December 7, 2009 19 Comments AUTHOR: brucemarler CATEGORIES: Domains Tags:

It Is Not Old Domainers Vs. New Domainer

There have been a few comments in various places about new vs. old domainer talk lately and many of the comments I read first started around some of the posts I made in the last couple weeks.  I just wanted to make sure the spirit of some of my posts that I have done lately was clear.

I do not have any “us against them” agenda or thoughts. I can tell by reading some of the comments discussing my posts that people may think I do, well I do not. My comments are purely based on the fact that there is not just one group of domainers. There are multiple groups and some people that fit in more than one of the groups. I consider myself someone who fits across multiple groups (mainly .COMs but also believe you can build a business even if you do not have it).

But if you had to split into 2 groups it would work out to be those that started early or with capital and the second group would be those that are starting to find a bit of a taste of success or have had much success that came later to the game.

The difference is each group has different interests but are part of the same industry, the industry as a whole has one main goal but each group approaches the path differently. Sometimes that causes one group to call the other group crazy but at the end of the day we are all shooting for the same thing (plain and simple, profit).

I can tell after meeting with several people this past week, some who have been around the game for awhile, some of the frustration is that much of what is discussed is that much of the discussion in the domaining industry is more of the same yet things have changed and I think people truly just are looking for guidance to give them a way to be successful after the bottom fell out of PPC/Parking.

Anyway, just wanted to clear the air a bit, anyone that speaks to me outside of my blog knows that I have respect for people that had the foresight to start early, my mindset though is that it is time for some innovation and progressive thought on moving the industry forward, if that sounds like New vs. Old I do not know why, to me that sounds like someone just being interested in seeing the domain industry as a whole growing.

We are one industry with multiple paths.


  1. peter 7 years ago says:


    Thanks for taking the time to respond. I’d like to offer some clarifications and some feedback on your thoughts.

    1- Any business that wants to drum up new customers can use a domain or two. At the end of the day you want them to know that ours is a reputable industry full of people that will help them achieve their online strategies, and that we will treat them in a fair and honourable manner.

    2- i never said to sell domains only on the value off the type-ins they get. i said to be transparent about the actual type-ins a domain gets and to sell the following benefits:

    a- they produce targeted type-in traffic directly relating to the product or service the end user is selling

    b- they play an important factor in achieving top 20 results.

    c- they can help with keyword advertising campaigns.

    i have done some cold calling recently in an attempt to offload domains. How do you convince an end user to buy your domain when they have been burned in the past by someone who oversold them another? The prospective client had purchased a relevant domain(which had no traffic) and redirected it to their main site. All I could do was give them some information on how to make proper use of the domain they had purchased and the benefits that domains can provide. Hopefully this will be enough to make up for the sour experience that they have had, and they will come around to purchase the domain i was offering. If the original seller had properly represented, and taken the time to educate the buyer about the domain in question, i would have had an easier time selling mine.

    Three letter, single word domains that get no traffic are worth a lot. Just don’t try to fudge the traffic numbers. Sell the real qualities they possess. Brand-ability, short url,etc.

    3- The ICA has been good for this industry, but what can be done to make them a more powerful organization?

    4- Agreed.

    5- My recommendation would be to take it to the next level. If domainers pooled their talent and assets they could disrupt industries.

    For example: Domain owners of travel related domains have been feeding their visitors to travelocity, priceline, and the expedias of the world for the longest amount of time. All of this for pennies on the dollar. If domainers would pool all of their travel related assets, they just might be able to become the biggest online travel agency. Achieve enough critical mass and maybe you get to be a travel wholesaler to rival the established players. This kind of collaboration can be done from industry to industry.

    Is the ROI worth the effort? One of the largest travel wholesalers has a market cap of over 2 billion. Then again, it’s much easier to sit on our assets and be happy with the pennies on the dollar.

  2. Adam 7 years ago says:

    @bruce sorry for the late replies and keeping this one alive.

    @ peter to your points

    1. I do agree about certain bad messages conveyed. I don’t know that “we”, as in domainers, really have any sort of groundbreaking message to convey though. I couldn’t think of it myself. If the message is simplified to “buy domains because they’ll help your business” I don’t see that working so well or being highly profitable (especially given your thoughts on point #2). To take a cue off of a post on Aron’s blog I read the other day, businesses don’t really need domains, do they? I also don’t know if there are a lot of people personally interested in selling or pitching that. Most businesses need a domain when they need it . It’s not an every day sort of thought. You sell when it’s on their agenda/time not on yours.

    I’ve heard this a few times recently about domainers needing to be at all these tradeshows. I guess I still don’t get what “we” are selling still (see above) but I also think that there are “domainers” making their appearances at trade shows too. Ive heard of brokers attending specific shows to target specific domain sales. I’ve heard of sedo and buydomains/afternic attending shows. In those cases the brokers had a specific message. “Your the largest paper mill at the trade show? You should want” . As for the sedo afternic presences I think those efforts are great for branding and getting out the message “when you think domains you know where to find us” .

