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Why I Didn’t Like The .WS Post By Braden Pollock

gtlds

I have been debating for 4 days if I like Braden Pollock’s post “Why I Invested Six Figures in .WS Domain Names” or not. I read the post and all the comments, including the crazy ones and some that were later deleted.

I then tried to separate the fact that Braden wrote the article from the article itself. Suddenly it hit me. If it wasn’t for Braden then I wouldn’t like the post from the get go.

I respect Braden Pollock. He has been and still is a very successful domain investor. I have met him and I have attended many of his sessions in 3 conferences. And he is very smart and has a good sense of humor.

But I don’t understand what was the point of this post. This is his explanation of why he bought these domains:

I bought a portfolio of more than 200 premium 2-3 character .ws names (CHiPs) because, well, I like making money :-).

This is no explanation. This is the broadest goal of any investment on the planet: “to make money”.

I am not talking at all if I agree with buying these .ws domains or not. He may make money or not. If I could take the gamble maybe I would buy these too.

But this is not domaining as we know it and that is the only reason I don’t like this post. This is a strange hybrid like “stock-exchange-domaining”. This is not about unique domain names that could sell to end users. This is about these so called liquid domains that are bought and sold by the pound targeting other domain investors mainly from China. Domains that serve no real purpose and never will and are all have the same value of they obey certain ‘good/bad letter’ rules. This is the new domaining were sex.com is worth the same as qeq.com.

Braden said in a comment:

That said, my investment is a CHiP play, not an end-user play.

He doesn’t seem to think that .ws is a good extension with solid end-user future, not even for Chinese end-users.

So posting about a bulk domain name purchase, in an extension you don’t believe in, that you intent to unload in a few months, only brings one thing to mind: PUMP AND DUMP.

A comment about this post being a pump and dump was made and Braden replied:

That’s a reasonable conclusion to draw however there is no pump and dump here. I’ve no plans to sell to the US market (all of us that read this blog). These will be sold into the Chinese market.

More than half of “us” reading the blogs are not from the US. And who said that the Chinese don’t read the blogs? I get at least 15 visits from China every day. That is about 500 visits from China monthly and my domain blog is not the biggest one. One of my buyers from China knew who I was pretty well. I guess he reads domaining.com that is not for the US market only.

And who said that no other US domainers will buy more .ws domains after reading this, driving the prices up and so on?

Who said that there is no pump and dump when selling to the Chinese?

I don’t think Braden did this on purpose. He is a nice guy and he probably didn’t think how this would seem to some suspicious people. But it is a suspicious time when talking about .ws. Maybe it is the first time that Braden buys a lot of domains in a bad extension.

He was offered to write a post and quickly said yes. And of course I don’t think Elliot expected what will happen. I would probably ask Braden to write the post myself.

BUT to someone that doesn’t know Braden this is how this post would seem like.

This is the equivalent of a well known US stock investor writing an article on the Financial Times saying:

“I bought these stocks yesterday in the Chinese stock market. There are from a crap company with no real future ahead. But I expect the stocks to go up in value and make a lot of money in 6 to 12 months. This is no pump and dump. Don’t worry the Chinese don’t read ft.com. People from the US don’t buy Chinese stocks.”

What would YOU think if you saw that written on FT?

I would also like to know if you agree how the other domain blogs talk about .ws domains.

Sold.Domains

About Konstantinos Zournas

Konstantinos studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London, UK and lives in Athens, Greece. He works on domain names and website and software development. He has been online since 1995 and a domain investor since 2002.

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71 comments

  1. Great analysis. On another note, all those comments by “michael ehrhardt” – is he the new Metal Tiger guy? 😛

  2. If you want a .ws domain I was scanning Flippa this morning and Coupons.ws has hit reserve and ends in three days. Current bid is $6. And while it may be funny it is true:

    https://flippa.com/6109508-short-and-sweet-no-reserve

  3. Nobody cared until somebody started getting paid to endorse it.

    If your soul mission is to pump, and dump it on the Chinese, well good luck.

    Deal with them lately, they have tightened up the purse quite a bit, and play it very close to ear, leaving margin for error on any deal.

    It was a shameless plug, and it provided no other advice other than, I hope to buy crap, and put it in a scented room, and hope the Chinese won’t smell it until after the scent wears off.

    The guy took himself down the ladder a few rungs.

    Adam Dicker was a nice guy also, ask anyone!

    • @Ryan – I was not compensated to endorse anything. My only stake in .ws is the portfolio I purchased. Nothing more, nothing less. The Chinese investors starting buying these names first, you just didn’t know about it. Not sure how the post “took [me] down the ladder a couple rungs”. I’m not trying to sell you anything. I was simply asked to write about my own investment. An investment that affects no one but me. I never suggested you or anyone buy up these names. This is just a move that I made. You don’t have to agree with it. I’m sure I own other names you wouldn’t agree with – and vice versa but that’s what makes investing exciting. Making a bet different from others. Maybe I make a profit, maybe I don’t. In either case, it has no affect on you.
      What if I end up being right and .ws does well? Crazier things have happened.

