My 2009 TRAFFIC Awards Nominations | DomainInvesting.com

My 2009 TRAFFIC Awards Nominations

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I saw that Mike made a few nominations for the 2009 TRAFFIC Awards, which will be given out at the New York TRAFFIC conference, and I want to share a few of my nominees. This year has proven to be the most difficult one I have faced in the domain industry, and there are several individuals who stand out in my opinion and deserve recognition and praise.

BEST DEVELOPER OF THE YEAR:

Shaun Pilfold – Kelowna.com: Shaun has spent much of this year building a business on the geodomain, Kelowna.com. Instead of a standard geodomain name (like mine) with tourism information, event updates and a bit of news, Shaun has taken Kelowna.com to the next level. Shaun’s company has sunk significant resources into the business, hiring journalists, editors, and sales staff, while marketing the heck out of the business. During the Kelowna forest fires, Kelowna.com provided the best local coverage and won a lot of praise from the local people. Shaun’s company owns a plethora of great domain names, including Jobs.ca and more.

Richard Douglas – Oakville.com: Richard is one of the smartest people I know, and he has privately provided a tremendous amount of advice to me about development, SEO, marketing, hosting and more. Richard’s Oakville.com, which launched in the past year, was built on a great platform that will allow the company to scale. From geocoded directory listings to a great news distribution service, Oakville.com is quickly becoming recognized in the community. Oakville.com was also a partner of the RBC Canadian Open, a PGA event held in Oakville, and the site received recognition from the Oakville city government and local business leaders. Richard also runs the domain blog, TooManySecrets.com, which has great development insights.

DOMAIN HALL OF FAME

Mike Berkens: There is no doubt in my mind that Mike Berkens deserves to be in the Domainer Hall of Fame. Without question, Most Wanted Domains, the company Mike founded, has one of the top generic domain portfolios in the world. In addition to this, Mike’s blog, TheDomains.com, is one of the best sources of information about the domain industry, and Mike breaks down how outside factors will impact our domain investments and developed websites. Mike attends most of the domain conferences, and he is very approachable, always willing to give advice and offer honest feedback.

THE “WE GET IT” AWARD

Candy.com: This one was pretty easy. A small candy company bought Candy.com for $3,000,000 and have greatly increased their brand recognition and traffic. They went from being somewhat unknown to owning one of the best generic domain names that money could buy – and arguably the best in their industry. At every tradeshow, the Candy.com team will be instantly recognizable whether other vendors and buyers actually know them. This was a very smart strategic move.


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.


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Comments (40)

    Tim Davids

    I vote toys-r-us for “we get it”, Candy.com had the help of Rick to convince them. It probably was a bigger process for toys-r-us to decide to go for it and to keep bidding against some big fish.

    August 17th, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Borat

    I have a nominate for best blog to be DomainKingofKings.com . . . he made some good blogs http://web.archive.org/web/20080206121117/http://www.domainkingofkings.com/

    Other nominate is elliot blog because he makes blogs about poopies.

    August 17th, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Kevin M.

    I also agree that Shaun and Mike are ‘great’ choices for the nominations you note. I think Shaun has done a great job with Kelwona.com (and he’s pretty a-ok guy too)! And Mike’s blog is definitely one of the top 3 blogs out there, and is very informative.

    Both have my vote.

    August 17th, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Domain Development

    @Elliot

    Thank you!

    My team and I have worked very hard to build Oakville.com into a full geo domain portal. We’ve rounded out the news, events, classifieds, and business listings with active social marketing on http://www.twitter.com/oakville as well.

    We’ve even got the support of the local Council, which, as you know with Lowell.com, is a tough thing to do!

    I am not aware of any other geo domain web sites that have taken the audience interaction to the level that we have, and it is paying off with brand recognition and new advertisers every week.

    Thanks again for the nomination. We very proud of the platform we’ve built and you’ll soon see many more sites that we’re developing on our platform!

