In the world of internet marketing, domain and hosting are both valuable assets which enable one to earn an income directly or indirectly online. Many web companies offer such opportunities and one, in particular, does so differently. In today’s review, we are going to find out the interesting, the controversial and most importantly, whether you can actually make money from Global Domains International or not.
GDI at a Glance
Never heard of GDI before? Apparently, this company has been around since 2001 (I looked up the domain to confirm this) and was created by two individuals by the name of Michael Starr and Alan Ezeir. It’s basically a web service that offers consumers domain registration, website building and also WordPress hosting.
These services are bundled into two different packages – Basic ($10 per month) and Premium ($40 per month) – and comes with a free trial of 7 days. Upon signing up for either plan, you will be able to make 10% per sale as an affiliate member by recommending their products to end-users.
Apart from that, you can also build your own team and earn 10% from every affiliate’s sales (up to 5 levels deep) and be eligible for bonuses between $100 to $5000 when you refer a certain number of affiliates within a certain period of time.
Due to the way it’s marketed, the company appears to be operating under two different multilingual websites. Here’s the one that promotes their services (Website dot ws)
And this is the one that promotes the business opportunity (Freedom dot ws)
Chances are, you have encountered one of these while researching about GDI. Frankly, the site layouts aren’t the most impressive but before we judge, I would like to point out a few things that make this business concept somewhat attractive.
What Is The Marketing Opportunity (The Interesting Stuff)
Whether you are a local business owner, a niche blogger or a Facebook marketplace seller, anyone can benefit from creating an online presence, especially if you are planning to run a business nowadays. For a small investment, a personalized domain and website can strengthen branding, conduct eCommerce activities and let you engage with wider audience size.
Domains and sites also accrue in values as they mature over time, thus can be resold for higher profits in the future. Seeing that there’s a growing demand for these services moving forward, it’s worth getting involved in this niche if you are interested in promoting web hosting related products.
The other attractive factor about GDI is the monetization system. Referral marketing – just like affiliate marketing, is known to be one of the easiest ways to start an online business on the side because there’s no need to create your own products. You just need to leverage from preexisting products and focus on the marketing aspect. Most people use this legit and flexible income model as a stepping stone while working their way up to become a full-time online entrepreneur.
Since many reputable web hosting companies offer affiliate programs, there many choices to choose from. For example, GoDaddy pays between 10% to 15%, and NameCheap pays even more, between 20% to 35% for sales referral. Both of these programs are available through Conversant (previously known as Commission Junction) and ShareASale affiliate network.
The Controversies of Promoting GDI
Despite the market demand and income potential, I couldn’t convince myself that GDI’s services or even business opportunities are both relevant in today’s economy setting. The more I go through the details, the more they seem to drift away from the mainstream of things. Some of the facts are quite misleading as they are controversial.
1 – Uncommon Domain Extension
While other companies constantly launch new domains for sale, GDI only offers ONE (yes, one) and that is .ws. Have you seen one before? Neither have I. So I did a quick check and found out this extension is an Internet Country Code for Western Samoa (a small country that lies in the Polynesian region of the Pacific Ocean). Now, if I am a business owner based in the UK, I wouldn’t be using this extension because it’s irrelevant to my location.
On GDI’s site, however, they claimed the .ws stands for WebSite. Even so, any blogger who understands search engine optimization is likely to use top-level domains such as .com, .net and .org as those extensions tend to rank better on the search engines. Out of curiosity, I googled randomly to see if there’s any decent website with such extension, but couldn’t find any nor were there any references from customers who had given raving reviews about the company.
That’s odd if you asked me.
2 – Overpriced Domain, Underdelivered Hosting Plan
GDI’s domain pricing is one of the most expensive I’ve ever seen. Look at what it would cost me to buy the domain name below. For $35 per year, I actually have no idea what other services are included in that price tag.
Just to prove I am not over-reacting, I compared the pricing with competitors like NameCheap and found that for a similar extension, the selling price is only about $10 to $15+ per year, even after including some add-on services.
As for the hosting plans, be prepared to go small because even with Premium which costs $40 per month, you are only getting at most, 1 GB of storage space. Over at NameCheap, the minimum package starts with 10 GB – that’s 10 times the storage size and at a fraction of GDI’s Premium plan. As a savvy consumer, you could probably tell which is the better offer here, right?
3 – Outdated Web Technology
During the trial period, I had the chance to test out their simple site builder and also build a WordPress site. Of all the publishing platform that I’ve reviewed so far, this is the most out-dated one ever. The themes were old fashioned, the links were not working and you simply couldn’t do any type of editing much less, trying to publish it. Someone even pointed out this defect in the forum area.
4 – Inactive Members Area
Upon becoming an affiliate, you’ll get access to the back office that contains all the resources needed to market the services and the business opportunity. One of them is the forum area where users mingle to discuss everything regarding GDI. After spending a few days, it’s obvious that the forum area is very much inactive, if not dead.
The most recent question dated on the 25th of March 2019 had more than 50 views, but not a single answer from a user or the team. It makes me wonder if GDI even provides any technical support for its customers in the first place.
5 – Multi-Level Marketing Anyone?
Those who are actively promoting GDI (especially on YouTube) are doing in such a way to convert you into their down line as they build the size of their team. Just like running an MLM business, the problem arises when marketers do more recruiting over selling products to end consumers. This bears resemblance to a pyramid scheme, where everyone is enrolling others for profit-making rather than providing something that is useful for the consumer market.
Then again, who would sign up for a 1 GB web storage that bears the domain .ws (unless you are from Samoa)? If the focus is getting more affiliates to join, then you are probably doing the wrong business because pyramid schemes are unethical and oftentimes, not sustainable.
6 – Bold Income Claims
Talking about the characteristics of a ‘suspicious business’, it’s not uncommon to find individuals claiming to make a lot of money from the program. These positive reviews are plastered all over their homepage.
When using the tier system to project an income, of course, it will look lucrative, because multiplication will always lead to bigger, not smaller, numbers. If you read reviews from elsewhere like on a sales funnel page or a YouTube video, you’ll hear a lot of “earn fast money” and “best opportunities in your life” alongside checks to prove that they actually get paid. I am not saying that those aren’t real money, but they are a bit far fetched and I believe the statements are curated in such a way to lure you into the program.
If the deficiency of their services makes any sense at all, you would realize by now that their products have very little appeal to the current market. Hence, the only obvious way to make money is through getting more affiliates to join and that brings us back to point number 5 which is a no-go zone.
Should You Join GDI?
Maybe this program was really effective not long after it was established, but that was years ago. The worldwide web is a rapidly changing market and GDI doesn’t seem to adapt to that and provide something people actually want. If they include more domain selections and better pricing in the future, I might change my stance.
Even so, combining referral marketing and MLM is somewhat shady. This type of system could easily derail from its main purpose and cause you to practice a business that is unethical because it only serves to benefit a small group of people.
For those reasons, I wouldn’t recommend using GDI as a user OR as an income generation platform. If you are really interested to make money online, it’s better to become an affiliate with reputable companies who are innovative and creative in the web hosting niche. They are more resourceful, they pay better and they will keep your business afloat for a very long time.
I hope this review has provided good insights into joining Global Domains International. If you have any thoughts/questions or experience about this company, please leave them in the comment space below.