A lot has changed in the past twelve months, with the addition of a new business called Asbestoseal, which produces and sells an asbestos roof coating.
What’s that got to do with domains?
Well, one of my better performing domains is focused on providing companies with help and advice on asbestos roofing issues. The problem was that it was difficult to turn the enquiries into hard cash, so although the site performed well, it probably only generated a few thousand pounds in real revenue each year.
I knew it should and could be doing more and after launching Asbestoseal in May last year, I also rented out the asbestos roofing site to a very competent contractor and have a profit share arrangement for roofing jobs that it brings in – and at the same time, the site also promotes Asbestoseal products.
The new business has a number of quite innovative products for its sector, but we’re expanding it further with some new nano technology products that will be introduced soon.
In the meantime, I thought I’d share a product video with you. It’s one of a few I’m experimenting with at the moment.
Thanks to Owen Frager who kindly provided some helpful feedback and made the editing suggestion – it was longer than this originally!
Faced with the question of what to do with all of those domain names sat in my portfolio, I’ve now completed my redirection exercise and have pointed every one of them to the same landing page.
Some time ago, I built individual landers for certain pages and I parked others at places like SEDO.
Nothing worked that well to be honest, but it didn’t matter because my names are all now in the long-term hold category and I don’t necessarily go out to sell them.
But, as I don’t like giving my traffic (even the small amounts my names generate) away, it became clear t hat something needed to be done, so today, they all point to one page which will grow continually as we go into next year.
By using a WordPress plugin for the Headway Theme Framework that mimics Pinterest, I can now add something about each domain name onto the same ever-growing page.
That page will eventually contain details of each domain, together with some ideas about how to develop it.
The aim is to promote the concept of using domain names to help promote businesses. It’s aimed directly at the end user, so each entry is geared towards a certain type of site and in some cases, even points the user at the resources used to create or develop them.
As usual with my stuff, it’s a bit experimental, but it’s giving me something to do during the Christmas holidays before the hangover sets in!
Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First minister is pushing for an independent Scotland and a referendum on independence will take place September 18 2014.
The Scottish Nationalist Party want to see a totally independent Scotland, which could have big ramifications in lots of areas, like taxation, currency, EU membership and more.
But from a domaining perspective, if Scotland does indeed vote for and get independence, the UK suddenly becomes disunited and therefore, should .uk still exist at all?
Given that Nominet effectively have a 5 year transition period for the introduction of .uk, it could all be academic in theory, as by then the United Kingdom might have to be called something else, though England will of course still be united with Wales – but does that count as being united? The stated date, if the SNP gets the people of Scotland to vote for independence is March 16 2016.
Interesting times ahead.
The debate at the moment seems to be centred around on what will happen to the Pound, oil exports, tax generation, British subsidies, defense, national debt, the National Health Service and other such trivial matters. I haven’t seen one single news story that asks, “what about all the money Nominet is throwing behind the introduction of a possibly redundant .uk?” What’s wrong with the news channels? Don’t they see the important stuff?
Have you noticed the Google search results pages today?
They have changed the way they are displaying Adsense advertisements in their organic search results.
Instead of blending them into the search results with a barely noticeable different background colour, they are now placing a very prominent “Ad” notice to the left of each paid entry.
This is great news for SEO’d sites, because many users don’t like clicking on ads at all and tend to see top organic listings as a kind of endorsement.
It’s now more obvious which is paid and which is organic, which is good news for all I think, even advertisers, because for them it means that a user actually wanted to click on an ad and knew what they were doing when they did so, though I am a bit surprised they are using a yellow background, because many people see yellow as being a warning. Green might have been a better psychological choice, as any marketer will tell you.
Well, it’s not really any surprise that Nominet decided to push ahead with the introduction of the .uk extension, but what does this really mean for businesses and domainers.
My own concerns as somebody who owns a large number of .co.uk names was that suddenly, I’d be faced with a whole load of competition from what is arguably a better extension for the UK.
Secondly, I was also concerned that I’d have to enter into a bidding war for names that corresponded to my existing .co.uk holdings.
Thirdly, I was concerned that .uk devalued .co.uk.
The introduction of .uk does throw up a few other issues of course, but they don’t concern me too much.
Looking through Nominet’s proposals, I think they’ve done a half decent job of taking into account the feedback from their consultations.
For example, every holder of a .co.uk name (and in certain cases a .org.uk) will be given a free 5 year window in which they will be allowed to register the equivalent .uk name, if they want to.
Most domainers won’t need 5 years to decide whether to register the .uk, but some business owners might need a while to consider the implications of the .uk – for example rebranding stationery, vehicle livery etc.
The five year window only applies to .co.uk / .org.uk domains registered prior to 28 October 2013, presumably to prevent a gold rush, though why that matters is beyond me – the good .co.uk’s have been long registered.
.uk is going to happen. It was always going to happen.
By introducing the 5 year registration advantage to existing .co.uk holders, my concerns have been pretty much addressed.
Of course, it increases my costs initially and as a domainer, those costs could be considerable. Luckily, I’ve decreased my .co.uk holdings quite considerably over the past couple of years.
I will probably register the .uk equivalents for my main holdings, but I certainly won’t be moving away from my core interests.
Whether .uk devalues .co.uk remains to be seen, but my own feeling is that it will make .co.uk completely obsolete.
Now that I’ve seen the basis of the introduction of .uk, I am a lot less concerned than I was. It’s going to have an impact in terms of cost, but that’s only temporary because as soon as I have the .uk’s I want, the .co.uk’s become surplus to my requirements and won’t be renewed.
If I owned thousands of .co.uk’s though, I wouldn’t be so relaxed about this development.
As a long time advocate of using domains to produce mini-sites for the promotion of specialist products or services, today, I have set up a new site specifically to promote a single product for a very niche vertical market.
In March this year, along with a couple of partners, I set up a new company to supply roof coatings, called Asbestoseal Ltd.
The company is doing ok and the name is certainly getting around, but, the name whilst descriptive of what we offer in the asbestos roofing market, probably works against us for other roof coatings that we offer – as some people might presume that something called “asbestoseal” actually contains asbestos.
I should have given that more thought really.
One of our products is designed to solve a very common problem with metal profile roofs that as building surveyors, we come across very regularly. The problem is commonly known as cut edge corrosion, which essentially means that the cut edges of the roof sheets tend to rust.
This is a big issue if you happen to have a large roof – or a large number of smaller roofs – and there’s no easy cure.
However, our chemist (who happens to be a partner in the business) has developed a coating that can be applied to corroded areas and once applied, stops the rust and converts it to a very strong oxide.
What better name to promote the product on than CutEdgeCorrosion.com? It contains the key phrase that’s commonly used by professional and the landing page explains exactly how to solve the problem.
