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DNAcademy Domaining Course Review

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No one understands the power of a good learning system for domaining like someone who has learned the ropes the hard way and lost a lot of money in the process. As someone who has made every mistake in the book along the way, I can appreciate the value of a quality learning system for domaining.

There have been several courses on domaining that have been offered through the years. However, there has never been one that I recommended – until now. DNAcademy is that course. Although quite expensive, it is well worth the price.


Like most of you, I learned about the author of the course, Michael Cyger, from his podcasts on Domain Sherpa.

During his podcasts Michael has interviewed all the top players in the domain industry, from Frank Schilling to Rick Schwartz and everyone in between. He has picked up a wealth of knowledge that he constantly displays in his interviews. What’s more, he has managed to parlay that knowledge into practical use and done well in domaining himself.

There is more to the course than just the extensive curriculum. If you are a pro member, you can join a private forum and receive greater interaction with, and attention from, the course instructors.

I’m not going to give away the contents of the course, as I’m sure Mr Cyger would not be very happy about that. But here is an idea of what you will learn taking the course. You’ll learn about what domain names are, the importance of keywords, how to value a domain, valuation tools, buying domain names, selling domain names, and the basics of running a domaining business.

The course is professionally laid out. There are numerous videos and examples throughout the course to help you learn, and exercises to do along the way. You can work through the material at your own pace, when you have the time.

If you are at the beginning or intermediate stage of your domaining career, I recommend registering for DNAcademy. Taking the course will save you hours of time figuring out how the ropes work, and likely save you from thousands of dollars of mistakes. It’s time to stop dabbling with domain names and get serious – so, check out the course now.

If you have any questions about the course, please let me know.

Everybody else is putting out “Top 10” domaining stories of 2009.  Well, we here at had to do them one better – so, here is our first annual “Top 10” domaining stories, not just of 2009, but of all time.

1.  GoDaddy Girls.  After years of being dull as dirt, Bob Parsons kicked the excitement level of domains up a notch by introducing the Godaddy Girls.  Now domains are not only profitable, but sexy as well.  You’re just reviewing Bob Parsons marketing strategies when you look at those pictures and videos aren’t you?  You’ve got to keep on top of things, so to speak.




2. Rick Schwartz Coronated.  Every kingdom needs a king, EVEN THE KINGDOM OF DOMAINING.  Fortunately, Rick Schwartz volunteered for the quite THANKLESS TASK.  Plus, the sales of CAPS LOCK keys doubled overnight.




3.  Dot Mobi.  The dot mobi is our hero because it is responsible for at least 50% of all domaining jokes.  And because dot com needed a run for its money.




4.  The Number 28. You thought that 42 was the answer to life, the universe, and everything.  Well, you’d be wrong – the answer is 28.  Just ask the good folks over at Bido.




5.  Domain Gang. The domain industry has always needed a place where you could get all the domaining news you need from a trusted source.  Fortunately Domain Gang fills this gap by keeping you up to date on everything you absolutely must know to be a successful domainer.




6.  Domain Tasting Ends;  Wine Tasting Takes Over.  The once very profitable practice of domain tasting was made unprofitable by ICANN.  Entrepreneurial domainers looked for alternative types of tasting to fill this void.  Never ones to turn down a drink, domainers gladly turned to wine tasting instead.




7.  India (and other countries) prohibiting adult domains.  Stats definitively show that no one from these countries uses the internet for porn.




8.  Halvarez.  You thought that Kevin Ham owned the internet.  You thought that Frank Schilling had the best portfolio of any individual.  But the reality came out – Halvarez was involved in more domain auctions than both Kevin and Frank combined.




9.  Tuvalu Gains Its Independence. On October 1, 1978, Tuvalu gained full indepedence from the United Kingdom.  Thank goodness for that, otherwise there could be no .tv on the internet.  We’d just have to use .com or some other extension for that.




10.  Domain Appraisals. Want to get rich overnight?  Hand register a bunch of domains and then pay for them to be appraised.  As the appraisal values of hundreds and even thousands of dollars for each domain roll in, start counting your profits.  Ka-Ching!




(OK, I hate disclaimers, but in case you haven’t noticed, everything in this post is fabricated and meant only for humorous effect)

chefpatrick1As many of you are aware, Chef Patrick cooks up a weekly video of the latest domain news with his co-anchor Tia (pictured left).

Watching his weekly Friday video is a great way to keep up with what’s going on in the domain world in an interesting and enjoyable format.

INForum is proud to have sponsored the latest episode of the Chef’s domain news and Tia is proudly wearing the INForum t-shirt in it.

