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, Battl...eframe. 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. More

Interview on Domain Masters Radio

Interview on Domain Masters Radio

I just had a great time with Jonathan Tenenbaum and Scott Pruitt from Domain Masters radio. In the show we covered a huge range of topics, starting with my own personal story and how I entered the domain industry. It took me down memory lane and caused me to reflect a little on the journey over the last 14 years.

We then moved on to how to extract the most value from domain traffic. Times have changed in doing this, you can no longer just pick the gold up from the ground. I relate how ParkLogic is like drilling a mineshaft three miles down to find the seam of gold for each domain.

We finally discussed domain development and how it's so important to start with a business model and move on from there. Many people start with building a website and then try to make money....it's the wrong direction to head.

I want to thank Jonathan and Scott for the opportunity to be a part of the show. They do a great job! Here are the links to the live cast and the archive.

Live Podcast

Archive Podcast

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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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Looking for Work….

Looking for Work….

My son, Timothy is looking for work and I suggested he may like to write content for websites. If you need of an incredibly talented writer that can write articles on just about any topic then I’d highly recommend him.

Timothy is half way through a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in performance and writing. For the past couple of months he’s been working on his first novel that is based upon his experiences when he took a “gap year” from studying last year. He plans on publishing the book later this year.

Please contact me here (and I’ll connect you with Tim) if you have need of an excellent writer that is prepared to work on a fixed fee per article basis. Below are a few pages from his novel that feature his unique flare for writing.

 

Extract from the first few pages of Tim's Book

To tell you the truth the story begins on an unremarkable day in June. The chill of the season had not quite set in yet and it could be considered a ‘nice day’ despite the brisk breeze and scattered clouds. Most of the local residents decided to walk about, arms pumping or steadily guiding leashed dogs as if to get in enough exercise before the rains, storms and frosts set in.

In the town there was a broad jetty that separated the town from the water. The Charlotte Corday along with other trawlers moored here year round. The wharf was broad and bare with broken bottles decorating the wooden boards. These remnants of last Saturday night crunched underfoot and slipped between the woodwork to decorate the calm water like stardust.

Peter scanned the docks. He had spent the morning reading and felt like today was the day for success. Whilst patient and optimistic the young man had his concerns when the cash ran low and the meals became plain. He considered himself a guy who could appreciate the simple pleasures, especially those of the flesh. Lately he’d been fantasizing about a medium steak served with pepper sauce, chips and a pint of draught. A feature of the dream would be a pretty girl who stole enough chips to be endearing but not so many to leave Peter starving. She would also insist that they get dessert and wine.

It was around noon when Peter marched up to the skipper who crouched over a steel cable. Peter had blown into the fishing town in the last storm and like any traveller had tried to find work where he could.All previous leads had informed him there was no work to be found in town. They then added th

at there’s “always the fishing boats” like a sorry waiter stating that the restaurant was out of food aside from the complimentary bread rolls.

But that’s what the self-titled vagabond wanted to do of course.

The kid was from the city but whether it was too many storybooks or not enough study Peter decided one day to adventure the lesser-known shires of Australia looking for the oddest of odd jobs. The young bloke looked promising, like the kind of person you would hire on a whim.

Employers would say they could imagine enjoying beers with him twenty-odd years in the future should he stay with their company that long.

Precisely nothing like the characters he would soon be working with.

“So you want to go out on the Charlotte?” grunted Skipper Jonno after the formal request was made, albeit stiffly by Peter. He barely looked up from his work splicing two metal cables together but that brief look assessed a soft one. Jonno prided himself on being able to determine the worth of a man with nothing more than a glance.

“I was told the Charlotte Corday was the hardest ship around”

Skipper grunt-chuckled in amusement, his smile mostly comprised of the discolored gums of a lifelong loyal smoker. He was dirty, bearded and barefoot.

A perfect image of a fisherman.

It was the crazed eyes that gave away his seniority as a skipper. Whether it was too many hours spent scanning the waves or something inherited from birth didn’t particularly matter. Everyone said you had to be nuts or a hopeless case to make a career out of fishing. You either needed to be the son of a fisherman, angry at the world or with no other options.

Skipper’s eyes drilled into the cable he was working on.

Now if this sort of crazy was in the eyes of a woman it might suggest she was the type to divorce a man after decades of marriage.

She calculated her monetary entitlement whilst her husband slept happily in front of the TV every night.

She organized detailed attack plans with a lawyer months before the declaration of war.

She put her clipped toenails in his dinner.

When the court date rolled around the poor bastard would be left sweating in the booth wondering why he married a psychopath whilst his balding lawyer informed him “this is the best we can do unless you relinquish your claim on the dog.”

