Blogs about the domain industry and the various players and companies within it.

DomainFest Macau - Here I come!

Once again I find myself sitting in the Qantas club at Melbourne airport waiting for my plane to head to DomainFest in Macau. It's been a little while since Namescon earlier this year and I'm really excited to catch-up with many of my domaining friends and make some new ones.

So why do I make all of these long-haul journeys? No surprisingly, I've found the more you attend conferences, the more friends you make and the more business results. What's great is that  I'm now conducting business with friends not just partners or clients. We've known each other for so many years that in many cases I know all of their children as well.

Escrow.com

So when I look at DomainFest Macau I'm really hoping to not just "do business" but make new friends. It's taking the long-term view that helps build good solid businesses and long-lasting friendships.

I'm really looking forward to speaking at the conference and have been asked to be share in two sessions. It should be a great time.....and even more so as we work with a Chinese interpretter.

If you aren't going to DomainFest then it's not too late! It would be great to catch-up and swap domaining stories. In the meantime, my flights just been called so I'd better get going.

Safe travels everyone!

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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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DomainFest Asia - not long now!

I’m really excited about attending DomainFest in Macau. Once again Jothan Frakes and the team have put together an incredible event that is attracting many domain luminaries as well as individuals that are new to the industry.

For those that don’t know, Macau is an old Portuguese colony about an hours’ boat ride from Hong Kong. It’s known as the Vegas of south-east Asia and includes many of the familiar hotels from that famous city….such as, The Venetian and the Wynn.

Escrow.com

It’s a short 9 hour flight for me to Hong Kong and when the event was announced I couldn’t resist attending. As well as this, I think that it was a stroke of genius to put a conference on only a couple of hours’ time zone change for me! How could I say no?

As soon as I signed-up Jothan tapped me on the shoulder for a few panels which I always enjoy. This industry has given so much to me, that like my blog, it’s one of the ways I like to give back. If you’re attending then be prepared for some sessions of in-depth analysis and insights into the domain industry.

So what do I like most about attending conferences like DomainFest? It’s the attendees that really make the event. The industry fosters an entrepreneurial spirit that can’t help but inspire you forward in your own ventures. I’m certain that the many different conversations will open doors to incredible opportunities.

What’s going to be fantastic is meeting domain investors from all over Asia. From my experience they have a unique and often very different outlook on what it means to be a domainer. Whether you’re from India, Korea, China, Hong Kong or any of the many different countries in the region I would love to speak with you to get your thoughts on where you think the industry is headed.

For those of you that are wondering how to get to Macau the DomainFest.Asia website has a great video created by Simon Cousins. He literally takes you on a tour of exactly what to do to get from Hong Kong airport to the conference….many thanks for putting this together Simon!

DomainFest runs from Sept 4-7th and I believe that it will be an event that will become a regular fixture in the industry’s calendar. I look forward to seeing everyone there!

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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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The Domain Conference Awards!

I must admit that I'm pretty excited about attending the upcoming "Domain Conference" in Fort Lauderdale. I can't remember how many times I've traveled across the Pacific Ocean to attend a conference convened by Howard and Barbara Neu....and each one of them has been brilliant!

So now to the awards.....if you would like to nomiate a person for an award then you must send in the below form by the 20th August, 2015 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Don't forget to book your ticket as the event will be held on the 26-29th September at the prestigious Hyatt Regency in Fort Lauderdale.

