Andrew Rosener – The Man Behind MediaOptions.com

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Welcome all to DomainersDigest.com. At DD I will attempt to introduce to you the domainers and advertisers that thrive our industry. People that I’ve interviewed are in some way or another have an influence on our  industry. With my questions and their answers I hope that we can all learn from their practices and services they offer and take their advise as a learning curve.

My first person to interview is Andrew Rosener. It’s interesting how I met Andrew. We were introduced by Tess Diaz  our account manager at Godaddy. Being that Tess manages both our accounts she felt that Andrew and I had lots in common. Sure enough I made the connection with Andrew and the rest is history.  I’ve compiled a list of questions for Andrew that I believe my readers would love the answers to. Here we go…..

When did you start domaing and why?

• I started “domaining” in 1998, but unfortunately, I didn’t have the foresight to grab up as much real estate as I could have. Not to mention, I was buying what I refer to as “Clever Names” instead of simple generic descriptive names. My education was in Database development and Management Information Systems. I saw the web and basically saw the tremendous opportunity to reach out and touch a lot of people fairly easily. However, I didn’t know what I wanted to tell them. I registered probably 10 domains or so and never did anything with them except the one for my name which I essentially made into an online resume. Unfortunately, as the stock market started going through the roof, I let most of my domains expire and used the cash to buy stocks (mostly .COM companies which eventually went bust).

Are you making money domaining? I know that you have sites launched, but are they making you money?

• I am making money with my domains, but not the kind of money I was making in the Seafood Business. Primarily, my domain marketplace (www.MediaOptions.com) and newsletter is where I’m making the majority of my revenue through domain sales and brokerage commissions. We aren’t making the money yet that I would like to be making, but it has been a better start than I expected when we launched MediaOptions.com in January 2009. We are getting around 1,500 – 2,000 visitors per day at MediaOptions.com and are adding hundreds of new domains to our catalogue each week.
As for development, I just started developing and experimenting with my domains very recently. We have sites like: www.SWFrance.com which is generating around $2 – $5 per day as an informational portal on the South West of France and the wine and cognac of that region. The site is heavy on content and light on design. We built this one free using DevHub. We’ve got online pharmacy sites, like: www.EDMeds.com generating a few hundred dollars a month, but require some marketing and lead generation. Then we have sites like: www.CascoViejo.org which we just launched with a totally different business model, no advertising or PPC, just selling premium listings for local businesses in that small geographic area (a Unesco World Heritage site in Panama). So far we have enough commitments to cover our costs and once we put some more time into sales, I expect it will generate around $400 – $500 per month.
As most domainers will tell you, PPC is barely showing signs of life, so we have been experimenting with other platforms like: DevHub, SmartNames, RootOrange (very interesting, but no results yet) and a fixed rate development platform called CustomSimple.

Is your future MediaOptions.com or are you concentrating on other projects?

• For the moment, we are focusing on growing MediaOptions.com. We feel we have a good shot at being one of the top domain brokerage firms and marketplaces for people who want to sell their premium domains to end users. I come from sales and I’ve never been shy about picking up the phone and tracking down a potential buyer. I’ve sold many of my own domains and had great success so far with many of our customer’s domains. Other than Rick Latona, there isn’t anyone else out there whose really targeting end users, I see a huge demand that is not being filled. We get over 5,000 domains sent to us every week from people who would like to sell their domains or help them sell their domains. Unfortunately, most of it is not worth our time. You need to focus your resources where they will be the most profitable, and selling $500 domains for someone else, is not profitable. Our traffic on MediaOptions.com has been growing very quickly and steadily with very little more than grassroots marketing and networking. I expect next year that we will begin advertising with a more aggressive strategy. But we wanted to be sure our framework and platform was sound before we ramp up.

Approximately how many domains do you own in your own portfolio? And which one is your favorite?

• I own a little over 2,000 domains myself. Although I am still actively buying domains, both from owners and expired auctions, I am actually trying to widdle down my portfolio by around 50% (which is why we’ve been blowing out a lot of domains nearly at cost recently). There is too much administration involved with owning so many domains (as you know) and it eats up time and resources that could be better spent on development, marketing and sales.

