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What a CATastrophe!

What a CATastrophe!

The other evening my wife Roselyn and I went out for a bike ride. We left the door to the garage open and upon returning I made sure that I closed it so that it didn’t bang with the wind in the middle of the night.

Around lunch time the next day I asked Roselyn if she’d seen Pepper, our cat. She’s a wonderful cat that often curls into a ball in some hideaway in the house so it’s not unusual if we haven’t seen her for a while. She always comes when we call her name as she hopes to get some tasty morsel or two from us…..strangely this time when we called her name there was no sign of her.

After hunting around it suddenly dawned on me that maybe I’d inadvertently locked Pepper in the garage. Sure enough, after opening the garage door there was our cat staring with accusing eyes back at me. I apologised to her with a can of tuna and all was good.

So let’s unpack this story a little as there’s so much to learn from it.

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My Apology To Donna at DBR

My Apology To Donna at DBR

I went and tried to login to the Domain Board Room yesterday and discovered that I’d been banned. I’ve never been banned from anything in my life so this was a new experience and one that caused me to be quite perplexed.
 
So the question has to be asked, “Why did I get banned from a forum that I’d been taking part in for a number of years?”
 
It was really simple. As a part of ongoing threads if I’d happened to have written an article on the topic then I’d say something like, “I’ve investigated this issue and you may want to check out a detailed article that I wrote on it.” I would then provide the link. The link was more for expediency, as I really don’t have much spare time it saved me from rewriting everything that I’d ever written on the topic.
 

I was asked by Donna (the forum owner) to not link as she thought that it was self-promotion. Even though that wasn't my motivation I can now see how it could have been viewed that way. Despite her request, I then made the fatal mistake of publishing a link to an article that another member had requested.....
 
I now find that I’m banned…..given that I didn't comply with Donna's request I may have deserved it. I think that she does a fantastic job with DBR and as the owner of the forum she has every right to ban whomever she wishes and for whatever reason.
 
From my perspective I honestly believed that I was just trying to help and self-promotion was the furthest thought. I bear no malice or ill will towards anyone at DBR and have enjoyed the many threads over the years. I contributed where I could and given my time constraints I participated in the best way that I knew how.
 
So why am I writing this blog? Right now there are a whole lot of people that I have been conversing with that will suddenly see me just vanish. This is the only way that I can communicate with them and indicate that I really wasn’t trying to do anything wrong. Donna, please accept my unequivocal and humblest of apologies as I never meant to do anything to offend you or anyone.
 
For those of you that are wondering, I’ve reached out to Donna a number of times as I didn’t want any ill feelings to be between us. I genuinely wish her and all of my friends at DBR all the best.....sigh......I will miss you all.

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Stop Biting the Hand That Feeds You!

Stop Biting the Hand That Feeds You!

I’ve been in the domain industry for more years that I care to remember and I constantly hear the cry of domain owners claiming that parking companies are defrauding them. So are they defrauding you?

I'm actually Parking Company independent.....at ParkLogic we send our client’s traffic to whoever pays the most at that specific point in time. In the last 8 years I’ve have only found one parking company do something deliberately wrong....and we terminated the relationship with them.

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On the whole the major parking companies are run by honourable, good people that are doing their best to earn money just like the rest of us. They don't have a secret bucket of money that they are stashing away and they also don't steal from domain owners. If they did, they would pay out less and we would instantly move the traffic away.

That being said, stuff sometimes goes wrong....it's technology and as we know technology isn't 100% perfect all of the time. When something stuffs up give your account manager the benefit of the doubt that they aren’t trying to screw you out of a few dollars. The typical account manager has no say what goes on with the technology anyway!

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Saturday Musings - Relationships Not Things

Saturday Musings - Relationships Not Things

I’ve had a lot of people asking me why I’m not at TRAFFIC in Miami. I’ve been to every TRAFFIC conference for the past 10 years (other than the very first) and I’ve found them exceptional events for developing business. So why aren’t I attending this time?

It just so happens that my daughter Elise is turning 16 and despite my love for TRAFFIC she trumps it. I wouldn’t miss her birthday for anything. So I am really sorry to all of my great friends at TRAFFIC but you got beat out this time……but I will be there in 2015!

When I think of my decision it’s all about what I regard as important in my life. Do we work to live or live to work? I love my work but the reason why I work is so that I can live a more fulfilled life. It's focusing on people and relationships not things and money that provide a richer better life. In this case it was my relationships with my daughter that won the day.

The order of importance for me is my relationships with God, Roselyn (wife), my kids, work colleagues, friends etc.  I find that if I have these priorities in the right alignment then life is good. Sure, I can break the rules for a time but there’s always a cost.

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Flying Across the Pond.....Again

Flying Across the Pond.....Again

Once again I find myself sitting in the Melbourne airport Qantas club. After a restless night’s sleep that was punctuated by dreams of perpetually trying to catch my flight, I finally groaned awake at about 5:54am.

When I say “groan” I really do mean the word in all its splendid definitions. I really did groan. Some people that are religiously minded say each morning, “Good morning Lord!” When my eyelids finally dragged themselves open I was more of a “Good Lord, its morning.”

So after packing the last of my things I then checked that I hadn’t unpacked anything by mistake. I’m always amazed at the number of times that I find my toothbrush wrested right next to my wife’s when it should be tucked away in my bag. Do you do this sort of thing as well?

In the end I find that I just give up and stop checking everything other than my credit card, passport and phone. If I have those then I’m all set.

Roselyn (my wife) drove me the forty minutes to the airport and for this I’m eternally grateful. Nothing against cabs but when you jump in one and ask the driver to take you to the airport and they respond with “Where’s that?” you know you’ve got a problem. Thankfully, Roselyn has done this journey many times and it wasn’t long before we’d said our good-byes and I find myself in the Qantas club.

