[EDIT: I must note that this was one of the first features we coded, and it must be dedicated to my good friend Mark in Australia ( keep an eye in his upcoming NameConsultancy.com which will offer amazing things ). Mark is a genious in marketing and branding, and without his support there would be no way you would be reading this today. He particularly likes the method described in this article. Thanks for all your support Mark ! ]
This is a fact, measured by stats: the likelihood of selling a domain is higher when you present the prospect with a visual bit, if you will, of the digital asset itself. A domain is made of many, many bits that we will talk about in upcoming articles. For today the domain bit we will be picking as pitcher, is email itself.
Emails cannot exist without domains because an email must have an unique address, always.
Domain investors, aka domainers, will undoubtedly relate to this but given how the DNS system works, this is usually associated with complexity and many domainers simply do not have the time to decode the sometimes tricky DNS world.
My aim in this article is to dismiss the complexity of achieving this in a way that does not require multiple spreadsheets, a couple dozen post-its or 5 hours Googling.
Let’s get technical!
Here’s our mini-road-map:
- Vanity email to highlight the domain is cool but …
- … What if the domain is assigned to an external platform (such as parking or an auction ) ?
- How do you manage all that, when one has hundreds or thousands of domains ?
- Plus: You want to route all vanity emails to a single one, so you dont have to check multiple inboxes.
1. Vanity Emails are cool
Let’s start with an example, which is categorized as a ccTLD upgrade:
You own the generic domain Books.ca, of which you registered ages ago, when entity A didn’t even exist.
Entity A runs its online presence at Books.co.uk, and Books.com.
Seems like a perfect fit, eh ?
We should email them right away, but which one looks better ?
The latter (green) looks better and statistically increases the likelihood of a sale.
2. What if the domain is assigned to an external platform (such as parking or an auction ) ?
This is where we will get technical for real. The short answer is: DNS A Records is part of the solution. Let’s first establish we all understand the valid format and nomenclature of a domain name, for example:
Left of the dot is called Second Level Domain or SLD.
Right of the dot is called Top Level Domain ( extension ) and in this case it happens to be the tld dot com.
How is it that you assign your domains to external platforms ? You usually go to your Registrar, and in the domain management section you indicate the name of at least two nameservers ( ex: ns1.sld.tld , ns2.sld.tld ) , wait for “DNS propagation” and magically your domain now points itself to a new IP address, via the nameserver names that the external platform support provided you.
When you do that, you surrender the entirety of the domain to the external provider. That is to say, the domain is in parking or auction, externally assigned via nameserver DNS records; and ALL channels of that domain is now fully under control of that external entity. You cant send or receive emails, you cannot publish in the main domains nor the subdomains, you cannot check real time stats and need to trust the stats.
If we use A Records instead of direct nameserver assignment, we can then tell the DNS to specifically IP point the main domain only ( SLD + TLD ).
SLD.TLD will go to a place but the email and the subdomains will go some place else, concurrently. Next, you need to determine where is the active DNS of your given domain. This could be either your registrar or your hosting account. If you have a webpage in that domain then chances are that you have a hosting account (which sometimes is the same entity of your registrar). Hosting account can possibly be as shared hosting, private hosting, VPS hosting or at the cloud ( AWS , Google Cloud, MS Azure ).
The below picture shows a typical domain pointing to an external platform ( 184.108.40.206 ) via nameserver assignment. *Please note Serial is for visual reference only.
Under the above configuration, all bits of the domain are surrended to the external platform. That is to say, according to the above setup, any attempt as follow will result in one place only, the external platform: 220.127.116.11
www.RealQuickExample.com will point to 18.104.22.168
anything.RealQuickExample will point to 22.214.171.124 ( wildcard )
So now, in the above picture, the domain will resolve as follow:
www.RealQuickExample.com will resolve to 126.96.36.199 ( external platform )
RealQuickExample.com will resolve to 188.8.131.52
but anything else will resolve to 184.108.40.206, your server/hosting !
