Getting Serious About Domain Name Development
Domain investors must change the perception that there is easy money to be made simply by investing in domain names. While many early speculators and adopters were able to do quite well, there is a perception that everyone in the domain industry is getting rich fast. Because of this perception, our domain names are a target. I don’t think there has been a time when our domain names have been put in such a perilous position by people who want to take them from us.
As most people are aware, the recently proposed Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act seems to be a vehicle intended to allow large corporations to claim that generic domain names infringe on their brands. This cleverly written bill sounds like it is intended to protect consumers, but the heart of it seems to be about stripping Internet entrepreneurs of their rightful domain names. Large corporations will be the beneficiaries of this bill, as they could use its vague language to take a privately owned domain name. Most of us aren’t viewed as Internet entrepreneurs, but rather people who got lucky and rich by making a wise speculation.
This perception also causes much internal strife, as some people who try to break into the industry do so without a strong ethical footing. Every day, hundreds of new domain names are registered intentionally containing the trademarks of well known brands, something that can be seen by reviewing the growing number of UDRP disputes. Some people also try to capitalize on catastrophes by registering related domain names immediately after a terrible event, and listing them for sale shortly thereafter. Most of the time, I would bet that this is done by people who aren’t having success on the straight track, so they feel the need to take shortcuts. This gives the domain industry a black eye, and it gives outsiders more motivation to try to penalize us by taking our domain names.
Folks, I hate to say this, but there isn’t easy money to be made in the domain industry.
With very little exception, parking revenues are down throughout the industry. This can be attributed to factors far too numerous to list, but the bottom line is that parked domain names aren’t going to make you rich – unless you spend millions of dollars to acquire them – in which case you probably won’t be parking them. Parking is still a good option for domain names that are waiting to be developed, but the key is that they need to be developed.
I believe we are at a serious crossroads in our business. While many people in the industry successfully brought us to the place where we are now, we need to reevaluate who we look at as the “industry leaders.” Whether we like it or not, the domain industry is changing. Gone are the days when people could make a ton of money parking or using arbitrage. Development is the key to long term success, and we should look up to people who are developing or have already developed some of their domain properties into successful businesses.
Development isn’t easy. There are so many spinning wheels with a development project, it is no wonder many people opted to park their domain names. Well, it’s time we take the bull by the horns and learn about what needs to be done to develop our domain names into websites. The transition won’t be easy, but I know we are all up for the task. While many early adopters spent 18 hours a day attempting to secure the best domain names several years ago, it is time to take the same initiative with a focus on developing our names. Just like a real estate developer doesn’t need to be a professional architect, domain owners don’t need to become professional programmers. We need to learn the basics and work with the experts.
In several years when we look back at 2008, I think we will note it as the year the industry changed its focus. The people who develop their domain names will be on top of the industry, and those who don’t may suffer. It is time that we do what we can to protect our domain names, and I think development is the best solution. In the coming weeks, I will do my best to speak with developers to give as much advice as i can. There are plenty of resources out there, and it’s about time we look into them and move forward. Web 2.0 is here, and it’s time we catch up and make the most of our domain assets.
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