Unlocking Value Through BIG Data

20170703_bigdata

In this article, I’m going to let you into a little secret. You may not have heard of anyone else approaching domains the way I’m about to outline but in my opinion, it’s the future. These ideas are what keep me so entranced by domains.

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If you are wanting to extract the maximum amount of value from your domain names then the answer is in the data. It really doesn’t make a difference whether you are a buyer, seller, developer or traffic monetizer, the key to generating additional revenue always comes back to the numbers.

As I’ve spoken at conferences or written different blogs I’ve been accused of many things but there has been one consistent accusation that I’m actually quite proud. “You’re always banging on about the numbers!” I love my numbers and more than that, I love trying to interpret what they are telling me.

Over the past 10 years, my ParkLogic business partner and I have continued to be fascinated by domain names because the data tells so many different stories. We’ve taken this to the extreme level by tracking around 250 different metrics for every domain on our platform each day. This leads to hundreds of millions of data points that can be algorithmically analyzed and trend curves plotted over time to see where the next seam of gold will come from.

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Part 1 - Building a Business - Moving From the Idea

Part 1 - Building a Business - Moving From the Idea

So you’re having a shower (where all truly great ideas come from) and it suddenly hits you like a blinding light from heaven…..the most incredibly brilliant business idea to build out a domain you’ve ever had! There’s just one problem, what’s next?

Escrow.com

So many great ideas remain just that, a great idea and nothing more. Just today I was approached by a domainer to purchase a domain name and as a part of their pitch they told me that it would be fantastic as a particularly type of business. Based upon this “idea” they believed the price of the domain was justifiably inflated.

My immediate thought was to ponder, if it was such a great idea why didn’t they build the domain into a business themselves? Let’s face it, they were trying to price the domain based upon all the work that I would do to create a profitable business. That just doesn’t work for me….

A domain has value but don’t fall into the mistake of pricing in, not just the value of your domain but also the value of a mythical business that the buyer would have to create on it. Many domain owners make this mistake and wonder why they don’t sell any of their inventory.

Let’s put the pricing discussion aside for now as it’s the subject of another blog series. So how do you move from an idea to a profitable business?

For the past 34 years (time does fly!) I’ve been identifying opportunities, developing, selling and building businesses….most of them online or back in the days of bulletin board systems. A solid grounding in my MBA (Master of Business Administration) tempered with experience has helped me to quickly analyse opportunities to ascertain whether they are real or not.

I get pitched ideas all the time but I hate to say it most ideas are a complete distraction from what I could be doing. Every now and then something comes along which is worth further investigation but it’s rare to find the diamond in the rough.

I’ll be completely open and honest so I do apologise if I’m a little blunt. Most successful entrepreneurs DO NOT have a shortage of opportunities. They are in a deal stream that allows them to pick and choose which one to put their effort and possibly finances into. When you pitch your idea to get a successful business person involved then you need to be aware that it has to be really compelling.

Likewise, be careful whom you pitch to. Some people are sharks and will devour you with preference shares and equity ratchets, while others are fair and reasonable. The question you need to ask is what does the potential investor bring to the party…..and it had better not just be money.

As an example, let me share with you how my company, ParkLogic was founded. I will cut a long story short in an effort to focus on the pertinent points I'm raising.

I’d just sold a large domain portfolio which allowed me to enjoy six months touring the USA with my family, get my pilot’s license and do some other really cool stuff. I wasn’t in a hurry to leap into a business for business sake but I was very interested in learning how to improve myself personally. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, I wanted to spend some time working on “self-actualisation”…..the top tip of the triangle.

This sounds introspective but it was an important personal goal that focused my attention on why I would found my next business. I did a personal “check up” and concluded that I had a lot of strengths but like most people I also had a lot of weaknesses. Rather than going out solo I decided that it would be in my best interest to find a partner that complimented my skill set. This would allow me to learn how to improve my weaknesses and ideally improve myself.

As I said, I wasn’t in a hurry so I thought about a lot of people I knew and settled on one individual who has been my current business partner and co-founder of ParkLogic for the past ten years. He has an incredible amount of experience and our skills almost perfectly complement one another. Also, high on my list of potential partners was the fact that he is highly ethical.

So how did I get him onboard? I pitched the opportunities in the domain industry and essentially gave him half the business. From my perspective, ParkLogic was worth zero at the beginning and since I wanted to get a partner involved whom I could learn from I decided to make the offer compelling.

So what’s it been like over the years? Ninety-nine percent of the time it’s been fantastic and the one percent has been either one of us learning a great deal from one another. I’ve learned an incredible amount and my co-founder has as well. ParkLogic has grown dramatically and has gone from strength to strength where we’re now optimising domain traffic for people all over the world.

So many people get hung up on equity and how much they are giving away but they really haven’t sorted out why they are getting into business in the first place. They try and drive crazy deals or pitch to anyone that happens to have some money. In my opinion, this is a highly questionable strategy.

Remember, if you really want a partner, don’t rush, and get the right one. Go after them and make your pitch really compelling! Right now, your equity is essentially worthless but with the right partner it could be worth a LOT more. Think about yourself and what you want BEFORE you launch your business.

