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The Lowdown



November 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)

 

Voting is now open for the first annual Domainers Choice Awards that will be presented at the DOMAINfest Global conference in Hollywood, California January 21-23. Anyone can 

nominate anyone they wish in 15 different industry categories. When you visit the DCA site you can vote for one of the names already on the nominated list or add a new name by writing in the person's name that you wish to vote for. The top three vote-getters in each category will advance to the final round of voting that will begin Dec. 16. That is just a couple of weeks away, so visit the DCA voting page now and vote to make sure your choices get the recognition they deserve.

Winners will be chosen in these categories:

Domain Ambassador Award
Best Industry Spokesman
Industry Achievement Award
Industry Trade Association
Industry Customer Service Rep
Parking Company Award
Best Domain Auctions
Best Domain Marketplace
Best Hosting Company
Best Domainers Blog
Best Domain Publication
Best Registrar Award
Domainers Rising Star
Best Domainer Tools
Best Domain Financial Services

Donna Mahony (left) and Sally Letzer
Domainers Choice Awards

The Domainers Choice Awards were developed by veteran domainer Donna Mahony (who was featured in our February 2005 Cover Story) and Sally Letzer to give everyone in the industry an equal opportunity to recognize excellence in individual and corporate achievement. In order to grow the awards and an accompanying scholarship program into a world class event, they have also opened the door for sponsors to support the program at very affordable levels ranging from $50-$1,000.  

(Posted Nov. 30, 2007)  To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2007/dailyposts/11-30-07.htm

Dell Computer has lowered the boom on three obscure registrars who have been slapped with lawsuits charging them with using serial domain tasting tactics to register and profit from 

domains that Dell says are clear infringements of their trademark. The complaint names BelgiumDomains, CapitolDomains and DomainDoorman, along with nearly a dozen Caribbean "shell companies" that allegedly served as the entities registering the domains. The suit also names Juan Pablo "JP" Vazquez, a Miami resident who is alleged to be connected to those companies. 

As I have said in the past, I would like to see the practice of domain tasting disappear as I believe it has been extremely harmful to this industry's image and tarred hundreds of honest domain investors with the cybersquatter brush, even though they've never engaged in the practice and do not condone it. Dell's action  

could drive a nail or two in the domain tasting coffin, which would be fine by me, but at the same time I think Dell has gone off course in trying to bring "counterfeiting" charges against the miscreants in this case. Dell did that because the penalties for counterfeiting are far higher than for trademark infringement - up to $1 million per name instead of $100,000 - but it seems to be an exceptionally flimsy application of the counterfeiting law. Allowing misuse of the law to stand where it is not applicable would set a very dangerous precedent. Frank Schilling has some exceptionally insightful analysis of this story (the kind you will never get from the mainstream press), on his SevenMile blog today that shows there are bad actors on all sides in this case, including some that are not named in the suit. 

Which leads me to another comment. The domain business is too complicated for the average man on the street to understand, but I don't think it is too much to ask mainstream journalists to make at least some minimal effort to learn something about their subject matter before they print statements the public wrongly assumes to be true. Instead they continue to perpetuate false stereotypes that are hard to dispel. Just the latest of many examples was an article at CNN.com Wednesday in which author Kevin Voigt wrote "The .Asia rollout shows in many ways how the Wild West days are dwindling for cyber-squatters - known as "domainers" - to mine high-value names." Kevin has no clue what the difference between a cybersquatter and a domainer is, but that doesn't stop him from equating them as one and the same thing at an outlet like CNN. That is simply unconscionable. Unfortunately, this kind of ignorance is widespread and all of us have our work cut out for us to counteract it. A lot of "professional" journalists at  

traditional media outlets wonder why the public is rejecting them as "gatekeepers" for the news business and increasingly turning to blogs - often written by real experts in a given field, like Schilling - when they want the truth. The CNN story is a perfect example of why we are seeing this seismic shift. 
(Posted Nov. 29, 2007)  To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2007/dailyposts/11-29-07.htm

Charleston, South Carolina real estate agent Stephen Webb took a lot of ribbing when he suddenly turned up on the domain scene a few months ago after registering thousands of domain names beginning with the words "I Am" or "We Are". Webb has been making the rounds at 

Stephen Webb 
IAmDomainNames.com

(at Domain Roundtable - August 2007)

recent domain conferences, including Domain Roundtable in Seattle, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East in Hollywood, Florida and last week's GeoDomain Expo in San Francisco, to promote his sales site, IAmDomainNames.com

The conventional wisdom has been that sticking random prefixes on keywords is a non starter (it has been tried many times in the past with little or no success, other than the ubiquitous "e" prefix). It's too early to say whether or not Webb will beat the odds but at least he's not getting shut out. Yesterday his company, We Are, LLC announced they had sold WeAreSanDiego.com to the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper who will use the name for their existing entertainment guide. 

Webb had previously struck a leasing deal with the operators of the Seattle Space Needle for another one of his names, IAmSeattle.com.  

Webb explained how it all started, saying "I was looking for a domain name for my business located in Charleston. I wanted to give the impression of ownership so I typed in IamCharleston.com and it was available; so was IamSeattle.com, WeAreSantaMonica.com, WeAreWomen.com, WeAreComputers.com and WeAreMusic.com. Now 13,000 domain names later we launched a new business. It has opened up a new generation of .com names for individuals and companies that have been shut out of the market place. Our domain names imply ownership and controlling the lion's share of your market. What is easier to remember than a sentence beginning with I am or We are? How many times a day do we say these words?" 

