NameSilo

Domain Microfinance Program

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

Replies:
242
Views:
11,189

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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. wwwweb

    wwwweb Top Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I get the opportunity cost in North America, and Europe of buying for $5, and selling for $50, you can't send 20 emails, and deal with 3 responses back, and forth for that amount of cost.

    Good point, however it has been seen when people get into this flipping of domains, in areas where the annual wage is very low, you run into a lot of people abusing trademarks, and such, and that gives the whole industry a black eye, as these people do not fear any legal recourse.
     
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  2. Rob Monster

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

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    We would have to make the application process just tedious enough to weed out the self-dealing opportunists and freeloaders. I am thinking about a more sincere and (literally) hungry demographic that are more hardship cases.

    As for the email, that you describe as spam, I believe this particular guy is sincere though his ambitions clearly exceed his wallet. The email thread included a list of names he wanted to chase but couldn't. His instincts looked on target.

    And yes, these folks should be encouraged/required to join NP as part of the workflow. The talent here is an obvious resource and there are folks with domains who could benefit from doing low cost leases with exclusive purchase options with these folks.
     
  3. oldtimer

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

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    just woke up and came up with a new idea in my sleep :$::$::$:

    Lets create a pool of 500 domains, some donated by Epik, and some donated by the many fans (312 so far) who “Liked” Rob's post about the special discounts that they are getting and who might want to give something back in return. Then put these 500 domains in an Epik's escrow account and with no upfront cost or without setting any dollar figure have the people that you want to help to try to sell domains out of this pool. Let people keep the money from their first sale, then half the proceeds from their second sale should be divided among the other participants in the program and the other half should be used to add some domains from the drops to the pool of 500 domains to replenish it, then the person can keep the money from their third sale and go on to alternate for each sale afterwards. This way the more talented and lucky persons who are good at making sales will also help the other participants in the program. (This is of course after you have vetted the participants and put them through a crash course in domaining).
     
  4. Rob Monster

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

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  5. wwwweb

    wwwweb Top Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Everyday I wake up to inquiries from India, Nigeria, Indonesia, South America etc... 99.999% of these inquiries are not going anywhere, but doesn't mean these people are not useful, or can't have a good business plan, it's just they are handcuffed, and have limited means.

    Why not create a modern day incubator, much like what CMGI used to be, make it part of the Epik enterprise, do good, and add share capital at the same time. I don't think someone is going to get far with $30, but $500-$1000 they can probably move mountains in some places, where as in North America that might cover the dinner bill for a night out with the team.

    You have everything in house the domains, the hosting, and many more tools, most people have ideas, but not the financial resources to see them thru.
     
  6. Rob Monster

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

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    You are totally right -- I am saying that the grants would start at $30 but someone who wants to build some other kind of digital empowerment solution could get more. The applicant could indicate whether they wish to make their application proprietary or whether they would make the finished product replicable for others. There is no right answer there since wealth and capitalism are not inherently bad.
     
  7. Ategy.com

    Ategy.com NameCult.com Gold Account VIP

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    NOTE: I accidentally posted a post that I later added to in another tab .. the blue italics is what was added/modified.


    Despite the good intentions, you're really inviting a disaster.

    At the end of the day the vast majority of people do not succeed at domaining.

    Add to that the unfortunate fact that people living in less well-off countries generally do not have the language and/or branding/marketing knowledge to select domains that would even have the 1-2% average chance of selling.

    With 5 domains even at an extremely generous 2%, we're talking 1 sale every 10 years. Effectively more than 90% will fail to make a sale with 5 domains in their first year *IF* they pick good domains.

    Admittedly that number could go up with aggressive outbound, but the likelyhood is that the quality of domains will not be conducive to significantly more success.

    Like @JB Lions .. I'm highly sceptical of the quality of those 700-1000 domains (feel free to email a small sampling to me if you'd like .. I have more than enough domains to choose from my private lists to ever bother stealing anyone else's .. lol)

    Enrolling people in @Michael Cyger's Domain Sherpa involves both time and money. I've privately helped a good deal of newcomers to the industry via PM/email, and I can say that presuming anything above a small fraction of people will really grasp everything that is needed to build a solid foundation in the industry is a big mistake. Domaining is not easy .. and teaching domaining can be a monumental challenge (there is NOBODY better than @Michael Cyger for that, but even he can't work miracles, particularly in the short term .. DNAcademy is long because there is a lot to learn before someone can even begin to be good at domaining .. there are no real shortcuts if you really want to be a successful domainer). So as bad as it is already, that rate of non-successful domainers gets amplified significantly the moment language and cultural barriers are added into the mix.


