My two cents on this whole .WS discussion

two cents

So I’ve had more emails from readers asking me to chime in about the .WS debate than I had about some of Chef Patrick’s adventures so I know this is a hot topic in the domain industry. Since this is, and I am Morgan Linton it only makes sense for me to share my thoughts with you, and of course, I’d love to hear your thoughts. So here we go…

I think of .WS like I do .CLUB, .NYC, .WORLD, and many other non .COMs and new gTLDs. By that I mean I see it as a very risky investment in an unproven market. I can’t say there is enough sales history/volume in any of these extensions to say how they would sell in the future, it’s a bet, and one for people with a higher tolerance for risk.

So who takes big risks? People like Richard Branson, Tony Hsieh and many more take risks, but they also know when a risk is too big for them to take (read more). One of my favorite quotes from Richard is:

Richard Branson
“As an entrepreneur you should be willing to take risks and trust your judgement when you do, but you always have to think about the worst-case scenario”

Within the domain industry I find there are typically three types of people:

Safe investors – these folks choose to invest in proven markets and don’t take big risks. They’ll occasionally have big wins but usually they are going for smaller wins and more steady income. They might never make tens of millions of dollars but they can make hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.

Medium risk investors – while mostly making safe investments, medium risk investors don’t mind delving into riskier markets for bigger rewards, but they rarely make big bets in risky markets. Medium risk investors could have one year where they make a lot more money than the year before based on a risk they took paying off. I consider myself a medium risk investor, I’m okay delving into new gTLDs and extensions like .WS but the vast majority of my focus is on .COMs.

High risk investors – this is the Rick Schwartz and Frank Schilling’s of the world. When Rick spent a small fortune on domain names in the 90’s the market was completely unproven. There were no big sales numbers, and no way to really know where the market was going to go. Frank bought domains after the .COM bust and also spent a small fortune in a very risky market. High risk investors often lose it all, but when they don’t, they win big and make tens of millions of dollars.

I’ve known Elliot for years, he’s one of the smartest and sharpest investors in the Domaining world, he’s also a safe investor so I wouldn’t expect him to invest in .WS. I don’t think you’ll see Elliot buy a mansion and drive a Ferrari, but I can also tell you I don’t think you’ll ever see him suddenly go bankrupt, he’s smart with his money and does what’s right for him.

You have to decide for yourself what risk profile you fall into. Having known Braden for years I can tell you he is in-between a medium and high-risk investor, he’s also without a doubt one of the single smartest people and smartest investors I’ve ever known. While six-figures might be your whole year’s salary, I’ll tell you, that’s not the case for Braden, he’s a serial entrepreneur and has many successful businesses under his belt, he can take these risks and if he loses it all, he’ll still be able to buy a mansion and drive a Ferrari…if that’s what he wanted to do.

But that’s not what Braden does. Instead Braden really has spent his life helping people. He’s an incredible mentor, a wonderful friend and a truly brilliant and proven investor many times over. And if I was Braden, I’d probably put six-figures into .WS as well, not because I think it would change my life, but because I would have made my millions by taking calculated risks like this.

So rather than using something like this to create feuds within our industry, let’s just be honest. Some of us are safe investors, and that’s okay. Just remember, it’s guys like Rick and Frank that have made this industry what it is today, and guys like Braden might invest differently than you, but that’s okay, just know what kind of investor you are and stick to your guns.

Just remember, this is a small industry and we’re all in this together, so rather than attacking one of our own, let’s grow up and realize that we’re all much more similar than we are different.

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton