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The Lowdown



February 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)

 

The Internet Commerce Association (InternetCommerce.org) has posted its response to the introduction of a new bill in the U.S. Congress that could have a disastrous impact on the domain industry. I analyzed the situation in our February Newsletter that is going out to our

opt-in subscribers today and also cited the key points in the ICA response to the dangerous language contained in the bill - titled The Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act of 2008. The problem is that while the stated purpose of this bill - curtailing the phishing epidemic - is a good one, language has been slipped into it that could severely impact honest domain name owners, including those with generic and geo domains. 

Some of the best attorneys in the domain space are working with ICA Legal Counsel Phil Corwin to call attention to the problems with the current iteration of the bill and get it changed so that phishers are the victims instead of legitimate domain owners. We would advise you to familiarize yourself with the issue by reading the ICA response, our new newsletter and the many posts on this topic at other news sites and blogs - then contacting your own representatives in Congress to protest. Your financial future could be at stake. 

The downside of having valuable assets is there are people who will try to take them away from you any way they can. It's happening now and the problem will only get worse if you don't stand up and start defending yourself, your business and your industry.

Better yet, join the Internet Commerce Association yourself so the industry will have the resources and manpower needed to counter these kinds of theats - threats that are only going to increase now that domains are a multi-billion dollar business. 
(Posted Feb. 29, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2008/dailyposts/02-29-08.htm

Just got an update on the item below from Associated Cities Executive Director Patrick Carleton who was at the NTIA/ICANN review meeting today in Washington, D.C.  Patrick said that Phil Corwin and veteran domain investor Nat Cohen both had an opportunity to speak from the audience during the 3.5 hour meeting and that both made very good points that were well received from the panelists.  More background on today's session can be found on the NTIA website.

Internet Commerce Association
Legal Counsel Phil Corwin is at the U.S. Department of Commerce auditorium today along with several individual domain investors to sit in on an 

Phil Corwin
ICA Legal Counsel

important National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) mid-term review of the government's Joint Project Agreement (JPA) between the Department and ICANN. ICANN has expressed a desire to be released from U.S. Government oversight so it can operate as an independent international organization. Corwin submitted a letter to the NTIA in advance of the meeting detailing why members of the professional domain investment and development community represented by the ICA do not support termination of U.S. oversight over ICANN at this point in time.

Corwin is also in the process of drafting a response to the proposed Anti-Phishing bill that was introduced by three U.S. Senators earlier this week (see our Feb. 26 post below). While we all support anti-

phishing measures that bill as currently written contains overly broad language that could be used to target honest domain owners as well as those who mis-use domain names to perpetrate fraud. It is just this kind of legislation that we have been warning about for over a year now. 

There are parties searching for a way to change laws so they can more easily take domain assets they have no right to away from their current owners. The easiest way to do that is to get language favoring their agenda slipped into an otherwise well-intentioned bill like this that would normally sail through the legislative process with little scrutiny. The dangerous language gets inserted in such a bill through lobbying efforts by people who want to remove current barriers that keep them from grabbing domains they are not entitled to.  Combating this sort of legislative sleight of hand is exactly why the Internet Commerce Association was formed and why we think it is critical for domain owners to support the organization. Your very livelihood could be at stake in the legal battles over your assets that are just now getting underway.  
(Posted Feb. 28, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2008/dailyposts/02-28-08.htm

A new bill has just been introduced in the U.S. Congress that could have an enormously negative impact on the domain business. The bill, introduced by three Senators, has an 

innocuous title - The Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act of 2008 - but carries what could be a lethal payload for many domain owners. No one can argue with the need to stamp out phishing. The problem is this bill is a trojan horse that would go much further than what the title implies. 

Veteran domain investor Michael Berkens, who is also an attorney, has a good analysis of what is at stake on his TheDomains.com blog today. The Internet Commerce Association is also studying this bill and preparing a response. After looking at it ourselves I plan to write more about the possible consequences should this bill pass in our February newsletter that will be sent out later this week.


