Blogs and articles that relate directly to domain development.

Marketing With No Money - Part 8

The other day I received my first royalty check from Amazon! I’m not about to retire but I must admit that it felt incredible to be receiving money for selling copies of my scifi book Battleframe. I normally get packing slips from Amazon so to receive a cheque was a new experience.

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So what’s happening with my marketing efforts? One of the difficulties that I’ve been trying to wrestle with is the fragmentation of the science fiction and fantasy community. To personally participate in all of the different forums and subtly let people know about Battleframe is next to impossible. I would say that my hourly rate would be somewhere in the vicinity of about two cents.

To make matters “worse” my own business, ParkLogic, is going through a boom time. The result has been that I’ve backed off the majority of my marketing efforts….there’s only just so much time in the day.

So what are my plans moving forward? I’ve decided to really focus on finishing book two of “The Mindwars” and growing my readership with Battleframe (ie. Book one). My marketing goal is to build a readership base with book one and ultimately earn revenue from book two, three etc. This is great for readers because it allows them to get a taste my writing without having to outlay any cash.

My primary focus is now on completing book two. Mild spoiler alert!!! For those of you that have read Battleframe I would like say that Selfia and Acheron finally get their honeymoon. Out of all of the questions that I get asked, this is the one that I get asked the most. I read the chapter to my wife and daughter and they love it as the honeymoon is in a very unusual location. LOL! I must admit that it never occurred to me that readers would get disappointed that the two characters hadn’t had their honeymoon as yet.

It may seem a little silly but this is a really important lesson. Always listen to the feedback from your customers for whatever product you are selling. They will freely share with you some incredible ways that you can improve what you are doing and then willingly pay for it!

I put a lot of time into writing across this last weekend and I’m about halfway through the biggest space battle scene that I think I’ve ever read….let alone write. There are thousands of ships, bases, satellites and a desperate struggle…..and this will be in the first few chapters of book two! As a hint….the battle ties in to the prelude of book one…..

As you may have guessed, I’m finding that book two is really coming together. I’m planning on releasing it prior to Christmas and I can’t wait to get it into the hands of an editor. The book really expands the scope of the galactic conflict and opens up so many new possibilities in the unfolding story.

If you would like your own ecopy of Battleframe then register at SFFAuthors.com and enter the promotional code of “Whizzbang” (expires at the end of Aug 2015). BTW, if you have read Battleframe then it would be awesome if you could write a brief review on Amazon - click here.

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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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whizzbang
There is a whole lot of sense in building a readership base and then marketing to them. It will no doubt save a lot of unproductiv... Read More
13 July 2015
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The Development Scam

I’ve seen so many online scams in the world and none bigger then convincing domain investors that they should build out a website for each of their assets. I put the “build-out” strategy out there as a scam because so many investors have fallen for the trap.

What normally happens is that an investor looks at their portfolio and says, “WOW! Look at all these awesome domain! If I could build out 1,000 websites then I will make a killing!”

What’s actually happened is that the investor has drunk the kool-aid that all you need is a good domain and you’ll have a great business. Heck, that’s why all the domains in their portfolio are worth at least $200K each. If you build a business with a great domain then it’s an unstoppable combination and people will flock to the website.

Escrow.com

I hate to rain on many investors parade but that’s just not going to happen. For a start, you can’t build 1,000 domains out and expect to seriously run them as businesses. From a management time perspective there are 40 hours in the week divided by 1,000 domains mean that you can only spend just over 2 mins per week on each domain. In other words, you can probably look at the website, think about making a change and not have the time to do it.

Just because you have a great domain doesn’t mean the target market will jump onboard. People tend to be pretty sceptical and giving out their email address in a sign-up process is a major event for them. Unless you are actually running a real business then trying to get them to actually part with some cash then the odds of doing so are next to zero.

This means that you need to develop a brand. Why do you need a brand? People trust brands that consistently provide them with value. Branding is not just about a logo. It’s the whole essence and ethos of the company that is behind the brand. Coke isn’t just about a beverage, it’s about fun and a lifestyle. Apple is about technology that is artistic, sophisticated and easy to use.

The challenge with developing a new brand is that it takes effort, time and money. No matter what you do on the advertising front developing a quality brand demands that you produce a consistent message on a regular basis. Sure, there are some exceptions but let’s leave them as outliers.

If you only have just over 2 minutes for each domain how the heck are you going to develop a brand? You just can’t do it.

Right now I’m developing my own brand as a science fiction author and to be quite honest with you it’s REALLY hard work. It takes so much time and the rewards are next to nothing but what I do know is that if I’m consistent then over time I’ll get there.

Last year I spoke with a guy who had developed over 5,000 travel websites. He’d literally spent millions of dollars building systems and putting it all together. He didn’t make a cracker, let alone get a sensible ROI and has now dropped just about every domain. This should be a big warning to everyone that has similar thoughts.

