If you have attended any TRAFFIC conferences or Domainfest conferences you have probably have run into Alexander Schubert who was a self admitted domainer from 1997-2004.
Alexander was one of the first who went to ICANN and asked for what has become the new gTLD program to be opened when he was petitioning for a .Berlin TLD.
Fast forward a few years and Alexander is out of .Berlin, but heavily involved as one of the applicants for .Gay, DotGay LLC, which has a community application in for the extension.
In a Facebook post Alexander made it clear that domainers are not welcome in the .Gay space should DotGay, LLC get the TLD and went further to warn all other new gTLD operators to “not allow domainers invade their new TLD space”.
We of course have some comments below, but here is Alexanders quotes unedited:
I am a domainer since 1997. I have attended numerous domainer conferences and I know numerous domainers and I know “our” (the domainers) trade.
“Domainers” are one of the core reasons I engaged in new TLDs in 2004.
I do love Domainers.
They are good to party with.
They are clever guys.
I just do not want to see ANY SINGLE ONE of them near any of the TLDs that I will ever create.
To put it more clear: In my eyes one of the core reasons of the deep failure of all to date new TLD’s are DOMAINERS.
They are like grasshoppers on speed invading your little field of freshly planted domain-plants eating the entire country empty leaving NOTHING to “grow and show”.
I am no fan of the NRA or the 2nd amendment but were my TLD a land I would patrol it in person and if I saw a domainer coming near the only warning he would hear would be “krck – krck” and 1 second later he would never hear nothing any more.
As a gTLDer I have to say: “Only a dead domainer is a good domainer”.
Sorry to be so hard but really: Every single one domain that you lose to a domainer does harm your TLD a bit. That’s why we have put in a number of stops to make 100% sure that there will be zero domaining in our TLD.
And I STRONGLY encourage my fellow TLD operators: Don’t dream about “revenues” streaming in through the “domainer channel”.
Yes, revenue it is but you erode your TLD.
A domainer “invests” (reg-fee) in your domains and then he sits at least 5 years on them. No domainer is ever selling a thing within the first 5 years. And he doesn’t create added value (content) either. He either parks it at a parking service or has one of these dreadful “automatic webpages” that try to cheat Google into listing the domain but create ZERO added value for the users. You do take these domains “out of the equation”.
If you do not care about “reach”, “TLD brand awareness” and “impact” in the Internet (for both constituencies of Internet Users and prospective registrants) then OK: Go for domainers. But if you have a long term solution in mind and want to see your TLD making a “change”: Shun them out.
BTW: good idea to go to domainer conferences. The largest one being the “Domainfest” in Santa Monika in early February with virtually ALL the “usual suspects” attending.
I usually encourage my fellow domainers in their prevailing mantra: “New gTLDs are a very bad idea. The only TLD that counts is .com. No benefit in investing in new gTLDs”.
At a domainer meeting you can get in close contact with domainers and they often are willing to explain how they see the world. They all think smth like that: “I am just ONE domainer and how can it hurt a LARGE TLD like .info or .us if I just take away a few names and if it is not me taking these names then another one does it”. That’s exactly the way fishermen overfish regions of our oceans.
On that count: new gTLD operators be aware that EACH and EVERY premium generic keyword is already trademarked somewhere in the world, the top keys often hundreds of times (there had been 241 Sunrise Applications for sex.eu back in 2005).
Make a premium domain list (I suggest about XX,XXX keys) and exempt them from Sunrise! Otherwise you run the risk that all the top names are “picked up” for reg fees by Sunrise grabbers.
It happened with .info, .us, .eu and all other “liberations” and TLD introductions and it will happen to you, too.
Look up the 100 top premium keywords and see who owns them in .eu, .info, .us, .biz, etc: 9X% are owned by domainers, parked, multilated, wasted. “Sunrise” is the clever domainers “trojan horse”.
“Any domainers reading this here: No worries if you see me in Santa Monica. I have never owned or even touched a shotgun in my life. And I do not make any “single” domainer responsible for anything. It’s like with grasshoppers: Damage to the crop is always caused by “the swarm” not a single hopper. It is us TLD operators which have to take care and create policies to make our lands unattractive for grasshoppers.
Now its my turn
Lets look at some of the more successful new TLD’s; .Me and .Co
Yes domainers own some of the prime real estate, but we didn’t just pay registration fees or sunrise fees for all the domains we own.
I paid with two other “grasshoppers” $70,000 for Date.me (paid to the registry) over $30K for Love.me (paid to the registry) Almost $20K for marry.me (paid to the registry) the list goes on and of course many other domainer paid $x,xxx or $xx,xxx to the .me registry for premium domains.
When .XXX launched it was domainers that once again results in the first $2Million dollars or premium sales.
.Co wouldn’t have registered over 200,000 domain names on their first day without domainers.
Lonnie Borck another grasshopper paid the $81,000 for e.co before the extension even launched.
That set the bar for the O.Co sale which by the way a grasshopper, myself planted in the ear of the Overstock people at a ICANN conference.
So I would say its just the opposite, new gTLD’s that fail to get traction in the domain community will be the one’s that will “deeply fail”.
Today one of every 10 .com domains are owned by domainers.
Domainers have a strong presence in .Me., .Tv., .Co.
Of course the Aftermarket in domain names was created by Domainers and the $150M+ in annual sales in large part would not exist without domainers.
Of course we would be remiss if we didn’t say that some of the largest applicants for new gTLD’s including Donuts, Uniregistry and Radix made their money as domainers or from domainers and certainly in the domain industry.
If Alexander doesn’t want any domainers in .Gay then he might be planning on the Gay community stepping up to the plate and paying top dollar for premium domains to make the registry profitable.
However Alexander you should consider that one of the best domains in that entire Gay community, GayMarriage.com is owned by a domainer.
and the Gay community hasn’t been exactly banging down my door to buy it.
