interviews with frank schilling
schilling frank recent picture
financial engineering quant frankfurt
frank schilling eric mcfadden
frank schilling kevin ham
DOMAINSPONSOR® EXPANDS DOMAINFEST® TO EUROPE --Early October event in Prague will focus on networking, building European business interest in online real estate-- LOS ANGELES, Calif. and FRANKFURT, Germany. DomainSponsor®, the domain monetization business unit of Oversee.net® and organizer of the DOMAINfest® series of conferences, said today that it will expand the highly regarded franchise into Europe with a conference in Prague, Czech Republic. The two-day event will be held Wednesday and Thursday, October 6 and 7, 2010 at the landmark Hotel Intercontinental located in the heart of one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. Building on the success of last month’s event in Santa Monica, California, the October meeting will continue DOMAINfest’s focus on increasing the value of Internet real estate and will offer a rich setting for extensive networking involving topics relevant not only to domain investors from Europe, but also from around the world. Subject-matter experts will be invited to facilitate the networking sessions on Wednesday, October 6th. The first day will also include a Moniker® Premium Domain Name Auction powered by SnapNames LiveTM technology. Day 2 will be focused on social activities in and around Prague designed to provide the kind of shared experiences that can contribute to the building of long-term relationships between DOMAINfest Europe attendees. Conference details, including the agenda and speakers, will be released in June, 2010. “DOMAINfest Europe is an excellent opportunity for European publishers, online marketers, and domain-related service providers to meet and discuss ways to increase the value of domain names, which we like to refer to as Internet real estate, “ said Peter Celeste, Senior Vice President of Oversee.net and General Manger, Monetization Services. “The DomainSponsor team looks forward to becoming more engaged with the European domain investor community, and this forum is the perfect venue to exchange ideas and build relationships. As with all DOMAINfest events, we will be offering affordable registration rates to encourage maximum participation from a wide range of talented professionals from both inside and outside our industry.” In January, 2010, DomainSponsor hosted a highly successful DOMAINfest Global® conference in Santa Monica, California that attracted more than 600 professionals from a variety of internet-related industries. The conference included a variety of sessions over a three day period, including a keynote fireside chat with Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com. This recent DOMAINfest conference also featured a first-ever PITCHfest contest, structured networking sessions, and moderated general sessions with experts from the world of investment, advertising, and marketing. Videos of each session, including the keynote fireside chat, can be viewed at http://www.domainfest.com. In November 2009, DomainSponsor announced the establishment of its European head office in Frankfurt, Germany with Joerg Schnermann as General Manager. Moniker® Auction Moniker will host a live premium domain name auction on Wednesday, October 6 followed by an extended online-only auction from October 7 to October 14. Specific start and end times for each auction event will be announced June 1, 2010. The live auction offers real-time online viewing and bidding from anywhere in the world via a free software download. Details on how to bid in-person or remotely in any Moniker live auction can be found at http://domainauctions.moniker.com . Registration and Sponsorship Opportunities Registration for DOMAINfest Europe will be open June 1, 2010. The early bird registration rate will be US$395 until July 1st. A discounted rate of US$495 will then be available until September 1st, at which point the price increases to US$595. Companies interested in sponsorship opportunities can contact email@example.com . About DOMAINfest® Founded and hosted by DomainSponsor®, the domain monetization division of Oversee.net, the DOMAINfest® conference brings domain industry and Internet professionals together to learn, network, and do business. Attendees include online advertising experts, domain publishers, domain monetization experts, SEO and SEM specialists, website developers, online marketers, ad or affiliate network suppliers, search advertising providers, venture capitalists, bankers and trademark/legal advisors. Visit http://www.domainfest.com for more information. About Oversee.net Oversee.net® is the leader in Internet real estate, specializing in monetizing, registering, selling and developing domain names. The company provides an array of managed services to domain investors, corporations, and individuals across more than ten million web sites. Oversee owns one of the largest portfolios of domain names in the world. The company’s unique optimized technology connects consumers and advertisers with highly relevant advertisements. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the company’s core brands include DomainSponsor®, SnapNames®, Moniker® and LowFares.comTM. To learn more, please visit www.oversee.net.
I really like destroying commonly held perceptions. So here’s another shot: The future of domaining doesn’t lie in domaining per se, but in finance. Finance is where the new domain fortunes will be made. Knowing the domain game won’t be enough to make you rich anymore.
Let’s look at the development of domaining from a slightly historical perspective. The first guys in the biz (such as Scott Day) saw the value of domains as brands, gateways to the internet, that should be valuable one day. That was their edge. Then guys like Frank Schilling and Kevin Ham came in that understood the value of type-in traffic and built their empires around that (banking on the assymetry of information – most people didn’t understand it). That was their edge. Then came the big tasters. Their edge (already understanding type-in traffic) was in technology, acquiring tasting data and seeing the opportunity that many did not see. From this “historical” point of view we can basically break this down into three evolutionary steps, let’s call it generations – that made a killing in the domain business.
So what is the fourth generation, the next evolutionary step? I believe it is going to be about combining domaining and modern day finance. That’s where the fourth generation domain fortunes will be created.
And that’s exactly where I think my edge is (not that I would want to put myself in the vanguard of this next generation ). You see, when I came into the domain business a little over two years ago, I saw it through a different lens than most people in the business. I simply saw domains as any other asset that creates a cashflow stream (predominantly from PPC). So there was a huge arbitrage opportunity.
