Frager Factor

Friday, December 16, 2011

Michael Cyger: Raising Domain Blogging To A Professional Level.


In a market already crammed with domain name industry websites and blogs, DomainSherpa managed to carve out something different. That's why we are excited to be honoring Mike Cyger as another of Domaining's Most Fascinating People of 2011.











A Fresh Face for the Industry with a Fresh Perspective on DomainSherpa.com
Go to Michael Cyger's DomainSherpa.com, and you'll see in his logo a stylized silhouette of Mt. Everest. We think it's an apt metaphor for what so many fledgling domainers face - a long, arduous uphill climb toward the rarefied heights of domain expertise and success. There are dozens of choices of online help sources, like DNJournal and others, but for the domaining newbie the depth and complexity of some of these sites can be daunting. So how does one start the long climb? You could try the guiding hand of a site like DomainSherpa.com.

Entering a crowded field, Mike launched his site last January with the perspective and experience of publishing - where style and content need to meet the expectations of (as he says) "the average Joe." "I try to present content that industry outsiders can use and understand. It seems to them like everyone within the industry already understands how things work. That was my attitude when I first started DomainSherpa - but now that I've been doing it awhile it's clear that not everyone in the industry actually understands how things work either." The site is designed with a magazine publisher's eye for clean organization, accessible content, and regular weekly features - without the clutter of advertising.

And it's free. "We have three, and only three, DomainSherpa sponsors: DomainTools.com, the leading domain tool research and monitoring system, Protrada.com, a service for buying and selling across all major marketplaces and auction sites, and attorney David Weslow at NewMediaIP.com, an intellectual property specialist in Internet and domain name and law. We're grateful to them - they're three of the industry's top thought leaders."

Some could argue that Mike, as an ally of wet-behind-the-ears domainers, is a newbie himself and doesn't yet have all the tools to tenure himself as a leading voice of the industry. But it's not so accurate or even germane: he's been intimate with domaining technology since the late 90s and been in Internet publishing even longer. And to his advantage, he relates to the anxieties of new domainers, speaks their language, wants to distill a complicated and highly competitive field into digestible chunks - and when he doesn't have all the answers himself, he presents Skype video interviews with some of the top names in the business, complete with downloadable transcripts and audio files the audience can absorb while "commuting or excising," and often with a summary of key points. Most articles he publishes are from people who prefer to share through the written word, rather than video interview, for which he then peer reviews, creates appropriate images, and professionally edits before publishing.

The Entire Domain Life Cycle: All In One Place
Consider it the go-to place for Domaining 101, with a solid portion of Domaining 201 for those ready to toe into deeper waters. "We work along the entire domain name life cycle," he told us. "How do you determine who owns the domain name, negotiate for the domain name, how do you acquire it, what kind of legal contracts do you need if you're not going to use one of the marketplaces to purchase it, how do you make sure you don't lose it? If it gets lost, how do you get it back, how do you get your trademarked domain name back if someone else isn't using it appropriately, and how do you develop it and monetize it, and then all the way through final disposition: how do you sell a domain name?"

To this last point, Mike freshly featured on his site a 103-minute split-screen Skype interview with another of our picks for Domain’s Most Fascinating Person 2011, Adam Dicker. "It turned out to be a master class on everything you need to know to sell a domain name. We've had both newbies and experienced domainers alike raving about it, saying 'thank you, Adam, thank you, Mike, this is a phenomenal resource.' You can watch the video, listen to the interview on your MP3 player, reads it online or on your tablet as a PDF. You'll learn things I didn't even know like Adam's passion for animal domains that lead to his owning the best collection of animal names on the planet.

In spite of its following - some ten to fifteen thousand unique visitors per month - DomainSherpa.com is a powerful resource for lots of non-domainers. "If there are 100,000 people in this industry, there are magnitudes higher in technology wanting to start a new business, needing to create an online presence - so a big issue for them is how to acquire a domain name that somebody else already owns. We can point them in the right direction."

Not The “Good Old Boys"As usual
In this industry, DomainSherpa.com is about as close to a general interest online magazine as you can get, and to Mike that's a big part of his mission. "You need more publishing if an industry is to mature. You need more books and magazines, and the quality has to be of such a level that the general public will say, '"this is a developed industry, there are systems in place, there are certain procedures I can follow to accomplish a goal.' Without publications that seek a wider audience, the industry will always be just a 'good old boy' network. That limits everybody. But with more publishing, more videos, with more magazines and books, the industry reaches a large audience - larger pools of buyers and sellers, and in that situation everyone will win."

When asked about future revenue generation opportunities on DomainSherpa.com, Mike added, "I find the people and industry fascinating, exciting and full of opportunities. If I do what I love, it doesn't feel like work, I do a much better job at it, and I deliver it consistently. In addition, if I do a good job at it, opportunities will likely find me."

It's important to add that Mike has both a passion for and credentials in the science of what we might call "near-perfection" - the "six sigma" standard of (literally) just 3.4 defects per million units, first explored by Motorola in the mid-80s and soon thereafter enthusiastically embraced by Jack Welch, legendary CEO of General Electric. In the thick of the Six Sigma movement as an engineer at GE for several years, Mike acquired the drive and the knowhow to extrapolate it later to the Internet with iSixSigma.com, which served 600,000+ unique readers per month at its peak. He sold the company in 2008, the parent company recently folded, and he's now bought its assets back and is preparing for its relaunch on Jan. 1, 2012.

Hot On The Trail of Near Perfection
So if he's not posting daily updates on DomainSherpa.com, it's probably because he's hot on the trail of near-perfection. But he assures me that he's not lost any passion or drive for DomainSherpa.com publishing; in fact, he said that it should allow him to leverage his editorial staff to support more domain-related videos.

For jumping into a crowded market with a fresh, professional approach to publishing about the domain industry, for his innovative use of Skype video interviews (and transcripts and workout audio) with top domainers and thought leaders, and for his effort to reincarnate iSixSigma, we're pleased to recognize Michael Cyger as one of Domaining's Most Fascinating People for 2011.



Photo: Michael Cyger via DomainSherpa.com


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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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