If you're starting a business, you need a domain name along with a logo. However, there's a whole world of domain investing that most people aren't familiar with.
Shaun Wilkinson is a domain expert, a volunteer, and presently, the Business Development Manager at BODIS, the best domain parking platform. In this exclusive interview with us, Shaun talks about the importance of domain names, what to keep in mind when investing in domains, common mistakes made by domain investors, the power of .COM, and more.
Let's dive in!
1. How important is a domain name in today’s business environment?
More important than it’s ever been. I don’t need to tell you that more business is online than ever before as we’ve all been hearing that ad nauseum in the last twelve months, but we have also seen with (as an example) the recent Facebook outage that the more in control of your own online business you are, the less you are at the mercy of events outside of your control, the better it is. A domain is key to that.
2. What, according to you, are some of the common mistakes domain investors make when choosing a domain name? And what’s the best way to avoid them?
Different investors make different mistakes. When it comes to investors in traffic domains or building a portfolio, a very common mistake is ‘the fallacy of sunk costs’; not being ruthless enough in pruning your portfolio when domains are not making any revenue because you have already spent money on registering them.
A very important mistake I have learned recently with my change of career is that domain parking and monetization have been dismissed by a lot of domain investors in recent years – while it might not be easy money the way it was in 2006, there is still definitely money to be made there if you know what you are doing.
When it comes to investing in domains for resale, I would say there is a fine line between capitalizing on a trend and chasing blindly after a fad – right now I am seeing so many people trying to sell nonsensical domains that just happen to have ‘meta’ in the word somewhere.
Obviously good domains with that term in there have just shot up in value and you can capitalize on that potential, but at the same time metaworldofnicemultiversethings.cx is not suddenly a great domain because it starts with ‘meta’.
3. What’s the first thing you’d ask someone to do who’s thinking of getting into domain investing?
Don’t get carried away, and don’t spend more than you can afford to lose - I would say that for any kind of investing. As far as domains specifically go, I would ask them to manage their expectations and read up on the subject – especially if their interest is in traffic domains. As an example, our resource, domainparking.com, which was written mainly by my colleague James Tuplin, is a great place to learn more in an accessible fashion.
4. Should businesses/investors consider new domain extensions or is .COM still the way to go?
Well, the first thing to say to this is for people in many parts of the world, including mine, it isn’t one or the other – depending on where you are and what you are doing, a ccTLD can be just as viable an option. A German company can be just as successful with the .de as the .com.
As far as new domain extensions go, I think it is a shame that they are looked down on by so many domain investors, but I can also understand some of the reasons why. I had one nagging thought at the time of the new gTLDs launch that I still think now – there are just too many of them, and the useful/interesting ones are obscured by the sea of junk. Some are genuinely great alternatives though.
Convention and image dictate that .com is still king and it will in all likelihood stay that way, but there is a big difference between saying “.com is the most valuable extension” and “.com is great and everything else is worthless.”
I don’t like that view and don’t understand why so many in the domain industry seem to want that view to prevail. Isn’t the domain industry a better place if far more TLDs are seen as viable options by the wider public?
5. What are some of your personal philosophies/values that drive you?
Making money doesn’t make me happy on its own. I have never been motivated too much by getting rich, which is probably the main reason why I’m not! I always take my job seriously and work hard, but more than anything else I want to be happy and to contribute to other people being happy. My family, my charity, my job, and life experiences such as travel and food all contribute to happiness. There is no point earning a million if you then spend all day being jealous of the guy over there who has two million.