I started this post few days ago but as I had the mind at the level of my shoes I did not found the courage to finish it. Today I received the email asking to renew my blog’s hosting, it’s when I noticed my last post was posted in August, in other words, my posts are costing me a hundred dollars!
It’s time to lower my cost per blog post, but unfortunately I will start with a bad story:
As Rick Schwartz uses to say, numbers don’t lie!
DONA.com has been launched 10 days ago, and after a good media coverage from the domain industry the numbers are here:
- 0 registrations.
- 0 transfers.
It may looks a joke but it’s real. I got a true slap!!!
Below you can find ranked by date few headlines (thanks for the coverage) from Domaining.com about the service so you can better understand if you miss the DONA promotion:
- Domaining’s Francois Launches New Domain Registrar That Includes FREE “UDRP Insurance”: DONA.com.
- DONA.com First Domain Registrar to Offer “UDRP Insurance”.
- DONA.com Becomes 1st Registrar to Offer UDRP Insurance & ICA Support With Share of Profits.
- Domain registrar offers UDRP insurance.
My initial idea was to launch a registration service allowing us to help finance the Internet Commerce Association (ICA).
If domain owners are reluctant to donate money to help the association who defends domain owners rights maybe they can indirectly contribute by using a domain registration service where a significant part of the profit is reversed to ICA.
So I used my most valuable domain: DONA.com (DOmain NAmes) to launch this service.
As I don’t have enough resources, nor software, nor staff to be a registrar myself then I simply wrapped the popular ENOM reseller service under the catchy DONA name.
I wanted provide the best registration price so I started with a .COM registration price at $10.50 ($0.28 as gross margin).
The registration price was very attractive but not for the main audience targeted: domainers!
So it became critical to quickly find an extra to justify a higher registration price, it’s when the “UDRP insurance” concept was invented. But the problem was with a so small margin it was impossible to offer this extra, so the registration price was raised to $11.15 ($0.92 as gross margin).
But despite most people claimed having found the concept attractive the numbers don’t lie: DONA has been a failure!
The main causes are probably:
- Nobody like to change of registrar.
- Registration price is the #1 concern of domainers.
- Help ICA don’t motivate to spend a bit more on registation.
- All domains don’t deserve to be defended.
- Domain owners are only willing to “insure” their better names.
- Everybody think insurance is a lost of money, that UDRPs happens to others.
On my end I must assume:
As a reseller I will never be able to offer the low prices domainers expect because my ENOM reseller rates are already over what cheapest registrars are offering to domainers and/or registrars are constantly offering big discount coupon.
So should I totally abandon or try a different approach like offer the UDRP insurance as a standalone service domain owners can use for their best names without have to change of registrar?
After having contacted few domainers for their “real feedback” it’s clear they should only be willing to use such service for their best premium names and/or the ones at risk.
In other words, the names for which the rate to get get an UDRP is the highest, this means probably such service should charge annually $50+ per insured name to can cover UDRP refunds!!
So today my decision has been taken: The “UDRP insurance” service has been cancelled.
Rates have been raised at DONA to be in the average others registrars are asking to the public.
Maybe I opened the eyes of established registrars, and in the future they will propose something around the “UDRP insurance” or will help finance the ICA. If this should happen then my failed attempt will have not been a total waste of time.
The lesson is you can have a very great name (DONA.com), an innovative and original idea (UDRP insurance), good intentions (help finance ICA), a good promotion (bloggers coverage + ads), the first point is offer a service that can fit needs and make sense for the user or nothing happens. I am certainly too fast to implement my ideas!
In a more positive note I am already working on a new service that has absolutely no relationship with DONA but again with domains (I am persistent). I just hope it will have more success, even if according the numbers of DONA: It’s sure!!!