Well, I am not sure how many times I say it (oops, there's one!) - but it will be interesting to see if Webb's expensive bet pays off in the long run. He knows he's going against the grain but says "the criticism is water off a duck's back." We do know that domain prices keep going higher and .com options keep getting slimmer, but is that trend enough to make previously unprofitable naming strategies work now? Sooner or later, Webb's enterprise will provide the answer to that question.
(Posted Nov. 28, 2007)  To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2007/dailyposts/11-28-07.htm

Live domain auctions have become so popular you need a scorecard to keep track of them now. Moniker.com, who paved the way for them with their popular T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference

auctions, will be doing another one next Wednesday (Dec. 5) at the PubCon conference in Las Vegas. In conjunction with the Casino Affiliate Convention in Macau today and tomorrow (Nov. 28-29) they also just opened an online-only Casino, Gaming & Affiliate Auction that will continue through December 6. NameBuyers.com is also piggybacking off the Casino Affiliate Convention to run an auction on Ebay Live tomorrow (Nov. 29) that will start at 5am U.S. Eastern time. Meanwhile, Sedo.com opened its third and final .mobi premium name auction today with that event scheduled to close on December 5. Their first two .mobi 

premium name auctions generated more than $1.6 million in sales. The latest auction features games.mobi, sports.mobi, photos.mobi, movies.mobi, and videos.mobi among others. Sedo's combined November/December GreatDomains Auction also begins tomorrow. Asia.net, hangover.com and coed.com are among the names on the block. You can view the full list at GreatDomains.com.
(Posted Nov. 28, 2007)  To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2007/dailyposts/11-28b-07.htm

As a conduit for advertising, either on PPC pages, through affiliate arrangements or direct sales to advertisers, domain owners are in the media business. That fact makes increasing

forecasts that U.S. media operations will face tougher times in 2008 something worth keeping an eye on. Reuters reporter Michele Gershberg wrote about this in a new article released yesterday headlined U.S. Media Face Troubling 2008. However if a downturn does arrive, Gershberg's article indicates that those who operate online will have much easier sledding than traditional media outlets. She wrote "Experts say advertisers need to remain competitive in a tightening market while keeping costs down, making them likely to boost spending in areas more directly linked to commerce, such as Web search queries."  

She quoted Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Jeffrey Lindsay as saying “We see continued strength in paid search and continued strength in retail e-commerce, and possibly an acceleration of online video."

Web search leader Google remains confident it  will remain unscathed. “We feel that we're not too sensitive to those macroeconomic fluctuations,” Google's chief economist, Hal Varian, said in an interview. “If there is a macroeconomic downturn, people will be a little pinched. We think that would be to the benefit of online sales.”
(Posted Nov. 27, 2007)  To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2007/dailyposts/11-27-07.htm

Nominet, the organization responsible for running the .uk domain registry, has issued their first ever Domain Name Industry Report. The report said "The global market has seen increasing 

growth rates over the last five years with the total number of domain names now growing at a rate in excess of 30% per annum ( compared to  just 10% in 2002). Amongst the key reasons for this rise will be increased recognition of the importance of an online presence, coupled with an increased global uptake of Internet access and Broadband technology. This upward trend is set to continue, at least in the short term, with growth in the first half of 2007 standing at more than 35%." 

The report noted that growth of .uk registrations (led by .co.uk) was humming along at a rate of close to 20% annually. It also said "Research carried out earlier this year illustrates that British Internet users are six times more likely to choose a .uk rather than .com address when looking for information via an Internet search engine. The online survey of 2,324 Internet users, which was carried out by YouGov, also found that 62% believe a .uk address suggests a company is local or more relevant than a .com, and a third (32%) believe that it is important for international companies to have local domain names in order to attract local customers."
(Posted Nov. 26, 2007)  To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2007/dailyposts/11-26-07.htm

Ari Goldberger is one of the best-known attorneys in the domain industry and also one of the best men I have met in any industry. You won't find anyone who is more generous with his time, talent and treasure. Ari showed that quality again this week when he spent £60,000 ($123,414) to win a charity auction for a giant hand-painted guitar autographed by former Beatle Paul McCartney.  Goldberger bought the guitar for the sole  purpose of donating the unique collectible to London's Ormond Street Hospital at a December 17th Christmas event for children hospitalized at the facility. McCartney plans to be there to meet Goldberger in person when he makes the donation.

Sir Paul said "I'm really amazed and very happy that the guitar went for so much and for such a great cause." Several other autographed guitars were sold at the Gibson GuitarTown auction, raising more  than £200,000 that will be split equally between Nordoff–Robbins Music Therapy, The Prince's Trust and the Teenage Cancer Trust. Anyone who knows Ari or read our June 2006 Cover Story about him will not be surprised

Winning bidder Ari Goldberger in front 
of the 10-foot tall guitar autographed by 
Paul McCartney
that he will donate to a 
London
children's hospital December 17th.

to hear that he stepped up at this event. He has been working for charity causes literally since he was a kid. Ari is a true credit to our industry. 
(Posted Nov. 24, 2007)  To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2007/dailyposts/11-24-07.htm

Today I did something I swore I would never do and, as I expected, it proved to be a complete waste of time (on the plus side, the experience once again showed me that those of us who make our livelihoods on the web are sitting in the mother of all catbird seats). So what did I do against my better judgment and all that history has taught me to studiously avoid?

Black Friday campers

I went shopping on Black Friday! For those outside the U.S., Black Friday is the day after one of America's most cherished holidays - Thanksgiving Day. It is the official start of the Christmas shopping season and is called Black Friday because conventional wisdom says it is on this day that the sheer volume of business pushes most merchants into the black for the year. 

Store owners run huge newspaper ads touting great Black Friday discounts to fuel the fire. Local big box stores and malls opened as early as 4am to accommodate the rush and some people with far too much spare time on their hands actually camped out on the sidewalk in front of these stores for two days to be first in line. They started Wednesday night and actually had their Thanksgiving dinner on a folding table

Thursday afternoon. Then, after spending a second night on the sidewalk and going through this whole crazy ordeal they then got first crack at saving $10 this morning - go figure! 

