5 With… Jay Westerdal, Founder, Name Intelligence
Jay Westerdal is the founder of Name Intelligence, Inc. the parent company of DomainTools.com. Jay’s company offers a number of helpful tools, the most popular being the Whois look up tool which includes a ton of extra data from around the web in, all in real-time. I’ve used the Whois.sc service since I became involved in the domain business, and the Whois history tool has been helpful in allowing me to do my due diligence when purchasing domain names.
Jay’s company now offers a service that ranks dropped domain auctions, based on a number of different criteria. Additionally, the company has stored every DNS change since 2001. His services are so unique that he now has clients such as the FBI and the FTC using their tools to track down scammers and people that abuse domain names. Also, DomainTools was the first company to offer Domain Insurance.
Jay’s first job during college was for a hosting company as head of domain registrations. Since then he has gone on to form a number of new corporations; Jay is CEO of Spry.com Web Hosting which currently has about 20 employees. Jay is an active industry domain blogger, and he is heavily involved in ICANN. I read Jay’s blog daily, and I think this is one of the most valuable domain news outlets.
1.) EJS: What was the first domain name you ever purchased, and do you still own it?
JW: “My first domain was Westerdal.com”
2.) EJS: What has been the biggest surprise/development in the domain industry over the last couple of years?
JW: “I think Transfer Fullfillment by Snapnames is the biggest thing that has happened to the industry. It has eliminated drop catching as we knew it. Then Snapnames was sold for $37 Million, then NameJet appeared out of no where to dominate the market place.”
3.) EJS: What needs to happen to make the domain investment business more mainstream?
JW: “For domain investing to be more mainstream. There needs to be two things. More transparency and greater liquidity options. Domains are too hard to sell right now and there is no good resource to track the sales. What DomainTools did for Whois History we hope to do with Domain Sales in the aftermarket. We want to completely redefine how transparency works.”
4.) EJS: Let’s get personal… Laptop or Desktop, and what brand?
JW: “My computer has Two 30-inch monitors and a few GB of ram from Dell. I also use a IBM Thinkpad.”
5.) EJS: What is the biggest threat to the domain investment business?
JW: “The biggest threat is lack of transparency in the parking revenues. Google is so closed about how they calculate revenue shares you know they must be making millions of dollars each day from it and they don’t want to let go of that. The market is ready for a truly disruptive market move.”
6.) EJS: Where do you see Name Intelligence (and you) in five years?
JW: “DomainTools and Name Intellingence will be involved in a lot more aspects of Domaining. We just recently got into Live Auctions and the sky is the limit from there. Domain Financing, Domain Insurance, Domain Monetization, and Tagging. We will be associating clips and notes about each domain so that the history of a domain is more rich.”
7.) EJS: While a majority of domain investors choose to be private, you were one of the first active domain bloggers. What is the driving force behind your blog, and what motivates you to be one of the main sources of information and news for the domain community?
JW: “Yes, a lot of domain investors are quite about the Industry. By being open and sharing my prospective it can only help the industry grow. We live in a connected world and blogs in this industry were only a question of time. I don’t share everything either. I sit on things sometimes if it is not news worthy or if someone else has done a good job covering it.”
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