Frager Factor

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Domaining’s Most Fascinating People 2010 – Monte Cahn “$300 Million Idea Emporium”


"For Monte, “the real thrill comes from the chase rather than the reward at the end.,”




Personally, I’ve never heard a bad word spoken about Moniker Founder Monte Cahn, today’s honoree for the marketing and innovation that made him one of Domaining’s Most Fascinating people of 2010.

As DNJ editor and publisher Ron Jackson reminds, Monte’s accomplishments include running the first-ever live domain auction in 2005, the richest domain auction in history — the $12 million sales event at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. New York in 2007 — and building Moniker into one of the world’s best registrars. Ron calls Moniker “a perennial favorite” among domain professionals as well as valuable corporate brands such as Marchex, Microsoft, The NHL, Major League Baseball, Lions Gate Films, and many others.

An Emporium Of Ideas. Often Copied. Always A Step Ahead.
The simple truth is, if you’ve had any success at all in domaining, then you owe some of that to Monte’s innovations in the processes of buying, selling, registering, protecting or securing domain names. Innovations like live auction, online brokerage, domain escrow, bulk domain management, Whois privacy, domain appraisal and Maxlock security, (which prevents domains from being stolen) are all ideas churned out and pioneered by Monte and then imitated by others. Monte has also opened up the domain industry to new markets — and opened other’s eyes to the value of domain names — through his multiple speaking engagements outside the industry at confabs such as Search Engine Strategies, Adtech, Webmaster World, Affiliate Summit, The Adult and Gaming Industries.

A top performing salesmen who made his mark in the healthcare industry, Monte had already helped start and sell three successful companies before starting the company featured in the circa 2000 video below and which would later become known as Moniker. Monte grew and sold Moniker TWICE in five years (its first sale was to Kanoodle/Seevast), landing it at its permanent home, Oversee, in December of 2007. Cahn remained with Oversee as Moniker’s President until last month. While with Oversee, he also acted as President and GM for SnapNames and VP of Sales for DomainSponsor in 2008. Over the past 12 years, Cahn played a key hands-on role in $300 million in aftermarket domain sales.

The Full Monte and The Biggest Deal in Domain History
“When I entered the domain business in 2002 Monte Cahn was already universally recognized as one of the industry’s most important players. That’s why he was one of the very first people I ever profiled in a DN Journal cover story,” said Ron Jackson. “At that time, back in 2003, Monte was already known for his role in producing the world’s first million-dollar domain sale (WallStreet.com for $1.03 million in 1999). A few months later, when that record was broken by Autos.com at $2.2 million in cash, guess who helped make that deal happen – once again it was Monte.”

It was then the biggest cash transaction in domain name history and many say those two deals triggered the buying frenzy that followed — and continued until a price meltdown finally hit the business.

“The really remarkable thing is how much higher Monte flew from an already lofty perch in the seven years since that story,” says Ron. “He was instrumental in creating live and online domain auctions, something we take for granted today. The only thing more interesting than what he has done is what he will do for his next encore.”

“Monte’s work efforts touch all of us,” said Frank Schilling, who is perhaps the largest auction buyer and domain register on the planet. “I liken the results of his efforts to the energy coming from an electric socket. It’s always there and nobody thinks about where it comes from. I admire his drive and diligence a great deal.”

Entrepreneurial, Focused, Dedicated. Tenacious.
Monte is a well-liked man who has always had time to speak with anyone who needs his advice. He’s also a man of great ideas and the ability to make those ideas profitable. Entrepreneurial, focused, dedicated and tenacious, Monte credits his success to getting results through people. “I’ve transformed a lot of good ideas into businesses because I had a great team to bring them to market,” he told us.

One long-time member of the team was Victor Pitts, who reflected: “After working ten years doing Website development, Monte changed my perspective about the importance of a good domain name, as well as opened my eyes to so many uses for a domain name beyond being a placeholder for a Website. He has had that effect on so many people, which has had such positive impact on the industry, as well as those people’s lives.”

“I know of no one who can convey the value of a domain name to Fortune 1000 company as well as Monte,” Victor continued. “As a salesman, he is very competitive and will ask for your business till you give in, run away, or tell him to stop it. However when he speaks about domain names, he speaks from an industry perspective and is very much an advocate of ‘coopetition’ (co-operative competition), promoting the growth of the industry in a way that everybody benefits.”

“Monte is one of those CEO's that everyone gravitates towards. His passion and vision in the industry is unquestionable and unparalleled. He has taken domain acquisitions and monetization to the next level,” says Scott Brown of US Best Names.

Monte draws successful clients like a magnet because he understand why they are successful. “They understand the market and recognize the domains that will result in the highest paying traffic,” Monte said. “They also know when and at what price to sell a domain when the right opportunity comes along. We have sold many names for our customers which funds their various business opportunities and additional acquisitions.”