    Lastly many don’t see a need to “change” this because many still aren’t sellers. . . if the message has an agenda of selling domains that is . . . if it’s another message, i dont know.

    2. I completely disagree with your points here. Domains aren’t just bought/sold on type-ins and their values aren’t based solely on this either. Also, who is overselling or harming these “end users” . I’m very puzzled by your perception here. Are domains that are rare (3 letter, single word) but get no traffic worth nothing in your book then ?

    3. I think the overwhelming problem here is that none of us see eye to eye on issue. Case in point , see above. Also, the ICA has made a pretty good attempt at this w/o an overwhelming tidal wave of support from the community.

    4. Yea I think this is idea is long overdue . . domain insurance that is. btw I know the ICA has worked on at least 1 case where someone was unjustly sued . There may be others.

    5. I like this idea of course but it’s not really a change. I’ve been collaborating with my peers in this business for over 10 years. imho sharing and collaboration is the key to success in the domain business.

    One thing that your post got me thinking about . . . . I’m all for enlightening the masses but I wonder if the ROI of that effort is worth it. There’s going to be a percentage who of that effort who don’t care, who don’t have the money if they do care and a small percent who do finally latch on right. I don’t know. In comparison you could concentrate on the companies and businesses who you know already do buy , who do get it, and wait for the world to catch up and learn the way we all did . : ) It’s been over a decade. There’s lots of people who get it that you can sell to . . . if that’s the goal.

  3. Bruce Marler 7 years ago says:

    @Peter – No worries on the long comment! I would throw my two cents in but have to head out to do a seminar now.

  4. peter 7 years ago says:


    Sorry for the long post. i got a little carried away.

  5. peter 7 years ago says:


    Amongst other things:

    1- The message

    Over and over i keep hearing how the domainers are attempting to profit off of other peoples’ trademarks. The business world has no idea what our industry can do for their organizations. Every day there are numerous conventions being held around the globe. We as an industry are absent from these events.

    2- Our practices

    Treat end users the way you’d like to be treated yourself. Too often end users have bought generic keyword domains specific to their niche, but have been oversold on the virtues of the domains they are acquiring. If a domain gets only 2 type-ins a month it should be sold exactly as that. To attempt to increase our mark-up by promising that the domain will provide them with more advantages than they can, does our industry a disservice. It makes getting a positive message out next to impossible. Get the extra mark-up by educating the end user that the domains they are acquiring:

    a- produce targeted type-in traffic (even if it’s only 2 per month) that directly relates to the product or service the end user is selling

    b- play an important factor in achieving top 20 results. The domain name is taken into consideration by the major search engines.

    c- Perform better when used in conjunction with keyword advertising campaigns that are an exact match to the terms being searched.

    3- Lobbying

    Most industries have powerful lobby groups that represent their interests at various levels of government. That’s how they get lawmakers to pass laws that are favourable to their industries. Who does that for us? How many laws have been passed to protect our interests? How many decisions have been taken that are favourable to domainers?

    4- Insurance

    The pioneer domainers had the foresight to register some of the most lucrative properties on the internet. This has enabled them to defend themselves against those who aspire to snap their valuable domains for the measly cost of filling a udrp. Example: what are the chances that Frank doesn’t prevail in his defence of How likely do you think the chances are that he manages to invalidate LLC trademark for the term “cheat code”?

    Unfortunately, most of us don’t have the capacity to defend ourselves against the underhanded actions of individuals who are trying to get our assets on the cheap. Forming a league of domainers that would hire a law firm to represent all members against unjust udrp might be one solution.

    5- Collaboration

    Most of us are one person shows. Artisans who are attempting to do the work of many. I’ll use the example of building a car on our own. It can be done, but how many cars can one person complete? If 5 people got together how fast would the cars be completed? 15 people? Take a look at Demand Media. They didn’t reinvent the wheel. They applied automation like Henry Ford did so long ago, and look at where they are now. What stops us from doing the same? We each have strengths and weeknesses, and together we can elevate our holdings and the industry to a new level.

    Feel free to add-on to this list.

  6. Adam 7 years ago says:

    Peter .. . what do we need to change?

  7. peter 7 years ago says:


    “Outside of the domainers themselves most people do not really consider this a real industry due to our incestuous nature.”

    Nothing can be more accurate than that statement, Although some attempts have been made to break away from this model (Latona with his ads in Website Magazine and Aron with his in the Dupont Registry) your words portray an accurate picture of this industry.

    It is time for change.

  8. bruce 7 years ago says:

    @Adam – I know you are all for it Adam, you have been very friendly during all these posts lately (this one was meant to be NOT controversial but still got a couple comments on Twitter about it being).

