The next wave of the competitive internet has arrrived, and it’s driven by the Domainers. No, not parked pages, and no, not typo squatters. Domainers as publishers.
If you’re in SEO and you haven’t met a domainer yet, you need to get out more. If you’re a web designer without a job, there’s likely a domainer-placed ad waiting for you. Infrastructure guys (PHP developers, server admins…) they want you, too. While domainers used to be bad for the web (all those ugly parked pages, all those probably-illegal typo domains, domain tasting and back-office pre-buying of expiring domains) now domainers are poised to drive the web publishing industry. Domainers are expected to be good for economic circulation too… they know what they want, and have the money to buy it. While some have criticized them for driving up the prices of aftermarket domains, they have the cash to go after web-based publishing in a serious way. Buy a domain, and publish on it to build a network of visitors. Yes, for the ads, but more importantly, for the media empire it builds.
Domainers are quick and decisive. Yes means now, and no means forget it. Literally. None of this web 2.0 get-the-transparent-logo-perfect stuff. They may be paying huge prices for domains, but oddly, pennies matter to these guys. I thinkit’s kinda like a franshisee who pays way to much to a franchise to “get in” but then has to scrape nickels to become profitable. I guess it’s a reflection of that decisiveness. It seems to work, no?
The best thing, which I admire the most about domainers, is the way this business model insulates against search engine efforts and market swings. Too dependent on type-in traffic? Worried about legal challenges to typo domains? Too much reliance on search rankings for traffic? Build a content network of mammoth proportions, and become a media player. Arbitrage while it works, community building when it matters, list building, lead generation, or heck even banner ads might make a come back. Wherever the money goes, you can go. It’s the same thing we’ve said for years, except when done over thousands of domains overnight, the word “mashup” starts to glow like it never did before.
Those who can read my mind might remember a post I half-wrote long ago… “where the real money is in SEO“. The real money is in the empire you build along the way as you SEO. Real SEO is execution on opportunity, which may exploit assets held (domains) but may also address traffic flow (redirection) or strategic market knowledge. Monetization. Working within the system, but along the edges. Competing.
Publishing is not for everyone. Conventional publishing is tough… it takes time, staffing.. but when you view it as a massive media building effort across thousands of domains, it scales a bit differently. Where the domainers are going, is where the good SEOs are now. Tools tools tools. Hack like it’s 1997, monetize robustly and watch the metrics. Don’t worry too much about the look… you can clean it up later.
A Request to my Readership: I don’t have a big ego about this blog, but I do see that many of my posts spark some ideas out there in your own minds. I see some of the ideas re-purposed into some excellent articles and posts on other, much better read web sites. It makes me feel good, because that’s why I write. BUT, I don’t get any feedback, and I tend to feel a little left out. And that makes me less inclined to write more. So I am asking directly for a favor that sends me a message that my writing matters. Please link to my site and my posts. Put me in your blog roll, or drop a mention into your content, or maybe just shout-out once in a while. Trust me – it makes a HUGE difference. Thanks in advance.