Marc Gawith is an expert in helping brands and entrepreneurs choose the best domain name for their business. He has been in the domain name industry for over 12 years and has a knack for getting others excited about domain names.
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Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [01:04] – Domain names was Marc’s accidental passion
- [01:23] – It has now become a purposeful passion for Marc
- [01:37] – Marc has a 15-month old son and a daughter – they will be born in October
- [02:25] – Marc shares a story about Pajama.com
- [02:49] – There was an investor interested in buying Pajama.com from a client that Marc handled
- [03:01] – His client paid over 6 figures for that domain
- [03:16] – They worked the deal for months and the guy buying the domain defaulted twice
- [03:31] – The payment was spread out over 2 to 3 years
- [03:55] – No deal is perfect
- [04:11] – One BIG and Unique Value Bomb: The domain industry is a billion-dollar industry, annually. There is a huge untapped market in domain investing
- [05:04] – New domain extensions are treated equally to .com
- [05:21] – “Now there are new more descriptive domains”
- [06:03] – Marc thinks domain extensions will not affect the overall value of .com’s
- [07:15] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: A domain extension was launched (.mobi) and Marc advised a lot of customers to make an investment in .mobi. The iPhone came and it killed the .mobi sites
- [09:25] – Understand the potential for market disruptors
- [10:13] – Always do market research
- [10:50] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: When Marc was applying for rightside.live, live streaming wasn’t a thing yet. Now they have been able to capitalize on that
- [13:09] – Let the situation unfold
- [14:00] – What is the one thing you are most FIRED up about today? “I’m just fired up about the opportunity that exists with domain names”
- [15:22] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “Safety”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “Be yourself and believe in yourself”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “Getting to know people and getting to know them in a deeper passion”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – NameBio
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – The Bite in the Apple – “it was very intriguing to me to get to know the real person he [Steve Jobs] was”
- [17:55] – Connect with Marc on social and via his website: marc.live
- [18:13] – Take a chance!
Marc: Yes, sir.
John: Marc is an expert in helping brands and entrepreneurs choose the best domain name for their business. He has been in the domain name industry for over 12 years, and has a knack for getting others excited about domain names.
Marc, take a minute and fill in some gaps from that intro and give us a little glimpse into your personal life.
Marc: Domain names have become sort of an accidental passion, I guess you might say, of mine. Being in this industry since 2005, working with some of the biggest companies in this space and really have grown to love it and it’s become now a purposeful passion, I guess you might say.
As far as my businesses and what I do on a daily basis is concerned, personal life, I have a 15 month old son, and a little girl who is expected to be born in October.
Marc: So, my life is about to get really, really crazy, if it’s not crazy enough. So, enjoying being a dad and balancing that family life with business so it’s an exciting time.
John: Well, obviously domains are an area of your expertise, and we’re gonna have a lot of stories today that we’re gonna be talking about but let’s have the first one be this: Give me one of your favorite cool domain name stories, one that you just kinda laugh about when you’re having a couple drinks or one that you remember fondly. What’s a story that has to do with a domain name you think Fire Nation would find fascinating?
Marc: Probably the one that sticks out the most to me as far as a favorite is pajama.com. So, you know, you think about the domain name pajama, like most people don’t search for a singular pair of pajama. Like you don’t go to Google and search for pajama. You search for pajamas, right?
Marc: However, apparently there was an investor, a company that was interested in buying pajama.com from a client that I represented, and that client paid up over six figures for the domain name that wasn’t necessarily even the best version of the domain.
The interesting thing about this story is, you know, we worked this deal for months and months and months, and the guy that bought the domain name ended up, I think, possibly defaulting once or twice on buying the domain name and basically spread out these payments over the course of two or three years. And it just turned into this nightmare of a deal even though it seemed like it was gonna be a perfect deal because he sells pajamas, pajama.com, kind of a category killer, and it just ended up being like this really, really messy, messy deal that we got ourselves involved in. But none of these deals are ever perfect, so I guess, you know, it’s –
John: So, this is a story that you laugh a little bit, you cry a little bit.
John: In the end, you’re just glad that it’s over.
John: So, what’s something that we don’t know, Marc, about domains that frankly as entrepreneurs we probably should?
Marc: Yeah, so the domain industry is a billion dollar industry annually. I think a lot of people when they think about investments, they think about the traditional investment channels. You know, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, the traditional ways that you invest your money but there is a huge untapped market for domain investing, and a way to really make a lot of money off of these domain names. And most people don’t know that that really exists. And I think now, more so than ever with the introduction of new domain extensions over the last three years.
