What Everyone Ought to Know About Geo Domains
March 3, 2008 · Print This Article
I’ve got a real interest in Geo Domains as I think that they have a lot of potential for future appreciation. As well, coming from a competitive webmastering background, I could see how the right Geo Domain could provide a substantial competitive advantage. In fact, the first major domain purchase I made was a Geo Domain.
Because of this, I was happy to see the launch of Simply Geo a few months ago. This is a blog devoted solely to the Geo Domain industry. Despite its youth, the founder of this blog, Steven Morales, has managed to turn his blog into one of the must-read blogs of the domain industry. As well, he has started a corresponding forum at SimplyGeo.net. If you are interested in Geo Domains, these two sites are now the authoritative destination for the field.
So, I was really happy that Steven was willing to take the time out of his busy schedule to answer some of my questions about the Geo Domain industry and provide such comprehensive and informative answers to my questions. Here is what Steven had to say:
Who is Steven Morales
1. Please provide a brief biography so that my readers know who you are.
Steven Morales is the founder of the SimplyGeo.com, LLC Network, the first network of its kind in the domain industry. The network is designed to educate consumers and entrepreneurs, and define the niche called the Geo domain industry. It is centered off a blog that is updated daily with articles and opinions on the industry. Steven is currently serving in the United States Army, proudly defending freedom and the American way of life. He recently returned from Iraq in November 2007. He has been in the domain industry since 1999 and has studied internet trends since then. The explosive local advertising trend got him back into the industry. Steven truly believes this trend is the future of the internet and plans on building a network around it for geodomainers and advertisers.
2. How did you get into domaining? How did you get into GeoDomains?
This is an interesting story. I started out in 1999 after reading some articles in the newspaper and internet about domain names. The articles led me to the famous GreatDomains.com. Back then, it was an auction site and had the only chat room on domain names on the internet. It was the white light in the dark night that entrepreneurs embraced, in which many partnerships, strategies, and friendships evolved. After a month or so, I got into a partnership with 2 gentlemen, where we got into “chasing domains”. We started building a coveted portfolio of valuable domains as we got better with programming platforms and our manual registration strategies. In a few months time, we had a respectable portfolio and even sold a domain for big dollars, even when compared to sales today. Unfortunately, after many long months of hard work and sweat, my partners ended up moving on without me, conquering the market to become millionaires.
So I moved on to other projects and came in and out of the domain industry. After this event occurred, my heart was really not into domaining. I had lost my drive and motivation, until I met a good friend, Shawn PilfoId. He got me back into the industry throughout the years when I had faded out. I thank him dearly for the motivation he has instilled in me. The words he continuously used on me were “Steve, it is not too late”. These words have been embedded in my thoughts.
In late 2006, I started noticing a new trend on the internet evolving into local/geo manifestations. More and more articles started surfacing on platforms being developed for generic domains to get more local to meet consumer needs. I watched this trend closely for months and the light bulb went off! What would be better than using a local platform, the answer, a Geo domain. Just as consumers directly navigate to generic domains, they were certain to navigate to locations of interest to them; cities, states, countries, famous areas, neighborhoods, etc.
I started registering and securing geo domains on the aftermarket. It did not take long to discover that consumers were navigating to my geo domains. I started conducting research on this new niche in the domain industry, and found there was nothing available on the geo domain niche, other than what AssociatedCities.com had on city.coms.
I decided to test the waters in December 2007 to find out how many others had discovered this untapped niche and were interested in learning more about it by launching a blog at SimplyGeo.com. Would others embrace an unknown guy in the domain industry delivering content on this niche? To my amazement, not only did others embrace the blog, but the elite owners of city.coms and other great geo.coms embraced the blog of an unknown guy. After 1 month, blog readership exploded and the rest is history. I also gained a major investor, partner and friend in the network, Skip Hoagland, owner of Atlanta.com and others. Shawn Pilfold’s words helped me get here.
Basics of Geo Domains
3. What do you believe are the advantages of investing in Geo Domains?
There are several advantages in every industry niche. The key to exploiting these advantages is getting in early, before the niche goes main stream and is no longer a niche. Geo domains are only for dedicated investors looking for long term residual profit. Development is mandatory to unlock the true value of these domains. Once developed properly, the true advantage over any generic domain is free word of mouth advertising in a targeted geo area. Free branding as well! We all know the power of targeted traffic, and by delivering targeted content the consumer finds useful, sends them spreading your site name (free branding) like wildfire in their community, delivering targeted consumers to your geo domain. You can not beat free targeted traffic as it will only increase advertising rates. Very few generic domains can deliver this same result.
The number one advantage you have is local advertisers. Small businesses are the untapped goldmine of the internet. Large amounts still depend on the printed yellow pages to deliver customers because the generic domains do not offer targeted enough categories. Additionally, advertising is much more expensive in general for small businesses and provides a very small return of investment on their advertising dollars because most advertising categories are general and not targeted. Geo domains cater to the local area, to include locals, small businesses in the area and those who want to visit the area.
To give you an example, if you are a consumer looking for a home in Austin, Texas, which out of the 3 choices would you directly navigate to or type into search engines? Homes.com, AustinHomes.com, or
Houses.com? Chances are, you selected AustinHomes.com. Why, because it relates to the specific location you are interested in. You expect to find exactly what you are looking for on this geo domain when you
navigate to it. Consumers are tired of PPC and having to navigate thru all the levels of pages on generic domains to get the info they want. If you are a small business owner in the realestate or home service industry, AustinHomes.com would give you the maximum return of investment on advertising because it is targeted site. Can you now see how powerful geo domains are through this example?
4. What is the best way for someone new to domaining, with modest funds, to get started in Geo Domains?
The best way for someone to get started with geo domains with limited funds is rather easy. Look local! There are thousands or unregistered domains of your local area waiting to be registered. Additionally, there are just as many on the aftermarket at great prices, because this niche has not been exploited yet. Soon, prices will skyrocket when others figure out how much you can get from the domain once it is developed. Literally, it is like owning an acre of land in the center of London. The value is based on what can be build on it, geodomains will follow suit as they are 100% local.
The great thing about geo domains is there are so many niches an individual can focus on. They key is to register only popular areas of locations locals and visitors already know. An additional benefit is location + industry type geo domains. Do not get carried away registering thousands of names. Find a few solid geo domains and develop them to generate streams of revenue to pay for additional geo acquisitions. If you want to own the market, then buy all corresponding geo domains. Keep in mind that you are to develop these names. That is why I recommend buying only a few elite names to start off with. There is no need to buy thousands, as in general domaining. It is a different strategy that will become the norm in the domain industry.
5. Is it worth investing in GeoDomains if you are not interested in developing them?
Sure, as with anything in life, supply and demand will make these great investments for resale. The downfall to this strategy of registering hundreds or thousands of geodomains for only resale, is the low amount of traffic they deliver when compared to other domains. This is the biggest difference between a generic domain and a geo domain. Most geo domains do not have large volumes of traffic when compared to generic domains. I am not saying that geo domains do not deliver traffic, but for the beginner, in order to get these types of geo domains, you will pay big $$$. The traffic is only exponential after development of a solid geo domain. So for PPC purposes, geo domains are bad investments in general for this strategy. Developing a few geo domains and using these funds to pay for the portfolio is the smartest option if you want to strictly sell geo domains. PPC will most of the time not do it for you.
Developing Geo Domains
6. What is the best way for a domainer to get started in development?
The best way to get started is to develop a thorough plan. Outline exactly what your intentions are for your geo domain. Talk it out with friends and family and figure the best way to use it to generate the maximum amount of revenue streams. Talk to those who have already done it and understand the process. You are certain to learn tricks of the trade by communicating with proven professionals. This will additionally prevent you from having to recreate the wheel. There are many pitfalls to development, but if you stay proactive and communicate, many can be avoided.
7. What tools, software packages, content management systems, etc do you recommend for development of Geo Domains and why?
