John Andrews is a Competitive Webmaster and Search Engine Optimization Consultant in Seattle, Washington. This is John Andrews blog on issues of interest to the SEO community and competitive webmasters. Want to know more?

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March 12th, 2012 by john andrews

Why “dot everything” is a Good Idea (and ahead of its time)

I’m getting tired of so-called experts trashing ICANN’s decision to open up the Internet naming system on the right side of the dot, to enable names with dot anything. It was a smart thing to do, although it may have been executed poorly. It for sure has been interpreted poorly by the same people it was meant to inspire.

The Internet name system has not evolved much, despite tremendous growth of our Internet use and related Internet technologies. We still type in dot com (or whatever) and we still publsih html pages on URLs. The system of search and storage and registration of published information still relies on static URLs to represent information, and more than ever we struggle with naming. There are fewer names available yet we still must draw from our one, virtually static lexicon. Clearly the naming system needs to evolve. But how? Any ideas?

Unfortunately not. The very naming pros and creative experts that developed the web have failed miserably to recognize this opportunity for progress.  The same people whose “out of the box” thinking created what we have today, have failed to think outside of the box that is the domain name system.

Dot anything  was (is?) your chance to change the way things are done on the Internet.

Sadly, everyone just thinks it’s another way to add more tlds to be used the same old way. Can you fault the ICANN governing body for at least acknowledging they don’t have any great ideas, and enablign us to take charge and implement some of our crazy ideas?  Apparently people can and do fault ICANN for that. And it’s sad to watch.

The same idea-less domain speculators that failed to monetize valuable domain names outside of a resale market criticize the effort.  The same so-called “naming consultants” who charge consulting fees to help pick Internet names criticize the effort. The same “big brands” that fail to innovate and instead use protective tariffs and laws to guard their markets, criticize the efforts.I’m even seeing these same “losers” criticize the cost as high — starting at $185k. Sigh. Since when was $185,000 a high cost for innovation at the root domain level, in any business or industry?

So if there are so many loud and often ignorant critics, where are the disruptors who can prove me right? I suspect their quietly working hard on their ideas.

Dot anything is an opportunity to do things differently. To try something new. If you can’t imagine how that might work, get out of the way and let those who can, try.

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November 18th, 2010 by john andrews

Premium Domain Name, Lazy SEO

I wonder sometimes if it is a strategic business decision to hire/contract/deploy low quality, short sighted, and or downright lazy SEO on premium domains. I’d think that a premium domain would represent a golden opportunity, if not a mandate to execute the best SEO available.

Perhaps it depends on which premium domain. Perhaps premium domains which have been purchased for premium prices are more likely to enjoy seriously gifted/talented SEO. Contrasted of course with the “stepped in it” premium domain owner, who holds an astronomical  paper asset value yet fails in the commitment-to-development department. Perhaps.

Adding to the recipe… the bigger organization that raised the capital to buy the premium domain, or absorb the premium domain via a portfolio or a key partner integration is more likely to be slow, bureaucratic, and lazy than the nimble entrepreneurial venture more commonly associated with high value SEO efforts. Or perhaps, in it for the long term, those same premium domain holders have not yet visibly revealed their outstanding long term SEO activities.

But it sure seems like a lot of premium domains slated for “development” are following crappy SEO strategies.

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August 12th, 2010 by john andrews

Why He’s A Domainer

I know a guy… he says he’s a domainer. He has about 3200 domains registered. It is like a collection. He collects domains. Not killer domains, just unique, probably-would-still-be-available-if-he-hand-not-reserved-them domains.

Now I am not new to domaining. It is big business, and a very strategic part of web publishing. But time and again I meet self-described domainers who “own” collections of domains like this, for investment purposes. The only problem with it I see is the domains are not worth very much. In fact, I doubt they are worth the registration fee. I refer to them as bottom tier domains, the ones at the bottom level of the value scale.

But it’s his collection of domains, not mine, so I don’t want to be judgmental. I don’t own any really big-time valuable domains myself. And to be honest, one or two of his choices may someday have real value. At less than $10 cost per year per domain, only a relatively small percentage need to achieve thousand dollar value to justify the endeavor from a financial perspective. But again, that’s not the point.

I always wondered why people become bottom-tier domainers. I think I’ve discovered why, after talking tonight with him about his domaining.

Before domaining, he had a computer and AOL Internet service and loved it. Then he got off AOL and onto “the real Internet”. But he didn’t do anything with it. He didn’t know how to use it, didn’t know where to go to do anything meaningful. He thought it was awesome every time someone sent him to a new, cool site. He had a few sites he loved to monitor, and he used Yahoo finance for checking stocks. He read the New York Times online. But he wanted to participate, not just read. He wanted to play a role in this cool new revolution called the Internet.

He tried blogging once.. it was a Blogger disaster. He was his only known reader. He tried to have a website made, but had nothing to put onto it and the designer gave up out of frustration (he says she’s still waiting for his content… 3 years later). He invested in a small web business with a neighbor, but lost his money on web development and no site ever materialized.

But he says that when he registered his first domain name he felt a real sense of accomplishment. It was satisfying, like a successful shopping trip. Different though, in that he now had something no one else could also have — a unique domain name no one else had yet “invented”. He invented another. And then another. He told me that in the beginning, he got an idea for a business printing official ownership certificates for registered domains, sort of like those wall plaques you get for approved patents or gold records. He said he would have paid well to get one for each new domain he invented and registered.

Now, 3000 or so domains later, he uses the Internet every day for Facebook, and to check on his domains and renew them. He owns a piece of the web, he says. And he has lots of development ideas, for later, and for discussing over beers at meetings and during Internet Entrepreneuring seminar coffee breaks (he goes to a lot of entrepreneur and business networking meetings, looking for the right partners for future projects).

So domaining was his entry into participating in the web. I don’t think it even matters what domains he started with… he just needed to start, and domaining provided the avenue for his successful independent foray into material participation on the Internet. Funny how he didn’t have Facebook back then. Listening to him speak about his experience, I suspect that if he had Facebook then, he would have found the same satisfaction, without registering domains.

Now he’s facing a new dilemma… he has almost 300 domains up for renewal each month, and doesn’t have a way to fund his domaining “business” anymore. It’s not an easy problem to solve, because he doesn’t want to give away any of his inventions.Would you?

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John Andrews is a mobile web professional and competitive search engine optimzer (SEO). He's been quietly earning top rank for websites since 1997. About John

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