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

Domain Association - Part 1

Over the last few months I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on the topic of establishing a domain industry association for everyone. The domain industry is being rocked by forces that as individuals we have little control over but as a corporate body we could directly influence.

In the following series of articles I would like to tackle the topic in the following manner:
1.    The associations vision and overarching principles
2.    Constitution, board and elections
3.    Purpose of the executive
4.    Benefits to members

I welcome any and all feedback on the topic as I personally believe that it is critical that we work together to achieve a better outcome for us all. I should also state up front that I don’t believe that I have all of the answers but that I am prepared to kick the ball into play.

Principles and Vision

When you think of successful associations they have a number of guiding principles that underpin the ethos of how the organisation functions, makes decisions and interacts with members. The following are proposed as the principles that should be central to a domain association:
1.    Inclusive
2.    Representative
3.    Transparent

Inclusive
The association should embrace all stakeholders from within the domain industry. Everyone from the end-user wishing to protect their intellectual property rights through to registries, registrars and monetisation partners. Policies ratified by the board need to be for the betterment of the future of the majority of the stakeholders – note that this doesn’t necessary mean all stakeholders.

 

Being inclusive also means that the association must be truly global. Although the USA founded the Internet, amidst the pressures of the cold war, it has now become a global utility for all of humanity. The structure and foundation of the association needs to reflect this migration.

Representative
As much as the association is inclusive it must also be representative. This means that the board must reflect all the stakeholders from all the geographic regions and not just the members with the biggest pockets. A truly representative board would reflect the structure of the membership and also be a hotbed of innovation solutions to what are sometimes intractable problems.
A lot more on the board later.

Transparent
One of the major problems with the domain industry is the lack of transparency. The association needs to be transparent in the manner in which it operates and as a matter of policy work with the key stakeholders to help change the way the industry behaves so that the industry can grow.

Vision

So what is the vision for the association? First of all it needs to be something that all stakeholders can embrace to a greater or lesser degree. Something simple such as:

“The freedom to be innovative in the development of online destinations with domain names.”

Internet user:  

Freedom to go where I want.
Do you realise that apps create a walled garden etc.

Domain Owner:

Freedom to build my investment portfolio.
I should be able to invest where I want to invest.

Registry & Registrar:

Freedom to have domains used.
User’s should be able to stake their plot of land on the Internet with a domain name.

Monetisation:

Freedom to sell direct navigation.
Investors should be able to sell their domain traffic to whomever they please.

Sales:

Freedom to sell (in some jurisdictions this is still very difficult)
I should be able to sell or buy a domain if I want to.

         
A key word in the vision is innovation. One of the many problems in the domain monetisation industry is that Google has sought to block innovation through legal means, ultimately control of the pages themselves and a lack of transparency of payments. The stifling of innovative approaches to monetisation needs to be urgently addressed.

I initially had the word business rather than destination but I believe that the internet is bigger than business. It’s about places that people want to find and explore. It’s about people that help other people and where everyone can have a voice….therefore they are destinations.

As I said in the introductory article, this will be a series that I hope provokes a lot of discussion….so feel free to contribute!

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Why I'm not buying into the new gTLDs

With the all-pervasive hysteria about the new gTLDs I feel like I’m going a bit against the flow. So why aren’t I getting into a buying frenzy and forking out wads of cash?

In a previous blog I talked about having a business model for each domain name that I own, the problem is I can’t see a business model with the new gTLDs.

Let’s just think about it for a second; they won’t have any traffic, with the glut of opportunities available they won’t really be that sellable and I don’t need another domain to build into business (I’ve got enough to last a lifetime!). Hmmm…..so what is the business model? How am I going to get my return on my investment? I’m not…plain and simple.

On top of there not being a business model I find that it’s also all about focus. Since 2014 started ParkLogic is has been going through a massive growth spurt and we’re in the middle of a major developmental project. We hope to have this ready for release at DomainFest at the end of March. I don’t want to lose my focus from ParkLogic on something that is more of a gamble playing the lottery.

So when you place your hard earned cash on the table ask yourself two simple questions:
1.    What is my return on my investment?
2.    When will this happen?

If you can’t ask these questions then I suggest that you attend TRAFFIC in Las Vegas and put your money on the roulette wheel. At least you may have some fun!

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Donna Takes the Plunge!

Donna Mahony has made the big decision to leap into the world of blogging. For those of you that don’t know, Donna is the queen of the domain forums and has run domainboardroom.com for many, many years.

DomainBoardroom.com is a closed forum that is only accessible by applicants being approved by the entire community. It’s amazing to see competitors, domain owners and other industry professionals discussing domain topics and working together for the betterment of the industry.

I know that Donna has a huge amount of expertise in the domain industry and as she says on her very first blog…..she’s going to bring her own point of view to the articles that she writes. So get ready for some great reading!

I would like to wish Donna good luck and every success and would highly recommend that you place her blog on your watch list!

You can visit Donna’s Blog at not surprisingly donnasblog.com

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2014 - The Year Ahead

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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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