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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
It has long been my approach to buy or register domain names that contain keywords for search terms in specific vertical markets.
My belief has been that good generic domains plus decent content will always do well in the free listings of search engines.
Today, a week or so after launching my new jobs portal, www.surveyingjobs.co.uk, it is listed at number 8 in Google.co.uk – not a bad trick given the amount of competition for the search term – just about every recruiter specialising in the surveying profession targets that phrase.
To me, the site is just part of an overall strategy of building up my surveying sites, as described in my previous post.
Interestingly, I don’t have tons of backlinks, just pure on-page optimisation as per my usual methods.
The only thing really that differentiates my site from those who are looking to target the phrase is the domain name.
Who says it’s not important?
That’s the reason I’m not selling at the moment and why I continue to build my little niche with specialist supporting sites.
Affiliate programs and pay per click commissions have never really performed that well for me, but then I’ve never really put that much effort into them.
Just recently though, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of telephone calls and emails I receive from people wanting to pay me to advertise on some of my web sites.
At least that’s what they say initially.
Of course, if you’ve been online for any length of time, you’ll probably know where this is going.
It’s all a big con really. They contact you to get your interest and then offer to put up a banner from which you’ll get a commission if somebody happens to buy from your affiliate link.
Ordinarily, I’d say that this is just typical of how affiliate programs work, except that the approach seem to me to be less than honest. Whether they actually work or not, I couldn’t comment since I don’t ever agree to host banners for affiliates or any other kind of program.
Think about it. Most affiliate programs earn only pennies per visitor by the time somebody actually buys something.
This isn’t a great return on an investment in most cases.
So what’s the alternative, especially for domain holders?
In my case, I have been very busy building up a very niche network of sites centred around the surveying profession, since that is where most of my interests lie these days.
As many regular visitors to this site know, I part own a building surveying practice and now promote BuildingSurveys.com as my main site.
It is responsible for a large percentage of my income these days and for those who don’t like to buy in the aftermarket, I can tell you that it has more than paid back the $xxxxx investment I made in the name last year.
But running just one site is not really my style.
So, I’ve started using other names from portfolio to generate interest in and traffic to, BuildingSurveys.com.
The approach I am using is to set up sites designed to attract certain types of traffic – for example, my commercial property portal offers commercial property estate agents free property advertising.
This brings in visitors who are looking to buy or lease commercial property – which happens to be my target audience. New owners or tenants who want to know what they’re getting into.
Now I’ve just added another free portal to do much the same thing, in the form of a job board for surveyors.
This will help me bring in larger surveying practices for whom we can do specialist assignments, a practice that’s pretty widespread in the profession.
Not only that, but it brings my company to the attention of surveyors moving jobs – who might just end up working at an end user company that uses surveyors. Even casual browsers on the site get to know who the sponsor is.
In effect, I am my own sponsor.
The only advertiser on my sites is me, offering my own services, even though the sites appear to be for something else entirely.
This has a tons of advantages over any other kind of advertising, not least that fact that I get to keep my sites clear of normal advertising noise, leaving my visitors able to concentrate on what they were looking for and of course, being able to promote my own services by way of placement and mailing lists.
Doing things this way means that I don’t have to worry about whether or not I’m going to get paid by a sponsor, or whether a banner is effective and nor do I have to answer to anybody. Seems like a win in all directions to me.
Then consider that 100% of every sale comes to me and you’ll see that this is way more effective than simply selling space on my sites.
But, I hear you say, that’s all very well and good you doing that, but I don’t have my own business to promote, so it won’t work for me.
Well, I disagree.
If you have industry / profession-specific names, you can team up with somebody who does have a relevant business and promote them instead. That’s all I did in the early days.
Not only that, I have now discovered an incredibly simple way to leverage the domain(s) even further in a way that adds value and equity, but more about that another day, should I feel able to share it with you. It’s almost too exciting for words.
When people talk about search engine optimisation, they usually conclude that the only way to get good placement is to get lots of back links.
The likes of Warrior Forum and various of the so-called Internet Marketing gurus promote a number of back linking services that almost always involve buying a membership that entitles the account holder to place links onto closed networks, usually blogs.
It’s long been my view that the only way to get consistently good search engine rankings is to play things dead straight.
I’ve looked at a number of link networks and various back-linking methods and have yet to stick with any beyond the initial trial period. (There’s always a trial period).
Not one has lived up to the hype and some are downright dangerous if you happen to run anything other than an Adsense trap.