      • Braden do you think that writing about your .wine domains would have the same reaction? Why?

      • I don’t think it would have the same reaction. I don’t think people want to tell Donuts and the other big registrars how dumb they are. I’m a much easier (and smaller) target.

      • Why would they attack Donuts on the .wine article and you on .ws one?
        It is either the registries or you in both cases.

        But I don’t think that was the reason. The reason is the strategy for buying and selling these domains.

        And how a post by someone like you can affect the price on liquid domains but can’t do the same on .wine or .attorney domains.

  4. I myself posted on that site and was also mystified as to the intent and bewilderment of many. Costa I too think your analysis is very well thought out. Strange times in Domaining.

  5. You wrote “So posting about a bulk domain name purchase, in an extension you don’t believe in, that you intent to unload in a few months, only brings one thing to mind: PUMP AND DUMP.”

    Who said I don’t believe in the extension? Sixteen years ago .ws was rebranded from a ccTLD to a gTLD. The first of many (e.g. .TV, .CO, .ME etc). The extension has been successful every since (between 500k- 1.5mil registrations annually). Why would I not believe in an extension that has proven itself over time. Additionally, the short premium .ws ARE SELLING. I’m not the first to invest in them. The Chinese investors have already starting buying. Why does it look like a pump and dump if I’m jumping on this (moving) bandwagon, albeit a bit early?

    Another point you brought up:
    “But this is not domaining as we know it and that is the only reason I don’t like this post. This is a strange hybrid like “stock-exchange-domaining”. This is not about unique domain names that could sell to end users. This is about these so called liquid domains that are bought and sold by the pound targeting other domain investors mainly from China. Domains that serve no real purpose and never will and are all have the same value of they obey certain ‘good/bad letter’ rules. This is the new domaining were sex.com is worth the same as qeq.com.”

    Since when is domain investing (or any investing) NOT about buying low and selling high? Aren’t we all looking to buy names for X and sell them for Y – within a short period of time? As a matter of fact, the shorter the time period and larger the margin, the better we’ve done for ourselves. My objective with my .ws portfolio is no different than any other investment I’ve made – to make a profitable return.

    The reason why we call short number and letter names “liquid” is because they are bought and sold like a commodity by the Chinese investors. They can be sold quickly, by category, based on the prevailing market rate. Hence “liquid”. This is simply a different kind of market than we’re used to with generic or brandable names. This doesn’t make it any less real or any less valuable.

    The investors that bought up the short numbers and letters just a few years ago were probably told that they’re wasting their money on worthless domains. Now they’re making fortunes.

    I don’t know that I’ll necessarily make a fortune on my 200+ .ws names but my guess is that I’ll make a nice profit. And I’ll also bet I’ll make more money, faster and easier on my .ws names than on ~400 .lawyer names or my ~600 .wine names.

    Perhaps I’m wrong. It won’t be the first time, nor the last. But if I don’t keep trying to swing for the fences, I’ll never hit a home run.

    • I think you don’t like it because you didn’t actually said you like the extension. Except if I missed it somewhere.

      The fact that these domains are selling in bulk between domain investors (mainly Chinese) doesn’t say much to me for the quality of the extension or otherwise.

      It is not the purchase that seems like a pump and dump. It is the purchase together with the post.

      Domain investing was and is about buying low and selling high. But it was about buying domains that domain investors thought that some end-user would like. Of a type of domains that end-users like or might like.

      Again I am not judging whether you will make money or not.

      This is about buying domains that have probably 0 end-user interest, that you don’t intent to sell to end-users but intent to sell to a particular kind of domain investors that probably rely on other sales made by other domain investors to drive the price up.
      Have you done a similar thing in your domaining career?

      We had “liquid” domains way before Chinese investors started buying. These were short domains with PROVEN end user interest. This is a different kind of liquid domains.

      I would probably bet too that you could make more money and faster with your .ws. But what domains have the biggest potential 10 years from now? Your .ws or your .wine domains?

      • You’re asking what I LIKE? These are investments and how I FEEL about them is based entirely on my potential ROI. If you buy a .com for $10k and sell it for $20k, do you like that better than buying a .whatever for $5k and selling for $15k? It has to do with ROI and net gain. Nothing more. (at least for me). And does it matter if it wa an end-user buyer or an investor? Do you care what happens to the domain after you’ve sold it? I would think not.
        You’ve asked me if I’ve mentioned purchases in the past. Sure I have. As a matter of fact, you once asked me if you could post about my (6-figure) purchase of Pleasure.com, which I agreed to. Was that bad purchase? Why didn’t I need to defend myself? Maybe because everyone is comfortable with .com. But maybe I paid too much? No one wants to weigh in?

