John Colascione is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Searchen Networks® Inc., a consultancy and business corporation in New York State. In addition, he is Chief Executive Officer of Long Island Media Inc., a privately owned digital media company. John’s qualifications in the domain space entail near fifteen years of marketing and advertising in the Internet industries involving development, website management, online advertising, search optimization, social marketing, consulting, server administration, brand development, content relevant advertising, and database administration. He is the author of “Mastering Your Website; The Insider’s Guide to Fully Understanding Your Website, Search Engine Optimization and Building Your Brand”.
Education includes studies at Hendricks Institute of Technology, a trade school which prepares students for the information technology world. Hendricks Institute has been recognized as a leading provider of Graphic Communications, website and E-commerce development and 3D Animation technology training. John uses his understanding of search engine algorithms, site optimization, social media marketing and the Internet to plan and develop online based services which provide a genuine consumer purpose while maintaining a foundation for generating revenue, experiencing growth and building brand value.
Name: John Colascione
Company: Searchen Networks Inc. / Long Island Media Inc.
Favorite Domain: LongIsland.com (spent one-third of my life trying to beat it as it was my top competitor, now I am part-owner and Chief Executive of the company that owns it.)
Favorite Industry Conference: “The Domain Conference”
Favorite Industry Blog(s): DomainInvesting.com, DNJournal.com
Tell us a little bit about your background and your personal story.
I grew up on Long Island in the Babylon area of Suffolk County, New York. Left high school early to work full time when I was about sixteen. I received my General Equivalency Diploma (GED) when I was about 20 years old. I originally got my CDL license so that I could drive trucks but was out hurt for a while when I decided to go to a computer school called Hendricks Institute where I was supposed to learn how to troubleshoot Microsoft Windows as an MCSE certified technician. I started dabbling with the Internet behind the scenes and started to bore with the hardware/software angle. I then found the Internet, got married to my current wife Denise, and have three children, Dominic, Giavanna, and Michael, all of which are in either school or college.
How did you get involved in the domain industry?
I originally started out on Ebay.com selling items before I entered the domain business 15 years ago. I believe I entered the domain business for two primary reasons; one, I was amazed at how my older brother would earn money from his website, especially by the ads that were on the website; that really baffled me; I couldn’t even believe it. It was so amazing for me at that time. Companies would mail him money for nothing it seemed. I wanted to learn how to create my own website and do that myself. I purchased GoDaddy’s first website builder program called “Website Tonight” and reverse engineered it. I made my first website and was off and running. The second reason is that I always wanted to own my own business and wanted to control my schedule and destiny. A passion for Domains and the Internet and figuring out how to best monetize websites has afforded me the opportunity to accomplish both of these things as well as teach and consult others on how to do the same.
What is your current role?
I am currently Chief Executive Officer of two active corporations. Searchen Networks Inc., a company I run with my wife Denise, which operates as one-third holding company, one-third consultancy, and one-third do-it-yourself domains and hosting products. I am also a partner and co-owner in Long Island Media Inc., a destination focused advertising agency which operates a major regional GEO domain and is fast-growing into a larger automotive vertical ad agency.
Why did you choose to support the ICA?
I joined the ICA because the organization does some truly great work for the domain industry and, in my opinion, the only group that acts as ‘advocate’ for leveling the playing field for the little-guy. It’s the only official group that I know of that both understands the need of entrepreneurial domain holders while at the same time, understanding the near limitless rules and regulations that are and will be designed to eliminate the opportunity of the Internet, as we know it today. I believe that without the ICA people like myself who were able to get started by leveraging not money, but knowledge, initiative and opportunity, will be burdened, taxed and regulated right out of the business before they even get started. Businesses built on domains could be out-right stolen through tactics like reverse domain hijacking and/or wrongful, baseless UDRP proceedings without a watchful eye of anyone or any agency willing to intervene.
Can you share a prediction about the future of the domain industry?
I predict that the initial buzz on gTLDs will simmer down some in a few years and the entire domain name value basis will follow the 1-800 phone numbers business where 1-800 is and has been recognized as the premium (.com) number everyone wants, although there are many alternatives such as 855, 888, and 866. While other extensions will create additional opportunity, .com should remain king, I believe, or I predict.
What do you like most about the domain industry?
The excitement of finding, registering, and/or acquiring something with limitless possibilities.
If you could change one thing about the domain industry what would it be?
The only thing I wish I could change about the domain industry is that I wish it would have gotten-ahold of me sooner. I did not learn about it until my mid-twenties as I just wasn’t paying attention.
What do you think are some of the biggest challenges the domain industry is faced with?
As the industry grows and matures, which we are really seeing in just the last couple of years, I feel regulation will be its biggest challenge. As advertising and commerce begins to depend near entirely on the Internet in some way, shape or form, whether it is finding the service you need, or actually purchasing it, the net and these addresses become critical to the exchange; more and more control over the system will be sought, and once you have too many agencies and laws involved, more and more of it will become difficult and ‘no so much fun’ anymore. We may still have another 20 years, or so, maybe less. But one of the only reasons there has been so much innovation and free-opportunity in domains and the Internet, is that it has all been largely misunderstood for so long. You can’t regulate something you don’t first at least understand. But everyone is coming around now, the net is here and it’s in all of our lives in near every second of every day, from our phones to our cars to our appliances. And Corporations will work their way in to gobble everything up, not by participating or innovation, but by law.
What do you wish other people knew about the ICA?
I wish more people were aware of the ICA and how it contributes to the domain industry right down to the price of the domains and renewal fees we pay, and specifically the rights of domain owners to own and control our names in cyberspace, in addition to not losing that control over time. The ‘rules of the road’ are important, and we never know what could happen over time. Owning and controlling something in the digital world today, does not necessarily mean you’ll own it tomorrow; unless of course there is a strong voice willing to protect those rights; a legitimate voice with your best interest at heart. And in the world we live today, legitimate voices without checkbooks don’t go far. ICA needs members and revenue to make a difference.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about joining the ICA?
I would say to join now while you’re thinking about it; for a better and more lucrative tomorrow. I already have my reasons to join and I feel confident that I will find more reasons why it was a good thing to join, down the road.
What unexpected doors opened for you because of your involvement in the domain industry?
I think the question of what door didn’t open is more fitting. Although I am pretty confident that without the domain industry I would have found something else fulfilling to get involved in, I do not think it would have been as easy to do it from anywhere in the world, and I most certainly would have still needed an alarm clock.
What’s the best advice ever received (domain related or otherwise)?
No matter how good whatever you have to sell is, you always need a sales person to sell it. Nothing truly sells itself. I would not be surprised if even Google’s staff was half technology and half customer-facing by now.
What are your main interests outside of the domain industry?
Very few outside of my immediate family and travel. Business consumes me because I actually enjoy it, so I probably spend twice as much time working as the average person and don’t have much time for anything else. I’m consistently thinking I could be accomplishing something great if only I were working; but I do like restaurants, travel and I really like seeing my kids have stuff I didn’t have when I was growing up; it’s a mission of mine for some reason; borderline obsessive compulsive about it; I haven’t figured that one out yet.
Favorite place to get away:
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