I just returned from the TRAFFIC domain conference in South Florida last night and was quite moved to have won the prestigious Domainer of The Year Award for the third time.
The REAL honor (and award) is just being nominated, but getting the hat-trick (my third win) left me feeling very proud and humbled indeed. “You really really like me ”.
Not everyone shares my enthusiasm with being labeled a Domainer. I had some of the other nominees privately reach out and say they were glad they “didn’t” win, lest they be branded with the scarlet letter D. So controversial is the word “Domainer” that it isn’t even allowed to exist in Wikipedia! Instead it has unfairly been banished to a catch-all page for “Domain Speculation”. It’s sad that someone smart and capable enough of moderating a Wikipedia page “can’t” or “won’t” accept that domain names have become Real Estate of the Internet; and those professionals who buy, sell, trade, develop and nurture companies in this space are generally referred to as “Domainers”. Let the word exist man! It does now, and you can’t keep the good people of our industry down forever!
Speaking of Domainers, there weren’t very many at this past TRAFFIC conference. We came ready to serve and were surprised that most of our existing and would-be customers were not there. A tough economy, apathy about pay-rates and lackluster innovation kept folks wings clipped and close to home. The majority of those in the room when I presented our new sales platform were colleagues and competitors rather than our customers. Those who saw it were universally impressed.. You could see the mouths open, the wheels turning and the animal spirits kindling as observers started to put together how they could increase sales, streamline workflow and make more money. Some of the biggest names in the industry took me aside and told me that our sales platform was the biggest thing to happen to domaining since – well, domaining.
Over the past year, my team and I began a journey that will hopefully see us “give back” much of what I have made and permit me to grow and become a better person for it. First I created a little company called Uniregistry, which I think will go far toward providing low cost domain-name registrations to everyone Worldwide. This fall we have released the fully featured, fully mobile DomainNameSales.com platform (DNS).
I see the new DNS platform as a toolkit for bringing new and part-time participants to the market. These folks are out there now, without a voice, unable to afford to attend the shows and conventions put on by the professionals in our space. Now anyone with generic names can join online, list their names for sale or trade, monetize and develop a name sales business or act as a broker! They can do that part-time from home or while at their day job thanks to our patented iPhone App, which can now be downloaded in iTunes AppStore.
Make no mistake my friends. We have been using the development versions of this platform for 6 months and it is one small step for a domainer, one gigantic leap for domain-kind.
All those superlatives spoken.. this platform has its work cut out for it. There is a gigantic lack of understanding in the domain community about how sales of names typically begin. Even many of the staffers who work at registrars and marketplaces fail to fully understand the place their employers occupy in the spectrum. That mis-understanding has been allowed to continue because there is no good reason for sales marketplaces to stop obfuscating the source of its leads. Self importance is big in this biz, believe me, “IIIIIiii KNOW”.. :-) ok, that was a joke, but u get my point.
Wouldn’t we all like to parachute to a tropical island of exotic sexy inhabitants with a Bic-lighter and be revered as a King (or Queen) with non-stop foot massages because we can make fire? Well many sales outlets and domain marketplaces have nothing more than that Bic, Zippo or Cricket in their pocket. They would have you believe that all those sales fires begin with them, when in fact a vast majority (70-90%) of all leads begin their search for a name by typing the URL they wish to purchase in their address bar, or at Google!
Like with real estate, the MLS is great, but the majority of most sincere(more than $8 registration price) “leads” come from the “sign” selling the property. If you have a name parked on our platform, and you enable your sales banner or for-sale link on your pages, then you are damming the river upstream and many of the same buyers who find you through the assorted “sales marketplaces” and “listing-services” will find you directly! The parking page is your biggest and best gateway to sales! The search for your domain names by buyers begins when one of those buyers types your name in the address bar to see what is there, and is welcomed to make an offer via a small link or banner.
You say your names don’t get traffic? That is just not so friend.. They just get *very* little traffic, but you may be surprised to learn that one in every few visitors is probably looking to buy the name from you for some price.
Up until now, there has been no Open and sophisticated system for taking those sales inquiries, reaching out to buyers, negotiating, following up, selling, escrowing and closing sales. The process has been very manual. The “Domain Marketplaces” we all know and love, sprang up to fill the void in exchange for your leads and a percentage the sale. The problem is that they play “keep away” with your leads. THEY control the buyer. THEY get the money.
Now with our system, you can auto-magically do everything other platforms provide (you can even work with them), but YOU keep the lead. You can forward stuff to brokers if you don’t want to work, you can pre-price low cost names and send them to YOUR escrow.com account with BIN prices, or to our credit card (if we know you). The power of your inquiries, the people, the leads, the buyers, the money ~ those are ALL controlled by YOU now.
Don’t get me wrong, in addition to your lander pages, names listed on the DomainNameSales.com marketplace will be listed in other marketplaces. We have a deal with Godaddy on our Owned and Operated traffic which we intend to expand with syndicated inventory, but for now, we’re confident that you’ll have your hands full with existing leads just coming from your own for sale links, using our DNS platform.
Once the buyer types the name and clicks on our sales banner we take them to a contact form where the buyer fills in their contact info. Then after we briefly try to explain the value proposition of buying a better name you have a choice of verifying their email or just letting them through to a Buy-It-Now page for pre-priced names ~ or to a Make-Offer Page for unpriced stuff.
There the buyer can communicate with you in real time over our patented, state-of-the-art iPhone front-end, with copies of all communication passing to your email and to the inside of our sale-site. You have redundant communication so there will never be a blocked email or missed Apple push notification keeping you from buyers.
The result of this implementation is that you will be getting a TON more leads; and now you have control over the river! You can talk to buyers directly (In Real Time!), hire brokers on the platform to do all that pesky talking for you, negotiate back and forth while reaffirming the buyer’s wisdom, and record everything to each name that gets inquired on for future reference. You can communicate with colleagues about names, get consensus estimates on pricing. The result is that you will see more activity and have the ability to engage in more transactions, in real time! All this will translate into more sales.. +40% or so for me.
If the buyer leaves, the system doesn’t forget. We have a series of automated follow up mechanisms to chase and re-engage old leads. We upsell the client and explain the value proposition of owning a better name, because sometimes people just need time to understand this stuff. When a deal finally does occur, the money goes through “your” escrow account (yes, you control the money) and our partnership with escrow sees commissions deducted at source for your hard-working brokers, either here at DNS or elsewhere around the Web.
The platform is now open and we thank you for your patience as we process the short backlog of applicants wishing to join. I am certain that many of you will use this system in ways we never contemplated. It has many optional paths so that it can be implemented in different ways ~ limited only by the creative minds of you, my colleagues.
A career is what you make of it folks. At the end of the day we’re all just regular people. A few years ago I went off into the forest and I didn’t do much for several years.. Some in this industry had written me off. Well I’m ‘back’ baby. And while some of my brethren may not be courageous enough to wear the Domainer name, I do so with pride and am pleased to use the occasion of my hat-trick to unveil this magic act of my own.
I look forward to watching you use our infrastructure to come back from the forest yourselves and redefine the word Domainer in many a positive way, proudly taking the brand to a new level.
For now I wish you all a hearty welcome to our platform, it’s open to everyone. Please enjoy its freedom and utility.