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Global Domains International (or GDI) is one of the largest web-hosting company and most popular network marketing programs available online today. GDI was founded in 1999 by Alan Ezeir and Michael Starr and has quickly grown into a global enterprise that offers high quality hosting for ‘.ws’ domains worldwide. While Global Domains International Inc. is a global company, they are based in the U.S. and have their headquarters stationed in San Diego, California.

The .WS Story

Michael Starr & Alan Ezeir Founders of GDI

Michael Starr & Alan Ezeir
Founders of GDI

Before you can start up a business – any business – customers need to be able to find you. On the Internet, your address is your domain name; the 00 part of an Internet address that comes after the www. With the unparalleled growth of the Internet, dot com domain names continue to sell like hotcakes. Currently, there are more than 20 million dot com domains, and over 34 million total domains registered worldwide. Industry experts forecast that more than 500 million domains will be registered in the next ten years. In fact, reliable sources from companies like Intel are predicting that every personal computer in the future will have its own domain name.

In 1998, the dot com craze was beginning to ramp up to unbelievable proportions. So many Internet companies sprouted up in Silicon Valley, and elsewhere, that companies not swept up in the hysteria were thought to be missing out. But, while most people were focused on things like Content, Banner Ads and Bandwidth, Michael Starr and Alan Ezeir, the CEO and President respectively of Global Domains International, Inc. (GDI), recognized another opportunity that was largely ignored; they wondered, “Besides dot com, are there other extensions that businesses could use as a domain name?”

Mike and Alan were aware that in the mid 1990’s, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) assigned each nation a country code. These codes were designed to give each country an address to use for their own Internet needs. For instance, the United States was assigned .us, Australia .au, Ireland .ie. “We knew that a good, easy-to-remember country code could be marketable globally as a viable alternative to .com,” said Alan. “And so,” Mike added, “we ordered some pizza, locked ourselves in a room, and went through the entire list of countries to pinpoint the best possible code.”

They ultimately focused on the domain extension .WS – which belongs to the tiny island nation of Samoa, deep in the South Pacific. “We thought that the abbreviation .WS could be successfully marketed worldwide as the ‘WebSite’ top-level domain,” said Mike. “There were a small handful of other viable options, but through resolve and perseverance, we found that some countries were already using their domain locally, and not interested in becoming an ‘open’ or ‘global’ registry. With a population of less than 200,000 people, Samoa had yet to utilize their domain on a massive scale. And, none of the other countries’ domains compared to the potential branding power of .WS to signify ‘WebSite’. After all,” Mike happily exclaimed, “everyone in the free world knows what a web site is!”

 

Samoa

The island nation of Samoa is part of a group of islands and islets in the south-central Pacific Ocean about 1,600 miles (2,600 km) northeast of New Zealand. It is completely separate and independent of its U.S. cousin, American Samoa. Its form of government consists of a Prime Minister, Parliament and, as head-of-state, a King. The country’s primary exports range from coconut cream and beer, to automotive wiring-harnesses and cigarettes.

All business professionals know that having an idea is one thing, but executing the idea is quite another. Mike and Alan knew that the idea of marketing an alternative to dot com had tremendous promise.

Yet, they both recognized that they’d need more perseverance and a little luck to pull it off. “Remember, we were paddling against the current,” Mike said. “Back then, most people were still branding businesses with dot com. Quite frankly, nearly everyone thought we were wasting our time.”

After a series of overseas phone calls and e-mails to Samoan officials, a date was set for Mike and Alan to meet with the leading figures of Samoa, including the King and his Prime Minister. In less than a week, Mike and Alan put together a presentation detailing their plans for their appropriation of the technical and marketing operations of Samoa’s top-level domain extension, “.WS.”

So as not to take any chances, Mike and Alan devoured reams of information about the nation of Samoa, familiarizing themselves with as many of its customs and traditions as possible. While Alan busily acquainted himself with appropriate etiquette when meeting with Samoan government officials, Mike worked on ensuring that the proposal they would present to the Samoans was as interesting and worthwhile as possible. “I had to make certain the Samoans understood that we looked at the opportunity as a joint relationship that would ultimately benefit their entire nation,” said Mike.

One major risk gnawed at Alan and Mike: they really didn’t have anything significant to immediately offer the country, except for their business ingenuity and know-how. Although Mike and Alan were successful marketing experts in the U.S., convincing an entire nation to trust them on what appeared to be a hunch would be difficult, at best.

“There was mounting pressure by some of our consultants to offer the Samoan government cash up-front. Otherwise, they felt we’d lose the deal and someone else could come in and take over,” Alan said. “However, we knew the culture of Samoa was much different than here in the States, and that ‘buying off’ anyone is not the way we do business! As a result,” Alan continued, “we came up with an alternative proposal we thought better accommodated the cultural demands of the country.”

 

Meet the Co-Founders

Michael Starr, CEO & Co-Founder

Michael Starr, CEO
& Co-Founder

Michael Starr oversees, directs, and integrates the creative and marketing departments, as well as the technical division of Global Domains International, Inc. (GDI), which maintains the Registry for all “.WS” domain names worldwide (https://WebSite.WS). His management responsibilities include a broad range of data management and security for GDI and all its services, including online order processing for all domain names worldwide, local and web database management for Domain Name Services (DNS), and all additional features in domain name management for GDI. Starr’s focus for managing the Registry from its incep- tion has been focused on redundancy in all systems and personnel, high system performance, and transparent expandability (scalability). No expense has been spared to meet these three core objectives.

Michael also manages a large staff of technical professionals that maintain the Registry around the clock. Additionally, he works with GDI’s creative and marketing departments, continually introducing new programs that promote .WS to the international Internet community.

Michael co-founded FreedomStarr Communications, Inc., d.b.a. Planet Earth Communications (PEC) in October 1995, which currently maintains licenses in most of the United States for certified telecommunications services, and supports thousands of users in each state.

Michael has been involved in entrepreneurial activities for more than 20 years and has extensive knowledge in direct marketing and affiliate marketing distribution, as well as in software systems necessary to track agent sales and activities. Michael majored in Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).


 
Alan Ezeir, President & Co-Founder

Alan Ezeir, President
& Co-Founder

Alan Ezeir has established a track record of success in e-commerce, telecommunications, and in several other fast-paced entrepreneurial/start-up environments. Before founding GDI with Michael, Alan was head of USVT, a switchless telecommunications reseller in Northern California. Under his leadership, USVT developed a broad distribution base throughout California, and increased monthly revenues by a record six fold.

In 1991, Alan founded Intelligent Communications Management; a business instrumental in helping small to large companies determine the most proficient telecommunications carriers to suit their requirements.

Alan is responsible for multiple strategic projects at GDI; setting guidelines for meeting revenue goals, providing crucial leadership in generating new revenues, projecting sales forecasts, and monitoring the company’s cash expenditures. Ezeir is also co-founder of FreedomStarr Communications, Inc., and manages the accounting, finance, contractual, and operations of GDI.

Alan is an active member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and the current and founding alumni president of the Southern California Entrepreneurial Academy Alumni Association (SCEAA); an organization that works closely with the development of entrepreneurs in Southern California. The organization pairs emerging entrepreneurs with successful entrepreneurs.

With a vision to navigate the course of the company as it enters the new millennium, Alan is vigilant in his continued search to develop successful new business horizons. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from UCLA.


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