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The Lowdown



August 2007 Archive

Here's the The Lowdown from DNJournal.com! Updated daily to fill you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry!

Compiled by Ron Jackson (Editor/Publisher)

 

GreatDomains.com (powered by Sedo) has announced the results from their second 7-day live auction that concluded last week. Bidders from more than 35 countries took part and 22

sales were made including Lifts.com at $67,000 and a pair of $21,500 sales; Queries.com and Dental.net. When Sedo acquired GreatDomains in June they inaugurated a new monthly series of 7-day live auctions on the site that begin on the third Thursday of each month. The next 7-day auction 

will begin September 20, 2007 at 2:00pm (U.S. EST). Sellers are encouraged to apply for a GreatDomains auction listing in the domain management section of their Sedo account for participation in the September auction event.
Posted August 31, 2007

More than 138 million domain names are now registered worldwide according to Verisign's latest Domain Name Industry Brief covering the second quarter of 2007. That is a 31% 

increase in registered domains in just the past year. Much of that growth is coming from country code domains (ccTLDs). 51.5 million ccTLDs are now registered - a jump of more than 36% from the same time a year ago. The number of new registrations in all TLDs hit an all time high in the second quarter of 2007 with 14.5 million new domain name registrations, 

outpacing the previous high mark hit in the fourth quarter of 2006. New registrations in the second quarter grew by 37% over the first quarter and by 32% over the second quarter of last year.
Posted August 30, 2007

There are some fascinating statistics in a new research report from private equity firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson (who invests primarily in the media and communications field). VSS says that the accelerating shift to alternative media platforms helped push total global 

communications spending up 6.8% in 2006 to $885 billion. VSS expects communications spending to rise another 6.4% this year to over $941 billion, then crack the $1 trillion barrier for the first time in 2008. 

Advertising spending (one of several components in the Communications economic category) grew 5.7% in 2006 to $209 billion, driven by spending on alternative advertising, such as online and mobile, which exhibited double-digit gains.

Alternative advertising is expected to soar from $27 billion in 2006 to $75 billion in 2011, growing 23% annually. By comparison, traditional advertising during the forecast period is projected to have a compound annual growth rate of just 1.3%. Internet & mobile services will become the fastest-growing segment soaring at a 14.7% annual rate from 2006 to 2011. Print media, such as newspapers, yellow pages, and consumer magazines, are expected to experience sluggish growth during the forecast period and be the slowest-growing segments between 2006-2011.
Posted August 29, 2007

Fresh off his keynote address at the Domain Roundtable conference in Seattle two weeks ago, Name Administration's Frank Schilling has been tabbed to lead a Domainer Town Hall 

Meeting at DOMAINfest Global Jan. 21-23, 2008 at the Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood, California (the debut edition of DOMAINFest Global was held last winter at the same venue). Schilling will lead an in-depth discussion on the state of the industry and answer questions from attendees. 

Conference organizers also announced a new two-track format with one tailored to newcomers and the other to experienced domain investors. Another highlight will be a live auction in a new format (details of which are to be announced in the near future).
Posted August 28, 2007

Frank Schilling

Here comes still another "re-purposed" country code extension that will be marketed globally to mean something other than its official designation. IT & Media Corp., headquartered in Lisbon, Portugal, has reached an agreement with the government of Guinea-Bissau to

become the sole agent to sell domains in that country's .gw extension worldwide. IT & Media is marketing the extension to mean "global web" rather than its official designation representing Guinea-Bissau. This tack has of course been taken by several other marketers who have struck deals

with small countries to market their extensions globally by "dressing them up" to represent something else. Notable examples are Tuvalu's .tv and Samoa's .ws (marketed as meaning website or world site). IT & Media said it will start a Sunrise Period for .gw in January 2008 during which only companies and trademark holders can register their names. Open registration will follow soon after. Some of these re-purposed ccTLDs have acquired small shares of the overall registration market but none has been a big success from a domain investor's standpoint as there has been little interest in these extensions in the aftermarket.
Posted August 27, 2007