Rick Schwartz says
I am shocked that Alexander would say those things.
But it is that dirty domain money that allowed him into the .gay game to begin with. So a little ironic.
I guess that makes me the king grasshoper? 😉
Great post Michael.
It seems that this “domainer” doesn’t want any other domainers in his way.
Rick Schwartz says
And I will see your GayMarriage.com and raise it to GaySex.com without which there would be no gaymarriage. 🙂
Not sure what effect such a rant will have on app processing or award of .gay. Any thoughts MB? One thing is for sure this won’t be the first or last surprise to come in the run up and intro of of thousands new GTLD extensions.
@gtldnamesellers no one cares about this rant but us.
And frankly the most interesting thing about this is how the human nature works and how it responds when money is involved. His money involved at .gay.
Funny I was just thinking today about sunrise frontrunning. He calls it Trojan Horse, I had ‘holy grail’ going through my brain. I like trojan horse better.
Or maybe ‘Sunrise Frontrunning’ is the term to coin . .
Rick Schwartz says
I think domainers should EXPECT to be shitted on from here on out by some.
We saw the video with Juan Calle Dissing domainers after if was domainers that launched him into orbit.
We see this and we will see it over and over again whenever it is in their personal best interest or they have an angle.
Without the invesment of domainers on .com and other extensions, there would be no .gay to even talk about.
Looks like some are trying to distance themselves from what they are a product of. Pretty sad!
Grasshoppers should not fall for this trick. In sales, it’s called “taking it away” from the customer. The idea being that if you made a client believe that an item, or service is exclusionary, or hard to qualify, let’s say in credit, then the certain, or most potential customers will rush to get in. Just like making people sleep on pavements overnight to get the lastest gadget, or game console, or whatever.
So, this chap, Alexander, is “taking away” his pigeon shit tld. Don’t fall for it. I’m not.
.COM for ever!! Alexander is a tld locust. 😉
Adam Strong says
I’d like to be the first to disown Alexander. 😉 You’ve officially had your domainer card revoked.
The entire domain space is filled with opportunistic people. Alexander you are one, but you can only refer to yourself as a grasshopper now, not a domainer.
Seems he has just chosen to put on big boy pants / overalls. That doesn’t make him a farmer, nor does it show us how he or any of these new GTLDs are adding value. The critique that domainers don’t add value is rich, considering as Michael puts it, many of the new TLD operators either came from the domain space or embrace it. I’m sure the dot gay extension will allocate each domain at the same price level and not price any of the domains high. No, I’m sure it’s all for the good of the community and there’ll be no profit taken.
The value of any domain (land) is based on traffic (the crop). Wether your new TLD has the crop or not you’ll get a lot of speculators. Turn them away and see what happens.
The term land rush is likely derived from the good old days of US history so the analogy he uses is fitting. . . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_Run_of_1889
“Provided a settler lived on the land and improved it, the settler could then receive the title to the land.” . . . Very similar to what .mobi and others did
First, wishing someone dead (or some variation on that theme) is a stupid thing to say out loud. Mutter it under your breath, if you so choose, but you’re asking for trouble if you so much as HINT at physical harm in this politically correct world. I understand his frustration, but it was a poor choice of words.
Second, I have no love for domainers and, to Mr. Berkens’s credit, I’ve stated that before without being kicked off this website. My beef tends to be with .Com domainers, who feel all other extensions should die (note the irony), but I can see Schubert’s points re: TLD domainers in general.
While it may be true that domainers are good for the creators of a TLD, in terms of profit anyway, they don’t contribute to the landscape one iota. A parked domain page does nothing for society or consumers. It’s wasted space which that domainer never intends to develop. I doubt just 10% of .Com domains are owned by domainers. I think domainers are a pandemic in the .Com space. Hence the need for other gTLDs, to offer some alternative to all the ransomed .Com domains.
If the same hoarding of domain names happens with other extensions, I consider domainers a pandemic there too.
Sure, domainers pay EACH OTHER loads of money, as they trade domains on the secondary market like a bunch of kids with Pokemon cards. But how does that help anyone outside of the domaining community and the originator of the TLD? It doesn’t.
Schubert can be credited for thinking about consumers (i.e. end users). Something domainers could care less about. If he lands the to rights to .GAY, and all he cared about was money, he would welcome domainers with open arms! Why would he shun domainers? Because he cares more about the integrity if the extension and end users. I think it’s a refreshing and admirable view.
I wish domainers did not have a presence in any TLD. If an new gTLD doesn’t sell 200,000 domain names right out the gate, who cares? If the extension dies as a result, let it die. Surely no one is suggesting domainers are keeping some extensions viable. I don’t buy that. Domainers are not fools. They’re greedy… but they’re not fools. If they didn’t think an extension was viable, they would not invest in it. Further, if domainers are so helpful to other TLDs, why does it feel like I’m the only person defending .Xxx, .Co, etc. at times? I don’t hear any support from domainers re: other TLDs. It’s mostly .Com domainers saying all other extensions suck.
Anyway, I don’t wish anyone harm, but domainers don’t contribute much to anyone. Granted, they pay taxes (I assume…. but that’s between them and the IRS.). What I do know is there are a LOT of end users who are harmed because a domainer is sitting on a domain that would otherwise be developed.
If domainers have a bad reputation, which they do, they EARNED that bad reputation. Don’t get upset at someone who calls a spade a spade, like Schubert. Is is a hypocrite? I don’t think so. The story says he was a domainer from 97-04. That suggests he’s not a domainer anymore. I have no issue with a reformed domainer calling other domainers out.
Bob Decker says
Domains are like real estate in that they have a unique address and sell for different prices. One can choose to develop, sell or let time work it’s magic. Hoarding and parking domains is no different then buying remote property and sitting on it. I’ve done both and I believe dot coms are beach front property.