You may nominate only one person in each category”:

The categories are:

DOMAIN DEVELOPER OF THE YEAR

I nominate _____________________________________________

DOMAIN BLOGGER OF THE YEAR

I nominate _____________________________________________

BEST REGISTRY OF THE YEAR

I nominate ______________________________________________

BEST REGISTRAR OF THE YEAR

I nominate _______________________________________________

DOMAIN BROKER OF THE YEAR

I nominate ______________________________________________________

DOMAIN INVESTOR OF THE YEAR

I nominate ______________________________________________________

BEST COMPANY IN THE INDUSTRY FOR 2015

I nominate ______________________________________________________

GOODWILL AMBASSADOR AWARD

I nominate ______________________________________________________

DOMAIN INDUSTRY HALL OF FAME

The following have already been inducted into the DOMAIN INDUSTRY HALL OF FAME: MIKE BERKENS, JOHN BERRYHILL, MONTE CAHN, DAVID CASTILLO, MICHAEL CASTILLO, MICHAEL CYGER, SCOTT DAY, ADAM DICKER, CHAD FOLKENNING, JEFF GABRIEL, RON JACKSON, RICK LATONA, IGAL LICHTMAN (Deceased), MIKE MANN, HOWARD NEU, SAHAR SARlD, FRANK SCHILLING, RICK SCHWARTZ, YUN YI

I nominate ______________________________________________________

I would like to wish everyone all the best in being nominated.

Cheers!

Michael

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Common Domainer Misconceptions

One of the easist mistakes many domain investors make is paying too much attention to their average daily revenue and not really understanding what it really means. The average daily revenue is made up from all of the individual earnings of each domain in a portfolio…..which makes sense but underneath that statement is a lot of hidden meaning.

A couple of years ago I met with the CEO of a large domain portfolio and they were amazed when I began to unpack the data that made up their average figures. So let’s look at a number of the misconceptions that many people hold to around their average numbers.
 

The Law of Averages

It's best to look at an example to illustrate what I'm talking about. Let's imagine that you have two domains in a portfolio, A.com and B.com. The average earnings per day for A.com is $1 and B.com is $0.10. Obviously, the average daily earnings for the portfolio is $1 + 0.10 = $1.10 per day.

If you are able to increase the earnings of B.com by 50% (which is a lot) then the earnings become $1.15 per day....which is barely a blip on the radar for most portfolio owners. Now here's the interesting part. Most people have 10 times more type B domains compared to type A domains. This means the average daily earnings is actually $1 + 10 x $0.10 = $2 per day.

Escrow.com

If we increase the earnings of all type B domains by 50% then the results is $3 per day or 33% increase overall in earnings. This is a substantial uplift and is ACTUALLY ACHIEVABLE....all you need to do is really think about how your domains earn revenue. Here are three misconceptions that many domainers don't really think about.
 

Misconception One - Park All Of Your Domains At One Place

The problem with most domain owners is that they leave all of their domains with a single monetisation provider. This strategy can have a dramatic impact on your earnings.

After collecting data across the last 8 years at ParkLogic we've seen that no single parking/monetisation source wins more than 25% of the traffic at any point in time. This means taht you could be getting paid more for your traffic 75% of the time!

What's interesting is that this doesn't really depend that much upon your revenue shares etc. You could be getting paid 100% and the results are still much the same. The reason for this is that around 30% of the domains move every 3 months to a new higher paying solution. Finding out which 30% should move is part of our "secret sauce".

If you want to increase your revenue then do NOT place all of your traffic domains with a single source.
 

Misconception Two – Google Pays The Most

As much as parking companies endeavour to optimise traffic they largely have their hands tied behind their backs by Google. How is this? For a start, assuming that your domain is not blocked by Google (ie. it’s not a bad domain) then contractually the traffic for that domain MUST first be monetised by Google to the exclusion of all other monetisation solutions. This means that the domain traffic ONLY gets Google’s best price and this is not necessarily the top price that a domainer can receive for their traffic.

Never forget, that although Google is a key domainer partner they are obligated to first increase shareholder value and that improving your revenue comes in a distant second place. As can be seen from the below graph, for the past ten years Google has been driving down their Traffic Acquisition Cost (TAC). The domain traffic channel is a part of the TAC.

Google TAC

I recently conducted a test on a small domain portfolio that were being paid less than 1RPM by Google by routing the whole lot to tier 2 providers. The result was a 37% increase in revenue. This increase would never have been realised if I hadn’t conducted the test.

