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Domain Names – The invisible industry. And how we are slowly killing it off!

Thursday, October 30, 2008
By admin


The domain industry is virtually unknown by the majority of people out there.

I had some drinks with my friends the other day and they started asking questions on what it was I’m spending a lot of my spare time on nowadays. I started to explain about buying and selling domain names, and was surprised to find out that not one of them knew what they were (these are not stupid people by the way)

I had to explain that the name they type into the browser is the sites domain name. They wondered what sort of money these “names” went for and were dumbfounded when I told them some of the figures. Even after a 10 minute explanation they still couldn’t see it.

And I think this is what we’re up against! People just don’t see the value of the commodities we hold and it’s up to all of us to educate them.


My words did actually get through to one of them, as a few days later I got a call from one of their wives trying to pick my brains on the domain industry as she’s looking to get involved.

But it’s not just the man in the street who has little knowledge of domain names, as recently I’ve been making cold calls to companies trying to sell names directly related to their business, and 80% of the time the senior people haven’t got a clue what a domain name is or why they should possess a generic domain.

Quite a few of them nearly choked on their Bagels when I mentioned the prices I was looking for and there was no way I was going to talk them round in the small space of time I had.

So the point I’m gradually working towards is that we all need to help educate the end user, as it’s very unlikely they will visit the forums or spend time reading domainers blog posts.


Some in our industry are doing their bit and more, a couple of names that come to mind are BuyDomains, Rick Schwartz, Owen Frager and Rick Latona. But we can’t just rely on these few to get the word out and educate end users on the advantage and potential a great domain offers their business. Action has to start with each of us.

As if we stay in our current mode of inactivity, just waiting for that million dollar offer to drop in our mailbox we are doing both ourselves and this industry a great disservice and are helping to destroy or hold back prosperity for everyone with an interest in this space.


I think a major problem we face is overcoming the fear of approaching the end user and blowing our chance of an astronomical sale. As a lot of the advice coming from the top domainers is to never approach a potential end user as it places you in a weaker bargaining position. This might be a strategy the few top domainers can afford to follow, but this is not one a whole industry can adopt. It’s absolute madness for small portfolio holders to do business like this as one size here certainly doesn’t fit all.

So stop holding out for the crazy offers. Set a realistic price in your mind and go out and try to achieve it – participate in forums related to your niche, call up companies in the industry, marketing firms, contact your local chamber of commerce, speak to local businesses, look at whose paying for adword space on Google. There are many ways to market your domains, you just have to start.


Good luck. I’d be interested to hear your views on the domain industry and what you feel we need to do to help gain positive exposure.




  1. by belshass |  October 30, 2008, 12:41 pm  

    We’re 100% on the same wavelength here James.
    we need to educate the end users, we need to have more visiblity.

    Domainers have had too much of bad press (being called cyber squatters etc..). It is time to clean up the space and
    show domainers in a positive light.

    Talk more about domainer who do good things.

    and every domainer has to try and do good things for the community. Get positive word of mouth going. Don’t just run after the money!

    This is something I strongly believe in and I try to do my part in this.

    Good post! Great reading.

  2. by Damir |  October 30, 2008, 2:42 pm  

    LOL - not all people are that way.

    The man who trims himself to suit everybody will soon whittle himself away. - Charles Schwab

    One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man. - Elbert Hubbard

    Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. - Thomas Alva Edison

    The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. - William A. Ward

  3. by Helder |  October 30, 2008, 2:54 pm  

    Very good advice you give here, i believe end users are the future of the domaining business, and i agree that small domainers can’t simply afford to list domains for sale and wait, one needs to be more active and search for buyers. Thanks for the good tip


  4. by Rob Sequin |  October 30, 2008, 3:28 pm  

    One way around the corporate ignorance is to simply talk with the advertising department and ask them to buy advertising on the domain. This way you are talking their language AND you get to keep the domain.

    When you talk sale of a domain then they think legal contracts, transfer of funds etc and who makes the decision? The CEO, Marketing guy or IT guy?

    If you pitch advertising then that is MUCH more easy for them to understand.

  5. by Art |  October 30, 2008, 8:15 pm  

    I seen a lot of that too, and i am not ever asking for a lot for good names in my industry. mid xxx to low xxxx and still a very slow time warming up to my prices. I am getting more requests but people get spooked by even this small prices. Sooner or later it will catch up, it certainly haven’t caught up yet.

  6. by Mark Fulton |  October 30, 2008, 10:01 pm  

    Informing end users and the general public is definitely the way to go. This will benefit us all. Here is an article that may help to explain domain names to someone who doesn’t understand.
    Spread the Word: 5 Reasons to Invest in Domain Names

  7. by admin |  October 30, 2008, 11:35 pm  

    Thanks for your comments guys. We face an uphill struggle with end users, but i guess we’ve got to keep on chipping away at them because it’s unlikely they’re going to come to us. The businesses i’ve been involved you’ve got to hunt if you want to eat and i think it’s time us domainers sharpened our spears instead of sitting round our campfires waiting for a fat hog to climb on the spit

  8. by Erice:> |  October 31, 2008, 4:37 pm  

    You might consider something:

    Eugene Schwartz (possibly one of the greatest marketers ever) gives a rule concerning the public:

    You can’t educate a market to create a desire. Either a desire exists, or it doesn’t.

    If you want to make people want domain names, you gotta quit thinking in terms of domain names and come down to reality.