Michael Berkens says
All I would say is to your statement:
” If an new gTLD doesn’t sell 200,000 domain names right out the gate, who cares?”
Well at $20 wholesale that brings over $4 Million into your business in day 1 which give you the funds for marketing like the Super Bowl and billboards in Times Square and opens avenues to you that you never thought existed for you, which in turn results in hundreds of thousands of more registrations and premium domain sales.
Danny Pryor says
What an amazing letter. How beautifully “shoot from the hip”, and how delightfully trigger happy this Alexander Schubert is. I wonder what he thinks of domain investors or developers who happen to be gay?
That point aside, the fact so many gTLDs and ccTLDs even have a shot comes down to, as Michael has already noted, domain investor interest. Let’s suppose Mr. Schubert’s XX,XXX reserved domains happens to be 99,999 domains, and that stops domain investors from having any interest in the .gay gTLD. Now let’s suppose the gTLD gets a premium markup, which it may not, but let’s just have fun with this. Let’s suppose that markup is, say, to $14.99 per domain. Do the math. 99,999 x 14.99 = $1,498,985.01 in lost gross. And that’s a number based on some magical math on my part. The actual loss would likely be far more considerable.
And who are you going to sell all those reserved names to? Queens? Mary, puh-leeze!
Listen, I’m game, but I’ll have to have a long-term development plan or, at the very least, the hint of one before I consider any kind of investment in any new gTLD. And I’m just a small fry compared to more substantial investors. Larger domain investors, particularly those with more liquidity with which to invest, are going to prospect. They can afford to do so. Some other large investors will be more reserved and want the exact same thing I would, and that is a plan or some hint of a vision, even if they hold off development for a time.
Think about the enhanced value of the other domain names in the new gTLD. All of that becomes lost when you freeze the sale of some property because you don’t like the people who have the ability to increase the broader value of your top-level domain. Who wants to buy only the sloppy seconds?
The sentence wherein Mr. Schubert mentions, “the only good domainer is a dead domainer,” is quite inflammatory and demonstrates a level of instability that should immediately disqualify him from being associated in any administrative capacity with any TLD. But that is just my very humble opinion. Many men and women of equal temperament have been elected to Congress. I suppose this is just a sign of the times. We are living in a retrograde generation.
But investors don’t like instability, and this statement, of itself, has the potential to scare off some investment. Who likes the potential of an irresponsibly operated gTLD?
My prayer is the domain industry folks show their solidarity and find a way to stop this “fellow” from being a part of this new era of gTLDs. But I’m not sure such a call could actually be answered. I think ICANN is probably more concerned with the financial requirement than some political statement that could portend a man running amok. It is fairly easy to have money and still be an unstable lightning rod.
For the record, Mr. Alexander Schubert should know one of the well-established gay guest houses here in Fort Lauderdale is, “The Schubert”. The Schubert is on NE 20th Avenue, just south of Sunrise Boulevard. Just a bit of fun fact in this otherwise sober discussion.
And yes, I am gay. I am also a domain investor and developer. I have no plans to drop dead. 😉
Jag Singh says
I like the way you ended it!!
” and the Gay community hasn’t been exactly banging down my door to buy it. “
Mr Schubert, should learn “Don’t Hunt what you can’t kill”
WEBFest should absolutely not allow this idiot admission
@paul your comments are so pathethic its not even worth commenting, another whiny all the .com are taken and I have a good idea, I just did not have the foresight to understand the Internet when I needed to.
Oh and news flash new gtld operators already have a bad reputatation and it was earned before they even got the tld.
Oh and Paul, what have you done to make the Internet better ? Can’t wait to see the jobs you have created and people you have helped.
If he wants to use “land” as a metaphor for domains then I don’t understand his argument.
He said “They(domainers) are like grasshoppers on speed invading your little field (land) of freshly planted domain-plants, eating the entire country empty, leaving NOTHING to grow and show”.
I wonder what his thoughts are on people in the real world (as opposed to the virtual world) who invest in vast pieces of land to later develop commercially or residentially by splitting that land into lots to be sold (exactly what he is going to do running dot-gay)
I wonder what his thoughts are on those in the real world that buy more land than they need or who buy undeveloped land in areas they think may increase in value, only to sell it later to a land developer (end user) for more money.
I believe- Speculating/Investing in domains is no Different than Speculating/Investing in real land but even beyond that I believe domains are pixels on a screen and have no absolute value only the value we give them. They don’t have real value because you cant build a house with a domain or eat a domain or kill your dinner with a domain.
That being said… Here is an Example of why he is wrong:
My grandma buys a few acres of land 5 years ago.
A company has an idea to develop her land (put it to good use because its JUST sitting there right!)
Company argument is “she is not using it, it should be ours for free because it is not in use”
Should my grandma be forced to give up her land for free? forced to sell? or ridiculed for buying it in the first place?
No, its her land, she has title of ownership, she can do what she pleases with it and even if she owned 1000s of acres of land no one in the real world would see this as abnormal.
If domains are like land, why should domianers be looked at any differently than real estate investors?
This is great marketing. Inflammatory statements like, “The only good domainer is a dead domainer” guarantees that he’ll get tons of free press on many of the domain websites out there.
And then essentially telling domainers to stay away from .Gay, simply dares them to give him their money, for a gTLD that may have otherwise not been on their radar.
Reverse psychology still works.
You know the funny irony in Alexander’s sentiments:
He wants to reserve or preserve names, so it wont get into “grasshopper’s” hands, yet it’s okay for him to let those names wit without being developed by him. In essence, doing exactly what he accuses domainers of doing. It’s so funny. If you can hold on to names until it suits your needs, why couldn’t another person do the same, stupid?
Best trolling ever 😀
Owen Frager says
Smart man that Mr. Grim. Bingo!
You have most of the facts wrong.
1) Yes, domainers own just 10% of .Com domains because 80% of .com is junk.
