Categorized | Random Rants

No, Domainers DON’T Have to Become Developers

Posted on 17 October 2010 by Andrei

Lots of people are rambling (especially on domaining forums) about how in order to survive, domainers need to become developers. In other words, learn how to build sites, how to generate traffic and how to monetize that traffic. Oh really? Well, I strongly disagree and here’s why:

Domainers Are Investors, NOT Developers

Saying that domainers need to become developers in order to survive is kind of like saying that folks who buy land have to build a supermarket on each lot.

Investing in domains is just like buying land:

1) When buying land, you’ll have to pay taxes which vary from country to country and with domains, you have to pay the renewal fee which varies from registrar to registrar.

2) If you own land, you can generate additional income by letting people use it in exchange for a certain fee and if you own domains, you can generate additional income by selling their type-in traffic or by leasing the domain even if it doesn’t have any type-in traffic.

In both cases, you need to pay certain fees in order to maintain ownership of your assets and in both cases, there are ways to generate income while waiting for a sale.

Will Quality Domains Always Have Value?

Well, maybe not always but in my opinion, that’s the way things will stand for you, your children as well as your grandchildren. Maybe some crazy technological advancements will eventually make them obsolete but I personally doubt it.

I’ll even go so far as to stay that as long as we’ll have the Internet, domains will have value. You need an address on the Internet just like you need an address if you’re running an offline business.

Was AOL a domain killer? Nope but lots of folks thought it will be.
Will Facebook be a domain killer? Nope but lots of people think it will be.

… and the list could go on and on.

The bottom line is that as far as the foreseeable future is concerned, things are looking great for domains as assets. And that being stated, why on Earth should domainers have to stop… domaining?

Domaining Is a Niche. Period.

Domainers buy, sell and monetize the EXISTING traffic of a domain. That’s it, this is what we do and why should that change?

Some people are good at generating search engine traffic. That’s great but just like domaining, SEO is another niche. Some people are good at generating social media exposure. That’s also great but just like domaining, SMO is another niche.

Sure, domainers can work together with search engine experts or social media experts but saying that domain investors need to start BECOMING developers is just plain wrong.

Parking used to be a decent scalable solution. Something else will follow in its footsteps. It’s not a matter of “if”, it’s a matter of “when”. Do we have an excellent scalable alternative to parking right now? In my opinion, no. But I strongly believe in human ingenuity and there’s no doubt in my mind about this: we will eventually be able to take advantage of the scalable solution we’re so desperately looking for and the people behind the solution in question will end up being filthy rich.

Trying to turn domainers into developers is not the way to go IMO. Some people are good at investing in domains, some people are good at development. Living in denial is not an option, losing our identity is not an option. That’s the way I see things, what do you guys think?

23 Comments For This Post

  1. LB Says:

    Great post. Haters gonna hate, investors gonna invest!

  2. nextparking Says:

    what will replace parking?? will it be cpa you think or what if not cpa

  3. Deke Says:

    I could not agree more with you.

    What most developers don’t get is that most of us domainers spend most of our time looking for new domains, not developing. If we were developing, we would not have time for domaining.

    I was developing in the late 90’s way before most of these new developers, and back when it was harder in many respects. So, I’ve been there and don’t want to go back.

    I’d rather “own” the traffic instead of “creating” the traffic.

  4. David J Castello Says:

    I’d rather have both 🙂

  5. Leonard Britt Says:

    There are individuals who spend their day going through drop lists to find new inventory and also sending out many emails to find that occasional end user. Personally I don’t enjoy going through .COM drop lists nor do I enjoy sending out dozens of emails to normally hear no response. But to pay renewals one has to do something so I have learned a little about development & SEO. My background is not development nor I do really consider myself a developer. However, I certainly have more exposure to different aspects of web development than most accounting/finance professionals. What has been interesting & rewarding is that at least every couple months I will learn something new about development, SEO, web design or online marketing that I didn’t know previously.

