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The Lowdown



April 2008 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)

 

Another note from the recently concluded Domain Roundtable conference San Francisco - at a press conference held just before the show opened April 18th, Charleston, South 

Carolina domain investor/developer Stephen Webb announced the launch of a new shopping portal with a charity component at WeAreCity.com. The site, which will serve as the front door to a network of more than 125 related sites, has color coded districts for Shopping, Travel, Entertainment, and Health and Beauty. Webb said that a charitable donation will be made for each purchase made from one of the network's merchants. Those who shop on the site will vote each quarter to choose the charity that will receive that quarter's charitable funding (the first donation is to be made July 1). The current ballot lists the American Cancer Society, Doctors Without Borders and the ASPCA among the organizations shoppers can vote for.

Webb said, “We have been working on this project for almost three years. Our goal has been to enable everyone to give back, no matter how little they have. When I was young,

Stephen Webb (WeAreCity.com
at the Domain Roundtable conference
in San Francisco (April 2008)

we would have penny drives in school.  This enabled all the children to be able to participate in raising funds. It gives me great pleasure to say, WeAreCity.com is a penny drive on a global scale.”   
(Posted April 30, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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Several tidbits for you today. In case you missed it when it went up yesterday, our comprehensive review of the Domain Roundtable conference that ended last week in San 

Auctioneer David O'Shaughnessy directing 
last week's Domain Roundtable live auction.

Francisco has been published here. In that article we mentioned a minor flap had developed between organizers of the Roundtable live auction and new appraisal firm DomainConsultant.com who was called on to help select domains for the sale. After the auction concluded with a large drop off in total sales compared to last year's event, DomainConsultant offered their view of what went wrong in an article on their site published April 23. Today they followed up with another article

Though the auction didn't go as well as last year (for a number of reasons) there was still a lot to like about the DRT show, including a great venue, strong educational program and excellent networking opportunities. We take you through the conference hour by hour in our exclusive wrap up article.

Following the LH.com fiasco yesterday, it was good to get news today that the British owners of MySpace.co.uk are getting their domain back. Even though they registered the name six years before MySpace.com even existed, Nominet's Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) took the domain away from them in January. Now, an independent appeals panel has stepped in and reversed that poor DRS decision. 

Fabulous.com, who will host the first overseas T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference November 18-20, 2008 on Australia's Gold Coast is reminding those who plan to go that tomorrow is the last day you can register at the reduced $995 early bird rate (the price jumps to $1295 May 1). Visit TrafficDownUnder.com to register or get more information on the event.

One other note today, WashingtonVC has added Adam Goozh to their executive team as Managing Director. Mr Goozh's bio is posted on the WashingtonVC site. He will primarily focus on strategic relationships, fund development, business planning, and due diligence matters. Goozh holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from The Georgetown University Law Center and he is a 
member of the Maryland and District of Columbia bar.

(Posted April 29, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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I have to join the chorus of boos aimed at a UDRP panel's outrageous decision to take a generic two-letter domain, LH.com, away from its rightful owner, Future Media Architects,

and hand it over to Lufthansa Airlines because...well because Lufthansa is a big corporation I guess. There is no logic behind this decision - just further evidence of extreme bias against domain owners in the UDRP process (85% of decisions go against domain owners).

FMA is known for both developing domains and not selling domains they own. They refused to sell to Lufthansa so the airline decided to try a reverse hijacking instead and, at least at the UDRP level,  they succeeded by a 2-1 panel vote. To his credit, one panelist, David Sorkin, showed some common  sense and tried to do the right thing. The good news is Lufthansa hasn't gotten away with this theft yet. FMA

has filed suit against them in a New York federal court and if there is any justice in this world, they will win the suit and keep the domain. It's just a shame they have to spend a massive amount of money to keep what is rightfully theirs but that is the world we live in.
(Posted April 28, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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This has been a very busy week, so apologies in advance for email and phone calls that have not yet been returned. I didn't get back from Domain Roundtable in San Francisco until Tuesday night, then spent Wednesday and part of Thursday getting our weekly domain sales report out. The past 24 hours have been spent clearing away some of the backlog that built up while I was away and starting work on our comprehensive Roundtable wrap up article that we 

expect to publish no later than Monday (my weekend will be spent writing it). I'm going to close the Lowdown week with a variety of items that have came in over the past few days that I haven't been able to get to before now. 

First, congratulations to Steve Morales and Skip Hogland from Simply Geo, LLC who just announced their acquisition of GeoDomain.com and GeoDomains.com. They released their plans for the domains on the SimplyGeo.com blog today. 

