NameSilo

Domain Microfinance Program

Labeled as discuss in General Domain Discussion started by Rob Monster, Sep 19, 2019.

Replies:
242
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11,074

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What do you think of the idea of a grant and microfinance program?

  1. Brilliant idea - Go for it!

    53 vote(s)
    42.7%
  2. Good idea but you are in for a tough run

    19 vote(s)
    15.3%
  3. Long shot but it just might work

    22 vote(s)
    17.7%
  4. You are going to lose your butt on this one

    30 vote(s)
    24.2%
Total: 124 vote(s)
  1. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO Gold Account VIP

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    As some folks here know, I am a big fan of Digital Empowerment projects that scale.

    Over the last year, I have seen lives transformed by people becoming successful domain investors on a bootstrap.

    I have been discussing with a few folks about introducing a Domain Microfinance program for emerging economies and for young entrepreneurs.

    This could be a Digital Empowerment strategy for helping people to bootstrap domain portfolios. The idea was inspired by a discussion with a young Angolan.

    The idea is this:

    - People apply to get a microfinance grant. To get the grant, they have to verify their identity. This is done in order to prevent repeat applicants.

    - Domains registered are limited to .com. With a budget of as little as $30, right now that is about 5 .com domains at a promo rate of just $5.49.

    - The domains are powered by an SSL powered landing pages which domain owners can optimize and then use to sell or lease.

    - Once the grant participants generate a certain level of sales or leases, e.g. $100, they can request an interest-free domain loan based on their portfolio.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2019
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  2. Kassey Lee

    Kassey Lee 域名世界 VIP

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    It's a long shot. Limited budget can be compensated by hard work and good research. Fresh registration is tough for a beginner. Instead, $100 will enable one to buy about 3 domains from Godaddy Closeout. It may work if one is willing to go through the thousands of Closeout domains everyday, look for the few with end user potential, then contact them directly to sell the better domains to them.
     
  3. Tia Wood

    Tia Wood Business Website Consultant VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I voted “you are going to lose your butt on this one”

    It takes a certain personality to deal with sales and do the required marketing.

    I would say up the amount to maybe $1k or even $500, limit the applicants and make people prove they have the knowledge, business plan and skill required to execute.
     
  4. Internet.Domains

    Internet.Domains Top Member VIP

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    My initial thoughts are similar to what's been shared. Five hand regs or $30 dollars may only show who is lucky, instead of who is skillful. I believe by having a larger starting budget there would be a more clear understanding on who is skillful.

    Great idea though! Good luck.
     
  5. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO Gold Account VIP

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    For context, it might help to share sample correspondence of what is actually not atypical as we do more work in emerging markets:

    upload_2019-9-18_21-53-21.png


    We are dropcatching decently. Every day about 100,000 .com drop -- not all of them are trash. Many very decent names easily worth $100 to $1000 to an end-user are dropping to General Availability. They can picked up as hand-reg. People are doing it every day. I am seeing these folks parking them with our SSL landers and then getting offers and selling. It is certainly happening but not yet at scale which is where my idea came in. It requires teaching folks to fish. It might need a compressed tutorial from @Michael Cyger's DN Academy as part of the grant program!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2019
  6. oldtimer

    oldtimer Do some good for humanity and the environment VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    At these odds (having only 5 new domains to work with) it's even hard for experienced domainers to make something happen as far as making a sale goes nevermind a new domainer who is just beginning to learn the ropes. And to put them in debt without a realistic chance to come ahead might actually hurt them more than it's going to help them since $30 might be a lot of money for them to have to pay back if they don't make a sale.

    Although I like your idea of trying to empower those who are disadvantaged (like me :)). Now instead of giving them money how about giving them some free domains to get them started. Something like 25 domains per person, not pigeon dropping domains, but domains that have a reasonable chance of getting sold for $50 to $75 each. The kind that some of the more experienced domainers here might have who don't mind donating to this cause. (just an idea, hope it helps)
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
  7. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO Gold Account VIP

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    To be clear, the initial amount is non-recourse debt. It is really a restricted grant.

    At the end of 1 year, if they did not generate sufficient sales and don't want to pay the renewal, the registered domains simply are lost and go to the expiry stream. As such, the participants have no continuing burden at all.