That’s because Google is constantly looking at ways of reducing link Spam from it’s organic listings.
Many backlink networks claim that their methods are safe from the prying eyes of Google and that their blogs are somehow immune from being penalised.
One such “reputable” network, BuildMyRank.com was penalised last month and that resulted in ALL of the participating sites being dropped by Google. (I’d love to include a link, but why risk my blog?)
The cost to BuildMyRank.com was that they now have a lot of refunds to process. At least they were quick off the mark to own up. Less reputable companies might have simply disappeared with their subscribers money.
But imagine the cost to you if your business web site was suddenly dropped.
It’s simply not worth the risk in the majority of cases, certainly if you run a real business from your web site. The odd Adsense site probably doesn’t matter, since they are often hosted on throw-away domains in any event.
Last month, I took at something called SEO Link Monster. I took a subscription and cancelled within a couple of days, simply because the quality of sites in the link network looked so poor. Actually, poor wasn’t the word – more like dire.
It appears from a number of forum posts I’ve seen, that SEOLinkMonster.com has suffered the same fate with a number of members complaining that their sites have been dropped unceremoniously from Google’s listings.
Do the people who set these systems up not realise that google has enough money to buy memberships and examine exactly what’s going on “behind the curtain”?
As I keep explaining to my customers and my business partners – the only way to get good placement is through good content.
I do very little back-linking and yet my sites are consistently amongst the top search results for my chosen key phrases.
That’s simply because I stick to doing the basic things very well and I don’t cheat.
You would be right to ask why I try out the various systems that come along in that case.
Quite simply it’s because you just never know. Part of staying ahead online is to keep an open mind and at least have a look. If I see something that I don’t agree with, it’s dropped very quickly. That’s been the case with 99% of the stuff I’ve tried from these so-called Guru’s.
I’ve used this software for more than 5 years. It’s not cheating!
Rick Schwartz has declared open warfare on a Brazilian reverse hijacker, registrant of Saveme.com.br after apparently pretending to open negotiations to buy Rick’s 16 year old SaveMe.com.
Marcio Mello Chaves is about to discover the power of domains in a way he’s probably not prepared for. Personally, I doubt he’ll be up for the fight and the issue will be dropped very quickly, but only time will tell.
See Rick’s blog for more information.
Domainers reading this post will probably already have seen Rick’s blog, since he conveniently posted a link to everyone on his mailing list, explaining the situation.
Too often, domain owners are approached to sell domains and there are always tons of reasons why the potential buyer can’t pay a decent commercial price – usually they are poor students, or a business start-up or worse, a charity!
The only way, as Rick and others have proved time and again, to get real offers on the table is to have the balls to say no to any opening offer, as he did with a $10K offer on saveme.com, followed up with a comment that it wasn’t for sale even at $100K.
To then have the person come back at you with a WIPO based on the fact that they own the .com.br version is ludicrous, but sadly inevitable.
Looking at some similar emails from a company in Belgium who happen to own a .com.br I think I might be in the pipeline for a similar attack. I have several emails from different hotmail and gmail addresses from a couple of people who seem keen to get hold of one of my names, but I won’t respond at all, since no formal offer has been made and I won’t reply to hotmail or gmail addresses in domain negotiations.
All of the names in the emails are actually real. I was able to Google them and find the company they work for – which happens to be a .com.br version of my .com.
End users should sit up and take note of what happens in this case. It’s important, because it demonstrates the value of a good name and in particular, the value of a .com.
In speaking with business people daily, it’s become very obvious to me that domain names are still an insider business.
When you speak to businesses about their web profile as I often do, they soon get the idea of the power behind domain names. BUT, they still don’t feel it’s relevant to them.
That’s good news by the way, because ultimately, when they do get it, we’ll have come out of the economic depression we’re in and the prices will have shot up. At least mine will have!
In my constant quest for the perfect time saving tools, I’m always trialing new software packages and almost always come to the same conclusion – and that is that in the main, they aren’t worth the money.
Certainly not in the case of SEO tools anyway.
Every day, yet another SEO tool is launched that will skyrocket sites in any niche, right to the top of Google.
You only have to subscribe to something like Warrior Forum to see just how many product launches there are.
If you want to spend all of your hard earned money, go there and add your name to the list – the sales letters range from compelling to downright lies – as do the so-called reviews.
Since 1999, I have been achieving top five positions on all major search engines and have a simple formula that I’ve shared previously.
NOTHING has changed, despite what people will try and scare you into believing.
