5 With… Michael Berkens
This week, I was lucky enough to interview Michael H. Berkens, the president of Worldwide Media, Inc. Mr. Berkens is a graduate of the City University of New York at Brooklyn College (BA), Stetson College of law (JD), and the University Of Florida (LLM).
Worldwide Media, Inc. owns over 60,000 domains, and has a retail site selling domain names at http://www.mostwanteddomains.com
Mostwanteddomains.com was listed by a study by Dan Warner of Fabulous released in 2007, as having one of the top five privately owned domain portfolios as ranked by the number of people searching for previously registered domains.
1. EJS: I understand that you’ve done something different with LuxuryBedding.com than with other names in your portfolio. Would you mind sharing some information about this website and how you are generating revenue from it?
MHB: “As an industry we all express interest in developing websites rather than just parking domains. However we all have the same problem, no time, too many domains to develop.
We have entered into a partnership with a development company who specializes in the bedding business. They provided fully developed sites selling products for the home. We share in the revenue generated from the sale of products from the site. Our revenue has increase more than 400% from simply parking the page, and shortly we expect to be ranked in Google, which we certainly could not have been as a parked page which will further increase the revenue derived from the domain. What is pretty cool is that the development company does not carry any inventory. They have deals in place with the manufactures which drop ship the products to the consumer.
We make more money, the developer makes money without any inventory and the vendors sell at a higher profit margin than to a retail store. It’s a win-win-win for all involved. I expect other companies to offer similar deals with domain holders in the coming months and years.”
2. EJS: Is there anything you would trade your entire domain portfolio for?
“As pointed out by Sahar’s Blog several weeks ago, to replace the cash flow generated from domains making just $117 a day in revenue would require $750,000 deposited in a CD for 5 years for an equivalent return. Of course the principal of a CD does not appreciate as domains have. So other than controlling interest in the New York Yankees, I’ll keep the domains.”
3. EJS: Prior to being in the domain investment business, what did you do?
MHB: “Practiced law-slept on the weekends, think it was the last good night sleep I had.”
4. EJS: What is the most difficult part of being in the domain investment business?
“There are several issues you have to be prepared for in the domain business, here is just a couple:
Work and plenty of it.– You have to work every day, 7 days a week, every day of the year, Christmas, new years, your birthday, on “your vacation”. We all do it. There are no days off. If you’re not willing to do it, there are plenty of others that will. If you’re counting the hours you work, you already lost. There are just too many. 40 hour work week, you must kidding; 9 to 5, pretty funny movies with Dolly Parton, but no for this business.
The great part of the business is you can work anywhere you go, on the other hand you wind up working everywhere you go.
Decision making–every day we all review hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of domains and decide which ones we are going to attempt to get, how much we are willing to pay for each, and which ones we are going to pass on. Every day we get offers to sell one or more of our domains. Every day we have to decide whether to sell or hold. You can’t second guess yourself, you can’t look back and you only have a few seconds to decide on what to do. Too many decisions, too many domains, every day of the year.”
5. EJS: What do you think is the biggest threat to the domain investment business?
“Over legislation, regulation or other governmental action.
Contribute to the Internet Commerce Association (ICA). Be proud of the industry. Stop domain testing, it’s a short term profit that will do long term damage. You know stopdomaintesting.com that’s a good name think I’ll register it, got to go.”
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