Colin Campbell, CEO of .club, asked if I would post this guest blog and after reading it I immediately agreed. Two great things about Colin is his insightfulness about the domain industry but also his willingness to admit it when he gets things wrong. This combination makes him one of the people in the domain industry that I would highly recommend that you pay attention to.
Why I was Wrong about Domain Investors!
by Colin Campbell
Wow. What a ride.
Started a new company in 1993 called Internet Direct, eventually launched Tucows, Domain Direct, EasyHosting, Hostopia, GeeksForLess and then finally .CLUB.
Here is my confession: I am a product of the 90’s. Yes a dinosaur. A short period of time when we all thought we were coasting on the Star Ship Enterprise….where it all made sense. Money did not matter but coming together was the greater purpose. We were reinventing the world and starting a revolution of collectivism. Some entrepreneurs, my brother and myself included saw making money as a second purpose. It was a rare moment. The internet was, is, and will always be owned by the people of this small little speck of a planet called earth. It was the greatest innovation of our time, and maybe of all time. The 90’s was in fact, a small window in to humanity at its greatest moment. So many geeks, entrepreneurs, journalists, students, and entrepreneurs coming together to make the planet smaller.
Today as CEO of .CLUB a new domain extension, competing with .COM, I reflect back on my years but also recognize it is a different time. Capitalism has taken hold. It’s become survival of the fittest. Do whatever it takes to survive. I do yearn for the days of the past.
I did a press conference in the late 90’s revealing the identity of Mafia Boy which hit every news channel including CNN calling all spammers internet terrorists. I had the same opinion of domain speculators, domain squatters, domain kidnappers at that time. I grouped them all into the same bucket. I even restricted all employees from domain investing. Here is where I went wrong and thankfully the Rick Swartz, Micheal Berkins, and later the infamous Frank Shilling created a market between those who wanted names for specific reasons and those who sold those names. Today domain investors really play a pivotal role from China to America. They connect with a confused and for good reason out of touch end user. They are thebackbone of the internet, the true brokers and entrepreneurs who work tirelessly to simplify the internet world we live in today. I was wrong. Maybe not so about spammers, phishers, DDOS’ers and the rest. But I was wrong about domain investors.
We recently announced a somewhat controversial decision to offer all expired names on SnapNames dropping auction. Internally, we had a great debate as to why we should not just reclaim the names and resell them through our registrar channel. Why would we let great names go for as low as $69. See I have come full circle now. Today domain investors are the glue that brings it all together for a new domain extensions. We will leave money on the table, but those domain extensions that have an army of domain investors working to get the names in right hands will be successful. It’s time the media, the industry and users recognize what domainers really do. They help connect people and make the internet a simpler place.
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.