First of the losers

Senna

Someone I admire greatly, Aytyon Senna, famously said that second is the first of the losers.

When it comes to the auDA election last month, third place was the first of the losers…

Two directors were elected, Simon Johnson with 66 votes and Timothy Connell with 52 votes.

I was just 4 little votes behind, on 48 votes.

But a miss is as good as a mile, and therefore I am the first of the losers!

Excuses

As with all elections, the results went to those who campaigned best.

I’m told that Simon is an exceptional campaigner, and I witnessed first hand how good Tim was at campaigning.

As for me, well I can roll out the excuses…

I did very little campaigning.  Unfortunately the lead up to the elections coincided with two rather major events in my business.

The timing was such that I was at the bank signing my life away the day after proxies closed!

To say it’s been a hectic few months would be an understatement, and that’s not taking into account anything to do with the election.

But yes, they’re all just excuses.

Simon and Tim did a great job and deserved to be elected.

Next year…

I honestly don’t know if I’ll have another go next year.

Gaining a seat on the auDA board was never about money, prestige or improving my CV.

It was about being involved in what I see as the most serious issue to ever face AU domain owners – direct registrations.

Assuming that direct registrations are done and dusted over the coming year, why would I want to take time away from my business and family?

We’ll see…  It all depends on what happens at auDA over the next 11 months or so.

For now it’s back to family and business.

Thanks again to everyone who voted for me.

My businesses

Part of my pitch as a demand class director of auDA is my experience in online business.

Many board members and nominees, both past and present, have had backgrounds in government, academia and law. There are also many involved in the provision of tech services.

The board absolutely needs these types of people. They have invaluable skills, qualifications and knowledge, and have no doubt contributed to the strength of the AU domain space over many years.

But I don’t see a lot of business owners. Dealing with business is absolutely not the same as being in business.

So here’s what I’ve been doing online over the last few years…

Nuts.com.auNuts.com.au

I founded Nuts.com.au with nothing more than a fantastic domain name and determination to build an e-commerce business from scratch.

Within months the business was shipping thousands of dollars worth of nuts to all corners of the country.

I believe that a huge part of its success was the domain name.  Branding as the exact match .com.au for our product gave instant credibility amongst suppliers and customers.

It was a fantastic experience, however the business was very recently sold to enable me to concentrate on my insurance business.

NumberPlates.com.auNumberPlates.com.au

This is a business I acquired back in 2014 from the previous owners who’d held it for many years.

As is always my preference, it uses an exact match domain name to explain what the website is about.

The site now lists many thousands of number plates for sale and is a great example of how well niche classifieds websites can work.

Trade RiskTrade Risk

Trade Risk is the anchor of my business world.

It combines my career – insurance – with my passion – digital marketing.

It was started with nothing more than a domain name, a bit of knowledge and a lot of hard work.

It also benefited greatly from my willingness to invest in premium com.au domain names.

The business has thousands of clients, a team of staff in our Brisbane office and has won numerous awards over the years.

This is my full time gig.

Other businesses

I’ve had plenty of other online businesses over the years, some that went nowhere, and some that I managed to sell for a few dollars.

I believe that my experience and success in online business makes me an ideal demand class director of auDA, and one that will compliment the skills of more seasoned directors on the board who may not have any online business experience.

My stance on direct registrations

The introduction of direct registrations is one of the hottest topics when it comes to this year’s auDA elections.

Some people say it’s a done deal and we need to focus on implementation, whilst other argue that we should still be fighting hard against it.

Here’s what I had to say about them on Domainer.com.au back in September:

In my opinion this is the biggest change to occur during my time in the domain name world, which kicked off back in the late nineties.

There have been other big changes, such as the ability to sell domain names and the monetisation policy, both of which were great positive changes.

The difference between these and direct registrations is that they didn’t affect the average small business owner.

If you owned one or two domains for your SME, with no interest in acquiring additional domains, the changes to monetisation or selling of domains had no real impact on you.

But with direct registrations, every single domain name owner is going to be affected.

My view has not changed since then.

Here’s what I recently wrote on DNtrade:

I’ve had a consistent stance on this since the beginning. I like the idea of a shorter domain, however I don’t believe they are necessary and I am against their introduction on the basis that they will burden SMEs with additional costs and unnecessary work for no real benefit.

Furthermore, I believe the addition of another option will simply cause confusion amongst business owners and the general public.

com.au is strong. The reasons given by the ‘for’ side do not justify weakening it.

