Interview with Mike Mann
Today our interview partner is Mike Mann who founded several successful corporations including Phone.com, DomainMarket.com and SEO.com. Mike made a multi-million dollar business in the domain market. In 2005 he sold BuyDomains.com for 80 million dollar. Therefore, Mike Mann is the perfect man to ask for domain business tips – so here we go!
dd24: Hello Mike, thank you for taking the time doing this interview with us. We really appreciate this. First of all, we would like to ask you a few questions about your beginnings: What brought you into the domain business?
Mike Mann: I happened to own menus.com from my ISP/webdev days. Then I was offered and accepted 25K, and was offered and refused 50K the next day (keeping my word of course.) At that point I was in shock at the profit margin of domains and have worked on leveraging those type of margins in the same manner ever since.
dd24: What were your biggest mistakes and what would you do differently?
Mike Mann: Trusting bad people. Be less trusting.
dd24: And consequently to the previous question, what were your biggest successes? What profits did you get out of them?
Mike Mann: Out of the many businesses and charities I have started, and other big projects, the two domain businesses are by far the most profitable and efficient, and those profits can be repurposed to charity projects accordingly. I give away or invest all my ‘extra’ cash and time to charity perpetually leaving me in perpetual cash and sleep deficit.
dd24: What are, in your opinion, the top 3 do’s and don’ts in the domain business?
Mike Mann: Study data and branding, buy .com low, think long term. Don’t listen to scammers especially if they are talking about gTLDs, don’t upset your wife by investing all your savings in speculative domains.
dd24: You have deep knowledge of the domain business from which beginners might benefit. So what are your thoughts on the following questions: Which TLDs are suitable for beginners?
Mike Mann: .com is it, focus on emerging industries and short brandable expressions already in use.
dd24: Which industries should beginners rather avoid?
Mike Mann: One’s going out of business, obsolete, won’t need domains. (recordstores.com)
dd24: What about specialization? National or international? What are the pros and cons?
Mike Mann: It’s all too risky and speculative, and not worth studying until all .com investments have been exhausted, which could take a decade of code and investing until they reach a FMV that equates to the value provided to the end corporation users; again just super premium .com; the rest aren’t investible assets, unless very cheap and one simple word for example; rare exceptions are not worth chasing given alternatives with much better prospects.
dd24: Which are the the best blogs or forums providing knowledge for beginners?
Mike Mann: Ron Jackson at DNJournal.com is the best source, links back to everyone and everything else of value in this industry. Read all the old articles to understand how we got here.
dd24: Coming to the important sector money and marketing: In your opinion, what are the advantages and disadvantages of marketing strategies? What do you recommend: Parking or project planning?
Mike Mann: Most domains are worthless prior to building, you could build on those and add value, or add value to ones that begin with value in the first place if you can afford it. Building adds a huge risk and commitment of time and money.
dd24: What budget should a start up plan in the beginning?
Mike Mann: Billions if possible, or the next best bet they can close. Keep granny on speed dial.
dd24: How do you find the right buyer group or prospects?
Mike Mann: They come to us directly at www.DomainMarket.com, or our partners GoDaddy, Afternic, Sedo, Uniregistry have systems to syndicate them out to many partners and buyers.
dd24: Coming to parked domains: What do you think of the development of the advertising prices?
Mike Mann: Buy it now. That is the fastest way to get them syndicated and sold but makes negotiating high prices difficult.
dd24: We would like to finish this interview with an outlook into the future: How will the domain business develop in future? Where do you see the chances for the industry according to the countries?
Mike Mann: .com is extremely risky to invest in at the low end and too expensive for ordinary investors at the high end, and still risky there. Any other extension is way too risky even though there are still pockets of profits for smart risk takers.
dd24: What are your personal goals for the future?
dd24: We would like to thank you once again for this highly interesting interview and wish you all the best for the future.
Mike Mann: My pleasure.