Frager Factor

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Frager Factor Gems: Skip Hoagland: Don't Be A Google Prostitute

This second of three articles appeared in 2009 in conjunction with a now declassified "Domain Success" VIP Interview you can download for FREE right here.


"Well, I think the sky's the limit for somebody that wants to go to work and get a real job. I think if you're going to sit back and you want to be these guys that I talk to that want to brag about not having to work and collecting money and be one of the Google and Yahoo prostitute girls, it ain't going to happen."

Part 2 of 3: Jeff Zbar interviews Skip Hoagland on Domain Success
Jeff: So, talk to me about development of a site like chairfighting.com. Where do you see something like that going as far as being able to draw in advertisers? You could get the yachting companies, you could get the fishing equipment companies, you could get the destinations. Is that where we go with something like that?

Skip: Well, we're going to go a little bit all over the board. We're going to have equipment companies, the reel and rod companies, the chair companies, and the line companies. It'd be a good way to test their products. We'll have sponsorships. We'll do this interactively at a lot of boat shows and a lot of venues. I didn't buy half of this company to necessarily think about hitting a home run with this concept as a company. In fact, the guys that are my partners in this, I want them to make the bulk of the money off of this deal. We want to use it strictly to promote and have some YouTube videos of this sport on our fishing and flyfishing and just as a way to promote fishing and flyfishing at these different venues. So that's why we bought it. But fishing and flyfishing, those two names are probably two of the greatest names in our company, because the business model for both of those are just tremendous. It's kind of like Cuba.com, it's just a homerun, and we got very lucky when we were able to be able to buy these brands.

Jeff: Talk about EnthusiastSports.com. Is that what it's called?

Skip: EnthusiastSports.com, yeah. I want to comment, well, I guess we can tie that in with . . . well, we'll talk about that and I know there is some other stuff you wanted to ask me down the road. Yeah, EnthusiastSports is a network. And I want to comment that I am real big on networks. I think networking is huge for me. Networking is about people in your same industry that are noncompetitive with you, that can do just the simplest of things together without having to be in business to benefit each other. And EnthusiastSports is a perfect example of that. And the power behind what I'm getting ready to tell you could just be unbelievable, especially getting the attention of advertisers like Nike and Reebok and all these types of people that are involved in the enthusiast sport category.

Enthusiast sport takes in about 80 sports on our planet. Anything from cricket to rugby to football, soccer, basketball, tennis, golf. There's about 80 of them. You start thinking, you know, bowling, chess, it keeps on coming to you. Scuba diving. All these specific names, like fishing and flyfishing and hunting and horse racing and motorcycle racing, these are all owned by somebody. There are about 80 people who own these names, and some own multiples of these names, like we do. There is probably about 60 owners. So what happens is as these guys develop their sites, we're going to create this EnthusiastSports.com network, and we are simply going to say hey guys, let's just, I'll put all you guys on the home page of fishing.com under EnthusiastSports.com so when somebody comes to fishing, they can also click onto football, basketball, soccer, bowling. I'll send traffic from my site, you send traffic to my site. But when we all join together, this becomes a tremendous traffic driver for all of us and it also becomes a way that we can all come together and get the attention of some of the big national and international advertisers.

So that's what that's about. It might end up that we go further than just cross linking. We maybe all create an EnthusiastSports.com association and we do something that was my original concept, when Josh Metnick and I started Associated Cities early on The concept was, hey Josh owns Chicago.com, I own Atlanta.com and a number of others. Let's start this association for city.com owners worldwide. And that was our concept to cross link, drive traffic, attract national advertisers, all come together, we could all email each other, learn from each other, share ideas, and that was the vision. That's working and that's since expanded to Associated Geos, which is now is a network, that is limited to pure city.com owners, pure state.com and pure country.com owners. And then knowing that that was going to be successful, that was when I went off and invested into the category of geo domains and bought GeoDomains.com with Steven Morales who at that time, and still is running, SimplyGeo.com and GeoDomainer. I bought into that as a way of us promoting and launching a network of all geo owners helping the little guy, not just the elitist and the big guys like Associated Geos perhaps represents but starting an association and a blog and a social network for the little guy, the guy who owns AtlantaDoctors.com or NewYorkDentists.com or LondonRestaraunts.com, or whatever and maybe in China, in a Chinese language, in .cn or .com or .net or .org. We'd basically open up for everybody with every conceivable name as long as it was in the geo space. So the way that's defined is a yellow page directory, categories from A to Z in every language, every TLD would be qualified for GeoDomains.com.

