Thinking about the domain name business and the Butterfly effect I mentioned in a recent post, I was left wondering what would have happened if I had never found this space. What would I have done for a living? There were people I encountered early in the domain-world who clearly inspired me to participate. Without them I would not have become who I am. I would likely never have registered a single domain name. When thinking about the evolution of the domain name industry over the past 10 years and trying to pinpoint a few people who have done so much, for so many, there is a short-list of names which jump out. John Berryhill the IP attorney has definitely helped shape this space over the last 10 years. His tireless and altruistic work on the IP side of the business has helped many a domainer and the precedents he helped set, gave each registrant of generic names a platform to build on. Few know John’s story and I hope it will be told one day. But that task is best left to the person I’d like to shine the light on today.
Who but Ron Jackson has built an encyclopedic history of the domain name business? Ron’s quiet personal mission has helped to create the domain name ‘industry’ dynamic in which we all co-exist. We all know that Ron began his journey in broadcasting, initially on the Radio and then on Television. Ron had a full television career before ever stumbling onto the niche of domain names. Ron is a special soul who has touched the lives of many, without necessarily realizing the gravity of his own contribution. He is really the original domain name reporter. Every blog about the domain space including my own, walks in Ron’s shadow.
I recently asked several domain name industry participants to reflect on Ron Jackson, to show what a difference a single person can make in the lives of so many others. Ron’s story is really our own – each of yours. We have all made a difference in the lives of others in this space. Each of us through our participation, has helped another. Consider these unedited comments about Ron Jackson, then digest how each one of these people, and others, have inspired you. Ron’s contribution is really emblematic of many quiet greats, who through their passion, created opportunity for others.
I admired Ron Jackson and his site for many years before I had the honor of meeting him. Ron’s DnJournal is simply the bible for the domain industry. The information Ron shared made him the go to source for domain news and domain sales. He singular formed the equivalent of MLS database of sales for the domain industry. Ron work and reporting gave every domainer the basis for supporting the value of their property. Ron’s background as a newsman gives him a unique and hugely valuable perception on the industry. Ron’s been quoted in every major publication on earth in support of domains and their valuation.
Every domainer alive owes a huge debt of gratitude to Ron for his tireless work, travel and reporting on the industry. Judi and I are proud to know him and call him and Diane a friend.
Finally he certainly has great taste in football teams. Go Bucs
I’d say Ron created the domain industry. Before Ron came along, I viewed domaining as just a bunch of individuals sitting at home buying domains with a handful of businesses, such a Moniker, offering services. Ron’s decision to report on the activities in the domain space and treat it as an industry deserving of being written about helped create the perception that the commercialization of domain names is its own industry.
The old saying of ‘If a tree falls in forest when no one is around, does it make a sound?’ applies here. Ron served as a witness to the happenings in the domain space that otherwise would have gone unnoticed. That Ron thought the domain space was important enough to be worth reporting on, made domaining important enough to be worth reporting on. He helped form the perception among those involved in domains that they we belonged to an industry, and by spreading awareness of activities within the industry, he helped the industry to mature. When Ron started, I don’t think there was anyone fulfilling a similar role, and there wasn’t for quite some time.
Unlike many journalists who pretend at friendship in order to get their sources to open up to reveal ‘gotcha’ info, Ron is a genuine friend and colleague to those he writes about. Ron is a class act, a gentleman in style and substance.
He is one of the rare people in the domain space who has found a way to encompass his family in his business activities. His wife is rarely away from his side, even as they travel to far-flung conferences. You can see the pride he takes in the accomplishments of his daughter, and even the daughter of friends, such as Lizzy Grant.
He is motivated by a desire to nurture the domain industry and to see it succeed. While some see Ron’s writing as lacking in skepticism and too full of ‘good news’, Ron does not hesitate to call out bad practices and clearly state his opinion when he sees actions he doesn’t agree with.
One thing that has struck me is Ron’s dedication and unslacking energy that he devotes to his reporting. He attends nearly every conference, and devotes untold hours to the thankless task of compiling all the sales reports. It is a service that he provides to the domain industry, and I have to wonder if it came at a cost as his time could probably have been more profitably spent growing his own portfolio. DNJournal is clearly a labor of love, and it has earned Ron a place as one of the pioneers of the domain industry.
My first direct interaction with Ron Jackson was back in March 2004. He had been around for a year or two and was the only one actually chronicling the day to day events around the domain world. He published the following interview with me and you could see his struggle with my persona even back then. Before we even had our first TRAFFIC show. http://www.dnjournal.com/columns/cover020204.htm
Ron is what most in journalism are re not. He is objective and not out for an “I gotcha moment” but rather more probing to see all sides as much and objectively as possible. Ron has done a great service for all of us. There is a record of every accomplishment in the space for nearly a decade. Priceless!!