Despite that good news, Hoagland's day was marred when he learned that some con artist had placed his Atlanta.com up for auction at Sedo. Hoagland took quick action and had the auction deleted and the offender's account removed at Sedo. He also called on the auction house to more carefully vet the identities of those who sign up to bid on their platform. This is actually a problem across many of the auction venues. Deadbeat bidders and other miscreants slip through the door much too easily and face few if any consequences for their behavior. 

 

Skip Hoagland
Simply Geo, LLC

Skenzo.com announced a major executive appointment this week, naming software industry veteran Vaibhav Arya as their Chief Technology Officer. Mr. Arya was the Founder and CEO of a software development company that since 1999 had been building large-scale internet-based applications for various Fortune 100 companies. He has a Bachelors degree from the University of Pennsylvania (which earns him high marks from me - my daughter is currently a junior at Penn).

Skenzo Co-founder and CEO Divyank Turakhia said "Mr. Arya's appointment is in line with our aggressive plans to bring on board the smartest people in the industry. Vaibhav brings the experience and proven technical leadership that would allow Skenzo to continue being at the forefront of innovation.

Congratulations to Miami domainer Scott Ross's son Spencer, better known as Keith Bizz in the music business. The hot young producer recently finished a track, “The Things You Make Me Do”, that Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum R&B star Ashanti has selected as her next single and the featured track on her forthcoming CD, The Declaration, scheduled for release on June 3rd. This breakthrough moves Keith Bizz (in photo at right) into the upper echelon in the music production business.

Ed Russell at NameDrive.com clued me in on a casual meeting UK domainers have scheduled for Wednesday evening (April 30) in London. Popular UK forum Acorn Domains is helping stage the affair that is scheduled to get underway at 6pm London time at My Old Dutch in Holborn. There is a thread about the meet up on the forum for anyone who is interested in attending.

Keith Bizz hits the
big time



Disney World's Grand Floridian
will 
host T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Orlando attendees

Organizers of next month's T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference in Orlando sent out a note reminding those planning to attend the Disney World event May 20-24 that the special hotel rates at the Grand Floridian will end April 30. After that the rate jumps from $269 to $435 a night so book now before you forget. 

This is an entirely new setting for T.R.A.F.F.I.C. and obviously a great location for bringing family members along. My daughter will be home from college so Diana and I are going to take her to her first T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference. Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu always stage a great show and we are really looking forward to this one.

One final note - congratulations to Robert Haastrup-Timmi on the founding of his new company, the Domain Advertising Agency. The company aims to bring advertisers and web publishers together on their new platform.

That's all for this week - hope you all have a great weekend!
(Posted April 25, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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The enterprising folks at Pingdom.com just posted an exclusive inside look at Google's domain portfolio that is worth taking a look at. It turns out the search giant owns thousands of

domain names of their own and, if you thought some of your domains were bad, it should make you feel good to learn that a lot of Google's are even worse! Their inventory includes such gems as az-on-url-je.com and 1p0g0og1e.com.

Pingdom neatly breaks highlights from the Google collection into categories including Typos (a la glougle.com), Names Totally Unrelated to Google (i.e. TheSecretOfBurritos.com), Possible New

Services (GoogleAuction.com among others), Possible Offline Services (GoogleGym.com), Potential Merger Partners (GoogleWarnerBros.com) and many others.

Check it out - Pingdom even offers a free Excel file download with the whole list! Might help you while away a few hours the next time you are stuck at the airport waiting for a delayed flight!
(Posted April 24, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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Domain Strategies, a Monster Venture Partners company that partners with domain owners, entrepreneurs and capital investors to develop high quality domain names has named three key

executives to new positions on their management team. Scott Fasser moves up to President and Chief Operating Officer and Natalie Grinblatt replaces him as EVP of Corporate Development. The company owns or manages thousands of domain names and recently acquired Wifi.com, with John Maffei selected as CEO of Wifi.com. Other names that Domain Strategies is building into successful businesses include HealthCare.com, Patents.com and Alerts.com.

I met Scott Fasser at the Domain Roundtable conference in San Francisco this past weekend. He has over 16 years experience in building successful businesses. Prior to joining Domain Strategies, Fasser led the development of the paid search and SEO programs for RealNetworks through his consulting company, Brand Digital, and is considered an authority on SEM, website development & optimization, 

Scott Fasser, Domain Strategies President and COO at the Domain Roundtable conference last weekend
in San Francisco.

traffic acquisition, customer retention and developer relations. Scott received his MBA from the University of Washington and BA from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas .

Mr. Fasser and John Maffei will be based in the company’s Bellevue, Washington offices while Ms. Grinblatt will initially be located in Phoenix, co-located with IDN Options, a company she co-founded that gained Monster Venture Partners backing earlier this year. IDNoptions has one of the worlds largest IDN portfolios and is involved with IDN consulting and IDN business development. Grinblatt has both her MBA and BA from the University of Michigan .
(Posted April 23, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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The Domain Roundtable conference ended in San Francisco Monday with a 352-name live domain auction and an after-show party at local nightspot The Cellar. The final auction sales total came in at approximately $400,000, a large fall off from the $3.8 million in sales at the 2007 DRT show. Michael Berkens has a list of the final high bids on his blog

Scene from the Domain Roundtable Live Auction Monday April 21 in San Francisco

The reasons for the sales decline are being debated now. There were more technical glitches in the Internet portion of the bidding and auction access than there were last year (which also slowed down momentum in the auction hall at the Palace Hotel). Some think reserve prices 

Auctioneer David O'Shaughessy calling
the Domain Roundtable live auction

were too high on the better names and there were none of the six-figure blockbusters that drove up the take in 2007. Of course, despite a strong first quarter in 2008, there is also the question of whether or not the slowdown in the general economy is finally spilling over to domains. We should get more insight into that question next month when a major Moniker/SnapNames Live auction will be held at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference in Orlando. I think that a key reason for the fall off in the Roundtable auction is the fact that there are so many similar events now competing for buyers. That's a problem all of the live auction venues will have to deal with in 2008.

I am flying back to our home base in Florida later this morning. Soon after I return I will start working on our comprehensive conference review article that will be published within the next week on our home page. The past few days in San Francisco have been very enjoyable. DRT had a great new venue in the Palace Hotel, the seminars were well programmed with top notch speakers and as always it was an invaluable opportunity to pick the brains of some of the smartest people in the business.
(Posted April 22, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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Sunday's schedule at the Domain Roundtable conference in San Francisco was headlined by former Sex.com owner Gary Kremen's keynote speech. Kremen's travails with Sex.com 

(which was hijacked by a convicted felon who was eventually caught and jailed) have been documented in a book and many magazine articles. We also had an in-depth profile of Kremen in our March 2006 Cover Story.

Kremen was also one of the founders of Match.com, a pioneering dating site he said he conceived to help find himself a wife. Kremen sold the site before finding a mate but he told attendees he just got married for the first time last month (drawing a warm round of applause from the audience). Kremen talked about his many years in the domain business and what he has learned along the way. Kremen said he is now thinking of starting a new parking company because he thinks he can improve on today's PPC system.

Sunday's schedule also featured four seminars

Gary Kremen
Domain Roundtable Keynote Speaker

and a luncheon sponsored by the new .me registry. We will detail all of those sessions in our show wrap-up article that will be out by this time next week. But first things first. We still have one day to go as the show closes with a live auction today (I am actually sitting in the auction room as I write this and we are about halfway through the sale) followed by an after show party tonight at local hotspot The Cellar. I'll have a final post from San Francisco tomorrow morning before heading back to our home office in Florida where we will begin work on our comprehensive conference review article.
(Posted April 21, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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The first full day at the Domain Roundtable conference in San Francisco Saturday (April 19) was packed with highlights. I'll cover all of the details in our show wrap-up article that will be published next week but before heading downstairs to the Palace Hotel's conference area for day two today I wanted to pass along a few comments about yesterday's jam-packed schedule. 

Google's Matt Cutts speaking in the 
main event at Domain Roundtable 
Saturday (April 19).

A 90-minute afternoon Q and A session with Google's Matt Cutts was an especially rewarding session. Several attendees told me that the value they got from hearing Cutts detail how to get sites ranked as high as possible in Google's search results was, by itself, worth more than they paid to attend the entire show. Cutts is head of Google's Webspam team, which makes him the guy in charge of making sure the most deserving sites get the highest placement in Google search results. 

Cutts, who is an exceptionally engaging speaker, said the #1 factor is having unique and frequently updated content on your site. He passed along tons of great tips and links to webmaster tools that will help the many website owners in attendance gain higher visibility at Google.

Another Saturday highlight was a new parking company innovation, SmartName Shops, announced by NameMedia Senior VP Brian Carr in a luncheon presentation. The program, limited to those who hold accounts with NameMedia's high end PPC provider, SmartName.com, allows clients to take parked domains to a new level with integrated affiliate shopping features. You can see an example of what they are doing at ToyCatalog.com. There were also four excellent panel sessions Saturday including the always popular CEO Roundtable that got the day off to a fast start. We will detail all of those in our upcoming conference review article.