    I most certainly am not saying that a super minority of very dedicated and very smart individuals could overcome that obstacle, but even then with $30 most will fail to get lucky even with good domains.

    You also need to ask how much time and energy it's going to take to support and maintain this effort?


    With zero actual equity in the domains you're also looking at the extreme likelihood of outbound spam, which effective hurts the entire industry as it lowers what people think of domains as a whole when too much non-targeting and non-personalised emails are sent.


    All that said, one idea that could be a little less overwhelming is to have a similar program available strictly on a referral basis. Meaning that if someone in your group of successful domainer contacts sees someone who shows a lot of potential (via consistent quality forum postings), they could point them out to you for an invitation to participate ... then maybe you might have a higher average quality of domainer to give a tiny bit of hope.


    All that said .. the way you're talking sometimes, it seems like there's an excess of domain buyers at Epik (I need to switch from parking to landers ASAP it seems .. lol) .. if that's the case, then the probabilities obviously get skewed upwards.


    So good on you for trying to think of a way to help others .. unfortunately I just don't see this working unless it encompasses a significant domain education and significant oversight as to the quality of domains .. which kinda defies the point anyways.


    I'm curious to know what sort of volume you had in mind and how liberal you were going to be in terms of accepting people? More importantly how you were planning to ad a layer of quality control for the domain acquisitions?
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
  8. Ategy.com

    Ategy.com NameCult.com Gold Account VIP

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    I accidentally submitted an older version of my post above in a different tab .. the blue italics is what was is different/added from what some of you might have first read.
     
  9. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes formerly MetBob NameTalent Gold Account VIP Trusted Blogger

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    One way to maybe mitigate possible downsides would be to start with a very selective program. Have a rigorous application process, which would include passing an online quiz re some basics about domain names and submitting a plan of what they want to do. This is enough work to discourage those who are not genuinely serious, and also if the quiz was properly structured it would insist on some basic familiarity with TM issues, spam rules, and the basics of domain name quality indicators. Just an idea.

    The down side would be it is not the big impact door, but maybe if one limited it to say 10 people in year one, and then that was successful, could expand in year two to 100, with some of those 10 serving as mentors.

    I like the aim of what you are trying to do @Rob Monster and I still think it could work, maybe spectacularly, as well as possibly shake up the industry a little. But concerns @Ategy.com and others have made should not be discounted.

    Thanks to all for an interesting discussion.

    Bob
     
  10. Ategy.com

    Ategy.com NameCult.com Gold Account VIP

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    Unfortunately I don't think having only 10, or even 50 people in the program would justify the time and energy and resources needed to set up such a program. You're talking thousands in technical development .. plus countless hours of screening and education .. all to give $300 (30 x $10)?

    For something like this to work and be worthwhile it needs scale .. but the unfortunately irony is that you can't scale quality domainers.

    Which takes me to your mentorship idea, which sounds good in theory, but remember that even all 10 pick 5 good domains, on average only one or maybe two will have a sale by the end of the year.

    I don't mean to disrespect fellow NP'ers .. but the majority of domains we see here from relative newcomers are quite simply not good and will never sell at any price.

    So unless there's quality, then it's basically Rob/Epik donating money into what will effectively be a mostly empty bottomless pit.
     
  11. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes formerly MetBob NameTalent Gold Account VIP Trusted Blogger

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    Not me I think that is you :xf.wink:.

    I am a small view person, I see Epik announcing the program and setting up an application page along with criteria. Ideally would work well if it was joint with NamePros, not sure if that would be possible.

    As a start to learning I would see a single page linking to the most appropriate content on NamePros. Yes a tiny bit of work. There are tons of good things to read here. A moderated selection is already largely in beginners section.