Despite this, people pack themselves into stores like sardines and it is not uncommon for fist fights to break out among patrons grabbing for the same merchandise. I try to behave like

a gentleman in such instances, so when confronted by an old lady this morning, I applied only a loose headlock. My mistake, as she quickly took me down with a leg sweep that legendary Olympic champion Dan Gable would admire. I have always assumed only a mental defective would willingly wade into such a mess. I did it once a couple of decades ago and that should have provided a lifetime cure. But today I got suckered in like millions of others. I've been planning to pick up a second high def TV to put in my library and four or five stores offered

some great deals on name brand sets in their flyers. Though in my heart of hearts I knew none of them would have more than one of two TV's available at the advertised price for the 

thousands who would come clamoring for them, I reasoned that at least one of the stores would still have what they advertised if I got there before sunrise. Of course, none of them did and I merely subjected myself to a dozen futile bait and switch sales attempts from every electronics salesman in town!

After five stops and a couple of hours of wasted time I went home and did what I should have done in the first place - ordered a TV online. It will be delivered to my door - no fuss, no muss - and for a cost that is just a tad more than the come-on prices the local stores tout - "bargains" that virtually no one actually receives. Maybe I'll venture out to the brick 

and  mortar world on Black Friday in another couple of decades just to see if things have changed, but the retail game may well be over for them long before my next appointment rolls around. With gas over $3 a gallon and spare time a thing of the past, more and more people are concluding that shopping online is the only way to go and no event creates more converts than Black Friday. If you don't believe that, just ask me :-)
(Posted Nov. 23, 2007)  To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2007/dailyposts/11-23-07.htm

America celebrates one of its favorite holidays tomorrow - Thanksgiving Day. Over the years it has morphed into a four-day weekend for a lot of people, especially since Thanksgiving is now seen as the official start of the Christmas shopping season. Like most folks in the U.S. I'll be 

spending the day feasting with family and friends (and yes, observing another Thanksgiving tradition - watching some football on TV) so there won't be a Lowdown post Thursday. Before I take off for that welcome respite I wanted to put together a "cornucopia" post covering a variety of tidbits that came in while I was away for the 2007 GeoDomain Expo that concluded in San Francisco over the weekend (we'll have a wrap-up article on that conference posted no later than Monday).

Let's start with AOL's $350 million purchase of online advertising company Quigo.com last week. That one caught my eye because we talked about Quigo in our very first Cover Story in 2003 about Igal Lichtman's DomainSpa.com parking service - one of the first to add graphic elements to parking pages. Igal, who also holds a major league domain portfolio, was one of the early angel investors in Quigo and predicted back then that they would be a major success. He was certainly right about that and it is nice to see his bet pay off.

WashingtonVC founder Michael Mann announced several new executive appointments at the company including a new Managing Partner, Eric Litman (that is the job Mann himself filled until bringing Litman on board - Michael's new title is Chairman). I met Eric while at the GeoDomain Expo in San Francisco last week and he struck me as a great guy who will win a lot of friends for the firm. Litman (seen with colleague Lori Anne Wardi in the photo at right taken last week in San Francisco) is a pioneer whose credits include being a founder of DigitalNation, a company that was acquired by Verio for $100 million.

Eric Litman (Managing Partner) and Lori Anne Wardi (Regional Manager) of WashingtonVC

The Domain Development Corp. also announced a key hire last week, bringing Sean P. Moriarty in from Yahoo! to serve as the company's president. Moriarty was was in charge of managing Yahoo’s off-network domain monetization business. California-based DDC says it offers a comprehensive monetization and full-scale domain development service. Moriarty said, "I am excited to be back in a small company environment, working with an intelligent and passionate team that is nimble and focused on execution. Our mission is to enhance the experience of parked sites for visitors, owners and advertisers. In addition, we plan to continue to build on our comprehensive development efforts as we evolve suitable domain names into internet businesses.”

As you know, TV writers are on strike in Hollywood. I saw an especially interesting comment in a Forbes Magazine piece about the strike called Why the Writers Must Win by Lacey Rose

The writers wisely want a bigger piece of online income from their work and in the article writer/director Josh Pate, whose credits include Friday Night Lights (one of my favorite shows) and Surface, explained why that is so important.  "It's all about the Internet, it's the big Kahuna, and both sides know it," Pate said. "The deal that's made this year is the most important for both sides in decades." There is a guy that really gets it.

Sedo.com announced the results from its second .mobi "premium name" online auction November 7th, reporting that proceeds totaled $760,000. With bidders from 32 countries participating, the top sales included were taxi.mobi ($75,111), dating.mobi ($73,000), homes.mobi ($53,700), motels.mobi ($47,000), hotel.mobi ($46,000), date.mobi ($40,000) and adult.mobi ($30,000). Sedo’s third and final dotMobi auction will run November 28 through December 5. Details on that auction are available at Sedo.com/dotmobi

Sedo also just announced that their  GreatDomains site will launch another Premium Live Auction on November 29.This auction will combine their monthly November and December auctions into one large holiday season event. The auction will begin at 2pm  

U.S Eastern time with recording.com, coed.com, websites.com, hangover.com and Asia.net among the names that will be on the block. 

Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving Day!
(Posted Nov. 21, 2007)  To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2007/dailyposts/11-21-07.htm

Oversee.net today announced that Internet visionary and best selling author John Battelle and world-class adventurer Peter Hillary (son of Sir Edmond Hillary) will be keynote speakers

at the second annual DOMAINfest™ Global conference January 21-23, 2008 at the Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood, California

John Battelle is the author of The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture and is a co-founding editor of Wired Magazine. He is also a founder and Executive Producer of the Web 2.0 and Foursquare conferences. Most recently, Battelle founded and serves as CEO for Federated Media.

Peter Hillary has reached the summit of Mount Everest twice and has more than 25 years of experience in extreme risk environments. Carrying on his father’s spirit of adventure, he has completed 36 other mountaineering expeditions, was involved in the development of a new route across Antarctica to the South Pole, and was the first to have traversed the length of the Himalayas

In commenting on DOMAINfest’s keynote speakers, Lawrence Ng, CEO and Co-founder of Oversee.net said, “We want our publisher clients to have the best context for the search industry and there is no one better than John Battelle to provide that. When it comes to risk taking and the entrepreneurial spirit that defines our day-to-day accomplishments, only a Peter Hillary could give us that perspective. We are excited and honored to have both of them join us.” 

