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The Back-of-the-Envelope Drawing that Launched a $495 Million Business – With John Ferber

John Ferber wrote an affiliate-tracking software program in 1997. His brother, Scott Ferber, drew a picture of how that software could be used online to pair corporate advertisers and website publishers.

The drawing worth $250 million -

"The chart that my brother drew to get me to give him 50% of the company." - John Ferber (30:00)

Together, based on John’s software and Scott’s drawing, the Ferber brothers built the largest ad network based on an at-the-time new concept of cost-per-click advertising. When they sold the company to AOL/Time Warner in 2004, reached 90 percent of people on the Internet, an average of 20 times per day.

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About John Ferber

John Ferber, Chairman and Co-founder, DomainHoldings.comJohn Ferber is chairman and co-founder of Domain Holdings, a technology company focused on maximizing domain name portfolio value by creating development, management and monetization solutions.

John, along with his brother Scott, co-founded in late 1998 and sold to AOL/Time Warner in 2004. John also participated in ABC’s TV series “Secret Millionaire” in 2011, helping unsung heroes in the Skid Row area of Los Angeles make a difference in their community.

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Interview Advertisers

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David E. Weslow, Attorney at Law provides legal representation for clients ranging from individuals to Fortune 500 companies in relation to domain name transactions and disputes, trademark and copyright claims, and web hosting and content liability issues. A former software and web developer, he regularly assists clients with cutting-edge issues involving law and technology.

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John Ferber Interview Raw (Non-Edited) Transcript

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15 Responses to “The Back-of-the-Envelope Drawing that Launched a $495 Million Business – With John Ferber”

  1. Eric Jenkins says:


    Cool interview……Thanks Michael and John.

    Eric Jenkins

  2. Gerry says:

    Michael – Another great Sherpa/story and interview – thanks!

    John – Great interview filled with tons of information and terrific advice throughout. Thanks for sharing it all.


  3. Eddie says:

    Michael, You guys were really fun in this interview. John, you are awesome.


  4. Scott Smith says:

    Running out of superlatives…

    Some incredible nuggets in this one.

    u go gurl!

  5. Kim says:

    Thanks for another interesting interview Michael . Your blog always gives me inspiration for new ideas.

    1. Thanks, Kim. That’s exactly what I’m hoping for: education and inspiration. And most of the interviewees are more than happy to make new connections and help other out, which is an added bonus.

      Thanks for watching and commenting.

  6. Cheryl Thimmer says:

    Another great show. Not only packed with great information, but as Chuckie and Anunt mentioned, it was really fun to watch. I smiled and laughed along with you two! Thanks!

    1. Thanks, Cheryl. Great to see you online! Hope to catch up with you again soon.

  7. Anunt says:

    Wow…great interview!

    I liked the fact that you guys joke around and laugh a little…makes it a fun interview to watch!

    Nothing against Adam Dicker…but watching his interview…its tough…not one joke…not one smile…all serious…but very informative.

    Anyways…back to the subject…

    John’s success is well-deserved…you can tell just by listening to him that he’s a very smart guy and knows his stuff…and he can make millions over and over again!

    Once again…great interview!

    1. Thanks, Anunt. As I was editing the show, I found myself chuckling along with my recording. I really had a great time with John on this show. He’s a wealth of information, and a true pioneer in the industry.

  8. John Ferber says:

    Thanks for the Feedback everyone on the interview! Uzoma – Yes i have kept in touch with all the people i have met and they have really made great strides in improving their community via all of the exposure they received from being on the show!

    best, john

  9. Uzoma says:


    Great interview, and congrats on your success.

    The question I have for you pertains to your work on Secret Mil.,

    Have you gotten any feed back from those folks you donated thousands of dollars to? Particularly, the lady with the Children’s home, and the African American group that were going to tidy up their neighborhood. I’d appreciate any updates. thansk

  10. Chuckie says:

    Fantastic show, Michael and John. Not only did I learn a ton, I really enjoyed it. Great production value!

    1. Thanks, Chuckie. I’m glad you enjoyed the show. Thanks for commenting.

  11. Christian says:

    Great interview with John. I think he is one of the nicest guys in the industry. I am still new to the domain industry (2 years) and John has helped me with my domains. I am lucky to know him. Great work !

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