    In order to apply they would have to correctly answer say 20 questions about domain names. Yes, I agree a little bit of technical detail and human work, but content management platforms like open source Moodle and hundreds of others support it. Or I would think Epik who are so advanced technically could do their own solution fast. Yes it could be gamed as all online testing, but the main purpose is to make sure people have done basic reading.

    They submit in written form an application. Yes, someone needs to read those, and it depends on how many applications. If not too onerous, I think volunteers from NamePros would come forward. Maybe limit applications in year one to a certain number, maybe by region or in some other way.

    Epik set the chosen 10 up with an account and $30 prepaid. The 10 successful applicants are responsible for what they do. I am talking Rob's original idea here, not the 500 co-op one although that is interesting.

    The ongoing learning could be something as simple as a monthly newsletter subscription list plus a discussion board here or elsewhere plus ideally a one-one mentor relationship. NamePros have 1 million members. Would 10 volunteer to answer questions from a single year one applicant? If the answer is no, well that says something about us doesn't it? Think of how much time @Rob Monster has put into helping individuals here. Surely 10 of us would volunteer to provide one-one mentoring for a year to someone who with success it could be life transforming?

    I agree IF the sell through rate is only 1 to 2% then it would get little traction cause possibly no one would sell one domain in a year. I am not convinced that highly motivated people who think outside the box could not do much better than that. I mean we have a thread here with someone who sold I think it was 18 in the first month or so.

    The idea of concentrating only on 5 domain names until they sell, is wise as a starting approach for anyone. The idea of serving those who now are not buying any from the aftermarket, the tiny businesses that could scrape together $200 for a domain name if convinced it would make a difference to their business, are the clientele.

    Would be nice to have an annual online event to acknowledge those who were successful. Like a video hookup to NamesCon where you meet five people from around the world who started on domaining and had a 50% sell through rate in their first year.

    Those who benefit from the program should have some obligation to mentor in year two.

    So I would invest as little as possible in year one. Don't spend thousands and months building something you may decide you don't want to scale. Give 10 selected people $30 and point them to the right background to starting out in this industry.

    If that works, then decide if scaling to thousands makes sense, in which case you definitely would want some kind of MOOC structure for the learning.

    Just call me an optimist. I think small. And big.

    Bob
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
  12. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes formerly MetBob NameTalent Gold Account VIP Trusted Blogger

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    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
  13. jberryhill

    jberryhill Top Member John Berryhill, Ph.d., Esq. VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Incidentally, for those who were playing "Bad Redaction Sweepstakes" at home, it is SONAGRID.COM

    Registrant Organization: Massungo
    Registrant State/Province: Luanda
    Registrant Country: AO

    https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/b4a5/eff4841a47d1143b40f2f72644029ce7bb56.pdf

    "The Chokwe people of Angola and Congo, and related peoples of the Chokwe-Lunda cultural groups, have a drawing tradition, done both in sand drawings and occasionally on more permanent objects, that has attracted a substantial amount of mathematical attention. Although their sona (singular “lusona”) drawings arise in several different forms, one of the most common, and the most mathematical, consists of a grid of dots with a curve passing through the grid, “bouncing” off the external boundary of the grid, to form a single continuous curve. "

    [​IMG]
     
  14. JB Lions

    JB Lions Top Member VIP

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    It's just not a mentorship type business. You're not teaching somebody how to weld, to be an electrician etc. It's not a group activity, besides the discussion. First 2 words under the logo tells you what it is. Buy, Sell. You put in the work to learn the business. You decide what to buy. You decide what you do after you get a domain, landing page, ppc, form etc. You decide what to sell it at. I think too many times people who are new, used to being an employee have come here asking to be mentored. It's an employee/slave type mindset where they want somebody to tell them what to do, do A B C then you'll get some result. It's not how it works. We're competitors, we bid against each other, go after some of the same names etc.

    With this, there is a high rate of failure and we want to do this with somebody who doesn't have money, where English isn't their native language, who is new to the business? They'll buy a few names that might never in their life get an offer, or maybe it takes years. If they have any skill whatsoever, they'll find a way, even with not much money. We have people in this forum from those countries that have.

