Importers.com, we believe that we have been able to achieve this. It all started with a domain name in which our client saw un unrealized value and has grown from there. And the result? It is too early to tell, but we believe the brand visually stands out and is recognized as a market leader. The website has 400,000 members, is growing at a rate of about 1,000 new members per week, and has captured the attention of Alibaba and TradeKey (both of which have multi-billion dollar valuations). We have hired a Brand Manager who now lives and breathes the brand and are ramping up an international sales force to help drive revenue for ourselves and our client.
In the end, while it will be our members and the market as a whole that will judge how well we did in re-launching this specific domain, we would be interested in the thoughts of the readers. So what do you think? Did we do a good job in conveying trust?
To give you a snapshot of the competitors, here is a screenshot of the re-launched Importers.com and the first impression that we give versus a single graphic showing the similarity between the leading companies in the B2B trade marketplace.