Our first post was made on December 4th, 2007 so amazingly enough we have been hard at work over here at thedomains.com for 7 years.
I have no idea where the time has gone, but it went, and a lot of it.
We have published over 7,700 posts and just under 85,000 comments.
We have been busy.
As bloggers we have a natural urge to be first to publish “breaking news” and stories.
Sometime you will see duplicate content on domain blogs. This is caused by several factors.
Press releases being sent out ahead of time under embargo meaning they can’t be published until a certain time, lets say 9am or noon EST on a particular day.
In those cases you will see several blogs in the Domaining.com chain all publish the same basic PR at the same time.
Press releases that come out overnight for the east coast guys usually get written about more than once as we all see it when we wake up.
Not much we can do about that.
Sometimes other news comes out like UDRP decisions, or a reported domain sales or someone reports something on Twitter, and more than one blog reports on it.
In those cases many times more than one blogger is writing about the same story at the basically the same time.
Of course we have been guilty of this as much as anyone, but you might notice that over the last year we rarely repeat a story that has been reported earlier by someone in the Domaining chain.
There are exceptions for BIG stories or for stories that are reported by blogs whose stories do not get index by Google news like our posts do.
We have been making a lot more use of social media, especially Twitter.
In the last year we typically just retweet a story, even if its written by a competing domain blog, rather than write another story about the basically the same thing.
As we roll into year 8 you can expect us to use more social media to get stories we think are important out to those who follow us, which we assume are most, if not all of our readers.
At the end of the day keeping you informed is the most important mission of thedomains.com regardless if we were the one who published the story. (If you’re not following us on Twitter you can click the bird on the top of the page).
Our social media following really exploded this year. Although I don’t have an official number I would say our followers
As far as thedomains, going forward we hope to publish more opinion pieces.
Opinion pieces come with a heavy cost.
Readers should realize that while the vast majority of people in the domain space, although they may not be thrilled about a negative story or opinion are understanding and respect an opinion or a take on a story.
However there are some in the domain industry that have become lifelong haters.
When I say lifetime haters I mean, not just of thedomains, but of myself, personally.
Some of these haters run are domain investors, operate or work for new gTLD registries, registrars, and other companies in the space.
There are some people who will not speak to me.
There are some people that will not respond to an email, phone call, skype chat or text.
There are a few people, that won’t even look at me if I happen to walk past them at ICANN or some other conference, because I wrote one story they didn’t like.
My reaction to these people is always the same.
Oh well one more Christmas card, I’m not going to get.
No, I’m not going to name names.
I’m not here to publicly shame anyone personally.
I have no problem calling out someone or some company for something they have done, or a position they have taken, but I’m not here to personally attack people.
Besides, I think everyone has a constitutional right to be an asshole.
Since I started blogging we lost some huge voices in the industry who just woke up one day and decided to stop blogging.
For the commentators who can’t wait to jump on a blog post just to bash the author on his own blog, or other blogs or on forums in the domain space, one of which I was banned from for defending myself one time from a personal attack, you share great responsibility for having silenced some of the most brilliant and successful people in the domain industry.
Since I started writing thedomains.com, Frank Schilling stopped writing his blog at Seven Mile, (although thankfully you can still read stories many of which are still very relevant); Sahar Sarid’s Conceptualist.com went dark in 2011 and as far as I know, sadly none of the previously published material is available.
This year of course the Domain King Rick Schwartz stopped writing his blog at RicksBlog.com
I think its fair to say that no other blogger in the space took a bigger beating over the years than Rick who published mostly all opinion pieces.
I never understood why people, in a very personal and vicious way attack a blogger especially in Rick’s case, since he he is just sharing his opinion on domain names, the industry and his view on news and events.
At the end of the day Rick wrote to help you.
To make you a more success domain investor and if you disagreed with his overall philosophy well you simply could not have read his blog.
That of course goes for any blog and other domain blogs have come and gone since 2007.
When I started in the domain business full-time in 1999 there were no domain blogs.
Back in 1999, there was no one in the domain industry that shared their thoughts about the industry, gave any insight as to what they were doing, or how they viewed domain names or the business.
