Grant is one of the
original pioneers in the internet domain space. His company, WebMediaProperties.com,
has been quietly and methodically acquiring and developing valuable domain
assets dating back to early 1996.
In addition to the above, Grant also operates his own private label network of 1500 developed web sites showcasing travel, sports and lifestyle.
His background is as interesting as the man himself; tired with the East Coast culture, he walked away from a promising advertising career in New York city and moved to the Adirondacks Mountain, We rented a house up there but didnt have a clue what we were going to do! It was a very scary time, Grant said.
Seeing an opportunity to market the charming, but unknown Adirondacks furniture nationally, he set up a furniture company. He began to make strides in the design trade and gained strong acceptance in the high-end market. The big problem was he couldnt find enough qualified reliable craftsman to produce enough pieces to meet the demand. If it was deer season most of my workers simply disappeared!
Seeing an opportunity with local undervalued properties in Saranac Lake and Lake Placid he began to invest in real estate, buying an old commercial 3-story building for $20,000, refurbishing it then later flipping:
We happened to get lucky because we hit that market just as the Adirondacks were starting to be rediscovered, Grant said. I found I was able to sell the residential properties for two and three times what I paid for them. That kind of ushered in my real estate era.
By 1991, armed with a string of successful real estate investments, he started a real estate brokerage firm. But the timing couldnt have been worst, right smack in the middle of one of the worst recessions since 1950, (dwarfed only by the current Great Recession). But he managed to hold on. Saving enough money to diversify to geo-targeted real estate domains.
And the rest as they say, is history.
I share Robs story because frankly, Im tired of the face of the Donald Trump types on T.V, the rock star like status (and lifestyle) of investor brands on cable. Its as if we need to party at the Palms every year to really be considered a success. But the opposite is true, most of the wealthiest investors are quiet rebels, independent thinkers who are the millionaire next door.
They reward themselves with the good things in life, but only after 10-20 years of saving, investing and working hard Delayed gratification.
I also learned from Robs story that a varied background can actually help, not ruin ones chances for success. The more varied your background: teacher, dishwasher, venture capitalist, farmer, plumber, radio personality, etc., in so many ways, the better, because it gives you a deeper insight on human nature. And that, my friend is one of the great marks of successful investors.
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Grant walked away from a dream job on Madison Avenue so he could move
to New Yorks Adirondack Mountains, even though there was no job
waiting for him there. We happened to get lucky because we hit that
market just as the Adirondacks were starting to be rediscovered,
Grant said. People were starting to come up from New York, New Jersey
and Boston and I found I was able to sell the residential properties for
two and three times what I paid for them. That kind of ushered in
my real estate era. As the economy started growing again, Grants
business boomed. At this same time, in 1995-96, Grant became aware of
the Internet and domains. That was a remarkable awakening for me
because I had the Madison Avenue marketing background and I had the real
estate background and suddenly these two powerful thing merged. I looked
at a domain and thought My God, not only is this a brand as the Internet
develops, but it also has all of the properties of real estate,
According to Domaining.com,
it's one of the priciest "geo-"domain sales in history, and
may represent a new frontier for real estate.
"With the advent
of IDX, what's the difference between one broker and another in a certain
market?" Niederman said. Denver.com -- which Kentwood Real Estate
had already been partnered with as featured real estate brokerage and
listings provider -- is Niederman's answer.
However, Denver.com will not be just a real estate lead generation tool, said Niederman, who also owns DenverHomes.com and other domains that push traffic to DenverRealEstate.com.
Like Boulder.com, which Niederman owns as well, Denver.com will remain a separate media site, focused on lifestyle with local content, he said. Boulevards New Media, which has a multiyear agreement to operate the site as part of the deal, will provide info on local sports and events and sell advertising.
Rob Grant, chairman and CEO of WebMediaProperties.com, owns Adirondacks.com and about 1,500 other real estate-related geodomains.
Grant said he bought
most of his domain names 15 years ago. Like real estate, they've appreciated
over time and are now worth real money, he said. Pulcrano reportedly bought
Denver.com in the 1990s for $6,250.
Grant says his geodomains are so valuable as investments that he's reluctant to sell them. He sold one, ParkCityRealEstate.com, in 2006 for $60,000. Now, he prefers to lease the geodomains he owns, because, like real property, they rise in value.
