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

Tobias Flaitz Leaves Sedo – A Gentleman and a Scholar

Tobias Flaitz moves on from Sedo.

It was announced on the 4th January that CEO, Tobias Flaitz, was leaving Sedo and that Matthias Conrad was to replace him. For the past 7 years Tobias has steered Sedo through some tumultuous waters and in my opinion, he now leaves the company in a stronger state than when he arrived.

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Rather than report the facts of his leaving and trying to dig into the reasons for the change I thought that I’d share a few personal words about one of the captains of the domain industry.

When I first met Tobias at DomainFest in Los Angeles, he was both new to his position and the domain industry. I initially found him a little reserved as he took in the various industry players and formulated his own opinion of the domain industry and the role Sedo was playing in it.

When I reflect upon that conference, I imagine that at the time he was bombarded with a huge number of domain investors hoping this “new blood” would listen to their demands so I’m not surprised he was a “little reserved”.

Since he was new to the domain industry, Tobias provided a unique fresh perspective in how Sedo needed to move forward. One of his initial challenging tasks was to manage the transition from the Sedo founders. Many people underestimate whats involved in transitioning from visionaries like the founding team and I looked on in admiration as he managed the various stakeholders while building a dynamic new team to step up and take Sedo on the next stage of its journey.

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2018 - The Year That Was...

The year that was and the year ahead!

At this time of year, I like to spend some time reflecting on the state of the domain industry and in particular what I’ve been up to the past twelve months. Let me say from the outset that I’ve seen a LOT of changes take place and from my perspective most of them have been good.

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Development
At the end of 2017 I wrote about a project that I was working on that took domain development to a whole new level. Internally we now refer to this project as “Sites” and it’s now integrated into the main ParkLogic core systems.

Along the developmental journey there were a number of critical factors that needed to be resolved. Without revealing too much, amongst many other things, “Sites” now contains:

  1. A flexible templating system to display landers that is very different compared to any of the currently available platforms (eg. Word Press, Joomla etc.). Widgets can be placed anywhere on the page and they both display information to the user AND also pass data back to the traffic quality system.
  2. A quality system that used both web and behavioural analytics to determine the quality of the traffic being received by a domain. Each and every piece of traffic is scored appropriately, and this score is aggregated at the domain and account levels.
  3. A reporting system that produces actionable reports based upon analytics at a dashboard, domain and traffic level.
  4. A fully configurable API so that any data can be pulled from any “Sites” server and then analysed by either “Sites” customers or the ParkLogic team.
  5. A back-end administrative interface that provides the necessary data for managing massive numbers of instances of “Sites” as well as assisting in determining more optimal monetisation solutions.

At the moment “Sites” processes around five million queries per day and in 2019 we see it continuing to grow as we focus our analytical skills upon it. It’s been quite a journey since its inception and it’s definitely not over yet….not by a long shot. When you control the page there’s a HUGE amount that is possible and this innovation will flow on as a direct benefit to ParkLogic clients.

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Saturday Musings - Putting the Christ Back into Christmas

Christmas - love, compassion and sacrifice.

I do apologise if I offend anyone in this post….it is not my intention. Over the years I’ve noticed that Christmas has become more about commercialism and political correctness than it is about the true spirit of Christmas and the reason for it’s being.

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Christmas is a derivation of two words, “Christ’s mass”. According to etymology, Christmas is derived from the Middle English Cristemasse, which is from Old English Crīstesmæsse, a phrase first recorded in 1038 followed by the word Cristes-messe in 1131.

Christmas is all about Christ and the spirit of love, compassion and the ultimate sacrificial gift that he brought to the world. When I say, “Merry Christmas” to someone I’m wishing all of these Christ-like blessings upon them.

Whether you are a Christian, of some other faith or of no faith at all, you would have to acknowledge the fact that there was an extremely influential man about 2,000 years ago that walked the earth. Our whole dating system has been based upon him. BC is Before Christ and AD anno-domini or “in the year of our Lord”. In fact, many historians now acknowledge there is more historical evidence for Christ than there is for Julius Caesar.

If someone wishes you “Merry Christmas” they aren’t trying to force their faith upon you but rather wish you rich blessings. Likewise, if a person of Islamic faith says, “The peace of the prophet be upon you,” then I wouldn’t get upset either. They are wishing blessings upon you from their perspective and we should respect the giver and the gift appropriately.

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Which is the most important domaining metric?

What's the most important traffic metric?

Most people would answer this question with a smirk on their face and that the obvious answer is “revenue”. Although revenue is vitally important to any business, I would like to say that when it comes to domain traffic monetisation it is not THE most important.

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The problem with revenue is that it’s a very one-dimensional number that doesn’t tell you how your domain traffic is actually performing. If you only pay attention to the revenue, then it is very likely to be buffeted by traffic volume and this will distort your perception of performance.

Some people may leap to Earnings-Per-Click (EPC) and Click-Through-Rate (CTR) as being the most important metrics…..but they would also be wrong.

EPC is a representation of advertiser demand and CTR represents user engagement. The problem with both these numbers is they are dependent upon how a click is counted….and this varies between every different monetisation provider in the world!

You then have Revenue-Per-Thousand visitors (RPM). The definition of this metric is revenue / visitors x 1000. Although this is a better number that incorporates both revenue and views the question that immediately comes to mind is, “Who’s version of a view?”

Due to lack of standards in the domain industry there isn’t a single “view” definition that has been adopted by everyone. This means that I can claim to payout the highest RPMs simply by discounting back the number of views I count…..which makes RPM a bit of a meaningless metric when you’re trying to compare one company versus another.

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Saturday Musings – Achieving a Breakthrough

Achieve your breakthrough - attend Namescon!

I had a really good night last night. At 3am in the morning I was doing some development (yes….I am one of those founders that still does programming) and I’d finally wrangled a report to display exactly what I wanted it to show. Sounds pretty boring but trust me when I say that it was nothing short of euphoric!

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Programming is one of those strange disciplines where often a huge amount of work goes into something with nothing to show for the effort. Suddenly, at the end of it all a real breakthrough is achieved as the myriad of bits and pieces suddenly come together to make something beautiful.

It’s like an artist that starts painting a masterpiece from the edges and slowly works towards the centre. No one knows what he has in his mind until the finished result is hung on the wall but once it’s up everyone smiles and sees the brilliance of it.....so I thought!

So the next day I proudly showed my wife and daughters my programming Picasso. “Hey look at this report and what these buttons can do,” I proudly announced.

I don’t even think the ongoing conversation missed a beat as they glanced at my phone, smiled politely and continued on. That’s the thing about brilliance…..not many people see it as amazing, let alone as a monumental breakthrough.

I sometimes wonder what it would be like to transport the current generation back in time to using DOS and a pager. None of this “user interface” stuff that takes forever to develop….let them feel the power that comes from remembering that “format c:” is probably a bad idea.

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