I simply do not believe the benefits outweigh the negatives when it comes to direct registrations.

Some on the supply side state that this is about innovation.

I’m all for innovation, but this is not innovation.  It is simply removing a few letters in order to sell more domain names.

So what is my stance?  If the opportunity arises, I will vote against the introduction of direct registrations.

If they are to be introduced (which is the current situation) then I will do everything in my power to ensure existing domain owners are not adversely impacted upon.

 

How to vote for me

If you like what I stand for and agree that I’d make a great Demand Class director at auDA, voting for me is easy.

You must act fast however, as today (Thursday 24th November) is the last day to return your form to me or directly to auDA.

Simply print and sign this proxy form.  You can then scan and email it to sm@traderisk.com.au.

Forms must be returned by 5pm today (Sydney time) for them to count.  If sending directly to me, make sure you give me sufficient time prior to 5pm.

Any questions?  Let me know!

I finally bought my ute

Last week I finally achieved something which has meant a lot to me over a number of years.

There are so many things this could be, but for me, it is a humble ute covered in stickers.  Massive stickers…

Ford Ranger Wrap

Looks nice hey?  But heaps of people have utes with stickers.  Big deal!

It was a big deal for me though.

We’ve achieved plenty with Trade Risk.  Just being here after five years is an achievement.  Having an office with awesome staff has also been a great achievement.

Picking up multiple awards and being recognised on industry lists has definitely been an achievement.

But ever since day one, what I’ve envisaged is a big ute emblazoned with my beloved Trade Risk branding.

Sure I could have gone out and financed a ute and wrap years ago, but I didn’t want to do that.  I wanted to earn it.

So it sounds stupid, but this ute is kind of what really makes me feel like my little business is a success.

I’m proud as punch to drive this beast around. 🙂

I’m Shane

Shane MooreProud father of two little girls.  Husband. Founder of Trade Risk.  Passionate about digital marketing and domain names.  Lover of Formula One.

And the reason that you’re probably visiting, nominee as a demand class director on the auDA board in 2016.

I love domain names.  Ask my wife and she’ll tell you how much I carry on about domains, digital marketing and business in general.

I’ve been in and around the industry since the turn of the century, which sounds like an awful long time ago, but for me was around 1999 when I registered my first .com domain.

My passion for domains – in particular AU domains – and small business is what has motivated me to get more heavily involved in auDA.

To learn more about me and where I stand on important issues please follow the links below:

You can also contact me at sm@traderisk.com.au.

Cheers.

My greatest fear…

I saw a similar meme for power tools and had to create this…

My greatest fear

How many domainers could relate to this?!

FWIW, after many years my wife now understands how valuable great domain names can be for a business (in particular our business) so I’m more than happy to share what I actually pay for them. 🙂

In all seriousness though, it is something to consider.  If you’ve invested tens of thousands of dollars into domain names like I have, how is your other half (wife, husband, whatever else) going to know how to best use or sell them?

Definitely something to think about…

Update on auDA election and other matters

This post was originally published on Domainer.com.au by Ned O’Meara.


Shane Moore

With auDA Board elections imminent (probably end of November), I thought it would be good to give potential candidates an opportunity to ask for your vote!

First cab off the rank is my good friend Shane Moore. He first announced his intentions way back in May on Domainer, so it’s good to get a comprehensive update from him.

In my opinion, Shane will make an excellent Demand Class Director of auDA. He runs his own business in Brisbane; he thinks independently; and he’s a listener. He’s also been involved with domains for many years.

He certainly has got one of my votes!


I’d Like To Ask For Your Vote Please!

Written by Shane Moore – 21st September 2016

We’re getting closer to the expected announcement of the 2016 auDA AGM, which means the elections won’t be too far away.

As stated earlier this year, I will be nominating for one of the two demand class directorships, and so far I’ve been very pleased with the level of public and private support.

There are challenging times ahead for the au domain space, and with that in mind I want to provide an update on how I see the current issues and what I’ve been up to generally in the online world.

Direct registrations

In my opinion this is the biggest change to occur during my time in the domain name world, which kicked off back in the late nineties.

There have been other big changes, such as the ability to sell domain names and the monetisation policy, both of which were great positive changes.

The difference between these and direct registrations is that they didn’t affect the average small business owner.

If you owned one or two domains for your SME, with no interest in acquiring additional domains, the changes to monetisation or selling of domains had no real impact on you.

But with direct registrations, every single domain name owner is going to be affected.

