Today, 13th of July 2012 is my official 10th anniversary in the domain name industry. This is the day I chose to start this blog. I chose this day because I see great future in this industry and want to contribute as much as I can.
I registered a couple of domains back in the late 90s while I was in college in the UK. I think they had something to do with the capital of my country Athens, Greece. I registered them with a fellow college student and we had plans to make a portal for Athens but we never got around building it. We registered these using Network Solutions like everybody back then. I don’t own these any more. I dropped them a couple of years later. I didn’t have the money for these expensive renewals. I think a renewal was $70 at NetSol.
Then I registered a few domains in early 2000. I registered 3 .com (1 with a hyphen), 1 .net, 1 .org and 1 .co.uk (I was living in the UK after all). So you can see I was pretty diverse from the beginning. All these were related to movie/tv downloading. It was the beginning of the download era that followed. I still own these and they still get plenty of traffic.
Problem is I “forgot” to register any more domains for more than 2 years. I only got a couple of .gr domains, 1 .info and 1 .biz domain but these were related to my web design company.
Then somehow while I was researching for a domain name for my new project I noticed an ad on one of the registrars. It was saying something about the release of 17000 premium .info domain names to the public. It was a couple of months before the Land Rush 2 .INFO Sunrise Names. That caught my attention and I was hooked. I used all my money; I borrowed some money from my father, maxed out my credit card and spend the 3000 Euro that my grandmother had saved for me for when I would turn 25. That was to start a business I guess. Well that is what I did.
So I opened the Afilias webpage with their list of registrars around the world and visited all their websites. One by one. I went around to all the LR2 participating registrars and made preorders for a couple of hundred domain names or more. Some preorders required money up front. I avoided most of them. Especially those that wouldn’t refund anything in the event you didn’t get a name. After all, all registrars had equal chance of getting a name. It was like a lottery.
The Name Selection Process by Afilias was this: “Registrants should apply for LR2 names through their registrar of choice. Each participating registrar will then send the requests to Afilias in the form of a queue (or batch of names). Each registrar’s queue will be processed utilizing the same randomized, round-robin name selection method employed during .INFO’s initial launch.” Nothing similar was used ever again. Nothing that I can remember anyway…
I tried using registrars that no one else was using. These were some obscure registrars in China and in Japan and other countries. Registrars with employees and could hardly understand what I was asking them. Well the problem was that they could hardly understand English. And that was understandable as their company website was only in Chinese or Japanese!!! I would visit those registrars and could understand anything. But I looked at their ads saying something about .info and I would email them asking them to catch names for me. One of them replied, I send my list and they caught about 20 tier 1 .info domains at about $50 a piece. Domains like buy.info, sexy.info, arts.info and England.info. No auction no nothing. Of course, I was in a few auctions in other registrars. In one of these auctions I spend my entire 3000 Euro on just 1 domain. Well, it was my hometown after all… Athens.info.
I think I got about 50 of these LR2 domain names. Some were very good. In fact 1 of them, paid for all the others a year later. It was England.info that sold on Ebay for $10,400. I contacted by email most of the bidders/end users before the start of the auction so it was not the usual Ebay auction.
10 years after and these 50 domains have multiplied. I now own mostly .com, .org, .info, .us, .biz and a few .net and .xxx.
I think the domain name puberty is over. Now is the time for big things in the industry.