John: Now, how do domain extensions help or hurts the overall TLDR. And actually first, can you kind of talk about TLDR, and then maybe move into the extensions because I’m kind of curious about that.
Marc: New domain extensions are treated equally with dot com, the historic one, so dot com, obviously is the one that everyone is aware of. You know, it’s been around for 30 years. It was kinda the very first domain extension that people could acquire. Now, there are new, more descriptive domains like dot live, and dot band, and dot social. You know, social media -- huge, huge market right now. Social media marketing, everything that’s happening on social media, companies spending a ton of money on Facebook ads, Twitter ads, whatever. You know, now there’s a domain name that you’re able to create specifically for those social media campaigns in dot social.
So, there’s about 1700, I believe, new domain extensions, and probably about half of those are actually available to the general public.
John: So, how does this affect the value of dot coms? What have you seen for that?
Marc: You know, I don’t think it’s really affecting the value of dot coms overall. The dot coms, a good dot com is still gonna be valuable. If someone has shoes.com, that domain name isn’t going to lose value. It’s a one word category killer domain name.
I think where you might start to see domain name, the dot com, kind of the legacy domain extensions lose value is in the longer tail. Two, three word dot coms start to lose value because now you can get a one word dot social, or a one word dot live, or a one word dot club. So, there’s so much more availability in these new domain extensions or, TLDs, as they’re referred to.
John: TLDs, that’s right. Top-Level Domains. Now, Marc, to kind of shift here, and maybe this story’s still gonna involve TLDs because this is your business. This is your life in a way. But I want you to tell us your worst entrepreneurial moment story. So, don’t pull any punches, take us to that moment, be specific, tell us that story.
Marc: I think it actually goes back to when there was a new domain extension that launched. This is years ago, probably eight years, dot mobi.
John: I’ve seen it around town. I don’t think I’ve ever really seen many websites using it, but yeah, I’ve heard of it.
Marc: Exactly. It was supposed to be the domain name that changed domain names, with everyone switching to mobile devices. So, as in my role as a consultant and getting people to acquire and invest in these domains, dot mobi was the new shiny object and I advised a lot of customers to take that leap and make an investment into dot mobi, because it was supposed to revolutionize the way that we browse websites on mobile devices.
Well, along comes the iPhone.
Marc: And kills the dot mobi. With the iPhone, you have the ability to obviously zoom in on the website. You can look at the actual mobile device. You can change and look at the full site, and it gives you a lot more capability than a Blackberry or the Palm Treo. You know, those old phones that were the original foray into smartphones.
So, definitely worst entrepreneurial moment in the domain industry was looking at and advising customers in the new dot mobi domain name and taking a risk on that. Some bets pay off, and some others don’t.
Marc: And this one is definitely one that did not pay off.
John: And it’s easy to see that in hindsight, that it didn’t pay off, but who knows what the future’s gonna bring? And that’s the thing, Fire Nation. You’ve gotta take some risks, but they have to be calculated risks and that’s why diversification’s huge, not putting all your eggs in that one basket so that you have –
John: – an opportunity to roll the die one more time. Now, Marc, what’s your biggest takeaway from the story that you wanna make sure our listeners really get?
Marc: You know, I think the biggest takeaway for that is understanding the potential for market disrupters outside of maybe what you’re regularly gonna look at. You know, for a dot mobi, we didn’t necessarily think to look at new cell phone technologies. The way that we were positioning it is, this is gonna revolutionize the way that you browse the internet on your mobile device. Well, we should have gone a little bit deeper into maybe some of the new devices that were being launched. I mean, this was right –
John: Emerging tech and stuff, yeah.
Marc: Exactly. Yeah. I was listening to actually Michelle Van Outen’s interview this morning and she mentioned something about doing your market research.
John: Well, so basically you’re saying you shoulda been listening to EO Fire.
Marc: Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. Making yourself aware of your surrounding and things that could potentially affect that investment, or that consultancy that you’re giving to that customer.
John: Let’s talk about one of the greatest ideas that you had to date, to take us to an AH-HA moment when you just said, wow, this might work. And in this case, it did work, and kinda walk us through how you turned it into a success.
Marc: Most recently with Rightside and our domain name, the dot live domain name, when we were going for and applying for this domain name, live streaming wasn’t really even a thing yet. I mean, live streaming obviously has been around for a long time, but live streaming in its current state, the live social video that exists with Facebook Live and Periscope, and all these other platforms, it was really, really new. This was even before Meerkat came around, that we were applying for and going after the dot live domain name.
