Interview with Colin Campbell from .CLUB

As a part of the 10th Anniversary celebrations I’m talking with Colin Campbell from .CLUB. Colin is the CEO and one of the founders of .CLUB, and in the video he discusses what's been happening with .CLUB over the past year.

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Colin then shares his thoughts on the controversial pricing increases that some registries have implemented. More importantly for .CLUB domain investors, he talks about why .CLUB is contractually and commercially bound not to follow suit.

This is quickly followed-up by the new startup initiative where .CLUB has purchased a building in Fort Lauderdale Florida for the startup community. They are in the process up fitting the building out and within the next 12 months plan on supporting over 30 startups both with investment and facilities.

I hope you enjoy the easy banter back and forth as Colin and I discuss a wide range of domain investment topics.

Battleframe

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Why .CLUB Is So Successful

Why .CLUB Is So Successful

I’ve been reflecting on some of the great companies that are being built in the domain industry and I couldn’t go past .CLUB. When you consider the new gTLD have only been in the marketplace for a couple of years it’s remarkable what .CLUB has achieved. There are so many new extensions launched and yet everyone seems to hold .CLUB in high regard. So the question I have is why?

Every company is not built on an excellent team and I just want to highlight a number of the team members that I regularly catch-up with at all the different domain shows around the world. I think that their attitudes and focus really provide a valuable insight into the .CLUB success story.

Colin Campbell (CEO)
Colin CampbellThere are a number of things that strike me about Colin and the first is passion. He’s passionate about .CLUB and provides such a focused drive to see it succeed. That being said, I’ve watched from the sidelines as he’s conducted deals that are beneficial for both parties. He isn’t a scorched earth CEO that has a win at all costs mentality but rather a collaborative one that wants to see others be successful as well.

Dirk Bhagat (CTO)
Dirk BhagatThe first time I met Dirk we were sitting around a fire pit at a hotel somewhere (can’t remember where). Underneath his easy going exterior ticks an incredibly smart individual that, like Colin, has seen the ebbs and flows of the technology industry across many years.

 

Jeff Sass (CMO)
Jeff SassAs chief marketing officers are concerned Jeff would have to be right up there with the most frequent milers ever clocked up. He’s everywhere! We recently chatted in Fort Lauderdale and he headed immediately to Cologne, Germany and we met up a few days later in Hong Kong. Not only does Jeff clock up the miles but he brings an incredibly creative mind to promote .CLUB to so many different cultures.

Michele Van Tilborg (VP Bus. Development, COO)
Michele Van TilborgLike the rest of the .CLUB team, Michele, clocks up the air miles as she makes sure that things happen in one country after another. To understand how dedicated she is to the .CLUB cause, while at DomainFest.Asia in Hong Kong, I watched as she had meeting after meeting, when she really should have been in bed due to being sick. She's a real powerhouse that gets things done.

There are other’s in the .CLUB team that also contribute but the above four are the people I have had the pleasure of interacting with directly. What I’m highlighting is the fact that a great, passionate, focused team is what’s driving the .CLUB brand. At .CLUB's core there is one particular value that seems to stand out more than everything else and that’s generosity.

It’s not often that you can call a business generous….after all, isn’t the goal to make money? When I look from the outside, .CLUB is generous (not stupid) in everything they do. They support the industry through their many sponsorship activities and are very generous with their time. They do whatever they can to help promote up and coming .CLUB based businesses.

For example, they are getting right behind George Verdugo (awesome, fun guy btw) in his plans for hotels.club. George has some incredible ideas for the website and with some of the rates he showed me it won’t be long before he climbs the travel websites ladder of success!

Another example of generosity, is one evening during “The Domain Conference” in Fort Lauderdale, Colin and his wife invited about sixty people to their home for dinner. The food was exceptional, conversation awesome and getting to know Colin’s wife was terrific…..you can really see the real power behind .CLUB :-)

.CLUB is inspirational on many fronts and I’m sure that over a few drinks the team will also share about the many mistakes they’ve also made. Which brings up a last point I would like to make…..they are a fun group to just hang out with. I think this last ingredient is what makes them a very special company…..they all individually and as a team seem to be having a great time expanding .CLUB to the world. Well done!

I thought that it was about time that I wrote about .CLUB as they are really and truly a real beacon of success for the new gTLDs. I really do believe that it's early days for the registry and it won't be long before .CLUB domain extensions are being used everywhere.

I want to state up front that I was not asked to write this article by anyone and that no one has twisted my arm in any manner whatsoever. I believe that great companies should be lauded and .CLUB is one of them.