The insurance brokerage I founded and continue to run, Trade Risk, has thousands of small business clients, many of whom have an au domain name.

I have spoken with many of them regarding direct registrations, and they aren’t happy about having to deal with yet another issue that’s going to cost them more time and money for no benefit.

A number of them spoke about their frustrations with competitors having confusingly similar domain names, and the addition of direct registrations will only add to this issue.

Are direct registrations really a good thing for Australia?  I’d say they’re a great thing for registrars, but I can’t see the benefit for domain name owners.

What’s doing at auDA?

Ned has done a fantastic job of keeping us all updated on what we do (and don’t!) know about the goings on at auDA.

With that in mind I won’t go over the same issues again, but I do have to agree with Ned that we are being treated like mushrooms.

Having spent most of my career in the corporate world as well as running my own business, I completely understand that there is some information you can release, and some you cannot.

So I understand that auDA can’t just spew out page after page of everything that goes on there, but the current level of engagement with registrants is certainly disappointing.

Under normal circumstances the goings on at auDA would be pretty far down my list of priorities, with my business and my family occupying the first twenty or so places!

But these aren’t normal circumstances…

Decisions about direct registrations and their implementation are possibly being made right now, but it seems that the board isn’t exactly in the greatest of health.

How do we know that the right decisions are being made?

I like to think I’m a fairly positive guy and trust people to do right thing.  The current directors should take notice of what domain owners really want and make their decisions accordingly.

They should also recognise that many of the survey responses came from people who were not fully informed, and whose responses did not necessarily reflect the overall domain name owner’s community.

What I stand for

If I am fortunate enough to have the support of sufficient auDA demand class members, here’s what I’ll be using my position to push for.

1.      No introduction of direct registrations unless all existing domain name owners can be assured they will not be disadvantaged in any way.

2.      Make it easier for more domain owners to become auDA members.

3.      Make it easier for people to register an au domain.

4.      Ensure the interests of domain name owners and users have appropriate influence over decisions that affect them.

5.      Ask questions about auDA’s revenue, specifically in terms of how much it can justify and how it is used.

And most importantly, I’ll be pushing for auDA to be as transparent as is legally possible.

In my opinion, greater transparency will remove the vast majority of issues that people have with auDA.

What have I been up to?

My whole professional life revolves around domain names, websites and digital marketing.

Where I differ to a lot of people in the industry is that I don’t provide any services to other people, and instead only work on my own businesses.

My insurance brokerage, Trade Risk, is kicking along well and continues to grow.

Since my last guest post on Domainer, we picked up an award as one of Australia’s top 30 ‘Elite’ brokerages.  This is the second year in a row we’ve achieved this.

We put on another new staff member just last month, and we’re also working on a fantastic new online system.

It’s not bad for a business which started off as nothing more than a hand registered au domain name!  The premium domains we have added since have unquestionably helped.

My ecommerce business, Nuts.com.au, also continues to grow.  It’s been almost twelve months since we started selling products, however this business might be off to a new home soon.

And then we have NumberPlates.com.au which launched a brand new site just last month.  It’s going really well and proves that the classifieds model can still work well in the right niche.

I just love online business, and in particular online businesses which use premium domain names as part of their branding and overall strategy.

auDA have done a great job of developing the au domain space over many years, and I hope to be part of the board that continues to push it in the right direction.

If you’d like to get in touch with me please email me.  You can also connect with me on LinkedIn.

I’d also be happy to answer any questions on here as well.

I’m nominating for the auDA board this year

This post was originally published on Domainer.com.au by Ned O’Meara.


Shane Moore

I was thrilled to learn yesterday that a friend of mine has decided to stand for election as a Demand Class Director at the auDA elections later this year.

Shane Moore has fantastic credentials in my opinion, and will be a great representative if elected. He’s Brisbane based, and has been involved in domaining and online marketing for over a decade. Some of his online businesses include Nuts.com.au and NumberPlates.com.au.

He also runs a successful insurance brokerage specialising in insurance for tradies. Have a look at TradeRisk.com.au – it’s a great example of a thriving business website!

Here in his own words is why Shane wants to be elected.


I’m nominating for the auDA board this year

Nominations don’t open until much later in the year, but given the recent interest in auDA issues I’ve decided to make my announcement earlier than planned.

I will be running for a seat on the auDA board this year.

I feel that the board has been without a director who genuinely represents small business and domain investors, and who engages with the community on a regular basis.

