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While it’s easy to understand why you might believe it is me in the video linked below, I must correct you. Don’t be embarrassed, it could happen to anyone. I may have similar moves and physique however, this is actually a video of Adam Dunlap, Director of Parkour.com, that I found on the YouTube. Adam is an experienced marketing manager and business developer. He’s an athlete, actor, and entrepreneur.
Mike: Adam, let me start with the domain name, parkour.com. That is a category killer name you have. How long have you owned it and how did you acquire it? Can you share what you paid for it?
Adam: Hi Mike, thanks for interviewing me. It’s a pleasure to talk to you! Yah, Parkour.com is category killer for sure haha. I started pursuing domains in the Parkour category in 2008, so it was a dream come true to acquire it. That was in 2014. It was a private purchase, and I’m not allowed to say what I paid for it.
Mike: Parkcour.com seems to be in early stages as one of the main navigation links is “Welcome to the new Parkour.com.” You are selling apparel, but what is the long-term vision for the site?
Adam: Parkour.com is definitely in the early stages. Like, reaaaaallly early. We’ve played with a lot of different types of sites over the last 5 years and haven’t had the success we wanted. We started with a static site in order to collect emails and build social media channels; then we moved to a blog-based site and had a team of athletes and writers supporting it; and now what we have is the current eCommerce site you see.
We’ve had some huge ups and downs over the past 5 years. We had a site crash 3 years ago that took out the whole site, and we had to rebuild. Also, around 2014 an admin deleted our 150,000+ person Facebook page. That was a crushing and setback, and changes in the Facebook algorithm have prevented us from reaching the same success and driving the traffic we used to. Suffice it to say, we’ve had some troubles along the way, but as you alluded to, we have a long term strategy, and that’s what I am focused on.
Long term, I see the site as being something really similar to BodyBuilding.com in some ways (with products, influencers, and great articles) and really similar to BBC in other ways (lots of news content, media content, and other). At the very least, I see Parkour.com becoming the #1 visited site for Parkour news, tips, videos, photos, and for people looking for the world’s best Parkour apparel and shoes. I also see us doing lots of interviews like you do at DSAD.com, as well as having our own media platform through which we develop inspiring and informational content from the Parkour world and cover competitions and other newsworthy events. The sky is really the limit. It all comes down to the resources we can leverage and the size of the industry.
In the short term, we plan to adjust the site to focus on consulting, so we can bring Parkour & Freerunning to television, film, and marketing projects through our expertise. We often get emails about film castings and things of this nature, so this seems like the current opportunity for the domain, even more so than apparel and shoes.
Mike: How does one go about learning parkour? It’s not really part of the school system’s physical fitness program. Is it self taught?
Adam: One can learn Parkour in a myriad of ways. In the early days we were all mostly self-taught, so that is still an option. When I began doing Parkour in 2006, there were hardly any Parkour schools, teachers, or even online resources. However, now there are plenty of those resources, so most people can find someone to learn from.
If you want to learn Parkour, just do an internet search and see what you can find in your area. Maybe you’ll find a Parkour gym or outdoor community classes. If there isn’t anything, then maybe you can find a meetup group in your community and learn from more experienced Traceurs (that’s what we call Parkour practitioners). If there really is no one around then I recommend watching Parkour videos, studying online tutorials, are teaching yourself. Start small and listen to your body and see where it takes you.
Also, some schools are developing Parkour programs which is really exciting! But they are exceedingly rare. Hopefully in time, Parkour will become a sport that is taught in public school systems around the world. I think there is true potential for that.
Mike: I came across an old thread on Reddit listing dozens of parkour names that were said to be owned by you. Do you still own them? Have you developed any others?
Adam: Oh yah, haha I alluded to that previously. I owned about 200 Parkour related domains at one point. It actually caused a ton of controversy in the Parkour world. People found that out and said I was all about money and used that fact to bash my name and my companies. It was really unfortunate and a sign of how young the Parkour world was and still is in many ways. Of course, the domains were part of my short term and long term strategy. I’m not someone who buys domains to sell them, the way some people do. I’m always open to selling them for the right price, but every domain I own I have a plan for. Since then I’ve scaled back a bit and only kept the ones that I feel have real value in the short and long term. I think I own about 100 now, but I’d have to count. And some of the ones I’ve let go, people have bought up and put sites on. That’s always cool to see.