There were two major evening events including the annual Name Intelligence Awards dinner (Name Intelligence is the parent company of Domain Roundtable and DomainTools.com). Winners were chosen in ten categories through open balloting on the Roundtable website and among the thousands of DomainTools members (or where applicable, winners were based on industry statistics, such at the registrar net gain award). The envelopes please....

Registrar with the Largest Net Gain - GoDaddy
Best Registrar for Resellers - Enom
Outstanding Drop Catcher - NameJet
Outstanding Secondary Market -
Sedo
Best Registrar -
Moniker
Best Parking Company (tie):
Sedo and Parked.com
Best Aftermarket -
Afternic
Best Forum - DNForum.com
Best Blog Community (3-way tie): SevenMile.com (Frank Schilling), Elliot's Blog (Elliot Silver) and Domain Name News (Adam Strong and FrankMichlick).
Best Industry Coverage - DNJournal.com

One of the Name Intelligence Awards 
presented last night.

After the Awards dinner everyone boarded buses for Club 443 where TrafficZ hosted a fundraising casino night party to benefit Grassroots.org. Attendees donated money for chips and at the end of the night those with the highest winnings were given an array of prizes provided by sponsors. You can see some of the action in the photo below:

Casino night fundraiser for Grassroots.org

I'm off now for another busy day today. I'll have a Sunday show recap for you tomorrow.
(Posted April 20, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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The 2008 Domain Roundtable conference got underway with a welcoming cocktail party at the elegant Palace Hotel in San Francisco last night. This fourth edition of Roundtable is the first to be held outside of the Seattle area where show sponsor Name Intelligence (parent of DomainTools.com) is based. The 2008 venue, a historic hotel originally built in 1875 then reconstructed after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fires is truly magnificent.

 

Part of the crowd at the Domain Roundtable welcoming cocktail party
at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco Friday night (April 18).

The first full day of conference activity gets underway today with a CEO Roundtable, followed by five more sessions, including an afternoon Q and A session with Google's Matt Cutts. The evening schedule will feature the Name Intelligence Awards Dinner followed by a fundraising casino night party at Club 443 to benefit Grassroots.org. The conference continues through Monday. I'll have a daily highlight post here in the Lowdown and we will of course also produce a comprehensive show wrap-up article that will be published on our home page within a week after the conference ends.
(Posted April 19, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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I'll by flying all day tomorrow (en route to the Domain Roundtable conference in San Francisco) so there won't be a Lowdown post Friday. However, starting Saturday I will post a daily item from the show at the Palace Hotel. The event runs through Monday with a big live auction scheduled for the closing day. 

Soon after Roundtable ends, the spotlight shifts to London where the UK's largest web related conference, Internet World will be held April 29 - May 1. The domain business will be represented there by Sedo, Nominet and Edwin Hayward's MemorableDomains.co.uk. Hayward, who has one of the best .co.uk portfolios, plans to put 2,000 of them up for sale at Internet World, including such gems as Britain.co.uk, SearchEngine.co.uk and Maps.co.uk.

Earl's Court - London
Site of the Internet World show starting Apr. 29

In a press release issued today Hayward said "A generic domain name is an investment that can bring more online visits, leads and sales by driving recognition and recall of a company's web address, building credibility and market presence, improving website usability and lifting the results of search promotions." If you're going to the show you can visit Hayward at Stand E277 in the Earl's Court exhibition hall. 

Elsewhere, Sedo's latest monthly GreatDomains.com online premium domain auction got underway today (it closes April 24). Names on the block this time aorund include Sociology.com, Chianti.com, Bond.com and Won.com to name just a few. 

Canada's .ca hit 1 million 
registrations this week

One other note - Canada's .ca country code hit the one million registrations mark this week. I've always thought .ca and America's .us could be sleeping giants, given the size of those nation's economies, the rapid expansion of the web and an ongoing trend toward localization. The ccTLDs of some of the other the major industrial countries are already powerhouses with Germany's .de and Great Britain's .co.uk. the prime examples. 

China's .cn, though not yet a big factor in the aftermarket, is also raising a lot of eyebrows with over 11 million names registered now (only .com, .de and .net have more and it looks like .cn will soon pass .net). Over the past year I've also seen increasing aftermarket sales  

activity for .fr (France) and .es (Spain) domains. Certainly you can't beat .com for universal recognition but the stronger country codes have proven to be excellent investments as well. 
(Posted April 17, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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Philip Reynolds, the General Manager at Thought Convergence, has joined the Board of Directors of the Internet Commerce Association (the domain industry trade association based in Washington, D.C.). Under ICA bylaws each class of members is allowed to elect someone to 

represent their class on the organization's board. Reynolds was unanimously selected by Gold Members ($25,000 donors) as their board representative.