Phil Yarrow, who hired Monte’s Domain Escrow Service in 2005 wrote on Monte’s LinkedIn profile: “We’ve used a number of registrars, and Monte’s is by far the best we have found. It offers a high level of security, excellent support, good value and a smartly organized domain management interface.”

No One Works Harder Than Monte To Close YOUR Sale
In addition to the innovative domaining services and record-breaking sales already mentioned, Monte also launched and hosted the first weekly domain focused Internet radio show “Domain Masters” on WebmasterRadio.fm.”

Monte is proud of his contributions to the domain industry, and rightly so. Leading domainers agree — especially Howard Neu and Rick Schwartz, Monte’s partners in the TRAFFIC auctions.

“Monte is one of the good guys in a tough business,” says Howard. Adds Rick: “Monte is one of the most well liked hardest working guys in the industry. When Howard and I started TRAFFIC, I think the first email I got was from Monte. That was a partnership that defined an industry. The first silent auction. The first live auction, and — to this day — the biggest domain auction ever with over $12 million in domains changing hands in 180 minutes.”

“Monte has great enthusiasm and marketing prowess,” says Kevin Leto, of BigTicketDomains.com. When I think of the many key leaders who have kept the industry vibrant, Monte is definitely at the front of the pack.”

Mike Berkens, the popular blogger who is also an anchor customer and a huge auction consumer adds: “Monte is without a doubt one of the smartest people in the domain business, has sold hundreds of millions of dollars of domain and more high seven figure domains than anyone. He’s a great friend, hard working and highly respected and can teach us all a lot.”

Alan Hack, of NamesPlusMarketing.com adds: “Monte is one of the hardest working people in the domain name business. Even though he has had a lot of success he continues to break new ground and pursue new heights. His work ethic and perseverance have always been an inspiration.”

The Next Mountain That Monte Will Tackle?
In my recent conversation with Monte, he was very forthcoming about what he’s going to do next. While he can’t divulge the name of his new partner nor of the firm at this time, Monte’s answer made me smile.

“I am going to use all I’ve learned, and all who I know and apply this to other people’s advantage as a management and executive consultant. I always shunned buying large portfolios for myself, believing that I could contribute more from helping those other buyers succeed by creating and supporting services they could use to rocket to the top. Today, it’s completely changed out there, with so much new competition and 200 to 500 new TLDs on the way. So I believe I can contribute at numerous levels from marketing to sales to mergers and acquisitions to board advisement and participation to IPO. Also these new and even existing extension managers will need a lot of help bringing their products to market and differentiating them for competitive advantage. I think many will fail. Most inventions and new businesses do. But those that use our experience and expertise should have a much better chance of being on the other list — the list of success.”

Are you as curious about the company name as I am? In a 2003 cover story in DNJournal, Ron Jackson asked Monte if while buying domain names for others he kept any for himself. He responded: “I still have many of my original names from 1995. Most are domain related or geared toward our business and future business ideas. I was fortunate enough to grab a few two-character and short word domains that are valuable.”

Monte’s overall advice is to entrepreneurs is to forget the recession and other roadblocks. “Over the years I faced tough competition from my OWN ideas being copied by others. My advice to anyone serious about succeeding in this business is to stay focused. When you have passion and focus you will be successful and bloom.

Monte is a one-man emporium of innovative ideas. Domaining needs more Montes.

We wish him the best of luck in his new venture even though we know he will be very successful at whatever he does.


Monte was always a believer in marketing. Like everything he did, he was first to do this press reveal and one of the only ones to have done it still. Here's the video- old and bad transfer but in hindsight imagine everything known and associated as or with Moniker was never even conceived then:

Catch up with Domaining's 20 Most Fascinating People of 2010:
Be inspired by the success of people who did the work to transform their dreams into reality: Domaining’s Most Fascinating People of 2010. These 20 diverse entrepreneurs are generating real wealth through a disciplined process that can be followed by everyone who dreams of striking it rich online. It’s old-fashioned marketing, reengineered for the digital world. Every one of these Most Fascinating People knew that the true path to revenues and riches is to build a brand with an actual business model based on differentiation, relevance and value.

10. Barbara Dillman Neu
7. Teen Domainer
15. Ryan Colby
18. Patrick Ruddell
5/6 Mike Sullivan & Fusible
15. Jeff Gabriel
19. Rob Grant
12. Rob Monster
3. Warren Royal
15. Bill Kara
20. Jeff Tinsley
13. Lori Anne Wardi
11. Mike Fiol
14. Monte Cahn

And stay tuned for daily profiles of our remaining champions...
1. Francois Carrillo
2. Jeff Bennett
4. Colin Pape
8. Adam Mazurek
9. Ron Josephs


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About The Author: Owen Frager is an Internet marketing expert ready to help take your company to the next level.

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