Mike: Tell me about Take Flight, the apparel business? Did you launch this company as well?
Adam: Yes, I launched Take Flight in 2008. Take Flight was my second company after I started my Parkour gym, Revolution Parkour. Take Flight started as a t-shirt company, and then morphed into a Parkour shoe company which is now what I consider it to be since shoes are what we mostly sell. I’m really proud of what we do, the products we create, the international team of athletes we’ve cultivated, and the value we bring to our customers, followers, and the Parkour world. The products are great for Parkour, and they also have a lifestyle feel to them. Many people who don’t do Parkour, wear our shoes and clothing and rave about their quality and feel. I always felt that the Parkour style could be a style that transcends the sport, so we always keep that in mind when designing products.
Mike: What type of traffic numbers are you seeing on the site each month?
Adam: Ah of course, that most important question lol. Well, we don’t divulge traffic numbers. Some people would say our numbers are good, but in my opinion, we have lots of work to do.
Mike: Is Parkour considered a sport? Are there Parkour competitions?
Adam: Yes, Parkour is considered a sport. It’s also considered a discipline and an art. People can call it whatever they like, it all depends on how one practices, what they want from it, and how they see it. Basically, each person can approach Parkour in the way they see fit. Many have found reasons to compete, so competitions have begun to rise up. There are some local competitions circuits that are becoming pretty ingrained in the Parkour world, but it’s still such a new time for the sport that nothing is certain.
A recent event called Air Whipp was one of the most popular international Parkour/Freerunning competitions in the world. The event has been held annually in Sweden for the past 7 years, and they just announced they won’t be holding it anymore. Red Bull also used to host an annual Red Bull Art of Motion every year in Santorini Greece, and 2018 was the first year since, I think, 2010 that they haven’t held it.
The Parkour industry is new, and so many things are still in flux. Even just 5 years ago there were huge debates in the Parkour community as to whether or not competitions were even in line with the philosophy of the discipline, and for quite a while most people were against them. The paradigm of the sport is still very much in its infancy and evolving.
Mike: I see you are also an actor. Tell us about this career path and how it fits in with parkour.
Adam: Yes, acting! Well I’m kind of between a rock and a hard place when it comes to what I want to do with my life. I am still young, and I am in a great position in the Parkour world, but oddly enough I see my future in acting. Even when I was starting my companies in 2008 I had this in mind. I saw my companies as simultaneously, a) Extremely viable long term business ventures that I could pour my heart into and use to grow the Parkour world, and b) Avenues that would open doors for me to act in movies. So acting isn’t a new thing, nor are my ambitions for it.
In 2011, I moved to France to work with the founder of Parkour, David Belle. I wanted to build Take Flight with him, learn Parkour from him, and he was frequently approached to work in films, so more than anything I wanted to work on films with him. But nothing quite worked out. Then in 2015 I landed a recurring role on the NBC show “Grimm,” and it had nothing to do with Parkour. I got he role 100% because I could act. So the lightbulb went off in my head, and I realized, “I don’t need Parkour to become an actor and make big films. I can just act and get there.” So that has been a serious hobby of mine ever since. I recently landed an amazing agent in LA called Engage Artists, so I am pursuing work there while running Take Flight and Parkour.com. I really have too much on my plate to handle.
In the future I see all the projects working together. I see my Parkour history, the Take Flight brand, and Parkour.com working synergistically to open doors through their presence, their marketing ability, and to bring Parkour to the forefront of more films and television shows and commercial productions.
Mike: If I were to circle back with you in 5 years, what can I expect to see from parkour.com? What about parkour as a whole?
Adam: It’s hard to say where Parkour.com will be in 5 years. Eleven years ago when I started my journey into Parkour as an athlete-entrepreneur, we all thought that by 2018 Parkour would be global. It some ways now it is global– almost everyone knows of it. But outside of that the industry is still teeny-tiny from a financial perspective. With Take Flight and Parkour.com, I really tried to drive that industry ahead through some innovative ideas and approaches, but it doesn’t appear to have done much. The industry is still just creeping along at its own pace.
