Do you have any ideas or thoughts on how to better run a business? This is the place for these blogs.

Upcoming News

Upcoming News

In this video I will be chatting with Sarah about what’s to come for WhizbangsBlog. We discuss how she has been going with her most recent blogs and the overwhelming amount of positive feedback she has received.

ESCROW

We also touch on the upcoming webinars that will be happening in the future. We would love for you to leave a comment on this blog about any questions or topics you may want us to discuss.

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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. He has also recently published his first science fiction book, Battleframe.

Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. Due to demands on his time, Michael may be contacted by clicking here for limited consulting assignments.

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Generation Y: Update With Sarah

Generation Y: Update With Sarah

Today I had the pleasure to make a video with my daughter Sarah. Since it has been so long since she has last featured in one of my videos, we thought we would do an update of the last one! If you haven’t already watched the video you can view it here. The video is about ‘Generation Y’ and if things have changed in how they use the Internet over the past few years.

Escrow.com

Have a watch of the video and let us know what you think! Sarah has now registered for an account with Whizzbangs blog and would be more than happy to answer any questions or comments you may have!

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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. He has also recently published his first science fiction book, Battleframe.

Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. Due to demands on his time, Michael may be contacted by clicking here for limited consulting assignments.

  1953 Hits
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Recent Comments
impulse
Good video. I am 47, so it is interesting to hear how younger people are using the internet. I use my iPhone much of the day for s... Read More
03 March 2016
sarahgilmour
I find that there are still many websites that aren't phone friendly! But apps aren't always up to scratch either. I find myself s... Read More
08 March 2016
vanclute
Get all their news from Facebook... that's more than a little scary! Then again, this is coming from a guy who blocks ALL "news" ... Read More
06 March 2016
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Busy With Domain Opportunities!

Busy With Domain Opportunities!

One of the biggest problems for many of us in the domain industry is there is way too many opportunities and sadly, not enough time. One of the great things about domain names is they’re so incredibly flexible with all of the different businesses that you can drive off them.

This past week I’ve found myself in a state of “thrashing”. For those of you that have never heard of this term it derives itself from the computer industry where a hard drive gets so fragmented that the hard disk head has to jump all over the place to piece together a file. In the old days, you could actually hear the head on the hard disk chirping like a little mouse as it was swung across the disk platter.

Escrow.com

For a business, thrashing is when you have a huge number of projects on the go and never get enough time to complete any of them. You end up pushing each one forward just a little bit before jumping onto the next. Like a hard disk head, you find yourself just wanting someone to defragment your life so that you can focus on a project and bring it to conclusion.

In the lead-up to Christmas I found myself frustrated, completely unsatisfied and driven crazy by the number of opportunities surrounding me. I just can't help coming up with new ideas that need to be carefully suppressed and it's all because domains are just so darn intriguing.

For instance, I just built a little “skunk works” project that is now processing over a million pieces of traffic per day and the data coming through is incredible. I can see that off the back of this data is another dozen or so opportunities.

I’ve just been working through a new sales process for 3 and 4 character domains and my previous post (read here) covers a number of new concepts to better sell domains. It’s a real sale of really good domains and so far it’s been an outstanding success. So I’m scratching my head and thinking…..hey, I think I’m onto something here….!

Then there’s ParkLogic Next….this is a BIG one. We’ve completely redeveloped the entire ParkLogic platform so that it’s immensely flexible in how we can work with partners, route traffic and then mobilise the data for clients. It’s been a huge effort but we are already seeing an increase in payouts for domain investors with traffic domains.

There’s then the little project of routing traffic to tier two providers that Google was paying only tiny amounts for. This project provided an uplift of around 30% for the sample set of domains. Not bad when you consider the results of this "skunk works".

Then there’s the other small thing that I’m working on that involves working more closely with direct advertisers in distinct market verticals. How do you solve the problem where a revenue event may occur three months after the traffic was sent to an advertiser’s websit?. The problem is solvable and the dividends look like they will be huge…..but they could also be really low if the correct algorithm isn’t nutted out.

So this is a few of the things on my plate…..and trust me when I say there are a lot more! Some of them will provide incremental improvements for clients (all good) while others are quite revolutionary concepts that are still being proved out.

If you would like to see something pretty amazing then come to our table at NamesCon on the Sunday afternoon. You’ll get a glimpse at ParkLogic Next and we hope that you like what you see.

So back to my thrashing problem…..I’ve allocated a few hours this afternoon to break the back of one of my big programming problems. And doing something like this is really the key to solving this type of issue. When you find yourself jumping from one project to another take a look at your list and ruthlessly prioritise it. It’s the only way that you’ll get the biggest bang for your time. So in a few hours’ time I’ll have an issue off my plate and I’ll secure the benefits for the business.