There are tons of resources you can use. We will be launching a site with all this stuff to assist those who want to develop their geo domains. Keep checking back with SimplyGeo.com for details.
8. What is your top tip for developing a Geo Domain?
Deliver targeted content your consumers want, not what you think they want or think is cool. Once you learn how to master this technique, your revenue streams will skyrocket. One of the best ways to find out what your visitors want delivered on your geo domain is by asking them thru a poll. Why guess, when you can have them tell you directly.
9. What industries in the Geo Domain field are the most profitable (i.e.hotels, real estate, etc.)? What is the best way to monetize a Geo Domain?
The most profitable can really fluctuate depending on your development plans and interests. It all starts with content and a niche. All are very profitable, it is how you mine the gold mine that will determine if you come out with gold dust or gold nuggets. The most profitable are the ones that deliver the content that consumers expect.
10. How does a domainer go about getting advertisers for a Geo Domain? What is the best way to convince them to advertise on your Geo Domains?
Direct marketing is essential to get your advertisers. It is a business, and you must treat it like one. Targeted traffic and historic performances off previous advertisers help sell ad space on your geo domain. You must also be good at sales and be prepared for face to face meetings with business owners to close deals. Additionally, your client testimonials weigh huge on future advertisers. Request these from your clients describing how advertising on your geo domain has impacted their business. The larger your targeted traffic to your geo domain, the easier it will become to sign up new advertisers. It is getting a little easier to recruit new advertisers as they are becoming educated in the power of geo domains, otherwise known as local advertising on the internet. Small businesses also do word of mouth advertising to other businesses for your geo domain if it produces results.
Investing in Geo Domains
Absolutely! Deliver the content and you will generate revenue streams. Additionally, you can sell your geo domains on many sites, to include the upcoming geosforsale.com platform and SimplyGeo.net Forum.
12. Is it worth investing in non .com Geo Domains?
Absolutely! There is more than one way to tie a knot. Again, it all comes down to content, the extension is a very nice value adder, but it does not limit you from building multiple revenue streams. This includes IDNs. You are only limited by not delivering the content the consumers expect to find. Extensions in my opinion are over rated. Ever heard of wikipedia.org, craigslist.org, MP3.tv, etc. Again you are only limited by the content you deliver.
13. Are there any pricing models for the valuation of Geo Domains?
There are none that I know of at this time. I am sure there are companies that will offer appraisals for your geo domain for a fee. The true value is only revealed once the domain has been developed. Again, this is a supply and demand market that will help you determine a price for a quality geo domain.
14. Your blog has come out of nowhere and within months become a leading industry blog. What is the secret of your blog’s success?
If I had to guess, it would come down to one thing, Content. I have been delivering the content readers expect and want on the geo domain industry. There is nothing fancy about the blog to draw people in. Additionally, I do my best to talk to people, rather than at them and keep a conversational setting. I have always looked at things from outside the box and gone against the popular decision. This has enabled me to learn a variety of perspectives to a problem and provide a variety of solutions. The truth is always in the pudding, and content delivers people to any site on the internet.
15. Do you have any developed Geo Domains that you care to share publicly?
There are none to be shared publicly at this time. 🙂 There are several of projects ongoing in the background, and the priority is to complete the geo network. As my geo domains are completed, I will announce it through the blog.
The Future of Geo Domains
16. What are your predictions for the Geo Domain market for the next 12 months?
Solid growth! 12 months from now we will look back and say, WOW. Timing is everything and we have just scratched the surface of this new industry.
17. If there is a recession this year, what impact do you think that will have on the Geo Domain market?
It will have the same impact as any internet business. Geo domains are not recession proof, as consumers will spend less in local economies and the internet. The best thing to do is focus on improving content at all times. Never allow yourself or team to become complacent on content. As long as you deliver it, consumers will embrace it, resulting in advertising dollars for your geo domain. Again, you will only be impacted by the amount of content you decide to offer. There will be sites that will earn more during the recession because of their content. It is funny how hard work, pays big dividends. Famous words to live by; “The harder you work, the luckier you are!”
Thanks for sharing all of this insight, Steven!