Industry Challenge: Sparking Innovation in Domaining and Web Development

By on December 15, 2009

I recently added the 144th entry to the Twitter application directory on my site, TweetSocial.com, a Twitter forum community. The shear amount of useful applications I’ve seen in the past year is surprising. A broad range of applications have been built on a fairly simple micro blogging network.

What if we could spark this kind of revolution for the domain name industry? There is alot of room for improvement in many of the things that impact our online business most: domain tools, domain research, SEO tools, domain registrations, domain hosting, auctions, expired domains, available domains, domain sales, marketing, networking, etc.

I would like to see the domain name industry reach out to closely related industries; web development, design, programming, marketing, branding, small businesses, and entrepreneurs. To start off, we could connect our services like domain registration, WHOIS, domain research and more with popular social networking sites through their open APIs.

We have seen advancements in domain tools and services recently. FreshDrop, Valuate.com appraisals, Bido auctions, DomainTools and EstiBot Beta are continuing to develop innovative tools for domain research and sales. There is still much more room to grow. There are huge audiences with a need for quality domain names. We can educate and accommodate with easy to use tools and resources. In return, we are rewarded with growth and exposure, increasing the value and liquidity of our virtual real estate.

X Prize Propels Technology into Space and Beyond

google lunarYou may remember when the Mojave Aerospace Ventures team (financed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen) won the original $10 million Ansari X Prize for space flight in 2004. The X Prize organization is now celebrating it’s 5th anniversary.

So, what is an X Prize? Here’s a great description from the official site:

Rather than awarding money to honor past achievements or directly funding research, an X Prize incites innovation by tapping into our competitive and entrepreneurial spirits.

Google now has an ongoing $30 million Lunar X Prize for privately funded teams to deploy a rover on the moon that can transmit video, images and data back to earth.

MIT Team Wins Military Challenge

Just last week, an MIT team won a $40,000 challenge made by the U.S. Defense Department’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to find large red weather balloons placed in random locations throughout the U.S.

darpa balloon

The MIT team quickly launched a social website which encouraged friend referrals and prizes for spotting the balloons. The team had successfully identified the coordinates of all 10 DARPA weather balloons in less than 9 hours after the contest launched.

This story is quite an inspiring show of the benefits of pitting bright minds against a challenge to spur innovation and additionally speaks well of the power of social networking.

Innovation in Domaining and Development

I would love to host a challenge for programmers, entrepreneurs and domainers to develop tools and applications that improve, promote and otherwise further advance the domain name industry.

The specific format of an X Prize (1 winner and 1 ultimate goal) may not be the most ideal format for a challenge of this type.

I’m not setting any rules or terms in stone just yet, as I would love to get feedback from anyone who may be interested in participating or helping the cause.

What’s the Ultimate Goal? – What should the ultimate goal for the challenge be? It could be as broad as anything related to domain names or online business or as narrow as strictly domain research tool development. Any thoughts are appreciated.

Sponsors and Prizes? – The prize is the backbone behind the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. A nice sum of cash from a sponsor would do nicely. Though there are many other things we all enjoy like domain registrations, books, rum cakes anyone?

If you are interested in sponsoring the challenge, please contact me.

Interested in the Challenge? – A challenge is nothing without competitors. If you are a programmer with the know how or a project manager with the resources, consider this an invitation to get started on building the next big thing. If you think you may be up for the challenge please leave a comment or mention it to me on Twitter or Facebook so I can get an idea of interest.

I have ideas of my own for the challenge, but would like to get feedback from others in the industry before continuing. Thank you in advance for any help making this challenge a success! Stay tuned for updates.

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About Mark Fulton

Mark is the Founder of DotSauce Magazine and a full time web developer, domain investor, SEO and online marketing professional residing in North Carolina, USA. Visit MarkFulton.com for information on freelance website development, SEO and consultation services.