Because it’s little more than a landing page, I haven’t loaded it with information. I’ve purposely kept content small and relevant to the issue of solving cut edge corrosion problems. It’s a work in progress.
As you can see, my focus these days is in generating business – not for others, but for me, so there are now affiliate links, Google ads or other distractions.
Domains have led me in this direction and whilst it’s more work than most domaining models, it’s also a lot more interesting and keeps me in touch with a lot more people.
The domain game is getting interesting with the introduction of new TLDs, but for me and for now at least, I’m sticking with what I know – that there is still a demand for generic, targeted domain names in the .com space.
That’s really where my efforts have been mainly concentrated for the past couple of years, more so since Nominet seems intent to push through their new .uk extension with no rights for existing .co.uk holders.
Each month, like many people with domain name portfolios of a decent size, I’m faced with the choice of whether to renew them or let them go, either by dropping or by selling them off for little more than cost.
Today is one of those days and whois queries on the list were really the number I looked at in helping me make my choice. Since I don’t park my names, I don’t look at traffic. The names I invested in previously were mostly acquired because I believed they could have some value to me, not others.
That has resulted in me letting a lot of names representing markets where I have little knowledge or experience in, had to go – and to a large degree, they have.
Here’s what I renewed this morning. I’m not telling what I let go.
- it-recruiter.com (one of only a small handful of hyphenated’s I still have)
Every one of those names has value in the fact that they could host a complete business and to me, that is where the value is. For me though, it has to be a business that I could personally run with knowledge that I already have, or that wouldn’t cost me too much to acquire.
I don’t tend to go for affiliate programs, parking or pay per click advertising in order to generate my online revenue and to date, I’ve concentrated solely on selling (and in most cases, providing) high value professional services, usually in partnership with others who have the skills and knowledge in that area.
As you may already know, I have been involved in an asbestos surveying practice for ten years now. It came on the back of a domain name.
That practice is now a more general building surveying practice and again, that move came on the back of a domain name purchase (buildingsurveys.com).
The names in the renewal list, with the exception of it-recruiter.com (which I’ve had for many years, since I was an IT recruiter) and professionalfeeinsurance.com are all relevant to a surveying niche – yes, even the moss removal domains, which I bought because moss removal methods are necessary with cleaning asbestos roofs, which is another niche that I have a lot of knowledge of, from my surveying work.
I hope that this post shows those of you with a diverse portfolio, that it’s still possible to work the niches and maintain a portfolio of names that can be even more valuable to you as your knowledge of those niches increases over time and with experience.
It takes a lot these days to motivate to me to blog about anything domain related, but Rick Schwartz’s new Hall of Shame.com is one of them.
Rick has been a friend and mentor over the years and if you’ve not visited “Hall of shame.com” yet, please take a moment to do so now, because here’s a real champion of the domaining industry who’s prepared to take a stand against reverse domain hijacking and put his own name to the site.
Don’t know what reverse domain hijacking is? It’s when somebody tries to steal your name by challenging your right to own it, even though you may have dome so legitimately for many years.
In the not too distant past, domainers were often and commonly referred to as domain squatters, just because they happened to acquire a domain name before somebody else.
Of course, in certain cases, some domainers did engage in the rather dubious activity of squatting on company names, trademarked names etc – and quite rightly, this was outlawed.
Reverse domain hijacking is the opposite of that, where usually large corporate entities engage in the process of bullying domain owners to release their domain assets to them under threat of expensive legal action.
Well done Rick for taking this stand on behalf of honest domain investors everywhere.
After letting so many domain names expire or having sold so many off cheaply, today I was faced with deciding which to prune and which to keep.
Given the fact that most are no longer suitable for my core business, I let 75% of the renewal list go and kept those listed below – yes, most on this list are hyphenated, but are also extremely strong key word domains suitable for their obvious niches:
I would also point out that I have never failed in getting any of my sites to the top of Google and search engines using hyphenated names, so for the nay-sayers out there, my experience gained over 20 years (wow, it doesn’t seem that long, but yes, 1993 was when I registered my first domain), has demonstrated the opposite of what certain people preach.
Of course, a non-hyphenated .com will take traffic from the hyphenated, but not always to the degree that you might think.
When I started out all those years ago, I was involved in a recruitment business, hence the recruitment theme. I bought what I knew and to this day, I still do.
Any of those names can be acquired at reasonable cost, apart from IndependentMedicals.com which is too big a niche to let go cheaply. But, if you’re interested, please get in touch.
ON another note, thanks again to SnapNames, they managed to grab Ben-Carter.com for my youngest son today, so that’s made him and me quite happy.
Do you ever have one of those days where you just want to delete everything you’ve ever done online?
This morning, I logged in to this blog with one intention, to delete it.
The reason was simply that there’s little to comment on these days and those who might have needed some guidance in certain issues in the past, don’t really need it today. There are better sources.
So, in order to keep moving forward I thought, perhaps it’s time to wave goodbye to something that is little more than a reminder of how I started out on my Internet journey.
But perhaps that reminder is important, because a journey is not one that’s filled only with successes, at least mine isn’t.
In fact, it’s littered with disappointments, frustrations, hopes, ambitions and ultimately perhaps, a resignation that what will be will be. David Carter is not in the big league, trust me on that.
And that’s why I kept it – a reminder, a prompter and ultimately, an incentive to myself as much as to anyone else, that in order to get any kind of success, online or offline, you have to keep on carrying on.
This week, my partners and I are formally launching a new product range at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.
Although we only came together as a group a couple of months ago, it is the culmination of a few years of work that we have each contributed to, and all of that individual work has led to one conclusion – a new business.
We have already recruited a number of contractors to sell our products in the roofing industry and we have interest from all over the UK.
In the past two weeks I have conducted training courses in the UK and Ireland on our product range, with more dates already in the diary. I’ve been asked to provide a number of Continuing Professional Development courses on the subject to professional architects and surveyors throughout the country. They start later in the year.
It’s hard to believe that all of this started with a web site all those years ago.
The new venture is part of the reason I was about to delete everything here.
But you know what? It’s my record and for now at least, it’s staying where it is.
The ease of email and the Internet means that just about every retailer you visit now asks for a brief customer satisfaction survey from you, sometimes even after just a visit to their premises.
It’s driving me mad and has done for a while now.
After getting my car serviced, I was called by the manufacturer on two separate occasions asking how satisfied I was. Perhaps this shouldn’t be a problem to me, but given that I specifically requested that they don’t call me when I dropped the car off, I feel justified in my annoyance.
The same is true of all car dealers now. Visit one and arrange a test drive and from that point on, it’s survey after survey.
