Moshe “Michael” Schneider is well-known in domaining circles for being a very successful owner and developer of generic English terms, and now, he has led the way in investing internationally. Moshe has been a friend and inspiration to myself and many others, as he is always up for talking about domains and he puts his money where his mouth is. I’m confident you will enjoy this interview.
Q: Have you spent over $100,000 buying IDNs?
A: I am a part of a group who spent 7 figures on idns.
Q: Why should I spend $100,000 buying IDNs instead of buying English (ASCII) .com domains or instead of investing it in something ostensibly more tangible and risk-free like a home?
A: Dirt.com, Cheesecake.com, SydneyHotels.com and Prize.com each sold for $100k this year. I am aware of several IDN related deals where names like Hotels.com in Chinese, Cars.com in Chinese, Apartments.com in Russian and others changed hands each for around $100k. The opportunity IDN offers is no longer available in English as the name quality shows.
As for buying a home, when you are properly educated in the opportunities domains present in general and with IDN’s in particular, then homes, stocks, commodities and anything in between seems extremely unattractive to seriously consider.
Q: What is the SEO value of an IDN? Can you give any examples?
There is the same SEO value as one would find in English domains. If you have a name that matches the user search inquiry in the language the user is using, that is going to make your SEO life considerably easier.
A couple examples from Israel are:
Q: What are your favorite IDNs that you own/owned?
A: Москва.com in Russian (Moscow), 酒店.com in Chinese (Hotels), and 汽车.com , Авто.com (Cars) in Chinese and Russian.
Q: What news in the IDN space has you most excited and why?
A: The numerous reassurances we saw showing only the current registrant of the idn.com can get the idn.idn of their names. For example, if you own קזינו.com (Casino.com in Hebrew, then only you can get קזינו.קום).
It really is the only way it can go according to simple logic. If I hear a domain on the radio, and visit the local TLD i.e .ком (.com in Russian) and get a porn site where the same name with English .com TLD is a public library site, we have confusion, and preventing confusion is the main reason ICANN exists.
Q: Will the broader domaining community catch on to IDNs, if so, when?
I am certain some already are realizing they should not ignore IDN’s assuming they don’t want to miss on the biggest opportunity domains had to offer since their existence.
IDN’s offer even more than what the early days offered for English domains as very few then knew where things are going, while today it is clear what a quality generic domain is and it is also established that a top tier generic domain has significant value.
Others probably won’t ever try working with IDN’s, each for their own reasons, justified or not, however that is truly irrelevant to the final outcome. Not one person or even a group of people are able to change the natural progression of the Internet.
IDN’s are not a luxury, a gimmick or a new trend. IDN’s are a basic necessity which until now was not fully available to many cultures and billions of users who either speak no English or prefer they’re native language over English.
If you drive on I-95 and see this on a billboard (汽车.com), you won’t be able to visit the site, it is often the same case for a Chinese or Russian speaker when trying to visit sites with English domains.
Q: What are your retorts to those who question buying foreign characters with a Latin TLD? Does aliasing resolve this problem?
A: As a matter of fact, there is nothing to question. The only way a registrant will get idn.idn (россия.ком) is if they own that domain in it’s idn.ascii form (россия.com) which makes buying idn.com the natural and practically only choice in order to secure the idn.idn once ICANN finalized the new gTLD process (It is looking as if the process will be voted on and initiate on ICANN’s March meeting, In San Francisco and it is looking as certain as certain can be for ICANN).
Q: What is your response to those who don’t know whether or not to buy an IDN in .com or as a ccTLD?
A: The risks ASCII ccTLD domains hold are similar to the risks IDN ccTLD’s hold, where the registrant is pretty much at the mercy of the specific ccTLD registry, where with gTLD’s, several real risks ccTLD’s hold are irrelevant.
I suggest carefully investigating each specific market prior to making any considerable investments with ccTLD’s, IDN’s or not.
Q: What IDN language(s) is your favorite for investment purposes?
A: Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Hebrew.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: I would like to recommend anyone reading this, to take IDN’s seriously, they are not going to disappear because the domaining circle likes or doesn’t like them for whatever reason. They truly present an enormous opportunity, and you should not let the language barrier prevent you from successfully being involved with IDN’s. IDNForums has many helpful members who will gladly confirm translations for members in many languages and/or suggest efficient and cost effective solutions to overcome the language issues. The window of opportunity is closing, feel free to ignore this but I think you will come to regret it in the near future.