All posts by Rob McCrea

Rob is Head of Account Management at Famous Four Media. A dedicated and passionate Internet professional, Rob has been operating in the domain name industry for the last 4 years, supporting the online endeavors of some of the world's best known brand owners.

Investing in the present

Why domain name investors should embrace new gTLDs today

The story so far.

At the time of writing, there have been some 600,000 registrations across new TLDs, and some interesting launch strategies, and business models. For our part, at Famous Four Media, we embraced “the channel”; that is to say we believe in the existing domain name system, and don’t think registries should be innovating with new business models or whacky pricing schemes at the moment, rather for now we believe that innovation should remain the province of the registrant. I draw your attention to two other registry operators whose business model appears similar to Famous Four Media’s in this respect, but of course remain very different in other ways: .CLUB & Donuts.

Investing in the present

Investing in the present

.CLUB has been very vocal in the amount it has spent on advertising and promotion of its single asset: some four million USD I believe, and you then have the polar opposite in Donuts whose model seems to be let the world decide which strings gain traction. At Famous Four Media, we find ourselves somewhere in the middle, our strings are of course unique in their own right, but we have a considerable number of them, too many to adopt the .CLUB approach. This said, they are few enough that we can give them each a little more TLC (tender loving care) than Donuts. Whose model is the best will of course become clear in the fullness of time.

What are we doing differently?

Much of what those who “know what they are doing” in the domain name industry are actually doing is very similar. We (.CLUB, Donuts, FFM and the other experienced registries) have embraced the channel and aim to support their registrars as much as is possible whilst squeezing in a couple of hours of sleep every couple of days!

Given the role the registrar has to play in the growth of the new gTLD program it is fair to say that a lot of money and effort has been spent by registries on the registrar piece of the domain name puzzle. There is however another very important piece in the puzzle… …the domain name investor.

We see that that the majority of names currently being registered in new TLDs come from domain name investors, and at Famous Four Media this was no surprise, we knew this was coming. Investors in our TLDs are important for early revenues of course, but they have a much more important role to play than this. Investors will buy our domains at low cost and sell them to the right buyer for the right price. The right buyer is most likely going to be someone who is going to actually use the domain, and therein lays the key to the sustained and long term growth of any new TLD. ‘Get it used and get it seen.’

Calling all investors – why invest in Famous Four’s domains?

There a many reasons to invest in Famous Four Media’s strings:

  • Premium Names:I believe Famous Four Media has been very frugal with its premium names with only around 3,500 in our first three strings compared to the 6000+ (as I understand it) of .CLUB. This means that there are a lot of great names available to domain investors at normal registration prices. Grab them and flip them.
  • Super Premium Names: we contacted some of the World’s foremost domain name brokers way back in September 2013, and asked them to choose 10 names each from all of our uncontested TLDs they felt could be placed for the right price. This will generate interest in the registries and will help create demand for names.
  • Re-investment in our TLDs: in each of our applications, we will re-invest at least 2USD per name sold, back into a marketing development fund, so by buying a Famous Four Media domain name you immediately see 2USD re-invested in increasing the value of your names.
  • Great Names:  .BID, .TRADE& . WEBCAM are our first gTLDs into GA on June 9th these are commercially very strong.

o    .BID: you visit a .BID website if you want to buy or sell anything. A .BID is a must for anyone selling at auction or open to offers.

o    .TRADE: resonates with small medium enterprise, financial institutions, wholesalers who sell to trade, and emerging markets looking to open their doors to a Global audience

o    .WEBCAM: think search results, and picture any interesting term ending in.WEBCAM, who isn’t going to click on this? BigBen.webcam, WorldCup.webcam, NakedIroning.webcam

  • Landrush, what landrush?  We are going straight to GA on June 9th, no landrush, no early access, no qualifying criteria, just great names at normal registration prices.

In conclusion

I want you to come in on June 9th and clean us out, take our best names at the best possible price, and sell them on to someone who will use them, and use them well, all the while increasing the value of those other names you bought in that same TLD.

Domain Name Investors: you are more important to the long term success of the new gTLD program than you may ever have considered. The new gTLD program is depending on you, the registries are depending on you, and ICANN is depending on you and, at Famous Four Media, we’ll continue to invest in our collective success.

Rob_McCrea

Rob McCrea, Head of Account Management at Famous Four Media

 

Eating Out & Hidden Gems – with no marriage proposals involved!

I’m not sure if you’ve heard but there are some new names coming to the Internet. It’s called the new generic Top Level Domain program (new gTLD) and it means that internet users won’t be stuck with a .COM, a .NET or a .BIZ domain name for their websites but can choose from over 600 different terms such as .DATE, .MEN and .SCIENCE. With such a wide variety of new names becoming available I’m convinced that the new gTLD process is going to be cluttered with ’hidden gems’, both at what is known in the Industry as the second level (www.hiddengem.something) but also at the top level (www.something.hiddengem). Domain name investors out there are already working hard to identify names in the second level which haven’t been identified by registry operators as valuable ‘premium names’, this of course is what investing in any discipline is fundamentally about; but are there any Top Level domains which are, themselves hidden gems?

Hidden gem domain name?

Hidden gem domain name?

I have a wife and two infant boys, and have my hands pretty full professionally with my part in taking around 60 new top level domains to market and domestically, trying to wrangle 2 mini whirlwinds at home. By definition then: my wife and I don’t get out much! The other night however, with my father-in-law visiting us in Southern Spain from back home in bonnie Scotland, a rare opportunity for a child-free evening presented itself.

Off we trotted, my wife and I, a spring in our respective steps to a local Spanish bistro. Welcomed warmly and settled in to a table in a discrete corner, my other/better half and I, glass of red in hand, were promptly presented with a menu from which we would select the first of our three courses that evening. Upon opening the menu, it became apparent that it may take some time to make a decision on what we would be having! The menu, in terms of its volume, bore a striking resemblance to a volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica: page after page, after page… …after page of culinary delectations to whet one’s appetite, each as eloquently and expansively described as the next. I considered the first 5 of many many dishes on offer for each course before eventually tiring of the whole thing and concluding: I just want to eat!

This was interesting to me, given our part as a portfolio applicant, in a time where domain name registrants will have unprecedented choice when it comes to selecting their next (or first ever) domain name. 

Broadly speaking, registrars have done their best to categorize domain names to make life as easy as possible for their customers. Typically, you will see a list of roughly 600 domain names split into categories such as: Geographical, Finance, Retail, Industrial, Hobbies and Interests and other variations of these terms.

The Hidden Gems
As I say, I believe that our first string, which at time of printing we hope to see delegated within the week, should be considered a: New gTLD hidden gem. Let me explain why! When your Top Level Domain doesn’t fit nicely into one of the commonly used categories there is a tendancy for it to fall between the cracks. The billion dollar question is whether these TLDs are more likely to have valuable and popular names available for standard registration prices? After several glasses of Spanish Red, I had some pretty clear ideas about the answer as you might imagine.

We will be going to market at the end of March with, what I think, is the new gTLD process’ best kept secret. Our first domain is short; it’s instructive, instinctive and intuitive. It’s exciting, commercially compelling and above all – it’s ours!

It is .BID and you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be some bargains to be had.

Rob_McCrea

Rob McCrea, Head of Account Management at Famous Four Media