        I should only care about 10 years from now if I plan on holding my investment that long. Maybe the domain aftermarket won’t be what it is today. Maybe new technology will provide for a better user experience when accessing the internet. Not all my purchases are long-term plays. Some are and some aren’t. As for .ws, I don’t know yet. I’ll decide when the time feels right.

      • Very well said.
        95% of domains sold are to other domainers.
        I don’t have the kind of money that a lot of you have to tie up for 10-20 years waiting for that one person in that 5% bracket to make a return on my investment.

        The best thing i did was listen to Mike Berkins and Rick Schwartz a few years back on the sherpa show.
        Mr.Berkins had just sold a 3N.com for over 800k, Mr.Schwartz said, these numeric’s will stretch out 5, 6, 7 numbers long, they will be longer than phone numbers.
        I went and hand registered 5 and 6 number.com’s and in the last eight, nine months have made a nice return on my $8 bucks for those domains.

        Who bought those domain’s, other investors did in the hope of seeing a return on the domain’s they bought.
        Did they over pay, will they see a return, that is up to them, and they should if they did there homework and follow the market.

        I have never had any luck with alternative extensions, i don’t own any new extensions, but that’s just me.

      • 95% of domains might be sold to other domainers (not sure about the number) but 95% of the profit comes from end-users. (not sure about the number either but you get my point)

        I made more money last year selling 22 domains to end-users than I did from selling 300 to domain investors. And these 300 I sold were mostly bad domains bought years ago that didn’t work out for me.

      • I wouldn’t pay $10k for a new gtld at this time because it will be 10 times harder to sell it at $20k than for a .com.

        I don’t care about what happens when I sell the domain. But buying with the intention to sell to a domain investor is not something I do.
        Especially for faux “liquid” extension like .ws where someone is bound to end up holding thousands of $ worth of nothing. I would be too scared that I am the last person holding the bomb.
        At least with LLLL.com (just an example) you have the hope that an end-user will buy a domain so everyone wins.

        You purchase of Pleasure.com didn’t surprise anyone as 1-word .com domains have a history of selling to end-users.

        I am asking about 10 years from now because New gTLDs are fairly new and need time to take off.
        So are you flipping your .wine domain names? How are you going to do that? How many years do you plan keeping these domains? I truly would like to know your New gTLD strategy.

      • You are right, but i don’t have your kind of cash.
        You have over 9,000 domains with renewal rates at about $70,000 a year based on $8 dollar renewal rates.

        I agree, if you have those high end domain’s that appeal to a company in that 5% bracket of end users that see the value in a domain name, yes your going to have bigger profits. I don’t have that luxury.

        I remember Mr. Schwartz saying, you can’t make any money selling to other domainer’s many of times and i agree with you both. I can’t put my cash on hold waiting for that right buyer to come along in 10 years.

        LOL… my whole portfolio is what you own in .net’s

      • Do certain top level domain names have a Chinese meaning?

        We’ve often seen TLDs repurposed. For instance, .ME and .TV – originally the country codes of Montenegro and Tuvalu, respectively – are mainly understood as words. While .SI means Slovenia in Slovenia, Spanish speakers might read it as “yes”. More recently, .PW has been marketed as a shorthand for “professional web”. Such extra interpretations can be either natural or forced. Some arise without prompting; some fail to catch on despite heavy promotion. Either way, they occur.

        .WS I am 我是 (1) wǒ + (2) shì

        http://domainnamewire.com/2015/12/23/what-if-tlds-are-chinese/

        it is a good extension
        but not the best

        take a look on your keyboard…
        .qa is much better…

      • Hey Michael, newsflash: You can’t resell .QA names.

    • @Braden,

      This is tricky. Because the Chinese market for liquid domains behaves so differently from the Western markets, writing a post about .WS “CHIPs” really is different from writing a similar post about keyword-based domains in .WINE or .LAWYER. Now, I’m not saying that your intentions would necessarily be any different; but they might cause very different reader behavior and market effects.

      The distinction is real. Western markets tend to judge domains as individuals, and they ideally sell to end users. In such a sale, both sides get what they want; nobody loses. In contrast, the Chinese market judges domains as part of a collective group. They frequently sell in large batches, and what the particular domains are scarcely matters. When they sell, they change hands between traders. In steady-state conditions, that’s a zero-sum game. Winners buy low and sell at the peak. Losers buy at the peak to sell at a loss.

      If end users enter the picture to build websites, then we’re talking about a supply chain. Ideally, everybody along the supply chain wins. In a “CHIP play” without usage, we’re talking about traders meeting up to play poker. Money sits down at the table, and exactly the same amount of money gets up to leave. It just ends up in different people’s pockets.

      CHIPs depend on mass registrations. So shining a spotlight on a “CHIP play” can influence market prices in a way that writing about .WINE or .LAWYER can’t.