The board has instead been dominated by people from within the domain name industry, as well as people who may not necessarily have the regular SME owner’s best interests at heart.

It makes sense that the board would be made up primarily of people from within the domain industry, however given the way that pending changes in the AU domain space will affect all SME owners and domain name investors, it is my intention to be their voice on the board.

I believe I fill a rather unique gap between genuine end-users of premium domain names, and pure domainers.

But before I get into my background, I think it’s important to begin with where I stand:

Direct registrations

I’m on record as having said I supported the idea of shorter domain names, in the form of direct registrations.

What I don’t support is any form of implementation that damages existing com.au domain holders and their investments in branding, trademarks and indeed the domains themselves.

It is my firm belief that all existing com.au domain holders should be issued the .au version of their domain without the risk of losing it to any other party.

Australian business owners and domain name investors have invested vast amounts of money into com.au registrations, both as new registrations and aftermarket purchases.

There should never be a situation where direct registrations jeopardise these investments.

Ultimately, if I was given the opportunity to oppose direct registrations at the board level, I would.

Despite my personal fondness of shorter domains, I am well aware that the majority of people I seek to represent are firmly against the introduction of direct registrations.

I do believe however that the battle we need to be concentrating on is implementation.

Engagement with registrants

I believe auDA needs to seriously increase its level of engagement with existing registrants.

The vast majority of end-users, in particular SME owners, have no idea about what is happening in the Australian domain name space.

Whilst their domain name might represent a very small priority within their business, they should still be fully informed about any possible changes affecting their domain name or names.

Direct registrations are a major example of where many people believe engagement with everyday domain owners was poor, and who knows what other changes will come in future that need to be far better communicated.

Evening up the balance

Small business owners, and large businesses for that matter, are the major users of domain names in Australia, however they have very little representation on the auDA board.

Whilst some past and present board members may have been SME owners, I do not feel that they were on the board as a genuine representative of SMEs.

My background in small business and domain names

The business I founded six years ago, insurance brokerage Trade Risk, has used premium domain names in order to grow into a multi-award winning national business.

I know first-hand that without investing in premium Australian domain names that I could not have achieved the same success.

I am also the founder of Nuts.com.au, which is a fast growing online food retailer, as well as the owner of NumberPlates.com.au which is a leader in its category.

What my businesses have in common is the use of premium Australian domain names.

I have invested strongly in these and many other names, and I am very aware of their value as business assets.

I have a lot to lose if the implementation of direct registrations is handled poorly, as do many other SMEs and domain investors.

Unlike the vast majority of end-users I’ve also been a part of the domainer community for many years.

I registered my first .com domain in 1999 and my first com.au in 2003.

I have been a member of numerous online groups since 2010 and have been a constant contributor throughout that time.

Corporate Experience

Whilst I haven’t sat on previous committees or boards, I do have a strong background in the corporate world prior to moving into small business.

Prior to founding my own business in 2010 I was employed as a compliance analyst for a subsidiary of the ANZ Banking Group.

I’ve held compliance and project management related roles with corporates including Suncorp Bank, the National Australia Bank and other smaller financial institutions.

I also have some public sector experience, having spent time in London working for the UK Government.

In my current primary role, I am the principal of my own insurance brokerage. With insurance being a very heavily regulated industry, I am required to uphold very high standards in terms of compliance.

So why vote for me?

I feel very strongly that SME owners have been completely left in the cold when it comes to direct registrations.

I also believe that domain name investors (who are also SME owners) have been completely under-represented on the auDA board for many years.

Some past and present auDA directors seek support from the domain investor community around election time, however once the election has been run we rarely hear from them for another year.

I have been a strong contributor to the domain name investing community in Australia for a number of years, and also a strong advocate for small businesses using premium domain names.

It is my intention to finally give SME owners and domain name investors a genuine seat at the table so that we can have some well-deserved influence over policies which can and will affect our livelihoods.

Even if we cannot win a seat on the board, at the very least we can send auDA and the current directors the message that we are prepared to act together for our own interests – just as many of them have been doing for years.

If anyone wants to contact me for further information, please email me.

Thank you for reading.

ASIC is watching you on Facebook!

ASICAccording to a recent report by Insurance Business, ASIC are keeping an eye on the Facebook and other social media pages run by insurance firms.

For the full report follow this link.

I personally have experience with ASIC querying one of my company’s websites, and I’m planning on writing about this shortly as a lesson to other website owners and managers.

Stay tuned!