Thanks to Chef and Tia for doing such a great job.

I think that people so far are glossing over just how big the introduction of .crap really is.  Let’s face it:  .crap is a game changer.  It merits looking into further.

Never before in the history of domains has there been an extension with as much potential as .crap.  It’s obvious that within a few years at most .crap will be the new .com.  It may never surpass .com, but it sure will come close.  When that happens, won’t you feel silly that you didn’t invest in .crap?

Ignore the .crap naysayers on all the forums and the blogs.  They just have a vested interest in .com and are trying to protect that vested interest.  They simply can’t wrap their minds around all the benefits and possibilities that .crap offers.  Change happens.  The internet is evolving. .Crap will revolutionize the internet.

Remember what Warren Buffet says: be greedy when others are fearful.  It’s time to stock up on .crap while the .commies are panning it.

Let’s face it – what’s really on the internet?  A lot of crap!  And what domain extension could better capture the essence of this then .crap?

.Crap is different from any other extension that’s come before it.  It’s very unique which gives it a lot of potential.

.Crap domains have already been purchased by many big players.  I could list dozens of examples of large corporations that have bought their name in .crap.  Plus, I’ve even seen some .crap domains ranking well in Google.

I’m so excited that I’m ahead of the game and have registered about 1,000 .crap domains – there is so much potential!  If you missed the .com gold rush you’ve got another chance to make it big with .crap – don’t miss out!

Why .us not doing well and will that change?  .com is America’s extension, not the global extension.  Rick is not a .us fan.

.us adviser now in Obama administration.  .us may just need some promotion.  All the good terms are owned by speculators.

.us reserved for govt use in US until spring 2002.  Ron Jackson a big fan, because the biggest boosters are corps from outside of US & use .us to market themselves to US audience.  Eg  Has a portfolio of 3000 generic .us domains.  Every year has more sales, traffic not a big deal.  So that segment of his portfolio has been profitable.  Educational process is a slow one.  Those who get the good terms cheap will be rewarded in the long run.

Some discussion about how hard it is to sell domains to end users.

Rick L has had more success leasing domains than buying outright.  Easier for a marketing manager to convince co to spend four figures per month rather than 6 figures.

SEO firms generally “get it” re domains.  Good way to get to talk to people who are influencers, even if they are not the ones who will write the cheque.

How do you cold call end users without being labelled cybersquatters.  Rick L has a team of people who email and phone people all day and about 50% of the time, gets negative reaction.  Need a thick skin.  Don’t get emotional.  Rick L has used law firms to fed ex packages to ceos.

.sg – underexploited at the moment?  Edwin has about 45 .sg domains.  All get traffic.  English speaking country.  But not supposed to sell (although can transfer).  Sedo are in the process of speaking with sgnic and getting them to repeal this policy.  There are an awful lot of good stuff still available.  Need a mailbox address in Singapore.

.nz – unexploited market.  Edwin has about 170 .nz domains.  Almost all of them get small amount of traffic.  People have a lot of pride.  Lots of unregistered stuff.

Try to cut bulk deals with registries.  Eg phillipines.  $35 each or 1200 at $15 each.  Rick l also involved in .mx.  Looks for 50 million people or more.

.eu domains – how would you sell a large number quickly?  Rick L like .eu’s future value.  They are a hold.  Others are less bullish – .eu is for Americans coming to Europe.  Most Europeans don’t think of themselves as Europeans.  Edwin is negative on .eu.  The European version of .asia.  Europe is not a monolithic entity.  If you are willing to wait 10 years, .eu may be alright.  A rising tide raises all boats.

Second seminar in the series.

Howard Neu moderating.

Session with 5 well known portfolio holders.  Will give their take on various country codes.

First panelist is Rick Latona.

Started in cctlds 1 1/2 years ago.  Owns about 30,000 cctlds.  Travels a lot and it was obvious that .com was meaningless in many places.

What he likes the most about it is that you can focus on 2nd tier countries.  Availability of domains was wide open.  Could register a few thousand category killer domains.  Even if he has to hold for 5 years, that’s ok.  If you had 100,000 domains worth 1,000 euro each, that’s a lot!  So much easier to sell at the 1,000 to 5,000 price point.

Fastest path to do that is in cctlds market.  Throwing this show and his forum help increase the value of cctlds domains.

Second panelist is Henny Grutlip (sp?)

Domainer for 5 or 6 years.  Specializes in Dutch domains.  Best to concentrate on 1 niche market and become the best in there.