Grocery and general retail shopping is going the same way now too, with retailers offering all kind of incentives to get your point of view on their service and wanting to know how their staff did today.
Of course, by answering, you ultimately end up on their email list – which is one reason I always politely refuse to take part. I just don’t believe that these things have anything to do with improving customer service and have everything to do with selling me more stuff.
I do think it’s important to let companies know when they suck though, but I don’t believe that this should involve me wasting my time rating crap on a scale of one to ten. Heck, if I’m unhappy I have a blog to sound off on, which does bring results. The name I was trying to transfer on a previous entry has now miraculously transferred. No comment from NamesBeyond though and, thankfully, no customer service questionnaire!
It’s been a couple of years since I made a conscious decision to move away from domain names and more importantly, to stop making the impulse purchases.
Since then, I must have let a few hundred go – either selling them or in many cases, simply letting them expire.
Now to some in the domain game, this approach might seem like complete folly, but there was a reason for doing it and it had nothing to do with renewal fees.
I run a business and needed to focus my efforts on that entirely. The domains became a distraction because each time I received a renewal notification, it would send me off on a tangent, looking for something to do with the name, except of course, it never was just one name, it was several. And this was happening daily. Perhaps that’s a great reason for parking them, but even so, it’s not my way to do that.
This month, I’ve gone a step further in reducing the clutter by deleting more than 150 web sites that were built along the way as I collected more and more names.
My hosting account now looks considerably tidier and I now have 150+ less sites to administer and worry about.
The money that these sites were generating in Adsense etc., was insignificant anyway and the Internet is now less cluttered as a consequence of my actions. Who needs mini-sites anyway?
So now, I have less than a dozen sites and only one or two are non-core business.
I feel a lot better as a consequence. De-cluttering is just as important online as it is offline.
A name I caught in a drop last year was transferred to NamesBeyond as I described in an earlier post.
It was frustrating that because of this (which I had no control over), I was unable to move the name in question to my preferred registrar for a period of 6 weeks.
I duly waited and attempted the transfer after the 6 week period, which surprise, surprise, failed.
Tickets and emails to a support person have gone unanswered and the “Live Support” functiion at NamesBeyond.com conveniently goes offline as soon as I log on to try and communicate with somebody.
Yesterday, I re-initiated the transfer request with a new Auth Code, after first unlocking the domain as per the instructions.
I’m now receiving the emails from my normal registrar that say the transfer request is awaiting approval.
Nothing on this from NamesBeyond and I strongly suspect that they’re preventing transfer because the expiry date is just a week or so away now. In any event, they are BY FAR, the worst domain company I have ever had to deal with.
Before posting this, I gave them plenty of notice – they’ve had a chance to respond and put things right, but chose not to.
Last year I caught a domain via Pool.com and as usual, ICANN rules wouldn’t allow a transfer out of the existing registrar for 60 days.
Thinking I’d remember to try a transfer after this time, I forgot of course and last week received an email from another registrar, Namesbeyond.com, saying that ICANN had moved all of the domains from Pool to them. I can’t remember the exact details.
Today I received a notification of my Namesbeyond.com account so I logged in to see what name I’d forgotten about and there it was, though I won’t divulge it here in case I forget again!
After searching high and low on the Namesbeyond.com web site, I couldn’t find any information on how to obtain an Auth code to allow me to move the domain to my default registrar, Fabulous.com, so I did a quick search and discovered that others are in the same position – it seems that this company has an aversion to transferring out domain names.
I did however, find a thread on a domain forum suggesting that I email the owner of the company, but before doing that, I thought I’d have a go at changing some obsolete contact information that must have been carried over from the Pool.com days when I first registered an account with them.
Again though, there’s no facility to change account information, apart from the password. So I can’t update the whois information to reflect my new address and phone number.
I tried using the Live Help link on the site, but am assuming that because I mentioned “domain transfer,” that my support call wasn’t answered – I tried that route twice before timing out.
Starting to get a little frustrated, I called the number on the web site and spoke to a lady who explained that my name can’t be transferred out for another 60 days because of the old ICANN rule – even though it’s not my fault that they have the name – at least not all my fault.
At this point I asked to speak to the owner, Thomas Das and I hung on to be transferred. It’s quite costly to call the USA from the UK, but I waited and just at the point I was being transferred, I was cut off. So I called back and the same thing happened.
Coincidence? I don’t think so, but who knows?
I could hear a television in the background when I called so can’t be sure about the size of this company or whether they answer their own calls.
Naturally, I fired off an email to Mr Das requesting an authcode. I’m not holding my breath and expect that whatever the rights and wrongs, I’ll be doomed to stick with them for a further 60 days.
It’s a good thing that I don’t often use drop catching services for .com domains because the whole transfer procedure is a nightmare.
Video will feature highly in all of my sites during 2013.
In my last post, I mentioned PresenterMedia.com as being perhaps the best service I have ever come across online.
What this does for Powerpoint presentations is amazing for the money and it’s great value if you happen to do a lot of presentations, which as a rule, I don’t.
However, I did have one presentation to make and deliver in December, but I was looking at what I thought was a much bigger picture – and that’s video.
Video is already quite big on the net, but it’s going to get much bigger in 2013 and many Internet Marketers are already touting their wares in this area, with offerings designed to take Powerpoint presentations and turn them into videos.
I’ve looked at many such offerings and NONE are worth the money – even the ones that cost only $10 or so in “dime sales” on the various sites like Warrior Forum or JV Zoo.
However, there is a way of creating some stunning videos with a modest initial investment – in fact, it’s so effective, that it would be an easy sale to local (or not so local) businesses if you were so inclined.
As I have so many sites, I like to do as much as possible myself, so in addition to the excellent PresenterMedia add-on for Powerpoint 2010, I’ve now bought the latest version of Camtasia Studio and added in their Powerpoint plugin too.
Camtasia, for those of you who don’t know, is screen recording software that allows you to create videos straight from your PC or Mac – which makes it ideal for making tutorials, especially ones that involve IT.
With the Powerpoint add-in, you can now create professional looking video from the slides you create and even include full narration and soundtracks if you wish.
I’ll be using mine to create short on-page videos for my services web sites, along with brief tutorials or hard-hitting calls to action where appropriate. The possibilities are endless.
Take a quick look at the one below – it was my first attempt at showing my son how easy it can be for his building plans site – it’s not as smooth as it could be, but his site still knocks the socks off any of his competitors and the video just adds to the effect.
The video is hosted at YouTube which, being Google’s little brother, provides a great opportunity for some external promotion – as I’m sure you’ll have noticed, videos now feature strongly in search engine results – so strongly in fact, that you’d be silly not to engage fully with the medium.
All you need to create great videos can be found at: Techsmith.com and PresenterMedia.com.
