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Getting Started With Development

Of course it is probably unrealistic to develop all domain names in your portfolio, assuming you have a decent amount of names like I have. But for those of you who are inclined to dip your foot in the development pool and at least give it a shot with a few of your names, I will be posting advice from a few domain developers throughout the next couple of weeks. Development is difficult, but it is manageable.
I don’t think the domain investment industry is dead or dying at all. I just think it’s time we start thinking about ways to profit from our domain name investments in ways other than parking and selling.

Getting Serious About Domain Name Development

Domain investors must change the perception that there is easy money to be made simply by investing in domain names. While many early speculators and adopters were able to do quite well, there is a perception that everyone in the domain industry is getting rich fast. Because of this perception, our domain names are a target. I don’t think there has been a time when our domain names have been put in such a perilous position by people who want to take them from us.
As most people are aware, the recently proposed Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act seems to be a vehicle intended to allow large corporations to claim that generic domain names infringe on their brands. This cleverly written bill sounds like it is intended to protect consumers, but the heart of it seems to be about stripping Internet entrepreneurs of their rightful domain names. Large corporations will be the beneficiaries of this bill, as they could use its vague language to take a privately owned domain name. Most of us aren’t viewed as Internet entrepreneurs, but rather people who got lucky and rich by making a wise speculation.
This perception also causes much internal strife, as some people who try to break into the industry do so without a strong ethical footing. Every day, hundreds of new domain names are registered intentionally containing the trademarks of well known brands, something that can be seen by reviewing the growing number of UDRP disputes. Some people also try to capitalize on catastrophes by registering related domain names immediately after a terrible event, and listing them for sale shortly thereafter. Most of the time, I would bet that this is done by people who aren’t having success on the straight track, so they feel the need to take shortcuts. This gives the domain industry a black eye, and it gives outsiders more motivation to try to penalize us by taking our domain names.
Folks, I hate to say this, but there isn’t easy money to be made in the domain industry.
With very little exception, parking revenues are down throughout the industry. This can be attributed to factors far too numerous to list, but the bottom line is that parked domain names aren’t going to make you rich – unless you spend millions of dollars to acquire them – in which case you probably won’t be parking them. Parking is still a good option for domain names that are waiting to be developed, but the key is that they need to be developed.
I believe we are at a serious crossroads in our business. While many people in the industry successfully brought us to the place where we are now, we need to reevaluate who we look at as the “industry leaders.” Whether we like it or not, the domain industry is changing. Gone are the days when people could make a ton of money parking or using arbitrage. Development is the key to long term success, and we should look up to people who are developing or have already developed some of their domain properties into successful businesses.
Development isn’t easy. There are so many spinning wheels with a development project, it is no wonder many people opted to park their domain names. Well, it’s time we take the bull by the horns and learn about what needs to be done to develop our domain names into websites. The transition won’t be easy, but I know we are all up for the task. While many early adopters spent 18 hours a day attempting to secure the best domain names several years ago, it is time to take the same initiative with a focus on developing our names. Just like a real estate developer doesn’t need to be a professional architect, domain owners don’t need to become professional programmers. We need to learn the basics and work with the experts.
In several years when we look back at 2008, I think we will note it as the year the industry changed its focus. The people who develop their domain names will be on top of the industry, and those who don’t may suffer. It is time that we do what we can to protect our domain names, and I think development is the best solution. In the coming weeks, I will do my best to speak with developers to give as much advice as i can. There are plenty of resources out there, and it’s about time we look into them and move forward. Web 2.0 is here, and it’s time we catch up and make the most of our domain assets.

Direct Ad Sales on Websites

Direct advertising sales can be the greatest source of revenue for a website. Instead of relying on Adsense or other advertising network where you are paid per click, it generally makes sense to seek out advertisers based on the target audience for your website. You can usually sell advertising at a monthly rate, which will yield much more than Adsense ever could, as you can set the price higher than your monthly Adsense revenue.
Having a great domain name is very important to your ad sales, especially for up and coming websites, as it adds instant credibility for first time visitors. Additionally, advertisers in that niche can usually determine the target audience based on the domain name, and are happy to sponsor a website that covers their industry. Because of the vast difference between Adwords and Adsense bids and pay per click rates

Finishing the Directory

Posting will be very light (if at all) today, as my friend and I are finishing up the directory for Lowell.com. While development has taken longer than I thought it would, I think that is the case with every website.

Podcast with Ed Keay-Smith (Oz Domainer)

Last night I had the opportunity to speak with a new friend across the world, Ed Keay-Smith from OzDomainer.com. It’s amazing how people can connect on the Internet. Ed sounded like he was next door, and we had a conversation like we’ve known each other for years. When you have a chance, please check out the podcast. I discussed how I started in the industry, how I think the Snowe legislation could impact all domain owners (and how people can help), and I discussed my new experience in developing my domain names.
If you have any questions after you listen, feel free to post them here or on Ed’s blog, and I will be happy to respond. BTW, I hate how my voice sounds on answering machines, on microphone, and now on podcast 🙂
Podcast with Ed Keay-Smith

Are You Spending More or Less on Domain Names?

In light of the downturn in the US economy and the potential Snowe legislation on the horizon, I am wondering if you are spending more or less on domain names that you have in the past. Results of recent domain auctions would indicate that people may be spending less on domain names at this moment, but I am wondering whether it’s a sign of the times or if the auction market has become saturated, and sales only appear to be down when they really aren’t.
Over the last few months, I think I have been investing about the same on domain names than I did in the past. I have been focusing less on the second tier names and more on the top quality domain names for development. Instead of buying 10 or so average to good domain names per month, I have been buying 3-5 better domain names for somewhere around the same price. I don’t know if this is a reflection of economic conditions or fear of the potentially damaging legislation, but I have been buying less names, although the amount I have been spending is around the same.
I am always buying high quality domain names that I can develop. Well, on second thought,

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