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Posted By
domains.co.uk
13.04.11

Domains.co.uk and ContractHire.co.uk incubating success.

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One of the first websites to benefit from Domains.co.uk’s DotCom Incubation service is already exceeding monthly targets. ContractHire.co.uk, a car leasing business, has begun to take off thanks in no small part to its uncluttered, intuitive design and effective Search Engine Optimisation.
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ContractHire.co.uk is a joint venture partnership between a long-standing market leader and Domains.co.uk. It makes use of our online expertise without interruption to the parent car leasing business resulting in an effective way to increase online market presence that quickly pays dividends.

Car leasing is a lucrative and densely populated sector, but with an easily memorable (and quotable) domain name, ContractHire.co.uk is in the perfect position to seep into this sector’s consciousness and stay there.

This premium domain name was chosen from our current portfolio. Thousands are still available and ready to benefit from our DotCom Incubation process. Each domain will eventually be home to a fully-fledged online business that will begin to climb the all-important search engine rankings. Just as with ContractHire.co.uk, they will also be monetised and begin to generate revenue and reputation. At any point in this process a potential business can take over the site inheriting all its credibility and links – providing it hasn’t already been snapped up!

ContractHire.co.uk is only at the very beginning of its life, but with the right nurturing it should go from strength to strength and prove a worthwhile investment for all parties.

If you feel your business could benefit from the Domains.co.uk DotCom Incubation programme, please feel free to Contact Us for a free consultation.

Posted By
Harvey Mason
05.04.11

Twitter
@harvey_mason

Lead PHP developer role, based in Lancashire.

Location: East Lancashire

Salary: £25-30K, negotiable on experience

Contract: Permanent

Hours: Fulltime

Start Date: ASAP

About Us

Domains.co.uk offers some of the most desirable domain names for lease and purchase in the UK. Parallel to this we also provide a web business incubation service.

We are at a crucial and exciting juncture, combining youth and expansion that will offer excellent career progression.

Our Candidate

We are looking for a self-motivated web developer. Strong PHP development skills are essential with at least 2-3 years commercial development experience working with PHP and MySQL databases.

A strong understanding of HTML, CSS, Javascript, jQuery, AJAX and cross browser development is essential as is a keen knowledge of industry design applications such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks and Dreamweaver.

Central to our company is SEO. The best candidates will be able to demonstrate their ability to code with this in mind and be able to provide examples of their work through either an online portfolio or live URLs.

Experience of WordPress and other CMS applications is useful, and ideally you will have a working knowledge of Linux, Apache, Firewalls and security.

Your Duties

Domains.co.uk is offering a wide variety of web development opportunities. One thing assured is that you will never be short of work and neither will you want for creative control. Therefore you must be able to manage your own projects and meet deadlines.

Working Environment

You will be working in a less rigid but nonetheless motivated atmosphere. This should offer you the flexibility and freedom you need to complete your work within the specified time frame.

Domains.co.uk is a very young but profitable company and you will slot into a small but friendly team.

Applying for the job

Please send your CV, a covering letter and exmaples of your work to harvey@domains.co.uk

Posted By
Harvey Mason
05.01.11

Twitter
@harvey_mason

Collaboration and flexible working conditions

In my opinion, a great recipe for success is the combination of collaboration and flexible working conditions. Domains.co.uk has had a very tight deadline to meet over the past couple of months and I am convinced it is the approach we have taken with our team that has allowed us to complete the project on time, on budget and without too much stress.

Over the past few months I have taken a lot of inspiration from Jason Fried and the team at 37 Signals, the guys behind Basecamp, Highrise, Backpack and Campfire; some really neat web based collaborative tools that we use. Also Rework, their publication on revamping the way we manage organisations, flips the typical ‘rules of business’ on their head and strips everything back into a far more realistic approach. I would go as far to say that we have built the entire Domains.co.uk infrastructure on the advise and experiences Fried and his team share.

Before the end of 2010, we needed to upgrade our domain leasing platform in pretty much every area. A re-brand, a complete re-design of our website, an automated payment system and integration into ‘a CRM system’ (which didn’t yet exist): and all of this needed to happen before we could give the green light on our marketing strategy which is set to kick off this month. It was going to be a close call!

To make this happen I needed to draft in a number of freelance services, from web development to technical support, through to SEO and copywriting. We already have some in-house resources such as Paul, our creative lead, and Alex, our technical lead, but there was still a lot of work which needed doing by people outside the organisation.

