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Domain Interview with Frank Paul from 34.co.uk by Siteopia.com
I came across this interview that was done by Siteopia.com founder Jason Smith – This is a great Interview and one that anyone in the domain industry should take some time and read even if you aren’t interested in the UK domain space it is a domain market that several big domain players have invested and made some great profits from over the years.
The full interview is below and here is a link to the original story from Siteopia.com
“Welcome back and happy new year! Our second interview from our online business advice blog is an exciting one, with domain name investor and online entrepreneur, Frank Paul.
Frank was a relatively late entry into the domain name industry and only registered his first domain name in 2006. In the following six years he has built up a premium domain name portfolio, which is both admired and envied by respected veteran domain name investors who had been involved in the domain industry 10 years before Frank even started!
Since that day in 2006, Frank has never looked back and has been involved in literally thousands of domain name transactions on behalf of himself, his clients and even household brand names such as Mastercard. His most recent high profile sale of CheapCruises.co.uk which sold in July of this year for £50,000 is the second highest value publically reported .co.uk domain name sale of 2012.
So Frank, thanks for taking the time to sit down with us, let’s start off with an easy one…tell us about you in no more than 150 words:
I am Frank Paul and I am an online entrepreneur. I specialise in premium generic domain name investment, generic domain name leasing and creating profitable online businesses. I am a firm believer in the harder you work the more successful you become and it is better to try something and fail then forever wonder if it would have worked.
What was your first Internet venture?
My first internet venture was a community website for my local town. It was monetized by local businesses paying to advertise on the website to give them more exposure to the public and therefore generate more sales for them. It was a huge learning curve for me in numerous ways, and little did I know at the time, it was actually going to pave the way forward to where I am now.
What pitfalls did you encounter?
Overestimating the uptake of the service we were offering and not realising how much hard work it would be to convince people it was a good thing for their business. Businesses could not understand how we could possibly increase their number of customers by advertising with us. It was a hard slog to convert them and this lesson in business taught me there were easier ways to make money on the internet, and the actual idea was ‘before it’s time’ for the town where I was targeting.
What is the biggest change you have noticed in online marketing since you started?
In a word – Google. Google has evolved ever since it was first created 14 years ago, but I would say it has changed more in 2012 than the previous 14 years combined. The future is all about the creating a brand and authority, as opposed to the early days (aka good old days) of marketing where you could make money online from having knowing a tiny bit of internet knowledge. Twitter has also been a huge change in online marketing and it is an excellent source of free traffic if used correctly.
How did 34.co.uk start?
34.co.uk started due to my interest and passion of domain names. I had been investing in domain names for a number of years, but never actually had an official outlet to showcase my domain investments to offer them for sale, lease or possible joint venture opportunities. It was always something I had intended to create, but never seemed to get around to doing it, as I was too busy creating businesses and acquiring domains names as opposed to actually showing what names I had to offer.
What challenges do you find within your industry, online, today?
There are three main challenges for me today – The first is turning a domain name into a successful authoritative website which can make money in the easiest and least time consuming way possible, whilst being able to rank in the search engines and also be a useful resource that people want to actually use. By this I mean there is no point in trying to put together a very thin website on a domain such as underwear.co.uk (another great site of Frank’s) and expecting it to make money on its own. It is easy to manage a single quality resourceful website, but when you are trying to building a few of them, it becomes difficult without incurring additional costs (staff / content / marketing etc)
The second challenge is ensuring when I make an investment into a domain name, it has to have numerous ways to make money – whether that is from development, selling or leasing. If a name has plenty of potential uses and has various ways to monetize, then it becomes attractive to me. It is too easy to fall into the trap of thinking a domain name is really good, when realistically it isn’t.
And the third and the one which is the most important, is diversifying away from Google as a free traffic source. It can be all too easy to become complacent on Google to send you free traffic to your websites, and I have been guilty of that myself on numerous occasions until one day in early 2011 when I woke up to find a big earning website of mine had vanished from the Google search results. I started a recovery plan for the website which I obtained satisfactory success with, but it wasn’t until this happened that I realised I was very vulnerable and Google ‘owned’ me and I then started to concentrate much harder on other marketing methods.
What successes are you having?
I have success in all three fields (developing, selling and leasing) but my most notable public sale of 2012 is CheapCruises.co.uk which went to a very switched on cruise company AdoreCruises.co.uk who fully realised the potential and value of owning the best domain name for their niche.
Favourite online acquisition method? (SEO, PPC, affiliate marketing etc.)
My favourite online acquisition method is SEO, however that is getting harder all the time with how much Google is changing. I also pursue a number of offline techniques which work quite well depending on the niche, and Twitter marketing will become huge in 2013 as more and more companies realise just how powerful it can be.
Next big thing for the web?
It may seem but quite obvious but in a word – Mobile. Mobile internet/web is growing at a huge rate month after month and as the growth of smart phones is increasing, more and more people are using the internet than ever before. With the introduction of mobile internet, there are literally 1000’s of new opportunities that didn’t exist before and with the barrier to entry much lower than any most other businesses, there is nothing stopping Joe Bloggs becoming the next ‘Angry Birds’ creator.
Favourite online success story?
Without any hesitation, it has to be MyVoucherCodes.co.uk which was started by Mark Pearson back in 2006. Mark identified a key element of what makes online shoppers tick (saving money) and exploited it in such a way that everyone was a winner. The initial website cost him just £300 to build and he ran it from his bedroom. In his first year of the website being live, he had already turned over £1m and in 2012 he is on course to turnover £12m. He is living proof that if you have a good idea and pursue it, you don’t need millions to make a success of it, you just need dedication and perseverance coupled with knowledge and a little bit of luck.
What advice would you give someone starting an online business today?
First and foremost, get a good domain name, as it will form part of your brand and help your customers to remember you and your company which is vital for any businesses success. Do your research, assess your competitors and identify what you could do better. Get involved with Twitter and Facebook as you can build your online business and a good following without costing you a penny if you put the effort in.
Do you have any big plans in 2013 for any of your premium domain names?
2013 is going to be a very busy year for me in numerous ways. I am already involved in a new business with a well known celebrity and this is going to be finally launched, I am also currently developing a new e-commerce website which will evolve into a subscription based model business, and as well as both of those mammoth projects, my book will be finished, published and available in shops in 2013. The one thing all three of those projects have in common is they were businesses / ideas which were born out of the domain names themselves as opposed to the other way around, which makes them even more exciting for me.
An Interview With Frank Paul, 3.4 out of 5 based on 16 ratings