Interview with Victor Pitts – 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 fourteenth interview is by Victor Pitts.
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 and obviously todays Victor Pitts with more coming this week.
Victor Pitts two decades of experience managing internet based companies including those who provide web hosting, website development, domain brokerage, monetization, and registration services. Victor has extensive senior management experience from working in the past at Moniker, Snapnames, DomainIt, and now at Above.com. He has also worn the registry hat while holding a senior position at ICM Registry, the most recent TLD launch in the industry. Now Victor has settled into a new role as Director of Domain Services at Above.com. Victor is also the host of the industry’s longest running domain podcast show, “Domain Masters” heard on WebmasterRadio.fm.
1) What are your current thoughts on the Domain Aftermarket? i.e. Sales and Enquiries etc – General Mood of Domainers / End users?
VP – I think domain investors are determined to succeed despite anything thrown at them. Lower parking earnings have forced domain investors to look closely at their portfolios to see what domains are earning a good return on their investment and which not. As a result, the market is saturated with domains for sale. Now is a good time to buy.
End-user sales are slow because of the weak global economy, but demand for domains continues to grow.
2) Where do you see GTLDS in 3 years time?
VP – Most new gTLDs will struggle to survive, as do most new businesses. Those that are able to assemble a good core team, have a solid backend registry service provider, have strong marketing, and a good registrar strategy have a chance. These new gTLDs will need plenty of developed websites using their TLD in order to affect changes in consumer trust and click behavior, which in turn might drive changes to search engine relevancy algorithms. It will take a while for the new gTLDs to appreciate in value, so investors should consider these type domains more of a long-term investment with a lot of risk.
3) What are you or your companies investing in? i.e. Dot Com only Domains – Typo – etc?
VP – Like most investors, I believe that Dot Com are the safest investment. It works well for brand, SEO, and traffic. I do believe that some ccTLDs are a good long-term investment.
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?
VP – Both. Whether to park or develop depends upon the goals of the investor as well as the type of domains owned. Web brands are developed and nurtured. To maximize the value of a domain, you develop it. Not all domains make great brand names, but some may have good SEO benefit that is realized only through some development. Domain parking continues to be a good monetization option for those domains with traffic, as there is always someone willing to pay for targeted traffic. Parking services do a decent job of matching the domain traffic to advertisers willing to pay for that traffic. However, no single parking company can assure you top payment for the use of your traffic. A domain investor needs to experiment with various services to see which pays best for their domain’s traffic. The Above.com Domain Parking Manager makes it easy to test your domains traffic over many parking service. The Domain Parking Manager will identify the best monetization service for each parked domain name to increase revenues.
5) What is your favorites domain personally or company owned?
VP – I hand registered STARTNOWFITNESS.COM and STARTNOWFITNESS.NET a week ago. I have plans to develop this asset with the aid of a close friend who is into fitness even more passionately than I. My favorite domain sale of all time was Photo.com, for the simple reason that I earned my biggest commission check from that sale.
6) If you were starting out in the domain space today what are your 3 top tips?
- Visualize the type of online business that you want to operate. Some people are suited to developing online brands and businesses, while others just want to invest in domains, point them to parking services, and collect your paycheck. Others simply want to speculate on domains that will someday have value, and then wait for the market to come. The inventory you select should depend upon your business strategy.
- Choose quality inventory. Not all domain names are brandable, are good for SEO, or will have traffic that can be monetized. Invest in domains that fit your strategy.
- Surround yourself with a good team. If you are hiring a staff, hire quality not quantity. Seek partners that fit your business model and can be trusted. Do your research.
7) What’s the next big thing that your companies are working on?
VP – At Above.com, we are delighted to have just launched our Domain Investor Platform, which includes our Domain Name Marketplace with integrated Escrow service, ICANN Accredited Domain Registrar and our award winning Domain Parking Manager service. We have many enhancements that are planned for this platform which will make doing business as a domain investor so much better.
8) Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
VP – Internet years are like dog years, so ten years equates to about 72 years I think. I don’t know how the Internet will have evolved in ten years, but however it manifest itself – “I will still be plugged in”.
9) What has been your biggest challenge in the domain business?
VP – Expanding the world of educated domain buyers. The system of cold calling potential end-user domain buyers is inefficient, especially when they do not share the same opinions of value of domain names as we do. More work is needed from the industry to educate the masses on the value of good domains and targeted domain traffic.
10) What do you feel has been your largest accomplishment in the Business / Personally?
VP – I feel I have had some positive influence in bringing new domain investors into the market. My teams and I have spread the word directly across three continents through heavy trade shows participation. By volunteering my time on Domain Masters radio at Webmasterradio.fm, I have contributed over 300 episodes of domain name discussions to the world-at-large, in hopes of making each listener understand domains and to become the master of their domains.