    I mentioned electrician even before reading this post:

    That's not this type of business.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
  15. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes formerly MetBob NameTalent Gold Account VIP Trusted Blogger

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    Thank you for your comments, here and earlier in the thread, and you make many good points, @JB Lions

    I may have caused confusion through my choice of the word mentor, which I did not mean at all in the training type use say in a trade. I rather meant it in the way it is used in graduate education, and to degree undergraduate and high school particularly for certain activities like say science or robotics.

    My idea of mentorship was simply there would be a person that the new domain investor would be able to ask questions to on a one-one basis. I did not mean in the sense that the mentor would design a learning program, and I agree with you that is not reasonable. Rather I would see it as something like early on they might seek help as to where best to list domain names, or how to use NameBio to find comparators in a sophisticated way, or what to include in a lander description, etc.. Not as instruction, but say if they were stuck with something. At times it would just be encouragement, pointing out that it is normal to wait a long time between queries.

    There is no doubt that mentorship does not always work. But it can.

    Bob
     
  16. JB Lions

    JB Lions Top Member VIP

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    All that goes to what I mentioned. We have people in this forum, from those countries that are making money. They have actual time, hustle, work ethic etc. Domaining is open to everybody. And if somebody needs help, they simply ask. Most people here are very helpful. It's all free. It's all already there for them, they have to show some actual go-getter type attitude, not some come and hold my hand type of deal. Those type of people will just fail in the end. This isn't for them.

    I saw this type of stuff even in the affiliate marketing forums, where I started with. Somebody would come and ask for a mentor. Am I supposed to show this person how I make a coupon site, how I rank, other tips and tricks. I'm basically creating a competitor, there is only so much room on page 1 in the search engines. There is a line from helping somebody to doing yourself in, hurting your business.

    An example with domaining. Sometimes I see these current trend or what's hot threads. Some are obvious like cannabis, so you're not really leaking anything. Some are things I've never heard of. Somebody found something that was hot and just posted it on a domaining forum. Congrats, you just created more competition for yourself. So the next day you might be bidding on a domain at Namejet, now you might notice some more people that weren't there before. Was that smart? I used to own the Kumquat domain market, until somebody started a thread on it, wiped me out. Thanks @NPer Now when I see a good Kumquat domain, it's overrun with domainers from Namepros, just bidding me up way too high. It's just not profitable for me anymore.

    https://www.namepros.com/threads/showcase-and-discuss-kumquat-cumquat-quat-domains.800149/

    Was just rereading that thread, page 1:

     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
  17. tonyk2000

    tonyk2000 Top Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I voted for the last - "you are going to lose your butt". Cannot say better -
    Moreover. In order to become a successful domainer, one needs to have enough knowledge in a number of specific areas. Such as - what is branding, how it works. What are trademarks. How are brands created. Some extra language skills (like basic written latin terms, as latin is the mother of many languages) are also necessary. Etc, etc, etc. If, for example, somebody joins domaining and is only capable to participate in open expired auctions on dropcatch or godaddy, where somebody else placed an initial bid - he will fail, earlier or later. Also, if a newbie domainer is only capable to handreg domains - he will fail, earlier or later.

    A registrar/marketplace simply cannot, and should not, invest in grants or loans. Not its business. Unless it needs new customers so badly that it is ready to spend extra time, efforts and money on different unrelated things that may potentially bring new customers. Or to formally increase the number of active customers in its accounting records. Which I do not think to be the case with Epik registrar...
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
  18. frank-germany

    frank-germany domainer since 2001 / musician Gold Account VIP

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    are you dissing older people???????
    and first world people?????

    -just kidding-

    it's nonsense anyway

    what do you think a "young entrepreneur"
    can achieve with 5 handregs?

    I mean in what time span?
     
  19. bmugford

    bmugford www.DataCube.com PRO ICA Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I think several of the commenters here have already highlighted many reasons why this is not going to work.

    If someone is serious about the field they need to read and learn first. You can get a basic education for free with the resources out there.

    As others have mentioned, most people in this field fail.
    Buying (5) domains is not going to do much to change that.

    There needs to be serious vetting, with larger budgets to have any chance.

    Brad
     
  20. oldtimer

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

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    Another Option (Maybe better):

    Each person keeps 1/3 of each sale they have made from the pool of 500 domains, another 1/3 from each sale is divided between all participants in the program and the last 1/3 is used to replenish the pool by buying from Epik domains (mainly from the drops and daily diamonds) and to pay for renewals for the domains that they want to be kept in the pool.