Our comprehensive wrap up of last week's Domain Roundtable Conference in Seattle has just been published (along with dozens of pictures from the groundbreaking event). You can read all about it here: Domain Roundtable Dazzles Audience with High Tech Trade Show and Live Auction Twists
Posted August 24, 2007

Moniker.com launched a new automated domain escrow service today that they say is the first of its kind in the industry. Moniker co-founder and CEO Monte Cahn said “As a registrar 

and escrow agent, Moniker will act as a neutral, third party and will hold the domain and funds in a special escrow, secure account to maintain the integrity of the transaction as well as offer customization for payment plans and agreements, lease-to-purchase options and more. Moniker is the only company that offers true domain escrow. Our system can accommodate any kind of transaction, including regular domain purchases, leases, monthly payments, etc.” 

The new system allows any domain buyer or seller to initiate an escrow transaction once a sale price has been agreed upon. Information required to open an escrow transaction includes: e-mail addresses of both parties, sale price of the domain, and any corresponding 

Monte Cahn
CEO, Moniker.com

payment terms. Moniker will produce the contracts and will verify both parties have fulfilled their obligations before finalizing the transaction and transferring assets. You can learn more or start a new Moniker escrow transaction here.  
Posted August 23, 2007

In our current cover story about the boom in the domain aftermarket I mentioned that hardly a day goes by now without a story about domains popping up in one media outlet or another. 

When I opened this morning's Tampa Tribune there was an Associated Press article from Anick Jesdanun (also available online here) about how parents of newborn babies are rushing to grab domain names for the new arrivals (usually in the form of their first name and last name with .com attached). Some parents are even changing the child's name they planned to use if the domain name is not available! Now that is what I call proof positive that the domain industry is making serious inroads with the man on the street. Getting such names is actually a great idea. They give the owner a lifetime email address they will never have to change, no matter how many times they switch service providers.
Posted August 22, 2007

A lot of people have been asking if Frank Schilling's keynote address at last week's Domain Roundtable conference in Seattle is available anywhere on the web. The answer is yes. Roundtable founder Jay Westerdal has just posted a link on his DomainTools.com blog. The video is well worth watching to learn from the horse's mouth how Schilling built his empire and how he sees the future of the domain business unfolding. 

We are currently wrapping up our comprehensive Domain Roundtable review article (that will be accompanied by dozens of photos that will put you in the middle of the action). We expect to have it posted on our home page within the next two days.
Posted August 21, 2007

Frank Schilling speaking
at Domain Roundtable last week

Internet Real Estate Group, LLC, has opened a new brokerage service for buying and selling premium domain names. Boston based IREG, co-founded by Andrew Miller and Mike "Zappy" 

Zapolin in 2001,owns a media network that includes some of the best one-word generic domains on the web, including Software.com, Phone.com and Sweepstakes.com. They have a history of acquiring and developing prime generic domains into full fledged Internet business so the move into high end brokerage is a natural progression for them. The company brokered the $1.5 million sale of Cameras.com last year and has recently brokered the sales of Leasing.com and TimeShares.com. Zapolin noted "We are well positioned to help our clients make

Internet Real Estate Group co-founders 
Mike Zappy Zapolin (left) and Andrew Miller

the best decisions to properly maximize the value of their domains.” Miller added "As the leading buyer and developer of the Internet's top domain names, we are the most credible company to represent domain owners who own dotcom category domain names. We are extremely selective on what we acquire and will be the same with what we broker." IREG's current brokerage roster includes about 600 select domains including Estate.com, Privacy.com, Banners.com and Spreadsheet.com
Posted August 20, 2007

BuyDomains.com co-founder Michael Mann is about to re-enter the domain aftermarket in a big way. Mann sold BuyDomains in 2005 to the company now known as NameMedia (who also 