Of course, the first question anyone ever asks when you tell them you are a domain investor is “what is your favorite or best domain?” It is a tough question to answer. There are the highly liquid 3 Letter .com’s like: CFJ.com and then there are domains which I like for one reason or another like: Hungrig.com (“Hungry” in German), iHospitality.com (Hospitality is the second largest industry on the planet behind Tourism), and ItalianAuto.com (I am a car enthusiast and there is nothing like Italian Automobiles). However, by the numbers, these probably are not my “best” domains.

What was your highest sale and what was your highest purchase price?

• My highest sale so far (I only started selling my domains a year ago) is OralSpray.com for $15,000. I’ve also had several sales around $10,000. But the majority of sales have been between $1,000 – $2,500. As for purchases, I have shied away from making any outlandish purchases. I like the economics of buying low and selling high, even if I could buy high and sell higher. Probably the most I’ve spent for a domain is around $6,000. However, I am currently looking at making a single large purchase of a domain for a development project for next year. That domain is around $25,000.

Do you park your domains and with whom?

• I do park the majority of my domains, but domains which fit verticals in which I have developed or semi-developed sites, I forward the domains to the developed site in order to catch the long tail and improve rankings. I have tried out nearly all the different parking companies, but at this point with so little PPC revenue, I have started moving many of them over to Sedo for the simple fact that the brokerage fee is less if the domain gets an offer. I also forward many of my domains directly to their for sale page at MediaOptions.com. This has been a very effective sales strategy and I may implement it further with more of my portfolio.

Where do you live?

• That is a tricky question! I am from Rhode Island and my wife is from Germany. We lived in Rhode Island until about 9 months ago when we moved ourselves and our business to Panama (Central America). We were looking for a warmer climate, fresh environment for both of us and a place which was neutral for us, meaning not English, not German and not surrounded by either of our families and friends. We couldn’t be happier with our choice. Panama has first world infrastructure, a huge Expat community and a very diverse population and landscape. We can drive from our place on the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean in just one hour! In Panama, we live in the ‘Old City’ called Casco Viejo (www.CascoViejo.org). It is a beautiful 16th Century Spanish Colonial neighborhood on a peninsula in Panama City.

Do you read blogs and if so, who’s?

• I don’t have a lot of time to read blogs, but it is important to stay on top of current events. So when I get a chance I mostly read ElliotsBlog.comTheDomains.com (Michael Berkens) & DNJournal.com. I recently upgraded my membership at DNForum (thanks’ Adam) to Platinum, so I’ll likely start spending more time on there as well.

What is a typical day for Andrew Rosener?

• I usually start my day around 7:30 in the morning reading emails while downing a few shots of espresso (check out my recently launched site BuyEspresso.com). Once I’ve answered my back log of Emails, mostly from project managers, developers and people looking to sell their domains, and taken appropriate actions on them, I scan through the keyword domain lists which get emailed to me every morning from various services. If there is anything interesting I backorder it or bid on it. Once 11:00 rolls around, I’m usually switching over to sales mode and start seeking out and contacting potential buyers for domains which I am either selling myself or brokering for another customer. Right now we are brokering, among other domains, the 2 letter .COM domain: HX.com. Later in the afternoon I’m usually involved in a handful of expired domain auctions and then I get back to work selling. On Monday’s and Wednesday’s I also spend a few hours putting together our Domain Deals Newsletter to go out the following day (Tuesday’s & Thursday’s). I usually am at my desk actively working until 7:30 – 8pm, but thanks to my Blackberry, the fun never really stops until I go to bed.

Do you work with other domainers (partners) or are you basically on your own?

• I’ve made a lot of friends in the domain industry and in some sense I would like to call them partners; we share ideas, information, new development concepts, experience with different models and parking platforms, etc…but I don’t have any direct partnerships. My wife, Anna, works with me, mostly handling marketing, design, newsletter management, and managing the administrative tasks for our own domain portfolio. We also have several individuals who are not employees but outside contractors who we employ on a regular basis. These include a Graphic Designer, Web Development Team and our SEO expert. We are currently looking at a partnership agreement with NameMedia in order to list and sell their domains on our platform, however, we have not moved ahead with that yet.
We are very open to partnership opportunities either on specific domains or business in general. If anyone has an idea that you think will be beneficial and/or profitable for both of us, please contact us.

Are you domaining full time or do you have another day job?