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Personal Musings - My SciFi Novel Sample

Personal Musings - My SciFi Novel Sample

As many of you know I've been writing my very first science fiction novel. Writing the book as been one of the most enjoyable, rewarding and stretching things that I've ever done in my life. Over the years I've written a lot on my blog, technical manuals and for a number of different magazines but nothing prepared me for my first book.

It's been quite a journey for me and the characters in the story over the past 18 months. At times, I've found myself typing furiously on my laptop just to find out what was going to happen next. It almost seemed like the story was unfolding before my eyes but I couldn't see the next part until the words were on the page.

The first draft was finished about twelve months ago and then I began the many rewrites. My father is a great science fiction buff and he spent a lot of time reading the book and a lot of his suggestions are embedded in the pages. My wife has read the first hundred pages and added her unique insights in how the story could be improved. So knows nothing about science fiction so it was great getting her thoughts.

When our son Timothy was home recently I shoved a few pages under his nose to read. His comments and suggestions were all about the characters and how they could grow and gain greater depth. That added another 3 months of rewriting....sigh.

So after all the work I'm now relatively happy with the setting, plot and characters. I plan on doing a final clean-up of a few minor issues in my last rewrite before finally publishing.

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Saturday Musings – You’re not going to believe what happened…

Saturday Musings – You’re not going to believe what happened…

Just over a week ago I’d published an article, went to bed and enjoyed the peace that only comes when everything seems to be good. The next morning I awoke to discover that two things had happened in a perfect storm.

The first was that my personal server had been hacked and with laser precision all of my websites, backups, configuration files and system had been eradicated. Trust me when I say that I had a LOT of protections in place but seriously, this was like a guided missile.

Escrow

The second thing that happened was that the primary hard drive in my server began to fail. I say began to because sometimes it was there and sometimes it wasn’t. I have a second physical hard disk in my server that I keep all my backups on and that was working just fine except this was hit by the hackers.

Some people have asked me about offsite backups and I answer this in two ways. It’s a personal server….and have you ever had to restore a 500 Gig backup over the wire from your home? It will take about 3 weeks just to transmit the data. Needless to say, I’m exploring “other options”.

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Climbing the Ladder

Climbing the Ladder

Over the years (gee I’m sounding old!) I’ve spoken to many business people that have climbed to the top of the ladder of success. Not surprisingly, when you talk to them they generally fall into two groups, those that are happy and those that aren’t.

The ones that are happy seemed to have attained a balance in their lives of having time for work and time for family and friends. They still have a spring in their step and a twinkle in their eye, they’re fulfilled in their lives.

The unhappy ones may have lots of money in the bank and worldly possessions but when they look around they no longer have a great relationship with their children and true friends are not to be found. Many of them try to buy a relationship with their kids by giving them incredible gifts when all their children want is some of their time and love. When these people finally reached the top of their ladder they found that it’s leaning against the wrong wall.

Getting a life balance is so important if you actually want to be happy and fulfilled in your own life. I’ve been married for nearly 27 years and have been incredibly blessed to have an amazing wife and three wonderful children that can put up with me. I have definitely not been perfect but I’ve continually tried to make decisions that are positive for my family in everything that I do.

Some of the things that I’ve found have been useful for me is that I work really hard during the week and on the weekend it’s rare that I do anything. I have a complete break. Your body and mind need a rest, they need to recuperate and recharge but more than that your family needs you.

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Stop Crying and Make Money

Stop Crying and Make Money

Sorry if this is a little bit of tough love but seriously…..it’s probably the best advice some of you could ever get.

I’m always amazed at the number of domain owners that get incredibly emotional about their domains and make economically irrational decisions. I hate to say this but domains are not your children, they don’t care if you sell them, you can monetise them anywhere and more than that they don’t care what price you sell them for.

Let’s unpack one level of thinking that is surprising……“I’m going to place all my domains with parking company X because the salesperson is my friend.”

For a start, my experience at ParkLogic has shown that no parking company wins more than 25% of the traffic at any point in time. This means that if you place ALL of your domains with a single company you are losing AT LEAST 75% of the time! This is a fact and one that has years and years of data behind it.

It’s great making friends with your account manager but I hate to burst the bubble, that person gets paid for the traffic that you bring them. The question you have to ask yourself is, “If I moved all my traffic away from them would they still want to hang out?” The last time I checked, I didn’t have to pay to have a friend so the answer should be yes.

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Saturday Musings - What's your passion?

Saturday Musings - What's your passion?

It’s an interesting question but it’s one that I ask my kids all of the time. My daughter recently graduated from high school and has now enrolled in university….yes, I’m a VERY proud father. In discussions with her she kept on talking about what job would pay the most so that at the end of uni she would earn a packet! I kept on saying, “Sarah, do what you enjoy and the money will come.”

So the question I ask you is, “What’s your passion?”

One of the biggest challenges that I find that I face in the domain industry is that there are so many opportunities and great ideas that it’s easy to forget what you actually really like doing. Although earning money is an important part of life it’s only just a part not the whole.

I love the domain industry and domains but I don’t try and do everything with every one of the domains in my own portfolio. To be quite honest with you there are only a few of them that I actually get excited about…..and they are the once that I slowly develop. The rest of them I let ParkLogic take care of and I rarely spend any time worrying about them.

I had a conversation with a domain investor the other day who was really good at finding great traffic domains but really bad at managing them. He loved the sleuthing around and building systems for finding the gold in all of the dirt but hated actually managing them afterwards. To cut a long conversation short…..we now manage his portfolio and he goes and finds the domains. He loves it and his life has improved dramatically!

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