2) Domainers don’t pay EACH OTHER loads of money. The big money on the secondary market are paid by end users to domainers.
3) Schubert’s post was all about him making money. He knows he can’t stop anyone from buying .gay domains.
He just wants to make domainers pay end users prices to buy his .gay domains.
He said is clearly:
“Make a premium domain list (I suggest about XX,XXX keys) and exempt them from Sunrise! Otherwise you run the risk that all the top names are “picked up” for reg fees by Sunrise grabbers.”
4) Many people like .info and .xxx like myself.
5) Domainers mostly have a bad reputation because of envy. It’s the same way you envy someone that bought a lot of land 50 years ago.
Think of what this envy means for you.
6) lol… There is no reformed domainer. If Schubert was a domainer in 97-04 then he still is in the way you think domainers to be.
I bet he still owns 100s of domains.
“Only a dead domainer is a good domainer”.
Typical God dam German………………
I suggest we call to an end the “domain” as “land” speculator comparisons?
The truth is that you’re comparing yourself to a vile industry in the hope that it justifies domaining. Your example of a grannie losing money? Far removed from the realities of the opposite extreme of oligarchs investing in property causing massive inflation in rent and property where employment and earnings are stagnant.
Arguing on extremes is pointless but I think you’ll find that if you asked the questions correctly the majority of people would be horrified at the results of private land ownership.
“However Alexander you should consider that one of the best domains in that entire Gay community, GayMarriage.com is owned by a domainer.”
Shall we consider it then?
Could be used to promote social change, developed into a portal of real information to drive understanding on what is a hot topic. Very now. Very current affairs. Let’s evaluate the domain: looks like 1,000s of other sites that features stock images (in this case lesbians kissing – wow, that keyword feed is awesome) with paid links to gay stuff. Way to contribute! That surely proves his point.
It’s a limited life domain… what gay organization is going to spend a fortune on a gay marriage domain when the real issue at hands is general gay rights? After marriage is approved then what? GayMarriage will be as useful as GayToilet, GayCoffeeMachine.
Perhaps that’s why no one is beating the door down.. maybe the money is better spent actually fighting the issue rather than feeding a bank account. Any one looking for information may end up on Gaymarriage.com and then what? Get redirected or hit page back. Wow. I can see domainer value right there.
It doesn’t take much to run a profitable registry. It doesn’t need domainers. Domainers are both the single biggest curse of the internet and source of profit for some giant companies. That said, it’s not worth worrying about us (except for TM issues which we all *claim* to abhor while catching them on the drop) because smart marketing, smart businesses realize that they don’t need to buy into the hype. Domainers don’t get the one sided equation that traffic makes domainers money but it doesn’t nearly as much for a well branded and established end user. A lot of companies are paying ads to be redirected to the site that people were looking for in the first place – the redirect is just a waste of time.
I say good luck to trying to manage any TLD. I hope that the terms of conditions of the .gay TLD will be extremely well laid out inthe event this all comes to fruition – good luck trying to get people to prove that they have legitimate gay interests in registering a name. Then again people were happy to sign up to be a member of the porn industry when they registered a .XXX.
Maybe that’s the solution. Quick form on registration:
I swear that by registering this .gay that I am gay or totally cool with everything gay and support gay rights including marriage, shared benefits.
That might work. A lot of people have no problem admitting they are pro porn. But admit they are pro gay or are gay ? No way, not yet.
Typical of a god damn generalizing asshole.
[quote]I am no fan of the NRA or the 2nd amendment but were my TLD a land I would patrol it in person and if I saw a domainer coming near the only warning he would hear would be “krck – krck” and 1 second later he would never hear nothing any more.
As a gTLDer I have to say: “Only a dead domainer is a good domainer”.[/quote]
Sorry, but making inflammatory threats like that definitely crosses the line. Schubert, you are an absolute idiot. Your own statements will preclude you from being allowed to participate in the new gTLD program at all. It is bad enough to make the second statement, but coupled with the first where you flat out threaten to shoot someone? You crossed the line. BIG time.
I bought my first dot com in 1996 ! & set up a site ! Then bought many directory domains as directory system & investor ! Domainer ? I certainly am not !
@paul, Enough of the crap that folks aren’t developing and operating a wonderful prosperous Internet business simply because all the domain investors took all the good names and sat on them or worse monetized them in a way that somehow rubs you the wrong way. People aren’t owning developign and using domain names becasue of many factors but primarily
a) they are not business or technically savvy
b) the canned opened source sites get hacked regularly
c) they are not ambitious or entrepreneurial
and on and on
I have no doubt that each new GTLD will bring uncounted sales from domain speculators and I remain ready to profit in years to come by the buying and selling activity among the aparently despised domain community
The truth is however is that if business does not find a way to educate, invite, and then protect internet businesses and owners than we will be having this same finger pointing and excuse making exerise about would be business owners, domains, and domainers for years to come.
@GRIM, Sorry but the mental masturbation psychology exercise thing is getting a little old. I have a method for reading comments from those who engage in such behavior. It is to skip their posts and comments and move on to read those with an opinion and not an agenda.
@onlinedomain I respectfully disagree that “the only ones that care is us” These words and threats from a seemingly unstable person are regrettable and have far reaching potential impact on yes domainers but also on GTLD applicants and those who may be clouded by ownership of a name whose extension is associated with an unstable leadership. Furthermore this type of press can never be good for any industry IMO
“People aren’t owning developign and using domain names becasue of many factors but primarily
a) they are not business or technically savvy
b) the canned opened source sites get hacked regularly
c) they are not ambitious or entrepreneurial
and on and on”
You meant well, but you are as wrong as the person you are correcting. People are not developing because the operators of the internet, starting from registrars, to search giants, ain’t on the level yet. Something must shakeup the entire internet space to make it profitable, and trustworthy for entrepreneurs to layout the cask and energy to develop anything. We all sense that the internet has been stolen, and traffic is not formulated to be predictable beyond your nose. The market determines attitude. If people feel that everything is on the level, they will develop. So, let’s put the focus, and onus, where it is, up their asses.