    – Richard

    August 17th, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    Elliot

    BTW, I also think the Castello Brothers deserve to be in the Domain Hall of Fame… I just didn’t want to be repetitive, and Mike did a great job in his post.

    August 18th, 2009 at 9:27 am

    SC

    Kelowna is not something I would vote for developer of thye year on. The concept and format is 5 years old. Just doing the work to set it up is not really “Developer of the Year” stuff.

    The money he spent.. well everybody I know pays those writers and photographers per article or photo. And the publicity the get from the we sites gets the other freelance jobs.

    Developer of the Year should be something innovative and has helped move domaining forward.

    August 18th, 2009 at 1:44 pm

      Elliot

      @ SC

      So you don’t think a full time, well-respected domain investor taking a domain name and turning into a full business is good enough for this recognition? I disagree, and I aspire to have Lowell.com turn into a site like that.

      August 18th, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Lee

    Just about everyone in the domain industry are cattle…ohhh pets.com is so great, toys.com is so great – both went out of business – friggin losers.

    August 18th, 2009 at 6:04 pm

      Elliot

      @ Lee

      I know a lot of people who are doing well in the domain industry :)

      I don’t think the previous owners of Pets.com or Toys.com are/were in the domain industry. It’s obvious that any company can go out of business if it isn’t managed properly.

      August 18th, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    Lee

    This is not about the domain industry – it’s about the line that the domain industry continues to feed the world…that generic domains are the ticket and if companies do not get a generic domain that they “don’t get it” – you domainers sound like real estate agents who are brainwashed that real estate goes up forever with huge percentage gains…I’m tired of the bull. godaddy did just fine with a stupid name but it was brandable and could be trademarked – there was a recent court decision that said generic domains are not able to receive a trademark. Good luck with that cattle…

    August 18th, 2009 at 10:35 pm

      Elliot

      @ Lee

      That is one of the dumbest things I’ve read in a while. Seriously.

      You clearly don’t have experience with a category defining generic .com domain name. I am sorry but someone who knows anything about domain names wouldn’t write something as ignorant and misinformed as what you posted. WTF does not being able to get a trademark on a generic domain name have to do with anything? I think Hotels.com, Cars.com, Apartments.com, Go.com, Baby.com…etc…etc have done very well without trademark protection, and Candy.com and Toys.com will follow suit.

      I have a post that’s coming out on Thursday that discusses the value a generic domain name can bring a company.

      BTW… if you are such an expert, why would you leave a fictitious email address and not your real name? Ahhh… perhaps it’s because you don’t stand behind what you say or are embarrassed to identify yourself?

      August 18th, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    Bruce Marler

    @Elliot

    I sat here for 10 minutes wanting to comment about Lee’s lack of understanding (ummm, dumb comments) about domaining but you summed it up just fine bud. Although it is possible to build a brand having a keyword rich name will always make it easier.

    My latest rule is I censor no comment that has a name attached too it but choose to only let through anonymous comments that have some value. It is amazing how anonymous comments are 99 percent negative. And that they are the ones afraid to actually stand up and use their name. Easy to throw stones if they can never come back at them.

    Good job responding….

    Bruce

    August 19th, 2009 at 12:41 am

    Shaun Pilfold

    @ SC. I really don’t care to enter the debate and you certainly are entitled to your opinion. I just wanted to clarify one thing; we have a full-time staff of 10 journalists covering everything that goes on in this city. We do have a few other freelancers providing a few additional columns a week and a two contracted newsfeeds to provide provincial, Canada and World news.

    We haven’t got it all covered yet, but we are working on it. As for moving domaining forward, I’ll leave that to those I’m sure are better at it than I.

    August 19th, 2009 at 1:14 am

    Lee

    Elliot & Bruce –

    Being annonymous is one great thing of the net – sometime I use my real name and sometimes I do not – depending on how brash I want to be and you domainers need a major kick in the mouth.

