domain names

Pushbutton businesses

by Jason on December 19, 2011 · 0 comments

pushbutton

Things I did on a Sunday afternoon: ordered and provisioned a few domain names, a VOIP 1-800 number, and shot 15 videos.  If I’d hustled a little more, or spent the whole day on it, I could have had a mostly viable business up and running in a day, and it’s worth noting that it was a day that not that long ago was traditionally a day of rest where nothing was open.

Now, I didn’t open a bank account, since I didn’t have the need for a new one, and if I’d gotten to the merchant account application it would have taken two weeks or so with my chosen provider to get that set up, so accepting money would still have been a challenge (or maybe not: I can’t remember if PayPal is instant setup and it’s just the first withdrawal that takes a week or so to validate.)  Also, if this was a full business I’d need to register a few things with the government, but all those things are possible, instantly, online; it just has to be during business hours.

The thing is, I have fallback accounts for most of those, so after you set up a pushbutton business or two, the obstacles just become todo items for later in the week.  And that’s pretty amazing.  None of what I did on that Sunday required much technical knowhow (I’ll do a few neat things to the videos in post-production, and probably I’ll have a custom website put together instead of a template, but those are optional items.)

So what’s your excuse?

Oh, and if you’re curious, these updates were extensions to my existing business, but throughout the process my mind kept drifting to making a “pushbutton business in a box” checklist, to use as a serial entrepreneurship experiment and/or an info product for sale.  I may go ahead with that depending on how much baggage I can clear before year end; email me for details.

Do we need Domain Name Adoption Services?

by Jason on August 26, 2011 · 0 comments

no parking

Domain names don’t expire in a year. They last forever.

I’ve got a “portfolio” of around 50 domains myself, with only about a quarter of them in active use. The rest? Seemingly good ideas, possibly purchased while drinking, each representing something I had every intention of turning into the Next Big Thing. For at least an hour, anyway.

The problem is, I can’t just let them expire and let someone else have a shot. That’s because when they expire, odds are that they’ll get snapped up into someone else’s portfolio, except in this case it’s more of a traditional portfolio where people believe they’ll make money off it through a more proven model of camping and reselling.

And I don’t really have a problem with the practice. After all, most of the parked domains out there are still available, just at a higher price than you’d get them for at a registrar, and domains that are purchased that way might have a better chance of becoming actual products and services, since the buy-in commitment is higher. It just bums me out a bit that it’s getting harder to fuel my crack-like addiction to off the cuff registrations.

I know I’m not alone, so I’m proposing two developments to help deal with the problem.

The first: a drunk dial plugin. OK, nothing to do with drunk dialing, but inspired by the Gmail option that made you do math questions before sending messages late at night as a secondary “are you sure” mechanism.

This plugin would simply interrupt the registration process with a popup, remind you that by registering the domain, it’s forever, and ask you to make a commitment to actually do something with the idea. This commitment could actually be posted to a public registry where concerned members of the community could check in and audit your progress.

The second: the domain adoption service. There are real-world organizations that you can deed your land to so that when you die, it’s managed by a conservation agency (usually through a conservation easement) and won’t get turned into a mega mall. And of course, there are also real-world adoption agencies for humans. This would blend the two.

If you found yourself with a domain name that you can no longer take proper care of but really wanted someone to take it over who’d make it into something worthwhile, you could pay a small fee to have it transferred to the adoption agency – enough to keep it registered for a few years. Once there, prospective domainers would submit an application for what they want to do with it, certify that they won’t just park it with ads, and then they’d have a set amount of time to actually make good on their proposal before ownership reverts back to the agency.

Funding would come from the transfer fees, “adoption” fees, and probably sponsorship from some of the registrars out there.

Anyway, those are just some ideas I had after the tenth domain idea I looked up in a row came up parked. And realistically, I probably wouldn’t have done much with any of them anyway, which is why I didn’t go out and get domainadoptionservices.com just now (available as of Aug 26 2011.)

OK, modernized “not in the dictionary” jokes aside, I couldn’t resist blind-typing Gullible.com into my browser last night, pretty much at the same time as the idea occurred to me.  Seriously folks, forget about Facebook privacy settings, this is the habit you want to develop to make sure you never get a job at a company that cares about stupid things instead of output.

(Oh, have I got output.)

I kinda wish gullible.com was an actual site that did something.  What, I don’t know, but it’s yet another Great Parking Tragedy… Or is it?

gullible.comWhere to start? OK, there’s the weird bit of dating advice, for sure.  Oh, and then the demon stuff.  What’s going on there?

Companies that run parking pages aren’t stupid.  They’ve got lots of data to sift through, and they want to make the most of every page visit, so I figure they’ve got some clever split testing going on.  Maybe I just happened on an outlier test that didn’t survive to the next round, but maybe, just maybe, parked pages are a better arbitrator of keyword relevance than the Google Keyword Tool (I just checked it for “gullible” and found no demons therein.)

Taking this a whole other direction (my coffee supply is nigh-infinite,) I think a cool movie or TV gimmick would be to hide information in plain sight on a parked web page.  You could leave the URL anywhere you want, and people would just go to the site, see it’s crap, and leave.  Meanwhile your secret agents could share info on link #5.  Of course, this wouldn’t work at all because more people than we’d care to acknowledge actually click on the links…  OK, a distant second choice would be to buy Adwords for a really really obscure search term, if it’s possible to even have a reverse Googlewhack anymore. (Technically, a Googlewhack involves just two words, not an obscure phrase, but I was a little surprised to see that I could even invent the phrase “reverse Googlewhack” – I just searched for it and didn’t get a million references to exactly what I’m talking about.)

Back on point: Gullible.com – dating advice and demons.  The only other thing I’ll add is that the whois info for the domain contains a crazy Easter egg.  For serious.