There were forums and private chat rooms but nothing as we know as blogs.
As far as getting tips or information from those who are successful in the business, it didn’t exist
Everyone was on their own.
So for all of the bloggers out there who put themselves out there everyday, or even just once in a while, you have my deepest respect.
Is the domain industry better off not having those voices anymore?
Are you personally better off now that those voices have been silenced?
I guess you can discuss it amongst yourselves on the domain forums, but in my opinion I think we are all worse for having lost those voices.
On a personal level I want to thank Raymond Hackney who started writing for TheDomains.com this last year.
Raymond writes his own blog over at TLDinvestors.com which you should check out and he write for other domain blogs as well from time to time.
Just so you know, the overwhelming amount of stories Raymond writes for Thedomains.com come from stories or ideas I send to Raymond.
On a typical day I send Raymond 3-6 stories, including weekends, that I think are interesting and he decides which one(s), if any, he wants to write about.
Raymond has done a great job and some of his stories are the most read on Thedomains.com
Raymond also has taken over all the advertising duties at Thedomains.com.
If we get an inquiry about advertising on Thedomains.com I send it over to Raymond to see if we have availability (I don’t know) and Raymond is the one that quotes and books the ad spots.
I have always thought it was important to separate out the advertising from the content, so with some rare exceptions when we had changes in staff, I don’t book ads or deal with advertisers.
I know many of you would have a hard time believing it, but most of the time I don’t even know when a new advertiser comes on board.
From time to time we have gotten complaints about an advertiser.
I don’t feel its proper to reject ads from businesses in are in the domain the space or that touch the space
I’m not the ad police.
It has always been our policy that we do NOT accept any form of payment for running a story or a press release or to publicize domain names for sale nor do we accept money or to shut up and not write a story.
In case you’re wondering, yes we have been offered cash, too many times to count, to publish a post or a press release or a set of domains for sale and declined each and every time.
We write what we want and let the chips fall where they may.
We want to thank those who have sponsored us directly on thedomains.com and through the Domaining/TheDomains ticker, now and in the past.
For the first couple of years or so we have no advertising, but after seeing how much time the blog was taking up I figured it was silly not to make some money from it.
I also want to thank many of our readers who have sent us stories, news, developments, domain sales or other stuff that they saw that we didn’t see.
We acknowledge those contributors on those posts, but most of the time we are asked not to mention them.
I want to thank our readers who have visited Thedomains.com, well over 8 million times and those who participated by leaving one or more of those almost 85,000
Even the nasty ones.
I have always felt people are entitled to their opinion as long as they don’t cross the line.
This year we moved the line on comments, not to protect myself from attack, but against personal attacks of other readers, commentators, bloggers or others in the space and we now have a clear comment policy in place, which I also will thank Raymond for who led the charge on that front.
Over the 7 years the number of comments we have deleted is an extremely small number, that if it was stated as a percent would be expressed as a number after a decimal point.
As for my opinions and thoughts on the domain industry, I always give you my honest one, with no ulterior motives.
I know everyone loves a negative story.
Everyone is looking for a conspiracy, looking under the rocks for some dirt and we have published plenty of those and will continue to publish stuff when we see it or find it.
However at the end of the day if you haven’t noticed, domain investors are far from loved outside of the industry.
The domain industry has been very good to me and I have made a very good living since 1999 almost exclusively from the industry so I take no pleasure in reporting bad news but not all news is bad and not everything is a conspiracy.
There is plenty of great news, events, sales and other things happening in the industry.
So as an industry lets rally around the good.
The industry is fluid, like anything in the Tech space, things change every month, every week and sometimes every day.
Each week there are sales, new domain extensions being launched, events that change the perception of how people view where the industry and parts of it are and where its going.
If you have the same exact opinion you had about domain names 10, 5 even last year then you’re not paying attention and not doing yourself any favors.
So I leave you with this continue to:
Respect the opinion of others even if you totally disagree with them and share your opinion so we can learn from you too.
