Selling ice to the Eskimos, Part Deux: Doomsday predictions & Wannabe developers

In my original post titled, “Selling ice to the Eskimos” I talked about the high expectations and low returns of domainer-to-domainer auctions. When you sell a product to those that don’t have a real need for it, you’re not making the money you should be making.

The strategy of selling domains to end-users as a method for achieving a high ROI was strongly emphasized recently, with the confirmation of the sale of – by Rick Schwartz – to an obscure company that regardless, makes candy and other sweets. The $3 million sale did not occur at some fancy domainer convention, not even at Rick’s own TRAFFIC conference; it was the product of intense and direct negotiation which took several months to materialize.

Currently, there seems to be a trend by domainers that are either dissatisfied by their PPC returns or their domain sales, to predict or promote several “doomsday scenarios” about the future of domaining as an industry. It’s definitely disheartening seeing one’s revenue from parking domains plummet; not due to a lack of traffic or even conversion rates, but rather because PPC companies have become stingier (or greedier) and pay fewer cents for each dollar generated. It’s the outcome of trickle-down policies imposed by the oligarchy of search engines; with Google and Yahoo as dominant giants, the market has fewer options in challenging their eagerness to tighten their wallets. Let’s see what Microsoft’s will eventually bring to the table.

However, domainers that listen to doomsday scenarios of “domaining end of days” are bound to face doomsday themselves. A strategic evaluation of one’s portfolio is needed, if there is not enough revenue generated. Us domainers are selfish beings and we are defensive of our portfolios to our bitter peril. Such an attitude can lead to a loss of strategic focus and definitely a loss of revenue over a prolonged period of economic staleness.

What we need, is to allow other domainer professionals – or non-domainers even – a direct view into our “precious” portfolio and to seriously take into consideration their professional advice, insight, experience and gut feeling. It’s about time that we stopped listening to the overall gloom and doom, block out the naysayers and respond positively to worthy suggestions and professional advice about what we should do and how we should proceed; in the same manner that a company’s CEO worthy of their salt hires people smarter than him or her.

Personally, I gained a lot by giving access to my domain portfolio to fellow web developer, Tia Wood. Her feedback and overall advice was substantial, enlightening and supportive of my frustration; Tia’s professional consultation allowed me to evaluate my approach to domaining and identify my weaknesses in ways that “owner’s blindness” prohibited me to see.

In a world full of “wannabe developers” it’s important to listen to the professionals and expect a just price for their hard work. Because if you don’t, you will only have yourself to blame in the future.

Copyright 2009 – An Acroplex LLC publication – All Rights Reserved


  1. I know quite a few domainers who exclusively target end users and they’ve told me sales haven’t slowed down at all. I think it’s just those of us (eg. me) who were selling largely domainer to domainer who have taken a pretty big hit. For whatever reason, whenever things go down people panic and think they’ll never go back up — just like when things kept on going up, people were saying silly things like domains could never fall in value… 🙂

  2. Glad to assist, Theo.

    “When you sell a product to those that don’t have a real need for it, you’re not making the money you should be making.”

    Exactly. There are many possibilities to sell and monetize our domains. Sometimes we sell ourselves short by not exploring all the possibilities on a domain by domain basis. Not all domains are registered equally. 😉

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