DomainFest 2014 Announced

For the 9th year DomainFest is returning to its roots by being held in Hollywood on the 31st March until the 2nd April at the Loews Hotel. This is great news for the industry and for Oversee.Net. For some strange reason a number of people in the industry have been voicing whether DomainFest would actually go ahead and some even suggested that it was the beginning of the end for Domain Sponsor! Those individuals must feel pretty silly now.

I have always liked going straight to the source and at no time during the last several months have I been told by anyone from Oversee that DomainFest was not going to happen. In fact, it has always been an emphatic YES! The challenge was to finalise the date and the great line-up of speakers and activities. So for all of the naysayers out there.....take some advice, if you have a question then go and ask the source.

I remember attending and speaking at the very first DomainFest and it was an incredible event that galvanised not only the domaining community but those outside of it. Oversee has consistently tried to bring new entrants into the domain industry by educating the wider media about the importance of domains to business. Whether it has been by personally inviting potential investors or having keynote A-list celebrities such as Kim Kardashian. The ultimate goal has always been so that domainers can realise greater returns on their assets through additional investment being poured into domains......I'm sure that Oversee wouldn’t mind helping in this process :-)

The innovative mindset is reflected in the conference agenda with three major streams of sessions with a focus on gTLDs, Domain monetisation and mobile traffic. There is also three sessions on domains as a business.

Although the sessions have always been outstanding I’ve found that it’s the people that conferences like DomainFest and TRAFFIC attract that make them special. They are gathering places for domainers to swap ideas, learn and most importantly do business.I think that going back to Hollywood is returning to the roots of what made DomainFest a great conference.

Being a bit of a film fanatic I've always enjoyed being near where the Academy Awards are held! With any luck one of the evening events may be similar to the "James Bond" one that was held many years ago. If you remember that event then like DomainFest you've been in the industry for quite some time.

I know that I will attending DomainFest and look forward to meeting up with as many of you as possible.


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Polar Plunge for Special Olympics

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What's RPM?

Many people have said to me that the only thing that matters is revenue.....sure, revenue may be important but it's definitely not a measure of success. So the question has to be asked....what is a good measure of success?

Let's imagine that you have a domain that is doing 100 uniques per day and $100. You move the domain to another parking provider and find that the revenue drops to $75. What is the normal reaction? Move it back! Quick! I'm losing $25 per day! That actually may be the wrong answer.

Let's imagine that on the day the domain received $75 it only received 50 unique visitors. That would mean that the new parking provider is performing brilliantly compared to the first one. The way most people compare the results is via the "tried and tested" formula of:   revenue  /   views   *   1000   or in other words RPM.

This sounds wonderful until you realise that the definition of views is different at every parking provider. There are no standards at all. So it we go back to our example, the second parking company may have actually received the same amount of traffic as the first but just reported less because they have more aggressive filtering on the traffic. This would then mean that parking company one would once again potentially be the winner.

Confused? It gets worse. There are over seven different revenue numbers that can be used each month for every domain name for your RPM equation. A couple of them are, "The estimated revenue number" or "The number confirmed two days later". To get an accurate picture of what is really happening you need to get both the revenue and the traffic numbers right or you get the wrong answer and sub-optimally optimse the domain traffic.....which is a fancy way of you saying you will be losing money.

I'll do another short blog on the solution to all of this shortly.

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Tracking the Data

So what does it mean to properly manage your domain assets? Some people believe that as long as you're earning PPC revenue, renewing domains and getting sales then all the bases are covered. These are important things to consider but let's unpack things a little.

Traffic revenue is money generated from the people that are going to your domains and clicking on advertising. There's a few things here that needs to be nailed down on a daily basis:

1. Aare the nameservers pointing correctly? These are often changed at renewal time by registrars.....especially if you are slightly past the renewal date.
2. Do you need to set cNames for routing traffic? cNames are used to route traffic to Google parking companies if you have a traffic routing system.
3. Are the domains in your parking account? Conflict resolution is a huge issue for parking companies and domains can often be inadvertently removed from your account if someone else believes that the domain is owned by them.
4. Keywords - are they the best ones and do they need to be updated?
5. Are there any other optimisation levers that you can use to extract more value from the traffic?
6. Is there are way to aggregate your traffic with others to get a better deal?

So this is just a few of the things that you need to consider to manage your traffic domains.....now let's look at sales......

1. Have you responded to all the sales offers? Most offers are SPAM so you need to spend some time wade your way through the good and the bad.
2. You've had a successful sale, now there is the whole Escrow and transfer process. Sounds easy but you need to remember to do it.
3. How do you work out the sales price for you domains? Is there an automated system or should you use your experience?

I could go on and on with the sales list but here's the really big one and it's often the most ignored......asset management.

1. What did you buy the domain for?
2. What did you sell the domain for?
3. What is the inventory carry value for the domain?
4. What system are you using to appraise the acquisition of a portfolio of domains, individual or average cost pricing?
5. What is your capital gains tax position at any point in time?
6. How are the domains locked down and where are they?
7. Renewals and on what basis is a domain renewed?

This last category is just as big if now bigger than sales and traffic tracking and it can have an even bigger impact upon your earnings then the first two. If you don't get asset management right then you could end up in trouble with the IRS (tax authorities).....so don't ignore this one.

I can only speak about the fact that at ParkLogic we track over 250 different metrics every single day for our clients. It's a true domain asset management platform that also optimises the traffic and helps you increase sales. What I've learned over the last decade in this industry is that effectively managing your assets can provide huge dividends for your business.

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Saturday Musings - Timing is Everything

For the past week Melbourne has been it the grip of a heatwave that has been the biggest and most intense in about 100 years. The tennis players at the Australian Open have been collapsing and for the rest of us we really haven't had a good night sleep.....which tends to make us all a little grumpy. So when the cool change came and the temperature dropped by 20 degrees Celsius it was with a great relief that my head hit the pillow on Friday night.

The next morning was another matter altogether! I had one of those moments of panic that could only be fixed by me unobtrusively waking Roselyn. For all those husbands out there, unobtrusive and waking do not belong in the same sentence when it comes to wives. Lucky for me also had a good nice sleep, although cut a little short, so I began our conversation.

"Honey, when are we going to see Celtic women?"

For those of you who have been living under a bridge with a troll or have been trekking across Antarctica with a dog sled team, Celtic women is a group of Irish singers that have taken the world by storm for the past half decade. We'd booked tickets for the concert back in September but the tour was delayed to some later date, hence my question.

"I'm not really sure, sometime in Feb I think," my wonderfully coherent wife replied.

"Are you sure?"

"Not really but it's something like that."

If you've ever had a conversation in the morning with your partner that is something like the one I experienced then whatever you do nail down the facts because if you don't you'll regret it. Reaching across to the phone I dialed up the concert hall (yes it was late in the morning, nothing like a sleep in) and was told, "Lucky you called, it's tomorrow night."

More likely it was, lucky we had nothing else on tomorrow night, lucky the world hadn't ended and lucky we didn't stay home watching TV when we could've taken advantage of our hard earned money for tickets that we'd already purchased.

So what is the moral of this story. When you're gut tells you something then whatever you do listen to it or you may miss out! It's the same in domaining, if you don't keep tabs on all of those renewal dates, auction times, are my domains being monetised, are nameservers set correctly etc. then you're likely to lose assets, not earn revenue and miss great opportunities. If you're managing your domains by a spreadsheet I can almost guarantee that you're messing things up some how.....so whatever you do get someone to help you out so that they remind you that you're about to miss on a great concert if you don't make that phone call.

Have a great weekend!

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