November 2012     The Domain Industry News Magazine

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Group That Owns Some of Web's Best Domains Seeks Development Partners by Launching the World's First Domain Accelerator Program

The World Media Group owns one of the world's best domain name portfolios, a stunning collection that includes such generic gems as,,,, and to name just a few. The company has already developed a dozen of their world class assets into profitable websites, but with a portfolio cup that literally runneth over, they can't develop all of their 1,000 tier 1 domains by themselves. Their domains have so much potential they believe each name needs and deserves a wholly dedicated development team of its own to turn them into the money machines they are capable of becoming.

That's why company President Gary Millin came up with the idea of launching the world's first "domain accelerator" at The site just went live and judging from his long and distinguished track record as a venture capitalist and serial entrepreneur - first with starting and running a public company ( and then founding and selling another firm (MediaSentry) to a public company - Millin is well equipped to make the idea work.

As with other accelerator programs in the mainstream business world, the New York City based World Accelerator (WA) offers creative and industrious entrepreneurs capital and mentorship. However Millin said WA is in a unique position to go a step further by providing access to a highly recognizable and brandable premium domain name and an engaged audience. By combining the powerful benefits of a top tier domain name with winning development teams from around the world Millin envisions a win win situation for everyone involved.  

Gary Millin
CEO/Founder, World Accelerator
President, World Media Group LLC


In addition to offering seed capital and mentorship to the development teams they select to work with, World Accelerator offers teams the rare opportunity to build a thriving business on the foundation of a world class domain name with access to a readily identifiable constituency of customers. Names such as,,,,, and are just a few examples of the brands available via the accelerator.

Millin noted that in real estate, billions of dollars have been paid for premium locations, adding "Online, your location is your domain name and a premier address can make the difference in giving you the credibility you need to open doors, improve conversions, improve retention and accelerate your business." Details on the criteria the company will use to select developers and the application rules can be found on their initial online application form

The site notes that the development team can build on a WA domain under a license. One of the first questions most developers would have is whether or not the development team can acquire an equity interest in the domain name itself? Millin told us, "Yes - the entrepreneur is doing a tremendous amount of work and it is important that the structure provides equity interest and upside. I have built a few companies myself and know the effort that it takes to “will” these businesses into existence. Our program is designed from the ground up to ensure great alignment between the accelerator and the terrific development teams. It is crucial for success that the structure allows the development teams to have control and ownership over the brands that they will be developing."

Some of the brands that World 
Media Group
development teams 
have already turned into rapidly 
growing online businesses. 

"Once selected to participate in the accelerator the use of the brand takes on the form of a very attractive license to allow the entrepreneur time to use and build into the brand without burdening their growth," Millin said. "The brand is an enabler and will further help them accelerate their plans. As they build their business the entrepreneur or team can acquire the brand at a capped price in the future or some other payout structure. This is set upfront which means as they prove successful and if they exceed their plans they get the upside for all their efforts."

"For the capital contribution made by World Accelerator and for the use of the brand, World Accelerator gets ownership in the venture as a typical investor. The whole program allows for the right alignment where the entrepreneurs can enjoy the fruits of their hard work and all parties benefit from the use of the brand. The domain is also protected in the license and if plans are not achieved can be reclaimed. Over the last 5 years we have done a dozen deals so we have some very good experience and metrics about what works and what does not work in the structure. That has really helped us prepare for the launch of the Accelerator program," Millin said.  

I also asked Millin if he could provide more details on the qualifications program applicants will have to have to be accepted into the program. He said, "At the highest level the recipe for success includes mixing in a Great Team + Great Idea + Strong Plan + Right Brand. When all those align the business can launch with rocket fuel. The vetting process has several levels. First we review initial submissions which can come in from many sources - the web, our mentors, our market participants and several others that we are innovating on. I can’t give away everything, but one example that you will see at some point later in the upcoming year for instance is a university competition on a brand."

