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The Lowdown



September 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)

 

In our review of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. New York conference back in June I used harsher than usual language in assessing how clueless Madison Avenue ad agency reps were about the massive upheaval coming to their industry courtesy of the Internet. Someone said "they

Advertisers continue their relentless march
 to the Internet - but ad agencies are 
having trouble keeping up

don't get it and they don't want to get it!" and that sums it up pretty well. However burying your head in the sand is not a good formula for success. Still there are some signs that a few light bulbs are starting to go off. 

The headline of an article by David Goetzl at Media Daily News today said it plainly - Agencies Must Address New Media, New Challenges. The most stunnig quote in the article came from Starcom MediaVest executive Laura Desmond who suggested 

that a day could come when up to 60% of clients' budgets are apportioned for what's now still known as "new media". Today the number is in single digits so you can imagine how that kind of shift would turn the advertising world upside down (and improve the already promising fortunes of domain owners). Ms. Desmond is obviously someone who understands what is going on and I'll predict that she will still be working and thriving in her chosen profession five years from now while many of her current colleagues are in a new line of work or unemployed as a result of their inability to read the tea leaves. 
Posted
Sept. 27, 2007

DomainSponsor.com has released some details about the agenda for their second DOMAINfest Global conference coming up January 21-23, 2008 at the Renaissance Hotel in

Hollywood, California. Major events will include a Domainer Town Hall Meeting (that will be presided over by Name Administration chief Frank Schilling) and a live domain auction. There will also be a series of continuing education courses. 

The new Town Hall Meeting is designed to be an in-depth discussion on the state of the industry, as well as a free-wheeling question and answer session with Schilling, who is one of the world's most successful domain investors. Much like presidential Town Halls, participants will be 

Renaissance Hotel - Hollywood, California
Site for DOMAINfest Global Jan. 21-23, 2008

able to ask the questions that are on their minds and most relevant to their business. The organizers say the DOMAINfest auction will be presented in an innovative new format. For those interested in submitting names for auction or who want additional information, you can send an email to buyers@domainfest.com or sellers@domainfest.com. The educational seminars will include sessions devoted to negotiation, business structure, finance, taxation and network building.  

DomainSponsor said all DOMAINfest guests will receive VIP treatment. DOMAINfest Global is open to domain professionals as well as those interested in the growing domain industry. The registration fee is $795 however existing or new DomainSponsor members are eligible to 

receive a rebate of up to 100% of the cost of an individual registration. More details are on the official  DOMAINfest site. 
Posted Sept. 26, 2007

Moniker.com has announced the line-up of premium domains that have made the cut for their live auction at the upcoming T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East conference that runs October 9-13 in 

Auctioneer Joel Langbaum (left) and 
Moniker.com CEO Monte Cahn at the 
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. live auction in New York

Hollywood, Florida. In their last T.R.A.F.F.I.C. auction at New York City's Grand Hyatt in June, Moniker sold a record-breaking $12 million worth of domains. That record could fall October 12 at the Westin Diplomat Resort with names like Computer.com, WallStreet.com, Taxes.com and SportingGoods.com scheduled to go under the hammer. The auction list also includes such gems as Cotton.com, Cowboys.com, Promotion.com and StockQuotes.com.

Registered attendees of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East are automatically eligible to take part in 

the live bidding. Single-day access to the invitation-only event is also available. To request an invitation and to learn more about the conference, visit TargetedTraffic.com. Moniker will also be offering absentee, telephone proxy and online bidding for individuals who are unable to attend the event. You can learn more about that process here. A silent auction will also be conducted in conjunction with the event with thousands of additional names up for bid. The silent auction will run online from Friday, October 12 through Thursday, October 18.
Posted Sept. 25, 2007

We will be traveling back home to Florida today after spending a few days in Los Angeles visiting TrafficZ.com founder Kevin Vo and his partner Ammar Kubba. They will be the 

subject of our upcoming October Cover Story and both of these men have exceptionally inspirational life stories that you won't want to miss. You can meet them in person if you are going to next month's T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East Conference in Hollywood, Florida.  As soon as we get back in the office we will be posting a preview of that key industry event that runs Oct. 9-13 at the fabulous Westin Diplomat Hotel. T.R.A.F.F.I.C. co-founder Rick Schwartz will fill us in on the show agenda that will include another huge live domain auction staged by Moniker.com