Jeff: I was going to ask you about your top tips to successful monetization in the domain space. I mean its' really about the partners. It's really about the networking. It's about I guess realizing that this is not about Skip and what Skip can do alone. Its' about what the many can do together, you know, a rising tide raises all ships. So if you're a ship and your allies out there are ships, this raises it. What other concepts, what other tips have you exercised for successful monetization in the space?

Skip: Well, you know, the perfect capitalist way of conducting yourself, it's all about you help others and you help yourself and that's what we believe in. We believe that the top four things, not top three things, but top four things that you can do are probably, and I'm hoping I'm answering your question here. Do me a favor. Ask your question again because I think I didn't follow you totally. Ask me again real quick.

Jeff: Top three tips for successful monetization.

Skip: Okay. I'm going to give you the top four tips. That's where I got lost. I went to the top fours instead of the top three. You've got to have a proper design and development team, very important. You've got to have a proper management team. And you've got to have the best .com brand name you can get your hands on. And .com is obviously going to be the way to go. It's going to help you out a lot to have that. And then you've got to have direct advertising sales and get away from PPC. Those would be the four that I would say. And then, I think as far as the pitfalls, I'd go reverse that and that would be the pitfalls to avoid.

Jeff: So don't do PPC, don't have a weak management team, don't go for lousy .com, and don't have a lousy design and development team.

Skip: That's it.

Jeff: Let's say I own some domains. I think I can develop them. I think I can sell them. But I couldn't sell fire to somebody with a bunch of raw meat to be cooked. You know what I am saying? Suppose I was a terrible salesman. Is it okay to bring in an ad sales organization, somebody who would go out and sell your stuff as opposed to doing it yourself

Skip: Absolutely.

Jeff: I guess there are partners you can bring in to do that too.

Skip: Absolutely. And we're working on some of that stuff now. Well, I'm from the magazine world, so I think that with the Geo, now I'm not talking about all the categories, but in a Geo category, perhaps the local city magazine or a tourist magazine in your market, could be a good person to approach. And then, I also happen to think that local TV and billboards, I think billboard companies are ripe right now. And I would give the advice to people that because there are so many empty billboards in everybody's cities right now, these billboard companies are looking for ways to create more dollars for their company and they're very open, at least the ones we've talked to, for having dialogue with us to see about doing something as an example, like with HiltonHead.com free classifieds, free yellow pages. That would get the attention of the local yellow page directory, and it'd get the attention of the newspaper for sure. So, then what happens when people come into these sites, and we've actually developed models for this, we've got CityClassfieds.com, which is another network we are creating for city classified owners worldwide. You own, whether it be DenverClassfieids.com or HiltonHeadClassfieds.com, LasVegasClassified.com or whatever name you own that you can join the city classified network. So, we've developed some stuff for that.

We just launched a very interesting, very simple site for yellow pages under AtlantaYellowPages.com to tie in with our Atlanta.com brand. We think that what can happen there is you just tell the billboard, we'll split with you 50/50. Let's go into competition with the newspaper, let's go take away the yellow page stuff, we'll put free classifieds, free yellow pages. People come into the site to HiltonHeadClassifieds.com and they come in and put their free listing and then they say, "I'd like to add some photos or videos or enhanced listing. I'd like to get a better position, and it'll be worth $9.95 or $15.95 for me to do that." And that's where the money is going to come from. This is how ultimately I think these two old media industries are going to go down. Newspapers are not going to be able to withstand the onslaught of guys like us as well as Craigslist, eBay, and the yellow pages are going to be history as well.

Jeff: You know, as I said early on, I write about advertising, marketing, and publishing for a number of publications including "Ad Age," "South Florida Sun Sentinel," and we've seen the demise, this slow bloodletting as it were of the traditional media and that they've had such a hard time, they've been in such a great position with ad sales teams, penetration for brand name, with reporters and people who can really make it happen. And they've lost their way. And it's kind of sad but when you believe in sort of Darwinism of the economies, survival of the fittest, and their ability to either make change or sort of be taken out of existence. It's sad but its' the nature of things.

