just who is this new kid on the block that is
going head to head with a lot of guys who have been in
this industry before it was even an industry? And why
does he think he can weave his way through the highly
competitive new gTLD minefield, armed with just a
single TLD, without getting squashed in the battle for
attention by the big boys and their blitzkrieg of
new names to the right of the dot?
any good entrepreneur has to believe they can beat
the odds and it turns out that spirit is deeply
embedded in Doshier's bloodline. Yes, Bill is a down home
guy (born in Harrison, Arkansas, a small town
near the Missouri border, 53 years ago), who was always
outdoors hunting and fishing with family and friends or
rooting for his beloved University of Arkansas
Razorbacks - but the Doshier clan knew more than a
little about business too.
noticed early on all the men in my family were self-starters
and self-employed," Doshier said. "One
grandfather owned the local hardware store, another
grandfather was a carpenter. One uncle operated
his own machine shop, another uncle was a farmer.
My father himself was a small town attorney working by
himself out of a small local office. These men never
worked for anyone but themselves, for themselves.
As I get older I recognize more the influence
they’ve had on me. Each a risk taker in
their own right, they created their own opportunities."
Family Tradition for 25 years: (L to R) Bill
Doshier, his dad Bill Sr. and brother Bob
on one of their annual pheasant hunting trips to
South Dakota in 2013.
independence and the ability to create and innovate are
so important to me. It’s clearly my bloodline.
Today, with .buzz, I operate my own business
of running a registry and selling domain names. These
men I grew up around - perhaps unknowingly - mentored
me to work toward this goal of self employment and
were several twists and turns in Doshier's path to the
domain business and we were surprised to learn that his
journey started in the same field as our own - journalism.
It makes sense - if you love words the way journalists
do, domains are a natural fit. "I loved writing and
photography and worked through high school as a
photographer for the local newspaper covering sports and
local events," Doshier recalled. "In 1979 I
graduated from Harrison High School and enrolled
at the University of Arkansas pursuing a
journalism degree and becoming a newspaperman."
own disposition as a risk taker developed quickly during
college. I wasn’t a very serious student.
I made B’s, enjoyed playing poker, shooting pool, road
tripping to the horse races and of course following the
Razorbacks. These activities all funded by numerous
photography jobs. My junior year an increased
interest in making money and the stock market
ensued. I began focusing more on business courses,
taken as electives, than I did my core journalism degree
courses. In 1983 I graduated from Arkansas
with a journalism degree, immediately married Ms.
Nita Williams, and started my first job in Little
Rock as a stockbroker. Crazy!," Doshier
to R): Bill's wife Nita, Bill, son Michael
and daughter Abby at home in Arkansas.
out things would get even crazier as Doshier made his
way through the business world. "A three year stint
as a stock broker rolled into a short two year career
trading options on the Chicago Board Options
Exchange, going broke, and moving from Chicago
back to Arkansas," Doshier said.
10-year high school reunion, I was out of the brokerage
business. A purchasing position with a local
manufacturer paid the bills for a few years. My son Michael
was born, followed immediately by a lay off.
In 1993 I accepted an entry level sales position
with a distribution company out of Houston, Texas and my
daughter Abby was born shortly afterwards."
As you will learn later in this story, that entry level
position blossomed into something much bigger for Bill - but
first things first.
few years later, at some point during all this
excitement and upheaval, my neighbor invited me over -
logged on to Prodigy - and showed me the
Internet. I immediately went home and registered my
first domain name, GoHogs.com. It was 1997,
and obviously I
dad Bill Doshier with Michael and Abby
didn’t truly grasp the
of what I had just seen. Later, in 1999 before my 20-year
high school reunion I registered ReuniteMe.com
and set up a website for our upcoming reunion event.
I love that domain, and still have it. And that
was my total awareness of the domain industry to
that point in time."
while I never fully understood the domain game, I kept a
distant eye on it as the Internet developed into this
amazing convenience. I started paying more attention as
the new TLD program progressed slowly. I
remember thinking what a great business running a
registry appeared to be; minimal labor expense, no
inventory costs, no collections required, your store was
always open with an incredible distribution
channel aggressively selling your domains around the
world twenty four hours per day, seven days per week,
365 days per year."
me, this was the perfect business model. I made numerous cold calls to people in the
registry business. Introducing myself and
gathering all the information I could on registry
operations. I specifically wanted to confirm
operating a registry could be a small business
opportunity for somebody from outside the domain name
industry," Doshier said.