Congrats on 7 years! Enjoyed the article. It was a fast, easy read. I like the short sentences.
theDomains headlines like, “NetworkWorld: Companies Switching Back To .Com After Seeing Their New Domains Fall Flat,” definitively show you endeavor to be neutral re domain name news, not favoring the new gtlds.
Ian Ingram says
We are definitely worse off for having lost some of the prominent voices in the industry over the last few years. Whether people agree with your opinions or not, I don’t think it is debatable that you (and your team) have provided a tremendous amount of insight to a lot of people over the years and are one hell of an asset to the domain industry, Mike. Looking forward to many more years of TheDomains.
Vendita Auto says
Good on you Michael Berkens & Thanks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amznbi0lFaU
Michael Berkens says
The whole new gTLD and the perception of the domain community has always puzzled me.
I certainly wrote about it a lot because I saw it was coming and knew it had the chance to be very disruptive.
I think that’s my job as a blogger.
As an attorney when a client came in with a business deal he was considering and asked what do you think it was part of my job to point out things that could cause the business to end badly for him and if I didn’t at least make him aware of it he would be back at my door a year or several years later yelling at me for not telling him this or that could happen if they were foreseeable.
So as I sit today I own around 80K domains 1,500 may new gTLD’s and 78K .com’s
How in the world anyone would think I would want the gTLD’s which I own very few of and owned none of last year to skyrocket and the .com’s to plunge and die, well it makes no sense
Some people bash just to bash and that is why as I chatted about in the Post Rick called it quits for the most part.
He was trying to give people the benefit of his success and knowledge and thoughts and they chased him out.
Congratulation! 7 years and over 7.000 posts is hard work. Thanks for providing us all the Information about our Industry. I hope to read you the next 7 years.
Michael Berkens says
Thanks for the kind words
I’m 56 I think there is a very small chance that I will still be banging stories out in 7 years.
But if I decide to bow out at some point thedomains.com will be in good hands
Andrea Paladini says
Congrats Mike and Raymond!, keep up your great work 🙂
And remember … age ain’t nothing but a number 😉
That’s awesome Mike, congrats! Hats off to Ray as well! The two of you crank out so much information each week, it’s crazy! Keeps us newbies informed though, so I for one am VERY appreciative for both of your blogs!
Mike, thanks for writing this and addressing everything you said. Congrats on 7 years of blogging. The domains is my go to blog everyday without a doubt. While I’m at it, no one has been a better mentor and influence on me in the domaining industry than Rick. He doesn’t know this, because we’ve never met, but I learned so much by reading his posts and learned to look at domaining from a different angle that no other domainer (IMO) talks about.
This is a very small industry. We’re all pretty much on an island…wish there was more building up than tearing down, but oh well.
Ps. Congrats on the new coach 🙂 #Gators
Michael Berkens says
Well lets hope he is better than the last coach although that is a pretty low bar.
Congrats Mike! 🙂
I think you are bringing the most latest news at first than any one and publishing over 7k posts in 7 years is really a tough job and hats off to you
Leonard P Britt says
Congrats on a milestone of providing breaking news of the domain industry!
Best wishes in 2015!
Michael Berkens says
You too Leonard
A big thank-you to Mike for putting in hours and hours of your precious time to publish these highly valuable articles. Because of your great experience and your willingness to share it, we have benefited tremendously. This is free education on a global scale. For many of us far away from the US, this is very helpful. In my opinion, this blog is one of the very best blogs in the domain industry. News is cheap but indepth analysis is valuable. For this reason, I want to read your thinking, your analysis, and your opinion. A mature person should have the capacity to read both positive and negative opinions, and then make his own conclusion. THANK YOU!
Paul Kapschock says
Congrats on 7 years and thank you so much for the blog and your articles………I understand some of the industry better thanks to you and your insight.
I never understand the haters…life is too short!
Thanks again and I hope you continue blogging for a very long time.
Nat Cohen says
Congrats on seven years of TheDomains!
TheDomains is an invaluable resource. I read pretty much every post.
It must be a labor of love. You aren’t doing it for the money. You could be taking it easy, yet you and Raymond are working incredible hard to keep us all informed.
And you do it with integrity and by shooting straight.