We also have a story in the works that is due to go up just before T.R.A.F.F.I.C. gets underway detailing a unique program

TrafficZ partners Ammar Kubba (left) & Kevin Vo 
will be featured in our October Cover Story

from MyRebel.com that makes it possible for you to be your own registrar at a very affordable cost. We've been looking at a groundbreaking new domain management system from DNZoom.com as well and a piece on that project is also in the works. Lots more is coming up as we enter the busy final quarter of what has been another banner year for the domain business.
Posted Sept. 24, 2007

Domain giant NameMedia has just received a high honor from Deloitte & Touche, having been chosen for Deloitte's prestigious Technology Fast 50 Program for New England, a ranking 

NameMedia CEO Kelly Conlin

of the 50 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications and life sciences companies in the area by one of the nation’s leading professional services organizations. Rankings are based on the percentage revenue growth over five years from 2002–2006. 

NameMedia's CEO Kelly P. Conlin credited an innovative business model and a highly talented team for the rapid growth required to be selected as a Fast 50 company. NameMedia owns leading domain aftermarket companies BuyDomains.com and Afternic.com (and a global sales platform known as Afternic DLS) as well as parking service providers SmartName.com, ActiveAudience.com and GoldKey.com.

Steve DiPietro, Partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP and chair of the New England Technology Fast 

50 Program said “Deloitte’s New England Technology Fast 50 companies have shown the strength, vision and tenacity to succeed in today’s very competitive technology environment. NameMedia, with their phenomenal revenue growth, has proven to be one of the fast-growth success stories in New England and we applaud their dedication to making their vision a reality.”

To qualify for the Technology Fast 50, companies must have had operating revenues of at least $50,000 in 2002 and $5,000,000 in 2006, be headquartered in North America, and be a company that owns proprietary technology or proprietary intellectual property that contributes to a significant portion of the company's operating revenues; or devotes a significant proportion of revenues to the research and development of technology. Using other companies' technology or intellectual property in a unique way does not qualify.

Companies from the 16 regional Technology Fast 50 programs in the United States and Canada are automatically entered in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 program, which ranks North America’s top 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications and life sciences companies. For more information on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 or Technology Fast 500 programs, visit www.fast500.com.
Posted Sept. 22, 2007

Next Wednesday (Sept. 26) the first of three monthly online auctions of premium .mobi domain names will be held through Sedo. com. Names to go under the hammer include 

ask.mobi, atm.mobi, cars.mobi, love.mobi and moto.mobi. 100 domains will be sold in each auction - all premium generic domains that were not available for registration when the TLD was launched last fall. The auction rules will follow Sedo’s standard auction terms and 

conditions. dotMobi does have some minimal requirements for the buyer, such as:
· Domain to be registered by auction winner within 10 days of receiving authorization code.
· Site to initially consist of a dotMobi compliant parking page (available via Sedo.com).
· Best efforts to create, launch and operate a live web site with relevant content within six months. (For example, acupuncture.mobi should not display a site for car sales.) 
· Fully compliant site with an http://ready.mobi score of at least 4/5 (highest score is 5/5). 

Tim Schumacher, CEO of Sedo, said, "dotMobi’s premium names are specifically designed for people wanting to reach a mobile audience. Sedo’s buyers have been lining up for more than a year now to get a chance to buy these dotMobi names. We are excited that dotMobi will use us as their first online auction." 

