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12|24|2008 12:58 am EDT

Domainers Aren’t Early Adopters

by Adam Strong in Categories: Miscellaneous

Some of the more outspoken veterans of the domain name business like to think of themselves as early adopters, likely because of their early awareness and insight into the power of domain names.  However, for most domainers this early adoption of one particular form of naming has not carried over to early adoption in other emerging internet media.

Sahar Sarid wrote about  “Your name = Your brand“, citing examples of several domain name industry veterans who did or did not own their name in .com   While domain names remain a powerful vehicle for controlling personal branding, the growth in social media is also increasing the importance of other forms of naming.  As we pointed out earlier, user names on social media platforms are already being compared to domain names. If protecting your personal name is important in .com, it should be just as important to protect your name on the new social media sites.According to InsideFacebook, Facebook is growing by 600,000 new members per day , many domainers I know are just now hopping on board.  It’s taken time for many domainers to get involved in Linkedin, myspace, meebo or any number of other social networks as well.  Another perfect example, last year was really the year that the whole blogging thing sunk in with domainers.  A majority of the blogs you read today in the domain space (with the exception of dnjournal and domainnamewire) were created last post 2007.  Add DNN to that list.

Like other domainers,  I stepped in to these new arenas slowly as well.  A joiner rather than a leader maybe.  I wasn’t really interested in YASMN (yet another social media network) or more work writing at first, but now I’m beginning to see value in personal branding on these sites. Plus, why miss the boat again? Domainers should know better. They aren’t necessarily active in the internet or community other than the domain space maybe, but they should be able to recognize online opportunities.

It might be argued that these  emerging social media sites don’t have the commercial applications and domainers can’t really get anything out of them.  However, if you are an early adopter, your concern isn’t necessarily always about what is possible now, but rather what could be possible in the future and growing with the new technology.  Early adopters take risks and “buy-in” before the masses and often before a commercial application is apparent. Sound like domains a little?  In the case of these services, the “buy-in” is simple and best of all free. There really is no excuse.   Early adopters should recognize the importance of securing “your” name on these sites at the bare minimum.

We’re going to look more closely at Twitter.com as another example. Unlike Facebook where there can be dozens of Adam Strongs, Twitter accounts are based on unique user-names, so there’s only one @adamstrong available.  Sound familiar?  Many of the best generic word user names have been snatched up already and personal names are going rapidly as well.   Don’t worry though if you haven’t signed up yet either, you aren’t alone. It’s really no surprise at this point but the majority of the top 100 global haven’t secured or aren’t using a Twitter user name that reflects their brand, with many of their names locked up or “squitted” (squitted is the term that is being used for people who are “squatting” on Twitter user names)  by someone else.

DNN searched to see what domainers were on Twitter using the names that Sahar pointed out in his previous post.  I used this list to make the comparison easy. I know many domainers reading this may be on Twitter already, but I also knew already that many more below were not.

Why aren’t the thought leaders in the domain space also early adopters in other emerging internet media? Many domainers have yet to adopt these new formats even to protect their own personal names. If domainers were truly early adpoters, you’d think that more than 50% of the names below would have been secured by the matching domainer.

@FrankSchilling – Not taken
@sevenmile (the name of schillings blog) – Not taken

@RickSchwartz – A realtor named Rick Schwartz grabbed it

@KevinHam –  Taken but not in use. May be squitted

@SaharSarid  – Not taken

@ChristHartnett – Not taken

@LawrenceNg – Taken but not in use. May be squitted

@LarryFischer – Not taken

@AdamStrong – yeah it’s mine.

@AriGoldberger – not taken

@JayWesterdal – surprisingly Not Taken

@AdamDicker – Taken by “The” Adam Dicker, but not really in use

@BobParsons – Squitted

@ChadFolkening – Not taken

@ColinYu – Not taken

@MikeMann – Taken, but not by the former Buydomains owner

@ChrisChena – Not taken

@AmmarKubba – Not taken

@ColinPape – Used by “the” Colin Pape

@IsabelWang –  Used by “the” Isabel Wang . she’s not really a domainer though per se

What about some of the major domain companies ?