      Suppose you own Red.Wine. An end user will make you an offer for it, and he won’t care at all whether or not RDE.wine or FED.wine or RES.wine are registered. But suppose you own RDE.ws. It will be almost worthless while DRE.ws and TRE.ws and DDE.ws are sitting around unregistered. In order for this “CHIP” asset class to appreciate in value, buyouts MUST happen. The quickest way to boost prices for 2 and 3-character .WS domains would be to encourage buyouts of 4 and 5 and 6-character .WS domains.

      If the registry had arranged for prominent domainers to buy up stakes of 2 and-character .WS domains and then go about writing articles and giving interviews about .WS, then that publicity might have the predictable effect of steering more domainers towards buyouts and bids. That might make a huge difference where CHIPs are concerned, while it would have negligible effect on illiquid, end-user-focused asset classes like keyword-based domains .WINE and .LAWYER.

      You see this distinction, I’m sure. It makes ALL articles about CHIP domains that are written by CHIP investors ambiguous. We can NEVER tell when an article is just an article and when it meant to steer the market by inducing readers to buy.

      That’s why I say this is tricky. If we’re suspicious about each and every article, then how can we talk about the subject at all!?!? Most of the time, people are just talking – not pumping. What made your article, Braden, especially ambiguous was the background context. First, Shane Cultra’s boasts about a “.WS team” made up of big domain investors who’d be working with him and the registry to promote .WS. Second, the list of bloggers and brokers who bought up positions in 2 and 3-character .WS. That made it hard not to read an agenda into your article, whether it was there or not.

      You and Andrew have both denied working with the registry or Shane as part of a team. So things look less suspicious now than they did at first. But with these “CHIP play[s]”, there’s always going to be some lingering ambiguity.

      • I certainly understand the distinction and this is exactly what I’ve been trying to explain to western investors. The CHiPs are different animal, one that westerners aren’t used to. It is nevertheless a huge, viable market.

        I’ve not seen Shane’s “Team .ws” post, other than you quoting it so I can’t speak to that. I don’t know if that was before or after I made my purchase or if he was including me. In either case, he and I have made separate investments and have not discussed any kind of joint marketing. I have no marketing plan with anyone; the registry included.

        I do know, however, that the registry is planning a marketing campaign in China. This was one of the factors in deciding to buy a portfolio.

      • Here is post announcing his involvement with the registry and buying .ws both from the registry directly and independently:
        http://domainshane.com/developing-brand-latest-domain-investment/

      • I agree with what Joseph says.
        Thanks Joseph.

    • Hello Braden Pollack

      We represent many Legacy .COM Profit Center Owners who are fed up with the Double Talking (Google Ad Platform Advertisers misleading lies) , and the REG. sellers who feed off Newbe Domainers and uneducated End Users. Who do you think you are fooling? Konstantinos has got you by the short hairs, as has Joseph as well , We Legacy Domainers are the Really Smart Money that knows All New TLDS are Investor Sucker Bait.

      Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger) (Former Rockefeller IBEC Marketing Analyst/Strategist) (Licensed CBOE Commodity Hedge Strategist) (Domain Master ) https://www.UseBiz.com

      • Mr Schneider i’ve seen your comments often and enjoyed them-all colorful at the least. As a newer domainer may i ask you if you yourself own any new extension names but more importantly how many Premium .com names re: LL NN etc are in your portfolio. Thank you.

      • Hi Schneider-not sure if you saw my question as to your own portfolio but please respond when you have a chance. Many of us that are new at this business read your posts with much interest and would like to know what types of names you personally hold. Thank you!

  6. Personally I don’t think people have any problem with others making money, taking risks, gambling or spending their money on any domains. If they make lots of money, that is great. Domainers thrive on hearing the money making stories. Good luck to them. I like hearing about what you and others have recently purchased. It’s interesting and informative.

    Where many people have an issue is with the individuals and groups who are seen to actively push and potentially spruik certain domains.

    Readers just need to not allow themselves to be fooled. ‘Western Team China’ are not sharing their recent purchases and support for certain domains to provide a community service or to simply share the love. To use a slang term they are ‘spruiking’. They seek and hope to gain financial and commercial benefit from telling others what they have bought or like.

    Why not keep the secret sauce and their honey hole all to themselves? Well they need and want others to start buying what they have just bought and have for immediate resale. Negatives and/or differences of opinion may hurt their investments. Hence the swift response and rebuttals from Western Team China to any negative China comments, talk of bubbles or market slowdowns on any forums. It’s in their best interests to promote and tell people what they are buying. I get it.

    Some of their investments and future financial success in certain domains are linked to others buying the same names. They are banking on others following their lead. Yes this happens in many industries every day and is not isolated to the domain industry. I have heard people refer to this as marketing and good business practice.

    In the end no one is forcing people to buy any domains. People should make their own independent decisions.

