Domain Articles

In depth articles on domains, the domain industry and how investors can get the most from their assets.

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Critical Insights Into the Domain Industry - Part 2

This article continues directly from Part 1 in the series "Critical Insights Into the Domain Industry"

Google’s response to the aggregation of traffic by parking companies was to instantly grant a number of additional domain feeds to new parking companies. Some of these feeds had a honeymoon clause that allowed them to have a competitive advantage versus the larger incumbents. Many domain investors flocked to these new companies as they were seen as their salvation to paying renewal fees. This instantly re-fragmented the marketplace.

Escrow.com

Now that the market was split up again, Google instituted DRID’s (Domain Registrant ID) to reduce fraud (this was a good move IMHO) and CAF (Custom Ad Frame). CAF is where Google controls everything on the lander for a parked page.

Personally, I think that this overall strategy was a really clever part on Google. It allowed them to decrease PPC rates and completely control the entire domain channel without the threat of a wounded Yahoo stepping up to the plate. Some people get really upset by Google’s behaviour. What domain investors need to understand is that Google is obligated to behave in such a fashion on behalf of their shareholders.

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Tagged in: domain names google
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Saturday Musings - From Pain to Gain

There’s nothing like a reworked root canal to stop you dead in your tracks. This week, through the auspices of my dentist, my body decided to take control of my mind and laid me up in bed with waves of headaches. To say wave’s makes it sound like they were lapping on the shore….it would be better to describe them more as tsunamis.

There is a good side to all of this. As well as a lot of sleep (got to love those pain meds) it gave me time to reflect on a multitude of vitally important topics. Such as, why the education system will teach my children calculus but not how to manage money. The next step in improving the sales of my book. Why the rain against the window seemed incessantly loud.

Escrow.com

In my delirium, I also contemplated why the dog in the first episode of “House of Cards” didn’t bite Kevin Spacey’s hand and give him rabies. How many jelly beans fit into the glass jar in the cupboard above my desk? Why is it that terrorists seem to keep on wanting to blow things up versus build something that lasts?

As you can see, my thinking was solving life’s big issues.

Tagged in: saturday musings
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Critical Insights Into the Domain Industry - Part 1

I’ve spoken and attended a lot of conferences over the years….and clocked up quite a few airline miles in the process! During this time I’ve seen so many people come and go, businesses launched only to vanish and domain investments completely mismanaged.

So why am I reflecting on these things? I was speaking with a client this morning and the conversation caused me to journey down memory lane and review a few of my old presentations that I’ve shared at conferences.

Escrow.com

I had a bit of a laugh when I looked at a presentation that I did at TRAFFIC Vegas 2008. One of the slides predicted the recession and the collapse of domain valuations and PPC revenue. Guess what….it happened.

Am I a living genius? My wife would be the first to say, not at all! What I try and do is take in what is happening in the complete industry and then ask the reason “Why?” This is quickly followed up by, “So what does this mean?”

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Tagged in: domain industry google
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Marketing With No Money - Part 7

So it’s been a few weeks since my last post about how I’m marketing my science fiction book, Battleframe. I’m using this experience as a case study for marketing without spending any money. Many of the lessons learned are directly applicable to any online business. So what’s been happening?

I had a bit of a road bump with Amazon where they had a bug in their system that effectively delisted my book and this resulted in zero sales for about five days. This wasn’t too good but after a brief email exchange they returned Battleframe back to the shelves for sale….thank goodness!

Escrow.com

I’m now linked into a number of author communities and taking part in the various discussions. This is time consuming but quite a lot of fun. Whatever industry you are in I would highly recommend getting involved with people who are already working in it….you never know what could result.

So in the process of getting to know other authors I discovered that although they were great at writing many of them lacked marketing skills. Each of them was trying to sell their books in isolation and develop their own readership….this is REALLY hard work! So while I had some time off with the flu I put my brain into gear around how to solve this problem for my fellow authors.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Michael Gilmour
    Michael Gilmour says #
    I've been engaging sciencefiction.com so it will be interesting how it works out. :-) Thanks for the update on scifinovel.....I do
  • DNFactory
    DNFactory says #
    We have SCIFINOVEL dot com going cheap if that helps. It would instantly make you stand out from the crowd and give you an outstan
Domain Performance Analysis

Understanding performance often requires getting really deep into the numbers. The other day I said to a client, “We like to understand which domains we win and which domains we lose versus a baseline.” Let me take you through some high level data that gives a snapshot of what I’m talking about.

For a start the data I’m about to go through is actual numbers for a client but for obvious reasons any identifiable information has been removed. The data is for a particular domain portfolio where it would appear that our optimisation services were struggling.

Escrow

The portfolio being tested has a baseline of around $95.59 per day and within the first week of being tested we underperformed by $12.37/day. Compared to what we usually experience this was a disappointment for ourselves and more particularly for the client. So what was going on?

Here is a snapshot of the performance data from 4 weeks, 3 weeks and the most recent week. All data has been normalised to reflecting the average daily for the period. There is the current revenue, baseline revenue and then Daily performance and the percentage difference.

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Tagged in: analytics
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Brandon and Matt Discuss the Escrow/Freelancer Deal

A few days ago I wrote an article on the acquisition of Escrow.com by Freelancer.com. This morning, I had an opportunity to speak with both Brandon Abbey from Escrow.com and Matt Barrie, the CEO of Freelancer.com about the why the deal was good for both companies.