In recent years (and not so distant) I have downloaded tons of software and have subscribed to tons of sites offering the latest, greatest thing – most of which have disappointed.
Today though, I found something that is so useful that I have to share it – and no, it’s not an affiliate link.
It’s a service from http://www.presentermedia.com – I was looking for something to assist me in the creation of a PowerPoint presentation, something I’ve never bothered with in all of my years behind a computer screen.
A year long subscription cost me $59 and for that, I can download as many graphics as I can get my hands on – and considering I’ve been using iStockPhoto and BigStock for a few years, I couldn’t believe what I was getting for the money.
Today, I’ve created a great PowerPoint presentation and it looks better than anything I could ever have envisaged before seeing PresenterMedia.
So, if you ever need to use PowerPoint, or need graphics in a hurry, take a look.
Consider it a gift
No, that’s not a sarcastic headline.
Today they returned my telephone call and listened to the comments I made – for more than 20 minutes.
That’s better than most commercial organisations I could mention.
Yes, I brought up each and every point I’ve made on this blog during the past few days and each point was noted and commented upon – including the conflict of interest in the board, the missing board members, my fears for general business, the impact and implications for domainers, the unfairness of the trademark protection, the possibility of grandfathering the .co.uk space and so much more.
So, Nominet, thank you for calling me back. Thank you for listening and thank you for going out of your way to help restore my faith.
I still object to .uk. I still don’t want the added extras. I still don’t like the conflict of interest at board level.
Still, you can’t have everything can you?
For the record, I think Nominet’s proposals to introduce a new .uk TLD is ill conceived and pubishes the very people who have been paying into Nominet’s already swelling coffers for many years.
I also belive that Nominet to date, has done a pretty good job in managing the UK domain space and in general terms, provides a great level of service.
Back in the days when the Internet was considered to be new technology, I was a a big advocate of acquiring .co.uk names.
At that time (we’re going back to 1994), I bought quite a lot of .co.uk names and almost as many .com’s too. I also made several errors in my choice of names, but that’s another embarrassing story for a different day.
Back then, search engines were pretty easy to manipulate and to a degree, so were their users!
So, if as a business, I wanted to attract UK customers, I would definitely want a .co.uk name, because most Internet users wrongly (but conveniently) assumed, that a business with a .co.uk name was UK based and that a .com name was American.
To a certain degree, this remains true today, but less so, because Internet users are now better educated and because .com advbertisements are prominent in UK television and advertising.
Search engines, particularly Google, automatically assign a UK demographic to all newly registered .co.uk web sites, so their search engine results are likely to be influenced by a .co.uk name if the user doing the searching is in the UK.
However, by selecting your chosen demographic in Google’s Webmaster Tools area, you can tell them that your .com domain is targeting UK visitors (or elsewhere as it happens), even though the default demographic for .com is North America.
The interesting thing though, providing your content is good and relevant enough, a .com will often trump a .co.uk in the search engine results. Yes, .com is still king, which is why I prefer to register and develop .com’s wherever possible. If I have both .com and .co.uk extensions, I’ll usually publish the .com and divert the .co.uk to that site.
Over the past three years or so, I have been slowly culling my portfolio and concentrating my efforts only on those names I consider useful for my business (which is NOT domaining).
The biggest cull has taken place in the .co.uk section – I’ve let hundreds of pretty decent names go – in fact, I was delighted to see one of my dropped hyphenated names for sale at Acorn Domains for more than £4000 the other day. (Good luck with that!)
But what value is a .co.uk name if Nominet introduce a .uk extension and what effect will this have on larger .co.uk portfolio owners?
The immediate impact, is that established domainers have little choice than to try and grab the .uk equivalents, otherwise, I’d suggest that their .co.uk holdings are virtually worthless as an undeveloped asset.
I say this because quite simply, .uk is far more desirable to me than a .co.uk and I suspect that the majority of people would agree.
I don’t know what, if any, affect .uk will have on search engine placement, though I have my theories.
So what to do as a domainer?
That’s the big question really. Many heavily invested domainers with large .co.uk names will not want to see the introuction of .uk. Others will only see opportunity and I guess, I sit somewhere between the two. I don’t want .uk, but if it comes, it cannot be ignored. That’s the problem I have with it really. I don’t like forced decisions.
[kc_heading_pac_19_font_1 size="22" color="#000000" ]Why This Consultation Stinks[/kc_heading_pac_19_font_1]
And talking of decisions, today is Open House at Nominet, where people can go along and represent their views – I know many domainers will be in attendance.
Unfortunately for them, the main influencers in Nominet, the very people who want to introduce .uk, won’t actually be there. They’re off across the world at a regsitrar conference apparently.
What use is a consultation when the decision makers think it’s more important to jet off to a conference instead of facing the music? They were the ones afterall, who set the date! Coincidence?
I also feel that I cannot ignore the glaring conflict of interest on the board of Nominet:
Dickie Armour – “He is currently General Manager of Fibranet Services Ltd, a domain name registrar and software development company”
Thomas Vollrath – “Thomas is currently CEO of the Host Europe Group, the biggest domain registrar in the UK and largest virtualisation provider in Europe, whose brands include 123-reg, Heart Internet, Host Europe, Webfusion, dynamic-net AG, Domainmonster and Donhost among others.”
These two individuals have the most to gain from the introduction of a new .uk extension. Where is the objectivity? How much say do they have in this matter?
One thing’s for certain, they won’t around to face some of their biggest customers today – now that’s what I call leadership! Nothing personal chaps, but that is a PR disaster.
Are you attending the Nominet “Open House” on Thursday?
Visit: http://www.nominet.org.uk/how-participate/policy-development/current-policy-discussions-and-consultations/consultation-new-u-1 to register and attend.
This from the Nominet page:
If you have questions about a specific proposal in the consultation you are welcome to drop in to our Open House in London on Thursday 8 November 2012. Nominet staff who can discuss the different proposals including security and malware scanning, trustmarks, registrant contact detail verification, the DRS and rights management will be available for you speak to. If you have questions, require further clarification or want to let us know your views please register your interest in attending.’ An email with further information including venue details will be sent to you upon registration.
Unfortunately, I won’t be attending, as I’m conducting some acquisition surveys on Thursday.
But look carefully at the invitation above and you’ll see yet again, an example of what I’ve been talking about this week – Nominet appears to be side-stepping the important question of how the proposed .uk extension will affect their customers and want to concentrate instead on the “security and malware scanning, trustmarks, registrant contact detail verification, the DRS and rights management.”
I’ll ask again. How is this a consultation when it has all of the hallmarks of a done deal?
If I were a domainer with a very large portfolio, or even just starting out in trying to build a portfolio, I would be very worried about these proposals, as they offer existing registrants no protection.