So, over that last probably 15 months or so, it’s sort of been this AH-HA moment for us where, hey, we have something here. There’s so much that’s happening in our favor. It’s basically that dot mobi story, but flipped on its ear where we have a domain name that maybe we thought was gonna be successful in one way, shape or form, but there’s all of this new technology that came out that just accelerated the growth of the specific domain extension, and we’ve been able to capitalize on that.
So, we’ve all sort of had this AH-HA moment internally that, hey, even if we were skeptical about this at the beginning, we’ve got something here and we should definitely take advantage of this and write it while we can so to speak, while live video is a thing. And I don’t think it’s going away so I think we can ride it forever, but I would say that’s definitely the AH-HA moment that’s most recent for me.
John: Yeah, it’s hard to get more live than live. I don’t think there’s gonna be any kind of future casting at any point where they’re actually streaming the future, so I think we’re good right now for the live.
And Marc, what would you say that you applied to that new AH-HA moment that you think really was the reason that you had success?
Marc: Yeah, I think it is going back and not getting ahead of yourself. It’s letting kind of the situation unfold. I think with the worst entrepreneurial moment that I just discussed at dot mobi, maybe we jumped on it a little too early and we didn’t wait for things to kinda shake out. I think with this most recent, and the AH-HA moment with dot live, I think it’s more one of those situations where we thought we had something good but we didn’t really know, and we sort of – not waited, but sort of bided our time a little bit.
Marc: And waited to sort of see how the market unfolded, and it definitely unfolded in our favor.
John: Mark, let’s talk about today. What are you most fired about right now?
Marc: I’m just fired up about the opportunity that exists with domain names in general. I’ve bought domain names for $8, sold them for a couple hundred dollars, and that was five years ago when the only domain names that exist were three word dot coms. Now, I can get a domain name like marc.live, or inside.social, or something like that that’s really descriptive, and I can get it for $30. And maybe I sit on it for two or three years, and someone makes me an offer years down the road.
John: Yeah, like Mark Zuckerberg’s, like, I want that mark.live, and you’re like, well, Mark Zuckerberg, that’ll be one billion dollars.
Marc: Exactly. And you know, it’s just someone that has the initiative or the foresight to basically say, yes, I’m gonna take a chance on this, and I think that’s what it comes down to, is taking a chance on a new investment opportunity that will – and I can say this confident, that will pay dividends in the future.
John: Well, Fire Nation, take a chance on the future of Marc and I, because we’re about to enter the lightning rounds, and it’s gonna be amazing, after we get back from thanking our sponsors.
Marc, are you ready to rock the lightning rounds?
Marc: Yes, sir.
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Marc: You know, I think it comes down to safety. You know, having a safety net with a normal 9 to 5 job where you’re getting a steady paycheck and benefits and all that stuff. I think that’s always something that you’ll hear from entrepreneurs in why they didn’t take the leap or why they didn’t do it sooner.
John: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Marc: Be yourself and believe in yourself. If you can’t do those two things, how do you ever expect to be successful?
John: What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Marc: Getting to know people, and getting to know them in a deeper fashion than just saying hi. I love to build relationships and keep those long-term, and I feel like that’s something that has definitely contributed to my success over the last 15 plus years.
John: Can you share an internet resource like Evernotes with Fire Nation?
Marc: For our industry specifically, there is a website called namebio.com, which basically gives you the ability to look at domain names that have recently sold, key words, search by key words, and do a little research to kinda see what kind of historic sales in that niche look like.
John: If you could recommend one book, what would it be and why?
Marc: “The Bite of the Apple,” I believe it’s a book that was written by Steve Jobs’ ex-wife. It was very intriguing to me to kinda get to know the real person that he was. It kind of explains a lot of things, more than just that surface level stuff that a lot of people write about or that fanboy stuff, so it really kind of gives you an inside track on kinda one of the most successful businessmen of all time.
John: Marc, let’s end this chat on fire, with you giving us a parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Marc: Yeah, so you can find me at marc.social, m-a-r-c dot social, or marc.live for live video. Both of those places are resources to connect with me.
John: Any parting piece of guidance?
Marc: Take a chance. Look at domain names as another opportunity for investment and making addition – or having an additional revenue stream. There’s tons of availability. It’s easy to get involved in this industry, and make a lot of money. Like I said, it’s a billion dollar annual industry and that is using four or five year old data. That doesn’t even include the new 1700 domain extensions that exist, so we’re looking at billions of dollars.
John: Fire Nation, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You’ve been hanging out with MG and JLD today, so keep up the heat and head over to eofire.com, type Marc, M-a-r-c in the search bar. His show notes page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today. These are the best show notes in the biz: time stamps, links galore.
Marc, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today.
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