The great thing with freelancers is that they work on their own terms and are self-managed. As long as they meet the deadline, then what’s the problem? Then you have your in-house staff who would usually arrive at work from a set time in the morning and finish at a set time at the end of day, let’s say a regular 9 ‘til 5, and work as a team from their desk to complete the tasks they need to do.

We have decided on a different work ethos where as all our staff work from home under freelance-style conditions. They set their own deadlines and are trusted to do deliver the work they need to do, on time. There is not much difference between our staff and the freelancers we work with, apart from the fact the former are on the payroll.

So, how do we work it?

First off, it is essential to work with people you can trust, who are passionate about what they do and who understand that they are partly responsible for the success of the project.

Secondly, we ensure there is absolute clarity from the top down. What is it that needs to be done? We set the objective and then collaborate with everyone involved to devise a comprehensive brief. Individual tasks are then allocated to each contributor. Everybody’s input is essential here and we make sure that we foster an environment where everyone’s thoughts and ideas are given the utmost respect.
And then, we pass the control over to the staff. It is now down to them to make it happen.

To help them, we use some fantastic collaboration tools such as Google Apps, Google Docs, Basecamp, Highrise and Sipgate. These products basically allow all our staff and freelancers to operate in pretty much the same way they would be able to using typical office facilities.

Unbelievably, this creates a fantastic working relationship between everyone involved. Everyone’s tasks are openly available for other staff to see, we can see when other members of staff have completed their part of the project and we have shared areas where people can communicate with one other to keep things on track. Some of our staff and freelancers have never even met one another and even though they are not working face to face, there is a real buzz about the project.

Something else that amazes me is the concept of leaving people to work from home. It is probably fair to say that most companies would kick this straight out as an option. They would probably say there are too many distractions at home – the TV, the phone ringing, the dog wanting food… but our view is that there are just as many, if not more distractions in an office environment. When was the last time you got a solid few hours work done at the office with no interruptions? Leaving people to work from home allows them to really get into the zone and it is this state of mind that is most productive.

I have to be honest and say that it felt risky adopting this style of working at first. I wasn’t going to be able to keep my physical eye on people and I had to completely trust everyone involved make good on their promises and complete their tasks. Looking back on this project, however, I’m thrilled to say that despite brand new staff, remote working and a short time frame, we have managed to complete the work on time and on budget.

It has been a pleasure to see everyone work effectively and responsibly as a team. Leaving people to do things their way works – we have proved it!

Posted By
domains.co.uk

Domain name marketplace appoints 10 Yetis PR Agency

The UK’s largest domain name leasing website www.domains.co.uk has handed its PR brief to Gloucestershire-based consumer tech specialists 10 Yetis PR Agency.

Domains.co.uk was founded by serial entrepreneur Steve Jackson and his business partner Harvey Mason. The site redevelopment was the catalyst for engaging with a PR agency to promote the domain name leasing marketplace.

Steve Jackson is the ex-chairman of Preston North End Football Club, chairman of social welfare organisation www.recyclinglives.org and founder of www.NewReg.com; the market leader in private vehicle registration plates. New Reg was founded in 1991, and was subsequently the first company to sell number plates online in 1996.

Prior to developing Domains.co.uk, Harvey Mason spent his early entrepreneurial years self-employed in the entertainment sector before becoming the first marketing manager for Recycling Lives, a 200 staff strong social welfare organisation.

Following the success of New Reg, Steve has built an impressive portfolio of more than 2,000 domain names since the mid 1990’s. This roster has remained dormant for many years, but will form the portfolio of high profile domain names available for leasing on Domains.co.uk. Examples of premium URLs available for leasing include:

Chemist.co.uk
Fashion.co.uk
Finance.co.uk
Gym.co.uk
Love.co.uk

The PR brief for Domains.co.uk relates to introducing the concept of domain name leasing to a wider market, and focusing how keyword-rich domain names can benefit businesses. The agency will also help to convey the simplicity, safety and affordability of domain name leasing.

Domains.co.uk provides flexible monthly rates for the portfolio of URLs, categorising the strength of the domain name by a unique star rating.

Harvey Mason, managing director of Domains.co.uk had the following to say:

“When buying a domain name, you are essentially simply leasing the URL from the domain name registrar. We are taking this one stage further, by providing a real marketplace for premium domain names at affordable monthly rates, with guaranteed lease security. Our efforts to this point have been to ensure that all the power is retained by the leaser.