I really used to push my business ventures ahead. In the last few years I’ve started taking a more methodical approach that listens as opposed to drives. I think in 5 years Parkour.com will grow in tandem with the Parkour industry and the change and growth you see in the site will be a reflection of the growth in the industry. I truly have no idea what that will be.
Mike: Have you read any books that have inspired you as an actor, athlete, or entrepreneur? If so, which books and why?
Adam: Reading is more of a new habit for me. I haven’t been too drawn to books in the past, but there are a few I’ve read that I really like. “The 48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene really opened my eyes to power games, politics, and different ways to see the world and business. The book “Parkour” by David Belle (the founder of Parkour) is really inspiring and a must read for anyone who really wants to understand the heart and spirit of Parkour. For acting, Stanislavski’s book “An Actor Prepares” really nails things on the head and exposes some of the bad acting theory that still permeates the world and many acting school. I also found immense value in the book “A Theory of Everything,” by Ken Wilbur – that book really speaks to the thought patterns and paradigms of people in powerful ways. I also recently skimmed “The Art of Learning” by Josh Waitzkin. A very cool book on learning that I think has tips that will help propel anyone to mastery who really desires it
I see life as being connected, so when I read a book like “A Theory of Everything” or “The 48 Laws of Power,” I see life through that lens and find ways to apply the ideas to everything I do.
I actually write a ton more than I read. I have written a book about my perspective on life, and I’m the process of editing. We’ll see what comes of it.
Mike: Anything else you have to say about Parkour.com?
Adam: Yah totally. As much as I have a clear vision and direction for Parkour.com, I am always open to new collaborators and ideas. If anyone who hears this interview would like to be involved with Parkour.com and/or sees places that we can improve, I’d love to connect, open a dialogue ,and maybe grow a partnership together. As I alluded to, I’m swamped, so I’m always open to teaming up with people who have the vision and/or a different expertise. The way I see it, domains are merely opportunities, and as valuable as opportunities are, it’s what you do with the opportunity that counts. Even currently, I believe we have a lot of untapped potential in Parkour.com, and I’d love to connect with people who can help us take the site to the next level.
The post Parkour.com – Sully gets the jump on Adam Dunlap, Founder appeared first on DSAD.
John Holloway is a digital marketer in Roswell, Georgia. John founded Holloway Media in 2007. The business consisted of a network of websites driving traffic to online gaming sites. After several years of growth, the network was sold to a larger affiliate. John then founded MotocrossGear.com, selling off-road motorcycle gear. After building and selling the business, John is now the Director of Digital Strategy at NoExam.com, a direct to consumer life insurance company allowing customers to purchase life insurance online. In addition, he runs an affiliate site at GuitarLessons.org.
Mike: John, you have a history of success building businesses off of key word domain names. How did you get started in this space?
John: In college I was playing a lot of online poker. It was back when playing Texas Hold em swept the country as the cool thing to do. I remember one day seeing a link at the bottom of PartyPoker.com that said “affiliates”. For some reason I clicked it, and it was a page about how to make money by sending new customers to them from your website. That’s when the gears started turning for me. I realized that I could have a website that could make money.
Mike: Holloway Media used the strategy of driving traffic to gaming sites. Is it difficult to build traffic? Can you talk about how you were able to achieve that and is it still possible today?
John: Getting traffic to your website in 2008 was much easier than it is today. Your content didn’t have to be good, you just had to have lots of links pointing to your site. Fast forward 10 years and Google has improved their algorithm substantially. Not only does your content need to be extremely high quality, but it must match the user intent for the phrases you want it to rank for.
You still need links pointing to your website, but not just any links. You need links from highly trusted sites that have high levels of editorial integrity. If you can produce content that people want to read and get your content mentioned and linked from major publishers, then yes, it is still possible today.
Mike: Tell me about MotocrossGear.com. Was this an affiliate site or did you actually have an inventory and deliver products? If so, how different of a business model was this from what you were used to doing?
John: This site was launched off the back of a huge Facebook page I had built for the topic of Motocross. At the time, Facebook’s ad platform was new. I found that I could basically buy likes to the page for less than .01 by targeting teenagers in the UK. Facebook pages used to have a discussion tab where people could post messages and discuss topics much like a traditional internet forum. Once I seeded the page with enough likes, people would post on the discussion board and it would bring in a lot of new likes for the page. The page sort of snowballed from there, getting up to over 3 million fans.