This does bring up another point….if you would like to propose a business concept to me then make sure that you have the one page summary that is backed up with a solid plan. I’ve had people try and talk me through an idea and this can be a lot of fun over drinks but if you’re really serious then give me something in writing that I can get stuck into.

I would also like to finish with the axiom, “If you want something done then give it to a busy person.” People that aren’t busy tend to push things off until tomorrow…..busy people, prioritise and get things done or they tell you they just don’t have the time.

I hope this helped you with managing your own challenging list. Domains are wonderful things that just keep on creating unusual and exciting opportunities!

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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. He has also recently published his first science fiction book, Battleframe.

Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. Due to demands on his time, Michael may be contacted by clicking here for limited consulting assignments.

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How to Grow Your Domain Business

How to Grow Your Domain Business

I get asked, “Michael, how can I grow my business?” a lot. More often than not my reply often starts by saying, “You’re not going to like what I have to say….”

I’ve been in business for nearly 35 years and some things just don’t change. The first is that there is no such thing as a free lunch. In other words, if you want to eat then it’s going to take a lot of effort.

Escrow.com

So many of us get entranced by the mega-success stories that we never realise that behind the scenes there’s more often than not a person working 12+ hours per day. You go to a conference, hear from an inspirational business leader about their great success and wonder why you can’t be like them. What you haven’t considered is the fact that they have compacted 20 years of their life into a thirty minute presentation…..so everything seems so incredibly brilliant!

For example, my daughter announced to me the other day that she wanted to become a Youtube star (don’t we all). She’d found out about a Youtube star that is now earning millions of dollars in endorsements per year and thought that sounded like a great job.

Here’s the disconnect for her…..she doesn’t have anyone following her but the star has millions. To build my daughter’s business will take a LOT of hard work producing quality content and then climbing the social media ladder by swapping “likes” with other Youtubers. This will very like end up being a multi-year journey…..so a little disheartening for my daughter.

You really can’t get out of it, businesses take a lot of time, energy and effort to get going. In the domain industry, it’s not uncommon to have two year sales cycles to get a potential client to run a test for their traffic domains. This is even though it literally takes seconds to update a DNS....go figure?

Despite all the effort necessary to run a successful business is almost deceptively simple. All you have to do is add value for someone and then repeat, over and over again. The minute you stop adding value or repeating then your business will struggle.

Too many people spend too much time working on businesses that fundamentally don’t add any value. This is exactly the same in the domain sales industry. I’ve seen so many portfolios that the owner has faithfully renewed each year but never sells a single domain. The reason why is the domains aren’t adding value to any potential buyers.

Likewise, I’ve seen some domainers sell one or two domains per year and barely hang in there financially as they pray for a massive windfall to come and land on their head. It’s very likely it would be better to go and buy a lottery ticket and hope your numbers come up.

The reason why companies like Godaddy are successful is because they find buyers where they can add value and then they repeat the cycle time and time again.

Let’s compare this to the problems that Moniker encountered eighteen months or so ago. A lot of things went wrong with the company that caused both the add value and repeat aspects of the business to fall apart.

In comes new CEO Jothan Frakes and what does he focus on? Getting Moniker to once again add value and consistently repeating the value proposition for customers. Right now, Moniker is in the process of reinventing itself and I’ll be the first to say that I will not be surprised to see them become the domainer powerhouse registrar in the future. It will be a long journey but I’m confident the team will pull it off.

Another example of adding value and repeating would have to be Escrow.com. Their business is run entirely on trust and they have to repeatedly add value or their customers would leave in droves.

I was speaking with the new general manager, Jackson Elsegood, yesterday and he said since the recent acquisition of Escrow.com by Freelancer one of the first things they were working on was 24/7 support. He wanted to ensure Escrow’s global footprint would be serviced by global support. It was all a part of adding value to customers and being always available.

Likewise, as one of the founders of ParkLogic I provide every customer with my personal skype address. They can reach out to me at any time if they experience any difficulties. I wanted to be the first person to know if customers were having problems. In conversations with clients I’m always looking for how we can add value and then repeat it. At the moment ParkLogic repeatedly processes around 40 million pieces of traffic per day and we add significant value with each one.

So how do you develop a blog and make it successful? Write articles that readers find engaging and don’t just write the same thing as everyone else. Next, do this three to four times per week year in and year out…..Google will love all the new content!

About 8 years ago Whizzbangsblog started out as a big experiment. I wanted to see if I could develop a brand that was so “way out there” simply by consistently adding value. Many of the other blogs seemed to be repeating news (some do a great job btw) but I wanted to dig a little deeper and bring some business insight into what was happening.

So here I am, still enjoying writing and readership is consistent (thank you!). Within the space of around 30 minutes of publishing an article around 200 people have read it and overtime many of the articles have been read by thousands of people. I’m not trying to brag about the success but rather to use it as an example of how anyone can actually develop a domain into a business.