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Analysis of .CLUB and the New gTLDs

Analysis of .CLUB and the New gTLDs

With the crossing over the 10 million mark for the total number of new gTLDs registered I thought that it would be worthwhile conducting an analysis of what is happening in this new market. As is typical of any new market, quite a number of new gTLDs are struggling but as registrations increase, time is on the side of those that have the cash to survive.

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The first chart shows the total number of new gTLDs that have been registered month on month since Feb 2014. As can be seen from the graph it’s basically been a linear growth rate until the last month, where it has taken a definite turn upwards. It will be interesting to see if this recent trend will continue moving forward.

new gtld growth in registrations

 

When we look at the growth rate per month chart there has been a rapid downward slide that has stabilised around the 10% per month mark. This is not unexpected as the initial numbers were small and any growth off a small base will be quite large.

 

What is interesting is the fact that the trend line is flattening out to just over 7% growth. According to a recent report the overall global domain growth is around 6.5% so trending down to just over 7% isn’t surprising. Once again, the uptick in Nov is a bit of an aberration so it will be interesting to see if the trend continues.

Now here’s the challenge for the new gTLDs. According to nTLDstats.com (where this data comes from) just over 8 million domains are parked (ie. 77%) or not being used in the “wild”. What this suggests is that the majority of the growth is coming from the domain investor community.

Why is this a problem? For a start, this means that the majority of domains are not being seen by the general public in more traditional forms of advertising. Hopefully this will change as some of the global brands that have their own extension will begin advertising with it.

Secondly, domain investors are after a return based upon the value of the domain sales that they achieve. Given the massive influx of domain supply this value is unlikely to be realised in the near term. This means that there won’t be as much money to reinvest into the new gTLDs from the domain investor community and it’s very likely that over the next couple of years a lot of the domains will be dropped.

Here’s the other issue. Other than November the number of domains registered per month is basically linear BUT the number of extensions available to register has been growing rapidly! This essentially means that there are more and more new gTLDs fighting over the same sized pie. What this suggests is the new gTLDs have been largely unsuccessful in enticing new money into the domain space and are totally reliant upon a finite domain investor pool of investment funds.

Now let’s take a look at .club as they are often regarded as the poster child of what to do right in this space. Since they were launched they have been growing month on month in a roughly linear fashion until July where growth essentially stopped and then resumed at a more modest rate until October and then skyrocketed in November.

.club domain registrations

Given the northern hemisphere summer period a slowdown in growth for July and August should be expected but the rapid surge into October and November is staggering. I would like to claim that the rapid increase was a direct result of readers seeing the .club banner advertisement on my blog but sadly, this is unlikely to be true…..although I cross my fingers.

Percentage growth in .club domains

I actually believe the team at .club have been really smart in laying the ground work to tap into the Chinese domain market. This became particularly focused since the beginning of September when they attended DomainFest Macau. It was clear that they were on a mission to evangelise .club to the Chinese marketplace.

The recent release of a slew of premium domain names into two auctions has created a huge amount of interest in the extension. This has clearly spilled over outside the auction domains into the wider .club inventory and has resulted in a rapid increase in registrations. It’s being smart about how to leverage these publicity events that has made .club a standout in the industry.

Given the recent surge in registrations, a back of the envelope calculation would immediately indicate that .club is a profitable extension. The entire industry should celebrate any extension getting over the line and this will hopefully spur those that are struggling onwards.

I would not be surprised if Colin and the team at .club are casting their eye over a few of these struggling extensions and considering an acquisition or two. With their proven marketing muscle this would almost be a no brainer. It will be interesting to see what happens in the months ahead.

In the meantime, I'm going to be keeping my eye on the industry as I believe there are a lot more acts to this play before the final curtain is raised.

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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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.Club Launches Awesome Domains!

.Club Launches Awesome Domains!

I have to give it to the team at .club, they just seem to be going from strength to strength. I just received an email from Jeff Sass, their Chief Marketing Officer, and they are now releasing a list of super premium domains for auction. Please see the press release below....it's a pretty impressive list of 2 letter and a 1 letter .club domain.

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PRESS RELEASE

High Value Domain Names Such As C.club, DK.club, PC.club and PJ.club

Have Strong Appeal in Asia and the West

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL --- October 7, 2015 ---C.Club and twenty-four 2-character .CLUB domain names are set to hit the auction block on October 29, 2015 in a series of five fast-moving auctions with each auction lasting three days. The popularity and value of one and two-character domains is well documented as witnessed through their global sales and usage by major corporations across verticals such as YP.com (Yellow Pages), HP.com (Hewlett Packard), SI.com (Sports Illustrated), EA.com (Electronic Arts), QQ.com (Tencent QQ), W.org (WordPress) and more. In fact, many companies’ brand identity has naturally morphed to be more prevalent in their two-character abbreviated form rather than full name.

