The Roman Business Juggernaut

Heading back home after vacation.

It’s good to be back from ICANN and a couple of weeks’ vacation in the south of France. I must admit that there’s nothing quite like taking some time out to refresh yourself and get a new perspective on our incredible industry.

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As a co-founder of ParkLogic, while away,I found myself reflecting upon each of our service offerings and asking two questions:
1.    What problem does it solve?
2.    What business is it in?

These two questions force me to focus on what value are we adding to the target market. It’s really big picture stuff but during a time of vacation I find it’s a unique opportunity to work on the business rather than in the business.

So while I was looking an aqueduct built by the Romains in Pont Du Garde I began pondering about business structures that are built to last. In fact, I find that I can’t help but consider this when staring up at an amazing feat of engineering that was built over 2,000 years ago.

After visiting the musuem I found out that business was the main reason why the aqueduct was built. The Romans invested in serious architecture to move water fifty miles and then sold access to the water to make a massive profit. In fact, in Rome they had a ministry of water that was one of the more prestigious civil services because of the money it generated.

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Wolftalker
Who'd da thought, the Romans as Water Ripoff Merchants!
12 November 2018
mgilmour
It surprised the heck out of me as well....!
12 November 2018
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ICANN 63 - Barcelona

Kevin, Lars and Michael showing off ICU

ICANN finished a few days ago and I've finally got the energy to write a few thoughts down about it. I must admit that it does help that I'm now on vacation in Provence, France....

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In terms of business, ICANN was gruelling. After stepping off the plane on the Saturday I literally had back-to-back meetings from early in the morning until late at night. For me, each day at ICANN is becoming much more like NamesCon with a continuous stream of excellent meetings followed by a quick sleep.

Of course, it’s always good to catch-up with friends. Many of the relationships go back more than a decade and it’s a privilege to know people of the calibre of many of them. I remarked that one of the great things about the domain industry is that not matter which city in the world I happen to be in there is always a person I can have dinner with.

One of the strange things about ICANN is that it’s almost completely unaware of the domain investment community or at the best views it with a bit of distain. What all of the registrars and registries need to understand is that domain investors underspin the entire eco-system…..that’s the drum that I beat over and over again anyway.

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Leaving on a Jet Plane...

I’m leaving in a few hours to head to the ICANN conference in Barcelona. I must admit that I’m not looking forward to sitting in a tin can at 30,000 feet for 24 hours….which causes me to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned from traveling the many miles to different events around the world.

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For a start, I don’t let anyone plan my trips…..I’ve tried different travel agents and they always get it wrong. I’ve found the more time and care you take before you leave the ground the easier the trip becomes.

Anything and I mean anything that you can do to speed yourself through security and check-on is a MUST. I have an APEC card that allows me to go into the diplomatic/crew lines through most customs and being a member of the Qantas club reduces your time checking in considerably.

I should also mention that when traveling for business I only take carry-on luggage. That fourth pair of shoes you are packing just in case the laces break on the previous three aren’t necessary. If you’re traveling for five days, then why take changes of clothes for ten? Let's face it.....the worse case scenario is that you use your Visa to buy that thing you need.

I have my favourite jeans and t-shirt for being on the plane and one of the first things I normally do when I arrive at my destination is get them washed for the return journey. It really doesn’t cost that much compared to the amount of time you have to wait for the carousel at the airport to popup your bag….assuming that it does actually arrive.

This trip I will be checking on my bag…..because Roselyn is traveling with me and we plan on having a couple of weeks’ vacation after the conference. I must admit that I am checking bags on under sufferance......gggrrrrrrr! I guess it's one of the problems with traveling with someone else....

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vanclute
It must be because I only fly domestic inside the US (when I fly at all which is extremely rare), but I never find myself in a pla... Read More
20 October 2018
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Saturday Musings - Taking Time Out

How do you recharge your batteries?

Finding out how you recharge your batteries is one of the most important things you can do. Each of us have a little internal dynamo that sometimes winds down. The end result is that many of us grit our teeth with internal exhaustion as we face each day.

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Internal tiredness has nothing to do with the number of hours of sleep we’ve had the night before but more about a sense of needing some “me” time. For some people this means going to the gym, taking a walk or staring at the television….for me it’s a little different.

For example, last night at around midnight I decided to stop working and pulled out a new computer game. Next thing I know it’s 4am and my empire has now expanded across multiple star systems. I tear myself away from my PC and decide that it’s about time for me to head to bed. I wake up about 5 hours later completely refreshed and so excited about the Saturday ahead of me.

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Gambling on Domains

Are you gambling on domains?

I must admit that I’ve never really understood the business model underpinning domain sales. I know that in this article I may rain on your parade and for that I’m sorry….but please help me out in getting over some of my possibly faulty logic

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The state of the market for domain names is that it has fallen from a peak growth of 11.7% in 2015 to 1.2% in 2017. The 2015 peak was spurred on by two factors:
•    The Chinese domain boom
•    Greater release of new gTLDs

When you begin to drill down into the data it becomes even more interesting. For instance, .COM grew by 6.4% in 2015 and is growing by 2.8% in 2017. The legacy TLDs (eg. org, net etc) grew by 1.5% in 2015 and slipped backwards by -1.9%. The surprise was the ccTLDs (country codes). In 2015 they were growing by 14% while in 2017 they are beating .COM out with a growth rate of 3.9%. I must admit that I love ccTLDs and have made a lot of money from them over the years.

The sorry tale is the new TLDs. After exploding out of the blocks in 2015 with a growth of 196% they are now contracting by 14.6%. Many have stated that this is not surprising as speculators leave the market but when you consider that over 50% of the domains are parked then you’ve got to ask what’s actually happening. The simple answer is some of the extensions (eg. XYZ) are experiencing massive drops which is influencing the numbers overall…..so no panic here for the truly good extensions.

Ignoring the decline in the new TLDs the overall growth in the market is around 4.8% or approximately 9 million more domains from 2016 to 2017. This is an important number as it represents the demand side of the market and should dynamically influence the sale price of domains.

The other curve is a little frightening…..the supply curve. Since the new TLDs were released, the market has been swamped with a massive level of supply. This is not the early days of the Internet where there was .COM, the CC’s and a few others. We are now in an environment where the supply is so large that it MUST impact the sales price.

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mgilmour
I based this roughly on overall market share. Yes, many domains are sold privately but I think not as many as people would have yo... Read More
11 October 2018
mgilmour
Many thanks for the extensive comment! My understanding was the $150m was the revenue line to GoDaddy not the net revenue. Maybe I... Read More
11 October 2018
mgilmour
Thanks for the correction of .tk.....I forgot to take them into consideration. What is for sure is the domain market is mature and... Read More
11 October 2018
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