I call myself a domainer. And I’m proud to be one. It’s a full-time, thriving and exciting occupation.
So what is a “domainer” – and how does the business model work?
The best analogy I can give is that we’re a “combination of a property developer, property investor, real estate agent and business broker” – except that we deal with cyber or digital property (domain names) as opposed to land / homes / buildings / “bricks and mortar” businesses .
Many property developers / investors acquire land or established properties for future development purposes. Some purchase cheaper properties in the suburbs; and some purchase prime property in the CBD or on the beachfront. Sometimes they hold onto that property for years without doing any re-development – and in the interim they rent or lease their investments. It’s simply an investment philosophy or strategy.
Sometimes they are made an offer for their property or properties which they find hard to refuse – so they sell. Nothing wrong with that. And of course they are required to pay tax on any gains.
Domainers are no different – except we do it with domain names.
In most instances when we invest in a domain name, we don’t have immediate plans to develop that domain into a thriving online entity. Generally we “park” the domain with a parking provider so as to earn revenue from pay per click adverts – or we may simply put up a “coming soon” landing page or something similar.
And just like prime property is in demand, so are good domain names. Sometimes we also get an offer we can’t refuse – so we sell.
A small minority of people or businesses refer to domainers as “cybersquatters” – their perception is that we buy up all the good domains simply to sit on them until we can extort a “King’s ransom” from some person or business who really wants the domain name.
That is just so far from the truth (which is why I gave the property analogy). Domain names are available on a first come; first served basis. Responsible domainers don’t blatantly infringe on trademarks or brands. As in any industry though, there can be some “bad eggs” that spoil it for others – but they’re an absolute minority.
Being a domainer is a legitimate business activity, and one that is recognised and accepted by auDA (Australia’s domain regulator). We also create many employment opportunities for others e.g. web designers, SEO and marketing experts. And of course we do Business Activity Statement’s like any other business; and we do pay tax. 😉