This auction, to be held on the Chinese EachNic.com platform, marks the first time .CLUB Domains, the Registry behind one of the world’s most popular new domain extensions, is offering this set of domains in a public auction format. The domain inventory included in this auction has been hand-selected by the EachNic.com team to specifically appeal to Eastern and Western businesses and investors alike. Auction bidding starts as low as $5,000USD for the majority of two-character domains, making them accessible for businesses of all sizes and budgets.

 

.CLUB Domains has already sold reserved domains at considerable auction prices, including the sale of Wine.club for $140,000 in 2015 at the NamesCon Auction, which set the worldwide auction record for all new domain extension sales to date. This was their first and only auction, showing the demand for .CLUB domain sales. Likewise, interest in the first Eastern and Western auction of .CLUB names is expected to attract strong participation, especially with .CLUB’s active focus on buyers worldwide.

The auction platform will be available in both Chinese and English, and .CLUB will be offering a Concierge Service to assist Western buyers, thus allowing two ways to bid:

  • Bid online from the EachNic.com auction platform. Once the auction begins, create an account and bid as frequently as you like.  You can also enter a proxy bid for each auction for automated bidding.
  • Use the free Concierge Service and work with a professionalbi-lingual domain specialist to guide you through EachNic.com’s registration and bidding process on your behalf and under your directions. This provides you the freedom to set your limits anonymously before the auction ends. To learn more, contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Payments will be made through the familiar website Escrow.com for non-Chinese investors and through Union Pay for Chinese investors.  To accommodate investors everywhere, teams of bilingual speakers will be available throughout the auction in U.S. and China time zones.

Be sure to frequently check http://nic.club/auction/for the latest news and bidding links for this coveted set of  25 valuable domains. Auction inventory, reserves and dates can be found below.  Each auction will end promptly at 10:30 pm Eastern (7:30 pm Pacific) on the indicated End date.

 

Domain

Reserve

Start

End

HJ.CLUB

$5,000 USD

29-Oct-2015

1-Nov-2015

JC.CLUB

$5,000 USD

29-Oct-2015

1-Nov-2015

YM.CLUB

$5,000 USD

29-Oct-2015

1-Nov-2015

JS.CLUB

$5,000 USD

29-Oct-2015

1-Nov-2015

GZ.CLUB

$5,000 USD

29-Oct-2015

1-Nov-2015

PC.CLUB

$5,000 USD

30-Oct-2015

2-Nov-2015

YX.CLUB

$5,000 USD

30-Oct-2015

2-Nov-2015

QC.CLUB

$5,000 USD

30-Oct-2015

2-Nov-2015

DK.CLUB

$5,000 USD

30-Oct-2015

2-Nov-2015

PK.CLUB

$5,000 USD

30-Oct-2015

2-Nov-2015

ZS.CLUB

$5,000 USD

31-Oct-2015

3-Nov-2015

CG.CLUB

$5,000 USD

31-Oct-2015

3-Nov-2015

SQ.CLUB

$5,000 USD

31-Oct-2015

3-Nov-2015

KF.CLUB

$5,000 USD

31-Oct-2015

3-Nov-2015

ZI.CLUB

$5,000 USD

31-Oct-2015

3-Nov-2015

YC.CLUB

$5,000 USD

1-Nov-2015

4-Nov-2015

DS.CLUB

$5,000 USD

1-Nov-2015

4-Nov-2015

YQ.CLUB

$5,000 USD

1-Nov-2015

4-Nov-2015

ZQ.CLUB

$5,000 USD

1-Nov-2015

4-Nov-2015

TB.CLUB

$5,000 USD

1-Nov-2015

4-Nov-2015

C.CLUB

$50,000 USD

2-Nov-2015

5-Nov-2015

JD.CLUB

$10,000 USD

2-Nov-2015

5-Nov-2015

PJ.CLUB

$10,000 USD

2-Nov-2015

5-Nov-2015

LY.CLUB

$5,000 USD

2-Nov-2015

5-Nov-2015

GW.CLUB

$5,000 USD

2-Nov-2015

5-Nov-2015

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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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Guest Blog - Colin Campbell - CEO of .club

Guest Blog - Colin Campbell - CEO of .club

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.

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Guest Blog
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.

 

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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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