How to Grow Your Domain Business

I get asked, “Michael, how can I grow my business?” a lot. More often than not my reply often starts by saying, “You’re not going to like what I have to say….”

I’ve been in business for nearly 35 years and some things just don’t change. The first is that there is no such thing as a free lunch. In other words, if you want to eat then it’s going to take a lot of effort.

So many of us get entranced by the mega-success stories that we never realise that behind the scenes there’s more often than not a person working 12+ hours per day. You go to a conference, hear from an inspirational business leader about their great success and wonder why you can’t be like them. What you haven’t considered is the fact that they have compacted 20 years of their life into a thirty minute presentation… everything seems so incredibly brilliant!

For example, my daughter announced to me the other day that she wanted to become a Youtube star (don’t we all). She’d found out about a Youtube star that is now earning millions of dollars in endorsements per year and thought that sounded like a great job.

Here’s the disconnect for her…..she doesn’t have anyone following her but the star has millions. To build my daughter’s business will take a LOT of hard work producing quality content and then climbing the social media ladder by swapping “likes” with other Youtubers. This will very like end up being a multi-year journey… a little disheartening for my daughter.

You really can’t get out of it, businesses take a lot of time, energy and effort to get going. In the domain industry, it’s not uncommon to have two year sales cycles to get a potential client to run a test for their traffic domains. This is even though it literally takes seconds to update a DNS....go figure?

Despite all the effort necessary to run a successful business is almost deceptively simple. All you have to do is add value for someone and then repeat, over and over again. The minute you stop adding value or repeating then your business will struggle.

Too many people spend too much time working on businesses that fundamentally don’t add any value. This is exactly the same in the domain sales industry. I’ve seen so many portfolios that the owner has faithfully renewed each year but never sells a single domain. The reason why is the domains aren’t adding value to any potential buyers.

Likewise, I’ve seen some domainers sell one or two domains per year and barely hang in there financially as they pray for a massive windfall to come and land on their head. It’s very likely it would be better to go and buy a lottery ticket and hope your numbers come up.

The reason why companies like Godaddy are successful is because they find buyers where they can add value and then they repeat the cycle time and time again.

Let’s compare this to the problems that Moniker encountered eighteen months or so ago. A lot of things went wrong with the company that caused both the add value and repeat aspects of the business to fall apart.

In comes new CEO Jothan Frakes and what does he focus on? Getting Moniker to once again add value and consistently repeating the value proposition for customers. Right now, Moniker is in the process of reinventing itself and I’ll be the first to say that I will not be surprised to see them become the domainer powerhouse registrar in the future. It will be a long journey but I’m confident the team will pull it off.

Another example of adding value and repeating would have to be Their business is run entirely on trust and they have to repeatedly add value or their customers would leave in droves.

I was speaking with the new general manager, Jackson Elsegood, yesterday and he said since the recent acquisition of by Freelancer one of the first things they were working on was 24/7 support. He wanted to ensure Escrow’s global footprint would be serviced by global support. It was all a part of adding value to customers and being always available.

Likewise, as one of the founders of ParkLogic I provide every customer with my personal skype address. They can reach out to me at any time if they experience any difficulties. I wanted to be the first person to know if customers were having problems. In conversations with clients I’m always looking for how we can add value and then repeat it. At the moment ParkLogic repeatedly processes around 40 million pieces of traffic per day and we add significant value with each one.

So how do you develop a blog and make it successful? Write articles that readers find engaging and don’t just write the same thing as everyone else. Next, do this three to four times per week year in and year out…..Google will love all the new content!

About 8 years ago Whizzbangsblog started out as a big experiment. I wanted to see if I could develop a brand that was so “way out there” simply by consistently adding value. Many of the other blogs seemed to be repeating news (some do a great job btw) but I wanted to dig a little deeper and bring some business insight into what was happening.

So here I am, still enjoying writing and readership is consistent (thank you!). Within the space of around 30 minutes of publishing an article around 200 people have read it and overtime many of the articles have been read by thousands of people. I’m not trying to brag about the success but rather to use it as an example of how anyone can actually develop a domain into a business.

So how do you make your business successful? There are many parts of this which I will go through in future articles but start with adding value and repeat this for your own customers. It’s a simple formula that works!


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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