    People desire traffic. So you tell Mr. X from X company that he can buy 3000 targeted visitors per month from you.

    People desire search engine positions. So you tell Mr. Y he can buy a higher position in google just by using your domain name for his website.

    But you can’t CREATE an end-user market for worthless names…and that’s exactly what THOUSANDS of newbie domainers are trying to do. If it won’t help ranking, if it won’t help traffic, the name is just about worthless. And all the education in the world isn’t going to make it worth something.

  9. by stephen douglas |  November 1, 2008, 11:55 am  

    Some people dislike me for blowing my own horn. However, this article is a spot on confirmation of what I’ve been promoting to the domain industry since 2005. Even the comments here are wise, logically arrived at by assessing the state of the domain industry. I’ve been saying that the domain industry is only worth as much as the end user will pay for almost four years now.

    Great article. Now followup on educational postings on how to push domain values to the business sector without being hung up on by dumbsh*t secretaries who think they’re saving their bosses time with “useless salesmen”.

    I consider and Ron Jackson to be the strongest source of domain name information and possible content promotion of all domains and their monetization possibilities. I think we should all just descend upon, convince Ron to start a brain-pounding Press Release campaign DAILY about domain values, and we should sign up for some cheap membership fee to participate and support a legitimate journalistic/marketing campaign that will educate business people. $19.95 a year from 300 domainers should be able to send out at least one PR daily for a year.

    May sound strange and unconventional, but doesn’t that suit us domainers and our product perfectly? Where else can you buy a domain name for $7 - $100 and flip it for 500% within just a few months?

    We can all become spokespeople for domain values by slowly discussing the basics of domaining to our friends, business associates, family, and anyone within earshot at a party.

    It’s all about education. And again, incest within the domain industry gets us nowhere. We need new blood.

  10. by Andrew |  November 1, 2008, 2:18 pm  

    Good reading and I do agree…..each week I meet someone who has no clue how valuable a domain name; yet one of clients who “gets it” recently purchased, and for a boatload of money but they understand they value of type in trafficv as well as SEO components…

    So I too am trying to educate the public thru my newest site

    We’ll get there…together!

  11. by admin |  November 1, 2008, 4:27 pm  

    Stephen - Great piece on your site and i agree 100%, we need to start working together.
    Eric also has a point though as if the desire isn’t there no amount of marketing is going to help the market. But as i’ve explained above - people just don’t know about the value or the advantage a great name can give their business.
    I’ll be posting over the next few weeks some of the letters i have used to approach end users. I still find a phone call does best, then followed up by a mail.

    Thanks for all your comments everyone - Rob i’m going to have a try with your technique and report back how it works out.

  12. by Jacob N. |  November 1, 2008, 5:11 pm  

    Great article and point. I actually purchased 200 domains exactly for this purpose. I build out one page sites and market directly to the businesses it is relevant to. Domains are a very small niche within the internet industry and in business in general. People do not wake up to fox 11 news hearing about domains on the regular.

    I believe it is our responsibility to get the word out and to be proactive in our marketing initiatives, strategy, and outlook. If you are lazy and do not promote the business, it doesn’t matter what industry you work in, it won’t be successful.

    Develop, develop, develop. It’s almost like location, location, location with real estate or virtual real estate (domains). The advantage domains have over tangible real estate is even if we don’t have the one word generic or “boardwalk” of properties per say, if we work hard on seo and sem, we can still obtain similar results.

    Happy Domaining,

    Jacob N. Nojoumi

  13. by Harvey Clay |  November 2, 2008, 3:16 am  

    Great Article, James!

    I agree with you and most of the comments.
    Yes, there is truth saying you cannot market unless there is desire, but often desire has to be created. If not by education, then by marketing.
    Also - people (or businesses) will buy to avoid pain, more than they will to gain pleasure.
    If you have a TLD, and can validate the traffic, and communicate to your prospective buyer what that traffic would mean to their competitor, you may have a more willing audience!

    I also have a personal experience of snatching up two really good domain names as soon as a merger of two companies was announced. I tried in vain to reach the top level execs to sell the names. In retrospect, if I could have shown them what that traffic would mean in increased business to a competitor, if I sold the names to the competitor, I may have received a more favorable response from the execs.


  14. by Chris |  November 10, 2008, 7:00 am  

    Stephen Douglas - in quick response to your post - “Now followup on educational postings on how to push domain values to the business sector without being hung up on by dumbsh*t secretaries who think they’re saving their bosses time with “useless salesmen”. –
    – I’m wondering if that attitude might be unintentionally bleeding over into your cold calling. I would never assume anyone in a position of power (no matter how little) is dumb. I have no problem getting through the gatekeepers and to the decision maker when I am respectful and professional to every person I may have to deal with first. I suspect that you may be getting hung up on because you are not.

  15. [...] with their weekly allowance, whereas others have put their house and savings on the line. Look at Rick Schwartz, Scott Day and Frank schilling – people thought them madmen when they put everything they had [...]

  16. [...] if I’m going to be honest I’d say now isn’t the time to load up on names. Whilst the economic barbarians are at the gates I’d spend the next two months learning [...]

  17. [...] with their weekly allowance, whereas others have put their house and savings on the line. Look at Rick Schwartz, Scott Day and Frank schilling – people thought them madmen when they put everything they had [...]

  18. [...] is no definitive answer to this question as one end user is completely different to another one (I know that’s stating the [...]

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