DOMAINfest will also feature Frank Schilling, one of the world’s most famous domainers, to host the conference's first Domainer Town Hall. In addition, two SnapNames Live™ auctions are scheduled for DOMAINfest Global. This will mark the debut of SnapNames Live™, a live auction system for premium

John Batelle

Peter Hillary

domains recently announced by SnapNames. Domain submissions are being accepted until December 11, 2007. To submit domains or sign up to participate in the auctions, visit SnapNames.com/Live. To register or to get more information about DOMAINfest Global visit DOMAINfest.com or e-mail info@domainfest.com. Hotel reservations can be booked at here
(Posted Nov. 20, 2007)  To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2007/dailyposts/11-20-07.htm

In a related note, the first annual Domainers Choice Awards will be handed out at the upcoming DOMAINfest Global conference (show details in the post above). The awards are the 

brainchild of Donna Mahony (who was featured in our February 2005 Cover Story) and Sally Letzer who persuaded Oversee.net to host presentation of the honors at their upcoming conference January 21-23. Starting on or about December 1, 2007 you will be able to nominate your favorites in several categories through the Domainers Choice Awards website. The site asks who you think has been the 

shining star in representing domainer's ethics and standard of behavior, which hosting company, registrar and parking company has performed best and who stands out in advancing domainers and their industry.
(Posted Nov. 20, 2007)  To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2007/dailyposts/11-20-07b.htm

The 2007 GeoDomain Expo ended at the W Hotel in San Francisco Saturday afternoon with Moniker.com's live auction of geo domains. A total of 32 names were sold at an average cost of $14,232. Total sales came in at just under $480,000. That total will increase when final results are in from an accompanying silent auction that will continue through Nov. 28. The closing day of the Expo also featured three morning seminars. 

I'll have all of the conference highlights for you in an article we will publish later this week after we sift 

Moniker.com CEO Monte Cahn (left) and auctioneer Joel Langbaum run the live domain auction at the 2007 GeoDomain Expo Saturday (Nov. 17) in San Francisco

through our notes and dozens of photos from the event. We just got back to our Florida office this morning, ending a short bout of Web Withdrawal Syndrome. We were unable to post from the Expo before leaving San Francisco Sunday because the W Hotel lost its Internet access Saturday afternoon and it was still out when we left. You never know how much you rely on the web until you can't get online. 

Scene from one of the GeoDomain Expo seminars

This fast-growing event doubled in size from last year's conference in Chicago and I'm sure it will continue to grow dramatically in the years ahead. With its focus on a single vertical category - full scale development of geo domains - it is unlike any other show out there. I met many great people for the first time, picked up a lot of valuable tips on website development and enjoyed the wonderful hospitality that show hosts San Francisco.com and Associated Cities extended to everyone that attended.  

 

A lot of other interesting domain news and information came in while I was away for the conference. I'll put together a "catch up" post highlighting those items within the next day or two. Right now I have about 500 emails to answer!
(Posted Nov. 19, 2007)

A jam-packed day at the 2007 GeoDomain Expo at San Francisco's W Hotel ended last night with the first Geo Awards dinner, followed by a party hosted by the show's lead

Left to right: Geo Award Winner Jessica Bookstaff (PigeonForge.com), Jonathan Boswell (LeaseThis.com) and Associated Cities Executive Director Patrick Carleton at the TrafficZ party last night at the Roe night club in San Francisco.

 

sponsor, TrafficZ, at the nearby Roe night club. After delivering the luncheon keynote speech earlier in the day I had the additional pleasure of  handing out awards in five categories at the evening dinner. PigeonForge.com won as the best resort destination site, Scottsdale.com was named the top small-medium sized geo site, Richmond.com was recognized for having the best local content, NewYorkCity.com won for best overall U.S. site and BuenosAires.com for best international site. The winners were chosen by their peer members from Associated Cities, the trade group that stages the GeoDomain Expo.

The Expo concludes today with three morning seminars followed by Moniker.com's first live geo domain auction starting at 1pm Pacific time (4pm US Eastern time). 
(Posted Nov. 17, 2007)

The 2007 GeoDomain Expo gets underway today at the W Hotel in San Francisco with a State of the Industry address from Associated Cities Chairman Dan Pulcrano. Pulcrano is 

also the CEO of Boulevards New Media and the owner of the .com city domains for 20 of America's 30 largest cities, including SanFrancisco.com, LosAngeles.com and Dallas.com. Last night Pulcrano treated  Associated Cities members to a trolley ride around San Francisco (with live narration from AC member Jessica Bookstaff of PigeonForge.com) and a tour of SanFrancisco.com's offices. I'll be giving a noon keynote talk at lunch today and will also be sitting in on some of the eight opening day seminars. The packed schedule continues this evening with a networking session, an awards dinner and a big party at the Roe nightclub hosted by the show's lead sponsor TrafficZ. Tomorrow's closing day schedule will be highlighted by Moniker.com's first live geo domain auction
(Posted Nov. 16, 2007) 

Dan Pulcrano
Associated Cities Chairman

It took almost 14 hours to make it across the country but I finally arrived in San Francisco for the 2007 GeoDomain Expo that will be held at the W Hotel tomorrow and Saturday (there are also a few private events for Associated Cities members today). The travel problems began

in Nashville where we had to change planes en route from our home base in Tampa, Florida to the West Coast. Just minutes after we landed in Nashville a huge lightning storm hit that closed the airport for several hours. The plane that was supposed to take us to San Francisco was in the air at the time and had to be diverted to Jackson, Mississippi. By the time the weather cleared and we completed the journey we began a little after 12 noon, it was 2am the next day our time. We had another nasty surprise at the baggage carousel. Apparently Southwest has nowhere to store luggage during a rainstorm except on the 

tarmac! Every piece of our luggage and the clothing inside was soaked so thoroughly it looked like the airline had sprayed them with a firehose. So for those we see at the conference this week, if my wife and I look a little damp and bedraggled you will know why :-) 