Trey Harvin, CEO of dotMobi. “dotMobi is selling these highly-sought after names through Sedo because they are one of the main places on the internet where brand managers search for domain names.” Full information, including the list of auction names, is located on the dotMobi web site at http://premiumauction.mobi.
Posted Sept. 21, 2007

Sedo.com CEO Tim Schumacher

There won't be a news post today as we will be traveling to Los Angeles to gather information and photos for our upcoming October Cover Story. We will resume posting in the Lowdown Friday.
Posted Sept. 20, 2007

Grassroots.org, the charity founded by WashingtonVC founder Michael Mann (who is the subject of our current Cover Story) has received a $50,000 donation from Sedo.com, along  

with a block of free advertising on Sedo's popular aftermarket website. Grassroots.org drives social change by providing free technology services to non-profits so they can better focus on their organizations. Sedo CEO Tim Schumacher said

 “Grassroots.org shares our vision that the Internet and related technology can make a huge, positive difference in the world. We also value its use of generic keyword domain names to inform citizens seeking to both digest and deliver content regarding key social issues.”

Grassroots.org Executive Director 
Angela Siefer

Grassroots.org currently operates more than 30 portals, including PlanetEarth.org, Relief.org, Diseases.org, Homeless.org and Philanthropists.org. The donation will help Grassroots.org meet its ultimate goal of adopting 10,000 nonprofit members, and providing them each with an average of $10,000 of services per year at no charge for a total savings of $100 million per year.   

"Grassroots.org is very excited about our partnership with Sedo,” said Angela Siefer, Executive Director, Grassroots.org. “The generous cash and in-kind donations will help us increase our capacity, generating more traffic on our website and allowing us to provide additional services to more organizations."
Posted Sept. 19, 2007

Sedo.com has released the results from the live domain auction they staged at the Domainvermarkter Forum conference in Hamburg, Germany last week. Over 50

domains were sold producing a total of $360,400 for the three-hour event. The top sales from the auction included three International Domain Names (IDNs); ärzte.de (“doctors” in German) for $77,000, and reisebüro.de plus reise-büro.de (“travel 

agencies” in German) at $70,000 (for the pair). Also, Hawaii.de went for $30,000 and weiber.de (“skirts” in German) sold for $26,000. Those sales will become eligible for our weekly charts once payments have been made and the domains transferred to the new owners.
Posted Sept. 18, 2007

NameMedia continues to expand the reach of its AfternicDLS platform that puts domains listed for sale with the service in front of potential buyers around the globe. The company's 

latest step forward is a new agreement with major registrar Register.com who will now show AfternicDLS names in their  search results when their customers look for available domains. This enables Register.com customers to see names 

that are available on the aftermarket alongside those that are currently unregistered when they research names related  to their needs. Peter Lamson, senior vice president and general manager of NameMedias domain name marketplace, said "This partnership will give 

Register.coms customer base new ways to find the right digital identity." Register.com CEO Larry Kutscher added "The expansion of our domain name searching capabilities further enhances our customers ability to create a great online presence. With comprehensive 

search results spanning a multitude of available options, weve made finding and purchasing the right domain name easier than ever.
Posted Sept. 17, 2007

The Internet Commerce Association (ICA) announced adoption of a member Code of Conduct Thursday. The document is designed to foster and promote fair and ethical business practices in the domain name  industry. ICA Executive Director Michael Collins said, “We 

believe that following these best practices will go a long way toward addressing and resolving many of the important issues facing the domain name industry as it continues to grow and mature."

 

The ICA’s Member Code of Conduct (full text of the code is available at the end of the full ICA press release on this page) covers the major areas of conflict that have arisen in the emerging domain name business.  These include protection of intellectual property rights, ending abusive domain name tasting, strict adherence to Internet fraud laws, transparency in the ownership of domain names and the use of lawful content.  The Code also condemns a process that involves returning a domain name just before the five-day grace registration period expires and re-registering it again as soon as it becomes available in order to avoid paying registration fees (often referred to as domain “kiting”).

