The domain industry isn’t perfect, but you need not run for the hills.
I got a kick out of a message posted on Rick Schwartz’s blog after he announced he would stop blogging:
I hope you all realize what is going on here. The message should be loud and clear. Rick has been warning everybody all year to help him mount a defense against what is coming. Very few are paying attention, and very few are helping him build the fort to protect against the coming invaders. So, rather than waste is time blogging to people who don’t listen, he is leaving us to fend for ourselves and he will use his newfound time to mount his own defense (probably by developing some of his domains and selling others). We have lost our visionary and a big industry voice.
WAKE UP PEOPLE! Rick stops blogging, Frank stops blogging, Yahoo kills arbitrage, Ask/Google, Snowe Bill.
The writing is on the wall.
Man, people sure do read into things! My guess is that Schwartz discovered how much work blogging is and decided he didn’t want to do it. It’s not worth his time. And Frank Schilling has a $20 million a year empire to manage, and blogging 24/7 doesn’t make sense. As a fellow writer, I’ve seen many blogs start and stop over the past several years.
So to look at a couple big domainers stop blogging and start crying that the world is ending is just silly.
Still others are concerned because Schwartz put one of his prized domains, Widgets.com, on eBay. I say “big deal”. Maybe he just wants some more cash, and widgets are hot right now. Putting it on eBay with a reserve may get the domain some press, which can be used to parlay the domain into a big sale to a web 2.0 company.
As for arbitrage, Yahoo killed arbitrage for Joe Domainer. But that wasn’t really about domaining, anyway. Registering domains for arbitrage doesn’t make you a domainer.
Google killing its search sub feed to Ask.com made sense, too. I know it’s tough to swallow, but there’s no reason Ask should have been allowed to take a Google search feed (not content) and syndicate it to every which domain parking company that didn’t have a direct feed with Google.
OK, so I sometimes get stuck in “the world’s ending” rut too. What’s really keeping me up at night? There are a few things, but it’s none of the above (even though the arbitrage thing really killed me given how many people I referred to a parking company that were doing arbitrage).
1. Snowe bill. It’s not because I think it will be passed in its current form (if it even gets out of committee), it’s because I think there will be a bill like this at least once a year. Don’t run for the hills over this bill; there will be many more like it.
2. Google allowing opt-out of domain parking. In theory this is fine, but because there are so many junk and fraudulant domain parkers out there, advertisers will opt-out in droves…hurting the honest ones. Look for Yahoo to follow shortly.
3. Parked-page blindness. Remember the term “banner blindness”? When banner advertising click-through rates dropped earlier this decade, it was blamed on people being “blind” to banner ads after seeing them so often. The same thing is starting to happen to text ads. Next, people will become familiar with parked domain pages and become blind to them. Is this what is driving down parking revenues? The best data point I have on parking revenue is from a domainer who owns tens of thousands of generic domains and says his revenue is off 10% from the start of the year. I blame the faltering economy, new Google and Yahoo guidelines, and parking page blindness.
4. Bottom feeders.
I recall a story about lottery winners. When asked what they would do if they lost their fortunes overnight, they said they didn’t know. When entrepreneurs were asked the same question, they said they’d earn it all back.
Opportunists may never get it back. Entreprenuers will. So which one are you?