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Is personal branding a good idea for domainers.

Located in General Domain Discussion, started by Kuffy, Jan 1, 2017

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  1. Kuffy

    Kuffy Name Stag VIP

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    This morning I had coffee with a personal branding consultant. I've known the guy for about a year, but I didn't understand what he did for a living, I thought he was some kind of lawyer. Some of his comments were quite interesting. For example, he believes that he can increase the profitability of tradesmen like plumbers and electrricians by the use of personal branding. This is an alternative to the more conventional company branding. He believes that clients may prefer to deal with a respected knowledgeable craftsman, rather than risking the hiring of a company apprentice at a higher price. I have some empathy with this idea.

    So how is this relevant to the domain name industry? Obviously if one is looking for a registrar, one prefers an organisation with several competent employees. How about buying a domain name, or seeking advice about a name purchase though? There are many respected individuals who are active on Name Pros, and it may be that other domainers,and even end users, would prefer to deal with the individual to obtain informed and valuable advice. In view of this, would it be better for domain dealing individuals to brand themselves, rather than attempting to create a pseudo-corporation?
     
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  2. Dun

    Dun Established Member

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    I can't think of examples except for domains owned by families running business. As for me I would always prefer to shield myself behind a legal entity for obvious legal reasons specially in the long run.
    However I would like to read different ideas about it as the OP mentioned. So let's start by defining what's meant by personal branding :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2017
  3. Kuffy

    Kuffy Name Stag VIP

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    Well the obvious example is my board nick of Kuffy. For years I used a variety of descriptive names as a basis for my domain investments. BuyAny.com is one of the current ones. I switched to using Kuffy about a year ago, so that I could make things a bit more personal, and it makes negotiations on various boards a lot easier. I'd never thought of this as personal branding until I had this conversation.
     
  4. Dun

    Dun Established Member

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    Thanks for clarifying the point Kuffy.

    So from what I read so far it appears to me that if I've to brand myself as a successful domainer I've three ways to achieve it:

    - by sharing my experience with fellow domainers
    - my sales statistics talk about it
    - sharing and doing a proof of concept

    So going out and lending a hand to others can sustain branding myself as a trustworthy and a good domainer. Unfortunately though not everyone is capable of doing it both ways: give and take.

    That why I started to think like those domainers who follow a practical way : Sell expand and without your knowledge your personal branding expands with that, be it with a nickname or a real name. You can see many good examples of them in the auctions here in NP or in other marketplaces with the same names. Those silent legends lol

    Comes the next part. After expanding enough you better think to establish a legal entity or a formal presence. What will forbid me from masquerading as kuffy in other forums just to take your prospects away from you? :xf.grin:
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2017
  5. Rory Ivey

    Rory Ivey Top Contributor VIP Gold Account

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    Is hugedomains and buydomains just companies, or also personal brands?

    I'm guessing your legal entity can still be your personal brand. My goal for this year is to establish my own brand. I'm not using my birth name, but It'll still be associated with me...Clients will know they are dealing with me. I'm just putting a professional face forward.

    But I think using your name is a great idea too. It can be done.
    I have thought of it; I just didn't want my name to be known for domaining alone.
     
  6. hxp

    hxp SuperDuperUltraRarePremiumHolographic Member VIP

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    I think a mix of both is best for domainers.

    Like "Facebook" and "Mark Zuckerberg". Both are very big, symbiotic, brands.

    I fear (considering the attitude the majority of society harbours towards domainers) going strictly down the personal branding route could have a detrimental effect to one's reputation, and personal life away from domaining.

    Having a strong business identity, yet maintaining a personal touch, is the wisest move. IMO.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2017
  7. briguy

    briguy Guru In Remission! VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Only downfall that I can think of about branding yourself is what happens if something negative happens.

    For example there is a big thread on this forum about a "guru/superstar/etc" that once had a great rep but now doesn't.

    His name might be talked negatively about for years and years..

    Now a business goes bad well probably forgotten about in a short time

    Just my thoughts. .

    P.s. when I started the internet..thought about branding "briguy" but it not that unique of a "name"..
     
  8. equity78

    equity78 Top Member TheDomains Staff TLDInvestors.com PRO VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Well Elliot Silver had a popular blog on ElliotsBlog.com but felt the need and desire to change to DomainInvesting.com, in the publication space which I am focused on, I believe that makes sense for Elliot. You may want to bring people on or sell the blog. TechCrunch.com more powerful than MichaelArrington.com.

    So as you grow I do believe personal branding could limit you. Just my opinion.
     
  9. Vito

    Vito Domain Names Matter VIP Trusted Contest Holder ★★★★★★★★★★

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    When you saying personal branding could limit you and with the example you give above, do you mean you Eliott couldn't really sell "ElliotsBlog" but he will be able to eventually sell DomainInvesting.com?