  6. Jim Holleran Says:

    I agree with Deke 100% and I been in this business since 1997 and done well.

  7. friendship gift Says:

    it difficult to follow some rather good discussion on intriguing videos. Is there a way of doing this or have the Youtube developers just not implemented a comment system conducive to this kind of use…

  8. chris Says:

    I am a developer turned domainer and having been on the dev side of things i can see in my ‘minds eye’ the site once i hear the domain name and how it can work better.

    One advantage of being a dev is that you can experiment with new things when it comes to having ‘parked domains’ that stand out from the rest and killer SEO without having to pay heaps for scripts/web apps etc… experimenting on a new parking system that pays better than PPC etc (first 2 trials worked well enough) and my seo is working v.well.

    I think its a natural progression for devs to become domainers seeing we make domains better everyday for jerks in shiny suits and we can see outside the box (not always approved by client)

    the major downfall of the developers though is the lack of marketing skills which is half of the deal if you want to succeed (devs arent really known for charisma 😛 or sales ability)
    Where as Prof domainers have a keen sense of sales and +1 to them but we get revenge by charging a v.nice hourly rate which pays for my domains LOL’s.

    my work is development (pays bills regularly)
    my hobby is domaining (hope it makes me money)
    my poison is domain names (booze,drugs & hookers would be cheaper)

    ive been called everything (cant say here) by other devs due to being a domainer and their ignorance and lack of foresight. But everyone is different so i tolerate their ignorance and i guess im an uncommon case…who knows

  9. Sri Says:

    Agree with you mostly.

    BTW, no one’s asking domainers to become developers! Do you have to become a tailor to market an apparel line? The investor kind of domainers just need to understand that parking days are gone and you need something else to make revenue on the domain. That’s what development is all about.

    Taking the analogy of Land – you don’t have to build supermarkets or apartments or any other “habitable” structure, but you do need to put up fencing and level out the land – something that’s called a developed layout! Of course, if you have a few square yards in the middle of Manhattan, maybe you can afford to sit in an armchair without lifting a finger and buyers would be queuing before you.

    What everyone is rambling about is whether you do it yourself or whether you get it done – development is the key to revenue. If you are convinced about that, and I think you are, because you are looking for a scalable solution; We are working on such a solution – stay tuned in.

  10. chris Says:


    couldnt have said it better myself.

    Would be very interested to see how the field changes in the next 2 years and what comes to market to help domainers get a better deal.

    I missed out on the ‘good ol days’ of parking so my mind is open to anything new and would be v interested in your upcoming solutions.

    im preparing for the mass of minions that will have interent tv’s in the future, this will increase the ‘end user’ numbers.
    In saying that, the ‘average joe slob’ will be looking online more in between ad breaks from the comfort of their armchairs and more likely to fall for clever marketing from parked domains that offer something different.

    killer ‘keyword’ domain names will be king and if people dont change the way they think with ‘killer .com’s ‘ i can see ccTLD’s with the same name (with dev site) becoming more popular if the marketing is done right.

    seeing im fairly young (and inexperienced with domaining) i have room to try new things that break tradition, could say im sort of the ‘next gen’ and I learned to code both .Net(C#)/PHP when i was 13-14 and made a modular CMS at 16.

    i truly admire the foresight that some domainers have and hopefully can be on par in a few years…….after i make a few mistakes along the way 🙂

    I like to keep everything ‘inhouse’ at every stage of the process and i think that works for me.

    domainers dont need to become developers but it helps if your single like me as dev takes time.
    Sometimes a nice price certainly beats hours of debugging LOL’s

  11. Andrei Says:

    @nextparking: the thing is, there are LOTS of niches for which there aren’t a lot of products worth promoting as an affiliate. Nobody knows for sure what will replace parking but everyone knows that something had better eventually replace it 🙂

    @Sri: in my opinion, solutions which involve generating additional traffic will not replace parking (sure, they can work for a domain or two or ten but once we’re talking about thousands of domains, things start to become tricky), finding better ways to monetize the EXISTING traffic domains are receiving is the name of the game

  12. We Got Company Says:

    Another great article that gives hope to domainers, but again when I look back at my domain portfolio that has cob webs all over it I have to disagree. Nature’s law “sit back and do nothing and you will absolutely nothing” it’s just as simple as that.
    You must have a source of income to maintain the domain portfolio otherwise it is just like making paper planes out of your money.