Looking forward to many more years of TheDomains.
Michael Berkens says
Definitely not doing it for the money but cash is always welcome
Thanks for the kind words
Logan Flatt says
Thank you, Michael and Raymond, for all that you have done and continue to do. Congratulations on seven years!
The industry is short of good, forensic critique; something every business needs, particularly this one as it goes through such a profound change.
thedomains is one of my go to blogs and if this represents a more critical direction from someone with your experience and contacts in the business, then I think its a fantastic turn of events.
Congrats Mike !
I read 4 blogs.TheDomains is one of them.
Thank you for all your passion and hard work you bring in our domain community.
I have learn a lot from you in the last 5 years since i follow your posts every day.
Ps: Rick we miss you,come back
Thank you for your hard work over the years. I started reading your blog probably around the time you started! Anyhow, thanks to you, Elliot, Rick, Frank, Ron, and several others, I think the domain industry has been kept together and well-informed. Here’s to another 7 more great years.
ps. I remember when you had the ticker for all the domain-related stocks off to the side…seems like yesterday!
Matt W says
I’m super appreciative of both yourself and Rick for having the conviction to provide strong opinion, in particular for doing Sherpa. You and Raymond have been doing some great stuff here of late. Have a good Christmas!
Happy 7th Birthday and many more to come.
If we ever meet, I will give you a big hug and a big wet juicy kiss!! and squeeze your butt
thedomains.com is one of the best domain blog.
I love you MAN!!
@ MIke, That’s interesting what you do, advising clients and letting them benefit from your years of experience! Glad you clarified that! With 78,000 dot coms, it doesn’t make sense to wish for their demise – you said it! Did you increase your portfolio? I try to read between the lines, and thought you might be reducing your portfolio in general.
Here is Vendita Auto’s video for you:
Skipping a line sometimes loads it so the reader can play it straight from the comments. Nice thought! 🙂
Maybe you can’t write after the embed? No, “s,” and no write. Here is the nice song Vendita Auto posted to celebrate theDomains 7 years:
Joseph Peterson says
When people ask me which domain industry blogs they ought to read, I always list TheDomains.com in the top 2.
Glad the place exists — both as a news outlet and a place to have those public conversations that every industry needs to have if it is to be taken seriously by the general public.
Mike, I think I agree with you 9 times out of 10. But I think it’s equally important that you publish press releases and articles that I (and probably you) DISAGREE with. That’s a good thing, as long as the site fosters criticism and debate. And your blog — more than some others that censor opinion — does a very good job allowing people to speak freely.
There’s a down side to that, which every high-profile blogger (inside or outside the domain industry) who touches on controversial topics will be familiar with. Overall, there’s a lack of professionalism within the domain industry. But we live in a culture where even innocuous Youtube videos will receive intensely negative comments. So I don’t envy any blogger who opens the door to that. Yet it’s necessary to open the door in certain places, and I hope you’ve got the stamina to keep putting up with some of the unfair treatment.
2014 has been a divisive year within the domain industry. Being associated with an nTLD consulting firm as you are and publishing on related topics, you were destined to become a magnet for some of that nTLD resentment. Some resentment toward the nTLD initiative is justified, in my opinion; but focusing it on Michael Berkens and TheDomains.com is largely unwarranted.
Hopefully people will learn to distinguish between issues and people more clearly. And hopefully the people who’ve cut off communication with you will wake up one of these days and recognize that open lines of critical, respectful, free speech are more important than anything else.
Keep it coming!
Seymour Wilson says
sorry stopped reading at “At the end of the day Rick wrote to help you.”
Donna Mahony says
Great job Mike. I read and generally share and tweet as often as time allows. I love the added flavor of Raymond Hackney for a little change up now then. Hope you keep it up for 7 more years. Congrats!
Tony Lam says
Mike, you wrote about 5 years ago that you doubt you’d still be around in 5 years and here you are! Not sure why you are so pessimistic about being around in 7 years. You are still pretty young in the grand scheme of things.
I had no idea how many haters you had. Be grateful though that 99.5% of domainers and likely of the US population would give up their left arm to switch places with you and Rick.