Lots of little bits of domain news and information have been sent our way while we have been out of pocket the past couple of days. I'll be tied up with the conference through Saturday but as soon as time allows - probably Sunday morning - I will put together a "catch up" post to summarize all of those tasty tidbits.
(Posted Nov. 15, 2007)  

I'm traveling to San Francisco today so won't be able to make a detailed post. Headed for the 2007 GeoDomain Expo at the W Hotel where I will be giving the keynote address Friday 

afternoon. Moniker.com will also be running another one of their popular live auctions there Saturday afternoon. This will be my first trip to this event and I am really looking forward to meeting the guys and gals who hold some of the greatest geo domains on earth. I'll post from the conference as time allows and tell you more when I return. Hope to see some of you there!
(Posted Nov. 14, 2007)

On a much more positive note than our last couple of posts, The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers have announced that U.S. Internet advertising 

revenue rose 25% in the third quarter to about $5.2 billion. That represents yet another historic high for a quarter and a $1.1 billion increase over Q3 2006. The results are nearly 3% higher than Q2 2007, the last record-setting quarter. "The continued robust growth of the industry indicates that marketers increasingly understand and appreciate the benefits of interactive advertising," said Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO of the IAB. "Marketers large and small have come to accept digital media as the fulcrum of any marketing strategy."

All three quarters in 2007 have set new highs—Q1 at $4.9 billion, Q2 at $5.1 billion, and now Q3 at $5.2 billon. Revenues for the first nine months of 2007 totaled $15.2 billion, up nearly 26% over the $12.1 billion recorded during the first nine months of 2006. Of course, the immediate question that comes to many domain owner's minds is "Where is our share of all of that increased revenue?" I wrote about this disconnect in our Nov. 5 post last week (scroll down to read).
(Posted Nov. 13, 2007)  To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2007/dailyposts/11-13-07b.htm

When it rain its pours. Following on the heels of his fall out with Moniker.com and T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference co-founder Rick Schwartz (detailed in a post in this column yesterday), Name Intelligence Inc. CEO Jay Westerdal was hit with a new complaint today 

Jay Westerdal (left) and Stephen Douglas
teamed up to produce the 2007 Domain 
Roundtable
conference last August in Seattle

filed by Stephen Douglas, the Executive Producer of Westerdal's 2007 Domain Roundtable conference. Douglas posted on his SuccessClick.com blog that he had filed a breach of contract suit against Westerdal. Douglas wrote "I want to make it clear to everyone who knows me, or who has met me, either through business or the Domain Roundtable Conference: I NO LONGER WORK FOR JAY WESTERDAL AND NAME INTELLIGENCE. I currently have a lawsuit filed against him for breach of contract and gross underpayment for my commission as accorded me by my contract. I do NOT SUPPORT JAY WESTERDAL or endorse ANY of his

posts regarding his judgments of other companies in this industry, many of who he looks at as competitors." 

Douglas further stirred the pot with a post at the DomainState.com forum this morning, saying "I was the executive producer of the Domain Roundtable Conference 2007 and had a five-year contract with Name Intelligence. However, I no longer have a relationship with Jay Westerdal and his company. This resulted from breaches of this contract by Jay and non-payment of my fair commission of revenue from designing, administrating and coordinating the event, and the outrageous padding by Jay of the expenses to produce the event which lessened my percentage of revenue after costs. I would like to state that I have no longer have any connection whatsoever with Jay or Name Intelligence, and do NOT endorse any of his outrageous comments and accusations towards Marchex, Enom, Moniker, Rick Schwartz, TRAFFIC, Snapnames, and other companies who Jay has felt the need to "judge", as if he has "clean hands."

I am saddened by the events of the past couple of days but not surprised. It's the public manifestation of something I've been seeing developing beneath the surface over the past couple of years - the transition of this business from a  "cottage industry" (with congenial relationships among most all of the major players) into  a "big business" where the stakes are higher and the competition much fiercer (with the fighting sometimes spilling out of bounds). I guess it is naive to expect anything else but that doesn't lessen the disappointment. Some will refer to 

this kind of thing as drama or a soap opera, but it is much more than that. These aren't actors. Real people that I care about are being hurt on all sides. They say "You can never go home again" and for this industry it's true. The "old days" are over and a lot of our disputes will now be played out in court rooms instead of settled privately. I know that's life in the modern business world, but I don't have to like it.
(Posted Nov. 13, 2007)  To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2007/dailyposts/11-13-07.htm

Three major domain industry players got into a serious dust up Sunday that will likely reverberate for some time to come. It started when Jay Westerdal posted an item on his DomainTools.com blog calling into question the legitimacy of some .mobi sales at 

Moniker.com’s live auction last month at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East conference. Westerdal also stated that T.R.A.F.F.I.C. co-founder Rick Schwartz was the winning bidder on one of the domains in question but had reneged on payment. Those are extremely serious charges to make so if you make them you have to be absolutely certain your facts are right. As it turned out Jay’s facts were wrong leaving him with quite a mess on his hands. The fact that he directly competes with both Moniker (in the live auction space) and T.R.A.F.F.I.C. (as producer of the Domain Roundtable conference) made a bad situation worse as it opened him to charges that he was deliberately trying to harm their businesses by publicly posting false information.  

Jay Westerdal

Details of the donnybrook are too lengthy to recount here but you can review what has been said on all sides through these links; Jay’s original post (since revised) that started the 

brouhaha and his retraction later in the day after he learned his statements were not true, Rick Schwartz’s comments on his personal blog (scroll down to the Update section and the comments that follow) and Moniker CEO Monte Cahn's comments made in a thread about the situation at the DomainState.com forum. 

