Interview with Mike “Zappy” Zapolin – I have asked various parties within the domain industry to take part in some interviews to give us a little background about themselves, where they see the industry heading and how they feel the current market for domain names are our twenty second interview is by Mike “Zappy” Zapolin.
Don’t Forget to check out all the other Interviews completed on RobbiesBlog.com
Mike Mann, Darren Cleveland, Monte Cahn, Braden Pollock, Craig Rowe, Xavier Buck, Jodi Chamberlain, Fred Mercaldo, Tommy Butler, Michael Castello, Rob Grant, Tom Chapman, Ira Zoot, Victor Pitts, Shane Cultra, Nico Zeifang , Chris from AntiCareer.com, Eric Borgos, Jacob Fedosky, Brett Lewis, David Carter and more interviews to come soon.
Zappy is the visionary behind such Internet brands as Music.com, Beer.com, Computer.com, Creditcards.com, Debt.com, Diamond.com, PrescriptionDrugs.com, Silver.com, HomeMortgage.com, Arbitration.com, Mediation.com, Etc.
Zappy has been featured multiple times on NBC’s “Today Show,” on TV networks ABC, CBS, CNBC, and CNN, and in newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Business Week, and Success Magazine.
Zappy is the creator of the Harvard Business School elective “eBusiness,” and was recently a featured speaker at The Economist Magazine’s “Global Branding” conference” in Shanghai.
Zappy began his career at Drexel Burnham Lambert, later becoming one of the youngest Vice Presidents in the 100-year history of investment bank Bear Stearns. After leaving to start his own direct marketing company Z.T.V., Zappy created infomercial campaigns for clients, including Time Warner, Diana Ross, and VH1 Networks.
Along with Deepak Chopra, he co-authored “Ask the Kabala,” a beginner’s guide to spirituality and kabala. Deepak and Zappy are currently producing a documentary film titled “The Reality Of Truth”
1) What are your current thoughts on the Domain Aftermarket? i.e. Sales and Enquiries etc – General Mood of Domainers / End users?
I know I sound like a broken record, but this is truly that best time ever for domains! We have reached a point where end users are starting to realize the value of a domain brand for their business, and they are the most motivated buyers, who if properly educated will pay the highest price for a domain or domain business. The best sales are always strategic sales, but it does takes work and time educating the “should be” owners on the value the opportunity has for them, sadly this is an effort that most domainers aren’t willing to make, so they have to sit back and wait for someone to get it, and they usually don’t get top dollar.
2) Where do you see GTLDS in 3 years time?
All of the new TLDs will continue to enhance the value of the dot com. Like the 800 number, every time they come out with a new extension like 888, 877, 866, etc, it adds more credibility and value to the 800 number. These day consumers have to make decisions about what brand to trust in a matter of seconds, so they default to the ones that have credibility. Having the credibility of a dot com brand or an 800 number can be the difference between consumers trusting you or not. WHen advertising is being spent the best ROI will always be on the dot com or the 800 number.
3) What are you or your companies investing in? i.e. Dot Com only Domains – Typo – etc?
Generic category Dot com’s only for the reasons I’ve stated above, plus when you do build a good web business and it is time to sell it, the .com branded company will get a higher valuation than the non branded non dot com. The examples are many, but take Rent.com for example, they were doing $40 million revenues when Ebay bought them for $440 Million dollars. That’s 11 times revenues, if that same business had been rentalconnection.net doing the exact same business it would have sold for some multiple of earnings not revenues.
4) Do you believe in Parking or Developing? What are your tips for either i.e. Top Parking Platform (What Do You Use) – Developing your thoughts on what to develop and how best achieve it?
Development is the only way to go! Like real estate if you have a stagnant plot of land making almost no money it will be valued as a lowest common denominator property, and would be buyers will have a much easier time placing a value on it. If however you had put up a site, created some traffic through search, an added in some partners/advertisers, even if the revenues are minimal the buyer will have a clearer picture of what could be possible, and need to compensate you extra for “goodwill” and opportunity cost of you waking away and not continuing to develop. Here’s a video I created about why to develop http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkCSt7phArc
5) What is your favourite domain personally or company owned?
That’s like asking me to pick which of my children I love the most, can’t be done. I do favor category domains that help people to save or make money. These days if you’re category doesn’t help people to make or save money they are probably not paying attention.
6) If you were starting out in the domain space today what are your 3 top tips?
- Copy what is working for others.
- Go for the quality domains, it is still very early in the game and there’s no reason to spend time on low quality stuff.
- Have a war chest for development so you can be selling domain businesses not domain names
7) What’s the next big thing that your companies are working on?
I’m excited about the opportunity to create a domain fund, having a significant amount of money available to buy things is a much better strategy than finding a domain you love then trying to put together the financing for it. Having the ability to pay cash for domains quickly also means that you will be able to get very favorable pricing.
8)Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Playing guitar onstage with the Grateful Dead in my virtual reality room.
9) What has been your biggest challenge in the domain business?
Having the patience to continue to educate businesses and the media about the value of domains despite their slow uptake. It is getting a lot easier these days, when I entered the domain business in 1998 by buying Beer.com people looked at me like I was insane. Just a few years back when I was trying to explain to ad agencies and Fortune 500’s the value of domains it was equally as frustrating. Being in this space means knowing you are ahead of the curve and having the patience to let the curve catch up.
10) What do you feel has been your largest accomplishment in the Business / Personally?
Helping hundreds of people to get into the domain space, or giving them the confidence to develop what they have feels really good. Helping these people become successful and hearing from them about how their lives have been changed is a true blessing. On the personal front I am Producing a documentary film with Deepak Chopra called “The Reality Of Truth” that I am proud to present to the public shortly, I think it will go a long way towards changing people’s reality, and giving them a legitimate ray of hope about where everything is really at. Here’s a promo video http://www.therealityoftruth.com/trailer.html