At Thought Convergence Reynolds is responsible for the management and oversight of the company’s day-to-day operations, and participates in strategic planning for its TrafficZ, LeaseThis.com and Idea.net divisions. In addition to his managerial duties, Reynolds serves as an in-house counsel and advises the company on various bodies of law, including intellectual property, corporate and contract.  

Through his tenure at Thought Convergence, Reynolds has developed a deep understanding of the unique position of domain asset holders and the critical importance of securing and 

 

                   Philip Reynolds
Thought Convergence GM has joined 
the Board of Directors of the Internet Commerce Association

protecting their rights. As a member of the Internet Commerce Association Board of Directors, Reynolds is working to protect and promote the interests of the domain name community and seeks to influence the fledgling body of laws and regulations that govern the industry. 

Reynolds earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, with honors and distinction in major, from the University of California, Santa Barbara and holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
(Posted April 16, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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When I opened my local newspaper, The Tampa Tribune, this morning there was news that the paper's parent company, Media General, was going to offer buyouts to staff members at

both the Tribune and the local NBC-TV affiliate that Media General owns, WFLA Channel 8. Of course, it is all part of ongoing downsizing of newspapers around the country (and increasingly TV stations too) as their advertisers spend more and more money online instead of in traditional media.

While the newspapers are getting clobbered what does that mean for makers of newspaper printing presses? Are they today's version of buggy whips? That is how reader Rob Sequin (of SearchDomainsForSale.com) characterized them when he sent me a link to another story about a convention of newspaper equipment suppliers (NEXCO) held in Washington, D.C. over the weekend.

Panel moderator Dennis Nierman, president of AlfaQuest Technologies Inc., referring to the steady revenue declines that are plaguing the newspaper  industry said, "We, too, are feeling

the pain."  Nierman, whose company makes a product that allows printing plates to be made from digital files, said it was "discouraging" to see the exhibition floor relatively empty, as it was for part of the day Saturday, the first day of the show.

Nierman had to feel a little better when George Irish, president of Hearst Corp's newspaper division, noted that his company had $250 million committed to printing press updates, with more on the way, and Dean Singleton, CEO of Denver-based MediaNews Group Inc. said his company spent $500 million on press-related products over the past three years. As Sequin said, "Wow, that is a HUGE investment in buggy whips!" Amen, brother. I'm sure owners of web media properties are thinking they could get a pretty good hosting account or buy a new server or two for that kind of money!
(Posted April 15, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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Australian domainer Ed Keay-Smith has been posting some top-notch podcasts on his OzDomainer.com website. The latest one posted over the weekend features Michael and 

David Castello (who were featured in our December 2006 Cover Story). I just finished listening to the 60-minute program and it was a very engrossing show, even though I was already very familiar with David and Michael's background and their domain business. There were still plenty of interesting anecdotes I had not heard before.  

I was also struck by the exceptional sound quality of the 

David Castello (L) and Michael Castello
Castello Cities Internet Network, Inc.

program - as good as I have ever heard on a podcast. Though Ed conducted the interview over trans-oceanic phone lines, both he and the Castello brothers sound like they are sitting next to you in your living room. Check it out, I'm sure you'll find the time well spent. 

If you like what you hear you will also want to check out the other five podcasts Ed has posted since he started in early March. Those featured Michael Gilmour (WhizzbangsBlog.com), Elliot Silver (ElliotsBog.com), Rick Latona (RickLatona.com), James Martell (AffiliateMarketersBootcamp.com) and the dynamic duo of Dan Kimball and Sean Stafford (DNZoom.com)
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I'm going to close out the week with a few interesting tidbits that came in over the past few days that I haven't had a chance to run before now. First, I just got a note from top-notch 

domain attorney Ari Goldberger today telling me that his sister and long-time personal assistant Leora Garret was featured on the local CBS-TV station (Channel 3 in Philadelphia) after losing 140 pounds in just 9 months on the Smart For Life Cookie Diet! Leora's story is also available on the TV station's website. Ari (who was the subject of our June 2006 Cover Story) said he tried the diet too and lost 25 pounds. That certainly caught my attention and I'm sure I'm not the only one whom the sedentary business of domaining has negatively affected weight wise over the past few years. The special cookies at the center of this diet are laced with proteins that help kill hunger pangs according to program advocate Dr. Scott Greenberg. As the TV station's article notes, other doctors have concerns about the cookie diet so it would be wise to do your own due diligence before trying it yourself.