I don’t think anyone will ever convince Cahn and Schwartz that this was anything but a deliberate attempt by a competitor to boost his own business at their expense. However, having seen this kind of mistake happen several times in my decades as a journalist I don’t think it was deliberate as no writer in their right mind would post such charges unless they were convinced they were right. Otherwise, they are begging to be sued into oblivion. I do however think Westerdal was too quick to believe the worst about Moniker and T.R.A.F.F.I.C., largely because they are competitors. 

Having said that, even professional journalists are human and do make mistakes - including the best and most experienced of them (Dan Rather of CBS-TV being among the many examples). When they are wrong they will, normally, print a very prominent retraction – but depending on the severity of their mistake that may not be enough.  

Rather’s mistake ended his network career (though he has resurfaced on a seldom seen cable channel). When I was a TV reporter our weekend news anchorman got a tip that a local law firm was involved in some illegal activity and had gotten busted. Since it was the weekend, the law office in 

Moniker CEO Monte Cahn

Rick Schwartz

question was closed, but he took a video crew to the firm's building, stood in front of a door with attorney's names emblazoned on it and proceeded to tick off a list of crimes the people in that office were accused of. It wasn’t until after he aired the video that evening that he found out he had shot his on-location expose in front of the wrong attorney’s office! That did not go over well. He and the station apologized profusely on the air and somehow managed to avoid a law suit but my colleague was finished there.  

Whether this will have a long term impact on Westerdal and his many domain business interests remains to be seen. I personally think he will weather the storm because he is smart and will learn from this mistake, knows the industry inside out and wants to see it continue to flourish just as Cahn and Schwartz do. As the injured parties my sympathies in this instance lie primarily with the latter two men who have both done a Herculean job in helping build this industry into what it is today. However knowing how Westerdal must feel this morning I can’t help but feel a sense of regret on his behalf as well (that kind of mistake is a journalist's worst nightmare).

For many people who get their news from the Internet, bloggers like Westerdal  and Schwartz are starting to replace traditional media outlets. Since even trained journalists from the old school can make this kind of mistake, its not surprising that the new wave of untrained 

reporters/observers are  even more susceptible to such grievous errors. It’s one reason traditional outlets say they are still relevant. They would argue that a professional reporter or his editor would have stopped this kind of mistake from happening and most  of the time they would – but even as a product of that system, the endless variety of unfiltered views found in the blogosphere are an improvement in my eyes. However, incidents like this underscore the fact that even though blogs give everyone a platform that wants one, shooting from the hip can have serious consequences

This business has undergone some dramatic changes over the past five years. When I came in it was mostly composed of a small, tight-knit group of individual entrepreneurs that just about all got along well. Competitors hung out together, shared drinks and stories and worked together to expand the industry for everyone’s benefit. Over the last couple of years, with far more money at stake and new win-at-all-cost players entering the space, I am seeing more flare ups between competitors. It is not a welcome change and, at this stage of the game, I don’t think it does anyone any good. Fortunately there is still more of what Cahn calls “coopetition” (competitors co-operating to advance the entire industry) in this business than corporate world knife-in-the-back tactics and I hope that philosophy remains in place for at least a little while longer. 
(Posted Nov. 12, 2007)  To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2007/dailyposts/11-12-07.htm

Could the global credit crunch ignited by the subprime mortgage meltdown eventually have an impact on online ad spending (in turn affecting pay per click revenues for domain owners)? The answer, according to marker researcher eMarketer, is that it already is - but not enough that

anyone is likely to notice. Mark Walsh talked about it in his column at Online Media Daily this week, noting that "eMarketer has trimmed its U.S. online ad forecast to $21.4 billion from $21.7 billion for 2008 because of the credit market turmoil and a shift toward unpaid marketing online." However, despite the slight revision in the forecast, the migration of ad dollars from traditional media to the Internet continues to accelerate as advertisers increase online spending, according to a new eMarketer report released Wednesday. 

As Walsh reported, "The study cited research from TNS Media Intelligence showing that the top 100 advertisers spent $230 million less in 2006 than 2005 on the top four traditional media categories--television, radio, magazines 

and newspapers. At the same time, they increased online spending by $558 million. (The TNS figures exclude search marketing, which accounts for 40% of Internet ad revenue.)"

As one example, Internet ad spending by American Express jumped by 180%, while its total ad spending dropped by 13.1%. Walsh added, "Recently, eMarketer issued a separate report predicting that Internet ad spending would overtake radio for the first time this year. "Epochal is not a word to be thrown around lightly," says David Hallerman, the report's author and eMarketer senior analyst. "Even so, one could cite 2007 as an epochal year for Internet spending in the U.S." The firm expects online advertising to nearly double from 7.4% of total media spending in 2007 to 13.3% by 2011
Posted
Nov. 10, 2007

Some friends asked me to look at a new logo for a planned online business this morning and the one suggestion I had was that a graphic of the globe incorporated in the logo should be changed because it showed only the North American continent. Today the online world is

more global than ever and in fact the fastest growth is now occurring outside the U.S.  Writer Dave Morgan underscored that fact in an article he posted on MediaPost's Online Spin blog Thursday. In writing about booming online European markets like the UK, Germany and Scandinavia, Morgan noted "Not only are they growing faster than the U.S., but some markets, like the UK, are becoming more mature than the U.S. market and are allocating more of their total ad spend to online than we do here. The IAB UK tells us that online now commands more than 10% of the total ad spend there. And these markets are just getting started."