“10 Yetis’ grasp of the importance of SEO, and general passion for the technology sector shone through, and was one of the main reasons we decided to hand them our brief. We are extremely excited to appoint them as our retained PR agency.”

Rich Leigh, Accounts Director at 10 Yetis PR Agency had the following to say:

“To be handed the brief from Domains.co.uk is absolutely fantastic. Leasing isn’t entirely new to the UK, but by creating a simple-to-use marketplace for premium domain names, there is a huge gap in the market, and we’re excited to be given the opportunity to promote the service.

“The guys at Domains.co.uk are absolute experts in their field, and given Steve’s huge success with vehicle registration plate service New Reg, we’re confident that public reaction will be positive.”

LINKS:
www.Domains.co.uk
www.10yetis.co.uk

ENDS

For more information, please contact Rich Leigh, 10 Yetis Public Relations Agency on 01452 348 211 or rich@10yetis.co.uk

EDITORS NOTES

Domains.co.uk was launched in early 2010

Premium domain name fees start from as little as £100 pcm

Domains.co.uk contracts allow users to immediately experience the benefits of owning a premium domain whilst offering considerable legal protection, including:

o Rolling contracts which give users indefinite first refusal on a domain name
o The ability to cancel contracts at any time and without penalty with just 30 days’ notice
o DNS setting which are changed at top level, making setting up new email addresses and sub-domains straightforward
o Robust and legally binding contracts which give you control over your lease.

Posted By
Harvey Mason
23.12.10

Twitter
@harvey_mason

We don’t do snow days

Snow has brought the UK to a standstill, and it’s still coming down. Many employees are stuck at home with seasonal colds and flu, while reports show that the weather conditions are costing the UK economy £1.2bn a day. To keep informed about the snow situation, there’s an awesome Twitter mashup by Ben Marsh at http://uksnowmap.com/, which collects data from tweets tagged with #uksnow to create a real-time map of UK snowfall.

At Domains.co.uk, we don’t do snow days because we don’t have to travel to work. Commuting takes up valuable time, causes stress and is bad for the planet. Right now I’m sat in my home office, with a woolly jumper, a mug of coffee and a radiator, working on the domain management tools for the next phase of our project. Work is not a place, it’s an activity. Of course, sometimes when bashing out an idea or talking over a deal a face-to-face meeting is preferable and, when travel is necessary, we have to make sure we make the best use of our time when on the move. Notebooks and 3G mean we can work on long train journeys and in cafés or waiting rooms.

Despite our remote approach we’re a tight team, and our marketers, designers and techies rely on constant communication to keep up with the pace of development whether we’re working from home, the office, or on the move. Here are some of the tools we use:

Google Apps
http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/business/index.html

We recently migrated our mail server to Google Apps, a service that’s free if your organisation, like ours, has fewer than 50 employees. It’s a breeze to set up, and there are plenty of powerful tools under the hood including IMAP/Exchange sync, search and spam filtering. Google Docs means we don’t have to install Microsoft Office-type software on our machines and can collaborate on documents, spreadsheets and presentations in real-time.

37Signals BaseCamp
http://basecamphq.com

Managing projects is a huge part of our work; we have many projects in development at once and we need to make sure none of them fall by the wayside. BaseCamp lets us work together and with our partner companies to make sure that projects get delivered on time, using milestones, to-do lists and message board brainstorming to stay up to date.

Sipgate
http://www.sipgate.co.uk

We’re not tied to our office so we needed a telephone service that followed us around. We chose Sipgate, one of the many Voice Over IP (VOIP) providers operating in the UK. SIP technology allows us to be device-independent: our mobiles, notebooks, desktops and desk phones can all connect to this service.

37Signals HighRise
http://highrisehq.com

HighRise is a web-based customer relationship management tool with a focus on simplicity. This toolhas everything we need for keeping track of our customers and ensuring we work cohesively when negotiating deals or supporting contracts.

An important factor in choosing these tools is their interoperability. Each has a powerful Application Programming Interface (API), which means we can tie them together and integrate them with other software like our custom WordPress plugins, providing a full solution for our business and automating many simple tasks.

We think our setup is pretty great but we’re always open to new ideas and products. Have you used any of these products? What’s your experience of them? Which online collaboration and virtualisation tools do you use?