Michael Berkens

(Posted Feb. 26, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2008/dailyposts/02-26-08.htm

Moniker's live domain auction at the Affiliate Summit in Las Vegas Monday wound up producing over $360,000 in sales and 50% of the names put on the block were sold. The big 

guns were Offer.com ($180,000), AromaTherapyCandles.com ($22,000) and ReverseLoans.com ($15,000). You can see the complete list of results here. A online silent auction being held in conjunction with the event will continue through March 6. Meanwhile Sedo.com's latest monthly GreatDomains auction is winding down. It closes Thursday (Feb. 28)
(Posted Feb. 26, 2008)

HOT LINK! Network Solutions has been slapped with a class action lawsuit for domain front running. When Network Solutions started doing this early last month they were widely condemned for the practice (we were among the many objecting to their unethical behavior when it came to light). Now the Los Angeles law firm Kabateck Brown Kellner will try to make NetSol pay a financial price for preying on those who visit their site and unwittingly have any domain they simply search for promptly registered by Network Solutions themselves (making sure that the person searching will have to pay NetSol a far above-market registration fee if they want to get the domain for themselves). ICANN was also named in the suit for failing to stop Network Solutions from pursuing this abusive practice.
(Posted Feb. 25, 2008)

Two long-time friends and fellow domain investor/developers Marcia Lynn and Warren Walker have launched a new video site devoted to the domain business at DomainerTV.com. I first met 

Warren and Marcia at the debut T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference in October 2004. We had an immediate rapport as we had all come out of the local TV business. In fact Marcia and Warren are still in it as producers of Myrtle Beach TV, a weekly 30-minute program about life in the South Carolina resort community that airs on the local Fox TV affiliate. They also operate a number of locally oriented sites through their production company Myrtle Beach Inc.

Warren is a professional videographer/editor and Marcia is a top notch editor and producer. If you have attended some of the major domain conferences you have probably seen them filming there as they have been documenting the industry through still photography and video for several years now. Jothan Frakes, Sevan Derderian and I have all conducted interviews  

Warren Walker and Marcia Lynn Walker
of DomainerTV.com

for them from time to time. That material has been posted on a variety of sites but now DomainerTV.com gives them a central site to post their domain related video. 

Marcia and Warren were at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West in Las Vegas last week and were nice enough to document Bido.com's launch party at the Tao Night Club after the opening day of the show. Since no one else knew much about Bido at the time, they asked me to interview my partners in the project, Sahar Sarid, Jeff Bhavnanie and Darren Cleveland, as well as several other well-known domainers, including Kevin Ham, Rick Schwartz, Michael Gilmour and Sean Stafford. The interviews with Sahar, Jeff, Darren and Sean are now up at DomainerTV.com with the others to come shortly. 

Since I have an equity interest in Bido.com I need to note for the record that the interviews with other Bido partners were part of an event held to promote the launch of our new multi-service domain company. As such, even though they serve to document the company's launch, the recorded discussions are not unbiased news interviews. That may seem like I'm stating 

the obvious but since I am both a journalist and an entrepreneur I want to make sure there is never any confusion with regard to which hat I am wearing when the two roles intersect. 

As most of you know, I was a business owner and domain investor/developer long before I started DN Journal on New Year's Day 2003 (I put my first site, a music retail company, online in 1997). As someone who loves creating new businesses more than anything else I expect to continue doing that for the rest of my life. However when any of those businesses are related to the domain industry that I write about as a journalist, it is my responsibility to fully disclose any interest I have in companies that we cover. DN Journal remains a wholly-owned independent company and I will continue to cover the many good people and companies in this industry in a fair and unbiased manner.
(Posted Feb. 25, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2008/dailyposts/02-25-08-2.htm

Less than a week after running the SnapNames Live domain auction at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West, Moniker is conducting another one this afternoon at the Affiliate Summit West conference in 

Las Vegas. The sale gets underway at 3pm U.S. Pacific time (6pm Eastern). You can sign up and bid from home, or just follow the auction by registering at SnapNames. Moniker will also run an extended silent auction in conjunction with the Affiliate Summit that will continue through March 6. 

Meanwhile, DomainTools.com has a Leap Day online auction running from now until 11am Pacific time (2pm Eastern) on Friday (February 29). Check out their bid page and complete auction list for more information on that event.

