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

Why I Struggle with Domain Sales

The problem with domain sales

Let me say right up front that domain sales as a business model is really difficult way to try to make a living. There are some exceptions to this statement, but they are few and far between.

Escrow.com

The problem with most domain sales is they are more a function of luck than of a carefully planned strategic decision. They happen so infrequently that for the majority of investors they don’t know when and what quantum of size the next sale will be. This makes planning in your business next to impossible.

For instance, let’s imagine you have a portfolio of 5,000 domains and during the last 12 months you sold a domain for $5,000 in January, one for $20,000 in June and finally one for $5,000 in September. This brings the total of your sales to $30,000.

This sounds great and everyone trumpets the $20,000 sale when you get together at NamesCon in January. What most people don’t tell you is the fact their renewals are $50,000 and during the last 12 months they went backwards by $20,000. Sure, this is a contrived example but I think you can get my meaning.

The dream is that one day you’ll sell a domain for $1,000,000 and all the waiting and constant reinvestment will be worth it. I hate to rain on your parade but given that only a handful of domains are sold for these sums of money each year then your aspiration will likely remain a pipedream.

The question I want to ask sales investors is actually quite simple, “What domains do you drop to reduce your costs so you're profitable?”

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Wolftalker
..words of wisdom.
06 November 2019
mgilmour
Thanks for that!
06 November 2019
ideafarmer
As I sit on a 1000 domains portfolio dependent on occasional sales and hoping for a big sale... you make me reconsider my strategy... Read More
06 November 2019
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30th Anniversary of the Australian Internet

Celebrating 30 years of the Internet

A few days ago, I had the privilege of being invited to attend a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Internet in Australia. The event was held in Sydney and was organised by Peter Coroneos, the former CEO of the Internet industry association, and was supported by the “who’s who” of the Australian Internet industry.

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As a former director of the association it was great catching up with past colleagues and journeying down memory lane together as we recounted how the Internet has transformed our lives. For the first time in Australia’s history we were no longer isolated by our geography as the Internet brought us within one hundred milliseconds of everywhere in the world.

I chatted with a director of the association who is now running a university business incubator program. He asked me what he should say to the budding entrepreneurs under his charge. I said to him, “Get them overseas as fast as possible and open their eyes to the fact that Australia is no longer geographically isolated.”

Amongst many other things, the speech made by Paul Fletcher, who is the Minister of Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, picked up on the point that Australians had embraced the global marketplace. They had done this not only as consumers but also from businesses investing in reaching overseas markets via the Internet. So watch out world, here us Aussies come!

Honourable Paul Flecter

Paul Fletcher - Ministry for Communications, CyberSafety and the Arts

During the evening, many industry luminaries were highlighted for their efforts, either as entrepreneurs, technical experts or from a policy perspective. It was also sad to hear of the passing of others who had contributed so much to not just the Australian Internet industry but played valuable roles on the global stage.

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Saturday Musings - America IS Great

We the people...

When President Trump unveiled his presidential campaign slogan of “Make America Great Again” I was a little confused. Being from Australia and a frequent traveller to the USA I can unequivocally say that America has always been great and is still great.

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After flying for fourteen hours from Melbourne in an A380 it’s a welcome relief to step off the plane in Los Angeles. You know what the first thing I notice is? No, it’s not the security guards, the chaos of immigration or the queue for the taxis. It’s opportunity.

Sadly, some Americans have become so used to the opportunities around them that they can’t see them anymore. As a foreigner let me tell you right now that America was not just a land of opportunity for the early settlers, but it is very much still a land of opportunity right now.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Australia but in terms of opportunities when I’m at a conference in the USA I feel like I’ve come from the desert and entered a tropical paradise. Every conversation has bigger numbers in it, people are willing to give something a go and even failure is seen as just one of life’s many lessons.

Just over ten years ago I took my family to the USA for a six-month road trip. It was an amazing experience where we travelled the length and breadth of the nation in a Dodge Grand Caravan. During our trip the thing that impacted us the most was the openness and hospitality of the American people.

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vanclute
The funny thing is that's not even an original slogan. Trump appropriated it from Reagan (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Make_Amer... Read More
27 October 2019
Rawgi
I won't even go into what I think of Trump. Thanks for thinking America is a great place, its nice to know someone does. There ... Read More
29 October 2019
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Part 5 - Traffic Test - The Results Three Months Later

The revenue trend continues to rise.

This is the fifth in the series on running a traffic test. I thought that I would return to the traffic test series and update readers on the results since the last article in July. The question that I wanted to know was whether the positive numbers previously reported were sustainable or whether they crashed back to reality.

The first four articles in the series can be viewed at:
Part 1 – Baseline Data

Part 2 – Focusing on Performance
Part 3 – Improving the Revenue
Part 4 – Show Me the Money!

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I would remind you that the data is being pulled from the ParkLogic client interface and this wasn’t a “special” customer that just so happened to be doing well. In fact, I didn’t know what the results would be prior to writing the first article.

The great news is that both the revenue and RPM trends have continued to increase. The revenue has increased above the baseline from 46% back in July to 55% as of now. I would have thought the trend would have levelled off by now but it’s continuing to increase.

Revenue chart

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mgilmour
Thank you for your comment. Just to let you know, we have a mixture of direct advertisers, affiliate, PPC and CPM based advertisin... Read More
22 October 2019
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Some Domainers are Just Dumb

Are you domaining with ancient or modern tools?

I was reading an article on TheDomains.com about domain traffic monetisation and the comment list ended up being filled with doom and gloom. I found the comments tended to spring from domainers harkening back to the “good old days” when raking in money from their traffic was easy. Many of them also showed a complete lack of understanding about how monetisation has moved on from the “good old days”.

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I will once again say upfront that I’m one of the founders of ParkLogic and we monetise domain traffic but in a very different manner from ANY other provider. We work with almost all of the traditional parking companies and many of the global advertising networks. This gives us a unique perspective on the industry, and I believe provides us with some authority to speak on the subject of monetisation.

I would first like to tackle the common misconception that parking providers are thieves. Contrary to popular belief, we find the parking providers are not fraudulent and stealing your money. They are often as in the dark as you are as to why a domain’s earnings have fallen apart or why a clawback was applied to your account. Google is pulling all of strings and they don’t share squat with their partners.

Before you go accusing your account manager of theft think twice. They are actually your best friend who represent you to their larger organisation. I’ve heard of some account managers being treated despicably and it’s about time some bad domainers act a little more professionally. Thank goodness most domain investors ARE professional in their approach.

That all being said, have some parking providers attempted nefarious behaviours in the past? Absolutely! In fact, on the whole these companies are no longer in business. They’ve either been caught out by their customers or partners for doing the wrong thing and have now been expunged from the industry. This means the companies that have survived are generally pretty good.

Now let me comment on the state of play of domain monetisation. Is it dead? Nope. Is it dead for some people? Yes. The major reason why domain investors believe that domain monetisation is dead is because they keep on doing the same thing they always have. Go figure?

Let’s think about this for a bit. Many domain investors complain about declining revenues and then do nothing about it. They may change parking providers but that’s just like changing which cabin you’re going to sleep in on the Titanic.

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Jay
I notice you promote .icu I am owner of lifesavings.icu and funny enough, I was on the registry site for .promo and noticed the us... Read More
21 October 2019
mgilmour
Great point Jay!
21 October 2019
mgilmour
Matt, I couldn't agree with you more. I remember writing an article in 2008 where I said, we are in a bubble and everyone should s... Read More
21 October 2019
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