Currently Playing: Streetlight Manifesto – Somewhere In The Between (2007, Victory Records)

Posted By
Harvey Mason
20.12.10

Twitter
@harvey_mason

Apprentice: the interview episode

This is by far my favourite episode of the Apprentice. I love how clear and direct the interviewers are with the candidates. You can really see how knowledgeable they are about business when they’re questioning the final five. That invaluable experience reins in the eager beaver apprentice wannabes like your headmaster keeping order at primary school. It doesn’t matter what they say, the elders will pick holes like there is no tomorrow.

The bit that I love the most, however, is how this early interview stage picks out the good from the bad, the genuine from the not-so-genuine. Out of all the candidates this series I think it is safe to say that only Stella, the rightful winner, had the true credentials. I thought Chris was very good, but he didn’t have any commercial experience. Stella really wanted the job too: you could tell she had worked hard all her life to prove herself. She was very honest about herself, her strengths and her weaknesses, and it was great to see someone like her come up trumps.

I’ve been wondering how this program relates to my work and to web-based industries like domain name leasing. Next season I would love to see Apprentice allocate a web-based task to the candidates – I’m actually surprised they haven’t already. The element of the show that made me think about our service was the clarity and honesty you have to have in business. Anyone serious about what they do will spot what is commonly known as a ‘blagger’ from miles away, and this episode totally highlighted that fact. I believe things have changed a lot since the cold-calling sales days in the late 90s. So much information is widely available online nowadays and businesses and the people behind them are generally much smarter and much better informed. Business owners and customers alike can use the internet to check out a company’s credentials and the online presences of their staff. If there’s something dishonest going on, it’s much easier to find in the past which is great, because we don’t all have the long-term experience of the Apprentice judges!

It feels good to know that what we do is 100% transparent. It proved to me that the time and energy that we put into our contracts, our recruiting and our PR has been well worth it. Being open and honest with absolute integrity is paramount in the business world today.

Posted By
domains.co.uk
17.12.10

Alex – the latest addition to our team!

Alex started with us last week. We have tagged him as our ‘technical lead’.

He is into World of Warcraft, Formula One Racing (to a ridiculous degree – in fact, to the point where he has multiple monitors set up around a recaro racing seat in his bedroom to watch it) and of course ‘techy gadgety stuff’…

So, a typical web nerd really, and a perfect fit as the final piece of our core team.

What will Alex be working on?

Since Alex came on board, the whole company has taken a huge step forward. In his previous role, he was a, wait for it… ‘A Business Systems Analyst’, with a keen eye for improving the efficiency of CRM’s, payment processes, payroll systems and API integrations. This was perfect for us as most of the technical work we do, is to improve the process of leasing a domain name for our clients. Very soon, due to Alex’s contribution we will have automated payment options, a user control dashboard and an automated system to bring on board new domain name portfolio owners.

Follow Alex on Twitter

Posted By
Harvey Mason
09.11.10

Twitter
@harvey_mason

Domains.co.uk on the hunt for a Manchester based lead developer…

We have a small team of dedicated Internet business enthusiasts, each of which share a clear vision on the direction of our company. You will be our first and only web developer, completing what we consider as our ‘core team’. You will take the lead on any future development work and will play a key role in meeting our business objectives.

‘We are not an agency. All our projects are separate businesses built in house, and managed in house’.

The projects we work on are extremely varied from a domain name leasing platform through to dating websites. You will be expected to have the skills to take a project from a PSD design, straight through to a fully working solution. You will need to demonstrate excellent programming skills, top level communication skills and the ability to work to tight deadlines in a small team. Some technical knowledge on setting up servers, email, back up and security would also be advantageous. A solid ‘all rounder’ looking to settle in an ambitious company is what we are looking for.

We don’t really conform to the typical way of working. Some days you may work from home, you may even choose to work the odd weekend. To be frank, that’s your call. As long as the rest of the team has what they need to do their job and collectively we deliver our goals, then this is sufficient for us. Getting the job done, on time, with quality control and minimal stress is how we like to operate. It is essential you share this work ethos.

We work to scheduled projects that have been mapped out with thought and strategic planning. We also happily adapt to necessary change. It is essential you see yourself as a key contributor in the initial scoping sessions, that you are a clear and punctual communicator and that you say what is on your mind. We are searching for someone who can offer some constructive substance to the team. Collectively the team will scope out all our projects, sharing one another’s experience, skill sets, opinions and problem solving techniques. Once we get started, the rest of the team will be relying on you to deliver your part of the project, in the just the same way you will expect the same from them. Respect for other people’s responsibilities is paramount.

