The NowSourcing blog had a chance to interview SEO turned domainer, Todd Mintz.
1 – How do you see entering the realm of domaining for SEO’s? I’ve read some good background information on how you got started, but do you have recommendations for people getting into this industry?
The first step would be to immerse yourself in the topic. Read, read, read, read, read.
Start with the following blogs (and many of the posts are timeless, so make sure you dig in the archives):
Seven Mile: Frank Schilling’s blog. More than anything else, Frank’s blog inspired me to get into domaining.
Aaron Wall’s interview of Frank is a must read.
Domain Tools Blog. All domainers-in-training need to checkout the tools offered at this website.
Also, play at the $8 “new registration” level for a while until you feel comfortable and experienced to step up to the aftermarket.
As a beginner, follow these purchase rules until you gain experience:
1)Stick to .com’s.
3)Use only generic terms in domains…and the more generic, the better.
4)No more than three words in a “domain name phrase”.
5)Do a lot of querying before making your selections. You need to develop a good “feel” for what makes a good domain name and if the name feels slightly wrong, pass.
6)You might have heard of “Predictive SEO”? You can make a lot of money if you can predict future accurately and map your prediction to a .com domain name. Try looking to the future when choosing names for purchase.
Experienced SEO’s do have an advantage at picking good domains since they know how people search and know what makes a good, targetable keyword query. Don’t buy a domain name that doesn’t map to a phrase not normally searchable by a user.
2 – What services do you recommend for domain parking?
I’ve only used two services: Namedrive and Sedo. I do prefer the Namedrive interface and selection of templates. Domain parking involves lots of trial and error…both in trying different parking services, different templates & different keyword choices.
Newbies aren’t going to be making much parking revenue anyway…the key is to get comfortable with the tools because as you scale your portfolio higher, the choices made have more impact.
3 – Some people think that domaining is akin to cybersquatting and domain tasting? If anything, these folks give domaining a bad name. Care to set the record straight?
To most domainers, domains are “online real estate” and domaining is the practice of investing in “online real estate” with the expectation of earning a nice ROI. Now, there are rules that honest domainers must follow and one such rule is not to violate somebody’s trademark in any domain that is registered.
Deliberate cybersquatting is clearly wrong…however, the great majority of domain purchasers don’t know much about trademark rules nor do they know the penalties for violating them. Instances like the one involving The Simpsons Movie occur most lyout of ignorance and such people, even if their intent was to profit from their actions, must be separated from the “professional rogues” in the industry.
Domain Tasting also perpetuates cybersquatting because domains are picked up in bulk by registrars without being professionally evaluated for whether they might be violating trademarks. Domain Tasting gives purchasers 5 days to evaluate the marketability of a domain without having to pay for it…it can be tossed back without cost to the taster. Many are proposing an end to the practice.
4 – What do you think about the whole process of picking up dropped domains. I’ve been fascinated with the subject after reading about Mike Davidson‘s adventure on successfully securing what is now Newsvine.com.
The domain name aftermarket is huge and is only going to get bigger. I’m only starting to play in it myself (and have yet to actually pick up anything).
There are different strategies for playing the aftermarket. An SEO would generally be looking at domains that have strong search engine factors with the end game of building upon somebody else’s previous work to get a strong website without starting from scratch. On the other hand, many domainers won’t even consider SEO factors when evaluating an aftermarket domain…they will focus on brandability, perceived future sales value, and popularity of the keyword / keyword phrase contained in the domain.
5 – Was curious to hear your viewpoint on domain disputes. I recall hearing an interesting decision on handing dustindiamond.com over to Max Goldberg, owner of the now famous Ytmnd.com, rather than to the celebrity Dustin Diamond. Seems like something similar is going on now with Keith Urban (the country signer) vs. a
These are two different types of cases:
In the Dustin Diamond case (and I’ve never heard of Dustin Diamond before you asked this question), Dustin lost because the arbitration panel viewed the site as a parody and pure parody sites will not violate trademark law so long as the parody isn’t made in “bad faith”. The panel also found that a few spammy comments in the website guestbook linking to porn sites didn’t constitute bad faith. Also, what helped the site owner is that he didn’t attempt to monetize the site in anyway. Had he plastered Adsense all over the website, Dustin would have likely prevailed.
In the other case, Keithurban.com is owned by a painter named Keith Urban who is being sued for cybersquatting by Keith Urban the country music star. “Country Keith” should lose because “Painter Keith” has every bit as much right to the domain as “Country Keith” and “Painter Keith” should have the right to monetize his own website in any way possible…and if AdSense ads relating to “Country Keith” are showing up and are earning money for “Painter Keith”, that relates to AdSense targeting and isn’t a violation of law.
BTW, if your name is still available as a .com domain, make sure to buy it ASAP…it’s your online identity and if someone else gets it, it’s likely gone for good.
Todd Mintz is the Director of Internet Marketing & Information Systems for S.R. Clarke Inc., a Real Estate Development and Residential / Commercial Construction Executive Search / Recruiting Firm headquartered in Fairfax, VA with offices nationwide. He is also a Director & Founding Member of SEMpdx: Portland, Oregon’s Search Engine Marketing Association.