In the next article, I’m going to use myself as a case study and propose how you may get me involved in your new or existing venture. What do I look for and what do I bring to the table? Hopefully you will be able to use these thoughts to attract someone to your business.

Greenberg and Lieberman

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Sneak Preview of ParkLogic Next

Sneak Preview of ParkLogic Next

At the recent Domain Conference in Fort Lauderdale, ParkLogic released a sneak preview of what we are calling “ParkLogic Next”. We will be publishing a series of short videos featuring different aspects of Next over the weeks leading up to Namescon in January. It's something that we're really excite about!

Escrow.com

About 18 months ago, we made the big decision to rebuild our entire platform and infrastructure from the ground up. This was one of the best decision that we have ever made. With nearly a decade of accumulated knowledge and experience from extracting the full value from domain traffic we are on the cusp of releasing what we believe is a ground breaking domain platform.

We had a number of goals in designing Next:

  1. Informative – you can now view different aspects of your data at the click of a button. Everything from Excel like filters to adding trend lines are at your fingertips.
     
  2. Actionable – you can make decisions from the data before you.
     
  3. Fast – we don’t want clients to have to wait for extended periods of time for their data.
     

With these three goals in mind we have now released a video outlining some of the features of the Next dashboard. The entire dashboard has been built by accessing our own API which empowers clients to also easily integrate their own variation of the Next platform into their own systems. There is no custom secret code....everything is in the API and accessible to clients.

Putting everything into the API is an important principle. It means that larger customers, registrars and registries can easily integrate Next into their own brandable interface. It also provides a huge amount of flexibility for domain investors who like both an online interface and one that allows them to get under the numbers.

A number of the features of the dashboard include:

  • Adding trend lines at the click of a button
  • Being able to see all of your data via a slider snapshot
  • Instantly move data from a chart to a table for more detailed analysis
  • View the breakdown between mobile and desktop traffic
  • View top referrers, geo-split data and what domains made up a days data
  • Excel like filter functionality to zoom in on the data that interests you.
  • Everything exportable to a CSV file
     

During the next months we will be continuing to extend the Next dashboard and the underlying functionality that will make it the most advanced domain management interface in the world. We hope that you enjoy the first short video giving a glimpse of ParkLogic Next.

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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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Successfully Outsourcing Your Domain Management

Successfully Outsourcing Your Domain Management

I was speaking with a client that had been with ParkLogic for many years and they asked me to conduct a complete review of their portfolio. Without giving away too much about who the client is I thought that I would share some of the history and the results of the analysis.

The client initially had a team of people managing their domain portfolio for them. When they moved their domains over they ended up letting these people go or reassigning them to other projects as they were no longer required to manage the domains.

Escrow.com

I want to be right up front and say that I'm one of the founders of ParkLogic. Despite this, I found the results that we achieved for the client incredibly revealing about how a properly managed domain portfolio can produce huge rewards for investors. They completely outsourced the entire management of the portfolio to ParkLogic and this is what was acheived for a 4 years period.

 

So across the last 4 years the results can really be summarised in four simple charts.

 

Graph 1

 

The first chart shows the number of domains in the portfolio steadily dropping (orange line) as we managed out the non-performing. We had established a set of business rules with the client that we applied to the domains as part of the dropping process.

Naturally, the revenue declined as the domains were dropped and the industry overall declined. The portfolio went from doing around $38K/month to $28K/month or a decline of 27%. Given that many of the domains that were dropped had some revenue this decline was expected.

During the same period of time the domain industry experienced a MUCH sharper decline in revenues. It was through our technology and processes that we were able to bolster the earnings and cushion the major decline for our client.

The key line is the revenue per domain (the blue line). As seen by the dotted trend line it is sharply trending upwards in an almost linear fashion. The average revenue per domain per month has moved from about $1.75 to $4.48. This is an increase of around 256% which is an outstanding result that we see continuing into the future as we release new capabilities on the ParkLogic platform.

Graph 2

 

The second chart gives a picture of the financial position of the portfolio for the past 4 years, both 2011 and 2014 are partial years. The expense line includes all registrations and ParkLogic management fees. The fees cover optimisation, registration management and first line of call on any legal matters. The client no longer has $150K-$200K per year in staffing costs.

Although the revenue has declined the profit appears to be reaching an asymptote as the decline in costs are matching any declines in revenue.

Graph 3

 

Chart three shows the decline in renewal costs as we applied the agreed business rules to the portfolio for domain renewals. The bump up in 2013 is a timing issue on registrations and a portion should really be attributed to both 2012 and 2014.

We see a lot of domain investors renewing domains that are completely worthless and this directly impacts the profitability of the investment. We now have the portfolio at a nice stable base of profitable domains and the number that are being dropped each year has diminished greatly.

Graph 4

 

The final chart sums everything up. The profitability of the investment is trending upwards from 243% to 335%. As mentioned earlier, the cost of the staff that were laid off as the client outsourced to ParkLogic is not considered in the profitability calculation.

So during a tumultuous period of time for the domain industry ParkLogic managed to increase the profitability dramatically. In addition, the client no longer has to worry about the portfolio and waste their time managing their domains…..it’s been completely outsourced. All they have to do is count the money and receive an quarterly report for their board.

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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.
Click here to arrange time with Michael
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