Failure is an option when building out brands and businesses.

I was asked the other day what it was like to start a company when you know that the odds of success are so stacked against you (I guess the questioner thought I had some good advice seeing as how we launch several businesses per year, the big one this year being I answered as best I could in trying to paraphrase Seth Godin in Poke the Box, and said ... "Well first you have to be willing to fail. And once you are willing to fail, you have to be willing to jump into the abyss."
Some time last year, when the company was at one of those inflexion points, I played the video of Jeb Corliss jumping off the cliff in one of his flying wing suits for the team. Yes, sometimes that is what entrepreneurship feels like. A count down, then you sail into the abyss. Some moments of terror, some moments of exhileration, and some moments of floating peacefully after you have achieved something spectacular. If you haven't seen it, here is the video:

As I said, sometimes it is terrifying.
At Left of the Dot, we have several core values that are represented by imagery and are shared and revisited frequently. We walk every new hire through these core values, spending the largest part of our entire on-boarding process on this one set of images. Each image represents a value we hold true: from emphasizing the value of Community, to focussing on the routine and rhythm of doing the little things right. This slide and images have remained constant from day one... Well, until this week.
You see, we added a new core value this week. At Left of the Dot, failure is now an option (as illustrated by the Twitter community's Fail Whale). In fact, we fail every day. Often. Sometimes half a dozen times by lunch. But without failure, we also can't taste success. You have to start, you have to try new things, you have to be willing to jump into the abyss.

Left of the Dot Core Values
Failure is now an option.

Marketing Names Explained

We've been working on a video to better explain our Marketing Names... what do you think?

Marketing Names - by Left Of The Dot from leftofthedot on Vimeo.

Left of the Dot Media Launches to Consolidate the Lucrative Real Estate Staging Industry

MAPLE RIDGE, BC, CANADA – October 17, 2011 – Left of the Dot Media Inc. announced today the
launch of; the latest site to be deployed on the Left of the Dot platform. The new site allows the rapidly growing number of real estate home stagers across North America to successfully take and market their business online. Marketing Names are now available to dominate a geographic region (e.g., or a particular specialty (e.g.,
The Left of the Dot platform combines the development of an authority website, sub-domain pointing, and sales and marketing tools to support the transformation of a generic domain name into a stand-alone business. The new website features the largest directory of professional home stagers in North America and provides these same stagers with access to Left of the Dot’s innovative Marketing Name platform. In addition, value-added services for lead generation as well as a service targeted towards real estate agents have been integrated onto the website. Real Estate Agents now have the ability to order ‘virtual home staging’, whereby photos of vacant rooms are digitally staged by 3D artists.
As described by John Lyotier, CMO & Co-Founder, “Our Marketing Name platform is particularly well suited to the home staging market because many home stagers struggle with their marketing after investing thousands of dollars in their training. The vast majority of home stagers operate 1 or 2 person companies, they are generally not web savvy, and are not familiar with internet marketing—but they realise that they need to find new customers online. When a stagerr leases a name like it can be pointed at an existing website or to their directory listing on the site itself. As a result, our members get online with a web name that can rank well in search engines and is inherently trusted and remembered by potential customers.”
“Our recent site launches -- and -- were businesses that Left of the Dot developed on behalf of the domain’s owner under a shared revenue model. is different in that it is the first web property that is owned by the company. While our focus continues to be on ‘million-dollar domains’, this site illustrates our ability to use a relatively low priced generic domain to consolidate a rapidly growing market where the average sale is worth around $4,000 to the home stager.”
Concurrent to this news, Left of the Dot announced an update and re-launch of The new look is a villa rental and sales portal targeting over 6 million villa and vacation homes that are presently for rent or sale around the world. was one of the first domain names launched on the Left of the Dot platform; it lists more than 13,000 villas and has just opened up the market for agents to showcase villas that are for sale via premium listings or Villa Marketing Names.
About Left of the Dot Media
Left of the Dot provides an alternative to domain parking and changes the way domains are monetized.  The company enables leasing of sub-domains off a premium domain name to substantially increase the traffic, search engine relevance (SEO), and inherent value to the overall site, resulting in sustainable income for its clients.
Not only does the company focus on client satisfaction, the end-results of Left of the Dot’s many projects also benefit the end-consumer. The company creates industry go-to destinations, aggregates quality content, and allows small business owners to get online, get found and conduct business. For more information visit:
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Launch of gives Honolulu Businesses New Marketing Opportunity set up to help Hawaiian Businesses Obtain $5.5 Billion in Tourist Spend