He's leased PhiladelphiaRealEstate.com to a Coldwell Banker Real Estate franchise and recently leased BeverlyHillsRealEstate.com to a real estate agent.
Niederman's competitor," Grant said. The name's extremely easy to
advertise, he said, and the ability to tell sellers that their listings
will show up on Denver.com is a powerful asset.
Kentwood Real Estate's website, DenverRealEstate.com, shows up as the top result when searching for "Denver real estate" -- ahead of Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com.
Kentwood Real Estate,
which has three offices and about 450 brokers in the Denver area, is on
pace to do $1.3 billion in sales this year, Niederman said.
Grant said, "It's
important to remember that this is the one extension that all companies
(Fortune 500 companies on down to small businesses everywhere) have all
built massive brands around both online and offline (print, TV,
radio, etc) over the last 15 years. All other extensions have basically
played a defensive role. This means that billions of dollars in advertising
and marketing have been spent on the Dot Com brand itself. It's what consumers
are familiar with and understand."
Grant continued, "The
introduction of thousands of new extensions will only confuse the consumer,
and serve to strengthen the Dot Com brand. What people forget is that
we have already been through a similar test case with the introduction
of new TLDs like . Biz, . Info, . Travel, .Mobi, etc."
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RealEstateDirectory.com CEO Rob Grant and eDevelopers.com President and CEO Cody Maher have announced a unique content and leasing partnership with the initial launch of PhiladelphiaRealEstate.com. After several months of testing and development the site went live in June and has just been successfully leased to Philadelphia based realtor Noah Ostroff, who will operate the site as a unique real estate portal in the major Philadelphia markets.
Grant said, "We are extremely excited to partner with Cody Maher and Dino Adamou of eDevelopers with the initial launch of this unique platform and I'm thrilled to be working with
Noah Ostroff, who has proven to be a very entrepreneurial and forward thinking Realtor in his approach to traditional real estate marketing. This is a big commitment on everybodys part with the signing of a long term lease, as well as a willingness to experiment with a unique real estate model that will grow and evolve as the market changes."
approached Grant back in October 2010 at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. South Beach
conference in Miami. Dino Adamou of eDevelopers said, Rob liked
what we offered but was initially hesitant to move forward as others in
the industry failed to deliver on their promises. However, we agreed to
test our model out on a few of his real estate domains. It has been wildly
successful and we are extremely excited about what the future of this
model might hold.
Cody Maher said, "We designed the Software package to be highly scalable and easy to deploy. Within a matter of 1 week, we launched the real estate platform and began focusing on the SEO campaign which has been running for two months. The domain was originally beyond page 10 in Google search results and today sits at the top of page 2. We anticipate the site to hit page 1 within the next 3-4 months.
Their client, Noah Ostroff is also a happy camper. "This is an amazing opportunity for anyone looking to capitalize on an opportunity to grow their business through one of the most sought after domain names in their region. It is a turn-key package that will seamlessly enhance their current business without interruption," Ostroff said.
In addition to the launch of PhiladelphiaRealEstate.com, Grant and the team at eDevelopers are testing new platforms with sites at CaymanRealEstate.com and IowaRealEstate.com. Grant said that if the model continues to be successful, this same leasing concept will be executed across more real estate domains in the RealEstateDirectory.com portfolio - the largest network of geo-targeted real estate domains in the world. Grant and eDevelopers hope to open up new opportunities in the real estate industry by offering 'turn key' real estate portals to brokers and agents who are looking for both powerful branding and strategic marketing solutions
turn key web portals with their real estate, ecommerce and lead generation
platforms. In addition to these software packages, the company operates
a content creation company at ecopywriters.com as well as a link building
service at edomainers.com. Together, these businesses provide clients
with a comprehensive approach to web development and SEO.
(Posted August 4, 2011)
By Ron Jackson
The final business day at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2011 got underway Tuesday morning (October 18) with another bountiful brunch at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on Fort Lauderdale Beach. This brunch was special though - it was the 7th Annual T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Awards Brunch that honored companies and individuals who excelled in our industry over the past 12 months.
Before the awards
were handed out there were a couple of other business items to take care
of. Those started with me taking the stage to provide an update on third
quarter domain sales which showed a nice improvement over the same quarter
a year ago. I will be detailing the stats I shared in our next newsletter
that will be out within the next 24 hours.
LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--LeaseThis, LLC announced today the introduction of LeaseThis.com, a radically-new, cutting-edge Internet advertising platform that seeks to revolutionize the business of online advertising. Research has shown that while the number of global Internet users is growing exponentially, the availability of premium, targeted domain names is rapidly decreasing. The result is an increasingly difficult task for businesses to establish an online presence, or even reach out and attract new customers, through a meaningful domain name.
LeaseThis.coms proprietary, patent-pending technology is designed to address this issue by better aligning the interests of online advertisers with those that control the Internets premium real estate. We are the first company to offer domain leasing on a scalable, global platform, thereby releasing the incredible value of premium domain names to businesses and individuals around the world, said Jonathan Boswell, CEO and Co-Founder of LeaseThis.com.
The value of a premium domain name is easily illustrated in the real (as opposed to virtual) world of real estate. According to the 2005 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 82 percent of first-time homebuyers and 78 percent of repeat homebuyers used the Internet to search for homes, and 24 percent of buyers actually first found their home on the Internet. For many Internet users, that search starts with real estate domains. For example, a prospective buyer looking for a home in Atlanta often types AtlantaRealEstate.com (www.AtlantaRealEstate.com) or AtlantaHomes.com (www.AtlantaHomes.com) into their web browser. With a median home price in Atlanta of $265,000, it is easy to see the intrinsic value of this type of highly-targeted traffic.
Furthermore, a recent study conducted by WebSideStory, Inc. (www.WebSideStory.com) shows that this type of direct navigation has a conversion rate more than 80% higher than that of traditional PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising on Yahoo! and Google.
Ammar Kubba, COO and Co-Founder of LeaseThis.com, acknowledges that the early response has been tremendous. Businesses desperately want access to this premium traffic, yet the current PPC model often fails to capitalize on the true power and value of premium domain names, to the detriment of both advertisers and domain owners alike. With LeaseThis.com, we now have the ability to deliver this highest-quality traffic directly to the businesses that need it most, in the most efficient and compelling manner possible. We see it as the next logical step in the evolution of search marketing.
To develop its comprehensive and unrivaled inventory of premium domains, LeaseThis.com has been working closely with prominent domain owners such as Rob Grant, CEO of the RealEstateDirectory.com, which controls one of the worlds largest and most sought-after portfolios of Real Estate domain names. According to Grant, the advantages to controlling a valuable domain on an exclusive lease basis are significant. By leasing a strategic industry domain, companies can now effectively leap frog over their competition. Instead of merely being listed with dozens of other advertisers on a traditional PPC template, one company alone will have the exclusive use of these extremely valuable domain properties.
The initial release of the LeaseThis.com platform is currently
available exclusively to select beta partners, in preparation for a full-scale
global launch in early 2007 .
Rob Grant, a Lake Placid, New York based real estate broker owns the world's best collection of real estate related domain names. The former Madison Avenue advertising executive, who is also an active domain developer, told us "When we look back at 2008 and try to fathom the historic events that unfolded, I think history will show that we reached a major turning point for the U.S and the world. In 2008 the American financial system, and, ultimately, the global financial system experienced a near fatal meltdown. The collateral damage this caused was so deep that it will take several years for our economy to recover. Entire industries were eliminated, seemingly overnight, highlighted by spectacular failures like Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and the collapse of the entire Investment Banking sector. In many respects what we witnessed in 2008 was the equivalent of a deadly financial comet striking at the center of the worlds financial markets and flattening Wall Street. In the aftermath, we lost a lot of big dinosaurs."
"In the new economy that emerges from these ashes, the question now, is who is left standing... And how will this impact the domain industry? If you're a dinosaur, your days are numbered. That much is certain. Old legacy industries like the newspaper business have seen the collapse of major publishing empires like the Tribune Company as advertising revenues disappear and migrate full force to the web. Even venerable institutions like the 100 year old New York Times appear to be teetering on the brink. But what's bad news for dinosaurs is very good news for domains. As the dust settles on 2008, many old industries will be replaced by new efficient business models. Domain names will move to center stage and play an increasingly important role in this new economy," Grant said.