What do .nl domains mean for foreigners?  Can everyone register .nl?  Yes, registry is completely open.  Need a local presence.  Registrar can do this for you.  This requirement may drop this year.

Point of local contact:  address for legal service.

Registry 3.5p Eur/year.  Shouldn’t pay more than this.

Cheap to be your own registrar.  150 Eur/quarter.  If serious domainer, do that.

Strict whois regulations.  Can only check 15 whois domains per day.  If you’re a registrar, you can have your ip registered, can do 5,000 whois query per day.  Another good reason to become own registrar.

2 systems to register.  1 is a web interface.  Email as well.  Registry working on EPP system, but this has been promised for several years.

.nl domains very insecure.  Easy to transfer.  If current owner doesn’t complain, transfer goes through.  Ie transfer goes through if not objected to.

Drop scene:  catching dropping .nl’s interesting until 1 year ago.  Now they introduced 40 day quarantine so fewer domains drop.  Only a few private catchers catch domains, maybe about half a dozen.

If you don’t speak local language and know local culture, must be very careful.

Very active dutch domainer community.

Third panelist -Nico

Since 2002 a domainer.  Started out in .de.  Then moved into .com.  Recently did some other cctlds lately in 2006 – .it, .nl, .dk, .ch.

Common challenges of cctlds:

Every registry has different legislation and different jurisdiction.  Lots of legal challenges.  Need to be careful of local regulations.  May want to get local people to help.

Different user behavior in every market.  IDNs are popular in .dk, .de and Scandinavian countries.

Hyphens – some cctlds popular, others not.

Currency exchange rates fluctuate widely.  Margins can change quickly.  Must keep registration costs as low as possible.  Consolidate domains to one registrar where you have lots of volume.

Go to one registrar, consolidate domains, negotiate lower price.  Might want offshore registrar solution.  Get people that speak the language to help you.  Make sure you monetize to the max – do affiliate programs, not just parking.

Next panelist – Edwin Hayward – market has been developing for quite a while.  Nominet in 96.  Started lated 2003.  Involved in domaining since 96.  Fairly cheap – if you are registrar.  Significantly less renewal costs.

No restrictions on ownership.  Instant online transfer with simple interface.  Can do bulk transfers for one fee.  Can set buyer or seller to pay transfer fee.

There are quite a lot of drop catchers in the market – > 50.  Of which 6 or 7 are public facing.

If you are a regular person, you can only do 1,000 lookups per day.  No public zone file.  You need to make your own list.

Significant language differences between UK and US.  Thousands of terms differ.  E.g. don’t call it real estate.

If you want to park, best bet is Sedo or Namedrive.  Really need to test.

How make more money?

About 18 months ago, pulled all domains out of parking companies and directed to sales site.  Customized front page of sales site depending on domain that redirected there.  Sales went up about 2 1/2 times.

Sold 540 domains in last 4 years.  Over 111 in 2006 & 2007.  431 in 2008 & 2009.  Even though he’s lost parking money, more sales have more than made up for this.

Raised his profile in industry by establishing a brand.  Shirts, brochures, business cards, etc.  Relatively cheap to do (couple of thousand dollars).

Exhibited at Internet World in London, next to Nominet.  That gave him a chance to talk to a lot of end users as well as Internet industry people.  Significant difference in approach to domain names over the last year.    This year, everyone seemed to understand the importance of domain names.

Final panelist – Alexander Shubert

Started in ’97 with .de.  Hard to sell domains back then.

Later specialized in .eu and .info.  Most people not interested in .eu & .info – hard to sell and not much traffic.

Currently lives in Riga.  In East European countries, use .eu much more.  In East Europe, very proud to be members of European Union and use .eu to show it.

Language skills – very important.  Be careful about umlauts in German.

Tries to sell domain names through Sedo.  But tries to sell to end users because not easy.  Must understand how large corporations think.  Must educate why must buy and what can do with it.  Ideally, a mini business plan.  Best sales happened when he had a mini business plan telling them what to do with domain.

6.9 million .de domains have a hypen in them.  Hyphens are very popular in .de.

Hyphens popular in .at.

18% of all Dutch people own domains.

% of domain space being monetized by PPC?  For .nl is 15-20%.  For .uk is 19%.  For .de – data not collected, but more than 10%.  For .at 14-15%.

Impact of global recession?  For .de – not really.  A bit of a decrease in the  growth rate, but a lot of this is due to domainers.  Don’t expect bad effects.  For .at, a lot of deletions, but a lot of registrations, stable growth.