  7. Kostas,
    As equity analyst, the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the post on DomainInvesting was that it’s very similar to pump-and-dump of worthless penny stocks … (penny stocks scams anyone? 🙂 ) to Chinese in this case (lol) …
    And that’s why I said it was gambling, not investing …
    Well, you can see my early comment there 🙂
    Anyone is free to invest or waste his money as he wants, no doubt 😀
    Someone says .WS means “Wang Shang”, something like “Online” in Chinese, some others see WS as “Web Site”, i see it like “Web Shit”, a new version of Rick Schwartz “pigeon shit” … 😀
    And .xyz is the same junk, just supported by hidden marketing agreements, paid pumps and other shady business practices.

    • Yes Andrea, I read your comments at domaininvesting.com.
      But this is not exactly like gambling… I don’t know what it is yet.

      • Kostas,
        The “gambling” side/shade here is that you don’t have end users, so you “gamble”, you hope that some Chinese buyer will be willing to purchase it in a sort of auto-perpetuating “tulip mania” craze/hype.
        I know it’s not exactly like gambling, but it has some features of it.
        I think the “worthless penny stocks pump-and-dump” analogy is more fitting to this case.
        That “riding the craze/mania” is definitely a type of business I’m not interested in, no matter how high is the potential ROI, I’ve never been interested in following the trends or the herd … 🙂

  8. I don’t have a problem with Braden or his investment choice or thoughts, it was the comments made by other domain industry ‘professionals’ that made me nauseous…The deleted comment from one ‘professional’ was more criminal than anything else. I don’t take kind to bullying and threats and that is exactly what the deleted comment was…It’s also ironic that Elliot was pressed for deleting comments and said, “I don’t want anyone to think I am censoring comments because someone disagrees with something I wrote or something another writer wrote here.”. Yet, he deleted multiple comments to save his ‘professional’ friend…..I finally get to comment on this and had to get this off my chest. 🙂

    • I read the deleted comment and I was surprised.
      Elliot said he only deleted that comment and the one below it referencing it.
      I don’t know of any other deleted comments.

      • I removed the content from one comment and then I removed the content from a second comment that contained a quote from the first.

        Regarding my ironic comment… I wrote that before.

      • Since the deleted comment was aimed at me, I think it’s fair to chime in and defend Elliot.

        By the time I saw that diatribe, it had already been deleted. For my part, I don’t even know whether removal was Elliot’s idea or done at Andrew’s request. Either is fine.

        Well before any of that, I had emailed Elliot to applaud his openness in permitting different viewpoints to be heard. That isn’t the norm in this industry; censorship is. It’s still true that DomainInvesting.com is 1 of the few major credible websites where the writer / editor / curator takes a neutral, open-minded, fair stance. Elliot deserves respect for that, in my view.

        Andrew reached out to me privately, and we talked things through. Shook hands, as I figured would happen. Nobody wants to be remembered for his worst mistakes. There’s an argument to be made for allowing a person to save face by deleting an embarrassing comment. Elliot might have judged the comment as a distraction too. Personally, I’d have left it up warts and all. That’s just me. Elliot follows his own standards and is as fair as anybody I can think of.

      • Joseph – I commend your willingness to excuse, that is admirable. The problem is these ‘professionals’ represent the entire domain industry and this is not an isolated case as you seem to imply. This type of behavior has become habitual within the domain industry. You mention standards, if the domain industry is to grow, the standards must be raised to gain legitimacy with both new domain investor’s and end user’s….

      • I think that guy has a short temper, I saw him fight with some poor guy at namepros who had a decent numeric domain, and he gave him what he thought was a lowball offer, and a huge verbal spat in the forum went down.

        Same with DNF, where someone didn’t like the price, and the time limit on the offer, same attitude.

        It is high pressure, and when the peasants do not obey the Domain Gods, they come down on them.

    • Where that sherpa threatened to punch in that long winded poster’s teeth to the back of his head, and someone posted a legal description of assault, and they ran like foxes.

      I think both Joseph, and Cyger live on the same Island, Bainbridge which is small isolated place, makes for some interesting talk during the morning coffee run.

      • Also, Domain Shane making fun of Andrea’s name, was beyond despicable. Again, another domain industry ‘professional’ stooping to new lows…

      • His feeling were hurt, he was brought on to get the word out on .ws, and pump it up. Then his buddies come along with their insider buys, and tell us all about the golden ticket of .ws.

        I find it funny when he says he puts names on his list he is bidding on, who the F does that, unless he his bidding them up to get a better commission, who the F knows. I don’t trust the guy.

        .ws is a game, of trying to dump the name, before the Chinese market bottoms out, this extension has been around for 20 years.

        Watch Chinese activity they dump 5N which have 100K combos, to purchase 6N which have 1M, to drive a lower price point, with quantity, then sell out, and push 5N back up, it is a revolving door.