- Concentrate on your niche and define what you want to achieve
- Write unique content designed to solve a problem
- Add that content to a page
- Put your main target keyword/phrase in the page title
- Write a thorough description tag for humans – include your key phrase at least once
- Ignore the keywords tag
- Use Yoast’s free SEO plugin of you have WordPress – then send him a donation
Sticking to the basics works.
If you’re building Adsense or other passive income types of sites, then you might need to engage some questionable search engine manipulation techniques, but that’s because the content on typical PPC sites is so poor.
If like me, you want to promote a real business and generate real enquiries, there’s still only one way to do it, no matter what the niche.
In most cases I have been able to beat the so-called “authority sites” – these are government or professional body sites that are relevant to my niche and I don’t use any automated SEO tools on any of my main sites.
Sometimes, I have several sites in the top ten of the search results.
The key to this success is simply one of focus. I write my own content and I aim it at a specific audience.
Now, I am not saying for one minute that I get tons of traffic. I still aim for 40 unique visitors per day per site because I know that this generally results in an average of one hot enquiry per day.
That enquiry won’t necessarily convert to a sale and if they don’t, that’s usually my fault.
But enough do. It’s a numbers game and you have to understand your own numbers that work for your business.
I am getting closer to preparing my membership site to show real businesses how to really do this stuff. Watch this space.
In the past, I have tended to do everything to do with development and SEO myself and along the way, have spent tens of thousands of Dollars in software and hardwar, constantly updating things and keeping my skills up to date.
I’ve used freelance services like Elance, ODesk and others and have engaged long term contractors to do things that I might have preferred not to do myself.
Well, that changed forever recently, when I discovered that there are thousands of people able to do the every day stuff I need doing for five Dollars.
Initially sceptical, I tried ordering a few simple gigs and had mixed success. As in any freelance market place, there are good and bad, reliable and unreliable.
Last week, I bought an eBook called Outsourcing Blizkreig 2.0 – a horrible name, but as it transpires, very, very useful.
Normally, I wouldn’t bother with this kind of product, as it’s really just a collection of highly rated freelancers who offer services via Fiverr and a few other sites, so initially, I was a little disappointed with the content.
But, keen to find some people with half-decent skills, I started trawling through the list, which is handily hyperlinked to each provider’s page.
The first gig I ordered was for a web site header. $5 and two days later, I had a lovely new header graphic for a client site.
Then I tried a service that uses SENukeX software (that I’m currently trialing anyway) to create backlinks and social networking bookmarks to hundreds of site – and again, it was delivered quickly, complete with the URL list to all of the sites, RSS feeds and bookmarking sites that my site was to be linked to.
Needless to say, I’ll be using that guy again.
The $7 I paid for the eBook, despite the crappy name repaid itself instantly by pointing me straight to the resource I was after.
In the past week, I’ve ordered more gigs on Fiverr than I had in the previous year.
Here’sa link to one of domain name sales redirection pages – graphic $5 courtesy of Fiverr, freelancer courtesy of Outsourcing Blizkreig 2.0.
What is domain name indexing I hear you ask!
In my last post, I talked about an SEO back-linking tool called SEOLinkMonster that I’m trying out. So far I’ve used it daily and have several articles in the system. I can’t say yet whether they’re counting as backlinks and boosting my sites’ exposure, but I suspect not.
Reading through the support blog of the system, I stumbled across an article from October 2011, which quotes a conversation between one of the system’s founders and a Google engineer. This might be old new to some of you, but I hadn’t heard of it before (though had suspected it) so here goes.
According to the unnamed Google source, there is no need to register a site with Google in order to get it included in the search index. I’ll call it “domain name indexing” for the lack of any official term.
As standard procedure, Google will find your site within moments of it going live. The reason? They are actively tracking all new .com and .org domain registrations to include them in their crawl. As soon as the domain goes live with a site they know and within three days, it’s in the index.
Try it and see. It works.
I don’t know whether other extensions are treated in this way, but it makes sense certainly, for country TLDs to be included, as Google has country-specific search results and automatically geo-targets them.
On a personal level, I have never submitted any of my sites to Google, but without exception, I have had them listed in the index, usually within 24-48 hours which kinds of backs up the theory. I do however, do a couple of things with my new sites in order to help the process along a little.
Whether this domain name indexing adds any value to generic keyword domain names I have no idea, but in theory it does, since we already know that domain names are considered to varying degrees in the search algorithm, so it seems logical to me that good quality names will still out-perform “brandables” for some time come. And that can only be good for values.
