Xavier Buck Interview – I have asked various parties within the domain industry to take part some interviews to give us a little background about themselves, where they see the industry heading and how they feel the current market for domain names are our fifth interview is by Xavier Buck.
Xavier Buck is Chairman of EuroDns.com, Director of LeftofTheDot.com, Director of LuxCloud, Director of DomainTools.com, Executive Chairman of Domain Invest, Chairman of DCL Group, Chairman of eBrand Services. He has been involved within the domain industry for over a decade.
1) What are your current thoughts on the Domain Aftermarket? i.e. Sales and Enquiries etc – General Mood of Domainers / End users?
I like to split the aftermarket buyers into 3 categories: the domainers, the SEO- and web-developers, and the industry-specific end-buyer.
1) The mood of the domainers has deteriorated as parking revenues continue to fall, with no sign of improvement. The majority of domainers that used to sit on their domains lived from parking; they are now actively brokering theirs, and sometimes other’s, domains.
2) SEO companies and some ex-domainers are buying names to develop them. They are “smart buyers” as they buy cheap names, recognizing the “indexation value” and “notoriety value”.
3) The end industry is slowly recognizing the importance of buying generic keyword domains connected with their industry, but because of the “mess” around NewTLDs they are cautious. The quantity of “big” sales reduced as the players want to see first what happens in the NewTLDs and be able to judge the impact of NewTLDs on the value of “.com”.
2) Where do you see GTLDS in 3 years time?
In 3 years there will be quite a mess! Many of the NewTLD registries will still be fighting in court over the right to launch their extension. My guess is that by then we will have 300 active new GTLDs and approximately 800 active new BrandTLDs. The lucky registries that will have the opportunity to start first will gain some coverage and money through premium landrush periods and premium domain auctions. But already, after the first 20 to 30 New TLDs launch, the mass of available investor cash will be gone and domainers will be very cautious in which domain extensions they may invest. So, all the registries that created winning business plans will be disappointed if they were relying on the old model to be successful.
I see no bright future for the majority of the registries and no big opportunities for domainers in the upcoming GTLDs.
I do see a tremendous future for the domain names themselves and many innovative concepts; the employment of domain names and the quantity of registered domains will explode. I see that many new business models and business ideas around domain names will arise. Some of the upcoming BrandTLDs will offer their customers a domain name with access to personalized services. Some BrandTLDs might generate huge quantities of domain names to access IPv6 devices or access dedicated short term unique information. (Eg: SONY might create for each TV or recording device a “serialnumber.SONY” in order to access the device through the Internet; or FEDEX might create a domain for each parcel: “trackingnumber.FEDEX”.
Some of the new GTLD registries could have innovative technologies that associate with their TLD; one example is DONUTS’ patent application which associates people’s authentication to a domain name.
To conclude, I would say that in 3 years we will see a tremendous amount of exciting new ideas and great innovation, but we will see a lot of disappointment for those who believed the old business model was good enough.
3) What are you or your companies investing in? i.e. Dot Com only Domains ?
At DomainInvest we concentrate our investments in ccTLDs and “.com”; we continue to believe strongly in ccTLDs. Google shows us continuously that their results are more and more local, which has a positive impact on our ccTLD portfolio.
4) Do you believe in Parking or Developing? What are your tips for either i.e. Top Parking Platform (What Do You Use) – Developing your thoughts on what to develop and how best achieve it?
Pure Parking is dying. The only parking companies that will perform correctly in the future are the ones that will be able to monetize alternative advertisers rather than just Google or Yahoo. They must be able to monetize “0 click landers”, monetize via affiliate networks and be able to perform direct sales towards advertisers (in other words create competition with Google). Good luck with that, because normally, as soon as they achieve their goal, Google will buy them out. So, in other words, there is no future in parking through parking companies.
5) What is your favourite domain personally or company owned?
It’s impossible to pick just one, here are a few that come to mind:
– At EuroDNS we own the domain “domainregistration.com” that personally I like, but its potential has not yet been exploited.
– I have also invested in the company “LeftoftheDot” and the dev. team at LOTD is impressive. They did excellent development work on some domains I really like: villa.com, massage.com, importers.com, inspection.com,
– At DomainTools we recently launched “screenshots.com“. The service offers screenshot history for millions of websites. I admire the domain, its concept and its huge potential.
6) If you were starting out in the domain space today what are your 3 top tips?
– go for quality, not quantity
– become specialized, concentrate only on several verticals
– be careful when dealing with the NewTLDs, there is more money to lose than win
7) What’s the next big thing that your companies are working on?
Can’t tell, it’s a secret, but we have 2 very exciting things in the pipeline.
8) Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
The same place as today, a chairman in innovative domain industry & Internet related businesses. I am about to step into a major Internet company in the role of CEO. It’s for an interim period whilst things are organized and the right CEO is found. My greatest strengths are vision and negotiations and those are the areas I will continue to focus on.
9) What do you feel has been your largest accomplishment in the Business / Personally?
Being able to enjoy, on a daily basis, the work and the quality of the people I work with.