Michael Mann
WashingtonVC

bought another secondary market powerhouse, Afternic.com in 2006). Mann, who now runs WashingtonVC, tells us he will re-enter the business with a site to be built on DomainMarket.com. Mann said, "DomainMarket.com intends to build the world's best and most liquid online market for the immediate sale of premium domain names by credit card or wire. To do so leaders from the domain industry will gather some of the best unused .com assets from our community and guarantee them for immediate sale at a fair, professionally appraised price. Only names that pass the stringent qualifications of world leading domain dealers will be placed on DomainMarket.com. That's not the only news from Michael. He is also about to enter the booming domain live auction field. In another Washington VC venture he said this new project would stage live auctions of developed web 

sites plus domains worth over $100,000. Details on how and when those auctions will be conducted are still being finalized.
Posted August 18, 2007

Just hours after a multi-million dollar live domain auction ended at the Domain Roundtable conference in Seattle Wednesday night, GreatDomains.com kicked off their second monthly online live auction of premium domains. The seven-day auction will end 

on Thursday, August 23 at 2pm U.S. Eastern Time. Sedo.com introduced the new format when they acquired GreatDomains in June. The domains included in the current auction include Cot.com, Observe.com, Test.net and Dental.net to name just a few.
Posted August 17, 2007

The Domain Roundtable conference ended last night in Seattle with a groundbreaking live auction that set a new technological standard for this increasingly popular sales format. The entire 7-hour plus auction (see photo below) was shown live on the Internet and more importantly, bidders anywhere in the world were able to place bids live in real time, competing with those who were actually at the auction site at the Seattle Sheraton hotel. 

Live Auction scene from the Domain Roundtable conference in Seattle August 15

This was the first live auction staged by Domain Roundtable (and the third annual conference in the Roundtable series) and while the technology stole the show the sales results were also very respectable. The final tally will fall between $3-$4 million (show organizers have not yet verified the exact number). The auction got off on the right foot with the first five names selling, including Rebate.com at $1 million and Invention.com at $500,000. Those were also the

highest bids of the day. We will have more photos and details on the auction and all of the events and seminars surrounding Roundtable week in a comprehensive wrap up article that will be posted next week. As we leave Seattle we go with sincere thanks to Roundtable creator Jay Westerdal and show producer Stephen Douglas for being great hosts and putting in an enormous amount of work to make Roundtable a high value experience for everyone who attended.
Posted August 16, 2007

Auctioneer Ron Hannon (left) and Roundtable founder Jay Westerdal simultaneously fielded bids made from the floor at the Seattle Sheraton and those made live over the Internet by bidders around the world. 

A major live domain auction will be staged at the Domain Roundtable conference at the downtown Sheraton Hotel in Seattle today (we will be there). The auction will culminate a 3-day conference that featured a full day of seminars Tuesday and the annual Name Intelligence Awards dinner last night. Enom.com, GoDaddy.com and Sedo.com all walked off with multiple awards. Enom and GoDaddy  were among eight registrars that received User's Choice Awards (winners were selected in voting by members of NI's popular DomainTools.com site).

Left to right: Paul Stahura (Enom.com) and Nate Curran (GoDaddy.com) 
with Domain Roundtable conference founder Jay Westerdal 
at last night's Name Intelligence Awards dinner.

DNJournal.com received the Best Industry Coverage award and we very much appreciate that honor. We will have a complete list of all of the winners (and more photos) in our comprehensive conference wrap up article next week.
Posted August 15, 2007

Last night's keynote speech from Name Administration chief Frank Schilling highlighted the opening day of the Domain Roundtable conference at the Seattle Sheraton Hotel.

Frank Schilling delivering his keynote
speech at the Domain Roundtable 
conference last night in Seattle 

(Schilling also participated in an interesting and wide ranging panel discussion earlier in the day that included Sahar Sarid, Adam Strong and Mike Zappy Zapolin). Schilling has one of the greatest success stories in this industry. He was an everyday working guy who found his way into domain investing and is now believed to earn in the neighborhood of $20 million a year from his portfolio. He built his empire with TM-free traffic-rich generic domain names and is now viewed by many as the person they most want to be like in this business. 