 HONOLULU, HAWAII and MAPLE RIDGE, BC, CANADA – October 11, 2011 – Left of the Dot Media has announced the launch of; a new authority web site and directory focused exclusively on this Hawaiian island. The site features Left of the Dot’s innovative Marketing Name technology that allows small businesses to lease sub-domains from for use in their own marketing and advertising campaigns. lists more than 35,000 businesses from across Oahu and caters to both locals and tourists alike who are seeking information and deals from Oahu-based businesses. Oahu is the most populated of the Hawaiian Islands with 953,000 residents, 75% of the state’s population, and in 2010 catered to 4.3 million tourists. Visitors spent more than $5.5 billion in 2010 and will help local businesses attract more of the tourist spend, connecting them with the more than 10 million web users who search for Oahu-related search concepts every year.
“We chose to be the first, geo-based name launched on the Left of the Dot platform,” says Chris Jensen, CEO Left of the Dot Media. “For the first time, businesses can use our brand and lease sub-domains direct from the website, examples of which include,, or”
Continued Jensen, “When a business uses one of our Marketing Names, they get an instantly memorable website address that can define an entire category. Marketing Names can boost click-through rates for online advertising, contribute to search engine rankings, be used as a landing or splash page for any marketing campaign, and even used to brand an entire web presence for a small business struggling to find the right domain name to use with their business. We are pleased to be able to help Oahu businesses build more awareness and generate more sales.”
Not only can a business be listed within the directory (including a free 7 day trial listing), businesses can purchase a premium membership which highlights their business to all website visitors, attracting more attention and more sales. Premium Marketing Names are available now to qualifying businesses.
For more information, visit or call 1.808.638.4085.
About Left of the Dot Media
Left of the Dot provides an alternative to domain parking and changes the way domains are monetized.  The company enables leasing of sub-domains off a premium domain name to substantially increase the traffic, search engine relevance (SEO), and inherent value to the overall site—resulting in sustainable income for its clients.
Not only does the company focus on client satisfaction, the end-results of Left of the Dot’s many projects also benefit the end-consumer. The company creates industry go-to destinations, aggregates quality content, and allows SMBs to get online, get found and conduct business online. For more information visit:

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Left of the Dot Gives New Life to B2B Marketplace

After a full year of research and development, the once-abandoned has been successfully restored into a thriving business community
MAPLE RIDGE, BC, CANADA – August 23, 2011 – Left of the Dot Media Inc. has announced that it has re-launched, as an online B2B marketplace for businesses looking to trade with G20 partners. The project was started in 2003 but day-to-day growth and management of the business was ceased by its previous owners in 2007. Despite a lack of leadership and support, the community continued to expand to over 400,000 members. In cooperation with the new owners, Left of the Dot has created an attractive, well-organized and safe new trading environment and the international business community is responding by signing up at the rate of over 800 per week for the import export marketplace. The site is now able to offer a realistic, North American-centric alternative to online B2B behemoths and
International trade is now hugely dependent on web-based services and was one of the first sites that allowed Small Medium Businesses (SMBs) to find international partners. Over the past 9 years the internet has changed dramatically and importers and exporters need a modern service that allows them to promote themselves online, find trade partners and know that they can trust the person they are dealing with. After considerable consultation with SMBs the new allows businesses to get online via Marketing Names (e.g.,, get found via search engines (hundreds of this domain’s existing Marketing Names rank in the Top 3 results on Google, Yahoo, and Bing), find customers via Trade Leads, and establish credibility via rigorous Trust Certification.
The domain name was purchased in 2010 by an investor strictly for the inherent value of the name itself. The original intent was to switch off the business and replace it with a parked page showing advertising. Perceiving the risk of a missed opportunity, Left of the Dot partnered with the new owner and took the initiative to restore and rebuild the business.
“A memorable generic name like “” is equivalent to quality real estate, the Park Places and Boardwalks of the domain industry”, says John Lyotier, Co-Founder at Left of the Dot, “ represented the virtual equivalent of renovating an entire city centre and giving businesses all the tools they need to grow and prosper – it’s good for each business and good for the community. The key for us is enabling importers and exporters to lease their very own sub-domains (Marketing Names) off the brand so that they can become a valuable part of the community.”
“With currently valued at an estimated $10.8B and at more than $2B, the market opportunity is huge and Left of the Dot will compete by allowing the SMB community to create its own success stories on the brand.”
Left of the Dot provides an alternative to domain parking and changes the way domains are monetized. The company enables leasing of sub-domains off a premium domain name to substantially increase the traffic, search engine relevance (SEO), and inherent value to the overall site—resulting in sustainable income for its clients.
Not only does the company focus on client satisfaction, the end-results of Left of the Dot’s many projects also benefit the end-consumer. The company creates online industry go-to destinations, aggregates quality content, and allows SMEs to get online, get found, and conduct business online.
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Website under development

We had been neglecting our own site while we work on our portfolio sites. Stay tuned... this site is under development.

Good interview between Left of the Dot and Sully's Blog

Mike Sullivan has posted an interview with Left of the Dot co-founder Chris Jensen. A good read and describes what we are doing pretty clearly. Good job Chris!

"It has become increasingly clear that great domain names need to be turned into profitable business units if they are to realize their true potential and value, you can’t rely on parking any more. Experience shows that Domainers are hardly ever the best people to build out these sites because they are not subject matter experts and they do not live and breathe that business vertical. What Domainers really want is a low resource, low risk, high return business that has multiple sources of reliable revenue and which increases the value of their domain name. In a nutshell that is Left of the Dot."

Read the full interview here.

DOMAINFest... here we come!

