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, Battl...eframe. 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. More

Domain Sales Needs a Revolution

Out of all of the different domain investment business models I find myself still a little stumped by some of the actions who invest for domain sales. I understand traffic monetisation and development makes sense but sales is one where I scratch my head…..

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I know there are people that make money from domain sales, but it almost seems like a lottery where a domain name is the ticket. The only way to win is to keep on increasing the number of tickets you have in the draw. Inevitably the law of diminishing returns comes into play and a pile of domains are dropped as they were obviously the wrong tickets…..sigh.

Being a numbers guy, I wanted to dig into what was going on in this part of the industry so the first thing I did was make some back of the envelope calculations in Excel. I’ve often commented that Excel is the best computer game on the market….it allows you to model just about anything and then time travel into what would happen in the future. Awesome!

I should say at the outset that I’m looking at the domains that fall into the stock-turn category. So those of you that have the premium top of the line domains should block their eyes at about now….actually, keep them open them for the next couple of paragraphs.

Premium domains….are an interesting concept. You speak to most domain investors and they’ll tell you about their awesome list of domains and like a guy selling you watches down a dark alley they’ll ask you if you want to buy one.

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Saturday Musings - Your First Taste of Freedom

This past week I’ve had the pleasure of watching as one of my daughters achieved a milestone that she will never forget. She’d been working incredibly hard in multiple jobs and had managed to save up enough money to buy her first car.

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There’s something really special about your first car. Yes, in your late teens it represents the single biggest purchase you may have made in your life up until that date, but your first car is a lot more than just an asset. It represents a sense of new found freedom and that you’re beginning to cut the parental strings.

“What time will you be home?” is answered somewhat like, “When the car brings me.”

I remember my first car, it was a Mazda 1200. Sounds really sporty until you realise the 1200 stands for the size of the engine in millilitres. For those of you that aren’t enlightened about the wonders of the metric system and how everything ends in zero then this is about 2.536 pints. A simpler way of understanding the engine size is to imagine a reasonable sized motorbike engine and then say to yourself, “That looks about right.”

My first car cost me $200 and came with air conditioning. Well, sort of anyway. The floor was so rusted out that you would get a beautiful rush of air that tickled your toes as you drove down the road. This was great in summer but in winter it was miserable until I squashed a few coke cans down to cover the holes.

The driver seat was bent way back and so being an enterprising young man I built it up with some blankets so that I didn’t feel like I was in a recliner lounge as I drove down the road.

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mgilmour
Now I am green with envy! A Cessna 172!!!
12 August 2018
Rawgi
I would just love to have an old FJ40 about now. We didn't get any of those cars like you had in Australia. Interesting how we w... Read More
12 August 2018
Rawgi
I have had over 80+ cars and trucks , and motorcycles over the years, but my first was a 1954 Chevrolet 2 dr hardtop. Leaked oil... Read More
11 August 2018
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Interview by Ed Keay-Smith

Ed Keay-Smith interviewing me for domainer.com.au

I was just interviewed by Ed Keay-Smith from domainer.com.au the other day. I was first interviewed by Ed over a decade ago and it was great to spend some time together again reflecting about the domain industry.

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We covered a wide range of topics including; monetisation, the new gTLDs, domain sales and a bit of history about what has happened in the domain industry over the years.

I hope you enjoy the video.

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Is Domain Parking Dead?

Monetisation is NOT dead!

In this blog I’m going to be a little like Rick Schwartz and have a rant. Many domain investors make the mistake of assuming that domain parking is dead and the only real business model is available to them is domains sales. Is domain parking dead? No, it’s not dead but for a growing number of investors it’s morphed into something a lot more sophisticated.

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One of the strengths and weaknesses of traditional domain parking is that behind all the smoke and mirrors lies Google. Google buys a lot of the domain traffic because they have a huge breadth of advertisers. If you have a website that is about "Norwegian Knitting" then it’s likely Google can put relevant advertisements on the page.

The weakness of traditional domain parking is that Google has manoeuvred itself into an unassailable position and has then exploited this position by continually reducing pay-outs. Domain investors shouldn’t be surprised by this behaviour as it’s economically rational in a world that is driven by quarterly earnings calls….so stop complaining and just get over it.

Notice what I said earlier…..Google buys a lot of the traffic. Just because Google is wanting to buy your traffic doesn’t mean you have to sell everything to them. It would be far more sensible to only sell to Google what Google is paying fairly for and then sell to other people what they want to pay more for.

What I've found is the majority of domainers are like a person selling a bucket full of oranges. The buyer (ie. Google) asks if you can throw in your car with the deal and with a grateful smile you say “yes”. In fact, it’s a bit worse than that. Domain investors are selling oranges and Google takes the car without asking because they believe they deserve it. Remember they still only paid orange prices for your car.

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Wolftalker
And 'wow, that's amazing', you've nudged me. So I'll be bringing in a bunch of new domains and I hope we can do something. Che... Read More
06 August 2018
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Saturday Musings - My Business Continues to Grow!

My new target market

It’s been a while since I’ve written about my new burgeoning business and I thought that it was about time I updated everyone with how it’s going. To say I’ve been busy is a bit of an understatement but first, let me provide you with a quick recap.

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Early this year I set myself the challenge of launching a new venture and it was an instant success with the target market. I had customers flocking in from all over the place wanting to get access to the services I was providing.

I then wrote about the fact that I planned on tackling a new target market. This is quite often a risky proposition for a new business as the expenditure of stretched resources could end up disrupting existing clients and sending the whole venture bankrupt.

I just knew in my gut that this new segment wasn’t being served adequately and with no market research whatsoever I decided to push into the unknown. After tweaking my services, a number of times I’m pleased to inform readers that it’s been a great success!

Of course, the business I’m talking about is about how to attract birds (the flying variety) to my yard and more importantly just out my study window. As can be seen from the above photo I’ve managed to get a flock of cockatoos as customers and one of them even allowed me to handfeed it.

I must admit it was a surreal moment as I slowly crept up to the beautiful bird and extended my hand with some seed in it. It felt like a complete endorsement of my whole business model….and that’s often what success is all about.

So what lessons did I learn along this perilous journey? For a start, when something wasn’t working I changed things up. For instance, the bird bath wasn’t in the right position and my fine feathered customers were ignoring it, so I moved it to a new location. Voila! Suddenly I had customers dive bombing the water in an effort to avail themselves of the service I was offering.

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Wolftalker
...are fab aren't they!
04 August 2018
mgilmour
It was a great experience feeding the cockatoos.
05 August 2018
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