Ari Goldberger

Here comes another re-purposed ccTLD that will be marketed to the public as a general purpose extension. This time it is .me which is Montenegro's country code. That nation has signed a deal with an independent company that will operate a new .me registry to market the domains as being perfect for personal use. Their slogan is .Me is about You! Sunrise (trademark) applications will be accepted in May with land rush applications scheduled for June, followed by the start of public registration July 17. Afilias, who provides back end registry services for .org, .info and many ccTLDs, will do the same for .me.

Oversee.net (the parent of DomainSponsor.com, Moniker.com and SnapNames.com) made a key appointment to their executive team this week adding David Subar as the company's Chief Technology Officer. He will be responsible for building and implementing technology that supports Oversee’s core activities in its Domain Services and Marketing Services divisions, while 

aligning the Company’s technology resources for further expansion. Oversee CEO and co-founder Lawrence Ng (who was featured in our March 2008 Cover Story) said "Technology is 

critical to Oversee’s success and the appointment of David to CTO fills an essential and strategic leadership role in the company. We’re committed to developing the best technology to serve our stakeholders—domain investors, advertisers and consumers. David will help us explore the most appropriate growth avenues to provide competitive products and services in a rapidly evolving industry."  

Subar has over 18 years of experience in software development and product management for start-ups and mature companies. Previously, he was CIO at Interthinx, a fraud detection and risk mitigation company serving the financial services industry. He has held numerous technology leadership positions in startups for venture capitalists and was CTO at PeopleLink, an idealab! company. Of course, I am most impressed by the fact he is an Ohio State University graduate (I also went to OSU - Go Buckeyes!).
(Posted April 11, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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Score one for the good guys. Back in February we told you about the owners of Kooks.com (Global DNS LLC) filing a lawsuit against a company called Kooks Custom Headers that was 

attempting to reverse hijack their domain by filing an unwarranted WIPO action against them. Knowing that the WIPO and UDRP decks are stacked against domain owners (who lose over 80% of the time) Global DNS decided to go on the offensive and haul the header company into court. While that case continues to wind its way through the system, a decision has just come down in the WIPO action and Kooks.com won

While we firmly believe that valid trademarks should be respected, people need to realize that there are bad actors on both sides of the field. 

Many trademark holders have tried to literally steal domains they have no right to through the UDRP process or in the court system (where they hope to bleed their victims financially until they are forced to surrender the domains the attacker wants). This was one of the few instances where I've seen a domain owner turn the tables by filing suit against the TM bully first. Perhaps the favorable WIPO decision will now help Global win the court battle as well.

Domain Name Wire has a similar heartening story today about Shoppers.com. Xedoc Holding won the domain in a Pool.com auction in February (for $166,000) and almost as soon as the auction ended one of the losing bidders, SUPERVALU Inc. filed a UDRP to try to take the domain away from  them. SUPERVALU has a trademark on the word "shoppers" for groceries and pharmaceuticals only but like the Kooks Header people they decided to over-reach and claim ownership of the generic dictionary word." Wrong choice! The UDRP decision has come down and Xedoc rightfully keeps the name. By the way, congratulations go to one of the top attorneys in our space, Paul Keating of Renova Ltd. who represented Xedoc in this filing.

Paul Keating

(Posted April 10, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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As a follow-up to yesterday's post, as I expected a widely quoted news article that claimed ICANN CEO and President Paul Twomey had made anti-domainer comments at a conference in 

Dubai last week proved to be false. ICANN Media Adviser Jason Keenan dropped me a note today saying "I have discussed the Gulf News report with Paul Twomey and he has asked me to clarify that the article incorrectly suggested that he has concerns with domainers. 

Keenan wrote, "As Paul said to me: "When asked to look ahead at what might happen on the Internet, I did say it was likely domainers would move increasingly into the ccTLD space. In no way did I say or suggest that domainers were a negative force in any way and certainly did not refer to them as "a downside." The many domainers I have met and chatted with at meetings across the globe will know I would never say such a thing. As I noted in my closing remarks at the Dubai meeting, the marketplace has evolved and domainers are a part of the robust domain name market that exists today."

Dr. Paul Twomey
ICANN CEO & President

That statement is consistent with everything I have heard from Dr. Twomey in the past, which is why I did not believe what I read in the article. His comment that domainers would increasingly move into the ccTLD space is a valid observation and certainly not one that should surprise anyone.  Just as land investors will put their money where they sense good opportunities for growth, those who think domains have a strong future will invest their money in areas they expect to expand. Domains are no different than any other kind of proven asset. People will invest their money where they see value. The idea that there is something somehow wrong with this - especially since it is the very basis of free world economics - has always baffled me. My belief is that this odd prejudice against domain owners that is not directed at those who invest in other asset classes stems primarily from jealousy.