Last week, I had the pleasure and privilege of sitting with some very smart commercial property investment people from a specialist company that puts together and manages high-end commercial property investments such as industrial estates and shopping centres, usually worth several million pounds upwards.
Part of their business is to help their clients bid on lots of commercial property portfolios that come onto the market. It’s a real cut-throat business as there is lots of competition. There is also an awful lot of money involved.
As I’ve been involved in the commercial property market, though from a different angle, I was able to sit my less than adequately educated self at the table and join in the discussions about how deals are structured and how entire estates are managed, because I was there as an advisor.
Those who know my immediate background might think that I was there to advise on marketing or on how to get their business on the web. But no. I was there in the capacity of advising on the state and condition of a property portfolio that was being acquired by one of their clients for around £25 million.
The point of this post isn’t to shout about being involved in such a big deal. In fact my part in it was worth only a fraction of that amount, but I was still at the table where the big boys play and, I was their as an equal.
They had engaged our surveying practice to help provide detailed information about the property portfolio on offer, which involved a lot of UK travel and a lot of headaches. But it was good to be involved in something big and it’s certainly helped my application to gain “chartered” status.
As we were enjoying a particularly sumptuous lunch, the subject of discussion around the table got to marketing and promoting services, mainly because somebody commented on our name “BuildingSurveys.com” and asked how we came to get it ahead of the large practices.
That started an altogether wider discussion about marketing professional services on line and of course, we discussed how that might be relevant for their type of business. Make no mistake, these old-school investment people aren’t ignorant of the net. Far from it. But they don’t know how to make things happen yet.
For years, domain name professionals have been eager to attract the attention of real investment people in the domain industry and have invited them to shows, seminars and the like in an attempt to spark their curiosity, when all that was probably required, was a few real life examples of how a generic name can help promote real business in their own environment.
They are not interested in how to sell widgets. They couldn’t give a stuff about how a name could be worth millions with some proper investment. They are interested in, is how to promote their own business and just like any business people, it’s them first, everyone else second.
So how do you bring big investment people to the domain table?
Quite simply, you demonstrate with real-life, relevant examples, how domains can promote their business. When you’ve done that, the magic will start to happen, because these boys network and are extremely well connected.
Personally, I’m just working my business. I have no domain drum to bang anymore, so wasn’t out to sell anything and you know what? They liked that.
Now, what can I do with investment-property.co.uk…
This is the final post I’ll make on the subject of domains, domaining and Internet Marketing in general.
The time has come where I can finally walk in through my front door and not check available names, search for drops or look for domain bargains. In fact, I don’t even like having to look at my emails or even having a PC at home any more.
My path is now crystal clear and I am freeing myself from this market completely.
My business is no longer domain oriented – it’s about building a professional practice and taking it national with a planned franchise and branch network that I hope will see me to the end of my career.Either that or it’ll be the end of my career!
It’s not a sad day though – it’s a great day, because for me, domains have led me down this path.
All the skills I’ve learned during my career, from marketing, selling, building web sites, writing copy, SEO and building business from little more investment than a £6 domain name have led me to this point. That and the fantastic contacts and associates I’ve met along the way.
Special thanks, in no particular order go to (amongst others in this space) Ed Keay-Smith, Rick Schwartz, Tommy Butler, Owen Frager, Howard Neu, Donna Mahoney and Mo Connelly who’ve all at some stage provided me with great examples of how to do things properly, how to behave correctly and most of all, kept me going when all I’ve felt like doing is giving up.
How strange it will be to a few of those names to see the names next to them – given that there’s some bad feeling amongst them these days – life’s too short for fall outs, but they’re inevitable in life.
Thanks too, to those who’ve asked me questions and relied on my judgement in the past – you’re far too generous and trusting!
So now comes the time to concentrate. In fact, I’m not so much concentrating as being totally obsessed – and nothing in my professional life has ever grabbed my attention more than this. I live, eat and breath what I’m doing now and that is the single most important ingredient that has been missing from my career for many years.
This blog keeps me connected to the domaining world. It has to be released, so here goes.
The content will soon disappear and be replaced by my real passion I hope.
Some of you won’t get it, because it all adds up to “work”. All I can say to that is that it “works” for me.
Thanks so much to all who’ve read and participated in this rather self-indulgent blog over the years. If I didn’t mention you by name, don’t be offended – I’m getting old now and tend to forget the detail.