Skip: It's just the way it is. The Internet is just that powerful now, and that's why you've got to be part of it. It just makes sense. Look, maybe there are some of us on this telephone call, maybe there's not many. I get all my information on my computer, but I still read "Wall Street Journal." I like the editorial and the information. I get a lot of good information from "Wall Street Journal." But if they lose their classifieds, it's like taking the heart out of your body. It's the smallest organ of the body, but the rest of the body doesn't run without it. Most of these newspapers, their classifieds are 50% and more of their profit. And if they lose their classifieds, they can't afford to print the product.

Jeff: Absolutely.

Skip: That's it. I mean it's just the end of story.

Jeff: I'm going to put it out there. We've asked a couple, opened it up to questions in the field. We'll ask one more time before we head into the home stretch. If anyone has any additional questions, feel free. You just click on the questions area, and you can ask a question. It will pop up and we'll give it a throw toward Skip. Let's ask you one more from me. Where do you see tomorrow taking the savvy domainer out there?

Skip: Well, I think the sky's the limit for somebody that wants to go to work and get a real job. I think if you're going to sit back and you want to be these guys that I talk to that want to brag about not having to work and collecting money and be one of the Google and Yahoo prostitute girls, it ain't going to happen. I mean, the example is a guy walked up to me at one of these conferences I went to and said, "Yeah, man, I'm making a million dollars a year off of 20,000 names." And I looked at him and said, "Man that's great, that's really great. Well, you know we're making that much off of one name." So, the moral of the story is you can sit back and PPC if you've got 20,000 names and maybe you can make some money, but that money is going to be going down. But you can take one great name and put a 50 storey building on it and perhaps make the same amount of money and maybe make the value of that one property equivalent to all the rest. So, there's a good message there. So, I think the sky's the limit for people who want to work and operate like a real company, and I think it might not be so bright if they don't.

Jeff: You know, it's interesting you say that. One of the other things I do is I write and speak about working from home. The one thing I don't do on my website ChiefHomeOfficer.com is talk about get rich quick schemes. I don't talk about MLM. I don't talk about things that people are selling you that you can resell that you can get mom to buy a garage full of goodies so that you make a little bit of scratch off of it. You know, if there's not some sweat equity involved, then there's probably someone above you making a lot more than you are. It's all about Skip and Jeff and Owen and the others out there making their own money in their own way.

You're a wealth of information. Do you tweet, do you blog, do you have a Facebook? Can people can connect with you or read what you have to say or they have to go to "DN Journal" or Gratitude Series?

Skip: Yeah. They kind of have to go to these other places and learn what I'm talking about. I'll be honest with you, I follow and, of course, we own some social networks and blogs and stuff like Geo Domainer and I follow and GeoDomains.com and SimplyGeo.com. I follow a lot of these. I follow "DN Journal." Ron Jackson, tremendous job, the way he covered my story, my July cover story in "DN Journal" was tremendous. I follow a lot of this stuff, but I don't have time. I've got very little time. I have a plan, I know what it is, it's set for the next 20 years, which will take me to the end. We fully understand what we have to do. We know how we have to do it and what it's going to take to get there. We are just 100% focused. We have no confusion in what we need to do. With all the domain names we've got and all the development and all the growth that we've got, our destiny is pretty set here. So to answer your question, I don't do a lot of it. I just follow it in the background. I just don't have time.

Jeff: There you go. A question from the field and if I understand it correctly, someone asked can we get written contracts from Skip. I wonder if they are asking if they can get sample contracts, or is there a place for them to turn to see how some smart domainers are crafting their contracts?

Skip: They will. Eventually what we are going to be doing is making kind of a sideline business out of this for geo domains. We're going to launch all these legal agreements. We're working with my lawyers. Steven and I have bought GeoBusiness.com, and we're going to launch the contracts that we are going to keep on improving on. And then we are going to sell these template contracts for a very minimal amount of money. I mean, I'm talking a hundred bucks, two hundred bucks, and then you can take these blank contracts and take them to the lawyer in your state. It will save you a lot of legal fees, having to develop them. We've already done that for you. Just go ahead and change around the laws and tweak them a little bit to what you are doing. You'll have what we hope to be a 100% contract for you and getting it at a very low cost. It's hard to find agreements like this anywhere. You cannot find them on LegalZoom. These contracts just don't exist.