Critics don't want to acknowledge that domain owners put a lot of capital at risk (especially years ago when registration fees were far higher than they are today) buying assets that everyone else told them they were idiots to buy. Now that those people have proven to be not as stupid as a lot of people thought those who missed the boat are trying to rewrite the rule book and get their hands on the assets they ridiculed a decade ago. Part of their hijacking strategy is to constantly demonize domain investors. Whenever this happens the offending parties should be called on it as the facts clearly speak for themselves.
(Posted April 9, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2008/dailyposts/04-09-08.htm

Did he really say that? I wasn't going to comment on this until I hear what ICANN CEO and President Paul Twomey has to say about it, but since many other sites are already buzzing (and possibly jumping to conclusions) about it, I'll offer my initial thoughts on the developing 

brouhaha. 

It started when an article at GulfNews.com (a site that covers developments in the Middle East) had Twomey lumping domainers into the same category as cybersquatters  and typosquatters when he spoke at an Internet conference in Dubai last week. When commenting about the possible introduction of new TLDs and IDNs that would allow local languages to be used on both sides of the dot,  reporter Scott Shuey quoted Twomey as saying that while many would welcome the ability to have domain names in their native languages, there are a number of downsides, including cyber-squatting, typo-squatting and domaining

Shuey added (and the absence of quotation marks in his article leads me to believe these are his words, not Twomey's) "Domaining, which is technically legal, is still somewhat controversial. Domainers purchase non-trademarked domain 

Dr. Paul Twomey
ICANN President and CEO

names in the hopes of either reselling the name at a profit. Some websites have resold for millions of dollars. Other domainers "park" the domain in order to generate advertising revenue. A parked site usually reroutes users to a website that contains ads. While a number of international laws and internal procedures discourage squatting, domaining is going to be an issue, Twomey said."

My initial reaction when I read this article is that Dr. Twomey would not say something so appallingly ignorant and I think that will turn out to be true. Twomey is familiar with the domain business and I had a front row seat when he delivered a solid keynote address at the 2006 Domain Roundtable conference in Seattle.  

I am cautious about taking the comments attributed to him at face value because it is a sad fact that people are frequently misquoted in news reports. It has happened many times to me when I have been interviewed by others, including top notch news organizations. In fact the most blatant instance of this occurred when a Washington Post reporter (who has since left the paper) twisted things I said beyond recognition. The Post just won six Pulitzer prizes this 

week so if it can happen there it can happen anywhere. 

The Internet Commerce Association is sending Twomey a letter asking him to confirm what was said in Dubai. If it turns out he really did say this then my opinion would be that he should resign from ICANN. However, until I hear it from the horse's mouth I will have a real problem believing the comments attributed to Twomey are accurate.

(Posted April 8, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2008/dailyposts/04-08-08.htm

WashingtonVC partners Eric Litman and Michael Mann were featured in a Washington Post piece by Zachary Goldfarb today titled Building His Own Start-Up Ecosystem. The article 

Eric Litman (left) and Michael Mann
WashingtonVC.com

focused on Litman who started working with Mann  after each helped found companies (Proxicom for Litman and BuyDomains for Mann) that were sold in multi-million dollar transactions. At WashingtonVC they are funding and helping build a wide variety of new companies, many of which are based on killer domain names like SEO.com and Phone.com

Litman told the post, "There's the perception that the Internet is done in terms of  

innovation (but) we're still at the very beginning in terms of human-computer interaction models in terms of opportunities."

Goldfarb wrote, "In addition to the cash, WashingtonVC provides important corporate back-end services that many start-up companies can't afford or don't know much about, such as marketing strategy, human resources, legal advice, etc. Litman, who spent several years investing in and commuting to East Asia calls the concept "keiretsu," a Japanese word referring to a company that's at the center of a business ecosystem."
(Posted April 7, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2008/dailyposts/04-07-08.htm

Moniker's latest live domain auction was held today at the Casino Affiliates Convention in Amsterdam. The going was slow this time out with total sales coming in just a bit above

$100,000. The top sales were Winnings.com ($27,000), Roulette.mobi ($15,000), OnlineCasino.at ($7,500) and CasinoGuests.com ($5,100). Michael Berkens monitored today's auction and has a complete list of auction results on his blog. The names that did not sell in the live auction and hundreds of additional domains are still up for bid in an accompanying online silent auction that will conclude on April 10. You can download a copy of the complete auction inventory list from the Moniker website.