But this sort crazy in the eyes of a man just past his prime sends the message that he wouldn’t ask anyone to do what he wouldn’t do himself. Following this logic he could calmly assign the most insane of the dangerous tasks. Jonno was the kind to casually tie knots on the bow during a storm cursing the fact that if wasn’t for the drizzle he would be able to smoke a dart. Tales behind fleshy scars and of pub brawls included with any conversation or upon request.

Peter swallowed in anticipation. For a number of days he strolled up and down the jetty calling out for work just like those people down at the fisherman’s co-op had told him to do. It was the opposite of finding a city job. No wanted signs, no collared shirts and certainly no online applications. It was unorthodox, it was foolhardy and it was perfect.

“Right mate you’re on for this trip. We head out tonight at five, remember to bring warm clothes.” Said Skipper Jonno

“No problem see ya then,” Peter replied. There’s a unique type of bafflement experienced when given something you expect to be rejected from. The skipper paused and so Peter turned to leave.

“Hold on a minute”

“Yeah?”

“You have any experience on a trawler before?”

Peter thought it odd that the interview should come after being accepted.

“I did a day’s scalloping trip a weekend ago but that was just for tucker”

“Jake’s boat? He loves those tucker trips,”

“Yeah”

Jonno sucked his teeth and shook his head.

Only idiots worked for nothing. But the only way for idiots to become less than idiots was to sell themselves for nothing.

“The Estonian boys are good blokes aren’t they?” Jonno looked up, dumping the fid on the jetty and wiping his hands on an already greasy rag.

Peter nodded and grinned; the two backpackers were hard workers and even harder drinkers. After his first and last trip the three of them polished off enough vodka to make the usually robotic pair explain in depth the ins and outs of the Estonian military service.

“I take it you don’t get seasick then?”

“I’m a bit off on the first day or two and then I’m all good.” Peter answered. This was perhaps the question he was most prepared for. Everyone in the small town asked it from the savvy bartender at the pub to the most clueless clerk at the information building. It was the number one conversational icebreaker for fishing town residents.

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Saturday Musings - It's My Birthday!

Saturday Musings - It's My Birthday!

Tomorrow is my birthday! I find I’m so privileged to lead a life that is exciting, at times challenging but always interesting. As I breathe the fresh air of another year I think that this one’s going to be absolutely awesome. Why is that?

For a start, my wife has given me an absolutely brilliant present….time to finish my scifi book “Battleframe”. Today is the day that I really do hope to finish the final read through and then it’s off to be published. Feel free to visit my author’s website at michaelgilmour.com to register and get the announcement when you can buy it on Amazon. :-)

The domain business is booming! My domain management company, ParkLogic, is experiencing really rapid growth and at long last we are nearly at the end of an 18 month development cycle. I’m so looking forward to seeing the new platform in action.

Escrow.com

Those items above are great but do you know what’s even better? My family is all home and the love of my wife and kids is really what spurs me onwards. Tim is saving up to go travel through Europe, Sarah is studying to become a film/tv makeup artist and Elise is nearing the end of high school (Dad’s helping her with maths).

I must mention that my wife, Roselyn is growing her own business (kandycakes.com.au) and is having a great time decorating cakes and cookies. Just looking at her happily making her amazing creations puts a smile on my face and sometimes incredible flavours in my mouth!

So tomorrow is my birthday and we’re going to have a great family breakfast together. This will be followed by a few friends around to share some wine, cheese and fruit while we enjoy perfect weather in the backyard.

I have incredible friends all over the world from the domain industry that I would love to have around to my house and celebrate my birthday. You are really special people that I’ve known for many, many years. Let me say that you will be there tomorrow in my heart. Thank-you one and all for being a part of the last 12 months of my life.

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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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petrozil
Wish you a very Happy Birthday Michael. You are one of the wonderful persons the world has ever produced. We all wish you a very b... Read More
11 February 2015
mgilmour
Thank you for your kind comments. They are really appreaciated.
11 February 2015
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How to do a Domain Traffic Test – What are you measuring?

How to do a Domain Traffic Test – What are you measuring?

“What are you measuring” seems like an obvious question when you are conducting a traffic test with a new monetisation company. From experience, most people get the answer to this question completely wrong.

When you are running a traffic test you are NOT seeing if you can earn more money. This may sound strange but it’s the simple truth. What you should be actually measuring is the capabilities of the new company to optimise your traffic for a better result. More money (although important) is merely a by-product of the optimisation activity.

Escrow.com

For example, we recently had a client place their domains with ParkLogic for optimisation and as time went by we just couldn’t beat their numbers. In fact, it seemed that the more effort that we put into the optimisation the worse thing became.

It was at this time that I had an epiphany (ie. a brainwave!). It just so happened that the client provided their baseline data in Euros from back in August and we were being benchmarked against these numbers. Since the ParkLogic system uses $USD we dutifully converted the baseline data from Euros to $USD when we received it.