This lied and still lies on the ability to raise debt for cheaper than the yield that a domain generates. Say you would buy a great generic for 10 years revenue for $1 million. The cashflow stream is hence $100k per year. Now if you have the ability to raise that amount in debt say at 6% p.a., servicing the debt is going to cost you $60k per year. So you get to pocket the difference (+you have the added benefit of the capital appreciation of the domains). Then you just need to find a way to scale this to make a lot of money. Obviously raising the debt against domains is very difficult so you really have to get creative.
Bringing in aspects of financial engineering is where the new fortunes in domaining are going to be created. However with the introduction of leverage, some fortunes may be also lost (that is the downside). So if you want to make a lot of money in domaining, stop reasearching just domains and look into how private equity works.
Lookig forward to hear your thoughts in the discussion.
There’s been a lot of buzz around alternative forms of domain monetization, alternatives to domain parking. Here’s my take on it…
I think quite a few of the ideas circulating around at the moment are sort of dead end. One thing that is pretty overhyped overall I think is development (sorry to say). Domainers are not developers, developing is a defocus for them and they don’t know how to do it properly in most cases. What is the point of spending a week building a website about sharks or octopuses that ends up making $2 on ad-sense a month? Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in building out prime generic domains especially in an e-commerce/lead generation/cpa context, doing SEO, arbitraging the site via PPC etc. I just don’t believe in taking 1000 domains and producing mass content, it’s really only about tricking Google for a little while who will eventually kill it because it’s really about just littering his search index. The only fit for domain mass development is for domains that don’t get type-in traffic. Why would you want to own domains without type-in traffic anyway? Rule number 1 – always follow the traffic. If you stick to this mantra, you get the domain game. If you don’t, I guess you’re condemned to flipping domains on dnforum for $20.
Since developing is such a complex issue, let’s focus on ways of alternative monetization for type in traffic. These are the areas I think are the way to go forward and make sense, some of them overlap:
- Zero click – The whole idea of this is not sending a visitor to a parked page but directly to an advertiser for a fixed fee for every redirect, similar to PPC for advertisers
- CPA/Lead Generation – I am very strong believer in this model. I think that about 20% of traffic now going to parked pages can be monetized better via CPA/Lead gen. Could even be 30%. This year I plan to take this route and arbitrage significantly more domain traffic to CPA. I want to build a small department in my company entirely focused on this. Problem with CPA is that it is very time consuming, involves a lot of testing and is difficult to scale. I think I have a solution for this though, I will elaborate more in coming weeks.
- CPM Ads – I think this could be a very decent ad on to parking. Why not put banners or more aggressive display formats on parked pages for advertisers more focused on selling their brand. There is huge money in display advertising and this area has really been ignored by the domain industry. Say you have a domain making $10 rpm. Why not put a banner on top of the parked page making another $5 rpm on top?
- Email/list building – Another area still completely ignored by the domain industry. Say you have a domain like PersonalLoans.com (still paying my debts to Frank). Why not put on it a email submission box entitling subscribers to get hot loan deals once in a while. This could be an interesting avenue for creating another continuous source of revenue from your domains. Email marketing is seriously a huge business.
Just my few cents…
Ladies and gentleman, welcome to my new blog about domaining and other related industries. In many ways this is a coming out for me (I have quite a few gay employees, so I often find myself using their terminology). Since I started in domaining in mid 2007 (started with cctlds, bought my first .com portfolio in December 2007) I have kept a pretty low profile, so most of you probably have not ever heard of me. In the course of the last 2 and a little years I have built one of the top 10 largest domain portfolios in the world. When I was starting, people would tell me that all the good domains have been long gone. Fortunately I didn’t listen…
Anyway, when I look back I’ve had a pretty phenomenal run in last two years since I finished University. Although I’m still just 24, my businenesses now span across domains, lead generation, affiliate marketing, domain monetization, a car insurance broker, search, arbitrage, facebook apps & games, mobile marketing and even a liposuction clinic altogether employing more than 70 people fulltime.
So why have I started blogging. Well there are multiple reasons. One is that the domaining community is simply great and I think it’s time to give back a little. When I was starting I was pretty much addicted to Frank Schilling’s blog (I finally got to meet the guy last month!), it was probably the most valuable resource for me and I would try to reverse engineer many things that Frank would talk about. Now it’s time for me to share some of my tips & tricks! Second reason, connected to the first one slightly, is that there really aren’t many decent domain blogs out there. Pretty much the only ones I find worthwhile of reading are TheDomains.com, DNW.com, DomainNameNews.com and DNJournal.com for the features and sales charts.. All others just seem to have a lack of insight, are limited to publishing recent sales and worst of all, don’t get the game and some are complete attention whores. So I plan on to bring a new interesting resource via my blog, Facing The Absurd. And thirdly, since I am starting quite a few new ventures, I need new channels of promotion, and a blog is a perfect way how to push the message.
I’ll be posting mostly about domains, monetization, acquistion strategies, financing etc. But I will also touch other related businesses such as lead gen, affiliate stuff, online marketing because in many ways these industries will come much closer to domaining in the future.
And lastly I might as well elaborate a little on why this blog is called Facing The Absurd. It’s a reference to my highschool love of absurdist/existentialist thought coming from authors like Camus, Sartre, Dostoevskij, Kafka etc. In many ways I view my life through the absurdist lens and my life is really about facing the absurd state and finding a meaning in a meaningless world.
So, happy reading, I’m off to write a few first meaningful posts…