Hansen (left) and Bill Doshier in Prague
for Bill's first ICANN meeting in June
late 2010 I connected with Ken Hansen at Neustar
(who is now Co-Founder and CEO of the .CO.COM
registry). Ken, as Ken always is, was so welcoming
and nice to me on our first visit. I asked him if I
could come visit him at Neustar to furthur discuss my
ideas for applying to operate a registry. He ask
me when do you want to come up? I was at Neustar
headquarters the next week for a face- to- face
meeting with Ken. Leaving Neustar I was convinced
this new registry opportunity was an event I wanted
to be a part of," Doshier said.
the previously mentioned entry level sales position had
evolved into a management position, a VP title
and two terms served on the company’s Board of
Directors. New TLDs now appeared to be a game
changer to me. I relished the opportunity to
present the new Internet to my fellow board
members and convince them our company should not only
register our brand name, but also consider taking the
lead in applying for specific TLDs within our
industry space much as Amazon has done."
early 2011, Ken joined me in Houston for a board of
directors meeting. We presented TLDs together to the
board and to my disappointment, nobody got it –
nobody agreed with me. I was later told this was
not part of the company’s strategic plan,"
Doshier ruefully recalled.
became very clear on that day if I was going to operate
a registry, a leap of faith was required and I
would have to go out on my own. Shortly afterwards, I resigned
from a rewarding sales career of 19 years and formed my
company, dotStrategy, specifically for the
purpose of applying for and operating a new TLD. I
immediately called Ken and signed on with Neustar for
application and backend support. The application
process started in earnest early 2012."
$64,000 Question (actually the $185,000 question
as that's what it costs just to apply for each new TLD). How
did Doshier settle on .buzz as the extension he would go
into battle with?
understood early on, during the application process,
that in order to avoid a ‘contention set’ (Editor's
note: if more than one party wants the same
extension it is put up for auction, favoring those with
the deepest pockets) I must search out and apply
for keyword strings that were a bit under the radar.
I still have the list of hundreds of words I considered
applying for. Picking just a couple of TLD names
was a grueling selection process. I actually
changed my application paper work with Neustar three
times before finalizing my selections,"
actually became first choice one evening while watching MTV
with my kids. I heard buzz mentioned on MTV and
immediately said “that’s it!”
to my son Michael. I remember him confirming how
‘cool’ buzz could be with a younger crowd,"
Doshier smiled. "So,
I called Ken the next morning. I remember he was
elated with the new choice and agreed to change my
Neustar paperwork one more time. I was set now on
my TLD selections, and on my own applied for .buzz and
.fun. I decided not to apply for .rocks, .fishing and
.parts. which were also high on my list."
applied for .fun he doesn't expect to win the contention
set for that one after discovering that the competitors
include Google and a Berkshire Hathaway
(Warren Buffett) company. That being the case Doshier
said, "I have no plans now to seriously look
at additional TLDs until perhaps ICANN
offers another application round."
ExcelStrategy Founder Lance
is handling the .buzz marketing campaign
As a lone
entrepreneur going up against giant corporations
Doshier's options are obviously limited
but he is more than happy with his lot in new gTLD life.
He may not have the bankroll the big boys do but he has
the freedom to do things any way he thinks is
best. "I‘m 100% owner of dotStrategy and the operator of the
.buzz registry," Doshier said. He relies on two
trusted to advisors to help with the registry
"Pinky Brand consults and advises
me in many different areas of registry operations
including ongoing Registrar relationships,"
Doshiert said. Lance
Wolak from ExcelStrategy
(and previously with PIR and .org)
is handling our marketing. Lance is responsible
for sales programs, as well as developing our reseller
and affiliate program at create.buzz. Additionally, I receive great support from the
Neustar team and I still call Ken Hansen for advice and
almost all of the new TLD applicants a long road had to
be traveled before they were awarded their extensions.
We ask Doshier about the feelings he had on the day he
landed .buzz. "Reveal day seems so long ago,"
Doshier said. "The plan was to apply for
two TLDs and hope to win one outright. Mission
accomplished, as I was the only applicantfor
.buzz. I remember an overwhelming feeling of
relief with the application process finally being over
and knowing the results. I don’t think I was at
all aware of what had just happened, and how big this
lone .buzz applicant status truly was. Soon,
emails of congratulations started rolling in from those
who advised me during the application process."
to Right): Go Daddy's Rich Merdinger, Doshier
advisor Pinky Brand and Bill Doshier
New York City on the day .buzz signed their
registrar agreement with Go Daddy in March 2014.
exciting was the meteoric rise of .buzz toward
delegation. Being a single applicant for a TLD did have
significant advantages. Due to the number of
contention sets, .buzz moved from an initial ICANN
prioritization of #746, to becoming one of the first 50
new strings launched. I signed
my ICANN contract in October 2013, Pinky Brand advised
me on my Registrar agreement, and we began
contracting with Registrar partners immediately.