This isn’t the same as having a new extension like .biz, .sx or the like, it’s one that will devalue the existing .co.uk space and the businesses that use it, in ways that have not been adequately considered.
Don’t think that this doesn’t affect you.
If you have an interest in .co.uk, your future is now firmly in the hands of Nominet.
Can’t make the open house?
Call Nominet on 01865 332211 (+44 1865 332211 if calling from outside the UK).
[kc_heading_two size="47" color="#494949"]Dear Nominet,[/kc_heading_two]
My small business has survived a double-dip recession.
My landlord still requires his rent for the premises quarterly in advance.
My Heating and lighting costs have just increased by 11%
My business rates are crippling and now I have to pay extra for private waste collection.
But that’s just part of the cost of running a business and it’s never really been any different.
Luckily, my marketing costs are controlled because I have my web site and customers know where to find me – they they just visit www.mygreatcompany.co.uk, or search for it on Google and there I am, 24 hours a day.
Competition is fierce, even online, though I’m always having to tweak my pages and my offerings to make sure I stay visible.
But what’s this?
I received a note from my webmaster who says that mygreatcompany.co.uk is under threat, not from a competitor, but by Nominet, the monopoly that runs the UK Internet names registry.
It seems that after spending money on getting my web site built, buying a nice memorable domain name and spending time and money creating my content, that Nominet wants to create a new domain extension called .uk.
I don’t pretend to know everything about this. I have a business to run in difficult times, but what I do know is that this new extension threatens my business in a number of ways.
If I buy into this .uk, here are the implications as I see it:
· .co.uk costs £2.50 my webmaster per year. The equicalent .uk will cost £20 per year
· I’ll have to change my letterheads and business cards
· My Yellow Pages ads will become obsolete
· My business signage on my vehicles and premises will need to be changed
· My customers will have to be informed of my new web address
· My old company website will disappear from the search engines
· My customers will be confused
We often see news items about the enormous cost of re-branding businesses. and this change proposed by Nominet would inflict an unnecessary change on my small business that would lead to inevitable and expensive expenditure.
But what’s worse, is the fact that if I don’t get the .uk variant of my current .co.uk name, my business is still threatened because somebody else will register that name – and Nominet is making no allowances for this scenario whatsoever.
In fact, if I register an interest at the earliest stage of the process and somebody else does the same, I could end up in an auction which I don’t want to do.
Is it right that a monopoly, supposedly set up to serve the best interests of UK domain holders, can have such a devastating affect on my business?
Of course, it’s not just me. This affects every single business (and person) with a .co.uk domain name.
According to Nominet, that is around 10million people!
Also according to Nominet, “4 in 5 people prefer co.uk websites when searching online.”
Yet, they are about to destroy that trust and credibility by introducing a new .uk extension without offering any kind of protection to business owners who already own the .co.uk names – unless it’s protected by a trademark.
Let’s take a national, household name company like B&Q as an example.
Because you can’t use the “&” symbol in a domain name, they quite cleverly obtained and use diy.cocu.uk and diy.com but they never got a trademark for “DIY”
Under Nominet’s proposals, Homebase, someone with a trademark for DIY could easily register diy.uk and quite legitimately use it to steal traffic intended for B&Q.
Nominet is currently holding a “consultation” about the changes to the UK name space, but like all monopolies that go through these motions, the questions it is asking seem to assume that the new .uk extension is a done deal, as they are heavily biased towards a foregone conclusion.
They claim to be offering a number of new services that will be exclusive to the .uk extension to justify a massive price rise. Why do I need these services tomorrow, when I don’t need them today?
Small business owners will bear a massive burden if Nominet’s proposals are pushed through, as seems likely.
How is that fair?
[kc_heading_two size="47" color="#494949"]Any UK Business Owner[/kc_heading_two]
[kc_heading_pac_19_background_2][kc_heading_pac_19_font_2 size="43" color="#000000" ]The .uk Effect[/kc_heading_pac_19_font_2][/kc_heading_pac_19_background_2]
Many of the UK based domainers I know are pretty outraged by Nominet’s proposals to introduce the .uk extension.
It’s not surprising. Imagine holding even a modest of portfolio of premium, one-word generic names – let’s say 20 for arguments sake.
Every two years at present, those names have to be renewed at a current cost of £6.00 per name, giving a renewal cost of £120 – which is manageable by most people’s standards. Now start thinking 200, 2000, even 20,000 names being held – and the cost of renewal makes you realise that domaining really is a business, with a very real overhead.
That ignores the cost of initial acquisition, since most were probably not registered from new, but were caught and paid for via drop catching services, or bought in the aftermarket, with a premium price being paid.
Under Nominet’s proposals, those names are devalued, since .co.uk looks like a sub-domain of .uk.
Imagine the implications if a business acquires the .uk and then makes a claim against the .co.uk owner for “passing off” (not to mention pissing off) – this is a very real prospect and is effectively a [kc_heading_pac_19_font_1 size="22" color="#000000" ]Reverse Hijacker’s Charter[/kc_heading_pac_19_font_1]
They are already stating that .uk will be issued in a way that will create a market frenzy, or as domainers know it, a “gold-rush”.
Trademark owners will be protected, quite rightly, but what about those businesses that invested in a portfolio or even just one premium .co.uk domain name?
Well, simply, there is no such protection. First the landrush, then the auction, then the aftermarket.
I have been planning to develop one of my names, skill.co.uk into a recruitment and training portal. The name is ideal for the market, it’s easy to remember and I have a lot of knowledge in the industry.
Those plans are now obsolete, not through any fault of my own, but because Nominet wants to make a ton of money by introducing a new top level domain that effectively makes skill.co.uk obsolete.
The small business owner has virtually no chance of securing the .uk variant of his currently owned .uk – and that is what makes Nominet’s proposals so outrageous. They are stiffing their own customers.
[kc_heading_pac_19_background_2][kc_heading_pac_19_font_2 size="43" color="#000000" ]Opportunity Knocks?[/kc_heading_pac_19_font_2][/kc_heading_pac_19_background_2]
But surely, I hear you say, this is an opportunity for domainers, not a catastrophe – it’s precisely what the domain industry is about – getting their first, taking the spoils and reselling at a profit.
And who could argue with that?
Except that in this case, the price of admission is not £6, it’s £20, which is a big ask if a domainer is registering .uk’s to protect the .co.uk investment – think of those initial 20 names – that’s now an additional £400 that has got to spent just to stand still.
2000 names would cost an eye-watering £40,000 – before a single penny is earned – and remember, that’s not a one-off charge. Ever-increasing renewal fees will definitely be a problem for many.