The next stage in the test is to continue to route the domains that were performing better on tier 2 and re-route the balance back to Google. Finally, the optimum answer is to then automate the process so that the traffic will always be paid the highest price by the entire market….and not just the Google market.

It’s clear that by continuously driving TAC down Google has now reached the point where tier 2 providers are clearly competitive. I don’t know any domainer that wouldn’t be happy with a 37% uplift in revenue! In a future article I want to really pull apart TAC and what it means for domainers.
 

Misconception Three - The Euro to $US Exchange Rate

What many domainers don’t take into account is that the Euros/$US exchange rate can play a very real part in the average performance of a portfolio.

For example, let’s imagine that we are comparing the performance of a portfolio 30th June 2015 against the same time in the previous year. During this time the exchange rate has decline from 1.37 $US per Euro to 1.12 $US per Euro. That’s a decline of 22% that impacts negatively the numbers of any earnings for US domainers earned in Europe. Conversely, European domainers are loving the decline in their currency as the majority of online advertising flows from the US and they get paid via the US/Euro exchange rate!

Exchange Rates

Let’s make this a little simpler to understand. Let’s image that in June 2014 a European domainer parked with Domain Sponsor (US company) and they earned $1. They would have received $1 /1.37 or 0.73 euros. Ignoring all other effects that same domainer would now earn $1 / 1.12 or 0.89 euros. This is a big change in earnings that is largely brought about by the currency fluctuations.

The massive decline in the euro has meant that European domainers are enjoying a free increase in their parking earnings courtesy of absolutely no one. So many of the German domainers really need to go and thank their southern Greek friends.

So when a baseline is taken from a previous point in time....one of the things that you may have to consider in determining the success or failure of a test is the exchange rate. You also need to think about where your traffic routes through to and whether you can take advantage of the local advertisers and exchange rates.

 

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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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The Cult of Personality

In every industry there are people that we all can be tempted to aspire to be like. I’ve watched some domainers desperately believe that if they follow an industry celebrity then they will achieve the same level of success. Sadly, they get swayed by a personality and completely ignore the results.

When you’re at a conference it’s really easy to get caught up in all the hype and you can fool yourself into believing that everyone is much more successful than you. Let me say from the outset that the great majority of numbers that you hear can be divide by at least three. So don’t panic and just keep your eye on your own key business metrics.

Escrow.com

When you get home from a conference and sit there alone wondering how you’re going to pay your domain renewals, the parties and personalities seem to become a distant memory. All that counts is the bottom line.

So don’t be swayed by the personalities…..dig into your own numbers. It takes a lot of work and skill to understand what is actually going on with a domain portfolio so that you can make sound business decisions rather than an emotional ones.

Don’t get me wrong, I love having a great time as much as the next person and it’s often the personalities in our industry that make it so exciting and vibrant. But business is all about making wise decisions rather than jumping from one miracle cure to another because someone said that the new solution was just so awesome!

Always ask yourself the question, "Who is ultimately who is looking after my valuable assets?" Are they measured individuals that will treat your family’s inheritance with the respect that it deserves or will they party like there’s no tomorrow on the value of your domains?

I don’t know about you but there are some personalities in this industry that I wouldn’t let within a hundred feet of my assets! The short-term excitement of being with these individuals may be exhilarating but remember when you leap off a cliff the fall doesn’t kill you….it’s the inevitability of the ground rushing towards you that does the damage.

Our whole industry is built on numbers. Numbers of people come to our domains, numbers of people click and numbers make up our revenue. Don’t lose sight of the fact that it’s the numbers and not the personalities that we should be watching.

There's a great saying that goes something like this, "Don't speak to the butcher if you want to invest in precious stones....speak to the jeweller." In other words, find the real experts in the industry and get to know them. They are often the ones that are quietly going about do their work.

And ultimately, get inspired by others but don’t aspire to be like them…..just be yourself.

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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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