Talking to “domainers” about APIs, YQL, and remixing the web

Last week the experts of the domain business met in Toronto, Canada for the second annual Domain Convergence, a conference for domain specialists. I was one of the invited speakers and was asked to talk about web development with APIs and the social web.

This was an interesting task for me as I don't know anything at all about "domaining." In essence, "domainers" are the real estate traders of the web. They set up, buy, trade, and develop domains. They make money either by advertising on parked or semi-developed domain-holding pages or - as the end goal - by selling them to companies who will use them.

As the main goal of domain holding is to get people to click ads, my task was not easy. My idea of the web is exactly the opposite, which is why I throw all my output on the web for free so that people can do something useful with it.

However, as I thrive on a challenge like this, I tried my very best to explain the idea of the social web and a web of data in my presentation. The following is a slidecast featuring the talk and the slides synced up (to a degree).

There are detailed notes available on my personal blog and you can listen to or download the audio recording at archive.org.

The response was very good and I hope I was able to encourage domain-parking sites that lack useful content to provide some helpful information for both visitors and domain owners.

I've learnt a few things during this trip:

  • Many people who make their living on the web, have no interest in the technologies driving it *and* are successful.
  • A lot more people than I thought surf the web via domains rather than using search engines (the statistics haven't changed in the last years).
  • Domains are not only about getting names in the right countries. There is also some interesting innovation going on. One is .tel domains, which, instead of pointing to a web resource, act as an easy-to-update data store distributed across the DNS server network.
  • There is a whole market out there who still considers using WYSIWYG editors for web development a great idea.
  • Choosing random drink ingredients in a bar and asking them to make a cocktail for you can result in a great new invention. If you stay at the Radisson in Toronto make sure to order a "Keylime Pie, eh!," which was my invention, named by the barmaid and now added to the menu.

Chris Heilmann @codepo8
Yahoo Developer Network