One other note today - we ran one more set of 1st quarter 2008 sales numbers to round out the information we posted Wednesday April 2 (total value of all reported domain sales, which hit an all-time high) and Thursday April 3 (average price of the domains sold, also a new high). Today we can add the median sales price of all of the sales reported to us in 1Q-2008 (the median price is the price at which 50% of sales were higher and 50% were lower). That number for 1Q-2008 was $2,750, just a hair above the $2,700 median price in the same quarter a year ago and exactly the same as the median for all of 2007. If you look at .com sales only, the median price in 1Q-2008 was $3,000, almost unchanged from 1Q-2007 when the number was $3,100.
(Posted April 4, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2008/dailyposts/04-04-08.htm

HOT LINK - An auction for Pizza.com ended at GreatDomains this afternoon with the winning bid coming in at $2,605,000. The Baltimore Sun already has a story out on Chris Clark, the local man who put the domain up for sale. You can read it here
(Posted April 3, 2008)

As a follow-up to yesterday's post about the first quarter of 2008 reaching a new high for domain sales I took a look at another metric today after a commentator at Michael Berken's blog wondered if the average selling price of individual domains had done down even though total volume went up. I just ran through our sales database again to find out.

In the first quarter of 2008, 3,764 sales were reported to DN Journal making the average sale reported $10,103. In the first quarter of 2007, 3,086 sales were reported to us but the average price was only $6,886. For all of 2007, 13,888 sales were reported to us and the average sale for the year was $8,698. So 1Q-2008 showed a significant rise in both average sales price and total dollar volume reported.

1Q-2008 did have one exceptionally large 

domain sale - Fund.com at just under $10 million - but that has happened in previous quarters as well - including 2Q-2007 when Porn.com sold for a similar price, $9.5 million. Still no previous quarter on record matched the one just ended. Even if you pretended the Fund.com sale did not happen and just threw it out of the data, total sales in 1Q-2008 would still have been 32% higher than the same quarter a year ago when the general economy was in much better shape than it is now.

I think the news from the economy at large is so bad that we all get the feeling that everything is coming apart. But at least to this point in time, the sales data shows the domain aftermarket is more than holding its own. I'm honestly a little surprised by that because I would have thought that plummeting PPC returns would have affected aftermarket sales more than they have. I think this shows that people buy domains for more reasons than PPC revenue, especially end users who often overlook PPC revenue completely. In my own experience virtually all of my sales are made to small business end users. For those buyers the idea that a domain could have traffic before they develop their website on it is something that never even crosses their mind. 
(Posted April 3, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2008/dailyposts/04-03-08.htm

The domain market is still defying the widely reported downdraft in the general economy. Our latest weekly domain sales report released early this morning concluded the first quarter of 2008. I was anxious to see how 1Q-2008 would stack up against previous quarters because a lot of people have been opining that domain sales seemed to be slowing - basing that 

observation on lower total sales figures than usual at live domain auctions. My opinion, as I wrote several weeks ago, was that the total volume of sales had not changed at all and the total dollar volume was simply getting split among a larger number of live auction venues. 

Now that the final numbers are in, the data bears that out - or to be more accurate it shows that the reality is exactly opposite of the pessimistic opinions that have been expressed. The first quarter of 2008 wound up being the best domain sales quarter reported since we started tracking the market back in the fall of 2003. A total of $38,029,543 in domain sales were reported in 1Q-2008, a spectacular 78% jump over the $21,253,105 reported in the first quarter of 2007 - before the current dislocations in the general 

economy started appearing. 1Q-2008 was also 12% better than the $34,089,484 registered in the fourth quarter of 2007. For all of 2007 $120,805,509 in sales were reported - an average of $30,201,377 per quarter. So the latest quarter was 26% higher than the average quarter last year.

The data shows that the domain market continues to be a beacon of strength in an otherwise deteriorating economy. Will that continue? Who knows - but right now I think we all have reason to be thankful to be in the business we are in.
(Posted April 2, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2008/dailyposts/04-02-08.htm

Sedo has a lot of nice one-word and 3-letter .com domains in their latest monthly GreatDomains live online auction that is scheduled to end Thursday (April 3) around 2pm U.S. 

Eastern time. The 800-pound gorilla on the list is Pizza.com. The supporting cast includes names like Bobblehead.com, Exhibitors.com, Applicant.com and Assistants.com. The 3-letter domains include CTR.com (great acronym for Click Through Rate - a major metric is the domain monetization business) and 

DRT.com which would be a natural for the folks who run the Domain Roundtable conference as its is frequently referred to as DRT. 
(Posted April 1, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2008/dailyposts/04-01-08.htm

deo.us was sold in a Pool.com auction


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