@domenclature That’s why they call them opinions and not facts 🙂
Joseph Peterson says
Setting aside the inexcusably hostile tone and the hypocrisy of Mr. Schubert’s position, let’s examine whether there is any merit to his claim that domainers are pests that adversely affect a new gTLD’s crop. This is a claim about an economic reality — a false claim, in my opinion.
It should be publicly refuted. Not because Mr. Schubert deserves an answer (he doesn’t) but because many people who — unlike Mr. Schubert — have no association to the domain industry feel a similar ill informed resentment to domain investors, often lumping us together with cyber squatters and accusing domainers of mischief, waste, or theft.
Suppose a domainer registers and re-registers a domain over the course of 5 years. Suppose that this domainer seeks to sell the domain for 20 times the purchase price. From the perspective of an end user who resents paying “extra”, this appears to be a scandal. And from the perspective of a registry that wants its best domains to go into use immediately as high profile websites, this delay could be interpreted as a waste.
Obviously, it is quite likely that a domain — if not registered by a domainer — would not be registered at all. Or it could be registered and sit idle in the hands of a non-domainer whose half-baked entrepreneurship never sets sail. In both those cases, the registry loses out and the general public gains nothing.
But if a business had bought this domain on Day 1 for reg. fee and instantly used it, there is no guarantee that it would have been the company best suited to develop the domain. In actual fact, the website they create may be a third-rate and embarrassing site that does no favors to the registry’s public image. After all, no premium value was placed on the domain to deter mediocrity; so the domain would be awarded to the first ticket drawn out of the raffle bucket. For a better candidate to come along and pry this domain out of the hands of an incompetent businessman or webmaster, much more money would need to change hands than would be the case if a domainer held the domain. After all, the domainer has only acted as custodian and can relinquish the domain without past business expenses and rebranding costs getting in the way. But the lousy first developer would see “added value”, for which the next owner would have to pay extra. And that’s the true waste.
If a domainer’s asking price is really exorbitant, then nobody will pay it. Eventually the price will fall to fair market value because domainers have no rational interest in spending money on registration fees without a counterbalancing income. As soon as the price comes within reach of the business with the biggest plans for the domain, then the domain is sold or leased and developed in the most effective way.
Domain investors actually serve a beneficial role within the domain ecosystem. For natural reasons, domainers safeguard the most valuable real estate for the builders best suited to develop it. Without domainers setting prices according to the natural equilibrium of supply and demand, the registry itself would be forced to step in and arbitrarily fix prices at higher amounts — in other words withholding premium domains from businesses for the very same reasons domain investors do so. Such opportunism and hoarding ensures that unequal ideas do not get equal access. And that’s a good thing. The best domains should go to the best ideas, and price is one sensible way to promote survival of the fittest. Otherwise, unprofitable business models with poorly executed designs, inferior content, and bad customer service would take up space on premium domains — spreading like a fungus.
Few people object to land owners reselling acreage for a profit or holding out for developers with the right budget for the job. Domain names are not public beaches. There is no way for all mankind to own equal shares in a domain name. At best, we can only facilitate getting our empty acres noticed by the developers who make the best case for using them.
And that is another reason why domainers provide a beneficial service. We actively network with end users. No registry could possibly duplicate the marketing efforts of all domainers combined. What we do gets better brands to businesses that picked junk. What we do gets businesses to notice domains. What we do gets projects up and running, since many of us finance our own domain-based projects with other domain sales.
Domainers aren’t parasites that waste resources and extort money. Domainers raise funds for registries to operate in exchange for speculative profit sharing in the success of the registries’ TLDs. Domainers actively market domains and educate the general public, which is free marketing that the registries cannot afford to undertake themselves. Domainers enable the market to set fair prices rather than watching the registries impose artificial premium prices on the market. Domainers promote survival of the fittest when it comes to end user ownership. And that enhances the web landscape for everybody.
I’m not sure I understand your point, Mike, about gaymarriage.com. It’s parked.
If I were a .gay applicant, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want marriage.gay or gaymarriage.gay winding up parked. It wouldn’t be good for my brand.
> @GRIM, Sorry but the mental masturbation psychology exercise
> thing is getting a little old. I have a method for reading comments
> from those who engage in such behavior. It is to skip their posts
> and comments and move on to read those with an opinion and not
> an agenda.
Is it just me, or is it somewhat humorous to see someone who goes by the name, “gtldNameSellers” accusing someone else of having an “agenda?”
In any event, when it comes to this topic, I certainly don’t have one.
The trouble with the internet is that one company is determining everything. What looks, what looks bad, what is legitimate information, what is a developed site, what is art, what is not; how much anybody gets paid, who doesn’t get paid, when to pay, amount of search, exposure, who makes it, who doesn’t. One thing I know, beauty should be in the eye of the beholder. Every problem we have stems from this one fact. Then to top it off, every arrangement that is made among the big outfits, is done to screw the little guy. Even the arrangement between Registrars and Registries is kooky. Instead of letting all names be available for registration, they hold many of them back, and auction them over several years; when names drop, other insider companies and their shenanigans catch the names ahead of the little guy with inside information; and then resell the names to the little guy at, frequently, end user prices. PPC dropped almost 99%. No beep from domainers. So, names are selling, but its selling at the insider houses, from drop catchers, to Registrars, to registries, The domainer is the sucker. The victim. The grasshopper.
A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness:
A lawn about the shoulders thrown
Into a fine distraction:
An erring lace, which here and there
Enthralls the crimson stomacher:
A cuff neglectful, and thereby
Ribbands to flow confusedly:
A winning wave (deserving note)
In the tempestuous petticoat:
A careless shoe-string, in whose tie
I see a wild civility:
Do more bewitch me, than when art
Is too precise in every part.