You are one of the most knowledgeable and smartest individuals let alone domainers I’ve come across and I’m grateful for those times you have replied to my emails asking for advice. Keep up the great work and Congrats!
Steve Cheatham says
Good story Mike. It explains what a lot of the pioneers go through. Opinions are needed to provoke civil discussions and direction in a new industry.
The domainers I have made friends with over the years are some of the best and most sincere people I have met. And you are one of them my friend. I read this rag often.
Happy Holidays and New Year.
Paul Green says
I think you should not care if someone wrote about any topics before because your level of writing is the highest.
When I see on domainaing titles of articles I always click on your blog as I know I will get quality information.
I would never click on most blogs there like DomainGang or DomainInversting.
One try to be funny but its really sad and useless and the second you can get an impression that runs an advertising campaign in every article.
Mike, a very big “thank you” from Australia.
I’ve been an avid reader for a few years now, and really appreciate the effort you put into it on a day in, day out basis.
Some of the things I have learned along the way have been invaluable. Keep up the good work.
Ken Obrien says
I can’t thank you enough for sharing your insight and experience with someone who is new to the industry.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year,
Thanks for your hard work Mike, TheDomains does a great job legitimizing our industry and helping to inform those on the outside looking in how this business works. You obviously go to great lengths to find useful and relevant information and with the portfolio you operate I wonder where you find the time!
All the best from Italy!
Patricia Kaehler says
Don’t sweat the small stuff… if someone gives you the cold shoulder – that’s their loss… Life’s too short and precious to think twice about the haters… ( I feel sorry for the haters… imagine their existence…)
About so many blogs covering the same same same items…
That’s annoying only in that – I wish all that coverage was fresh and differnet for each writer. Example 5 posts same press release – could have been 5 enjoyable reads on 5 different topics… but it’s to be
expected with multiples wanting to cover the same hotoffthepress items… I personally have 5 TOP Daily GO TOs — You are Among them…
(I’d tell you – you are My First Choice – but… then you’d get all smiley and wet yourself.. )
Time goes by so fast… Thinking back to 1999 and then having to count up how many years that is and realizing my head isn’t on the same synch with life as the actual timeclock of life… I still think I’m in my 30’s… (I’m younger than you but not by much) The mirror can tell us we’ve aged a bit … but in our hearts and minds we are still back there…
feel’s strange doesn’t it – to see pictures of people from your past and they’ve aged… and then you realize… Oh my God… if they’ve aged I must have too…
Raymond is a great writer… I hope he (w/you) does a series on site monetization… a full, rich, lengthy, detailed, instructive, article (or eBook) and how to’s for content for sites… (beyond the statement to write yourself or simply saying to outsource) that’s my wish for 2015 — more HOW TO — with connections.
~Patricia Kaehler — Ohio USA — DomainBELL / DropGrabs
Gosh I hope there’s no typos – to tired to care…
Domain Observer says
I like the fact that this blog does not block comments that have different views. Unlike some other blogs, this blog is not a narrow-minded blog. This blog is a must for anyone who is interested in domain names. Congrats.
Michael, excellent blog with good information, hope to see you continue for a long time ! I also can’t agree more with this part at the end of your writing:
The industry is fluid, like anything in the Tech space, things change every month, every week and sometimes every day. Each week there are sales, new domain extensions being launched, events that change the perception of how people view where the industry and parts of it are and where its going. If you have the same exact opinion you had about domain names 10, 5 even last year then you’re not paying attention and not doing yourself any favors.
Keep up the good work !
Jon Schultz says
TheDomains is an informative and valuable resource which attracts comments from some of the brightest people in the online business community. Congratulations on its well-deserved success, Michael, and a heartfelt thanks to you and Raymond for your hard work.
Michael Berkens says
Hey guys thanks for all the kind words and support
Raymond and I appreciate each and every one
Alan Hack says
Mike, I appreciate all of the time and energy you have put into this blog for 7 years. I have learned so much from your efforts. Thanks and I hope you continue this blog for many more years.
Congrats Michael. Always enjoy your opinions, glad to hear we’ll be seeing more of them