This morning I got an idea for a new web venture in the shower; not an uncommon place for such ideas. So I went into my Go Daddy account to see if a domain was available that fit and it turned out my first choice was open. Eight dollars later (got to love that DSC7 code) I owned it and put the project on my list of things to get to yet this year in my spare time.
While I was in my account I noticed I owned over 30 domains. Some are for client projects but most are similar ideas I’ve had over the years and for one reason or another have not yet acted on. Last year I decided to simplify my domains and let several expire so I estimate I’ve owned about 50 domains since I registered this URL back in 2002. I’m currently using only 3 of my 30 personal domains for websites or blogs.
I guess that makes me somewhat of a domainer although I have no intention to sell any of the domains I have accumulated. Maybe I’ll decide to do a venture or two or at least monetize the domains currently parked. What do real domainers do, I wonder?
Inspired by Jon Gordon’s report yesterday about the Minimal Mac blog, I’ve cleared the decks and pared my Macbook Pro desktop down to the essentials. The dock has just my most used applications with some overflow in a stack to the right. XMenu is installed to get to the rest of my apps without digging through Finder. I’ve reduced the menu bar to the bare bones. Along the way I discovered a great script called Helvetireader and built a site specific browser in Fluid to create a very focused interface for Google Reader.
Years from now we will talk about living during the Great Releveling the way our grandparents spoke about the Great Depression. Times were tough, people tightened belts, many lost everything they had spent a lifetime building. But the Great Releveling will not be known only for gloom and doom but also for new and fundamentally different business models that emerged from this event.
The last time we had a Releveling of the sort we are now experiencing was over 500 years ago when an entrepreneur in Mainz, Germany invented a machine to mass produce books. His first product, The Bible, put a lot of monks out of work but also set the stage for an age of enlightenment that extended until just a couple years ago. Johannes Gutenberg democratized knowledge that eventually toppled the feudal systems of government that had evolved from hunting groups millennia before. His invention fundamentally changed the world and is still being felt today. Talk about a legacy.
I think the internet is doing this same thing right now. But the Royalty and Gentry are not the big losers but media companies who are not willing or can’t make the transition to a digital business model. Bob Garfield recently posted about this over at Ad Age and his main point — advertising doesn’t work anymore — is spot on. We are not living in a time where any business can rely on a single monetization strategy; welcome to the hybrid world.
You can see glimpses of the future now with services like Hulu, Amazon On Demand, Apple TV and Netflix. But each has issues to overcome before there is widespread adoption. On one hand, I like the simplicity of a monthly subscription that Netflix is selling. I can stream a selection of movies and TV shows to my Xbox or TiVo for a fixed fee. They even let me get DVD’s in the mail but this is a doomed model long-term and they know it. But I don’t have access to their entire catalog to stream at a moments notice which is it’s Achilles Heel. Amazon On Demand and Apple TV let you buy or rent content but their pricing model is too high. Why should I spend $4 to watch a movie when I can pick it up for a dollar at Redbox (or for free with their codes)? Hulu is an interesting idea — basically TV on the internet — but it will be doomed to failure since people will not tolerate more than just short interruptions in this post-TiVo world. They simply can’t run any more ads than they do now to retain viewers and I can’t imagine they are making much money for the short ads there now.
So how can information and entertainment be monetized?
I think it can only be a hybrid between advertising, it’s cousin product placement and subscription or purchase. So in this scenario a modest monthly service fee might be joined by short, “sponsored by” type product pitches. Hulu has most of this figured out today and should replace their interstitial ads in the programs with a straight-up under $15 a month subscription fee for unlimited, ad-free streaming. Amazon and Apple should adopt some sort of subscription model or just lower prices in order to be more than just a transitional service.
The days of broadcast and print advertising are over. The Great Releveling has begun. Get used to it.
I’ve been out here online for 6 years now since I started this site during my first job search ever. But it wasn’t until this week that I was attacked by trolls. Sure, I’ve had some critical comments and emails before but none of them depressed me as much as a post on an obscure wine blog did this week. I’ll be damned if I link or post a comment there but wanted to set the record straight on my 48th Birthday.
I’ve been called a guru of social media by some in the wine trade but don’t feel that this compliment really applies to me. A more apt description is that i’m a believer in social media. And an explorer looking to apply what I can learn to help wineries connect with their customers and, yes, sell more wine. Nothing more, nothing less.
I’m hoping to document more of my learnings here during my 49th year… and just about every day for a change.