Although he is an Australian, Matt completed his Masters in Electrical Engineering at Stanford 1998. It was during this time that he found himself immersed in the burgeoning technology boom. Matt said, “I remember using Google because it happened to be on one of the universities servers and it seemed pretty cool at the time.”

Escrow

His Stanford background helped provide him with a unique insight into what makes tech companies really flourish. “It’s all about providing a superior customer result,” he said.

For the last 11 years Freelancer has been acquiring companies (over 19 to date) within the crowdsourcing and freelancing marketplace. Since listing on the Australian stock exchange at the end of 2013 Freelancer.com now has a market cap of more than $460 million.

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Freelancer.com Acquires Escrow.com

In breaking news, Australian company, Freelancer.com has reached an agreement to acquire Escrow.com for $7.5m in cash. Freelancer.com is the world’s largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace by number of users and projects.

For many years, Escrow.com has been the company of choice used by many domain investors for their sales and acquisitions. Escrow also partners with eBay, GoDaddy, AutoTrader.com and Flippa.com and has a strategic partnership with the U.S. Commercial Service (USCS) in support of President Obama’s National Export Initiative designed to significantly grow US export volume.

Escrow.com

Since Escrow.com has been a private company this is the first time that we’ve had a glimpse into the financials driving the business. As can be seen from the chart below, Escrow.com has experienced continued growth even in the downturn years of 2012 and 2013. According to the press release announcement, for the FY14, Escrow.com has facilitated a gross payment volume of US$265 million, net revenue of just over US$5 million, US$1.2 million in EBITDA.

Escrow.com Revenue

What's really interesting is where all the revenue is coming from and the fact that  only 41% is coming solely from the US market. This really shows that the Escrow.com team is viewing the world as their marketplace rather than just the USA.

Revenue sources

Given the $7.5 million price tag this means that Freelancer is paying at least a multiple of 6.25. This seems reasonable given the strength, sustainability and market position of the Escrow.com business.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Eric Borgos
    Eric Borgos says #
    Yes, that is very true. That is exactly why I sold Bored.com for $4.5 million in 2008, see my reasons at http://www.impulsecorp.co
  • Eric Borgos
    Eric Borgos says #
    That seems like a much lower price for escrow.com than I would have imagined. It is a business with growing sales and a large annu
  • Michael Gilmour
    Michael Gilmour says #
    It could be argued that it's a bit of a steal but at the same time my guess is that the single shareholder was a motivated seller.
Saturday Musings - Why My Cat Is a Genius!

Pepper, my cat, is a living, breathing genius! She’s got the whole world completely worked out, organised and constructed to obey her every whim and desire. If only life could be so wonderful for us two legged creatures.

For Pepper, morning starts with a nap followed by slowly strolling over to her bowl so that she can let the rest of the family eat with her (it’s never the other way around for cats).

Just think about it for a second….Pepper has arranged for her servants (ie. me) to fill her bowl with the very best quality food, clean water and provide regular treats of ham, chicken and the like. She doesn’t lift a paw to get this undivided attention. For thanks I have the privilege of her letting me give her a pat. Wouldn’t it be great if the local supermarket deposited our weekly groceries in the cupboard and thanked us by doing our hair as well!

After breakfast, it’s time for another sleep and so she finds the warmest place in the house and curls up. In the meantime, her servants are working their backsides off so that they can provide her with food and lodging. I’m not sure about you but the last time I checked my servants weren’t anywhere to be seen. Worse than that the bank, electric company and all seem to get quite upset when I decide to take a break, let alone a nap each day.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Michael Gilmour
    Michael Gilmour says #
    Thanks for that Louise.....I presume that you mean massage and not message though.
  • Michael Gilmour
    Michael Gilmour says #
    Hi Jeff, Thank you for your kind comments....I must admit that Pepper provides an incredible amount of entertainment and fodder fo
Marketing With No Money - Part 6

If you have ever developed a website then one of the things that you’ll be looking for is traffic. I’m a numbers guy and I need information to determine how successful my marketing efforts are for each channel. This article will provide insight into what I’ve built to do all this….

First of all let me say that there is absolutely no point in spending huge amount of time telling people about your product or service if there isn’t any response. You need to clearly define what your goals are and then measure them to see if you are succeeding. For me with the marketing of my Battleframe I’m ultimately after two things:

1. Sales

2. Sign-ups to my website

Escrow.com

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Tagged in: marketing
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Saturday Musings - Star Wars. Are you as Excited as Me?

A couple of days ago I saw a link get posted in facebook which immediately stopped the conversation that I was having on skype. Yes, the next teaser trailer for the upcoming Star Wars movie just got released!

For me, Star Wars is more than just another great movie. It inspired me to dream of the stars and think about possibilities rather than problems. In Star Wars, the good guys are good and the bad guys are bad….just the way I like it. It suggested that even the lowliest of moister farmers could become great....so there was a chance for us all.

Escrow.com

So what’s in the trailer? In one word, awesomeness! The opening sequence of the crashed star destroyer and x-wing fighter with a speeder bike zipping its way across the sands of Tantooine was fantastic!

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Tagged in: star wars
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