That means type anything.RealQuickExample will resolve to your server, meaning you can publish websites. Even though the main domain is externally assigned.
This should not affect ranked based SEO because search engines index webpages and it is not necessarily associated with the main domain in its current manifestation.
What about the emails ? To have emails locally or even assigned to google apps or alike we need to add an additional record, and result is shown below:
Adding the above two records, will allow you to manage ( send an receive ) your email concurrently with the main domain ( sld.tld ) external assignment.
3. How do you manage all that, when one has hundreds or thousands of domains ?
It depends, maybe your registrar has a set of decent DNS bulk interface or maybe you use cpanel/WHM via your hosting account. The latter is your best choice as you can create a custom dns template.
If you have a VPS hosting account, chances are you have Cpanel/WHM. If so, here’s how you would do this bulky via WHM.
In WHM ( usually port 2086 or 2087 of your hosted domain ) go to DNS Functions -> Edit Zone Templates
and you will see:
The above picture shows WHM’s Zone Editor.
The picture below shows the edited template:
Now all you have to do is Reset DNS Zones ( DNS Functions -> Reset DNS Zones -> Choose domain). The reset will keep existing subdomains and will apply the edited template on the given domain.
If you are in the cloud, both google cloud and aws have APIs to do this for you. For specific details on Domaning at the cloud, please keep an eye for an upcoming article, that teaches you step-by-step how to put your portfolio into the cloud and escape the VPS hosting black-listed IPs world.
4 Plus: You want to route all vanity emails to a single one, so you don’t have to check multiple inboxes.
If you do this across your portfolio, the last thing you want is to check 400 different mailboxes. So we need to create an internal routing for these boxes.
It again depends if you are using Cpanel/WHM ( Usually VPS hosting ) or the cloud or even your registrar. Regardless on where you do it, I’d suggest you create a domain forward ( rather than creating mail boxes, and forwarding them you could instead tell the server to route ALL non-existent mailboxes to a specific address. This is also a good way to catch typos. For example, say the prospect emails you at firstname.lastname@example.org but unfortunately a typo resulted in the email being sent to email@example.com. If you have a catch-all (MX domain forward) then the erroneous email will also reach your unified inbox !
If using WHM/Cpanel make sure that you Create Domain Forward (for emails) on your vanity emails by going to whm -> forwards.
Alternative for non-technical investors and/or large portfolios.
First I need to disclose that I am the creator of dotboss.digital, the most complete domain management system ever written- and I am obviously biased given I spent 3 years coding it to be my ultimate domaining toolbox. This ended up becoming a very extensive digital asset management system…. having said that, the alternative could be as simple as:
1-Sign Up for dotboss.digital at https://backengine.dotboss.digital
2-Point your domain(s) to ns1.dotbossdigital.com and ns2.dotbossdigital.com (from your Registrar)
3-Await DNS propagation
4-Login to backengine.dotboss.digital, add your domains, launch the redirect feature ( dashboard ), if you have selected them from the grid they should appear on the next step but if not simply paste them into the box and choose IP Redirect, Choose an existing platform or a custom IP ( provided by your external platform ) and that would be it. You can create mail boxes directly from the dashboard. In fact you can bypass cpanel completely by using the dashboard as it contains all the APIs to talk to your hosting saving you precious time.
For more details on this feel free to read or watch our videos at https://user.guide
You are done! You can now interact with your prospects by displaying the actual digital asset right from the From: Field.
All in all, Vanity emails can be a great tool to expose the digital asset’s beauty.
Here’s a few real examples that I’ve seen recently:
All of while enjoying your external platform!
A quick note on parking:I have seen a few parking companies stating that “you can use A record but nameserver assignment is better”.
However, in my experience that is not true. I am yet to see technical evidence that fits the domaining context.
But, the real question is why are you still parking with a landing page when you can place Ads, Bidded Ads, Impressions, with a full on portal or app ?
I will be writing about that soon. Feel free to ask questions and comment.
Thanks for reading and I hope you find this useful.