I was really into riding motocross at the time and was fresh off my sale of my affiliate websites, I decided to buy the domain and try my hand at a real ecommerce business. I had to make an actual retail store front to get the products. I had to deal with distributors, shipping, returns, fraud. It was completely different than what I had been doing. It was a real eye opener. I loved all the online marketing aspects of it, but the actual hands on business part was too much for me. My ego was pumped up from my previous success, and I didn’t think it through all the way.
Mike: I want to talk a bit about your current sites. Let’s start with GuitarLessons.org. How much did you pay for the name and how did you acquire it?
John: I paid 15k for the name. I acquired it back in 2011 (I think). I’ve always been into music and thought maybe someday I would do a project in that space. I had been searching for guitar related domains and this one was for sale on Sedo. The owner had originally replied with the standard sky high price for the domain, but after a little back and forth I was able to get it down.
Mike: Talk us through how the site works and generates revenue.
John: In its current state the site makes most of its revenue through affiliate programs. I review guitar products and offer my insight on them. I try to make the content useful for readers by including things in my reviews that you might not think of. For example, if it’s a review of a distortion pedal I would include things like what notable artists use it, what guitars and pedals it pairs well with for a unique sound and what other pedals you should consider if you are looking at this one.
I also write up some very basic lessons for songs. I’ll lay the song out with the chords and lyrics, and offer some tips for how to play it. I only have a handful of songs on the site, but I plan on adding much more in the future as my time allows. I usually place Google Adsense on the pages that offer lessons.
Mike: How much traffic does the site receive? How are you driving traffic to the site?
John: Currently the site gets about 100,000 visitors per month. Most of this traffic is coming from search engines.
Mike: How often do you have to update the site to keep the content fresh?
John: I typically add between 3-5 new pages to the site per week. I’ll often update 1-2 pages per month with new products that come to market.
Mike: How well has a dot org worked for you as opposed to a dot com or one of the other TLDs?
John: It has worked well. In the past I have built sites on .org domains and they have done great. I prefer having a .com, but these days finding a good .com is becoming harder and harder. With the guitar site, I bought the .org thinking that I would create a huge database of free guitar lessons. .Org domains have always had that non-profit vibe to them, so I wanted to do something where I offered the product/content for free and monetized it with ads.
Mike: On to NoExam.com. What is the site all about?
John: This is a business that I started with a close friend of mine back in 2013. It was just after I got out of the motocross ecommerce site, and I was looking for something new. My friend had been in insurance for several years and was telling me all about how that space was ripe for disruption. We decided to team up and we formed a partnership where he handles most of the insurance side and I handle most of the technology side.
We are a life insurance brokerage that specializes in selling term life insurance that doesn’t require the health exam. 5 years ago buying a life insurance policy was a major pain. The health exam was the pain point. The whole process took around 6 weeks. With the new products hitting the market, this was being cut down to just a few days.
We saw there was a market of people searching for life insurance without an exam. So we based our business, NoExam.com, around the idea that you can buy life insurance and skip that part of the process. We initially considered some other more specific domains, but a mentor of mine suggested to go with the shortest version. We negotiated back and forth on the domain for a while, and eventually got it down to around $7,000, and got it transferred to us on my birthday! Not bad for a 6 letter .com.
Mike: How do you learn what you need to about these various industries in order to run successful websites?
John: Lots of reading but mostly trial and error. Most of what I do can be applied to different industries. People are constantly searching for information and answers to their problems on the internet. As a business, if you can help solve their problems, they are one step closer to buying from you. I take that concept and apply it to whatever business I am in. If someone is looking for answers regarding life insurance and I can get my content to show up and answer their questions, then I can have a satisfied customer.
Mike: In your opinion, are keyword domains still the ideal route to take for driving a business? Why or why not?
John: I think so. In the past there was an SEO benefit to having a domain name that matched the search term exactly, but Google has long since done away with that. I think they are great from a branding point of view. If a user is looking at a page with 10 results, and your domain name contains a few keywords that relate to what they just searched for you stand out more.
If you can land a great domain name, why not build a business around it?
The post GuitarLessons.org to the tune of 100,000 monthly visitors appeared first on DSAD.