    Yes, I have owned a generic domain name and no it did NOT produce very good results. This is total B.S. Now, tell me why did etoys.com go out of business? Low margins. Why did etoys.com go out of business AGAIN under a new owner? Low margins…why did pets.com go out of business – low margins – now owned by persmart.com so they should be fine because their brick and mortar stores support. Why did the first owners with 5 million in funding of candy.com go out of business? Low margins.

    go.com – hahahaha – give me a break…

    Hotels.com, Cars.com, Apartments.com – these are better because they sell higher margin items and can combine content for other avenues of growth but low margin ecommerce generic domains are generally worthless in my opinion.

    Domainers need to be kept honest – lets see if this message posts…see you later cattle.

    August 19th, 2009 at 7:34 am

      Elliot

      @ “Lee”

      Of course generic domain names are no magic bullet – nobody has said (that I am aware of anyway).

      It’s all about management. Why did Circuit City go out of business? Why did Linens & Things go under? Every day, companies go out of business. Some models work and some don’t. I know I couldn’t have the success I am having in Lowell if I didn’t own Lowell.com. There’s also a burndown value, so if I decide to scrap it and give advertisers refunds, Lowell.com would still be very saleable, while GoLowell.com would not be so much.

      IMO, a generic (category defining) domain name is already recognizable, while brands need to spend a considerable amount of money to get the same amount of inherent goodwill. Having a generic domain name can be a great start to a business. However, if a newly launched company decides to buy a luxury office suite, spends money frivolously, or makes other poor management decisions, it could sink – much like any company operating on a non-generic domain name.

      Would I be better of if I owned DomainBlog.com rather than DomainInvesting.com? I doubt it, but if I owned the generic, and branded it as Elliot’s Domain Blog, and had all of the variations (DomainInvesting.com, ElliotsDomainBlog.com and DomainBlog.com), I would probably have more traffic from people searching Google for “domain blog” who find me in position #1, which would translate to higher advertising rates. Now, if I threw huge parties at every conference as well, I would end up losing money and probably go out of business, which would be a direct result of mismanagement rather than anything to do with the domain name I chose.

      Like I said, I have a post coming out on Thursday about why I think generic domain names are important. I don’t really care if you find it interesting or enlightening, but I had it written already and it’s somewhat related.

      August 19th, 2009 at 7:48 am

    Lee

    Elliot – first off – I am only debating this because it’s fun – I have never seen your blog before and most likely won’t visit much in the future because I am not super interested in this industry. That being said, you are smart allowing anonymous comments and other points of view.

    As someone who has never visited your city I could care less about the generic domain lowell.com…golowell.com would be just fine with me – the content is what matters.

    What you say about spending money lavishly, etc. is obvious – I am talking about how the domain industry pushes in blogs, forums, press releases, etc. that generic domain names are the be all end all – they sound like a bunch of Realtors pushing their propaganda. If you do not buy a generic domain then “you just don’t get it”

    August 19th, 2009 at 8:51 am

      Elliot

      @ Lee

      The point I was making with Lowell is that it would be much, much more expensive to get the same recognition I am getting if I didn’t have the generic .com, and you probably wouldn’t find my site if you were looking for info about the city. The site also receives about 20% of its traffic from type-ins, so I would command much less for advertising, and I would receive significantly less inquiries for advertising. Just as a real-life comparison rather than hearsay, try finding JustBurbank dot com in Google when you search for Burbank, and they are a competitor to my Burbank.com website. Another one of my sites, Torah.com, gets 100 visitors per day. I don’t think this would be possible if I didn’t own THE generic domain name, especially given the fact that my site is still under development.

      “I am talking about how the domain industry pushes in blogs, forums, press releases, etc. that generic domain names are the be all end all – they sound like a bunch of Realtors pushing their propaganda.”

      Can you name any sales industry where people aren’t doing the same thing? There will always be people that think they are pulling one over on someone else and sound ridiculous. For the most part, those names that are pushed in PR are crap, and I get a chuckle with my colleagues when we see them.