@snapnames – taken, not in use

@moniker – taken, not in use

@oversee – not taken

@domainsponsor – not taken

@fabulous – controlled by an individual not Fabulous.com

@godaddy – taken, not in use

@enom – not taken

@namedrive – controlled by Namedrive.com but not really being used

@namemedia – Not taken

@buydomains –  Buydomains controls not actively posting

@namecheap – Definitely using Twitter to the fullest potential

Here’s a list of some other domainers/companies I know who are on Twitter.
Forgive me if I leave you out
@frankmichlick – Frank Michlick
@dotsauce – Mark Fulton
@joedavison – Joe Davison
@domainbuyer – Ron James
@ronsheridan – Ron Sheridan
@donnamahoney- Donna Mahoney

@domainnamenews – DNN.com
@domainnamewire
– Looks like Andrew jumped on board today
@dnjournal
Ron Jackson got on board today too :)
@foap – Jothan Frakes
@namecheap
– Namecheap has been giving away domains and hooking up users of Twitter to their domain accounts for updates.
@namedotcom – Name.com

There’s a good amount of domainers on Facebook and Linkedin as well and even a few groups for domainers on both sites.  It might be worth taking a look and getting involved in  these  social media platforms.

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25 Comments

Jason

December 24, 2008 @ 2:21 am EDT

GoDrops.com is on Twitter too: http://twitter.com/godrops

If a domain I get has any “social” potential. I go ahead and “reg” the Twitter username if it’s available. You never know HOW Twitter usage and applications will evolve down the road given the creativity of it’s users… there’s a good chance that -any- domain development you do will also have some Twitter possibilities…

Ron Sheridan

December 24, 2008 @ 2:52 am EDT

A Twitter Squatter – go figure :)

Ron Sheridan

December 24, 2008 @ 2:59 am EDT

And btw this is a great post. I found myself scrambling after digesting it.

chart name

December 24, 2008 @ 5:50 am EDT

In theory you could argue thesame for yahoomail, hotmail or gmail. But at the same time it’s just an email address. Do I really want to spend money on RickLatona@gmail.com instead of RickieLat@gmail.com? Me personally I don’t care. However, I can see value to a major domainer getting regged at every important site. The rest of us unknowns are happy to wallow in the wake.

Terence Chna

December 24, 2008 @ 6:56 am EDT

Twitter is nothing more than a fad imho. The world is already choking in information overload. So unless you are a groupie of some cult or stalker of a celebrity or someone u want to get to know (eg a girl u like), I fail to see how these social buzz strategies have mid-long term traction.

Try commercializing this channel… not an easy thing to do.

Todd Mintz

December 24, 2008 @ 9:01 am EDT

Domainers don’t need to be the earliest adopters…they just need to know when not to ignore the trend :.)

Andrew

December 24, 2008 @ 10:24 am EDT

I think a question you’re asking is “were early domainers really that prescient, or just lucky?”

It’s also important for people to segment their social networks. For example, I was fairly early on LinkedIn and use it to connect mostly to professional contacts. On Facebook I limit it only to personal contacts.

Adam Strong

December 24, 2008 @ 12:00 pm EDT

@ron not the first time I’ve had you scrambling ;)

@todd mintz your right. maybe I should have said “Are domainers still paying attention to trends?”

@Andrew I think it’s a good mix of luck and foresight as well as a dash entrepreneurial risk taking. I think many early domainers have become content in retiring from their opportunistic ways.