Morgan continued "If you’re in the U.S., why should you care about this? You should care because the percentage of the global online ad market represented by the U.S. is only going to go down. If you want strong, long-term growth, you will need to be global to serve the needs of global advertisers. You will need to participate in the profits in those markets to fund capital investments and to fully amortize the technology investments that this market requires. Finally, if you’re not global, you will likely find yourself facing a non-U.S.-born company in your own market; better to see and understand your future competitors sooner rather than later."
Posted Nov. 9, 2007

Sedo.com today announced completion of the largest .co.uk domain sale reported to date - Recycle.co.uk for £150,000 ($316,247 at today's exchange rate). A press release 

issued from Sedo's home office in Cologne, Germany said the buyer was venture capital company ASAP Ventures. ASAP plans to use the domain as a source of information about recycling services for UK customers. In the same release, Sedo said they have also completed another blockbuster .co.uk sale, moving Mobile.co.uk for £120,000 ($253,131).

Sedo's UK Operations Director Nora Nanayakkara said, "We are seeing a growing interest in the purchase of co.uk domain names

in the secondary market. Over six million co.uk domain names are already registered and there is a shortage of available quality names. This is driving the sale of high value generic names, such as recycle.co.uk and mobile.co.uk." Sedo said that in the past year, their total volume of co.uk aftermarket domain sales has grown by 30% to over £1.5 million ($3,164,832)
Posted Nov. 8, 2007

I posted an item Monday about the ongoing decline of newspapers as the Internet usurps the role they have played for centuries. A very interesting article from the Center for Media 

Research today focuses on how journalists who work in the print world (and are seeing their current jobs threatened by new media) use the Internet. The article says that "according to the Arketi Group 2007 Web Watch Survey, 84% of journalists say they would or already have used blogs as a primary or secondary source for articles. 100% of the journalists surveyed say they rely on the Internet to help get their job done."

Mike Neumeier, principal of Arketi Group, said "In an era exploding with user-generated content, social media, and Web 2.0, it's important for those in business-to-business communications to understand how journalists are using technology." 97% of journalists 

surveyed say they enjoy using new technologies. 60% of journalists say they spend more than 20 hours a week on the Internet. When asked how they use the Internet, the #1 reason, cited by 98% of the journalists, was reading the news. Other reasons they ranked highly were finding new sources and finding story ideas. With print reporters themselves turning to the web for news and news leads, is it any wonder that their readers are heading for the web first as well? That takes them directly to the source without having to go through the gatekeepers who decided what reached print in the past.
Posted Nov. 7, 2007

DNForum.com owner Adam Dicker has joined GoDaddy.com as Vice President of their Domain Name Aftermarket. GoDaddy let the cat out of the bag this afternoon when they emailed clients a rundown of tomorrow's GoDaddy Live internet radio show. Dicker is scheduled to be introduced to GoDaddy customers on the program that airs every Wednesday at 4pm U.S. Eastern Standard Time (1pm Pacific). GoDaddy Founder and CEO Bob Parsons personally hosts the show. Of course, almost all of the GoDaddy registrants who are professional domain investors are already very familiar with Dicker who runs the popular domain forum at DNForum.com. Adam is also a frequent speaker at industry conferences (he was most recently on the dais at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East conference in Hollywood, Florida last month). GoDaddy is getting a good man, so congrats to both them and Adam on filling the position with a real pro.
Posted Nov. 6, 2007

Adam Dicker
DNForum.com Owner has joined GoDaddy 
as  VP of their Domain Name Aftermarket

 

"The unrelenting drumbeat of bad news for newspapers continued Monday with the release of the latest circulation figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, covering the six-month period from March to September 2007. The news was so bad that the Newspaper 

Association of America has deigned not to tally the numbers for an overall circulation figure, but a quick glance at the big and medium-sized players tells the story." So begins an article from Media Daily News reporter Erik Sass this morning about the unbroken trail of tears the newspaper industry has been traveling the past few years. Sass details declines at a long list of individual papers including such giants as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Washington Post. Almost no one in the industry is escaping the carnage as readers increasingly get their news online (often from new media sources like blogs and social networking sites).

Sass observed that the slump has produced some amusing ironies as newspaper publishers try to find some way to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Sass wrote, "Continuing their long rivalry, the New York Daily News took a swipe at the New York Post, noting that its own daily circulation now surpasses the Post. But the News didn't mention that both newspapers' daily and Sunday circulations declined, with the Daily News simply falling a little less quickly. When the storm clouds are this ominous, you can't blame them for trying to find some kind of silver lining, no matter how illusory it is.
Posted Nov. 6, 2007

I've written often about the massive wave of ad dollars migrating to the web from traditional media outlets. However, despite the companies at the top of the food chain, Google and Yahoo!, taking in more and more ad dollars, I'm hearing a rising crescendo of complaints from

Google and Yahoo! are piling up ad dollars 
but fewer and fewer of them seem to be 
reaching their downstream partners.

Google and Yahoo's downstream partners -  domain owners and web publishers - that their share of the wealth has been steadily decreasing this year. There's obviously a huge disconnect there and that was one of several points addressed by Mark Simon in a very interesting article about search advertising, titled Big Bubble? Maybe. Big Trouble? Definitely, today at MediaPost.com (free subscription required to read but it is well worth signing up for). 

Simon, vice president of industry relations at Didit, an agency for search engine marketing  

based in New York, said this about publishers that use Google AdSense: "Many report that even as their traffic and click-through rates have steadily increased in the past six months, their Adsense revenue has plateaued and even declined. You can't exactly blame these guys for embracing the latest conspiracy theory to make its way around the Web, which is that Google squeezed them in the last quarter to meet Wall Street's expectations."

Simon said Google's small business ad customers are also becoming disenchanted, noting "many of these marketers are operating on razor-thin margins, a good share of them are just barely hanging on, and the moment that any competitor comes along and offers them even a slightly better deal on the clicks they rent, they'll bolt like jackrabbits." Simon added "The big brand guys are furious too, because Google effectively forces them to rent back the brand names they invested billions in over 

decades in order to avoid the inevitable confusion that occurs when Google blithely sells these same terms to others (a practice that Google strictly forbids on its own branded terms). The courts will ultimately decide whether this practice (and all of Google's revenue derived from 

Could Google & Yahoo! wake up one day 
to find their golden geese flew the coup?

branded term searches) is OK. In the meantime, the big brand guys that Google depends upon for its future growth aren't just angry: they're fighting mad and have enough lawyers to keep Google busy until the year 2050."

