DN Journal wrote a cover story about Frank Schilling, which is quite motivating to me, especially after meeting Frank in person and getting rum cakes from him today. About 5 years ago Frank got into domaining as a common man, and now his portfolio is worth deep into 9 figures. In the interview Frank said:
Everything on the Internet begins with a name and there are very few people who understand how domain names work or their importance to commerce, branding etc. Even folks who think they understand branding, don’t get the power or importance and versatility of names - they too miss the boat. This is the ultimate niche during the ultimate window in time and it will be for decades.
Most domainers thought Frank was late to the market and now he is the #1 domain investor in the world. And in spite of all the stories of domain success, there are still many steals on the market today. A few months ago I bought a name for $2,500, and since then the same name in a worse extension sold at auction for well over 10x the price I paid.
A few weeks AFTER Scores.com sold for $1,180,000 I bought Scores.org from the BuyDomains marketplace for $2,300. I don't have a site there yet, but I have a logo and an idea for a site I eventually want to build, if time permits.
I have been on a bit of a domain name binge this year. As I learn more about content and branding and managing people, today's $1,000 or $10,000 domain name is going to look cheap looking back at it 5 years down the road. My story won't be as good as Frank's story, but given how motivated my wife and I are, I think we will do well. A few years ago SeoBook.com was an $8 domain, with a default Movable Type template. Once I could afford spending $99 I bought a logo and color matched the CSS to it. The site has since got enough exposure that I met and married the most wonderful woman in the world through it. And it all started with a domain name. :)
If you are an SEO and you grasp a bit of what made Frank do well AND know how to make a site part of the organic web, you don't need to pay .com prices to compete. A .org or .net can work just fine if you have the content quality needed to be remarkable and citation worthy. And you can get a big big name in those extensions for $5,000 or $10,000. Sometimes you can get it for $8!
At Pubcon Las Vegas keynote speaker Richard Rosenblath said that content does your marketing, and content is essentially the next building block on the web as search continues to dominate the web. From the Bruce Clay blog:
The old model is owning a generic domain name (pets.com). The new is that the search engines don't care where you are. Get a one or two word domain on a nontraditional domain. Target the wide body and the long tail.
Market's are not fair, but they do not need to be if you have great timing. When you look at some of the content sites that are out there in many verticals the competition bar is still quite low. Wikipedia does not dominate because it is great, it dominates because most content is junk. HowStuffWorks is not a great site, but it sold for $250 million dollars. And if you look at the top ranking sites that talk about the deal, most of those pages are not exceptionally compelling either.
I feel lucky to be able to write this post in anticipation of the years to come. You and I are lucky enough to be at a place in time where we can write our own luck! Cheers to the future, and thank you for reading. :)
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