Jeff: Are geo contracts significantly different from other contracts?

Skip: I think so. At least the way we do it. Again, we've defined our costs. We work on more of the gross versus the net, and we've got a few other unique things that we've built in. We think we've done some things that are unique. And again, it depends on what you're talking about. We've tweaked some LLCs, standard LLCs to kind of match what we are doing and management agreements, and options to buy into the LLC if you're the management or the partner doing some work. There's little things that are mixed in, which is what people need to know about. You can't just take a standard LLC off the Internet and expect to get all the magic that you need and that you're looking for.

Jeff: Absolutely. Another quick question from the field asked about yesterday SuperPages.com, Idearc, and RH Donnelly might be seeking bankruptcy protection. Do you think that will have a fall out in the marketplace?

Skip: I don't think so. I think they're just going to be replaced. All these guys are just going to be replaced. They are just going to be falling left and right, and the old media is going to be taken over by the new media. I look at my job as being, and that's why I renamed my company this last year Domains New Media and Geo Domains New Media. Our job is to take out of the pockets of the old media and put in new media. The day is over, the show is over. It's just not going to happen. The Internet is just going to take all this sort of stuff over. That's it.

Jeff: Do you have anything other than someone's asking, saying that .com is king but what do you think of other TLDs such as .mobi, which is for mobile? Do you believe in any others? Do you hold any others? Or is .com all you need?

Skip: You know what? I just tell everybody to go after the .com. I don't think about .mobi that much. I haven't seen that much from it. .travel was a complete disaster. That's never going to happen. .org, .net, certainly in some cases, if you have the marketing clout behind it, you can drive people to them. But when you own that .com, you get a lot of the, it's like Atlanta.net, Atlanta.org and Atlanta.com. If the Atlanta.net and Atlanta.org guys go out and spend $500,000 on marketing, people probably are not going to put down that newspaper, that magazine or that television station they just saw, they're probably going to go to their computer and their probably going to intuitively type in Atlanta.com and we're going to get 50% of their traffic and we didn't have to spend a penny.

Jeff: There you go.

Skip: So that's the name of that game. That's why I tell people to stick to .com because it reduces your marketing costs.

Jeff: Somebody asked about finding affordable development companies in Argentina. How do you find an affordable development company in Argentina.

Skip: Oh boy. Well . . .

Jeff: I mean, just as you do everywhere?

Skip: Yeah, well, you just don't. That just doesn't happen. You know, Google just moved to Argentina as well. They opened up their third big operation there. They hired about a 1,000 people in Argentina. You know, I got lucky. The way it all happened for me, I invested and I became a partner in BuenosAires.com, which turns out to be one of the greatest days of my life, because I ended up with not only a great friend but a great partner and we've since gone on to create a data center down there. We own an office building down there and three apartments for the people who come do business with us and we've staffed up. He's what they call a porteno. A porteno is a guy who is born and raised in Buenos Aires and knows all the ropes. Argentina's a different place. If you don't know all the ropes and you don't know what's going on, your success is probably going to be difficult. It's not an easy country to do business in.

But buying a development company just doesn't happen. You have to do what we did. You have to go through the hard knocks and the growing pains and get lucky enough to meet somebody down there that you can trust and that you can work with. You know, I got lucky and ended up with a great partner. We've got a great business, and we are now able to expand. But it's not easy and you're not going to be able to do it. You're not going to be able to go down there and buy a business, a development company I don't believe.

Jeff: I think they were also asking about just finding somebody to work with as opposed to actually acquiring or whatever. Is it again, just work the network, get to know people.

Skip: Yeah, it is. And it may be the best thing to do, if you've got a name that we're interested in, maybe the best thing to do is do a deal with us and let us take it and do it for you. You get 35% of the gross revenues and you don't have to worry about it.

Jeff: What's the best way to get in touch with you or with your organization or however you prefer?

Skip: Go through Owen. I think that's the best way to do it.


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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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