Simon concluded "Google needs all of these groups - small firms and big ones - to keep going. It may not know it, but it needs them more than it needs Wall Street's approval, and it needs to do much more to keep their willingness to work with Google alive." The current situation has led many domain owners to seriously start seeking

alternatives to PPC monetization, including lead generation or full scale development. Google and Yahoo currently own the golden geese - but with partners starting to feel like they are getting a raw deal the climate may be starting to change.
Posted Nov. 5, 2007

The long-anticipated announcement that NameMedia would go public came Friday (Nov. 2) when the company announced a $172.5 million stock offering. NameMedia starting building 

its domain industry conglomerate in 2005 when it purchased BuyDomains.com and its huge portfolio of domain names. Since then the company has been on an acquisition binge, expanding its aftermarket platform with the 2006 purchase of Afternic.com and moved into

domain parking with three separate services (two of which were purchased from their founders - SmartName.com and GoldKey.com). NameMedia has also rolled out several developed web portals on top notch generic domain names like Photography.com and Gardens.com

The public offering announcement was loaded with interesting tidbits about NameMedia, including what they paid for some of their acquisitions - $4 million for Afternic and $16.5 million for SmartName for example (if certain performance targets are made, the original Afternic owners will receive another $1.55 million). NameMedia plans to trade on the NASDAQ market under what will instantly become the coolest stock symbol in the financial world (at least from our domainer's point 

of view) - NAME. NameMedia will give the domain industry its third public company listed on major exchanges, joining Marchex (MCHX on NASDAQ) and the Intersearch Group (traded on AMEX under the symbol IGO). Dark Blue Sea Ltd., who operates another well-known domain company, Fabulous.com, also trades publicly on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASE) under the symbol DBS.
Posted Nov. 3, 2007

Sahar Sarid had a very interesting post on his blog The Conceptualist yesterday, predicting that a whole new industry would emerge around fractional domain ownership. Sarid used the recent $370,000 group purchase of Cowboys.com (he is part of that ownership group) as an

example. The group bought the domain with plans to develop it into a full fledged business. What I found most interesting in Sarid's post was this passage: "...if you take the business into consideration, now you are not a domainer, are you? Now you are an “end user”. We all know the dream of selling domains is selling to end-users, which means, many of us are soon to become what we’ve been waiting for others to be. If you can’t beat them, be them." 

Very insightful observation and I think Sahar's forecast will prove to be right on the money. Fractional ownership will allow many more people who can't afford to buy a name on their own to have a stake in the huge upside potential of a great generic domain name.
Posted Nov. 3, 2007

Sahar Sarid - The Conceptualist

Just a week after 1&1 announced they were seeing a big spike in .US domain registrations, the world's biggest registrar, GoDaddy, came out with an announcement yesterday saying they are witnessing the same surge of interest in the United States ccTLD. GoDaddy CEO and

Founder Bob Parsons said “We are thrilled to see .US performing so well. GoDaddy has put a lot of effort into raising awareness for the extension and the results are quite clear - our customers have been snatching up available .US domain names at an eye popping rate." RegistrarStats.com backs up Parsons' claim about the company's role in boosting the American extension. They show the GoDaddy Group maintains 34% of all .US domain name registrations.
Posted Nov. 3, 2007

We wrote a Cover Story in 2005 about the need for more women in the domain business. There still aren't enough but the situation is gradually improving and the fairer sex is making a 

big impact on what has been a male-dominated industry. Latest example - Jan and JillXan Donnelly from the Career Exposure Network and its leading women’s online recruiting site, CareerWomen.com, who have both been named as finalists for the 2007 Stevie Awards for Women in Business. Winners will be announced at an awards banquet on November 12 in Las Vegas. The Stevies are a big deal - the New York Post called them "the business world's own Oscars". 

Jan and JillXan, who own thousands of domains including more than 1,500 in the career space,  founded The Career Exposure Network in 1996 and it is now the leading targeted e-recruiting solution provider to a wide range of industries and clients including more than 70% of the Fortune 500. The company’s 

site CareerWomen.com is the leading online career destination by and for women and is frequently mentioned in the national media as the place for all women to begin their search for employment on the Web. Other sites in the 

network include DiversitySearch.com,MBACareers.com, CareerExposure.com, PostJob.com, PostResume.com, CareerNews.com

JillXan, who is the company's president, said “Our growth is a direct result of listening to the needs of jobs seekers, employers and recruiters and then responding with focused and targeted sites, content and services that help connect talent with opportunity.” Jan and JillXan are frequently seen at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conferences and they are active domain industry supporters as members of the Internet Commerce Association (ICA). 

Posted Nov. 2, 2007

Congratulations are in order to SharedReviews.com execs Peter Ejtel (CEO) and Frank Michlick (COO). The two domainer/developers have come up with something special at 

SharedReviews.com and that fact was recognized by a group of heavyweight investors who have placed bets on the enterprise in a first round investment announced by the company today. SharedReviews enables consumers to monetize high quality user-generated content. SharedReviews bridges the gap between market demand and content creators in a unique platform that is currently in a limited public beta test with plans for a full scale launch early next month. 

The funding round was done by Frank Schilling and Monster Venture Partners with additional participation from the Internet Real Estate Group, a leading 

SharedReviews.com COO Frank Michlick 
and CEO Peter Ejtel (rght)

developer of premium Internet domain names. Schilling, the well-known head of Name Administration, Inc. said, "“My investment in SharedReviews is first and foremost a bet on people. Peter Ejtel and Frank Michlick are two gentlemen whom I have known for years and whom I respect greatly. I also believe in the vision of syndicating high quality content onto under-developed domains as a step forward on the path to full domain development for domain properties that receive significant traffic and are good candidates for indexing by search engines due to the presence of truly novel and useful content.”
Posted Nov. 1, 2007


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