    In developed economies, people don't have time to buy for $5 and sell for $50. Well, in places like Indonesia and Angola, or even Gran Canaria and Serbia with 40-60% youth unemployment, they very likely do have time for this.
     
  8. oldtimer

    oldtimer Do some good for humanity and the environment VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Also you have to vet the applicants very carefully to make sure that you are not empowering the wrong kind of people specially in those undeveloped countries that might have gangs, militants, and perhaps even terrorists mixed in with the regular crowd who don't mind having an additional source of income to do their evil (worse yet they might use innocent younger people to do their bidding like the way they use child soldiers). Don't mean to be negative, but it's something to consider nevertheless.
     
  9. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO Gold Account VIP

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    Yup, there is some intake application that needs human review, plus we already have a workflow for automated ID validation. It is a grant, so people can spend 30 minutes applying for it. If it becomes really popular, it would require some process automation or volunteers to screen and support the grantees. It might not be worth the trouble but it is hard to get those emails from Angola and not want to help.
     
  10. Kassey Lee

    Kassey Lee 域名世界 VIP

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    Well, then let them acquire domains from your drops, and do the hard work of researching and contacting end users. Set up a dedicated page to provide education sources such as Domain Sherpa shows, DNW podcasts, Namepros links, Domaining.com, etc. Learning must come first.
     
  11. oldtimer

    oldtimer Do some good for humanity and the environment VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    It might be a calling for you to help those who are disadvantaged and by no means did I mean to change your mind, I believe that it is a good cause and it's worth putting some more thought into it, just have to figure out some safeguards to make sure that the right people are being helped. Maybe ask for pictures of their home, school, and some of their social activities and school transcripts like as if you are trying to adopt them.
     
  12. JB Lions

    JB Lions Top Member VIP

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    Domaining already has one of the lowest, if not lowest barrier to entry out there. Like you said, $5.49.

    I don't think getting people caught up in loans, especially people without much money is a good idea.

    If you want to help people from certain areas, have a special section for them, tell them if you reg thru Epik, hook them up with courses, like DNAcademy or something.

    I don't even follow the email above. He has a 1000 names to register, what does that mean? He already posted 703, what does that mean? Then he said he only has 1 registered name.
     
  13. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO Gold Account VIP

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    Yes, already reached out to Cyger. Funny enough a guy from Nigeria said same earlier today in response:

    upload_2019-9-18_22-48-12.png

    However, indeed there is no debt to start, and any debt would be non-recourse, secured only by the domains.

    The point is that folks can't even get started when they have no money, or no access to an electronic payment method. They have time and hustle, and some of them are highly entrepreneurial. Their domain quality is remarkably good, e.g. Nigerians.
     
  14. EZPZYO

    EZPZYO Hack IT Crack IT VIP

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    So technically it's a "Social Welfare Program for domainer's" :xf.grin:

    "We the domainer's" should form our own ".com virtual country"

    👇

    TheGovernmentOf.com (available for registration in all TLD'S :woot:)


     
  15. JB Lions

    JB Lions Top Member VIP

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    Still don't understand a lot of this. What is the 1000/703 domains stuff?

    If they have time and hustle, they don't need paid courses. They can simply put the time into reading forums like this one and blogs. It's free.

    You said domain quality relatively good. Good domains sell. So they should be making profit, take that and buy more good domains.

    Then, this isn't something I would get into in their situation, if they lack money, knowledge etc. It's investing. I wouldn't advise broke people to get into this, stocks, crypto etc. It should be something you start on the side (hopefully they have a job) and if you're good at it, you'll make money and grow from there. From what I've read, cost of living is much less than say in America, so they wouldn't need to make as much as some others. Get your hustle on like everybody else in the world.
     
  16. Josytal

    Josytal Top Member VIP

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    Good idea but you are in for a tough run.
    Unless you're ready and willing to go further than what you've just outlined.

    Consider this. 5 domains with industry average portfolio sell through rate of 1.5% per year.
    How many years will a noob need to sell 5 hand reg domains?


    In domaining money, as compared to knowledge and experience, is nothing. Unless you're ready and willing to equip your "aspirants" with necessary knowledge, then you might as well not bother yourself. Anything short of that will be good intention turn sour.