"From that the group of submissions, a few stars will be invited into the formal application which is more comprehensive including a plan submission and in-person (or video conference) interviews.  As I mentioned, we have executed a dozen deals over the last 5 years. We have used those to model and refine our deeper application process for invited participants," Millin added.

"So that is a bit on the process," Millin continued. "As far as what we look for to help any teams that read your post, I am happy to elaborate. It may be different than what you expect. The point of an Accelerator is we can provide the broader experience, network and guidance that comes from a proven track record. So while that is something we would value it is not a requirement. Important for our Great Teams is having focus, conviction, work-ethic, knowledge of their market and competitors and agile development. Our teams must be able to deploy value rapidly to take advantage of the growth they can see from the great brand."

"A Great Idea includes the size of the market and what is disruptive about the team’s plan or what is the unique value proposition. For a Strong Plan we look to understand their go to market and growth strategy and revenue and margin models. We would even go as deep as working with them to understand their KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) that they will be targeting. Finally, of course the clincher is in making sure all these elements can leverage and benefit from one of the World Accelerator brands.   

With several World Media Group brands already developed or in various stages of development, including, and, I asked Millin how long those been in development and what kind of results he has seen toward profitability and meeting the comppany's long term goals for those brands.

"We have been working over the last five years on launching domains into businesses with many great teams. They launched over time so the average age is closer to 2.5 years," Millin said. "We have a dozen companies launched and teams all over the world - to be exact we have companies headquartered in seven different countries and three different continents. So our reach is clearly global. The sites we have launched have grown from low traffic to now doing over 20 million visitors a month. So we are very pleased with seeing how adding a powerful brand to a great team can really accelerate the growth. We are also focused on revenue and profitability from the very start so all our businesses have revenue from day one and most are cash flow positive. Some revenue comes from paying customers and other revenue comes from targeted advertising."

Image from Bigstock

World Accelerator is an interesting approach to a problem that many owners of top tier domain portfolios have faced over the years – how to maximize the potential of more category defining domains than any one person or small group could hope to do alone. A lot of different approaches have been tried by others with varying degrees of success. I asked Millin what led him to the accelerator strategy World Media Group has adopted.

"So many things have come together which led me to launch the Accelerator," Millin said. "The core driver that excites me is that over the last ten years I have seen the cost and time to deploy a business and technology massively compress. This is also one reason you are seeing so many new start-ups. Also the shift in the economy over the last 4 years means more very talented people are not finding roles or growth in big companies and are instead finding ideas themselves to launch. The one item, however, that has not compressed is the time is takes to build your credibility and brand. As a domain owner of premium domains along with your many readers, we are cumulatively sitting on millions of brands that have not yet been developed.  The accelerator leverages this phenomenon by uncovering, structuring and nurturing the connection between these great brands and great teams."

Image from Bigstock

"On the personal side, to launch a successful Accelerator one needs to understand the world from both the capital (VC and Public) viewpoint and the entrepreneur’s viewpoint," Millin said. "I am fortunate that I have had the opportunity to be a Venture Capitalist and work on Wall Street as well as to be a serial entrepreneur. Not following the norm, I started my career with my first job out of college as a venture capitalist where my firm funded great companies like Gymboree and Samuel Adams Beer. I then left VC to become an entrepreneur and co-founded in 1995 which I later took public on the NASDAQ in 1999 and helped grow to over 1,400 employees."

"My second company I joined as President when they had 4 people and helped them grow 

to 60 people and led a successful sale to a public company. I have been able to draw on these experiences as well as the experiences launching the dozen sites at our domains over the last five years to put in place the World Accelerator platform. I am very excited about where this platform can evolve to over time. While World Accelerator has great brands already that can benefit from the platform and more that can be added, I am open in the future to also looking at how I can add other colleagues with great domains into the platform to have an even bigger impact on the domain market place and businesses that can be developed," Millin concluded. 


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Ron Jackson

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