The most endearing thing about Schilling (at least to my mind) is that even if he were penniless today he would still be the kind of person that you would be proud to have your son or daughter emulate. I don't know that I've ever met anyone who has remained as well grounded after great financial success as Schilling has. That came through in his talk last night and in a very rewarding question and 

answer session that followed. Among other things Schilling talked about how he would try to build a new empire in today's world of high-priced domains if he had to start over again with just a few thousand dollars to work with (as he did the first time around). Details of what Schilling had to say about that and other topics will be in our wrap-up article on the conference next week. Today's schedule will include another busy round of seminars capped off with the Name Intelligence industry awards dinner tonight. Tomorrow a much anticipated live auction will take up the lion's share of the day's agenda. It is scheduled to run from 11am to 6pm local time. 
Posted August 14, 2007

The 2007 Domain Roundtable conference officially gets underway today in Seattle. Early arrivers last night were treated to a cocktail party at the host hotel - the Seattle Sheraton (a scene from that gathering is shown in the photo at right). A highlight of the opening day schedule will be this evening's keynote speech from Name Administration chief Frank Schilling. That will be followed by a big party at local night 

club Sugar that will double as a fundraiser for Grassroots.org. We will be at all of the key Roundtable functions this week and will publish a detailed conference wrap up a few days after the show concludes.
Posted August 13, 2007

I'm on my way out to Seattle this weekend to cover the 2007 Domain Roundtable Conference that gets underway Sunday evening (August 12) with a welcoming cocktail party at the host hotel - the Seattle Sheraton. Conference founder Jay Westerdal and new 

Show Producer Stephen Douglas have put together an ambitious agenda, including a gem-packed live auction Wednesday (August 15) that promises to make this a very interesting week in the Pacific 

Northwest. I'll be participating in the opening seminar Monday morning that will discuss Domain News Media (yes our industry has its own media corps now!)  Hope to see many of you there. For those who can't make it to Seattle, we will of course have our usual comprehensive show coverage a few days after the event ends. As you know from our past reports on major conferences there is virtually no down time between sunrise and midnight each day, so we may not have a Lowdown post every day during show week. There will also be no domain sales report Tuesday night (August 14) but we will bring you fully up to speed on sales with a double length report the following week (to be published the night of August 21).
Posted August 11, 2007

Internet Ad Spending Set To Overtake All Other Media By 2011 - that is the startling headline in a new Online Media Daily column by Laurie Petersen. The article quoted research from private equity firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson that forecasts spending on Internet

advertising will reach $61.98 billion, surpassing newspapers to become America's leading ad medium in 2011.

James Rutherford, executive vice president and managing director at VSS said "We are in the midst of a major shift in the media landscape that is being fueled by changes in technology, end-user behaviors and the response by brand marketers and communications companies." Rutherford added "We expect these shifts to continue over the next five years as time and place-shifting accelerate while consumers and 

When it comes to the future of advertising, 
researchers say the Internet has the winning horse

businesses utilize more digital media alternatives, strengthening the new media pull model at the expense of the traditional media push model." Of course, this migration of advertisers to the web has fueled much of the current boom in domain values.
Posted August 9, 2007

Sedo.com will conduct the world’s first live auction for .co.uk domain names during the Domain Focus conference in London September 6-7. The Sedo event marks the first time that a live auction will be focused on a specific Country Code extension. Great Britain's .co.uk is the 

world’s third most popular ccTLD having recently surpassed the six million registration mark (Germany's .de is first and China's .cn just nosed past .co.uk into the #2 position last week according to stats at Denic.de). Sedo's Chief Strategy Officer, Matt Bentley said "Domain Focus will bring together all of the major players in the UK domain space. and it is the perfect venue for Sedo to begin staking our claim in

the live domain auction space.” The Sedo auction at Domain Focus will feature over 50 high-quality one-word .co.uk domain names, including Sport.co.uk, Phones.co.uk, Fly.co.uk, PDA.co.uk, Conferences.co.uk and Decorating.co.uk
Posted August 8, 2007

