Interview with Ron Jackson – His beginning in the domain world
This is the second interview with some of the top industry leaders. Read the interview with Rick Schwartz.
It’s always interesting to see how the leaders of the domain name industry got started. Ron Jackson is the writer for DNJournal.com, the domain name industry online magazine.
JF: How did you discover the domain name industry?
RJ: I had registered my first domain back in 1997 when I had a brick & mortar record store and a flourishing mail order business fueled by national magazine ads. By registering MusicParadise.com and building a simple website to replace print ads I was able to cut my advertising costs by 80% and exponentially increase my global audience at the same time. So I had an appreciation of the Internet’s power early on. Unfortunately, I was too busy running that business to recognize that domain names could be valuable assets based on the keyword value alone. Others knew better and a lot of great names were grabbed for registration fees while I was pre-occupied with my retail business. Fast forward to May 2002. In just five years, things had changed dramatically. The Internet had decimated the retail music business so I was looking around for something else to fill a widening revenue gap when I saw a NeuStar ad in a computer magazine touting the new .US extension. I went online and read a little more about .US (unfortunately I had missed the land rush and subsequent debut of the extension just two weeks earlier). However, there were some really good words and terms still available so I started picking them up and added many more in the anniversary drops that came later. I also started picking up .coms after quickly learning that, was where the vast majority of the action was.
JF: What was the first domain name you purchased as an investment?
RJ: Not knowing what I was doing in 2002, I bought so much junk I don’t even remember what the first one purchased for resale was. Whatever it was, odds are it was dropped rather than resold after I started figuring out the characteristics of domain names that had some value on the aftermarket.
JF: What was the first domain name you sold, and for how much?
RJ: I remember the first sale which was not a single name but a group of about a dozen weak names that I sold at DNForum.com to a friend who had taken pity on me! I basically just got my money back but after six months of buying stuff with no sales I couldn’t have been more excited if I had hit the Powerball lottery J That got me on the right track though and after learning the ropes and making better choices I was able to flip more names at higher prices on the forums and eventually graduate to selling to small business end users only – a much more lucrative market that reselling to other domainers who always want, understandably, to buy wholesale.
JF: How have you become so well known in the industry?
RJ: Any recognition I have came from starting DNJournal.com at the beginning of 2003. I had been a professional journalist before I started opening retail stores and I quickly realized that the domain industry had no trade magazine of its own. I started one online that I originally expected to be just a hobby, but as the industry took off, DNJournal grew with it (and hopefully played a role in its growth as well) and eventually it became a full time business in its own right. In writing about the industry and the people in it I came to know most of the players in it and vice versa.
JF: Has this helped you succeed?
RJ: Absolutely, with the biggest factor in that regard coming from the opportunity to meet people face to face at conferences over the years and really get to know them, make new friends and build long lasting relationships. That will help anyone’s business which is why I go to so many shows and review them in detail for our readers. I also encourage people to go themselves. I know it can be expensive but it is a wise business expense because the benefits almost always outweigh the cost if you make good use of your time at the shows. Don’t sit in a corner – go up and introduce yourself to people. This industry is blessed with a lot of cordial, helpful individuals who will be happy to meet you. Relatively speaking, there are very few people in this field and the outside world has little to no understanding of what we do. So those of us who are in it I think feel a kinship to anyone else who loves domains in the same way that we do.
I want to give an ENORMOUS “thank you” to Ron for taking the time to answer my questions with such complete and detailed answers.
Ron is a great guy and has played a huge part in helping the public understand the value of domain names. DNJournal is a priceless tool for all domainers.
Check back tomorrow for an interview with Andrew Allemann of DomainNameWire.com!
Do you want to share your story with the world? Shoot me an email via my contact form. I want to share how an average domainer like myself got started, too.