"In effect, domain names will become the new brands of the 21st century. As online ad spending continues to grow at the expense of traditional media, businesses from Fortune 500 companies to small main street vendors will finally understand the strategic importance of owning a descriptive domain name. This, in turn, will transform the value of domains in a very significant way. Domain names will shift from being historically passive inert investments (earning marginal ppc revenue) to fully functional retail platforms and end user web sites. Development will take center stage."
"All of these
changes will ultimately serve to unlock the pent up and explosive value
of domains. These new brands of the 21st century will emerge in full force
in 2009 & 2010. Powerful generic domain names will look and feel like
true media properties. As we enter the new year, the domain industry will
continue to grapple with many of the same issues it has been faced with
in the past (including the threat of CADNA and over reaching trademark
laws). However, despite these issues, we are remarkably fortunate to be
at the forefront of a new and emerging industry. For every old world dinosaur
that disappears in this new economy, a powerful new domain stands ready
to take its place," Grant concluded.
Catch up on more of Domaining's Most Fascinating People and cast a more informed, more intelligent vote for this year's T.R.A.F.F.I.C leaders:
Think: what individual has forged imagination, diligence, and discipline into bottom-line success, and who has gone far beyond domaining to leverage their success to help others in need?
We know some of them already, and we're inspired by their stories of altruism, of creating fresh opportunities for those who are much less fortunate. It takes vision and commitment - and a rare perspective that sees the world with clarity far beyond personal financial success.
These diverse entrepreneurs are generating real wealth through a disciplined process that can be followed by everyone who dreams of striking it rich online. Its old-fashioned marketing, reengineered for the digital world.
Every one of these Most Fascinating People knew that the true path to revenues and riches is to build a brand with an actual business model based on differentiation, relevance and value.
Rob Grant Interview I have asked various parties within the domain industry to take part some interviews to give us a little background about themselves, where they see the industry heading and how they feel the current market for domain names are our fourth interview is by Rob Grant.
Rob Grant is chairman & CEO of WebMediaProperties.com , a diversified online media and publishing company operating a global network of 8000 specialty web sites.
Grant is also CEO & President of Point Judith Properties, Inc., a real estate holding company located in New York State.
Considered one of the early pioneers and visionaries in the emerging field of direct search and the internet, Grant has been credited with building one of the largest online real estate networks in the world operating under the umbrella of RealEstateDirectory.com
Today, his various companies, including WebMediaProperties, control one of the largest online networks of consumer information portals and web sites covering a diverse spectrum of industries including Automotive www.FourWheelDrive.com , Music www.RecordingArtists.com , Travel www.CaribbeanResorts.com , Entertainment www.TalentAgents.com , Publishing www.BookPublishers.com , Winter Sports www.CrossCountrySkiing.com , Summer Sports www.Marathons.com , Education www.SpecialEducation.com , Hobbies www.TropicalFish.com , Law www.TradeMarkAttorneys.com , Business www.PRFirms.com , Construction www.prefabhome.biz , Special Interest www.DietBooks.com , Retail www.DiscountDesignerApparel.com , Mail Order www.ChristmasWreaths.com and hundreds of other categories.
1) What are your current thoughts on the Domain Aftermarket? i.e. Sales and Enquiries etc General Mood of Domainers / End users?
Its important to remember that domains are still an emerging asset class with very limited exposure outside of our small domain industry.
However, like all assets, domain names and the domain aftermarket rise and fall with the ebb and flow of the global economy.
When these markets are depressed, or there is general anxiety about the direction of the economy (as is the case right now), we feel it on a micro level with domain sales.
Since the Great Recession first started, we have seen a very cautious investment environment for domain names.
I really dont see this changing until the economy begins to recover, which could be several more years, barring any more shocks to the system.
As far as the mood of domainers go, they seem to be in sync with real world real estate agents.
Both groups seem to be living in quiet desperation and just praying that things are going to get better.
Domainers have had to endure the loss of their monthly PPC cash flow, which put a big squeeze on budgets and lifestyles (and on domain renewals).
Simultaneously, the aftermarket took a big hit (in tandem with real estate markets around the world).
Basically, its Fear & Loathing in DomainVille right now.
2) Where do you see GTLDS in 3 years time?
As Ive said repeatedly in other discussions, gtlds are the biggest trainwreck on the horizon.