The below graph tells you the story of the relationship between the Euro and USD during this period of time. The Euro has fallen from $USD1.36, when we did the initial conversion for the baseline data, to $USD1.09 (bank rate). That was a fall of 25%!

Exchange Rate

So the fact that we were providing the client around a 5% uplift wasn’t the real result at all. The real result was 5% + 25% = 30%. To clearly show this we applied today’s exchange rate to the baseline data so that we could clearly measure our optimisation efforts and nullify the impact of the exchange rate.

Another example is we were optimising a domain portfolio and the results were absolutely stellar! In fact, we were beating the baseline data by about 250%. Naturally, the client was really happy with the results but something was annoying me about the numbers….

A quick comparison analysis showed that one domain was getting a number of clicks paying $80+ each. We removed the impact of this domain as we did not believe that it was sustainable and redid our analysis. The uplift was still around 135% but I was more comfortable with this number being sustainable.

In both these examples, only paying attention to the money earned column would cause you to completely miss the actually impact of the optimisation effort. It’s not just the data but interpreting the data that is critical to getting the most out of your domain portfolio.

Another simple example is when you have domains that are seasonal in nature that affect the result. These should be removed from any analysis to determine whether the new company is actually adding value. They have the potential to either inflate or deflate the numbers and cause you to come away with a completely incorrect picture of the new monetisation company.

I live a breath numbers all day every day and I would like to say that I’ve seen everything…..but I know that I haven’t. When measuring the impact of any change you must first of all have a clear baseline and then have a metric that you can actually use to measure the impact of that change. It’s the art combined with the science that produces results….and both are constantly evolving.

In a future article I will begin to unpack what metric is critical for determining whether a new monetisation company is performing or not.

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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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How to do a Domain Traffic Test – Baseline Data

How to do a Domain Traffic Test – Baseline Data

Doing properly structured domain traffic tests are absolutely critical to extracting the complete value from your domain traffic. What it also means that you need to get down and dirty into the numbers to really understand what’s going on. I’m going to unpack what I mean by this and how we typicaly conduct traffic tests at ParkLogic.

First of all, let me say that doing a properly constructed traffic test is not for the faint hearted and is NEVER as simple as changing a nameserver.

Escrow.com

I was speaking with a domain owner that has been in the industry for many years and still believes that changing the nameservers for their domains is how you start a traffic test. It’s one step in a larger plan and is rarely done straight away.

The first stage in any test is to establish what you are measuring against. For example if all of the domains are currently parked at Company A then the least you need to do is download the last months data to benchmark the success or failure of the test. This set of data is known as the baseline.

There is no point in messing with the baseline data and scaling it up to make the new company “work harder”. I’ve seen data multiplied by a factor and then sent through as “baseline” data. I've even been provided as a baseline the best the domains have ever performed in their history!

Let’s think about this for a second. Let’s imagine the test beats this manipulated data. This is good news because it means the new monetisation company is awesome! The question of what do you do if the test fails is much harder to answer. You either look like an idiot because you leave the domains with the new test….which means the new company knows that you messed with the data or you move the domains away and take a monetary hit. This is even more stupid. So please don’t mess with the baseline data.

Next, hold the baseline data very loosely. Baseline data by its nature is a snap shot at a particular point in time. You need to not only look at the numbers but understand what they mean. This will involve doing an analysis at the domain level and understanding why there are wins and losses.

For example, there is no point in holding the new monetisation company to account for education domains if the test is being conducted in July and the baseline data is from May. Of course education domains will perform better then! In your own thinking you need to remove these types of domains from any test.

All baseline data needs to be reduced to daily numbers. This helps average out the traffic and revenue data across an extended period of time and allows the new company to snapshot a week of data, turn it into daily data and compare it to the baseline.

In many instances you should also screen capture all the high value domain names at the current monetisation company. I would normally recommend leaving this up to the new company. These screen captures can be used to help unravel why some domains may be performing worse than others during the test.

The absolute minimum requirements for baseline data is views and revenue. If you don’t have either of these then you really shouldn’t run any test at all…..it’s just a waste of time.

What we have often done is told the client to leave their domains exactly where they are. We then ask them for access to their current monetisation company account and change the nameservers to ParkLogic. We then route 100% of the traffic back to the existing monetisation company.

This allows us to establish URLs (raw traffic), Views, clicks and revenue. From this we can establish a normalised RPM (revenue per thousand URLs). This number is the ONLY number that will clearly display who is winning in any future test.

After a week of running traffic to establish a normalised baseline we then test a percentage of the traffic elsewhere….but more on this later. By creating a baseline in this method you have a completely accurate measurement of success or failure.

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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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