The final list for the August 15th Live Auction at the Domain Roundtable conference in Seattle was released today. The sale list includes some great last minute additions including AZ.com and  Exterminators.com (the cut off date for submissions was midnight last night). The auction list was limited to 450 domains (chosen from 35,000 submissions). Roundtable creator Jay Westerdal has more on the auction in a post at DomainTools.com today.
Posted August 7, 2007

Domains in another auction will begin closing Thursday (August 9th) at 12 noon U.S. Eastern time. That is a silent auction of 2,000 adult and mainstream domains that Moniker.com is running in conjunction with this week's Internext Expo in Miami. Anyone who 

has bid in previous Moniker silent auctions is being given free access to this one. Just go to silentauction.moniker.com and use your User Name and password from the last auction you participated in. If you are a new bidder, send an e-mail to sales@moniker.com. Moniker says the subject line must read 

Internext Absentee/Proxy Access Request". A $299 fee may apply if you have not attended Internext or have never registered before in a previous Moniker Silent auction event. The entire list of available names can be downloaded here
Posted August 7, 2007

In November 2005 we reported the $200,000 sale of Sofa.com. That sale has now popped up in a news report in Sheboygan, Wisconsin where the company that previously owned the domain is claiming that one of their former store managers, Stephen Galstad, sold the domain

without their permission. Galstad, who has been arrested, is also accused of using corporate credit cards to finance international trips with a stripper girlfriend. The complaint filed by Dinesen’s Leather Only said Galstad sold sofa.com to a London-based firm without their knowledge. He now faces up to five years in prison and $25,000 in fines on a felony charge of theft in a business setting.
Posted August 7, 2007

LeaseThis.com announced today that it will begin offering 500,000 domains managed by the Domain Distribution Network (DDN) for lease. DDN is a product of Dark Blue Sea Ltd, an Australia-based Internet company specializing in domain names and direct navigation. The

addition of the DDN inventory brings LeaseThis.com’s stock to nearly four million domain names, all of which will be available for short- and long-term leasing at a flat rate. 

Dark Blue Sea COO Dan Warner said “We define premium domains as domains that are memorable, 

marketable and often based on popular search terms. These domains allow advertisers to brand their business and immediately target their audience. Previously, advertisers only had the option to buy these domains, but LeaseThis.com has changed the model by offering premium Internet properties for lease.”

The LeaseThis.com model also eliminates the issue of click fraud. Its flat rate fee structure eliminates the incentive for click fraud, which is caused by repeatedly clicking on advertising links to purposely drive up the cost for the advertiser in a pay-per-click model.  “LeaseThis.com has developed an online marketplace to connect advertisers and domain owners,” said LeaseThis.com CEO Jonathan Boswell.  “The addition of the DDN inventory enhances our current offering of domains and provides advertisers with greater options to brand their business or campaign.”
Posted August 7, 2007

We're back! After being closed last week while we moved to a new home and office we are back up and running in our roomier new location. This was the first time since I entered the business 

in 2002 that I have spent an entire week away from domains (a full week with the exception of last Tuesday when I stopped to put out the weekly sales column that so many of you look forward to). It felt very strange (and uncomfortable) to be disconnected for so long!

There were so many moving details to take care of that I didn't have a lot of time to dwell on being away, which was a good thing because I know I would have had withdrawal symptoms. This is a business I love and I wake up every morning looking forward to what the new day will bring in our exciting and rapidly expanding industry. 

Back on the job!

I haven't had time to review everything that happened while I was away, but one of the bigger stories was the announcement from Afilias and GoDaddy that they would make a joint bid to 

operate the .US registry. With GoDaddy's marketing clout and the technical expertise Afilias has in operating registry services I think this is good news for .us owners and I think this tandem has an excellent chance of winning the registry contract. The U.S. Department of Commerce wants to see better promotion of the .us extension and that job description fits GoDaddy like a glove. 

We completed our move just in time as I have to finish up a new cover story on the booming domain aftermarket, then head out for Seattle Sunday for the start of the Domain Roundtable conference. That is shaping up 

to be a very interesting event and we will of course have full coverage of the show a few days after the conference ends.
Posted August 6, 2007


If you've been out of the loop lately, catch up in the Lowdown Archive!


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