        Sure western investors have done well, by selling their aged short inventory to the Chinese, when that hammer drops, and the music stops, you don’t want some poor guy that cleaned out his kids college fund to be stuck with 1000 keyword .ws, because Domain Shane said they were a good investment.

        It’s all fun, and games until someones teeth get punched to the back of their head!

      • We used to be neighbors, but I didn’t realize that until I moved away. When I move back, that’ll be interesting. Mike has made some bad calls and no longer talks to me. But I don’t dislike him.

    • Which “professional” made that “criminal” comment you’re talking about?

  9. Aaron agree..

    I quickly did a whois to see if they owed THUG.COM

    Thuggish is the only way to describe that deleted comment.

  10. With my newly minted MBA from the DFNacademy, I got a high 6 figures job and on my way to becoming the CEO of IFAAn

    Yes, Sir, I got a scholarship to that prestigious DNacademy school and now I am so freaking successful in domaining.

    Thank you.

    yes, go get your MBA in Domaining from DfNacademy.

    mba-my big A*&&ss

    • DNF College, DNF Academy, DN Academy, Ryan Colbys Domain Academy I am so confused which one is the most prestigious school?

      • I meant DNF Academy- Domain Name F academy.

        Highly prestigious, any graduates is guaranteed the high 6 $$$$$$$job and all industries in the domain industry will want you to have that degree if you want to gain employment.

        Pretty soon, every domain blogger and domain investor will need that piece of paper from DnF academy to be a qualified domainer.

        The passport to the domain success!

  11. What drew me to domain investing 17 years ago was that I came across an asset class that didn’t appear to be able to be manipulated by investment banks, hedge funds, and governments

    I don’t like what this industry has turned into to, especially the marketing of new and alternative tlds.

    Still a believer in premium .com but for the first time in 17 yrs I think there are better investment opportunities out there

  12. K-as to your last paragraph. I can tell you I read,as part o my business, FT pretty much every day and if I saw that stated by a well known investor I’d think that he was probably simply being honest vs say Goldman a few years back telling clients “WTIC (oil) is heading to $250 ” and the list goes on and on. I’m sure Braden knows the saying that “the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent” I’m also sure Mr Pollock has no intention of being the last one on the dance floor when the music stops. Everyone is acting as if this type of investment is something new. It’s not-not in the least and I give him credit for exposing his investment philosophy in an open letter as he did.

  13. It’s amazing how many people are bothered by someone’s blog post about an investment in domains that simply explains what they did, and why they did it. With not even any mention of encouraging others to do the same.

    A whole new domain market has opened up in the past year, no one really understands it or where it’s going, but it’s there (still there despite the Chinese stock market downturn and any economic troubles they are having – actually holding up much better than Chinese stocks so *maybe* there is no correlation, though sadly we get reminded every day…).

    .WS has been around for many years, but the changes going on now with this extension are new and may or may not make it an appealing extension for this new domain market. It’s hardly surprising that some people choose to invest in it at the early stage. If all the changes happening at .WS now had been made at the start of 2015, my guess is all the short combinations would already have been swept up like what’s happened with XYZ, CLUB, TOP, WANG and others. My opinion only.

    I think if anyone could go back 2 years they would be buying 4L and 5N .com’s like crazy to sell into this market of the past year, with no care if there are end users or not. No one really seems to care that over the years .CC became popular in China, almost in stealth mode, and has many end users. Who’s to say that .WS can’t do the same over there?

    How many .com, .net etc domains of ‘end user’ quality have we seen sold for high figures over the years, simply stay living on parked pages after the sale, and never put to that end use? How valuable will short domains in short extensions become in five or ten years, when the internet has grown and good domains really become scarce?

    Many people not participating in the short Chip market in various extensions seem to see any shred of discussion about it as “pump and dump”. No one really knows how this will play out yet, or how ‘real’ this market is. But it is here now and some people choose to participate in it, with all the risks involved. If it’s a real market and manages to sustains itself, then a six figure buy of short .WS domains may turn out to be a savvy investment.

    • Encouraging is not only done by saying “buy .ws now”. There are other ways to encourage people.

      When there are no end-users then the market is not real. “We” are reselling hot air.
      When you are only valuating domains ONLY based on what domains are taken and what the previous domain investor sale was then the market is not real.
      This is how I judge a real market.

  14. “Do it again and I’ll knock your fucking teeth through back of your head.”

    I’m going to have this printed on a bunch of t shirts for Namescon next year. 🙂

    20 bucks a pop if you’re interested. LOL

    • I didn’t know what this comment was so popular!
      And that so many people had saved it before it was deleted. 🙂

      • They retracted the statement after someone quoted the post along with a legal description in regards to assault, and making threats online.

        I am sure if Joseph wanted to push the topic he certainly could have, he dealt with it, but not like Panama has an extradition agreement with the US:-p

  15. @ R P you stated you believe there are better investments out there and I was wondering if you would share your opinion on what they might be?

