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Jerry Nolte of IPNIC.com on the domaining industry

Internet marketing can take many forms. A few weeks ago, I had the rare opportunity get in touch with leader in the domainer industry. If you don’t know what domaining is, read on. In fact, I got a few surprises myself when I interviewed Jerry Nolte, so even if you think you are up on domaining, you might want to take a peek, too. Jerry seems like the CEO of the entire domaining industry.


All right, all right, Jerry J. Nolte Jr. is the CEO all right, but of three different ventures, IPNIC.com (An ICANN accredited registrar), iMonetize.com (the fastest growing pay-per-click meta search engine, he tells me), and Domainers Magazine (the premier print magazine for the domaining industry). With all that going on, I was happy that Jerry had time for an e-mail interview.
Me: Can you explain what a “parked domain” is?
JN: Surely. A parked domain is merely one with nothing but ads from Google, Yahoo! or another pay-per-click provider. These advertisements, when clicked on, make the domainer a portion of money for sending his traffic to the clicked on advertiser.
Me: Cybersquatters and typosquatters have an unsavory reputation. Can you explain what domainers do?
Ugh! I hate those people. They have put a dark cloud over our entire industry. Cyberquatters and typosquatters buy domains that are very similar to famous trademarks. A true domainer buys generic names for the development or resale at a later date. For example, a cybersquatter buys something like gogle.com hoping to exploit money from the people looking for google.com. A domainer buys a name like roaming.com as to possibly develop a website about Wi-Fi roaming or cellular roaming in the future, or just to hold onto hoping to resell it later for a much higher price. It’s not unlike buying a piece of empty land in a good location, and hoping that it becomes worth more in a few years, or putting a building on it when they have enough funds.
Me: How has domaining evolved over the years?
When I first got into this business, there were only a handful of people doing it. And there were even fewer registrars to buy domains from at a reasonable price. PPC was in its infancy with companies such as Findwhat and Overture ruling the roost. Over the past few years, things have exploded! Yahoo! bought Overture, Findwhat became MIVA.com, and let’s not forget Google entering and dominating the game. Not to mention the resale prices of domains and live auctions—I have sold names that I bought for an $8 registration fee for thousands of dollars just a few years later. I could write a book on that.
Me: How many domainers are out there and is there any trend in the types of domainers in the industry?
Hard to say really. I would guesstimate there are about 1500 or so who are avid domainers. However, I am sure there are a lot more smaller ones just starting to get their feet wet.
Me: Is there a trend for domainers to have more domains or fewer?
Not really. It depends on their individual budgets and if they are doing it part time or as a career.
Me: Is domaining becoming more the purview of professional companies with employees or is it more likely to be a single entrepreneur’s part-time job?
Both. However, it appears a lot of the individual and smaller entrepreneurs are getting bought out by the larger companies like Oversee.net, Marchex, and iReit.
Me: How do domainers typically make money?
Most use PPC companies like iMonetize.com, and some actually develop small Web sites and use AdSense and other ads to make a buck. How much they make depends on how much time they have, as well as how Web savvy they are.
Me: What is the average income of a domainer and what are the top incomes some domainers reach?
Average, I have no idea, but I do know of some people making hundreds of thousands of dollars a month with their portfolios. As far as sales? Names can range from $8 to over $8 million, depending on the names. You can check some of our online magazines for some details. We post a Top 50 sales list in each magazine.
Me: How does iMonetize fit into the domainer industry? What kinds of services does it offer and how popular is each one?
What iMonetize does is simple, really. We let domainers use our service to find which PPC companies pay the most. We do this by using our name server to “round robin” the traffic across many different PPC providers for short periods of time. After we have collected enough data, we permanently point the domain to the PPC provider that made the most money.
Me: If there was one thing that Internet marketers should know about domainers, what would it be?
That we are not cybersquatters. We are businessmen just like other marketers, in a legitimate industry that is growing leaps and bounds each year. And, if they take the time to familiarize themselves with our industry I am certain that there could be some very symbiotic relationships.
Me: How does Domainers Magazine help domainers?
We try to keep the industry updated on all the latest happenings. It also has some of the best coverage of the trade shows available, as well as some of the best information to get started in the industry for those who are interested. The magazine is available online for free, and in print by subscription from our Web site.
Me: What can domainers do to to build their reputations, or does it not matter?
It matters, and I think we in the domaining industry are doing it. We are holding trade shows and inviting other industries to see what we do. We have started our own trade association called the Internet Commerce Association as well as trying to get the word out about us through any means we can.
Me: Is there any set of ethical standards or best practices that domainers adhere to? Are you concerned about government regulation in the domaining industry?
You can check out our standards, and read our latest issue of Domainers Magazine to read about the very subject of government regulation.
Me: Thanks, Jerry, for spending this time explaining domaining to my readers.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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