Not only will they create massive confusion for the general public, but introducing thousands of new gtlds when the market is already glutted with useless extensions like .mobi, .biz, .info, etc seems redundant and stupid.
Get ready for general domain chaos and panic.. with companies scrambling to protect their brands with countless defensive registrations, UDRPs and lawsuits.
The only upside to this mess is that it will attract a lot of new investment capital into the domain space.
But a lot of this money is going to be lost chasing these new fictional gtlds.
In 3 years time, as we pick through the general wreckage and carnage of fallen gtlds, a few isolated winners may still be breathing. But it wont be pretty
The only exception
could be Google If they put their weight behind a particular extension
like .web and give it their endorsement (or a powerful brand like Apple).
Dot Com Domains remain the Gold Standard for investing. And its been this way (for me) for 16 years.
The rest of the extensions floating around out there are like 3rd world curriencies a few are strong, but most are worthless.
But dot com remains the benchmark for value.
4) Do you believe in Parking or Developing? What are your tips for either i.e. Top Parking Platform (What Do You Use) Developing your thoughts on what to develop and how best achieve it?
Parking is still marginally viable for large portfolios that generate traffic - These portfolios still require scalable solutions, and parking remains the only efficient model. Parking platforms like Franks InternetTraffic are the most efficient at monetizing quality names.
But lets face it, the party is over for most domainers.
When I look at Parking today, its like looking at a crime scene where you can still see the chalk outline of the victim (ie: domainers) on the sidewalk
You need to move on now (and stop staring), and select a few great brandable domains to develop.
If not, you might want to think about a new career.
5) What is your favourite domain personally or company owned?
I have a lot of great domains that I really like. A lot of these I hand registered back in 96.
My portfolio is quite old and includes roughly 8000 domains
Heres a few -
You can preview a sampling of the portfolio at www.WebMediaProperties.com
(the list goes on )
6) If you were starting out in the domain space today what are your 3 top tips?
I only have one Focus on one great domain.
Just make sure its a dot com, and give it your full attention.
If you execute properly, you can build a business that will generate cash flow and support you for a lifetime.
7) Whats the next big thing that your companies are working on?
We have a very powerful real estate platform that weve introduced in conjunction with our development partners - www.eDomainers.com out of San Diego.
A great example of this new platform is:
www.PhiladelphiaRealEstate.com & www.BeverlyHillsRealEstate.com
Since I own the worlds largest real estate vertical, its critical that we find a way to monetize these valuable names.
This new platform can be leased to real estate firms or individual agents and brokers - and provides a turn-key solution with comprehensive SEO & everything else that a real estate business needs to compete successfully on the web.
Its a very elegant solution and comes at a time when the real estate industry is being transformed and re-defined by the internet Infact, 95% of all real estate searches now begin online so were ideally positioned for this new industry.
8)Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Honestly, I love what I do So Ill probably be right here!
9) What has been your biggest challenge in the domain business?
Waking up each morning and hoping that domain names are still viable assets - And not something that technology has rendered obsolete (like so many other industries).
The moment you become arrogant, or convinced that youre right and everybody else is wrong Its over.
So I try to stay diversified. Thats why I operate other businesses outside of the internet space, which are not tied to the fate and destiny of domains.
10) What do you feel has been your largest accomplishment in the Business / Personally?
Creating a program that has gifted over $1 million dollars in valuable education domain names to colleges and universities in the U.S.
I would like to say a big Thank You to Rob for taking part in this interview for RobbiesBlog.com Please check out Robs sites and remember to check out Robs Sites - www.RobGrant.com & www.WebMediaProperties.com
Next to the Bandit Berkens "Goodwill Ambassador Award" that will be given for the first time, the Hall of Fame is our last category for nominations and one of our most prestigious awards. Each year two people are inducted. These are your nominees for 2012. Congratulations and Good Luck to all!! Well done!! If you feel somebody deserving was left out of any category, make sure YOU nominate them in 2013.
The following have already been inducted to the DOMAIN HALL OF FAME: MONTE CAHN, RON JACKSON, RICK SCHWARTZ, MIKE BERKENS, RICK LATONA, DAVID CASTELLO, MICHAEL CASTELLO, FRANK SCHILLING, YUN YE, SCOTT DAY, SAHAR SARID, HOWARD NEU, ADAM DICKER
Have a GREAT Day!