• As I’ve said before, I used to be a Fish Monger. I traded frozen seafood commodities worldwide. I loved that business and it was extremely lucrative, but I decided to leave it behind last year and go into the domain industry full time. That’s what I’m doing now and intend on doing for the foreseeable future. I’m sure my business model will change, but the internet is in its infancy and I intend on making a mark before it grows up…or at least owning my share of it.

Any advice to a beginning domainer?

• I get hundreds of emails every single week from what appear to be rookie domainers. They are all pretty much the same: “Hello, would you be interested in buying MyFloridaBakedSugerCookies.com for $3,000? This is a great Geo domain!” I feel bad for these guys and I honestly want to reach out to them and help them but I just don’t have time! The single best piece of advice I can offer is be more disciplined. Do your research and be highly critical of what you buy. Buy less, but higher quality. These guys send me a list of 100 domains they own and want to sell. If we assume that they are buying these domains on backorders and no one else is bidding on them, then they are paying $60 – $70 each for them. That means their list of 100 names cost at least $6k – $7k. Instead of 100 names which I would pay a registration fee for, they could have bought 5 – 10 excellent names or even 1 fantastic name for the same amount of money. Those names would be much easier to sell, much fast turnaround, and potentially much higher profits which could be reinvested into even better names. Patience and Discipline!

And that’s all folks, as you can see Andrew is a busy guy and thank you Andrew for taking the time to answer my questions. If anyone is interested in listing their names with MediaOptions.com please do so and also check out his site, it’s fantastic.

MediaOptions.com

Comments

14 Responses to “Andrew Rosener – The Man Behind MediaOptions.com”
  1. Great to see Domainers Digest launch with a great interview. Andrew, have you noticed unusually low revenue from the CPA links at DevHub? I’ve enjoyed developing quick sites using their platform and have gotten some nice traffic, but revenue is just not there.

    Man, I miss Bido chat :)

    Best of luck with MediaOptions!

  2. Yes, I feel the same. I have launched many sites now with DevHub, it is a fantastic tool for launching quick websites and you have the ability to make them very professional if you spend the time…but they are keeping to much of the revenue to themselves. Using the widget tool, you can use your own Adsense and other CPC or Affiliate monetization which will pay better than their built in stuff, but I have also found that I am not able to get a site ranked very well using their platform. Maybe you’ve experienced the same?

    For instance, http://www.EatFish.com was a highly ranked site before, I remodeled it, trying to increase monetization using the DevHub platform, now you can’t find it anywhere except with Yahoo?

    Same can be said of http://www.SWFrance.com. This site, originally registered in 1996, was ranking on Page 1 of Google for 8 – 10 search terms, now it is only ranking for 1 or 2 since I switched it over to DevHub. Maybe it just takes time for the browsers to reindex them?

    As for Bido, not much to say! I was an early supporter of Bido, but we have had a “Falling Out” and I’ve been banned from the platform. Their chat function is great, and I hope that someone else puts up a similar style chat room (live – not forum) in the near future.

    Thanks for the comments!

    Success,

    Andrew Rosener
    http://www.MediaOptions.com

  3. Ted Olson says:

    Nice launch Steve – I think you’ll do well with this.

    Andrew – great stuff!

  4. Congrats Steve with the new website launch!

    All the best,

    Mike

  5. admin says:

    Thanks Mike, you next

    Happy New Year

  6. admin says:

    @ Ted, thanks, just trying to bring the goods

  7. Steve congrats with the site, looks great and love where your going with it.

    Andrew sounds like your on the right track, best wishes for continued success

  8. Net John says:

    Steve,

    Certiainy looks like this will be an interesting and fun site. Above and beyond the interviews and written content…you’re one of the best cameramen on the circuit…. also congrats on the nice purchase of ParkSlope.com … That’s Hot !

    Cheers Everybody !

  9. Adam says:

    Oh no another blog to follow !
    :) Nice interview Steve .

  10. steve says:

    Thanks Adam

  11. Thanks Michael, I appreciate the comments.

  12. Jordan Natale says:

    Very nice interview Drew! Wish you luck with MediaOptions.com and your stay in Panama

  13. Just got off the phone today with Andrew Rosener and Media Options. He was very helpful and I will likely sell some of my many medical domains with him.

    Great interview Domainersdigest.

  14. Steve says:

    Thanks Kevin,

    Andrew is stand up guy, we had great time in Vancouver together. And I’m sure you’ll do good business with him.