      However, great generic domain names can be very important to a business, which is why Toys R Us paid $5,000,000 for Toys.com, and why REDC bought Auction.com for 7 figures. There are plenty more examples.

      August 19th, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Lee

    “but low margin ecommerce generic domains are generally worthless in my opinion”

    this is wrong – correcting myself…they are not worthless – depending on the product, even low margin item domains are worth money – 100K – 300K as a quick ballpark estimate for the really good ones…but not millions – that is absolutely stupid to pay in my opinion. Even for a huge company. Would take too long to get the investment back where margins are super low and competition is fierce.

    August 19th, 2009 at 8:56 am

      Elliot

      @ Lee

      Good correction re: low margin domains. Oftentimes low-margin products are easy to manage. Say you own Condoms.com. Keep your overhead low, have your products drop shipped, and sell a boat load of them. If you sell 10,000,000 – $2.00 condom packs in a year, at a 10% net profit margin, you will net $2,000,000. Not bad if you are working out of a home office and have very low overhead. Of course if you hired 5 sales people, 2 receptionists, buy a large condom warehouse and have tens of millions of dollars in potentially expiring inventory, you would have problems. You could also do just fine with smaller sales #s and a bit wider profit margin, but there are many ways to crack this egg.

      Read my article about my friend Warren who bought Bobbleheads.com for $36k and broke even after a few months. He does this part time and has direct deals with manufacturers in China (where he visited a couple months ago).

      IMO, if you own a great name like this, your biggest supplier will probably even set up your sales management system to maximize sales. That’s another thing a great generic domain name does. Back to Lowell.com for a sec.. when I walk into a business in the city or call someone and I mention LOWELL.com, they are very responsive because they either know the site or they think they know it because it sounds familiar. I wouldn’t have this with another domain name.

      August 19th, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Lee

    Toysrus is only buying that domain, imo, because it’s a vanity domain that they can brag about…all ego – when running the dollars and cents there is no way they will make that money back…not even close. They have proven they are not very smart and outsourced to a future competitor for all of those years – imo, dummies…

    All that matters is the type-ins regarding your domains. The rest is not relevant…sorry to be so harsh with a fellow entrepreneur but it’s the truth.

    Regarding the ecommerce domains – their type-ins do not generate sales – just bring visitors. There a ton of kids who will type in toys but most don’t have the cash to buy anything – there may be adults who type in too but that does not mean they will buy – most likely they will visit other sites first – this is not 1996 and a bunch of AOL users – people are more savy now. I’ll just go to Amazon.com and find super cheap prices and great service thank you.

    August 19th, 2009 at 9:15 am

      Elliot

      @ Lee

      You are showing a complete lack of understanding regarding SEO. Generic domain names with the key terms rank better for those searched terms than brandables or other names. Toys.com will soon be back to the top of Google rankings since it’s a standalone site. This will give TRU multiple top rankings when someone searches for toys, kids toys, baby toys….etc.

      Type-ins are great, but with my generic names, the bread and butter is search engine traffic. Out of the 5-8k visitors per month who visit TropicalBirds.com, about 80% are from search engines.

      Come on man, I thought you were going to enlighten me! Read this Bing article. Although Bing accounts for less than 10% of searches, it will be close to 30% when the Yahoo deal is finalized. The like generic domain names more than others.

      August 19th, 2009 at 9:21 am

      Elliot

      @ Lee

      I guess this is totally fruitless. I am sure you have been at this for many more years than I. That said, you could have been a very wealthy man (even more wealthy than you may or may not be) had you had the foresight to register generic domain names many years ago and sold them today or last year or the year before. You obviously didn’t.

      I am happy with where I am at with my generic domain names and wouldn’t/couldn’t have done it on lesser domain names. What happens in the future will happen, and as long as I can justify the expenditures I made in the present (which I can), I am happy.

      When things change, I will adapt my business model to reflect those changes. I am building brands on my generics, so whether Google weighs brands or generics more or less in the future, I will be positioned well. If domains aren’t relevant any longer, I will do something else and stay on the leading edge.