Delight In Disorder
— Robert Herrick
@GRIM, not personal I was speaking to the post by Mr. Shubert and in answer to your assessment that his post may be a clever marketing ploy. While mental masturbation marketing may work on some minds and trick them into a behavior or action people like myself have come to recognize mental masturbation techniques for that they are and secondly have no time to sped figuring out the puzzle of what the hell they might be trying to do or say or get the reader or person they are communicating to do. Better to communicate with real people who say what they mean and mean what they say and have no agenda to their speaking or writing style other than to get a direct point across. So I aks was he meaning what he said or was he mental masturbating in this post. Your opinion which you have the right to is that he was mantally masturbating or potentially baiting readers to as another person said potentially make them salivae for his product. Tell ing someone you are going to kill them goes beyond the reaonable mental masturbating line IMO
1. Mr. Schubert will need to define “domainer” first. Many organisations are acting just like individuals. We clearly see no difference.
2. He should expect long litigations then and long bills as well.
3. Sorry, but if DYI.com would come and say: “wholesale buyers are not welcome, only the tiny retail ones” – that-would-not-be-not-so.gay
He needs some counselling.
Jerry Nolte says
I never post on blogs, but this warrants at least a short response.
Alexander Schubert’s statements would seem to have come from a left wing ignorant person. Shame I always thought he was smarter than that.
I read some incredibly obtuse comments in here regarding the (lack of) value domainers provide.
Domaining isn’t a business in the simplistic sense of selling products or services. It is an investment grade asset class in the same way real estate, gold or art can be. By buying gold, you’re not supposed to be suddenly start selling gold jewelry, you’re just an investor in an asset class.
So where is the value? From an economics perspective, value ‘happens’ every time money changes hands and is measured in the volume of money that changes hands. This is essentially the most important part that everyone seems to miss. If there was no value to BOTH parties involved, a transaction would not occur.
It is actually easiest to relate domains to real estate investing. As a buyer of an investment condo unit you don’t actually hire employees, design a building, etc. You also don’t necessarily have to improve the condo itself. But the value is provided via interaction within the aftermarket itself. The value is first given to the seller in the form of liquidity. A similar form of value occurs when the domain is sold on to the next party. During the holding period more value is provided in the form of rent (advertising revenue) from the tenant (advertiser) as well as value being provided via taxes (renewal fees).
Both domaining and real estate investing essentially take a cut by being in the middle of the supply chain in the same way a supermarket would. As a result of more intermediaries in the supply chain, it provides further stability to aftermarket pricing and supply.
Attempting to vilify domaining specifically isn’t justified as long as buying other asset classes for investment purposes is a legitimate practice. By treating domain investing as some sort of immoral activity it carries the hypothesis that all investing is essentially wrong, useless and provides no value.
The main difference with domain investing is the oligopoly structure due to the supply of 1 of each premium name as well as a constantly shrinking pool of valuable domains. This has 2 effects: inelastic demand & higher pricing. This means that if you really want a domain, you will just have to pay up. Of course it’s not ideal to be a buyer in this type of market, but it’s not really the domain owners who are responsible. There is no cartel, it’s a free market and it’s all about supply and demand. Those are just the market dynamics resulting in the current market price(s). The current gold price is at around $1650/oz right now. It makes just as much sense to complain about why a gold investor isn’t going to sell it to you for $1000/oz if he just paid $500/oz.
To tell the truth, if anyone falls for this sort of “clever” marketing, I would be surprised. I was just stating what I thought was obvious. That the guy wanted attention, and he got it, which is more than evident from the number of responses shown here.
Yes, the message behind the marketing is in poor taste. Saying that you’re going to kill someone if they come near your gTLD doesn’t require very creative thinking or an advanced degree in marketing. But he did get an emotional response from a lot of people here. So I think he did accomplish what he set out to do. He got attention. Attention only gets you so far though, since you have to have a product people actually want, to make money once you have their attention.
Anyway, I bet if not for the reference to killing domainers, this post wouldn’t have gotten one response. Mainly because no one would care. So what… another post about a gTLD. How exciting.
I don’t believe Mr. Schubert has to worry about buying a gun to fend off domainers, anytime soon.
There wouldn’t be so many domainers active in new TLDs if the end users didn’t shun them in the first place.
Michael Berkens says
My point regarding gaymarriage.com is that if Alexanders business plan is not to allow domainers to buy the domains then he is planning on end users, and in his case since he is applying as a community, a member of the gay community to by his domains.
If he is planning on selling domains for premium dollars (maybe he is not) but by reserving xx,xxx domain names from the Sunrise/Land Rush period he clearly is indicating he wants something more than a few hundred dollars for them (the typical Sunrise/Land Rush price), if there were all these end users, members of the Gay Community wanting to buy .Gay domains for $x,xxx or $xx,xxx or higher dollars, all I’m saying is I’m not seeing that demand on GayMarriage.com which has been one the if not the hottest issue in the gay community for the past 5 years.
I should be getting weekly offer on that domain, which I’m not.
I may get 2-3 offers a year on it.
That is my point
Regarding “parking” of a domain, what is the alternative to domain names not reserved by the registry and not registered?
They are going to go to a 404 page not found, right
Take the name hothotgirls.com the domain goes to a landing page.
Look at hothotgirls.co domain is not registered goes to a 404 page not found.
Which is “better” for the registry or make the extension look better?
I would argue its better for the registry to have sold the domain to a domainer even if the domainer parks it because at least it shows use and that domainer is out in the market trying to sell the registries product.
Otherwise the registry will have an unlimited number of potentially unresolving domains, don’t see how that is better for its image.
Michael Berkens says
In my opinion this is 100% not a marketing ploy.
The post was made in a closed group of new gTLD advisers so the only members are others in the new gTLD space.
