Frager Factor

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Adam Dicker, new Domain Hall of Famer, Pays it Forward

This year our criteria for nomination for domaining's most fascinating people of 2011 was different: we invited you to submit your own nominations: what individual has forged imagination, diligence, and discipline into bottom-line success, and who has gone far beyond domaining to leverage their success to help others in need?

We presented some of of them already, John Ferber and Merlin Kauffman, and we're inspired by their stories of altruism, of creating fresh opportunities for those who are much less fortunate.

It takes vision and commitment - and a rare perspective that sees the world with clarity far beyond personal financial success.In our ongoing question to showcase those who have done well with domaining and are doing good for others, we present our next reader nominee, Adam Dicker- another of domaining's most fascinating people of 2011.

"I like to educate people. It's a better feeling than doing something just for yourself."

Everyone reading this knows about Adam Dicker's DNForum.com, and may know that it's the most highly honored site and busiest of its kind - with some 114,000 members and closing in on one million posts. Chances are you also know about his July 2011 launch of DNFCollege.com, offering free online courses and mentoring for domainers - with some 3000 registrants so far. But what most people don't know is the single website in his long and highly profitable career that he's most proud of. More on that later...Back to DNForum and DNFCollege. More than a few domainers have challenged Adam, wondering why on earth he's willing to share valuable, even privileged information through the college with thousands of potential competitors - for free. There's camaraderie in the industry, but also intense rivalry among domainers, and Adam gets his share of slings and arrows from those who suspect ulterior motives. Are there any?

Yes. But not the kind you might expect. "What's behind all this is," he told us, "I want to help get people educated. The more educated they are, the more the industry will grow and the more value domains will acquire. We all benefit when we're all smarter about what we do. It's totally a win-win." It also goes back through his 14 years of domaining and especially his early years in the business. "When I started out, I didn't know anything. A few people took me under their wing and were very generous with their tips and tricks. So I want to help people avoid the same mistakes I made, and also to 'pay it forward' from those who mentored me back in the early days."

Experienced as he is, he has no lack of self-confidence in what he's learned and what newbie domainers need to know. "They need to know - domaining is 5% buying and 95% selling. You can easily scoop up a hundred domain names, say, for $700, but then what? Sell just one of those names for $4800, keep half and reinvest half, and you're way ahead of the game." And Adam will jump in and broker the deal for you, based on a strategy similar to the innovative real estate model of net-listing. In this arrangement, the seller sets a desired price for the property and the broker sells it for as much as possible over that, pocketing the upside difference instead of taking a commission. If there is no difference, the broker gets nothing. In brokering domains, Adam operates much the same way, but takes a percentage, like 25%, of the upside difference, with the seller getting the rest. "They're thrilled," he says, "because I make sure I don't lose any of those deals. I'll do whatever I can, like offer free DNForum memberships, to help them get more money for their names than they asked for. It's another win-win."

For his own domain work, Adam joins other top domainers in his transition out of the parking and PPC models and into developed sites designed for lead generation. Limo.ca is one, a fertile site for farming out leads to limousine companies all over Canada and generating steady revenue, and there are several more up and running and in development.

So, for 2011, what site or achievement is he most proud of? The Domain Hall of Fame? The College? DNForum itself?

"When I was at godaddy.com, one of my co-worker's sons had Down Syndrome. I went out and bought the name DownSyndrome.com, made him my partner and told him, 'you own half this site, you can build it in honor of your son.' It started small, but now it's helping thousands of people whose children have Down Syndrome, and the site itself has grown to have a lot of value. You go there, sign up, create a blog, and share your stories and experiences with other parents. It's purely an informational site - no ads, no revenue."

Adam doesn't make a dime from the site. "It's just one way I can give back to the community," he says. "It's pretty cool to help people you don't even know." He adds a compendium of his overarching philosophy: "How many lives can you touch in your own lifetime? We're not judged by what we do for ourselves, we're judged by what we can do for others."

For "paying forward" so much of what he's learned in his career, and for the many lives he's touching, we enthusiastically recognize Adam Dicker as one of Domaining's Most Fascinating People for 2011.

Photo: Adam Dicker gets inducted into the hall of Fame at T.R.A.F.F.I.C @The Ritz 2011 via DNJournal


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