Re: segmenting social networks from work and personal is a good idea. DNN has an account at twitter as do I. I mix it all up on facebook . . . I have a lot of friends in the domain business myself so it’s hard to separate work from biz effectively.

owen frager

December 24, 2008 @ 12:20 pm EDT

Good points, Adam.
see “brandjacking” reference:
http://econsultancy.com/blog/3082-ten-tips-for-twitter
@ofrager

owen frager

December 24, 2008 @ 12:22 pm EDT

@microblogging (After developing boroughs.mobi for iPhone, Shaun Morton shifted gears from dotMOBI and probably owns one of the most valuable domains around today- microblogging.com)

Ferris

December 24, 2008 @ 1:00 pm EDT

Here’s two good articles that deal with this issue. Twitter has a system in place for users to gain their brand name back if it’s being squatted:

http://microblink.com/2008/12/22/burger-king-orders-cease-and-desist/
http://microblink.com/2008/12/21/how-to-get-brandjacked-twitter-accounts-back/

Jeff Eckhaus

December 24, 2008 @ 4:51 pm EDT

Adam, – thanks for the info. took down @enom this morning

John McCormac

December 24, 2008 @ 5:48 pm EDT

I think that Jay Westerdal had registered Westerdal on Twitter. However it seems that it hasn’t been updated since April 2007.

Ron Jackson

December 24, 2008 @ 5:52 pm EDT

Very smart and forward thinking observations Adam. I had never been on Twitter before but signed up after reading your first column on this topic. Was surprised to find RonJackson still available even though there are several Ron Jackson’s on the site. None bothered to take their own name! Made me feel good to know that at least I’m not dead last on the Dense-O-Meter :-) Glad you brought up the subject while it was still available.

My big problem with social networking sites has been the feeling that I have no time to spend on them. However, your points about their rising influence and effectiveness as a communications platform will force me to re-think what the best allocation of time may be.

Terence Chna

December 26, 2008 @ 7:20 am EDT

Domainers by nature are purist, the long term value is always in the root. not some subdomain or directory reference off a root domain. I fail to see the value of twitter.com/mrx or mrx.twitter.com as a businesss proposition – you are just adding awareness and advertising value to the root domain for the guys that owns it.

There is a big difference from being an ‘early adopter of fadish instruments’ and a professional domainer. Squat everything then, and I’m sure bored laywers will catch up with these shenanigans one day. Good luck!

Adam Strong

December 26, 2008 @ 2:47 pm EDT

Terence you control @terence on Twitter right ? and you are a “Advertising Media Consultant” and you see no value in controlling your own brand on twitter ? I find that slightly ironic.

Purists? Professional domainers? I’d love to hear you expand on your views on what exactly those are.

The value of a domain is traditionally rooted in the traffic. Domainers seek the traffic, not the domain. The source is often completely irrelevant. Google takes more and more traffic away every day, as do new an emerging channels. Domainers seek the traffic in order to monetize it. If they can tap it for free or lower acquisition costs they will. Over time domainers have morphed in to arbitrageurs, tasters, developers, cybersquatters, affiliates and all sorts of opportunists in search of that traffic.

This post isn’t about twitter being the next big thing or not. It’s about whether domainers are early adopters. Less than 15 years ago domain names were likely called “fadish instruments” and a few saw the potential. Now you point to Twitter as a fad and it very well could be, but why miss the boat again ? A free account with my name or my company name is possible today and may never be again. Whether or not you embrace this or any communication channel, I’m talking about protection of your personal brand(s) in this post. There’s already traffic and commerce coming through these social media outlets. Boat-loads of it in fact. It’s not like this is buying in to a new domain extension on the HOPES that the traffic is going to come in one day.

Just like Sahar’s article points out that domainers should own their .com I’m pointing out that maybe they should also own their @ account at twitter. Clearly the idea isn’t being lost on some as I’ve seen a number of domainers jumping in grabbing their personal names.

Adam Strong

December 26, 2008 @ 2:48 pm EDT

Ron thanks. I’m glad you got the ones you did. I thought about helping out some friends but the amount of accounts I would have had to create would have been pretty big. I figured a quick post might do the trick ;)

Rob Sequin

December 26, 2008 @ 4:03 pm EDT

Good post. I got /robsequin but just as a placeholder really. Honestly I don’t see the need for social networking but then again I’m 45 so I’m over the hill on that scene.

