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Interview with Nico Zeifang – 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 sixteenth interview is by Nico Zeifang.
Nico Zeifang is the CEO of TeamInternet.de his responsibilities with Team Internet are international growth and business development. He has been in the domain industry since 2002 and was a speaker at various international conferences. He holds a bachelor from the University of St. Gallen and a Master from the London School of Economics.
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 and obviously todays with Nico Zeifang and more coming this week.
1) What are your current thoughts on the Domain Aftermarket? i.e. Sales and Enquiries etc – General Mood of Domainers / End users?
While we haven’t seen the huge big ticket sales from 2007/2008 much lately, customer feedback tells us that the aftermarket for the low- / mid-price segment is going great. Our customers tell us they are moving a lot of inventory in the USD 500 – 5000 price range.
2) Where do you see GTLDS in 3 years time?
I believe traffic to .com/.net/.org as well as the established ccTLDs will continue and not be affected by any of the new GTLDs. There have been billions and billions of marketing dollars spent on promoting the established TLDs. Just think about how many commercials were run that included a .com domain. Everytime e.g. Nike runs a spot that quotes nike.com at the end, that is free publicity for the .com TLD. I therefore think that new GTLDs will have a hard time catching up to the older and more established ones in terms of traffic.
In terms of general development of GLTDs, I believe that some of the proposed new GTLDs will earn their spot in the club of TLDs with more than 1 mio domains registered. Quite a few of them I don’t see succeeding though.
3) What are you or your companies investing in? i.e. Dot Com only Domains – Typo – etc?
We mainly invest in technology nowadays in order to support innovation at our platforms ParkingCrew.com and DNTX.com. Back in the days when we were purely domainers, we had a strong focus on ccTLDs as some of those markets were undervalued back than in our opinion.
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?
I believe in both and our company does both. We run the best-established boxing news site for the German speaking market at http://www.boxen.de as well as operate our own parking platform at http://www.parkingcrew.com
It is a question of resources and number of domains in my opinion. We only develop a domain if we can run the domain itself as a business that can pay salaries and make a profit in the mid- to long-term. The more domains you have, the more likely parking is the right option for you in order to scale earnings and rollout.
5) What is your favourite domain personally or company owned?
That’s a tough question to answer. I am proud of the domains we hand-regged or acquired cheaply for both our company name (TeamInternet.de) as well as the name for our parking platform (ParkingCrew.com) as they reflect our philosophy of having a strong team/crew behind our products. Other than that, we have spent six figures on single domains before and managed to flip them at quite a bit of an upside so those are some of our favourites from a monetary point of view.
6) If you were starting out in the domain space today what are your 3 top tips?
- Focus on Cash Flow: If you don’t focus on cash flow, you will have a hard time paying for renewals in 12 months.
- Pick your niche: Whether it’s a specific ccTLD or a market you understand better than anybody else, pick a niche where you have a competitive advantage.
- Go to conferences: Even the domain business is a people business.
7) What’s the next big thing that your companies are working on?
We opened ParkingCrew.com to the public in September 2011 after having been in private beta for quite some time. We quickly established ourselves as one of the top parking companies and continue to innovate, invest in technology and improve the product.
We recently launched DNTX.com as our advertiser-side product in order to better utilize the significant amount of traffic that our tier-1 partner at ParkingCrew does not wish to monetize. We believe that DNTX offers superior targeting to most other companies out there and have already gotten some awesome feedback from advertisers.
We have some more exciting plans for 2013 but are not yet ready to publicly announce them.
8)Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Doing the same thing as today: Being the CEO of Team Internet and helping our team develop awesome products.
9) What has been your biggest challenge in the domain business?
This one probably comes back to one of your earlier questions. Having sold my first domains at a nice profit more than 10 years ago, I went on a registration binge afterwards. 12 months later it was time to pay for the renewals. Luckily, I had some nice revenue producers in the mix. But had it not been for them, I would have had to delete the vast majority of the domains I registered a year earlier.
10) What do you feel has been your largest accomplishment in the Business / Personally?
This is another tough one to answer. While there are a ton of accomplishments (as well as failures) – both personally and business-wise – let me address the one that has been a personal and business achievement at the same time:
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with fellow domainers to raiser money for TheWaterschool.org. I would do it again anytime!