Interview with Colin Campbell from .CLUB

As a part of the 10th Anniversary celebrations I’m talking with Colin Campbell from .CLUB. Colin is the CEO and one of the founders of .CLUB, and in the video he discusses what's been happening with .CLUB over the past year.

Colin then shares his thoughts on the controversial pricing increases that some registries have implemented. More importantly for .CLUB domain investors, he talks about why .CLUB is contractually and commercially bound not to follow suit.

This is quickly followed-up by the new startup initiative where .CLUB has purchased a building in Fort Lauderdale Florida for the startup community. They are in the process up fitting the building out and within the next 12 months plan on supporting over 30 startups both with investment and facilities.

I hope you enjoy the easy banter back and forth as Colin and I discuss a wide range of domain investment topics.


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Why .CLUB Is So Successful

I’ve been reflecting on some of the great companies that are being built in the domain industry and I couldn’t go past .CLUB. When you consider the new gTLD have only been in the marketplace for a couple of years it’s remarkable what .CLUB has achieved. There are so many new extensions launched and yet everyone seems to hold .CLUB in high regard. So the question I have is why?

Every company is not built on an excellent team and I just want to highlight a number of the team members that I regularly catch-up with at all the different domain shows around the world. I think that their attitudes and focus really provide a valuable insight into the .CLUB success story.

Colin Campbell (CEO)
Colin CampbellThere are a number of things that strike me about Colin and the first is passion. He’s passionate about .CLUB and provides such a focused drive to see it succeed. That being said, I’ve watched from the sidelines as he’s conducted deals that are beneficial for both parties. He isn’t a scorched earth CEO that has a win at all costs mentality but rather a collaborative one that wants to see others be successful as well.

Dirk Bhagat (CTO)
Dirk BhagatThe first time I met Dirk we were sitting around a fire pit at a hotel somewhere (can’t remember where). Underneath his easy going exterior ticks an incredibly smart individual that, like Colin, has seen the ebbs and flows of the technology industry across many years.


Jeff Sass (CMO)
Jeff SassAs chief marketing officers are concerned Jeff would have to be right up there with the most frequent milers ever clocked up. He’s everywhere! We recently chatted in Fort Lauderdale and he headed immediately to Cologne, Germany and we met up a few days later in Hong Kong. Not only does Jeff clock up the miles but he brings an incredibly creative mind to promote .CLUB to so many different cultures.

Michele Van Tilborg (VP Bus. Development, COO)
Michele Van TilborgLike the rest of the .CLUB team, Michele, clocks up the air miles as she makes sure that things happen in one country after another. To understand how dedicated she is to the .CLUB cause, while at DomainFest.Asia in Hong Kong, I watched as she had meeting after meeting, when she really should have been in bed due to being sick. She's a real powerhouse that gets things done.

There are other’s in the .CLUB team that also contribute but the above four are the people I have had the pleasure of interacting with directly. What I’m highlighting is the fact that a great, passionate, focused team is what’s driving the .CLUB brand. At .CLUB's core there is one particular value that seems to stand out more than everything else and that’s generosity.

It’s not often that you can call a business generous….after all, isn’t the goal to make money? When I look from the outside, .CLUB is generous (not stupid) in everything they do. They support the industry through their many sponsorship activities and are very generous with their time. They do whatever they can to help promote up and coming .CLUB based businesses.

For example, they are getting right behind George Verdugo (awesome, fun guy btw) in his plans for George has some incredible ideas for the website and with some of the rates he showed me it won’t be long before he climbs the travel websites ladder of success!

Another example of generosity, is one evening during “The Domain Conference” in Fort Lauderdale, Colin and his wife invited about sixty people to their home for dinner. The food was exceptional, conversation awesome and getting to know Colin’s wife was terrific… can really see the real power behind .CLUB :-)

.CLUB is inspirational on many fronts and I’m sure that over a few drinks the team will also share about the many mistakes they’ve also made. Which brings up a last point I would like to make…..they are a fun group to just hang out with. I think this last ingredient is what makes them a very special company…..they all individually and as a team seem to be having a great time expanding .CLUB to the world. Well done!

I thought that it was about time that I wrote about .CLUB as they are really and truly a real beacon of success for the new gTLDs. I really do believe that it's early days for the registry and it won't be long before .CLUB domain extensions are being used everywhere.

I want to state up front that I was not asked to write this article by anyone and that no one has twisted my arm in any manner whatsoever. I believe that great companies should be lauded and .CLUB is one of them.

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Guest Blog - Colin Campbell - CEO of .club

Colin Campbell, CEO of .club, asked if I would post this guest blog and after reading it I immediately agreed. Two great things about Colin is his insightfulness about the domain industry but also his willingness to admit it when he gets things wrong. This combination makes him one of the people in the domain industry that I would highly recommend that you pay attention to.

Guest Blog
Why I was Wrong about Domain Investors!

by Colin Campbell

Wow. What a ride.

Started a new company in 1993 called Internet Direct, eventually launched Tucows, Domain Direct, EasyHosting, Hostopia, GeeksForLess and then finally .CLUB.

Here is my confession: I am a product of the 90’s. Yes a dinosaur. A short period of time when we all thought we were coasting on the Star Ship Enterprise….where it all made sense. Money did not matter but coming together was the greater purpose. We were reinventing the world and starting a revolution of collectivism. Some entrepreneurs, my brother and myself included saw making money as a second purpose. It was a rare moment. The internet was, is, and will always be owned by the people of this small little speck of a planet called earth. It was the greatest innovation of our time, and maybe of all time. The 90’s was in fact, a small window in to humanity at its greatest moment. So many geeks, entrepreneurs, journalists, students, and entrepreneurs coming together to make the planet smaller.

Today as CEO  of .CLUB a new domain extension, competing with .COM, I reflect back on my years but also recognize it is a different time. Capitalism has taken hold. It’s become survival of the fittest. Do whatever it takes to survive. I do yearn for the days of the past.

I did a press conference in the late 90’s revealing the identity of Mafia Boy which hit every news channel including CNN calling all spammers internet terrorists. I had the same opinion of domain speculators, domain squatters, domain kidnappers at that time. I grouped them all into the same bucket. I even restricted all employees from domain investing. Here is where I went wrong and thankfully the Rick Swartz, Micheal Berkins, and later the infamous Frank Shilling created a market between those who wanted names for specific reasons and those who sold those names. Today domain investors really play a pivotal role from China to America. They connect with a confused and for good reason out of touch end user. They are thebackbone of the internet, the true brokers and entrepreneurs who work tirelessly to simplify the internet world we live in today. I was wrong. Maybe not so about spammers, phishers, DDOS’ers and the rest. But I was wrong about domain investors.

We recently announced a somewhat controversial decision to offer all expired names on SnapNames dropping auction. Internally, we had a great debate as to why we should not just reclaim the names and resell them through our registrar channel. Why would we let great names go for as low as $69. See I have come full circle now. Today domain investors are the glue that brings it all together for a new domain extensions. We will leave money on the table, but those domain extensions that have an army of domain investors working to get the names in right hands will be successful. It’s time the media, the industry and users recognize what domainers really do. They help connect people and make the internet a simpler place.



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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Recent Comments
Great article Colin / Michael, This is what many registries still don't understand. Domainers (Domain Investors) are the first t... Read More
30 September 2015
Couldn't agree with you more Joe!
02 October 2015
Guest —
I hope this apology is sincere, and I hope the other registries take note of a classy way to do it. Now, I'll see how this mea cu... Read More
30 September 2015
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