We are looking for someone with at least two years commercial experience who has strong skill sets in PHP / MySQL. It is also essential you are fluent with HTML, CSS, Java Script, J Query and Ajax.

It would also be advantageous if you have worked with the likes of WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Expression Engine and other commonly used CMS systems.

Keeping up to date with the latest languages, software updates and general industry developments is also something we feel you should naturally want to do.


Applying for the position

If you are interested in this role please email harvey@domains.co.uk with a covering letter outlining why you are suitable for the position and our company. A CV and / or a list of websites / developments you have been responsible for is also required.

Once a short list of candidates has been selected, a face-to-face interview will be conducted. We will then assign you a small web development task as part of the application process.


Details

Location: Manchester City Centre. Small office environment
Salary: Negotiable
Hours: 40 hour week – flexible conditions


We look forward to welcoming you to the team

Domains.co.uk HQ!

Posted By
Harvey Mason
26.10.10

Twitter
@harvey_mason

Domains.co.uk launch press release…

Summary

Domains.co.uk, a Manchester city centre based company has launched a new and exciting website offering a premium domain name leasing service. With over 2000 domains including the likes of Adult.co.uk, Love.co.uk, Finance.co.uk, Fashion.co.uk and Wine.co.uk to name a few, the ‘online opportunity floodgates’ have just opened up to the UK online business sector. Read on…

Main release

Domains.co.uk, a Manchester city centre based premium domain name leasing service is now open for business. The world of online businesses is exploding, with new ventures launching and succeeding every day. And the thought that the Internet is ‘just for geeks’ is certainly no longer the case with the mainstream market responding positively to online advertising and shopping RIGHT NOW!

With this in mind, competition is increasing at a rapid pace and in just the same way a traditional business needs to stand out from the crowd, to become an online market leader you also need to find ways to rise above your rivals. In the same way a high street retail store relies heavily on their location, the successful online business also needs to try and secure the perfect shop window. The difference is, the online ‘location, location, location’ is virtual!

Domain names are the location of the Internet and if an online business can secure a domain name that is the best in class, highly searched generic term matching their product or service, they are onto a winner. The problem is, most if not all the best premium domain names have already been snapped up by domainers and acute Internet tycoons. Obtaining them is difficult unless you have huge budgets to purchase outright, or at least it was difficult, until now!

Domains.co.uk, a brand new service to hit the internet is now open for business and has launched onto the domain name market with one of the UKs largest and highest profile premium portfolios, including domain names such as Love.co.ukFinance.co.ukAdult.co.uk and Fashion.co.uk to name a few. The key difference is, they are all available on a lease term at affordable prices, not to buy outright for huge unrealistic investments. Most businesses are familiar with leasing whether they lease their premises, their company cars or even their computer equipment – so why not their domain name?

Harvey Mason the Domains.co.uk business development manager quoted “one of the most important areas of what we offer are our lease terms and our robust contracts. If an online business is relying on their website address to build a brand and secure ongoing success, they need to know they have the security and piece of mind that they can maximize the domain – protection and longevity is key for both the licensee and the licensor“. It is quite obvious a wealth of time, expertise and energy has gone into the set up of the Domains.co.uk’s legal infrastructure, and rightly so if they are to expect businesses to commit to leasing their virtual ‘location, location, location’. Another thing to consider is that over 2000 top-level premium domain names are now available, back on the market and obtainable, and this is before the doors are opened to other portfolio owners with a similar caliber of domains.

‘The opportunity here for online businesses really is huge, the big question is, who will be first to get their hands on what you could consider as the Internets version of Pandora’s box!’

It seems quite an obvious move, but truth be told there is no real domain leasing market leader in the UK. Maybe this is why leasing has not been a viable option in the past. However, Domains.co.uk really seem to have got their plans in place and already they are dealing with hundreds of enquiries a week from interested businesses all over the UK.

What Domains.co.uk customers say

Proud customer Matt Bullas from Seo Consult stated, “The Domains.co.uk contract has given me flexibility, security and piece of mind. It’s been a breath of fresh air working with a company that values integrity and operates fair and robust policies. We would recommend leasing to any online business”.

Future plans for Domains.co.uk

This is only the beginning for Domains.co.uk, with future plans to launch a domain name publishing platform, a reseller scheme and a secure portfolio owner management platform. Some of this information is already available on their website Domains.co.uk

Press contact

For more information on the launch of Domains.co.uk please contact Harvey Mason on harvey@domains.co.uk – A full press pack is available on request.