Without his historical record keeping and tracking of sales, we would all be much more on the defensive and so many of our accomplishments would have gone unnoticed and forgotten soon after.
My first memory of Ron was; what a nice man. Being an alter boy as a child he reminded me of a priest. Someone that you could trust and confide in. I consider him and his wife Diana, lifetime friends. I would do just about anything for them if asked.
I feel Ron is one of the most knowledgeable personalities in the domain industry. Think about it. He sits through “every” panel and has traveled to almost all domain conferences. He is THE domainer scribe. When David and I first spoke with him on the Traffic Z cruise on the Florida inter-coastal back in 2006, he was like someone watching a tennis match as David and I went back and forth telling him of our story. He had such an excitement hearing about our domains and what were where doing with them. It was actually fun watching it register in his mind as we spoke. That is when he told us he would write about us in his journal. It was that article that put us on the map. His use of The Castello Brothers name is the reason why we started using that brand for David and me.
We are fortunate to have someone like Ron covering our stories. Like my dad he is the one on the other side of the camera, taking the pictures and in doing so is usually the one left out of the story.
Ron Jackson brought a professional journalistic viewpoint to the Domain Industry. Long before every third domainer started a domain-blog, Ron put together DNJournal and built a professional site that contained in-depth insight articles. I most especially have enjoyed reading articles about people I already know about as I learn so much about them in Ron’s unique writing style.
When I first met Ron on a yacht party at TRAFFIC Miami in October 2006, I was immediately impressed by his demeanor and professionalism. In a industry rife with sensationalism and hype, Ron (a former television anchorman) has set the bar for no-nonsense reporting. One example that comes to mind was the “sale” of Israel.com for $5,000,000. Nearly every domain blog instantly jumped on the story, except for DNJournal. I wrote to Ron and he answered that he was still awaiting confirmation. Sure enough, there was no sale and for that reason I will wait for DNJournal to back a story before I accept it as Gospel. In 2007 I had the honor of nominating Ron for his first keynote address at the GeoExpo in San Francisco.
Ron Jackson and I talk football and real estate and rarely domains so when the conversation is about domains, its always informative. Aggregating both news and domain sales is a valuable thing for the domain industry, Ron has a firm lock on them both because he works hard, very personable and a committed guy. Out of all the guys in the industry, Ron Jackson is the guy both behind the scenes and in the press that helps keep our industry in the forefront and connected.
Prior to getting involved in the domain industry I had seen the rise of the PC, Multimedia and Internet industries. I’ve observed that as each industry matures a cadre of editorial publications and associated journalists collectively shaped the editorial coverage of their respective industries. In the process they also had hand in shaping the industries themselves. Ron Jackson personifies this phenomenon better than anyone I have observed.
When I started out in domains I first became aware of DNJournal.com and soon there after had the pleasure of meeting Ron Jackson. What struck me about Ron besides the fact he seemed so well grounded and even tempered, was his keen awareness of the fact he was part of a pioneering group of entrepreneurs. He did not try to fit his perceptions or writings into any preformed view point. Due no doubt to Ron’s considerable professional news and editorial background he has been able to cover the domain industry for DNJournal.com in a way that is not only incredibly insightful to newbies and veterans alike, but he has ended up chronicling and even shaping the maturation of the industry.
Ron’s personal and professional integrity seem quite literally beyond reproach. I’m not the first to say this and certainly many many more have observed and experienced it. I suspect it’s one of the main factors that has enabled Ron to enjoy so much success as the industry’s leading journalist. The bottom line for me is that the domain industry is much better off thanks in part to the tireless work and contributions of Ron Jackson.
Ron is always the consummate professional in everything he writes. If there is a domain conference or event, you can almost guarantee that Ron will be there to contribute and document it, both in writing and photos. It’s almost like if Ron and Diana aren’t there, the event isn’t all that important to the domain business.
Ron has become the leading authority on domain-related news because he knows everyone, attends every event, and is one of the most trusted people in the business. If you read something on DN Journal, you can be sure it’s accurate – and it’s probably important to know.
In addition to Ron’s professionalism, he’s also one of the nicer people in the industry, and he’s always willing to help others.
Ron’s biggest contribution to the domain space is acting as a professional liaison to the traditional media. Having been a member of the traditional media himself in the past, he knows how to answer their questions and shine the appropriate light on the industry.
