Monday, June 23, 2008

Part 1 of 4: Extra Insights From The Author Of "The Domain Game"

Fractional Domaining Blog was fortunate to glean extra insights about domaining from an individual whose perspective as a researcher and chronicler of domain name industry history gives him a unique view -- David Kesmodel, author of "The Domain Game".

In Part 1 of our 4-part interview, David explains who he wrote the book for and why; discusses what makes domain names such a compelling subject; tells who really "gets it" about domaining and who doesn't; and explains the main benefits of his book for readers...

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Neal R. Voron, of Fractional Domaining Blog:

Q1: In his Domain Tools Blog, Jay Westerdal has called your book, "The Domain Game", "hands down the best Tutorial/Introduction on the domain space I have seen"... David, that's quite a compliment! Is the book for newbies to domain names, or will experienced domainers find value in the book as well? Why?

David Kesmodel:

A1: It’s really for both. What I set out to do is tell the history of the domain market and explain who some top domain investors are and how they became successful. I believe experienced domainers will benefit from reading some never-before-reported information about individual domainers as well as big investors in the space. I believe newbies will benefit from understanding how this marketplace grew up and from reading about the strategies of some of the pros. And the last chapter is dedicated to providing tips and observations about the ways newbies should approach the market.

Neal R. Voron, of Fractional Domaining Blog:

Q2: Before you started writing the book, you were a technology reporter for the Wall Street Journal's online edition... What made you decide to write a book about Domaining?

David Kesmodel:

A2: I wrote a couple of articles about the domain market and how it was really booming again thanks to pay-per-click advertising. While interviewing domain investors for those stories, I became intrigued with these people. I felt like there were some really interesting characters in the domain market entrepreneurial types and other risk-taking types who would make for an interesting book. A phone call with Michael Berkens, a Florida domainer, prompted me to start writing a book proposal. We were talking and he was telling me about his life paying attention to the drop everyday, skipping vacations and such, and I was like, “Damn, someone needs to tell the story of these guys (and gals)”.

Neal R. Voron, of Fractional Domaining Blog:

Q3: What is it about domain names that makes them such a compelling subject?

David Kesmodel:

A3: I think it’s the fact that they are an investment opportunity with just an amazing range of prospects. I mean, you can buy a name that no one has heard of today, but perhaps an industry will emerge five years later that uses that name, and bam, you have struck gold. Or you might buy 100 names you think are pretty solid and, well, no one visits those sites and you’ve got a money-loser. Domain names are like other investments in some ways art, rare coins, real estate, of course – but they have their own unique set of properties that make them really fascinating. One, simply, is you can revamp a domain almost any hour if you wanted to. These things are so malleable that if something fails, you can try a new approach and you just might have a site that draws a lot of traffic. But overall, the most compelling thing to me is that anybody can do this – anybody can try it. You don’t need to have a computer science degree or an MBA. Many successful domain investors never finished college. Some didn’t even finish high school.

Neal R. Voron, of Fractional Domaining Blog:

Q4: Who really "gets it" (understands) about Domaining? Are there any groups that don't seem to "get it" yet? Why?

David Kesmodel:

A4: I think the only people that really understand domaining and by that, I mean the business of regularly investing in domains are those who do it, the ad networks, and people like me who are on the sidelines observing and remarking on this activity. I don’t think a lot of people in corporate America really get domaining, per se. They do understand the value of domain names, though. Maybe they don’t appreciate it as much as domainers would like, but in many ways that is to domainers’ advantage. I’ll add this: I don’t think the publishing world gets how interesting this space is. That’s a personal view from a guy whose publisher canceled his book contract because of concerns about sales potential.

Neal R. Voron, of Fractional Domaining Blog:

Q5: What are the main benefits readers will receive from reading "The Domain Game"?

David Kesmodel:

A5: My hope is that they will, first, enjoy the story behind this group of dreamers, wildcatters and misfits who’ve gotten wealthy from domaining. I really tried to write this book in a way that people would get hooked on the personal stories behind successful domain investors. Secondly, I hope they will understand how this market came to be. I don’t think many newbies would understand, for instance, how crucial the evolution of drop catching was to this market. And I doubt many have heard of companies like Oingo/Applied Semantics and GoTo.com, which were really important to how this crazy market grew up. Finally, I hope they will benefit from learning how people like Scott Day, Garry Chernoff, Frank Schilling and Rick Schwartz approached this market. If these guys struck gold, don’t you think their strategies might be worth paying attention to?

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Don't miss Part 2 of our interview on Tuesday when Fractional Domaining Blog and David Kesmodel, author of "The Domain Game", discuss a wide range of topics, including: how he researched his book and how forthcoming domainers were; what surprised him as he learned more about the domain industry; who a 'typical domainer' is; how media coverage of the domain name industry has evolved; how important Geo Domains have been to the growth of the industry; and whether it's too late and all the great opportunities are gone.

Join me all week as Fractional Domaining Blog continues with Parts 2, 3, and 4 of our interview, followed by my personal review of "The Domain Game"!

Thanks!
-- Neal

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