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
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
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
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
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
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.