    Nonetheless, kudos. At least you're giving a thought to how to empower the less privileged.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
  17. BradWilson

    BradWilson Upgraded Member Gold Account

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    Okay, this is a very good starting point.

    This post begins the conversation towards what might become a solution.

    Next step is likely for those who like the idea, to gather all the pros and cons and filter through everything to see what comes of this idea.

    If there is a fairly good chance that it could help than it will be up to an organization with enough resources to do a trial-run and see if it would work.

    Also, how about doing some sort of community co-op where a group is funded and makes a purchase of a good quality name, a name that has been appraised high enough to make a good return.

    This can and will start the wheels turning...
     
  18. MrAcidic

    MrAcidic Account Auto-Closed Gold Account

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    ..
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
  19. BradWilson

    BradWilson Upgraded Member Gold Account

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  20. MrAcidic

    MrAcidic Account Auto-Closed Gold Account

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    Thanks Brad - will do!
     
  21. BradWilson

    BradWilson Upgraded Member Gold Account

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    But to answer your question yes you are charged $8.49 but if you don't get it the funds will be refunded back to your account.
     
  22. Dan Nayo

    Dan Nayo Established Member

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    It's hard comparing folks in places like Nigeria to the US. We've got college graduate looking for means to start cab driving, bar tending, hair grooming, just any job ete.
    You wouldn't understanding in a Million years how hard people struggle just to earn a Dollar, only to live by it, and the cycle continues till age sets in. That 5 names as little as it seems, it's an opportunity to change destiny. It may not work for everyone, but chances are someone can make it from there.
    Thanks @Rob Monster. Great initiative. And God Bless.
     
  23. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes formerly MetBob NameTalent Gold Account VIP Trusted Blogger

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    While acknowledging the concerns and caveats expressed,I like the idea a lot @Rob Monster and voted brilliant. Micro loans have been empowering. I like the idea of a very restricted start like $30. I genuinely feel that with sufficient time, and as you say the economics of time cost is very different in different regions, money can be made turning $10 into $100 and then build on that success. Epik's aggressive pricing, now extended to drop catches, makes the most of that $30 start.

    I would strongly agree with the importance of an educational component, but would add the caveat that the training should focus on learning appropriate to this domain experience. I am not saying that the idea of buying $$$ names to sell for 5 to 6 figures should not be part of it, but the main focus should be on names for $ that would sell for $$$. Ideally in time the mentors would be successful prior participants who had transformed a $30 start into a successful part-time business.

    Best wishes for this innovative and empowering idea.

    Bob
     
  24. biggie

    biggie Top Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    if I got that attachment in the mail, I would certainly discard it as a spam solicitation

    there are too many contradictions in the story for me

    maybe offer that :poop: to np members first and tell them to join the forum, then apply.

    if it's a free grant, then yeah, let me know
    i'll spend $30 of your money gambling on some hand regs anytime

    :)


    imo...
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
  25. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO Gold Account VIP

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    @BradWilson - you made a good point there about community coop. Epik owns the domain name called DomainEquity.com. It was originally intended for a domain lending platform but I am staring to see another purpose -- a registrar-agnostic domain bank.

    I think so many of us have domains with auth codes that we routinely dump. Rather than dump them on the last day of expiry, after they go through Snapnames, for example, they could certainly be made available for reg fee.

    At Epik, we have Daily Diamonds. It bottoms out at $9 + reg fee. And then we drop the domain. However, we actually have one more day that we could use from Verisign where people in a special program could pick up these domains for just reg-fee or even subsidized/discounted reg-fee.

    I think so many of us have domains we don't need and won't sell but are not junk. If these domains could be listed with an auth code, folks in a special program could sell them or buy them and sell them later.

    Also, if that part were structured as a non-profit, folks could get a tax benefit, similar to how it works with Goodwill. You donate a domain, get a tax benefit, and then Goodwill sells the item to some retail customer.

    Anyway, it needs more thought, but I think the coop idea is relevant. Governance and ownership will be important. If someone knows a good non-profit lawyer, I could use an introduction. I hear Swiss Foundations are a good structure for concepts like this one.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2019

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