Some in that group have already expressed to me I went over the line in bring something that was said in a private group (even through on Facebook) to the public.
That is a separate issue that we can deal with later today or another day.
The point being there were no customers or potential customers on that group, he was advising other new gTLD applicants not to allow domainers to buy domain names in their new gTLD’s as well.
So I can guarantee you it was not a marketing ploy
You can’t guarantee anything like that. What if he factors in that you have a hot blog, and that you will publish the dawn thing? It is irritating that somebody will espouse such views, even if in a closed niche.
Thanks for the clarification.
Michael Berkens says
I have been a member of that group for a year or more and this is the 1st time I or anyone else that’s a member including Kevin from domainincite brought something said privately in the group to the public and I did it based on what I believe to be outrageous and inappropriate comments made.
Its my opinion that the comments were not made in a reverse psychology move to get a blog to pick up the discussion which would then lead to domainer buying domains in a space they are not welcome.
.gay discriminating against a specific group…oh the irony!
John Berryhill says
Alexander’s selection of idiomatic phrases and expressions is not always on target. He sure managed to attract some attention for the TLD application, though.
Have you lost it? I don’t have near enough time to share on how many levels your statements are so wrong. But I’ll point out one that is really hypocritical; in a single paragraph you suggest that registries should hold xx,xxx domains back and then you criticize domainers for wanting to buy the same.
The bigger problem we have in our industry today is that domainers, registries, and registrars have now often become one and the same. Registrars have become domainers, domainers have become registrars, and now, registries want to become domainers too. BTW, there is a legitimate reason for a large domainer to become a registrar (to secure and protect their valuable domains). I’m not quite so sure if the opposites are appropriate.
Registries with your mentality will be the ones who experience the biggest failures in the new TLD space because when a registry tries to manipulate or manage markets that they sell into or over-control them, they lose credibility and they lose profits. It’s already happened and it will surely will again.
Registries need to let their markets operate freely and domainers and the domain aftermarket are one important and valuable part of that market ecosystem. In fact, for a period of time, domainers and the aftermarket were a significant driver in the domain name industry. Whether they bought domains as a hobby, to park, to develop, or to invest is not important. The important part is that domainers bought and paid for domains and they need to be respected for that. Domainers are businesspeople. They take risks and sometimes they succeed; more often they fail. But they paid for their domains and for the registration periods that they used them in. For a prospective registry operator to disrespect them in any way is simply wrong thinking, unappreciative, hypocritical, and honestly, quite stupid.
The principals in the dot.gay initiative should remove you from any direct involvement in that TLD. You have been and still are a domainer. All your criticism needs to be heaped back on you Alex. You’ve officially and publicly lost your mind. You owe a lot of people a heart felt apology. Many people know you like to kid around but your comments are way beyond the pale in today’s world.
Adam Strong says
nice post yoni
I am not gay…. I am not an opportunist, I own Freengay. gaynfree. the first thing that I did when obtaining these domains is to instruct my parking preference is absolutely no porn.
For those that want to defend Porn…that is fine as it is your personal preference…it is not mine, and I think that at least from my perspective it is a responsible position to take.
I have sites that are against violence, especially gun violence. A few of my latest are banar15 and I am sure that there are plenty that will not agree with my 0poinions there.
My point for these sites is to do my part in promoting discussions on these topics…..but when you disagree, I won’t threaten to kill you.
Michael Chapala says
Alexander is on crack! Domainers give domains value. Without them placing a value on them and purchasing them, they would all be worth $14.95. It appears that Alex didn’t have any real success so he got out of the business. The world wasn’t beating down his door to buy .GAY domains. So he spent his money, made his investments and nobody came knocking…
“I would argue its better for the registry to have sold the domain to a domainer even if the domainer parks it”
You would argue that as a domainer but most Internet users would not. A parking page is an annoyance. If you read these comments it is almost as if domainers never used the Internet themselves.
Rick “pigeon sh!t” Schwartz:
“I am shocked that Alexander would say those things.”
Don’t you send out similar messages on a regular basis?
John “hidden thesis” Berryhill PhD:
“Alexander’s selection of idiomatic phrases and expressions is not always on target.”
Aren’t his phrases similar to your comments about hitting people with metal pipes?
Michael Berkens wrote:
> In my opinion this is 100% not a marketing ploy.
Oh well. So Mr. Schubert probably just needs therapy, then. As someone who respects the creative aspects of good marketing, it’s disappointing to hear that this wasn’t an intentional marketing piece, but more likely the ramblings of someone who’s a little, um, ‘off.’
Although to be honest, some of the best marketing people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with, have been a little crazy. 😉
Unfortunately, there is a world of difference between the domain and land / real estate markets.
In most markets, beat all other bidders by a small margin and you get the item. But domainers maximise income by seeking offers that are a multiple of fair value and ignoring the rest (as evidenced by the <1% of stock that some domainers turn over per year – a level that will see many good domains remain permanently on the shelf).
Your comment is completely outrageous, you know that too because you know better – I know that. Im guessing you probably did not mean it literally, I probably have said much worse things that when read in the cold light of day are not a true expression of my belief or intent at all.
However – You realise you will make less money now right? Sure some endusers will buy some of your domains, and some domainer entities will get in on your premiums – maybe you will break even. You just lost tens of thousands of speculative registrations that, by looking at other some other domainers’ portfolios, would have been easy money for you.
I wouldn’t like to say if you are a fit and proper person to run a gtld but with comments like that I suspect many will think you are not. Good luck with it 🙂
How ironic for an applicant of .gay. If I were to incite violence against homosexuals (which I would NEVER) it would be called a hate crime, but it’s okay with this guy to insinuate people who speculate on domains would be better off dead. There have been cases in the past of known spammers who suddenly turned up dead/murdered. God forbid one of this guys readers, maybe some poor sap who can’t stand that a domain owner won’t accept their $10 offer, ends up taking this guys message the wrong way. Mr Schubert ought to really think about what he’s said. I’ll go so far as to say that perhaps a public apology is in order here.
