Moving Forward in 2015

In 2015 the domain industry was launched with Namescon but there's a lot more on it's way. Domaining Europe, ICANN conferences and The Domain Conference being run by Howard, Barbara and Ray Neu are just a few of the topics discussed on this video.

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When is an Escrow not an Escrow?

When is an Escrow not an Escrow?

I was reading another blog recently (yes I do that) and was intrigued by the comments on an article about escrow. A viable, secure and reputable escrow service is absolutely key to every domainer if they are to safely buy and sell domains. So when is an escrow not an escrow?

I used three key words in my first paragraph and I would like to unpack them to help readers judge and escrow service.

Viable.
Is the business that is ultimately backing up the escrow service going to be there tomorrow? Do they have the financial ability to pay their debts when they fall due (ie. are they solvent)? My impression is there are too many people hanging out a sign saying that they can do escrow and actually have no idea what it means.

For example, I receive requests all the time from new monetisation companies wanting to get access to our large volume of traffic at ParkLogic. My problem is that for many of them I don’t know if they will be in business in the next 12 months. It’s the same for some of the start-up escrow companies, they just aren’t viable.

Secure
Security is all about whether there is an independent body that verifies that the internal processes of any escrow transaction are auditable and transparent. This means that the escrow company needs to go through the expense of government audits that verify they are a legitimate escrow business that is conducting themselves in a good and proper manner.

Recently I’ve seen a number of escrow companies pop up in strange and wonderful jurisdictions. This doesn’t mean that the escrow company is bad but it does mean that they are doing this for a particular reason. In many cases, it could be that the costs of providing a fully operational escrow business in the USA is too high, therefore they get an escrow license off-shore.

The advantage of a company that goes through the expense of a US license is that they tick a lot of the boxes. They have the money to pay and go through the government audits. It’s very likely that the US government audit will be a lot more stringent compared to other jurisdictions.

For example, my understanding is that you need to get a license for each US state (some are bundled together) and that California is really the big one. I’m not a lawyer but if you’re conducting an escrow business in California without a license then I would have thought that you’re on dangerous ground. There are some creative ways around this problem but if you’re doing business in California as an escrow company then why not just get the license and be done with it? I may be a little naïve but I just don’t get it.

Reputable
One of the most difficult things that you can do in business is build a good reputation. It often takes years and years of consistently doing the right thing by customers.

For example, I’m privileged to be part of a group of domainers get together at each conference. We do so because over the last 10+ years that we’ve known each other there has developed a sense of trust and mutual respect. It’s taken a lot of time to build these relationships and the result is a huge amount of business between us.

It’s the same thing for an escrow company. It takes years to develop the reputation as a place that can be trusted with literally millions of dollars of transactions. Reputation is everything.

So when is an escrow not an escrow? From my way of thinking, it's when they can't tick the boxes of viable, secure and reputable.

I’m very careful about who I have sponsoring my blog and I’m very proud to have Escrow.com on here because they are viable, secure and reputable. I’m not saying that any other escrow company is not any good. What I am saying is that I’ve only had positive experiences of dealing with Escrow.com

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Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face.

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mgilmour
I completely agree with you. Escrow is peace of mind and you're a great ad writer!
04 March 2015
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How to do a Domain Traffic Test - Analysis 101

How to do a Domain Traffic Test - Analysis 101

This articles continues directly from the previous in the series on conducting a traffic test (click here to view). I then create a summary tab which pulls all of this data together so that at a glance you can see what’s going on. Since we create these packages of analytics for clients on a regular basis you’ll have to excuse me if I refer to the testing company as ParkLogic.

In the summary, you need to know the total amount of revenue (daily) earned by the testing company and the baseline. This will provide the lift above the baseline. In the case of the screen capture there is a $190.94/day increase which has then provided a 127% uplift versus the baseline. This is quite a good result.

Escrow.com

I then like to find out what was the maximum amount that ParkLogic was winning by per day. This is so that clients that wish to take all of the domains away can then leave the winners with us. In this case it’s $457.54 per day which isn’t that bad considering the baseline for ALL of the domains was $715.40.

In fact, if you leave the winners with ParkLogic and send all of the losers back to where the baseline source then the result should be $1172.93/day versus a total baseline of $715.40. In this case the result is a 64% uplift in revenue and only assumes that the baseline produces the same results as previously attained.

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Saturday Musings - The Getting of Wisdom

Saturday Musings - The Getting of Wisdom

I’ve been a parent for over a couple of decades now and during this time I’ve learned a few things about bringing up our children. The biggest challenge that I had to overcome within myself is to let my kids fail.

Since my own children were born, all I wanted to do was protect them from whatever may happen. Be that a stubbed toe, bullies at school or what they watch on television. A switch went off in my head that said, “I need to shield my kids from anything that can harm them.”

escrow.com

The problem was that as the years went by I found that I couldn’t and shouldn’t protect them from everything. In order for them to grow up into adults of character they needed to experience the consequences of their actions and not be constantly protected by Mum and Dad.

For example, when our kids were little they would be fascinated by fire. I would tell them not to touch it and they wouldn’t because it would burn them. If my 21 year old son picked up a burning stick then I’d now tell him he was an idiot.

When I talk to my friends, what we all seem to have in common is the challenge of moving from a “parent/child” (do what I say) to “parent/advisor” (I have wisdom) role. I’ve always advised people that when they have a problem seem somebody not just anybody to receive wisdom.

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Shelley100
Very insightful Michael.
01 March 2015
mgilmour
Thanks for that!
03 March 2015
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How to do a Domain Traffic Test - Assembling the Data

How to do a Domain Traffic Test - Assembling the Data

When I was speaking at NamesCon in January I said that I would like to show the attendees the best computer game I’ve ever played. It has all the aspects of both a tactical and strategic game with a bit of time travel for good measure. Everyone leaned forward with expectation…

I then put Excel up on the big screen in the room. It’s safe to say there was a bit of laughter. Let’s think about it for a second, Excel allows us to answer questions about the performance of our domains like no other application can. We can view the past, compare it to the present and even predict the future.

Right now we are going to mobilise the data that we have arrayed from the previous articles in the series so that we can understand what is happening with our domain traffic. This will be a VERY high level view of our traffic test but I believe that it will help get some answers to our questions.

The first thing we need to do is to ensure that all of the baseline data is in the same currency as the testing monetisation source. Once this is done then we then need to convert everything to daily data. The reason why we need daily data is that it gets rid of the problems associated with 28/30/31 days in a month and also allows us to later compare the data against daily from the new testing source.

Next, create another tab in Excel and call this “Latest Data”. When capturing data make sure that you have multiples of 7 days so that any variability caused by the weekends can be minimised. All of this data needs to be brought back to a daily format so that we can then compare it to the baseline.

Make sure you check the DNS settings of EVERY domain in the test so that domains not pointed correctly can be removed. There’s no point in penalising a test by having domains with baseline data and no data from the testing source.

Now create a tab called “Analysis”. In this tab you need to add you complete list of domains in column A, Column B, C and D are for the baseline views, revenue and RPM. Columns E, F and G are for the new monetisation company’s views, revenue and RPM.

Now that the data is sorted out you are now in a position to conduct some analysis.

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