.buzz Sunrise began February 2014, Landrush in
March and finally we went live in General
Availability, April 15th, 2014. Easy to remember our anniversary, tax
day!", Doshier laughed.
go through so many events during the launch process that
your ‘go live’ day turns into just another day
in the process. I do
remember being on edge, but very proud of the
accomplishment of taking .buzz live. I
remember being elated with the first registration totals
that Neustar reported, then disappointed as the totals
slowed down later that day,' Doshier recalled.
afternoon, we threw a big party at the University of
Central Arkansas (UCA) where I work as an instructor in
the marketing department. Marketing students
planned the party and called it Buzz Bash. Buzz
Bash served as the official launch event for the .buzz
registry, as well as a celebration of the UCA startup
community. We had a great turnout from the
University and local business community. The
students start-up businesses were on display. We
served hot dogs, gave away t-shirts and gave free buzz
haircuts all afternoon on the UCA campus. By the
did get a buzz cut and will do so again this April
15th!", Doshier promised.
bee image from Bigstock
Doshier getting his buzzcut at the Buzz Bash - the
launch day party for .Buzz
a final reflection on that special day, Doshier noted,
wish now I had taken notes on the feel of that day.
So much has happened in this first year since
.buzz launched - it’s truly tough to remember all the
emotions of launch day."
has gotten another big break since being awarded .buzz.
Widely heralded entrepreneur Howard
Lefkowitz (the former CEO of Vegas.com
who is now Founder and CEO at One
decided to use .buzz domains as a foundation for his ambitious new global travel and entertainment network
that has already featured .buzz domains on national TV and in
leading newspapers. Lefkowitz announced his new venture
involving hundreds of new gTLD domain including Vegas.buzz
at the 2015
NamesCon conference in Las Vegas in
to R at the 2015 NamesCon conference, between the
Las Vegas showgirls): Bill Doshier and Lance
Wolak from .buzz, Sue Schuster (Neustar) and
and a new .buzz band leader Howard Lefkowitz (Founder
& CEO at One Degree World, Inc.).
NamesCon Co-Founder Jothan
Frakes had first introduced Doshier to
Lefkowitz and the two quickly hit it off. "I met this larger than life
like I’ve never encountered before,"
Doshier said. "Howard is pure Vegas, I’m pure Arkansas.
probably not two more different personalities partnering
together than the two of us, but it works. We’ve
become good business associates, talking once or twice a
week about everything .buzz. Howard has given
.buzz a look and branding in the travel and
entertainment segment. He has great marketing
knowledge and an incredible group of creative people working
with him. In February, his TV ad for the travel.buzz platform
reached 110 million viewers tuned in to watch Wheel of Fortune."
weeks on Wheel, travel.buzz promoted its global
destinations’ .buzz websites. This was a very
large marketing investment to spur visibility and demand
for Howard’s new travel and entertainment platform. To
this date it's the largest single effort by far to present
and promote the acceptance of the new TLD program to the
general public. Howard is to be commended for this
effort," Doshier added.
company has as many destination-specific domains in a
single TLD as Howard’s team. I’m thrilled to
have .buzz deployed in this global environment in such a
massively important market as travel and entertainment. It’s
the number 1, 2, or 3 of the gross domestic product of
nearly every nation on the planet, and certainly a
buzzworthy environment. Howard’s travel.buzz
platform presents global travel and entertainment
More than 300 cities
• More than 500,000
• Nearly 900 airlines
• 26,000 tours and
• Concert, sports, theme
parks and event venues globally
• A myriad of
restaurants that number in the thousands
• Accessibility in 58
different languages and 93 currencies
what each of us does best; I supply him names, he
builds his brand. I truly believe Howard takes
over the travel and entertainment space in very short
order. He’s a visionary and his track record speaks
for itself," Doshier declared.
Doshier, seen in China for the April 2013
ICANN meeting, plans to take .buzz to new heights.
is now one year into his big adventure and has already
caught some great breaks - but he is convinced the best
is yet to come despite having hundreds of competitors
battling for market share. "Absolutely, it’s competitive selling domain names but
this is such an incredible business model. So much
potential in front of us," Doshier said.
"I have to realize everyday .buzz is a
focus on what that is going to look like long term.