    Also make the program self-sustaining so that the more experienced participates can help the new arrivals.

    PS: The initial domains donated by Epik and members here should have at least six months before expiration, or better yet should be renewed before they are donated.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
  21. JB Lions

    JB Lions Top Member VIP

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    You're still not getting it, this would be a disaster. Still not a group activity, it doesn't work.

    Anybody that would join such a group, would not be successful on their own, that's why they would join. So you have a bunch of people that don't know what they're doing, trying to make decisions. Anytime you get a group together, some are going to rise to the top, some to the bottom. Ask yourself, why would someone at the top be a part of this? When they can make their own money. The people at the bottom basically become parasites, it's a parasitic relationship. You had baseballworld start some group deal, he turned out to be a scammer - https://www.namepros.com/threads/domain-investing-and-website-development-group.977386/

    https://www.namepros.com/threads/reviews-of-baseballworlds-investing-and-development-group.1003582/

    These type of things usually turn out to be a bunch of people hoping there is somebody that knows what they're doing and them trying to get a cut of that. You'll have disagreements, you'll have people leaving, you'll have people saying so and so is not pulling their weight etc.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2019
  22. Rob Monster

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

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    Thanks @JB Lions, the devil is in the details, and I appreciate that you are playing devil's advocate. :)

    What kind of intake/screening questions would you use to root out the bottom-feeding parasites? The screening questionnaire could automate the process of separating the high potentials from the leeches.

    To be clear, I am actually fine with the idea of giving a "Hand up" but not trying to just give a "Hand out"

    So, the idea has to be to teach a man/woman to fish, not just to give them a fish, or worse, to give them money to buy spoiled fish.
     
  23. JB Lions

    JB Lions Top Member VIP

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    Have no idea how you would do that. I would just link them to the Beginner's Forum - https://www.namepros.com/forums/domain-beginners.25/

    And tell them to get their read on. After reading, ask questions of the members here for things they don't understand. There are also some free ebooks on domaining floating around. Link to those.

    I would be curious for the people you're talking about or people on this forum that have asked for a mentor, if you asked them this. How many hours have you spent reading that Beginners Forum/Namepros. If they said half hour, haven't read it yet, something along those lines, you can tell they don't have it.

    You have to put in the work, you should be a self starter. When I first started getting into this, I read night after night. I had so many text documents where I took notes, I had spreadsheets where I listed every domain sale over $100,000 and then found corresponding sales of the same keyword in other extensions. After awhile I got a feel for what they should be selling for. I bought names, sold names, lost money etc. Study, ask questions, jump in.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2019
  24. HappyW

    HappyW Owner of NamesMaker.com Gold Account

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    It's important to clarify a premise: Investment or Production.
    If the liquid of this industry is only between investors, then you will eventually fail, even if you do very well.
    If the Domain can get a loan, first it needs to be productive, can really join the market, and second, the popularity of programming ability is very important.
    So,I don't think it's appropriate to develop loans now. But I appreciate and understand what you're doing.:)
     
  25. Rob Monster

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

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    I try to listen to all my critics. :) And I am going to disagree with you.

    Let me show you why.

    Earlier today, the domain aarmus.com dropped. It is an available hand-reg right now for $5.49 at Epik. Anybody could register it -- no fancy dropcatching required.

    Now, there is this site:

    https://www.aarmus.in/

    There used to be a company called Aarmus.com.

    Another example is Tionli.com. There is this site:

    http://mitionli.com/

    They call themselves Mi Tionli, so Tionli.com is a URL shortener. This domain is available too from today's drop. I found these in less than a minute with @Gube's primitive screening tool:

    https://dropelf.com

    A potential registrant could buy these speculatively, or taste it with an Epik tasting account, or they could just contact the local registrant and see if they want to take a look at it.

    Now, a guy like you or I might have no time for that scouting duty. On the other hand, someone else might have the time to find someone to buy or lease those domains.

    Imagine a guy can buy a $5 domain and turn that into a $5/month lease stream or even just a $100 exit. Is that a crazy scenario for someone with a cell phone and an internet connection? I don't think so.
     

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