Michael Collins
ICA Executive Director

“The ICA is eager to work with our members and others involved with the domain name industry, including ICANN and Congress, to further establish reasonable and effective rules of the road that protect the rights of consumers as well as all the companies that participate in Internet commerce,” Collins said. “ICA has zero tolerance for Internet outlaws,” Collins added. “ICA supports strict enforcement of the laws that target illegal practices such as cybersquatting and “phishing.” The ICA and its members believe that existing laws generally do a good job protecting consumers, as well as the intellectual property rights of companies in cases involving fraud or

clearly illegal intent. We also believe that the industry itself can resolve most of the other issues that have arisen and that may not be fully addressed by these laws,” Collins said. 
Posted Sept. 14, 2007

The International Trademark Association (INTA) today announced that INTA members Dell Inc., Microsoft Corp., Time Warner Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. each intends

to pursue individual legal actions against a total of twenty-two cybersquatting operations that are accused of violating their trademark rights. Microsoft has been 

especially vigorous in protecting their marks and today they announced 3 more lawsuits, filed in Indiana, New York, and Washington involving at least 214 misleading domain names. INTA said that cybersquatters target businesses and consumers by registering Internet domain names that are confusingly similar to legally protected company names and internationally recognized trademarks (typos being one very common method used). INTA said that once misdirected through a deceptive domain name, consumers can be bombarded with advertisements, pornographic material, unlawful spyware and even harmful computer viruses. Today's complete press release is available here.
Posted Sept. 13, 2007 

The September issue of ICANN's new online magazine has been published. The magazine (that debuted last month) is meant to cover all of the latest news and events surrounding the

organization that governs the Domain Name System and also includes interviews with the ICANN CEO and a key member of the community each month. The September issue has interviews with ALAC chair Jacqueline Morris and CEO Paul Twomey. Recent Board meeting are covered and the policy issues reviewed are: IDNs, Registry and Registrar contracts, and IPv6. This issue also covers what has been happening in the past month on the ICANN blog and their public participation site and also gives a rundown of recent public comment 

periods and an upcoming outreach program. You can see and sign up for the magazine (as well as view an archive of magazines) at http://www.icann.org/magazine/.
Posted Sept. 12, 2007

In the wake of numerous problems at the debut Domain Focus conference in London last week (including a last minute change of venue - see our Sept. 7 post below for more information on that) a post today at the AcornDomains.co.uk forum, attributed to company Managing 

Director Alan Brownlee, said that by mutual consent David Brayshaw (who was described as the company's founder in press releases sent out last month) will no longer be affiliated with Domain Focus. Brownlee's post said only 49 people had paid to attend the event two weeks before the show date, leaving organizers short of the funds needed to pay the bill due at the original show venue (the London Savoy Hotel). As a result The Savoy pulled the plug the day before the event. Organizers scrambled and were able to move the conference to the nearby Strand Palace in time to host the event but are now having to deal with the aftermath caused by the sudden dislocation.
Posted Sept. 11, 2007

David Brayshaw

The latest quarterly ad sales figures are in from the Newspaper Association of America and the declines in the newspaper business just get more horrifying with each passing quarter. For

The latest newspaper ad 
revenue numbers are out 
and they aren't pretty

the second quarter of 2007, overall ad revenues plunged another 8.6% from last year. The only bright spot was that newspaper's online ad revenues jumped over 19%. Unfortunately, online represents only 7% of their overall ad revenues so that could not offset the 10% drop in print ad revenues. 

The news was just as bad for some major magazine publishers. The three major news weeklies in the U.S., Time, Newsweek and U.S. News and World Report all saw readers disappear in droves. According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, Time's newsstand sales plummeted 13.6% in the first half of 2007 compared to the first half of 2006. In the same time frame, Newsweek sales dropped 9.3% and U.S. News fell 6% (if you look a little further back, U.S. News numbers are much worse with a 20% drop since the spring of 2005). Guess where the readers are going? (If you need a hint, see the lone bright spot in the newspaper numbers above).
Posted Sept. 10, 2007

The two-day Domain Focus conference ended Friday in London with a live auction of .uk domains staged by Sedo.com. Sedo said 20 domains were sold (about a third of the total 

number offered) with a total value of over $350,000. The top sales were Fly.co.uk at £87,500 ($177,476) and Employment.co.uk at £17,000 ($34,481). Though there were several problems with the staging of conference itself, including a last minute change of venue (see yesterday's post below), Sedo was pleased with results from this first ever live auction of .uk domains. 