Now, before we hear the shouts of “Hooray, the greedy domainers are going to get hammered,” let’s remember that you [kc_background_pac_3_underline_6 size="35" color="#000000" ]don’t have to be a domain professional in order to own a portfolio.[/kc_background_pac_3_underline_6]
I run two main businesses and each one of them has a set of domain names that promote specific niches within their markets. Each of the domains is developed to some extent, with a view to them generating commercial enquiries and for me, this is quite successful.
I don’t own many “premium” domains outside of my chosen niche, but I am pretty well represented within it.
My own fallback position is that I tend to develop the really important stuff on .com rather than .co.uk.
I wish I could say my brilliant foresight was the reason for this, but it wasn’t. It was sheer luck.
Some who have staked their entire online existence on .co.uk will have some serious spending to do in the near future under Nominet’s ridiculous proposals.
Now is the time to put the NO into Mi Net.
Personally, I don’t think I’ll be playing along with the UK domain game, until common sense prevails and I feel like I can trust the empire builders at Nominet.
This morning, I asked my business partner, who isn’t as well versed about domain names as I am, what he thinks about the possibility of a new .uk extension. His answer? “.uk souinds better than .co.uk doesn’t it?”
Nuff said maybe.
[kc_background_pac_1_background_3][kc_background_pac_1_heading_3]Warning[/kc_background_pac_1_heading_3][kc_background_pac_1_sub_heading_3]Nominet Is About To KILL Your Business[/kc_background_pac_1_sub_heading_3][/kc_background_pac_1_background_3]
Have you voiced your opinion at Nominet regarding their planned introduction of the .uk TLD, which will effectively make .co.uk redundant?
I completed the online form a few weeks ago. If you haven’t NOW is the time to do it.
[kc_font_underline type="2"]DO THIS RIGHT NOW[/kc_font_underline]
Visit the Nominet consultation page at: http://www.nominet.org.uk/how-participate/policy-development/current-policy-discussions-and-consultations/consultation-new-uk and complete the online consultation document at http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1025946/Nominet-Consultation-On-a-New-UK-Name-Service
[kc_background_pac_2_highlight_2 size="30" color="#000000"]Nominet’s Reasons For Introducing .co.uk[/kc_background_pac_2_highlight_2]
Despite their previous assurances that the .uk TLD won’t be a replacement for .co.uk, listen to the first 35 seconds of the video on that page, where it’s stated that “you would have Internet name dot uk instead of Internet name do co dot uk” – well, if that’s not a replacement, I don’t know what is.
Their second reason for the proposed introduction of .uk is that they say they want to introduce a safe place for British business to work online and for “UK consumers to really enjoy the Internet“.
I had to replay that a couple of times because I couldn’t believe it was actually said.
Now let’s look at their security proposals:
- Registrant Verification – the registrant would need to be UK based
- Malware Scanning – to help web sites accidentally spreading malware or viruses
- DNS Check – to make sure the user is actually on the site they think they are
- Addition of a Trust Mark
Where has Nominet been for the past 20 years? It’s only recently that they stopped sending out paper certificates and simplified the .co.uk space.
If this isn’t just another way of upping the registration fee from £6 to £20 and dressing up a load of non-benefits, I don’t know what is.
I don’t need Malware Protection – this stuff is cheap and I easily install it myself on my sites.
DNS Check – why? It’s perfectly obvious when I’m being redirected to an incorrect site – my browsewr alerts me for free.
A Trust Mark? What kind of trust are we talking about here? That sends entirely the wrong signal and is worthless! Nominet – I DON’T TRUST YOU OR YOUR MOTIVES.
As for registrant verification, I can’t see why (if in fact it’s needed) that can’t be implemented in the .co.uk space if Nominet feel that strongly about it.
As a domainer, I’m very concerned about these proposals, since they potentially seriously devalue my UK portfolio of names and potentially harm my business.
If .uk is implemented in the way that Nominet propose, then do all of my .co.uk names become mere sub-domains?
At some stage in the future, will a .uk owner of a name I won in .co.uk make a claim against me for passing off as him? Could I appeal against a .uk registration?
Who knows? Personally, I think Nominet is heading for some serious legal issues with this ill thought project that can bring nothing but harm to the UK space and completely alienate the vast majority of it’s customers. But what do they care? Nominet is a monopoly and it’s being run like a monopoly.
I am not looking at this issue purely through a domainer’s eyes though.
As a business owner, I rely on my web sites to generate my sales leads and it works very well.
If I have to be looking over my shoulder to see what my competitors are doing, that’s fair enough – my job is to stay a couple of steps ahead.
However, in this case, I am having to stand up against a monopolistic operation that wants me to ditch what I have already built and then do it all over again, but pay them 600% more for privilege.
[kc_heading_one size="48" color="#000000"].UK – My Alternative Suggestions [/kc_heading_one]
Enough is enough and I think I have a better suggestion that could save Nominet a lot of time and money as well as endear it to the millions of customers it is about to seriously piss off – it very simple:
- Introduce a new .uk extension
- DELETE the .co.uk extension
- Transfer ALL current .co.uk ownership to the new .uk extension
- Forget the cumbersome add-ons
- Forget about making .co.uk available only to UK residents – it’s against EU regulations surely?
All of this could be done via the DNS system – just archive .co.uk and we all carry on as normal.
I have an even better option 2 as well:
- LEAVE THINGS AS THEY ARE
I was asked this week to take part in Robbie Ferguson’s blog, which I was pleased to do.
It was interesting to see the questions, which were the same set asked of others in the domain space, which got me thinking about domains and development and in fact, whether I’d actually got things right or wrong over the years I’ve been involved in this space.
There are of course, no right or wrong answers to this, but as I earn a decent living and am free from the shackles of employment, I guess I’m doing okay, at least by my standards.
Further discussion today with another prominent domainer led to me providing this anaology of what I consider to be many domainers approach to development;
If you are parking a name, or creating little more than a ppc or affiliate site with a great name, it’s similar to buying or leasing a shop on a main shopping street and instead of opening it, simply letting other people place postcards in the shop window.
I really see most forms of domain development, by individuals and development companies, as little more than this.
From my perspective, which is a little biased I suppose, there’s not really any value to the domainer in this approach unless the site in question gets tons of type-in traffic and that traffic os strongly motivated to click a link.
My approach means that I concentrate on a niche or sub-niche and I get the lead and I then sell the service myself – keeping 100% of the money.
It’s harder work than parking and it’s certainly not passive, but by concentrating my domain holdings on the areas I have expertise, I know I can make more money.
How much more? Well, that depends on the service of course, but it’s at least several hundred pounds (and often several thousand or even tens of thousands of pounds) compared to a few pennies on a click.
Now I will concede that passive income if you can get it, is better in most cases, than having to doing work. No question about that, but when you enjoy something and have expert knowledge, why sell out to others for far less money than you can make yourself?