“Buzz” is a common word in the English language to
describe what’s new and interesting, and what is being
widely talked about. Passionate communities place calls
to action that are exciting, inspirational, and above
all just might change the way the world thinks.
Many recognize the intrinsic value of the .buzz
TLD as their best domain option to deliver their
must-read message. The word 'Buzz’
conveys the message of an active, growing movement, and
our early adopting .buzz communities are becoming well
Another thing that
sets .buzz apart - and not necessarily in a good way in
the opinion of some - is the high price of .buzz
registrations compared to other TLDs, both new and old.
Doshier, however, feels the price is right. "Pricing
of .buzz in the $30 to $50 a year range across
the .buzz registrar channel presents real value to the
.buzz enthusiasts, evangelists, and thought leaders that
desire to fuel community interest, excitement, and
experiences," Doshier said. "Great
content will inspire others to think differently,
and increasingly find its home at .buzz.
Registrants excited about connecting their
ideas, their businesses, their brands to the
definition of .buzz,
understand the value of this top level
"In just a few short months, .buzz
has become recognized as the new TLD home for travel and
tourism sites, the legalized cannabis movement, as well
as the beekeeping or apiculture industry.
looking for communities that value the word buzz whether
it has a dot beside it or not," Doshier noted.
"Generally, .buzz is
ideal for evangelists and thought leaders who fuel
community interest, excitement and new experiences.
My day is centered on locating these evangelists and
having conversations around the value of this strange
looking little word. Conversations around how I
can make the registry work better for them."
There have been
reports that new TLD
registrations have been lower than expected for many
operators. .Buzz will end its first year with just over 10,000
domains registered. More than 70 new registries have
higher totals but .buzz's premium registration price has
brought in more total revenue than that of many
registries that have far more domains on the books.
We asked Doshier if registration results were meeting
"I recall estimating
20,000 names as my three year target
on the .buzz application submitted to ICANN,"
Doshier said. "Our
one year anniversary is April 15th and .buzz just
recently passed 10,000 domains registered.
Obviously domain names sold is most important, but there
are other areas of success for .buzz.
20+ .buzz sites ranked in the Alexa top 1 million list.
This has created high visibility of the .buzz TLD
among domain name buyers. The top sites
by traffic are viral.buzz, parisfashionweek.buzz,
added these bullet points:
47% of .buzz names are parked
domains, and the number continues to go down. Relative
to other new gTLDs launched in early 2014 along with
.buzz, this is a low percentage.
• 70 registrars are contracted
to sell .buzz domains.
• “buzz” is a common term
across many countries and languages. .buzz is
currently registered in 90 different countries
Communities with the largest .buzz domain registrations
(through Q4-2014) were:
• Legalized Cannabis
his enthusiasm, Doshier is fully aware that there are major differences in opinion as to
how the new gTLD program will play out as time goes on. Many in the
camp believe the extension is in an unassailable
position and that it will always be the top choice for
businesses and major corporations. We asked Doshier what
he thought the
landscape will look like 5 to 10 years from now.
myth is that customers won't migrate into the habit of
using new TLDs," Doshier said. "This myth continues to be
dispelled daily. There’s simply no validity now
to the idea you must operate a .com or .net – or any
legacy TLD for that matter - to capitalize on an
opportunity. New TLDs are quickly becoming
recognized as valuable property capable of catering to
specific communities or audiences with a fresh inventory
of very relevant names. Great content, regardless
of its origin, will attract the customer and
increasingly find its home on a new TLD."
"It’s so exciting to
watch the development of the new TLDs. For the first
time, in a long time, there’s value now on both sides
of the dot. Examples like Howard taking on .buzz,
.club and .vegas for his new venture. Seeing .nyc
plastered all over New York City. The move into China by
Registry and others, UniRegistry basically owning
NamesCon last January. This new domain train has
left the station for good, and I think the momentum is
remarkable one year out. I’m relatively certain
the millennials, this next generation of innovators and
creators driving the Internet forward, will opt for a
hip relevant new TLD over a .com for their new start up
site, blog site or investment opportunity," Doshier
if things don't go the way Dosher expects? "I remember while struggling to make it as a trader in
Chicago having a conversation with an old pro, and me
telling this fellow how tough it was to make it on the
floor of the exchange. He looked me straight in
the eyes and asks, “Have you gone broke yet?”
concluded, “Oh well, you have to go broke first
before you’ll ever make it here.” And I did.
nothing wrong with failing. It’s going to
happen. Understand this and go for it!,
the natural born risk taker from Arkansas