As far as registration trends, what have you seen?  For .nl, lots of private individuals are registering domain names for professional business persons.  Increase in PPC market, increase in drop market activitiy.  Corporate registrations seem to be slowing.  For .de, domains are more and more being used for funny advertising, eg, slogans being registered as domain names.  For .at – very active catching community in Austria because they offer zone file.  300 Euros and you get the zone file forever.

Why should I invest in your cctlds?  For .de – invest in all 4.  All 4 are very attractive, good local markets, people are using, all 4 very similar.  Need a local expert.  Should get a local expert in German maket.  Each market is different.  Internet experience for each culture is different.  Important that you have someone who knows the local market very well.  Germany is the biggest of all 4.

For .uk – understanding local market is key.  Need to know who you are talking to, what interests them, what makes local domains valuable.  Requires an understanding of nuance of language.  Local understanding key.

For .nl – nicely tucked between UK & Germany.  Local expertise important.  Primary attraction is value of domain names.  High demand for .nl which translates into high value.  This domain is being used by end users.  Sedo states average .nl domain went from 1500 to 2890 Eur on avg in last year.

For .at – Sedo stats average .at domain went from 800 to 1100 Eur on avg.  Lots of free ones still available.  Attract whole German market – Germany, Austria & Switzerland.  100 million people in Austria.

Impact of .eu?  Some use, but not very much.  Companies are registering it if they can’t get local cctlds.  It may change in the future.  In UK, still a fair amount of use of .com compared to other European countries.  Lorries tend to use .eu a lot, as they are traveling across the continent.  For international profile, companies prefer .com.  Businesses prefer local country cctlds.  Don’t consider .eu a competitor.

With the new round of tlds on the horizon, do you have an opinion on its effect on cctlds?  Will have a hard time to establish themselves.  Not impossible that they will succeed, but very hard.  Experience with domain extension is predominant.  Not real competitors to cctlds, won’t split market up.  May well be like .eu impact.

Any chance of .uk being allowed?  It would be a real challenge to do and is not on the cards at the moment.

2 letter  Will take some time – likely next year – process ongoing.

Number .de domains?  Not on the cards.

.de working on making high volume queries more difficult.  Discussion ongoing on how to do it.

AT Domains – TRAFFIC cctlds

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850,000 domains but growing quickly.

9% registration from overseas, and percentage increasing quickly.

Run fully automated EPP system.  Open to everyone.  First come, first serve procedure.

Transfer procedures are easy.  Gaining registrar does all the changes.

Offer IDN & number domains. 

Provides full zone file – 7 days old.

Pricing – 1 euro per year for first year campaign for this year.  Only avail to partners. 

DE Domains – TRAFFIC cctlds

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2nd biggest cctld – after China

Concentrate on Germans, but don’t need to be German to register.

Organized as a cooperative where industries come together.  Like farm cooperative.  Duty to serve German tld for German community.  Independent from the government.  Nonprofit model.  Highest possible level of security and stability for the German community.

Open structure to make it easy for new members to join.  Work closely with members.

Main functions to manage database, interface with members, etc.  Very stable growth.  Growth rates of 11 to 12% up to 2007.  Lately 6-7% growth.

Foreign holders – a lot of portfolio holders.  Many Swiss, Austrians.  Lately an increase in US domain holders.

German domains mostly held by people in urban areas.  Registration in Germany is well spread out between businesses and general population.  Lots of individuals own their own domains (60%).  Popular in Germany if you are looking for a new job for resumes to refer to personal websites for more info.

Introduced IDNs in March 2004.  “Decorated” letters.  About 1/2 million IDN .de domains registered.  Rougly 5% of all German words have a decorated letter in them.  IDNs are very common in Germany.

Membership of 260 organizations.  Membership from 19 countries.  About 20% of members not from Germany.

UK Domains – TRAFFIC cctlds

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7.5 million domains registered and still growing. Nominet in business since 1999. Liberal registration requirements – anyone can register. Pricing reasonable – 5 pounds for 2 years.

72% of consumers when surfing in UK likely to click on .uk domain name as that’s more relevant, local and trusted.

Large businesses want .com, smaller businesses want

Roughly 60% of uk domains are active websites.

About 70% of all domains are being renewed.

Web based front end so that registrars can manage domains easily.  Introduced new EPP system.  Introducing more resources for registrars, including more stats.

If you do wait until pro forma invoices from Nominet, use email invoices instead of paper.

In middle of a governance review.  Independent review that’s now published.  Deals with structure of Nominet board and how it works.  Majority of membership is also registrars – 4,000 registrars, 3000 of which are Nominet members.

Upcoming:  reviewing variable registration periods, 2 letter domains being released.