    You are right, I think much of the lack of push forward by the “old guard” (thinking I should of never phrased it that way now) is likely protectionism. The industry has changed though and I think what we are seeing in many posts these days (not just mine) are the sounds of growing pains as the industry is having to be more like a real industry and less like an exclusive country club.

    Outside of the domainers themselves most people do not really consider this a real industry due to our incestuous nature. I get that from people I have worked with for years that have technical and business backgrounds, many of them never could quite get my love of domaining and then one of them one day stated “You know what the problem is, there is no message.” That is one of the comments that got a lot of my posts started….

    Anyway, Adam, I like your openness to finding ways to innovate. Shoot me a message if you can, I would like to see if sometime next week we could get together.

  9. Adam 7 years ago says:

    I figured eventually these types of discussions would lead to one of “what is a domainer?” I’m sure there’ll be a dozen posts about this now.

    “my mindset though is that it is time for some innovation and progressive thought on moving the industry forward, if that sounds like New vs. Old I do not know why, to me that sounds like someone just being interested in seeing the domain industry as a whole growing.”

    I’m all for innovation, progressive thought and growth. It may seem that there isn’t much of that brought on by the old guard (some of that is protecting their turf and position of course). What’s funny is when domaining first started none of the “old guard” had ppc to rely on at all , so if you want to learn alternate strategies maybe look back at those days when there was far less angles to work, far fewer “end users” who “got it” etc. Compared to then, the times are good even with PPC down .

  10. peter 7 years ago says:

    @bruce & @aron

    Sorry to have to disagree somewhat with your definition of domainers and developers. A domainer is an owner of domains. The manner in which he decides to profit from the domains is what distinguishes one domainer from the next. Some domain owners profit from their domains by way of affiliate marketing (often enough on some of the most undesirable domains imaginable). Others develop sites that use contextual ads to generate revenue. Others still, will sit on their domains and profit from them only when they sell at prices above their cost of acquisition and maintenance. Some will use a combination of strategies. In the end however, all are owners of domains that intend to derive profit from them. All are domain owners, ergo domainers. It makes no sense to draw lines that divide us in times when many are attempting to snatch our properties through abusive udrp and other unscrupulous actions. We ALL have a vested interest to stand up for the good of all, and for the industry we have chosen to derive profit from.

  11. George Pickering 7 years ago says:

    @Jacob – yes but when you use BD/domain development to increase the value of quality domains in alternative extension, then that does apply to domain investments.

    What does Donald Trump do in Real Estate investing? He buys great locations that are out of favor – redevelops them with quality buildings and increases the value of those locations.

    Same thing with domain investors who seek out quality non-DOT COM domains, put up great sites and increases the values of those properties

    Having been a domainer for a few years, the problem with most domainers is that they have a very narrow view of domaining – typically dot com, most of the time parked or wordpress for development, and pay per click for monetization.

  12. Jacob 7 years ago says:


    Yes, but that isn’t domain investing. That’s business development. People shouldn’t read domain blogs for business development. There are plenty of other places to find that information.

  13. Tim Davids 7 years ago says:

    Your right there are ONLY two kinds of domainers…those that are broke and those that aren’t…all you gotta do is pick a side.

  14. Bruce Marler 7 years ago says:

    @George – Your comments are always spot on.

    I think Aron is right, I just need to quit calling myself a domainer and switch to developer/business developer:)

  15. George Pickering 7 years ago says:

    and please – don’t point out that all three companies were built on a dot com. The dot com had nothing to do with success or failure. We had zero type in traffic. If you have zero direct navigation, the domain extension is not important because you need to build a traffic base.

    And don’t bring up leakage, when I’m buying one million clicks a month from Google – leakage is a non factor.

  16. George Pickering 7 years ago says:

    Well having helped build three successful internet companies on,, and – three domains that collectively are worthless, sans devevelopment – I have a long standing view of the world that I could take (any domain).(pick an extension) and build a multi-million dollar company. Maybe that is my arrogance and downfall, but I believe business model, creativity, content, feature set, and leadership are all more important to corporate success than domain name.

  17. bruce 7 years ago says:

    @Aron – That is funny but true probably, although I still buy and sell my main focus has for sure shifted. Do not tell anyone else though they will take me out of for being a developer instead of pure domainer:)

  18. Aron 7 years ago says:

    I personally wouldn’t consider you a domainer at all.
    You don’t buy and sit.
    You’re active and you develop.

    I’d consider you more of a developer than anything.

    Which is good because to 99% of people think

    Good that you do more than buy and hold.

    That’s one business model and nothing wrong with it,
    but I don’t think “domainer” when I think of Bruce Marler.


Trackbacks for this post

  1. uberVU - social comments