Of course, there’s another compelling reason to consider narrowing your choices and developing for a particular niche and that’s Google. Love it or hate it, Google is still a major driver and deliverer of traffic, yes, even for domainers.
If you don’t think that trhis is true, ask yourself why people register and trade keyword domains.
The problem is that most “developers” simply cram their sites with useless articles about the subject at hand in the hope that Google considers it an authority site and starts sending visitors who will then click on an Adsense or other PPC or affiliate link.
Unfortunately, the latest update has seen keyword domains targeted hard, with many dropping down the rankings.
It’s even happened to me this month!
Luckily though, my demise from the top ranking spots for a couple of sites seems to have been temporary. Google loves unique, targeted, relvant and interesting content. So do visitors, which is why my sites came bouncing back immediately.
That wouldn’t have been the case if I’d have been running an article farm – those are firmly in Google’s sites.
Automated content scrapers are now commonly used by people desperate to increase their own search engine rankings.
The users of this type of black-hat software simply type in their chosen key phrase and the software crawls the top ten or so sites for the phrase and copies the content which is then spun and presented on an automatically generated page of gibberish to fool the search engines.
Other people simply copy content and email to their friends or colleagues, presumably because they think it contains valuable information, whilst others again, just post it directly to Facebook.
Now I’ve always been a bit protective of my content and until now have used all kinds of scripts to prevent right mouse clicks, text selections etc.
But now, I’ve seen the light and changed my opinion a little.
Try copying anything from this site and see what happens when you paste it elsewhere. Not foolproof, but I’ve employed a fun little tool that in the case of people emailing my content on, or posting on their own sites, could actually be quite handy.
It’s already employed on many of my original content sites.
It happens to us all sooner or later, a malicious attack on our web server that creates a bit of havoc, if not for the webmaster, then potentially for users.
Now I have written in the past about security, especially with WordPress, since there are a number of excellent plugins that will prevent unauthorised attacks.
Well this morning, during one of my regular WordPress site audits, I found that one was unprotected which was due to an oversight on my part.
Always one to try new plugins, I installed one called Wordfence and what a great plugin it’s turned out to be!
Not only does it keep real-time watch on your site for unexpected changes, access attempts etc, it also performs on-demand scans of all of the WordPress and plugin files.
In doing so on the site in question, I discovered a whole host of problems – files that had no right being in the directories and altered WordPress and plugin files.
Wordfence found lots of them and provided me with an easy way of removing all of the vulnerabilities with very clear instructions.
And that was the free version. Because I don’t generally do “blogs” I don’t really need the premium features, but these look pretty useful too – the free version is certainly not a cut-down version, so I’m installing it as standard on all new sites from now on.
Check it out if you’re a WordPress user, especially if you have no firewall installed on your web sites!
After posting about trust and credibility yesterday, I received a call The UK’s Environment Agency asking my advice about contaminated, mixed asbestos waste disposal.
This was interesting for two reasons.
1) The Environment Agency sets the rules on these kinds of thing
2) They saw my site as the authority on the subject
So I did what any self-respecting marketer would do and explained that the scenario they highlighted was indeed very unusual and that I’d have to call a few of my contacts for more information, which I did.
Sure enough, I got the answers I was looking for from a few helpful people and I relayed this back to the person at the Environment Agency who was very grateful for the information.
Not one to miss an opportunity, I asked, “Can I say that I’m an advisor to the Environment Agency on my web site now?”
The answer was positive as long as I don’t use their logo, so I compiled this little snippet and had it online less than 10 minutes later;
The Environment Agency contacted us in August 2012 requesting advice on the disposal of asbestos contaminated moss following roof cleaning.
A member of the public had contacted them after a local asbestos waste facility refused to accept the waste washed from the roof, explaining that they were unable to take a mixture of green waste and contaminated waste.
We consulted with several asbestos disposal sites and confirmed that contaminated waste is contaminated waste, regardless of what material has been contaminated.
In the highlighted case, it seems that an over-zealous individual misunderstood the meaning of contaminated waste.
When asbestos is disposed of, it goes to landfill. It is buried deeply in the ground and then filled with soil. Vegetation in the waste will not therefore, cause additional disposal issues.
Our advice to the Environment Agency was therefore to contact alternative disposal sites, or to educate the original disposal site.
We were happy to assist and advise the Environment Agency in this case.
And THAT is just one example of how to create credibility online.
People often speak about creating trust & credibility online and this week, I contacted a USA based company with a view to buying a web service that I had seen and absolutely wanted for my own sites.
It was a graphic service that really captured attention, not just mine, but everyone I showed it to. I knew then that by including something similar on my own sites, I would benefit from longer visitor times on my web sites, something that Google is now taking rather seriously in their ranking algorithms.
I contacted the company concerned via their form on their web site and after a day or so, they called me and gave me the hard sell. I mean the really hard sell, the kind that only Americans can do and yet don’t seem to find offensive, unlike us Brits who are oh, so polite in our dealings.
They explained to me how having this great new thing created trust & credibity online. I couldn’t argue. It was wonderful. It looked fantastic and was very impressive (to me at least).
Anyway, hard sell aside, I was genuinely interested in buying and agreed to an initial consultation fee of $95 to be allowed against a final purchase price of $1000 in the event that I continued to order.
The company representative (I’d spoken to three of them) asked for my card details and being the cautious type, I asked her to send me a secure payment link as I don’t provide my information over the telephone to somebody a few thousand miles away.
The lady agreed and sure enough, an email arrived a short time afterwards – from a Gmail account.
A form was attached, which I was supposed to complete and send back by email – hardly secure!
The form contained a company name, but no address, no telephone number. The payment, it said, would show up on my statement as something completely different from the name of the company.
The whole experience made the alarm bells ring.
Well it would do wouldn’t it?
How can anyone deal with a company that hides their identity? What kind of fool would I have been to complete my bank details and send them off to who knows where?
At the bottom of the form was a declaration to be signed by me, assuring them that the transaction (only for the amount stated) was non-reversible.
So, here’s somebody selling on the basis of trust and credibility who failed on every single level to instill those same virtues.
I write this only to demonstrate the importance of such things and to show you how, even in today’s digitally aware society, that people are still getting the basics wrong. I won’t embarrass them by naming them, but I’ll explain how my own business site fares in comparison.
One of my sites, in the past month, has generated at least an enquiry a day in a very tight niche. The value of the enquiries it generates is well over £50,000 on average. The typical visitor is a professional and several enquiries have come from world-leading companies seeking my input or advice.
Because my site not only sells, it has credibility and it creates trust. The content is totally relevant and focused on solving a particular problem and several methods of contact are provided, including land line telephone numbers and a legitimate business address.
