Welcome to our five part series “Women in Domaining”
The domaining industry is a predominantly male industry, from those running registrars to secondary exchanges, to individuals in the spotlight. We wanted to do a story on women in the industry and let them tell their story in their own words.
We have reached out to ladies all over the domain spectrum, from executives to entrepreneurs to part timers who have made their way in the industry.
We edited nothing, we wanted each lady to express herself and tell their own story. We did ask each lady one question, “Do you feel that domaining is an equal opportunity industry for men and women alike ?”
First up is Lori Anne Wardi from .CO Registry. Lori Anne is the marketing force behind the .co extension. With an Ivy League background and time spent at Goldman Sachs, she somehow found her way to the domaining industry.
I work full time as VP for .CO, where I am responsible for matters involving brand strategy, business development and global communication. My biggest job is preaching the gospel of .CO around the world– and trying to inspire more individuals and businesses to go.co! A part of the .CO team from the very start, I have helped to do deals with big brands (like Twitter, Google, Cisco and Amazon) and to help to introduce many of Silicon Valley’s biggest influencers and hottest startups to the growing world of .CO — one URL at a time, including: 500 Startups (500.co), Angel List (angel.co), The Founder Institute (fi.co), Launch Conference (launch.co), and The Startup America Partnership (s.co).
Beyond that, I have been a domain investor since around year 2000. I love researching domain names, and buying and selling names for myself and others.
I guess you can say I work in domains full time as a career; and I invest in domains part time — and these days, more as a hobbyist.
Re domaining as an industry, i think it’s definitely an equal opportunity industry — and a great place for women. While there are clearly far more men in the industry I think it’s because women have seen domaining as a guys field … filled with geeks! When i started attending domain industry events, there were practically no women there– but the guys were welcoming and couldn’t have been more helpful. Over time, the opportunities for women and the number of women in the industry has continued to grow. And I think it will keep growing — as women continue to see that being geeky is not just for the guys!
Next up is Tia Wood, Tia is an entrepreneur with great graphic design and development skills. She has developed many sites for other professionals in the domaining industry.
I invest in domain names part time and have been for the past 6+ years. It goes hand in hand with my full time web development career as I make purchasing decisions and advise clients on various aspects of their projects.
I definitely feel there is equal opportunity for both men and women in the domain industry. I have never faced any type of discrimination from being a woman.
However, I feel that women have different advantages and disadvantages, in general, participating in a male dominated industry.
For instance, the female gender has the advantage in a male dominated field of simply being a different gender ( as an exaggerated, joking example: http://www.tiawood.com/domain-investing/male-domainers-vs-female-domainers.html ). While I myself stay clear of this route there is no denying that it happens and the domain industry is no exception. The most rememberable example is when Chef Patrick employed those lovely models in his videos: http://www.chefpatrick.com/nipplegate-scandal-and-photo-shoot-pics/ (which I’m sure everyone is hoping would come back).
On the reverse side, you need thick skin to deal with the good and bad criticism, unwanted advice, things that are typical in any business industry.
Next up is Annalisa Roger/Dot Green. Annalisa has been a driving force behind the Green Movement and it finding its own namespace in the new tld program.
DotgreenMy first exposure to domain names was through my father, Peter de Blanc who was a believer in the power of information and strong advocate for all people to gain global information at their fingertips. Through his excitement as the Internet was new, he pioneered its expansion to the Virgin Islands, and engaged at ICANN with other country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) managers. The Virgin Islands Public Telecommunications System relies on COBEX Internet Services, a local organization founded by my father. My step-mother, Dotty Sparks deBlanc continues to oversee the .vi Registry and is a Board Member of the Country Code Names Supporting Organization or ccNSO at ICANN.
My domain experience is unusual in that it is limited to developing one Top Level Domain. I have embarked on an interesting journey based on a simple idea. Since founding a company, the DotGreen team has developed partnerships and even created a new Non-profit Public Benefit Charity Organization in order to responsibly manage an entire domain namespace; the letters to the right of the dot will be “green”. For example, The DotGreen Community, Inc. www.dotgreen.org will work with registrars, who will sell new domain names such as: cars.green, energy.green, house.green, Iam.green , etc. Domain names to the left of .green can purchased by Internet users, registrants and domainers who may develop them into thriving businesses. As a woman TLD entrepreneur, I recognize this unique opportunity to share and encourage other women around the world to develop .green domain names into websites and to bring their green businesses online and to create new businesses through domain developing. I believe this can create social, economic, and environmental value for communities around the world as well as adding authenticity and strength to the .green TLD brand.
Domaining may currently be primarily a male dominated industry, yet it is clear that women are welcome and beginning to find careers in that niche. Recent domainer conferences have even hosted ‘women in domaining’ events to increase the pool of domainers. This is a smart move, one I would recommend to registrars as sponsors wanting to increase their client base and domain names sales revenue.
Domain Developing is a complex component to Domaining and requires a set of skills and innovative thinking already well mastered by many creative entrepreneurs. I believe Domain Developing (different than Domaining) is well suited for women. Necessary skills require one to have an intuitive sense of community building and the ability to generate interest (called traffic) around a particular idea or word (the domain name). Women are recognized for their aptitudes in working with people, including social media fields, communications, and abilities to understand and interact with group think. These natural skills most definitely translate to the field of Domain Developing. The Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers, ICANN is on the cusp of the greatest domain expansion for the Internet name space that has ever taken place. Around 1400 new generic Top Level Domains and therefor countless new domain names in many languages are expected online in the next year or so. We are living in a time in history which brings with it a great opportunity and choice for women Domain Developers (at the second level). With many new gTLD name spaces soon to come online, women domain developers can plan now to learn the skills needed to be valuable contributing pioneers to the development of new online communities that are meaningful to them.
Benefits for women: I think Domain Developing from her home office is a career path that can be well suited for women seeking flexibility in their career. For those who want more involvement with the public, there are Domaining conferences, workshops, speaking engagements, even a Domaining cruise! Hard work is required and there is a lot to learn around design appeal, user interface, search engine optimization (SEO) and social media to be successful. An entrepreneur can find valuable information online and there are some very helpful blogs to subscribe to in this dynamic industry. For anyone currently making a transition from strictly Domaining which can be more of a risk based business such as stock trading, to Domain Developing, they may want to consider the statistics of who really browses and shops online? Is your website likely to be visited by women traffic? Is it attractive? Welcoming? Some may consider partnering with a woman Domain Developer as a way to gain an advantage. Chances are she’ll be good at collaborating, attracting visitors, building community and will offer a valuable additional perspective.