  16. I don’t think this domain market is as simple as saying there are no end users, and that domains are being valuated so easily. It is not as simple as saying Chinese stocks are dropping so Chip domains must drop too (Chinese stock markets have been going down for a long time while the Chip domain market was just fine). My feeling is there is more to it than that. It has been a real market for the past year or so, with real money changing hands and real sales occurring. I’m guessing people who say it’s not a real market are fearful that it could collapse at any time (and so don’t want to get in), but so far it has been holding up – but a collapse is definitely a possibility, no one knows. Real markets don’t always go straight up, there is ebb and flow, up and down, and sideways periods. Right now it seems to be steady without the wild price increases we saw at times last year, which is probably a healthy thing.

    Only way we’ll know is over time, if it all does collapse at some point it would be a spectacular fall. Eventually there will probably be some kind of shake out with winners that hold value and losers that get tossed to the side. But I don’t know more than anyone else. Funny there have been a few doomsayers out there that have been wrong for a long time now, but they don’t seem to get the negative feedback that one blog post about one investment in one domain extension gets.

    • A collapse is certain in “not real” markets.
      The question is if this is a real market or not or if it has become a hybrid between a real and a not-real market.

      Is the not-real market going to take down the real market as well? Because in my opinion a hard and fast collapse is inevitable.

      • That’s what a number of people I talked to at NamesCon said as well – that if the Chinese liquid categories go down, the crash will be hard and fast. Smart people, incidentally, who monitor the market as closely as anybody does.

        Personally, my hunch is the opposite. I said then and still think that a collapse, if it comes, will be slow – not a bubble popping but an air mattress gradually deflating overnight.

        Why? Because domainers are more inclined to believe they’ll get rich than they are willing to face losing money.

        During a surge, everybody sees rising prices. All sellers want them to rise faster; so they talk excitedly about growth and invite more and more people to join in as bidders. Buyers want to be those sellers, and they too encourage rising prices with bids and adjacent buyouts of their own. Hence the market accelerates.

        Meanwhile, any decline starts with a period of stagnant prices. When the actual downturn begins, many investors won’t see it or will deny it. Even if inwardly a few are pessimistic and selling, outwardly they’ll want to boost prices as much as possible. They’ll still encourage more investors to join in, since that cushions or counteracts dropping prices. Plus, news travels slowly. So there will be latecomers who’ll still buy at yesterday’s higher floor prices because they didn’t get the memo.

        Optimism has loads of inertia. People with money at stake push back against a sharp downturn just as hard as they’d push forward in a surge. During a decline, I think the market puts the brakes on. At least at first. Maybe in the final stages, panic selling might take over. But initially I imagine a long plateau, then months of the balloon deflating.

        But I’m not psychic. So we’ll see.

      • Hello Konstantinos,

        All new TLDs are in the illiquid Not real category. Well said = ” A collapse is certain in “not real” markets. ”

        Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger) (Former Rockefeller IBEC Marketing Analyst/Strategist) (Licensed CBOE Commodity Hedge Strategist) (Domain Master ) https://www.UseBiz.com

      • Hello Konstantinos,

        Looks like another Domaining Blog is now Blocking our comments. Googles Lobby Money and Influence Peddling is trying to muzzle our comments. We will keep you posted with the REAL information.

        Meanwhile heres a comment thats being Blocked by some :

        Googles Marketing Strategist needs to be fired.

        We can think of a most effective platform for .xyz (remove the dot and use xyz as a .COM Profit Center sub-domain ( http://Google.com/xyz ) Its what the really Smart money is doing if they absolutely want to use xyz .

        Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger) (Former Rockefeller IBEC Marketing Analyst/Strategist) (Licensed CBOE Commodity Hedge Strategist) (Domain Master ) https://www.UseBiz.com

  17. Domain Observer

    IMHO short numeric domains with WS will be very popular among the Chinese. Why not? Why WS should be less popular than XYZ? But, it will take some time before the awareness is widely spread in China. As with all the other investments, the time is the key.

  18. Omg…I missed out all the action!

  19. Good discussion and also a balanced post by the author.

    Whether knowingly/unknowingly, Elliot made a mistake by posting that article.

  20. Don’t get me wrong, There is nothing and never will be wrong with making money.

    But I think the underlying issue here is why the article was written, and the relationship between the author and the .ws registry.

    To me it looks like another, “you scratch my back, I will scratch yours….”

    This tactic has seemed to become the new way of making money in the domain world.

    But the money is only being made on one side, by false expectactions and pipe dreams.

    Just my thoughts….

  21. “This is the equivalent of a well known US stock investor writing an article on the Financial Times saying:….”

    A very valid point, not quite FT status, but in comparison, I know what you’re getting at. Yeah, it’s a suggestical draw at the end of the day. But, .ws has been on the 4.cn radar for months, so it’s not all new.