Internet visitors don’t ask for much, but believe me, they are looking for reasons to trust you. They WANT to spend their money but they don’t want to feel insecure.
The thing I was buying would have added some bells and whistles, but it certainly wouldn’t have gone very far on it’s own in creating trust & credibilty. I decided I didn’t need it afterall. What I do works already – and I reminded myself that I don’t need to create trust & credibility – I already have it in spades.
If you remember that when you’re developing your web sites, you’ll go a lot farther than some of your competitors. It’s something I’ve been shouting about since 1999.
Hardly a day goes by without me finding somebody leeching my bandwidth or stealing images that I’ve paid for legitimately.
Today was no different so I thought I’d share with you my tactics that to date, have worked very well in getting stolen images removed from web sites.
Sadly, it’s usually domainers and PPC affiliates who are the main culprits in my experience, so if the example domain is one of yours, don’t come looking to me for an apology – you started this!
The first thing is to find an offending image. I do it by checking my site stats which tell me what sites are linking to mine.
Today, I found that this page http://plandesignhome.com/affordable-building-plans/ was leeching my bandwidth and displaying a copyrighted image that I’d purchased from istockphoto.com.
My response was to do a whois lookup on the domain to find the company behind it called Evoplus Ltd.
Then I looked for the web host, which I discovered to be HostMonster.
I wrote the following email to Evoplus and to the abuse department of HostMonster and copied in the helpful people at istockphoto.com since they own the copyright:
The attached screenshot is taken from plansdesignhome.com.
This email is to inform you that you are displaying a copyright protected
image from our site at www.building-plans.co.uk and further, that by
hot-linking to this image from our site, you are stealing our bandwidth.
The image concerned was purchased on a licence from iStockPhoto.com and our
use is legitimate.
Yours is not and I would respectfully request therefore, that you immediately
cease displaying this image on your web site and desist from linking to our
images in future.
As you can see, this email has been copied to your web hosts, as you appear to
be in breach of their Copyright Infringement Clause which states:
“Violations of Intellectual Property Rights. Any violation of any person’s or
entity’s intellectual property rights, rights of privacy, rights of publicity
or other personal rights is prohibited. Hostmonster is required by law to
remove or block access to content appearing on or through the Services upon
receipt of proper notice of copyright infringement (see “Copyright
Infringement Notice Information” below).”
We have also copied this email to iStockPhoto.com since they are the copyright
owners of this image.
The offending page on your web site is at
I’ve used a similar approach for around 9 years now and to date, have never failed to get an image removed. To be fair, the web hosts do most of the work, since they are the people who can enforce their terms of business.
Always copy in abuse@webhost when sending these emails, as the thieves who take from us generally get upset when their web host removes their web sites!
Occasionally, I have to supply original image data and a signed statement that the image is subject to copyright, but it’s a small price to pay to rid the Internet of the scum who think it’s their right to steal from legitimate users.
Feel free to use my email template if you play by the rules and have similar issues with image or content thieves.
How long have you had your hosting plan for?
I’ve had mine for a long time – more than 10 years actually and during that time, I’ve added hundreds of web sites to it and forgotten about them.
Well this week, my disk space looked a bit low so I logged in with the intention of clearing out all of the old, unloved and unused domains.
What a list!
Admittedly, quite a few of the folders were for names that I have let go or sold in the past couple of years, but many more were just old sites that I’d listed with a view to building something nice on them at some point.
More than 100 semi-live sites were culled this morning, with the help of my web host – that was no small feat, since each domain had to be de-registered from the server before it would allow me to delete the actual files.
It was a purposely ruthless act designed to remove all pre-conceived ideas I might have had for the sites I’d intended or started to build all those years ago.
Some were active Adsense sites, others were simply holding pages and a few were actually “developed” sites containing pretty complex software for their time – software that cost me thousands of dollars.
How times have changed!
These days, I can build just about any site for less than $1000 – and if I were to get anywhere near that figure, the site concerned would rival the best that’s out there in terms of functionality.
Part of my reason for doing this is to enable me to start all over again.
I think I got a lot wrong in the early days, particularly with my Adsense sites, which although they’ve always generated money, it was never in the quantity I wanted.
The most I ever earned in a month from them was around £1500 – but that was a long time ago. These days, those numbers are nowhere to be seen – not even close.
But, I think they could be, given a bit of effort and imagination, combined of course, with all I know now about domain development, which is more than most. A lot more.
The Big Clear-out will enable me to concentrate again on an idea I had a couple of years ago – to show people the entire doain development life cycle, complete with working examples of not only Adsense / Affiliate sites, but also business oriented sites for lead generation, Internet Marketing and even SEO.
The problem when you have a server crammed with loads of redundant stuff, is that it stops you from moving forward – a lot like a cluttered desk or room – everything is an effort.
Deleting the crap and not looking back is truly liberating.
A friend in the adult niche showed me a neat little trick a few weeks ago, where he’s built a site to promote the domain names he’s making available to sell or lease, as well as promoting those sites he’s already either developed for his own business, or for others.
It set me off on a track to do much the same thing and I went as far as getting the same system that he used.
However, after a lot of meddling, that system didn’t quite prove efficient enough for my liking, so I’ve started adding some of my names to page-specific landers of my own.
As I don’t wish to sell off any more names, I am offering them as part of an all inclusive web package on very low lease / rental terms on a monthly fee basis that includes hosting, email accounts, development, SEO and in some cases, content creation.
This is pretty much the model I have employed with my surveying business anyway, so it’s simply a case of agreeing terms with the client and then building the site accordingly.
By attaching the name to the package, I keep control of the domain and the client is unlikely to go elsewhere.
Rather then being greedy with the names, I am setting very realistic and affordable prices. By doing this, I have a baseline figure for which the domain name might be sold later, if I ever want to.
In a sense, I am treating my portfolio now as though it is commercial property, where businesses typically rent their real estate rather than own it.
Any eventual sale value would be calculated as a percentage of the annual rental cost, multiplied by a number of years. With commercial property, 10 years is common.
In my opinion, domain names are in the same league as commercial real estate, except they don’t come with the annual maintenance and upkeep costs, so in many respects, they’re a better bet, especially as more businesses are now realising that their customers and clients are now doing their research online.
Here’s a few I have added recently, with the intention of adding more as I go along:
- Independent Medicals
- UK Change Consultant
- Legal Recruiter
- Nursing Recruitment
- Recruitment Agent
- UK Technical Recruitment
The names list is updated automatically on a domain lease page as I add new pages. Whether it works or not remains to be seen, but at least it is setting my stall out for the type of business I’m looking for these days and of course, it sets the bar a little higher for those who might otherwise make low-ball offers on the domains in question.