      August 19th, 2009 at 9:39 am

    Lee

    hahaha I guarantee I have been at this game longer than you and know what you are trying to argue and you are flat dead wrong.

    Ok, who says Google (the current king) will not change and most likely will change their algorithm someday now or in a few years and you will be kicked to the curb. To base your entire business model on the present day without preparing for the future is suicide…

    Totally new debate – don’t ignore above…but looking even further out lets say 5 – 10 years who says domains will even be important. There is a good chance they will be important but there is a small percentage they will not…better prepare for all scenarios…

    Again, I am not debating the reasonable prices paid for domains – I am debating the outrageous prices paid. Thoses CEOs in my opinion, are in for a world of hurt.

    August 19th, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Lee

    hahaha I guarantee I have been at this game longer than you and know what you are trying to argue and you are flat dead wrong.

    Ok, who says Google (the current king) will not change and most likely will change their algorithm someday now or in a few years and you will be kicked to the curb. To base your entire business model on the present day without preparing for the future is suicide…

    Totally new debate – don’t ignore above…but looking even further out lets say 5 – 10 years who says domains will even be important. There is a good chance they will be important but there is a small percentage they will not…better prepare for all scenarios…

    Again, I am not debating the reasonable prices paid for domains – I am debating the outrageous prices paid. Those CEOs in my opinion, are in for a world of hurt.

    August 19th, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Lee

    I just read your last post – I’ll read the article.

    August 19th, 2009 at 9:40 am

    Elliot

    Elliot – I enjoyed our debate – we will agree to disagree – we both should be working – take care

    August 19th, 2009 at 9:40 am

    Lee

    Elliot – I enjoyed our debate – we will agree to disagree – we both should be working – take care

    August 19th, 2009 at 9:41 am

      Elliot

      @ Lee

      Likewise… however, take a look on the right hand side of my blog… this is my work, and I get paid to write :-)

      August 19th, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Warren Royal

    Thanks for the mention, Elliot. I thought I would chime in and confirm what you have said about Bobbleheads.com. After being in business for just a little over one year, we are on track to be doing enough business in one MONTH to pay for the domain, by the end of the year. I now have three distinct business channels wholesale, retail, and custom.

    As you mentioned, we now have a factory in China, and are even producing our own product lines. I just negotiated a deal this week for 3,000 in new office space.

    And I don’t pay for any advertising. I don’t have to.

    All of this is due to my having the right generic domain. My website is #1 in Google for many of the most important search terms. And it’s not because I’ve done huge SEO work- I haven’t. It’s because of the name and the relevance of my content to it.

    August 19th, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Shaun Pilfold

    Warren, way to go my friend. I think that your approach is really extracting all the advantages of a good product name. Like most of these great category names, it’s all about the execution. A category killer domain name does not guarantee success, it’s just an important part of the puzzle IMO.

    August 19th, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Stephen Douglas

    El-Silver: I have uncovered the truth about “LEE”.

    (IMO) He works for a mainstream ad agency that is sweating bullets on the fact that one generic descriptive domain name can literally rob the ad agency of millions of dollars of fees and commissions for their clients. Why else would he be saying idiotic statements like those in this post?

    I suppose Lee would love to own a domain name like “baby.com” or “candy.com”, but since he doesn’t, and his agency lost money from some client who bought a killer domain name, he’s bitter.

    poor lee…

    Whoever he is…

    August 20th, 2009 at 9:24 am

    Lee

    Stephen –

    Sure, I would love to own a generic domain…but only if I registered it myself or bought it for a reasonable price – one of those names would be good for low 6 figures but not seven! Are you mad? Are you out of your mind? ahhhh…yes…clicking on your name brings me to a site about…lets see…domains! hahaha – you are soooo biased….my guess is that you post to get free publicity…ok, I bit and checked your boring web site…and yes, I’m sure now everyone will click and read what, in my opinion, is propaganda…

    August 20th, 2009 at 11:42 pm

      Elliot

      @ Lee

      Your opinions seem uneducated. I personally wouldn’t head over to a professional SEO blog and start telling the experts that they don’t know what they’re talking about and everyone in their businesses are crooks trying to pull the wool over the eyes of newbies.