    Because if that is what you are saying, I believe the opposite is true. I believe he is more limited with the "DomainInvesting domain/brand rather than ElliotsBlog which could go in any and every direction he ever chose to.
     
  10. Domain Shane

    Domain Shane Top Member DSAD.com Staff PRO VIP ICA Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I got this one :)

    If your hope is to sell the "brand" then you need to not make it personal. At the same time, building trust in a brand is much easier to do if you put your face and name to that brand.

    As mentioned above, a personal brand is exactly that, very personal and everything you do will effect that brand. You also will have to fight off anyone that disagrees with those actions as they will try and discredit you which effects your brand image.

    I can tell you from experience that it has worked well for me from the standpoint that most people now know who I am and it is much easier to conduct business and make money. I also have had to learn how to ignore people that write articles about me, have people say awful things about me and even my family. It's easier to take emotionally when its a company.

    I have taken the same route as Elliot and renamed the DomainShane blog DSAD as there are now four partners in the business. It makes it easier to sell (I have no plans on selling) and it takes the focus off one person and on the company. DomainShane is more than just me now. Elliot is still trying to do it all himself. Trying to manage a brand all by yourself is a discussion for another day.
     
  11. Kuffy

    Kuffy Name Stag VIP

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    @Dun People pretending to be you is always a problem - how many people pretend to be Bill Gates, Obama, or Satoshi ( the Bitcoin guy). It's usually pretty obvious though, and I think it diminishes the poster rather than the target. Obviously it is handy to have the .com name associated with your brand, or another way to prove yourself is to register a Bitcoin address.

    In fact therer is nothing to stop you from having a number of businesses associated with you. For example, you may want to have separate sales sites for investment names, flip names, and adult names.
     
  12. rahul page

    rahul page Restricted (Proxy Risk)

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    but I think the other way according to me the mix of both would b the best
     
  13. 168

    168 Top Contributor VIP

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    Bloggers in the industry are doing exactly that. Branding themselves. The business name is secondary.
     
  14. Kate

    Kate Domainosaurus Rex VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Branding is important when you want to build customer loyalty. But we are selling domain names in one-off deals. We are normally not dealing with repeat buyers. We are not aiming at becoming household names.
    If they really want something that you own, then you are the sole source. Then can't get it elsewhere from a more 'reputable' entity.

    All that branding is probably unnecessary when the product is the only thing that matters.
     
  15. william ericson

    william ericson Restricted (Proxy Risk)

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    brands help everyone evrywhere, don't see how it can't help domainers too
     
  16. N-A

    N-A Account Closed

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    What I think is lacking here and hasn't been discussed yet is the emotional appeal with brands.

    It's easier to be emotionally attached to a person rather than an entity.

    One topic that was brought up by @Dun is the legal aspect of things. There's nothing stopping you from personal branding under the protection of a corporate identity (or however you wish to structure the company) where you wouldn't lose your house and shirt off your back in a total collapse. This may be a double-edged approach, though: Some may see this as one not having enough faith in their brand or service, while others see it as a strategic business move to protect all investors as there could not only be a face of a company but others that back it as well.

    Going back to the emotional connection, it's very easy to get a customer to like you, and more importantly what you do on a personal basis. This will build a good loyal customer base that will then, hopefully, increase your sales by word of mouth referral marketing. The same can be said by branding under the provided example of ABCXYZ Domain Investing Strategies, INC. Though, in my humble opinion, it would be much harder as there's some anonymity about who are the decision makers and who are doing the work for you - it could be anyone.

    It's really about personal preference on what you want to do whether it's domain related, or perhaps even retail (if you decide this isn't your industry). You see this with Ralph Lauren, etc. and designers sell because of their name. There's an emotional appeal that that one person could bring to the table as opposed to a brand that is a strategic move that costs a lot more capital to emerge.

    As far as BuyDomains and HugeDomains go, they're brands. A personal brand is being able to back your product with your name. A prime example, although they've expanded by bringing in new brokers would be Latona's.

    I must add, I've done quite well for it on a personal scale; people trust me. Maybe not people here. But, I have customers nonetheless. :-P

    TL;DR(?): Brands are much harder to catch on and require much more marketing effort than personal branding. Simplify it and think about the past 50 years with door to door salesmen. People bought from the salesmen, not necessarily based on the products they were selling, rather the approach they took to sell it, ie, the consumers fell in love with the salesmen.

    Trump is a prime example of personal branding; his name is everywhere - people even pay to license it - and that's what built his success. There are also other brands out there that have garnered a lot of market share with different names, but, if you research them, you might find it was much more difficult for them to grab the consumer's attention and earn their share.

    It's basically up to you how you want to run your business. Either way, I think it'll be successful with the right mastermind behind it; but, I believe there is less leg-work in personal branding over the traditional methods that require extensive marketing and consumer education.
     

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