The problem is that it’s all about the traffic. The purpose of a brand is to attract the right traffic to your website and encourage them to spend/transact/read or whatever. The goal of developing a brand is to lower your acquisition cost and get the revenue up as people are confident in what you are offering is what they want.

When I say it’s all about the traffic I really mean it. You can build the most awesome series of websites for your domains that mankind has ever seen and if you don’t have the traffic then it won’t be long until they are mothballed. Coining Rick Schwartz, traffic is business!

It’s the rare domain that has enough traffic that allows it to naturally grow over time into a sustainable business. By sustainable I mean a business that will allow a person to work in it at least part-time.

The solution to this problem is to build-out a single market vertical (eg. Travel) and direct all of your travel domains to this website. The problem here is that the majority of domainers would still not have enough traffic for the market vertical website to flourish.

So what should a domain investor do? For a start, build ONE and ONLY ONE domain out that you’re passionate about into a real business. I love what Morgan Linton and his wife are doing with fashionmetric.com. He’s focused and busily working his butt of to make it a success.

BTW – I should mention that even if you focus on a single website it’s unlikely to succeed. Around 80% of businesses fail in the first year of operation so don’t expect a roaring success out of your very first domain build-out. Think of it as the most incredible training course that you’ve ever been on and that your second attempt has a much greater chance of success.

This means that you should be prepared to kill a project that just isn’t working. Too many people get so heavily invested that like a poker player that ends up going all in with a garbage hand. I’m all for going “all in” but I feel a lot more comfortable when I’m holding 2 aces.

Let me say that web developers love it when someone comes to them with all these domains to build out. This will keep them busy for ages so there’s a big win for them. The hosting companies love the fees as well. At some stage the accountants and lawyers normally get involved, so they just love all this activity as well.

Be really careful when you find that you are about to put your hand in your pocket to fork out a heap of cash. Each of the above groups of people provide incredibly valuable services if they are accessed appropriately but don't let the build out europhoria go to your head. Remember that it's not their fault that they are doing what you asked them to do!

I've seen a number of investors that don't have the cash to build-out all of their domains try and do fancy equity/loan deals to access the skills they require. It's the rare equity deal that actually ends up working. The biggest problem is the decision making becomes a lot more difficult and exits typically become impossible as each party has a different objective. Even though there are great intentions going into the deal their are typically tears going out. Inevitably, both parties feel ripped off and no longer have a friendship. Please, please be very careful about this sort of thing.or better yet, just don't do it!

There’s an old saying…..How do you make a small fortune in the aviation industry? Easy, start with a big one. It’s the very same with many domain investors. They’re losing their shirts because the underlying metrics and sustainability of their developments are really suspect. Before you do any development make sure that you have the end in sight and know how you will get your ROI.

I’m sure that there are some exceptions to my observations but after so many years in the domain industry I’ve seen this "scam" played out again and again…..so whatever you do, please be careful.

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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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What's Next After You Have a Domain

My recent foray into publishing my own novel has been a really educational experience. For those of you that are unaware for the past eighteen months my skunk works project has been writing a science fiction book. I’m still settling on a title but it looks like the series will be known as “The Mind War Saga” (it may change again)….all very auspicious.

I’m right at the end of the final edit, beta-readers have provided their feedback and I’m about to publish. What’s the next thought that goes through my mind? I need a domain!

Escrow.com

I searched Amazon to make sure that there aren’t any other series of books known as “The Mind War Saga” and I seem to have the space all to myself. I didn’t want any other series of books to be confused with my own or vice versa.

I’ve decided to move michaelgilmour.com to represent my authoring and I’ve just registered mindwarsaga.com to point to the same site. You can actually go there right now and see a few blogs on the site as well as a fan community (yes, I’m hopeful), a library (of one book), forum and also some cool stuff about me.

The website looks a little bland at the moment as it’s a work in progress and I’m waiting on the illustrator to complete the book cover. Once I have that in place I’ll be able to enhance the look and feel a LOT more.

So what’s next? Once I’ve finalised the title I need to register that domain and point it at my author blog. Here’s a few other things on the list for me to complete (it’s by no means exhaustive).

1.    Finalise book content (by mid-next week).
2.    Finalise cover design, typography and blurb for the back (end of following week).
3.    Get a photo done for the author’s biography.
4.    Complete the interior book design.
5.    Update website graphics and content.
6.    Publish the ebook and paperback via Createspace (an Amazon company)
7.    Update my author’s profile on Amazon.
8.    Establish a facebook and twitter account that are linked to my website.
9.    Update my website so that I can take sales via Amazon/Createspace
10.    Have a soft launch amongst friends. Encourage them to buy the book and leave comments on Amazon.
11.    Put together a package of material for other websites to review the book. This will need to include a copy of the book, synopsis, sample article, quotes, photos, artwork etc.
12.    Prepare a sequence of press releases to be released over a three month period.
13.    Approach media outlets for interviews – “Self-publishing author….scifi book etc.”
14.    Send out package to science fiction websites and reviewers.
15.    Engage community and detect who are real fans of the novel. Provide them with inside material, sneak previews etc.
16.    Brace myself for the feedback.
17.    Finalise marketing plan proper….including potential buying of advertising space.