Same for linked in though for me. I have been a member there for five or six or seven years and never had any use for it even though I have invited and been invited and have many contacts. I have never asked anyone anything and no one has ever asked me anything either.

I went to /adamstrong and everything just points to DNN or other domainers’ twitter accounts.

How is that valuable to people who already come to DNN? I get the sense that facebook, my space and twitter are just the lazy person’s way of website development and marketing.

The other reason I don’t see too much value in these sites (blogger.com included) is that you can never take any of the content with you when you decide to develop your own domain name.

So, are the twitter sites of the world domain name killers? Maybe that would be a good post.

Adam Strong

December 26, 2008 @ 4:18 pm EDT

Rob. Twitter is just a tool. I suppose you get out of it what you put in to it. I’m no power Twitter user by any means yet, but it doesn’t just point to DNN. What you can’t see on the twitter pages is conversations. Twitter isn’t a website it’s a communication “device”. What you see on my page is only what messages I have publicly posted. I’ve been engaged in conversations with people on Twitter that have helped my business that I would not have gained just sitting back doing nothing. It’s a way to be proactive in meeting new people, expanding your circle of influence, learning new things and lastly it enables me protect and control my personal branding. If you don’t want any of that then clearly social media sites aren’t for you. If you just register and sit on the user name it’s clearly a waste of time as well.

Any channel that takes traffic and users away from domains is a domain killer. Branding efforts also take traffic away from generics. . . Twitter, Faceboook, myspace, etc take traffic away but then others find ways to get that traffic coming back to them. Youtube and Photobucket for example gained a ton of their userbase through enabling embedding of videos/images with their logos and linked back to the site.

You have to figure if you can engage in intelligent conversations in any social media site, that you will gain traffic, popularity, users, readers, etc etc. Therefore, there’s no reason for anyone not to do this, let alone domainers who seek traffic and know how to monetize on it.

Rob Sequin

December 26, 2008 @ 4:24 pm EDT

Thanks. I will keep it on my radar and be a “late” adopter :-)

ron sheridan

December 26, 2008 @ 5:42 pm EDT

@adamstrong is both promoting and individually practicing the art of “Connectedness”.

nicely done my young friend

OMO it’s not about twitter, social sites or blogs etc. What’s important is how these tools and our adoption of them empowers our individual and collective connectedness… these ARE interesting times.

Eric

December 27, 2008 @ 4:10 am EDT

Interesting post. As someone who registered on Twitter to participate in the NameCheap contest, I didn’t give any thought to the username being anything other than a throwaway account. Certainly not anything brandable or valuable like a domain.

In my opinion, Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace are just the AOL, ICQ, IRC, Yahoo!, and GeoCities of yesterday. Tomorrow something newer and shinier will come along. If you get some benefit from any of these networks in the short term, more power to you, but they are simply a stepping stone to the inevitable Next Big Thing. The true visionaries are out there mining for the next money making opportunity and cooking up the latest and greatest applications.

Adam Strong

December 27, 2008 @ 3:20 pm EDT

Eric. It may be a throwaway and there may be another “guy in his basement” cooking up the next big thing, but we all live in the present not the future. These tools are all about how you use it. I think people looking for a person or a brand will be looking for them on the various platforms. There’s no sense in missing the boat if you have the chance to impact just one more person or gain one more customer.

Terence Chan

December 28, 2008 @ 10:14 am EDT

:) that twitter/terence is not mine, just someone with my namesake.

What I mean is that you can create millions of subdomains or directories, so to a large degree they are nothing special. Nice to have, but its the connections in social networks that makes the action happen.

Lowrated.com

January 7, 2009 @ 5:25 am EDT

Lowrated.com FOR SALE!

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