The discussion of the day on this sunny Saturday afternoon has been taking place on Namepros. The discussion is located in domain discussion. The thread
Ethics of staying quiet when newbies reg rubbish?
So two questions:
1. Do we have moral obligation to be straight with these newbies and tell them that they are registering rubbish, even if this is a thankless task and the person refuses to listen and even doubles down on what they are doing.
2. Is it ethical for experienced domainers to ‘like’ posts which seem to validate the newbies selections.
I look at some of these people with thousands of completely unsellable hand regs, and on one hand I do think that they probably play their part in keeping registration and renewal prices down for every domainer as these nonsense domains are part of the ecosystem and generate cash for the registry and registrars, but on the other hand these domainers could be in debt, or blowing money from family savings without their wives knowing.
I find it very difficult to see people spending like $7000 on terrible handregs without saying something.
There are a lot of good replies from Joe Nicols, Brad Mugford, Nick B, and many others.
George Kirikos of FreeSpeech.com might have stole the show with
Nobody wants to hear that their baby is ugly.
Furthermore, there are numerous ways to make money, and also numerous ways to lose money, so often the “advice” isn’t going to be 100% perfect, however it can be based on strong empirical data (i.e. it’s a very high probability that a 2-letter dot-com is going to be worth more than that hyphenated 5-word dot-xyz; or, on average you’re probably going to lose your shirt if you repeatedly engage in cybersquatting of famous brands, etc., e.g. iREIT!).
Yesterday, I learned about a TV show called “Selling Sunset”
about some realtors in Los Angeles selling high end properties, and one of the agents was brutally honest in describing one of their clients (in Season 1, episode 1 — I’m still catching up!), saying “Not everyone has good taste!” She wasn’t sugar-coating her statements, or being diplomatic (some people like that, others don’t; makes for an entertaining TV show, though). Sometimes the “sugar coated” messages don’t have the same impact as the brutally honest ones…..
Fortunately, over time the market rewards those making good decisions, and punishes those making bad decisions. Those who make good decisions will (on average, not always) make money, whereas those who make bad decisions will (on average, not always) lose money.
For example, in blackjack or poker (which are relatively “simple games”, that we can model mathematically with ease), there are basic strategies that dominate other strategies. e.g. (assuming no card counting) you’d want to double down in blackjack on cards adding up to a total of 10, and split two 8s (you can read about “Basic Strategy” on many blackjack websites). You might lose any individual hand following that strategy, but on average in the long run you’re better off. Similarly for poker, there are times when you should be “all in”, but then end up losing with a “bad beat”. So, risk management principles, risk vs. reward, are important. Take calculated risks, rather than erratic/irrational ones.
With domain names (and business in general), unlike pure gambling games like poker or blackjack, there are far more variables involved, and the game can change over time, so you can’t model them mathematically with any ease. Sometimes you can follow a horrible strategy, but end up making money despite the odds being against you. Other times, you might have made a great decision, but still ended up losing money. Was it a “lucky” outcome for a bad/good decision, or what you expected should have happened? You’d have to decide for yourself, but folks can certainly give their opinions (but be prepared for some folks to be angry, hostile and resentful when you give it, like all the “debates” that have gone on for years about different strategies, like dot-com vs. new gTLDs vs ccTLDs, or 4L.com domains, or whatever; you need a thick skin when both giving and receiving advice!).
Anyhow, I personally try to follow simple principles that have worked for me in my own domain name choices (relatively low number of high quality domain names, mostly dot-com, that I can see a future use in my company, that I can conceivably “keep forever” and don’t have to ever sell; dropping domains I consider “worthless” or low value, e.g. 2-word hyphenated domains where I already own the non-hyphenated dot-com). But, folks are adults, and can make their own choices.
Not to say that I’m always “rational”. I know that on average I will lose money if I buy a lottery ticket, for example, but occasionally will still plunk down $5 on a single Lotto Max ticket if the jackpot is big enough! (I won’t spend hundreds of dollars in a week, though, like some people do).
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