  13. Andrei Says:

    @We Got Company: a lot of times, the “cob webs” you are referring to are a result of the fact that your domain selection algo needs to be tweaked. One of the biggest problems some domainers have is that a lot of times, they try implementing solutions before identifying the (real) problem. If the problem is the fact that certain domains do not deserve to be a part of your portfolio, is investing more money in them really the best approach or would focusing on the fundamental problems of your domaining strategy be a better decision?

  14. Sean Hynes Says:

    Great article, well said. But just like land and the stock market it will has its ups and downs. Like any business there is a supply and demand curve. I think unfortunately, there hasn’t been much of a BIG downturn in profits yet for people to learn the big lessons.

    If the recession gets worst which I predict it will, the speculation of domaining will have its hit, the millions of domains being sit on right now will come up for sale. Domaining will always have its place and value, but its been overvalued due to rampid speculation for quite some time, just like all asset classes in this economy.

    I am an Internet Marketer doing some domaining, so its nice to understand the marketing side first. Before its to late, I would learn some monetization methods. My site actually has a great Internet Marketing manual that will get you up to speed fast. I wish I could make traffic, I am pretty new, maybe next year.

  15. Chris Nielsen Says:

    “Do we have an excellent scalable alternative to parking right now?”

    I don’t know about that. WHile development is generally more work than parking, it may be the best possible option. Most “scaleable” offerings are just awful and easily seen as such: a lazy alternative to parking pages.

    I think a better approach is to do a better branding or the idea of a “parking page”. Have them SAY they are a parking page and stop pretending to be a “web site”. A parking page can provide you with nice options for the topic that you are looking for. It they didn’t, they would be gone by now. I think the need to be repositioned from “Domain SPAM” into domain “Billboards” and start getting some of the respect they deserve.

  16. FloName Says:

    I think that the “next gen” domainer is smart to become a combination of both! If your going to buy your way through the learning curve, as many of us have, development is far more promising than parking IMO..

    If you can produce a stream of income to offset renewal fees, then your getting somewhere.

  17. We Got Company Says:

    FloName said exactly what I want to say
    @Andrei We have a saying in Arabic I will literally translate which says “The monkey in the eyes of it’s mother is a gazelle”, to relate that to the domainers: The mothers are the domainers, the domains they own are the monkeys, every domainer had a personal vision of a domain when registered in the first place and so he/she saw that domain as a gazelle while the other really see it as a monkey domain (ugly one) 😀

  18. Poor Uncle Says:

    To say that domainers have to develop to survive seems to negate the argument that domain names are a valuable asset class. To use your analogy, you may make more money extracting revenues from the supermarket where the land was use to build the store. But, the land would certainly worth something. The assumption here..of course the domain name, like the piece of land is located in a desirable location…presumably, the more desirable, the higher the value, all things being equal. Just my novice observation as a newbie in all things web related.

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  20. friendship gift Says:

    Is there a way of doing this or have the Youtube developers just not implemented a comment system conducive to this kind of use…

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  22. Sri Says:


    Please go and have a look at – they got an excellent mass development model. The only thing you need to do is hire a writer to write one 300 word optimized article on the domain keywords.

    I got good result with that (one article with original content). No, I am not going to write the names of the domains here – bad for seo. You can contact me through my website.


  23. friendship gift Says:

    To say that domainers have to develop to survive seems to negate the argument that domain names are a valuable asset class. To use your analogy, you may make more money extracting revenues from the supermarket where the land was use to build the store.