An interview with Donny from ygrab.com:
I am proud to present everyone with a Donny Simonton of Parked.com for the first interview for the blog. Donny is very nice and curtious and found the time in his busy day to do this for me. So take the time out and visit Parked.com.
1. Could you tell us just a little bit about yourself?
I’ve been working in the domain business for almost 9 years now. 8 years ago I helped start the domain registrar directNIC.com after Yun Ye had picked up one of our domains that we let expire. Today I currently run the day to day operations of Parked.com.
2. When did you first start getting involved in the domaining industry?
In 1996 is when I would say that I first became a Domainer. My fiancé and I lived in New Orleans at the time and we were going to drive to see her family who live about 12 hours away. I decided to take a dictionary of about 80k words and run them against the Internic WHOIS server and see what was available and what wasn’t. I remember there was right at 40k domains available and I printed the whole list on paper to give me something to do on the ride. By the time we got back home a week later I had a list of really good domains that I wanted to register.
3. What was the very first domain you every bought?
In 1996 I registered my first domain, it was fettuccine.com. Then my fiancé and I argued for about three hours on whether the correct spelling was fettuccini or fettuccine. We had two different boxes of pasta in our kitchen cabinet and both were spelled differently. Unfortunately back then renewing a domain was $70, and I didn’t renew 90% of the domains I owned back then.
4. What is a typical day in the life of Donny Simonton?
I wake up around 6am. I check my email for about an hour or so. Try to eat breakfast with my son every morning. Then try to get to work by 8am. Get another 1-2 hours of checking email and other quick projects. Start at the top of my OWL (Ongoing Working List) List, which is basically a list of things that I need to get done, it’s like a to-do list, but you don’t skip anything you always work your way down the list. Check the status on all of the different projects that are going on and what information I will need for people once they are done with different projects. QA anything that is new before it goes on any of the sites. Have meetings with programmers and account managers on a daily basis on how to make things better. Check in on the different message boards. Try to get out of the office by 6pm so I can dinner with my family. At 8pm I start checking email again until around 11pm when I finally go to sleep for the night. Then I start the process again the next day.
5. Best piece of advice for a new domainer or a domainer in general?
Buy domains that mean something to you and something you enjoy. If you are in medical school, why not buy some “medical” domains, I promise you know more about medical domains than I ever would. And especially now, stay away from trademarks. They will only cause you more problems in the future.
6. What, in your opinion, is the best investment in the domain industry right now?
Generic keyword domains. I only stick with .com domains when possible. And you also want to buy something that makes sense to most of the world.
7. Tell us about Parked.com and how it started.
Parked or as we called it parking started for me in 2003. Myself and one of programmers (Baron) took over managing the domain parking for our domain registrar. We decided to spend 2-3 weeks trying to improve the system that another group had created a few years before. Within a month we were generating about 50x more revenue than before and we knew we were on to something exciting. From there we created the basis for all of our different technologies that are used on Parked.com today, like our automated self learning technology and our Domain Magic technology. In 2005 we were finally allowed to make our system available to the outside world, unfortunately Hurricane Katrina decided to hit New Orleans and change our plans. But on May 3, 2006 at the Las Vegas Traffic Conference we launched Parked.com.
8. What are you future plans for the industry?
Help the Domainer make more money. What else is there?
9. Do you have any future projects you would like the domaining world to know about?
Without going into too many details and giving away all of our secrets we want to make sure that the Domainer can create the site that they want to create. Not your normal page that when somebody goes to it they know it’s a domain parking page. Our plan is to make it that when people go to a parked.com page it is unique for that Domainer and if the Domainer wants unique for that domain.
10. Where does your inspiration come from to do things like Parked.com?
It’s fun. It’s challenging. And if you do it right everybody makes good money. One of the projects I worked on for years was a domain registrar, a person came to us, they paid us for a domain, we handed them the domain from the registry. In that case, we made money, the registry made money, but the domain owner didn’t. In domain parking if it’s done right, everybody makes money, so everybody is usually happy.
11. Anything else you would like to say?
Thanks for the opportunity.
Thank you much for doing this for me Donny! Also dont forget to visit Parked.com!