Next week they will conduct another live auction - this time of .de domains - at the DomainVermarkterForum in Hamburg, Germany Sept. 13-14.
Posted Sept. 8, 2007

The Domain Focus conference scheduled to end in London today has apparently run into some serious problems. According to a thread at the British domain forum 

AcornDomains.co.uk, the venue for the show was changed at the last minute from the Savoy Hotel to the Strand Palace. A Savoy representative told a caller that the hotel cancelled the event because financial commitments had not been honored prior to the meeting. According to forum posts attendees were crowded into an undersized meeting room at the Strand Palace, there was no food service and several scheduled speakers did not appear. The event is to end today with a live auction sponsored by Sedo. At the time of this post, there had been no response from show organizers to complaints posted in the forum thread. 
Posted Sept. 7, 2007

ICANN is currently taking a look at the controversial practice of domain tasting (registrars or private investors try to register every single deleting domain, test them for traffic, then cancel 

the registrations of those without traffic for a full refund before a 5-day grace period is up). Many consider this an abuse of the grace period which was originally meant to allow registrants to get a refund when making an honest registration mistake (such as making a typo in a name they want to register).

I fall in the camp that considers this to be mis-use of an unintended loophole and would personally like to see it stopped (or modified so that those mis-using the system pay for the benefits they are receiving). In my opinion the practice is especially harmful with respect to the perception people have of domain investors as a whole. However you feel about the issue, ICANN would like to hear your opinion. They are conducting a Request for Information survey that will end Sept. 15. You can view current results from the survey here. So far, sentiment registered in the survey is running solidly again domain tasting. 
Posted Sept. 6, 2007

Time to end the free lunch 
for "domain tasters"?

DomainTools.com became the first company to offer "domain insurance" yesterday when CEO Jay Westerdal announced the offering on his site. If the prospect of having your domain stolen makes you nervous, the DomainTools service will cover a loss up to $100,000 (and pay

$1,000 for every day your domain is in the hands of a thief) for a premium of $100 per year. You can buy higher coverage amounts if you wish - all the way up to $20 million (with a $200,000 per day payment for each day your domain is missing) for an annual premium of $10,000. You can contact Jay -at- DomainTools.com to enroll or learn more about the service.
Posted Sept. 5, 2007

Yesterday we mentioned upcoming domain conferences in September, October and November. If that is not enough to sate your appetite for domain information there is also a 

December event that is well worth a place on your calendar. That is Pubcon 2007 coming up at the Las Vegas Convention Center December 4-7. Pubcon is aimed primarily at owners of developed websites but the host, WebmasterWorld.com, is expanding the spotlight on domains this year with a full day of domain panels and a live domain auction

Two keynote speakers have already been recruited - CraigsList founder Craig Newmark and Matt Cutts of Google (with others to be announced soon). A lot of you will use any excuse to go to Las Vegas. Well, here is a very valid reason to make the trip! If you pay close attention you should be able to gather enough tips and new contacts to boost your website income (and offset the money you leave at the blackjack tables)!
Posted Sept. 4, 2007

Today was a major holiday - Labor Day - in the United States. Labor Day is viewed as the unofficial end of summer in the U.S. Though another season is coming to a close, the domain conference season never ends. The next one will be Thursday and Friday of this week (Sept. 6-7) when the Domain Focus show will be held at the Savoy Hotel in London. Next month, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East returns to the Westin Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood, Florida October 

9-13. After that, the 2007 GeoDomain Expo, presented by Associated Cities, will be held November 15-17 in San Francisco. I will have the honor of delivering the keynote address at that event. 

Associated Cities will also be hosting a live auction at the Expo presented by Moniker.com. The GeoDomain Expo is the only

time of the year to meet and greet owners of more than 85 U.S. major city and destination sites including NewYorkCity.com, LosAngeles.com and Chicago.com. Show organizers say the 2007 GeoDomain Expo will be the largest and most important gathering to date of the owners of some of the most lucrative properties on the Web. For event information and to register, you can visit AssociatedCities.com. If you would like sponsorship information, contact Patrick Carleton at 877-244-0686 or email him at patrick@associatedcities.com.
Posted Sept. 3, 2007


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


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