His second biggest contribution are his weekly sales lists. These are often times referred to in the media, and this helps the world understand that generic domain names have value.
My first memories of Ron’s Contribution to the industry were in 2003 when he contacted me for his 9th or 10th cover story ever and he chose me to write about – http://dnjournal.com/columns/coverstory10.htm.
Back then there were a few news sites about the industry, however, none were as complete and comprehensive as DNJournal at the time. Featuring successful people in the industry helped link fiction to fact, perception to reality, and for many, failure to success. I felt like he was the first online journalist that was able to get folks to drop their guard and share some secrets of success…..secrets that others could use and apply to their own domain and even overall business strategies. As a matter of fact, I used the same approach in my interviews when I started DomainMasters on WebmasterRado.fm. I had Ron on the show frequently to bring relevant industry news and perspectives, domain sales stats and other inside information to the program. He even guest hosted the show for me a few times throughout the years and was great at it.
I think his professionalism and approach helped him become the industry standard and industry expert on whether the domain industry was real or not. I always referred mainstream media back to Ron and to his site so that they could verify facts, stats, and trends and that helped get many stories written about the industry when mainstream questioned our existence, strength, and colorful culture.
Ron has also acted as one of the most ethical and professional spokes people in our space. He rarely takes sides and tries to display fair stories, both sides of arguments, and keeps his personal feelings and choices out of the articles which creates a very unbiased and neutral media in our space. I feel that was and is still critical as our industry still grows and continues to define itself from infancy to adolescence and then hopefully one day…..maturity. We are not even close yet but Ron’s approach and contribution to the space is certainly helping!
I have had many mentions on his site through the years. He has always recognized our /my accomplishments and put them into proper perspective. He and his site has greatly contributed to our success as we have innovated, created, pioneered so many products and services as well as brokered and sold so many sites.
I could not imagine anyone not saying or feeling the same.
I first met Ron Jackson in person at the original T.R.A.F.F.I.C. in Delray Beach, FL. I had just sold Spanish.com and couldn’t disclose the price and he came up to me asking questions about it. I thought to myself, “the domain industry has a reporter”? This was well before blogs were everywhere. DN Journal was the only site that fully covered what we did and what names were selling for.
Since that time I have spoken with Ron pretty regularly. Not only is he one of the nicest guys in the business but he’s also one of the most professional. In an industry full of egos it’s refreshing.
We all love his writing style which he himself admits comes from his years in radio, TV and the music business. Just this past month his titles included “Boating.com docks at $250,000”, “Party Time! … Party Supplies.com at $360,000”, “Biking.com Brakes at $250,000”, etc.
Ron has always uplifted and seen the good in people, further inspiring others to hope, believe and be energized by his written accounts. It is easy to see the weaknesses and faults in others but it is another to focus on the good. I have not seen such consistent, dedicated, detailed and transparent reports of the inspiring lives of people who are trying to make a difference in their unique way anywhere else on the Internet. It’s truly been a blessing to know such a man of integrity, goodness and professionalism.
Roughly two years ago I was invited to a Parked.com party in Tampa. I asked Donny Simonton, “Is Ron Jackson going to be there?” Although I was new in the industry at the time, Ron was someone I wanted to meet because I had been reading his website daily. When the day of the party came I was extremely anxious to meet Ron. I remember being at the party and seeing Ron Jackson, but I was too nervous to introduce myself. A couple hours went by, my wife and kids were getting ready to go when suddenly we ran into Ron and his lovely wife Diana near the front door. My wife and I stood there for roughly 30 minutes just talking to Ron and Diana trying to get to know each other. I’ll admit I was star struck; Ron Jackson was only the second person I met in our industry. Him and his wife were two of the nicest, most sincere people I have ever had the privilege of meeting. Moving past my first meeting with Ron, he has always been there to give me advice and guidance, never one time sounding annoyed or too busy. Even when it came to hosting DNCruise, Ron was one of the first people I called to get input.
Whether we bring our best in the form of competition, or whether we write about the happenings in the industry, our presence is an asset to many others. So while this was an opportunity to shine the light on Ron Jackson and to show how he’s helped make the domain industry what it is, I would turn that light on each of you. Take a moment to consider how those you’ve come in contact with, inspired you to become who you are. Feel free to comment on any vignettes you care to share about those who have had an impact on your path.
Before writing these words, many of us may not have considered the totality of Ron’s contribution to our success. Like him, there are many unsung heroes in the small industry in which we participate. As we enter the season of thanks I can think of no better time to call them out.
Thanks Ron Jackson.