    I wish the fella well, beyond the research and branding, Chinese translations etc; it’s business, and then, if we’re making money; putting t’p food on table and paying our way. Why else would one be investing/speculating? Course, there are other reasons, let’s not too deep lol.

    Putting a wing out there so often, it’s got to be done. But I still think there are huge op’s for other ex’s. 😉

    Love the new typeface by the way K.

  22. When I read these news today I immediately thought of this post.

    Chinese domain name investor getting out, dumps 70,000 .cc domains:
    http://domainnamewire.com/2016/08/25/chinese-domain-name-investor-getting-dumps-70000-cc-domains/

    • Hello Konstantinos,

      The Massive shift out of TLDs into .COM Profit Centers is the cause!

      Rick Schwartz is the ONLY DOMAIN KING and he knows :

      The Google Ad Platform is its own Algorithm Controlled Traffic Monopoly. If you are lucky enough to own and control your own .COM Profit Center (OPERATING OUTSIDE THE GOOGLE TRAFFIC MONOPOLY) you in effect own and control your own Traffic Monopoly.

      Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger) (Former Rockefeller IBEC Marketing Analyst/Strategist) (Licensed CBOE Commodity Hedge Strategist) (Domain Master ) https://www.UseBiz.com

      • Hello Konstantinos,

        Now that the pool of Domain speculators money is Massive, now all of a sudden the sharks smell blood, and our Industry is rife with Carpetbagging interlopers. This is no surprise, seeing that the King of Pump and Dump Frank Schilling is actively Gaming the SEO followers Blogs.

        Bottom Line : If you are not helping Investors and End-User Wannabes by pumping them to buy New TLDs instead of Proven .COM Profit Centers, You are a Phony Knockoff pusher, and you deserve the crushing failure ahead for those in this Phony Knockoff Class. JAS 8/28/16

        Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger) (Former Rockefeller IBEC Marketing Analyst/Strategist) (Licensed CBOE Commodity Hedge Strategist) (Domain Master ) https://www.UseBiz.com

  23. Hello Konstantinos,

    We are afraid that Most other New TLD and New GTLD Brokers are confused about what New TLD and New GTLD extensions are really for.

    The new Google financed and inspired TLDs introductions, that Google heavily promoted ICANN accepting, were never meant to be extensions that would be used predominately for Stand Alone Business Destinations. Their Highest and Best use would be for proliferating Digital Junk Mail infused into Googles SEO Maze.They would be Googles tools to expand their Search Engine Marketing Base. This Marketing strategy has succeeded extremely well, at the expense of uneducated Domain Speculators.

    Domainers not aware of this big picture started speculating in new TLDs as being capable of being stand alone Business destination addresses. This was due to the new TLD promoters concerted effort to employ Bait and Switch advertising by assigning the .COM assets values and strengths to the new TLDs in other words Bait and Switch deceptive Marketing.

    This questionable strategy is now becoming more evident and Domainers are waking up after the fact of purchasing new TLDs only to find them to be Debt lease obligations and NOT resembling anything close to .COM Assets.

    Domainers are being Fleeced.While Google expands their Search Engine Marketing Base.Don’t be fooled By Scroogle.

    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger) (Former Rockefeller IBEC Marketing Analyst/Strategist) (Licensed CBOE Commodity Hedge Strategist) (Domain Master ) https://www.UseBiz.com

    • Hello Konstantinos,

      t is absolutely astounding how little Google Adsense Advertising participants really understand, about the Strategic loss of traffic their Corporate Brands are suffering. (Mind Boggling )

      Is your companies Marketing Department asleep at the switch?

      The inescapable truth is Google Adsense users have no choice in the matter, inside Googles Traffic Stealing Corridor, where they send 20-45% of their Brands Traffic, systematically to their competitors.

      This Rustled free Float of .COM Profit Centers Traffic is diverted to Google Adsense participants competitors who are often One click away on Googles Brand selection offering page.

      Is your companies Marketing Staff aware of this Strategic Online Marketing Gaffe?

      Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger) (Former Rockefeller IBEC Marketing Analyst/Strategist) (Licensed CBOE Commodity Hedge Strategist) (Domain Master http://www.UseBiz.com)

      • Hello Konstantinos,

        Keep up the good work in exposing TRUTHS

        Here are 2 theoretical Questions?
        1 How much traffic would you lose using Google based SEM online Marketing Strategy ?
        2 How much traffic would you lose using NON-.COM extensions ?

        our answer to 1 = (20 to 45% Traffic loss)

        our answer to 2 = (50 to 60% Traffic loss)

        NOW here is the Big Question ? Why would a savvy Online Marketing Strategist use either one of these strategies??

        Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger) (Former Rockefeller IBEC Marketing Analyst/Strategist) (Licensed CBOE Commodity Hedge Strategist) (Domain Master http://www.UseBiz.com)

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