      You refuse to identify yourself or your experience, and based on your responses, it’s clear you don’t know enough about good generic domain names to provide any insightful commentary. You are flinging baseless, unqualified comments, and you don’t have a clue.

      August 20th, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    Lee

    I never said you or anyone were crooks – just spreading, in my opinion, propaganda…similar to Realtors. Stephen attacked me so I am responding…if you don’t want me to post anymore then either delete my posts and I’l get the message – tell the other domainers to stop attacking me or continue to debate me. It’s up to you – I am only debating for fun and in my opinion I am winning…

    You even said this in an earlier post,

    “Can you name any sales industry where people aren’t doing the same thing? There will always be people that think they are pulling one over on someone else and sound ridiculous. For the most part, those names that are pushed in PR are crap, and I get a chuckle with my colleagues when we see them”

    I admire that you continue to allow the posting from someone who has an opposing view – if you stop me from posting then only you and I will know who won! hahaha – besides – having opposing views gets more people to read your site.

    August 20th, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    Lee

    I keep using your name by accident! double posts – you should delete the double posts Mr. moderator – or allow people like me to delete for 5 minutes…then again it was my fault.

    and I am not uneducated – I became a multi-millionaire with my Internet business. I know what I am talking about just as much as anyone here…see how I do not brag…I am not saying I know more or I would be a billionaire…I learn from everyone…some stuff you guys say here is good info. and some just propaganda in my opinion.

    August 21st, 2009 at 12:00 am

    Stephen Douglas

    @ LEE

    Let me see…

    I’m trying to think of a word… four letters… I almost have it… but I need another word or name to help me…

    Wait! Here is the name I need!

    LEE!

    And here is the word I wanted to say!

    DORK

    Lee – Just quit writing dude. You have nothing to “give”, either in positive or negative (constructive) comments.

    El, please… this guy is a shill… print no more of his comments, not because I’m for censorship, but because he has nothing to offer to your original post.

    August 21st, 2009 at 8:15 am

    Lee

    Stephen –

    When you use the word “dude” I understand your position in life. Sad that you cannot debate the issues, due to your fear, and instead ask me to be banned…

    August 21st, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Stephen Douglas

    @Lee

    DUDE… here’s what you said about my prior post that garnered my last response back to you:

    “…clicking on your name brings me to a site about…lets see…domains! hahaha – you are soooo biased….my guess is that you post to get free publicity…ok, I bit and checked your boring web site…and yes, I’m sure now everyone will click and read what, in my opinion, is propaganda…”

    Personal attacks that also have no basis in reality, knowledge of the subject, and coming from an anonymous chickensh*t like yourself don’t deserve a response.

    I know my position in life, and it’s not like yours, which is leaning backwards and sticking your head up your waste hole.

    So I think you just got something you don’t deserve – a response from me. Lucky you. Cherish it, embrace it, no more coming.

    August 22nd, 2009 at 4:05 am

    Lee

    Wow…you are quite crude…

    Get off your high horse and re-read your initial message to me and see why I responded in kind…

    Here’s a little lesson for you…try to use intelligent ways of supporting your arguments rather than resorting to crude statements.

    Ok dude? hahahaha

    August 22nd, 2009 at 9:00 am

    Lee

    Just so you guys know…I have bought domains spending a few thousand per domain and have registered approx 160 domains over the years – I have registered names that went off hold in the late 90s early 2000s – my first domain was registered in 1995 – I don’t hate domainers – see nothing wrong with registering and holding domains either – I’m with you all!

    I’m just debating the point that paying millions for most domains like toys.com, pets.com, etc. is stupid – that is my main point. I’m not trying to make friends here – just explaining…

    August 22nd, 2009 at 9:09 am

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