Tickets were booked today for our leadership team to head to DOMAINFest.  We will be in the Los Angeles  area for the entire week (Jan 31 - Feb 4). So if you are planning on attending the conference (or live nearby), chase one of us down and we would love the opportunity to share what we have been up to.

New Monetization Service for Domainers Launched for Premium Domain Names

Left of the Dot Media introduced at TRAFFIC Test Track Vancouver receives funding

Vancouver, BC and Atlanta, GA– August 16th, 2010 – Left of the Dot Media has closed a funding round successfully as a result of participating in the Test Track program at TRAFFIC Vancouver. Test Track gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to present their business idea to a panel of high net worth investors in front of a live audience of experienced Domainers.
At TRAFFIC Vancouver in June 2010, co-founders John Lyotier and Chris Jensen introduced the Left of the Dot domain monetization concept and answered questions from the panellists and audience. At the end of the session 3 of the 4 panellists expressed an interest in finding out more about the company. During the course of the 2-day TRAFFIC event several delegates approached the company for further details. By the end of the show a handshake deal had been reached with a private investor, for the full investment amount. After a period of intense due diligence the deal has now completed.
TRAFFIC organiser and industry leader Rick Latona: “We are delighted to see Left of the Dot funded as a result of TRAFFIC. Our mandate is to improve the domain industry, and by facilitating great companies like this we create new opportunities for all portfolio owners.” The next TRAFFIC Conference takes place in Dublin, Ireland on August 23/24th 2010 and some places are still available for people to pitch in the Test Track program. Entrepreneurs can submit here:
John Lyotier explained the importance of Test Track, “It was important for us to launch Left of the Dot in a location where everyone understands this industry. The panellists asked great questions which helped us to improve our business plan and many delegates expressed interest. We were able to do a deal with a great investor who we see as a full partner in our business. I cannot imagine a better place to launch a domain name based business than Test Track at TRAFFIC”.
The Left of the Dot platform, currently operating in closed Beta, allows domain name owners to create a regular, sustainable income via monetizing sub-domains, while substantially increasing the traffic, SEO and inherent value of the root domain name. The first generic name on the platform –, targeting the beef and ranching industries – was launched in early August and several other names are due for release in the next few weeks.
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. is the domain industry's premier domainer conference. With more than 500 attendees, including the leading executives and experts, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. is the largest and most successful domain conference in the world. The purpose of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. is to bring domain owners and aggressive, forward-thinking sponsors together along with investors, so that each can maximize their effort. Collectively, the core attendees control over 20 million domain names and over 50 million DAILY unique visitors. The attendees comprise a small but immensely powerful and forward thinking business group that has finally been recognized for the power they wield and the knowledge they possess. Learn more at:
About Left of the Dot Media Inc.
 Left of the Dot Media is combining successful website building technology with advanced SEO practices and high-profile multimillion dollar domain names to change the rules for businesses that need to be online. The Left of the Dot platform appeals to owners of generic domain names, seeking recurring revenue for selected assets. Each domain managed by Left of the Dot creates a topic specific center of excellence while providing great experience for customers and suppliers alike. Learn more at:


For more information please contact:
Rick Latona
John Lyotier,
Left of the Dot Media

What does "beta" really mean?

Earlier this month, we had an opportunity to pitch at the Test Track event for TRAFFIC Vancouver. This was our first public 'hello world' as we start down a process that is sure to be a wild ride. As part of this, we built a website for our brand and slapped up a "Beta" next to the logo, after all... we were truly in Beta.
This gave us a chance to reminisce to four years ago when a few of our principles were involved in another startup and we labeled the initial release as"First Draft", arguing that "Beta" in the world of Web 2.0 software often implied a product that was, "entirely workable, defect free, and a good option for all that ails them."
Here is an excerpt from the blog post that was writte for that launch, as come to  think of it, a lot of what we have done so far definitely falls into the whole concept of "first draft" as well.

Unfortunately, people (thanks in large part to Google and the whole Web 2.0 phenomenon/bubble) expect that when you see Beta next to a product, it is entirely workable, defect free, and a good option for all that ails them. Heck, even Microsoft is charging for their Beta.
Our justification for naming is just this. Think back to writing those college/university papers when you first put all your thoughts down on paper. Sometimes you get it right the very first time and your prose are perfect, and with a few edits here and there … whammo – you submit an A+ paper. But the reality for most of us isn’t like that. You put your first draft together with an underlying genesis of an idea at the core, cobbled together with bits and pieces of stories you read, the odd plagiarized copy here and there [legal note: this is a reference to using Google's API, not an Apple/Creative thing], and paragraphs that sound good, but you know they are not in the final order. If it is a thesis, you may even have a committee who reviews your first draft and offers you feedback on how to improve, change, modify, etc. You may even get steered down an entirely different path by the feedback you receive. And that is why it is Calgoo First Draft.
And like the term paper, we gave ourselves a deadline. Otherwise, products are never released, and they will never be more than 90% done. So if you want to label it, you can call it version 1.0 if you must. But we ask this of you, don’t grade us yet. This is just the beginning.

So like then as is now... this is just the beginning.