Tommy Butler says
very suprised about the comments, there is good and bad in all markets, most domainers these days try and keep away from trademarks ect, his comments are basically way out of touch. wish him all best with the .gay tld personally would not touch it with bargepole.
Michael Berkens says
So just as an Update I had the chance to chat with Alexander today. We had about a 45 minute call and while he electing not to post on the blog, he wanted to indicate that he wasn’t threatening anyone and agreed it was a very poor choice of words.
That aside we agreed to disagree on the value of domainers in the new gTLD market which is fine with the more important issue now seemly resolved
Since your reply was not profane or childish, I’ll respond.
Sure, some end users pay domainers big money. But I’ve also heard domainers say 3 out of every 4 resales is to other domainers. When pressed, I was told that’s the nature of the game. That domainers sell to each other in what sounds like a greater fool theory. Domainer X paid $10,000. Let’s see if domainer Y will pay $30,000. And so on.
You’re the expert, not I. But it seems to me there are no solid metrics to measure domain name values anyway. Sure, you can talk traffic etc., but companies like GoDaddy offer certified domain valuations based on such metrics that are clearly ridiculous. Either to the high or low side, they sound completely made up. It occurs to that it’s because no one really knows what a domain is worth. It’s “worth” what some poor sap (i.e. non-domainer) feels forced to pay. After domainers themselves have driven the price up, I might add.
If domainers are the ones artifically driving prices up, I suggest you’re in a very risky business. Domainers like to make comparisons to real estate. Well, if realtors and investors (i.e. domainers) are driving prices up by selling to each other, how solid is the entire industry? That’s how the housing bubble happened… speculative ownership (domainers) vs. actual home owners (end-users).
What happens when the end-users don’t want to pay artifically inflated prices anymore? What happens to your business then? “Beachfront property” also came crashing down when the housing bubble burst.
I maintain that, even if you use real estate as a comparison to domaining, speculators (domainers) hurt the market. They artifically drive prices up and hurt end-users as a result.
Domainers can all hate on me all they like, but if I was a domainer, I would be hedging my business like crazy! Especially with the changing landscape (i.e. 1,900+ proposed gTLDs). I would not be sitting on my throne expecting nothing to change.
But whatever. We all have own businesses to run. I don’t like speculators in ANY market. I like end-users. I like people who actually use/build things, as opposed to price speculators who reduce the options for end-users.
John Berryhill says
John “hidden thesis” Berryhill PhD
It doesn’t look hidden to me. Was it mis-shelved?
Author Berryhill, John Bruce.
Title A novel high-speed light emitting diode for optical interconnections / by John Bruce Berryhill.
Location Library Annex | TK9999 1992 .B534 1991 | Normal Loan
Gen. note Photocopy.
Principal faculty adviser: Allen M. Barnett, College of Engineering.
Some illustrations are mounted photographs.
Dissertn. Thesis (Ph.D.)–University of Delaware, 1992.
Bibliogr. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 85-91).
Subject Light emitting diodes.
Sys. no. 000881423
Those who are selling 3 out 4 domains to other domainers are not domainers. Not yet anyway. I used to do that 7-8 years ago when I just starting.
They are flipping because some believe that this is how you make money in domaining (and it is not, not in the long run anyway) or they just trying to keep a cash flow(that is what I was doing).
In the past 5 years I must have sold 2-3 domains to other domainers and these were domainers I knew and I wanted to give them a good deal. I have sold hundreds to end-users.
My definition of speculation is a bit different. I believe that everybody speculates on some level. When you are buying stocks, gold, land etc. Even when you are buying your own house you are a speculator. A speculator that hopes to flip the house some day and move to a bigger house. Or you are just speculating that this is going to be a nice neighborhood in 15 years. Any form or investment or business is speculative. Even as an end-user you speculate that the domain will bring you more business and that will enable you to sell the domain in 10 years for x100. Even when you choose what to study, you speculate that these is going to be demand for this line of work in the next 40 years. Everything is a speculation.
John “hidden thesis” Berryhill PhD
“It doesn’t look hidden to me. Was it mis-shelved?”
Send me a copy, in want to take a look.
” it’s because no one really knows what a domain is worth.”
Once you develop sites you can estimate what kind of income you will get, how much marketing costs a good domain will save you, etc. Just because many domainers don’t know how to do this and they make up prices or compare irrelevant sales doesn’t mean it cannot be estimated.
Picture of Alexander about to shoot something: http://bit.ly/Ya7hPc
Your points are taken. I was replying at length, when it occurred to me I was sharing too much information.
I’ll simply say, unlike some industries, domaining seems highly speculative. I remember when MSFT was minting millionaires and driving (or perhaps stealing, lol) innovation. Now, they’ve flatlined for years. The very concern Bill Gates predicted, of not being afraid of another large corporation, rather being afraid of a couple of kids in a garage, came true. The tech world, to include domaining, is rapidly changing. I think .Com domainers today are no different than folks who owned MSFT in it’s glory days, who claimed the good times would never end.
We used to watch one MSFT campus entrance and count exotic autos just for fun. Those days eventually came to an end and so too will the .Com era. IMHO. Everything changes. Especially when it comes to the internet and technology. I’m not saying .Com will go away. I’m saying it’s glory days will reflected upon fondly by domainers. Assuming they don’t lose their shirts in the process. You’ve got 1,900+ new strings coming down the line. You can’t speculate on them all. Let alone the 5,000 or 10,000 to follow. Are all these new strings a boon or bust for .Com. I guess we’ll find out.
Anyway, moving on. You seem like an OK guy. Much like Mr. Berkens. I don’t wish you guys any bad luck. Perhaps I’ve just seen too much. I’ll stick with my industry. ; ) If you guys can successfully navigate the coming changes, well, more power to you.