So how do you make your business successful? There are many parts of this which I will go through in future articles but start with adding value and repeat this for your own customers. It’s a simple formula that works!

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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. He has also recently published his first science fiction book, Battleframe.

Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. Due to demands on his time, Michael may be contacted by clicking here for limited consulting assignments.

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How Domainers Get Into Financial Messes

How Domainers Get Into Financial Messes

So many business owners have an incredible desire for profit but so few actually understand why it’s so important or how to attain it. So I’m going to first ask a really dumb question, “So why is profit so important?”

At its core, profit is a measure of a business’s sustainability. If year after year a business is not profitable then it will ultimately fail. Yes, you can keep on raising capital but at some stage investors will stop investing and demand a return on their investment. This will either be in the form of a dividend or a capital increase.

Escrow.com

So in terms of a domain portfolio, unless you are earning a profit then your business will fail unless you (ie. the shareholder) keep on funding it through cash injections. This is very different from running short of cash to pay domain renewal fees….more on that later.

So the question needs to be asked, why do domain business often fail? I personally believe that there is a really simple answer to this question. Most domain businesses aren’t businesses at all. They have more of the characteristics of a hobby than a business where the owners are collectors rather than investors.

Just ask yourself the following questions:

1.      Do you have a cashflow?
2.      When was the last time you looked at your balance sheet and profit and loss statements?
3.      Do you have a clearly defined business model for each of your domains?
4.      When was the last time you cleared out non-performing assets?
5.      Does your accountant about how to treat domain names?
6.      Why is tracking both the purchase and the sales price so important for your business?
7.      What is the return on your investment and could you gain a better return elsewhere?
8.      How much do you value your time in your business plan?
9.      When was the last time you seriously considered outsourcing to free up your time?
10.  Do you understand the difference between cash and profit?

Let me tackle point number ten with a little story as it’s often really confusing for people to understand. It’s very easy to have a highly profitable business that doesn’t have any cash....let me show you how.

Imagine a domainer looks at their bank account and sees a whole lot of money has accumulated for the year from their domain parking earnings. They clap their hands with glee and go out and spend it all by purchasing a $30,000 premium domain that they've always wanted to own.

Sadly, even though they’ve spent the $30,000 in cash they actually can’t expense it. In most countries the accounting/tax rules insist that they take this sized item to the asset side of their balance sheet. Here’s the problem, let’s imagine they have $10,000 worth of expenses during the year. This means their profit is revenue less expenses or $30,000 less $10,000 = $20,000.

The government will put its hand out for their fare share of the profit. In the case of Australia, they want 30% or just under $7,000. But hang on! The domainer just spent the $30,000 and don’t have a spare $7,000 lying around.

I hope that this simple example illustrates the traps that many domain investors fall into. They completely confuse both cash and profit. This often compounds if they’re able to defer their taxes and can result in what seems like a double whammy if they continue to make the same mistakes.

So let’s imagine they managed to borrow some money from a friend to cover their taxes and this is secured against the $30,000 domain. If the friend is charging interest on the money then the domainer can expense it during the financial year that it was incurred BUT the capital payments will ultimately need to come out of the following year’s profit (not going to get involved with depreciation here). Yep, it’s starting to feel like a knotted ball of string already!

Suddenly, the ultimate business opportunity arises for their $30,000 domain. A major developer would like to partner with them to develop out the domain on a 50/50 basis. The developer is the ideal fit and they are absolutely convinced they’re going to make a killing. All they have to do is put their domain into the venture and the developer will match it with $30,000 of development.

Hang on a second……they’ve now essentially encumbered the domain twice. Their friend’s $7,000 is secured against the domain and if they default on the payments they won’t be too happy if the domainers gone into a partnership that involves the domain with someone else. At this point in time I’ve seen many domain owners say, "I just won’t default"….and try to slide the second transaction on through.

As time goes by, this scenario gets played out across more partnerships and more domains. Documentation of the transactions becomes scarce and before they know it, the wheels come off the cart and the domain owner is in a complete mess, defaulting on payments and trying to understand how they got into the mess they’re now in.

Fundamentally what it all comes down to is that the domain owner really doesn’t understand business but they love their hobby. They didn’t really know what profit is and how it’s different from cash. This level of naiveté is played out across all of their other business dealings.

Here’s a few sage words of advice, “Have a good account that you talk to regularly. Avoid all deals which involve forming equity partnerships…..they rarely, if ever work out.”

I’ll share more on business thoughts in future blog posts.

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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. He has also recently published his first science fiction book, Battleframe.

Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. Due to demands on his time, Michael may be contacted by clicking here for limited consulting assignments.

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letsbehonestaboutit
I'm like a crack addict but for domains but end up burning most of money but cannot help buying them, i get caught up in auction w... Read More
02 December 2015
DA
We are working on it http://domainersanonymous.org/ we aren't done with the site just opened in fact plan to have it up and runnin... Read More
29 January 2016
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