AEIOU No Longer Offering Mini-Sites

Ceres

New Member
Rick Latona has announced that AEIOU is no longer offering mini-site services, and has stopped accepting new business.

We were the first company to sell mini-sites so we might as well be the first company to stop selling them.

The reality is there is no money in web design. It’s hard. The customers are hard to please. The margins are slim and frankly, there are bigger fish to fry.
It's not always easy knowing when to keep trying with a business, and when to simply stop and shut down the business and move on to other things. Therefore, I'm sure it wasn't an easy decision to make.

One previous concern was that AEIOU's prices were on the high side. Over the last year or so, mini-site development became really popular with domainers, and seen as an alternative to parking.

Regardless of Rick Latona's announcement, do you think mini-site development is here to stay, or will it lose popularity? One thing about a domainer running a large number of mini-sites is that it can become difficult to constantly maintain and upgrade each site. Please share your views.
 
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The very fact that Rick was the first to sell Mini-Sites, by itself, is an accomplishment. Thanks to his stature in the industry, he has made domainers around the world to sit up and take notice of the idea of mini-sites!

My perspective is that it is just a matter of priority rather than anything else, about which business to focus on and which one not to. In all probability, it must have been a tough decision. But since it is Rick's, it should be a wise one.

I believe mini-sites are here to stay for two primary reasons, especially with regard to powerful generic keyword names - be it one, two or even three-word names. One, it is the best way to showcase highly searched generic keyword names and two, Direct Navigation of ccTLD Names by end-users and serious buyers online is a largely ignored reality.

From end-users' perspective, before acquiring a name, a mini-site can give them a feel of (a) what kind of first-impression and (b) what kind of value will a customer / prospective customer receive and perceive after logging into the name.

From the prospective buyer's perspective (of products/services), articles, photos, specifications, region specific information and sponsored listings of top 10 related keywords to the name can give them enormous confidence and a critical "feel-good factor".

From the domainer's perspective, a large number of mini-sites could pose a challenge with regard to maintenance. But as already mentioned, having a mini-site holds good, preferably, for highly searched generic keyword names which are usually held for long periods (approximately 3 - 7 years). It is simply beyond just covering the reg fee. It is about adding value in the first place before reaping the rewards!

A portfolio of names in the form of mini-sites can be a show-stealer in comparison to parked domains. Most critical of all, it is an evidence of the extent to which a domainer values the name he/she holds!!
 

Jeff

Administrator
Staff member
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I think part of the issue is one of client care.

When you sell a domain, the transfer is just a few minutes of work. Then it's all over.

Working on minisites and other web development projects involves a lot of interaction with clients. That in itself is a difficult, time consuming and sometimes stressful component. Having to be at a client's beck and call is a lot of work, and I'm guessing a lot of clients weren't all that friendly and many had unrealistic expectations.

A lot of people get involved in online businesses so that they don't need to do all of that :)

As for minisites, I think that they make a great foundation for web development. However, unless you are in a really uncompetitive market, you need to do more than that in the long run. A minisite is really just a start.

Also, I think that there has been too much emphasis in the domaining community on development rather than marketing. Realistically, building a website is the easy part. Getting it known and getting traffic to it is the really hard part. I think that is why there is a lot of disappointment among domainers about web development in general. They have a great website built and then it just sits there doing nothing.

Rick's a smart guy though and I'm sure that he's doing the right thing for his company.
 

itssri

New Member
Rick certainly did a great favor to all domainers by choosing the mini-site model and demonstrating success.

Friends, in some other thread I mentioned my 3 quotients of a domains value.

A mini-site is all about making a statement with the domain, instead of just keeping it parked. It demonstrates a business development model and enhances the Informational Quotient, which ultimately is bound to get you an end-user interested in buying the domain rather than the resellers.

The mini-site (having genuine content, instead of keyword stuffing) also helps in ranking on the search engines and making the visitor stay longer on site and may be also exit via an ad click. All these things increase the Statistical Quotient.

These in turn get you more value as only the end user can value a running business model and think of expanding it. It will also tempt the buyer to dig deeper into their pockets, which is what I term the Emotional Quotient.

But of course, domainers must realize that the mini-site model will work best for keyword rich names, especially the long tail kind having 2 to 4 keywords. Combined with correct SEO and some basic link-building you can be in SERP top 10 in as little as 2 weeks or at the most within 6 weeks. I write with the experience of hundreds of mini-sites we have developed. I have also sold the mini-site based domains at 3 to 4 times the value of what they were quoted when just parked. Persons interested in knowing more can PM me.

Cheers!
 

Ceres

New Member
Some good points have been made about how a mini-site can raise the value of a domain name, but that it takes time, money and marketing to get the additional value. As Jeff mentioned, if a domainer doesn't consider these points, he/she will likely set themselves up for a disappointment.

An alternative to a mini-site or parked domain, is Jamie Zoch's suggestion of setting up a one-page site with a sales pitch (I quite like his idea). You can read more about it here.
 
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