I must admit that there are a lot more things that need to get on the list. One of which is finish book two in the saga! I’ll keep you up to date with how things are going.

Not surprisingly, what it all really hinges on is traffic, domain names and real sales. I understand a lot about those three items but it still doesn't necessarily mean that my publishing venture will be successful. Without a good product and plan I'm still sunk.

It’s going to be interesting to see if I can manage to make it as a part-time author. I love writing so I really hope that it’s a distinct possibility. Besides, my wife has been on my back to write a book on the domain industry…..so stay tuned for that one. Hopefully it will be more science fact rather than science fiction.

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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
Click here to advertising on whizzbangsblog.com

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mgilmour
Thanks for that!
27 November 2014
mgilmour
Whoops! A complete oversight on my part! themindwarsaga.com is not registered ... Read More
27 November 2014
mgilmour
Thanks for that Kassey. :-) It's been an incredible journey....nearly ready to launch!
27 November 2014
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I've Just Seen The Future

Last week I was walking with my wife through our local shopping mall and came across a Virtual Reality (VR) Samsung display. Without any hesitation at all we both donned headsets and headphones to experience what the latest and greatest VR was really like.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with VR it involves putting on some goggles and the images for each eye are slightly misaligned so that you get true 3D vision. The headphones are regular and are typically designed to block out any external noise. A head tracking device completes the kit so that when you move your head the images that you are viewing also move.

Escrow.com

I first experience VR about twenty years ago at the Walt Disney Imagineering labs and it was incredible so I was looking forward to seeing what the latest and greatest was like.

The VR gear that we were testing was built by kickstarter funded Oculus Rift (later purchased by Facebook for a couple of billion) and the headset used a Samsung Galaxy phone for displaying the images. It’s incredible how far the computing power of a phone has come!

What I was really looking for was immersion. That point in time where I actually believed that I was where my eyes and ears were telling me.

The simulation that I was experiencing was an ocean dive where I could swim with fish and eventually encounter a great white shark. It really was incredible to be able to look around and see everything. The actual shark encounter was pretty good although being eventually eaten and inside the stomach was a little macabre.

I found the head tracking and the displaying of the images really good. I’d move my head and the image would instantly follow. In the past this would create a sense of motion sickness as the image would lag behind your movement. The only time I did feel a little off was when the simulation moved me up towards the boat. I was doing anything and yet I was moving….this was a little off-putting.

For a device that will sell for a few hundred dollars it was an amazing experience. It has the potential to bring a whole new level of meaning to tele-computing, gaming and education.

For instance, could you imagine your classroom teacher talking about Neil Armstrong landing on the moon and the whole class was waiting for him as he stepped down the off the Lunar Module! Now, that’s a whole new level of education!

Right now Sony, Oculus and Samsung are the forerunners in VR technology. There are quite a number of smaller startups doing some interesting things as well to facilitate the integration of movement and doing things such as simulating your hand in the virtual environment. All really cool stuff!

If you get a chance, I would highly recommend trying it out. VR is almost there but I’m sure with a bit more time that it will truly be a world changing technology. BTW – Oculus is planning on releasing their commercial headset around mid-next year.

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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
Click here to advertising on whizzbangsblog.com

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mgilmour
It's going to be really interesting as the line between reality and illusion becomes blurred. I actually believe that this could b... Read More
25 November 2014
mgilmour
I'm in with this Kassey!
25 November 2014
mgilmour
LOL! What more can I say!
25 November 2014
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Writing a novel

Since May last year I've been writing my first science fiction novel and releasing it by episodes on FireFallTribes.com.  When I first started writing I just bashed out the episodes to get the done quickly so that I could get on with business and real life......and then a strange thing happened.

I found myself getting more and more wrapped up in the story, the characters and the various settings. It was engrossing! I wanted to find out what was going to happen next and the only way to do it was to write the next chapter. So just on 80,000 words later I found that I had the first draft of my novel.

What has surprised me is that nearly 2,000 people have been enjoying the journey and providing valuable feedback as they've read each episode. It's been really humbling to get some of the feedback as readers have shared some of their thoughts on the highs and lows as the story unfolded.

So I'm nearly at the end of the first rewrite now. Only about 40 pages to go....which is great! The big test will come when my wife Roselyn reads the manuscript (she really doesn't like scifi) and checks the grammar and continuity of the storyline. From there it will go to a professional editor and then onto getting self-published as an ebook.

It's the first book in a series and I've already mapped out book two....so stay tuned!

It just go to show what you can do when you really put your mind to it. If you have always wanted to write a book then I'd highly recommend the process.....it's a LOT of work but also very fulfilling. Don't expect to make a million dollars, just do it for the joy of creating something you've always wanted to do.

For those of you that are wondering....I'm still finalising the name of the book. Initially it was called "The Chosen Invasion" but his is going to change.

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