By the way, DomainTools (and their parent, Name Intelligence, Inc.) will be staging the next big show on the domain conference calendar, Domain RoundtableApril 18-21 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. If you are planning to go you had better arrange accommodations 

now. I booked the hotel yesterday and they were already out of rooms at the conference rate ($239) for the final night (April 21)

I did manage to get that fourth night added to my stay by paying the full standard rate ($299) but had to do that as a separate reservation from the conference booking. The Palace is a desirable location so other nights could also sell out soon. There are other hotels in the area but you can't beat the convenience of staying at the venue where the show is being held. Rooms are 

also in high demand at that time because Ad Tech runs immediately before Roundtable and the Web 2.0 conference starts immediately after Roundtable. Moral of the story: book now to make sure you have a place to stay!
(Posted Feb. 25, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2008/dailyposts/02-25-08.htm

With the general economy going through a very rough patch there was a good bit of conversation at this week's T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West conference about how well the domain industry 

was holding up. After Moniker's SnapNames Live domain auction produced $4.3 million in sales Wednesday, some observers saw that as a "disappointment" that indicated the aftermarket had hit a plateau or might even be stalling out. I ran across a  thread on this topic at one of my favorite forums, DomainState.com, this afternoon and left the post below in response to those who believe the four-year expansion of the domain aftermarket has ended: 

"Actually, based on the fairly decent sampling of aftermarket data we get at DNJournal.com the market has not hit a plateau and year over year is still growing at a brisk pace - which is why I said the market is still strong. Our data clearly shows that is the case. If it changes in the quarters ahead then I will describe it in a different way.

Author speaking about current trends in 
the domain aftermarket at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 
West
in Las Vegas Wednesday (Feb. 20).
(Photo courtesy of Marcia Lynn Walker)

At every T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference I have been asked to speak about the latest trends reflected in the sales data we collect for our weekly domain sales column.  I did that again this past week. When I ran the numbers I found that $121 million worth of sales had been reported to us in 2007, a 70% jump over the $71 million reported to us in 2006 (reported sales are of course just a fraction of the overall market but they provide a representative sample). I think that is an amazing increase considering that the entire second half of 2007 was a time when the general economy was weakening month after month.

There was no such weakening in domain sales. The weakest quarter in 2007 was Q1 as it usually is (the first quarter tends to start off very slowly as people drift back to work after the long holiday season). Thereafter numbers were consistent the rest of the year, totaling between $30-$35 million each quarter, including Q3 and Q4 when there was a heavy downdraft in the general economy. 

How about 2008? We were only 6 weeks into the New Year when I ran the data for the report I gave Wednesday, but at the current weekly rate of sales we will finish around $25 million in Q1 - a jump of almost 20% over Q1 last year (I actually think it will be a good deal higher as T.R.A.F.F.I.C. auctions are still to be completed and counted, as well as several not yet done from DOMAINfest).

I think Michael Berkens had it right. Seems to me we have become quite jaded 

when over $4 million in sales in a single afternoon (of an asset that we all know has very limited liquidity) is pretty decent, especially when over $3 million more was sold on another afternoon at Domainfest just 3 weeks before. Doesn't matter if these sales occur at different venues (and there are a lot more sales venues now), the dollars are still being spent at a faster clip than they were a year ago - the reverse of what we are seeing in the general economy. So I'm not sure that people who say the expansion of the aftermarket has stopped deserve a pat on the back for "telling it like it is" when the best data we have says that's not how it is at all."

Incidentally, DomainState is running a poll in that thread asking their readers if they thought the domain market was in a downturn. At the time of this posting, a huge majority, 65% to 25% answered No. Our data says they are right about that. The ship is not sinking, the sky is not falling and it doesn't appear that the end of the world is at hand. Certainly, things could change as  the year wears on and if they do, we'll tell you when it becomes a fact rather than a false alarm.
(Posted Feb. 23, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2008/dailyposts/02-23-08.htm

I'm traveling back to Florida from Las Vegas today (Friday, Feb. 22) so there won't be a Lowdown post (other than this one). Lots to catch up on when I get back including our T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West 2008 wrap-up article, a double-length domain sales report that will come out late Tuesday night and our February newsletter (not to mention catching up on a few hundred emails!). Have a great weekend and I'll see you back here Monday (if not sooner).
(Posted Feb. 22, 2008)

The 2008 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West conference concluded this morning in Las Vegas with a farewell breakfast and a meeting of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Advisory Board, a panel elected by T.R.A.F.F.I.C. attendees each year to provide suggestions for future conference themes, programs and locations. The next T.R.A.F.F.I.C. event will be in Orlando, Florida May 20-24 at Walt Disney World's Grand Floridian Resort. It is being billed as the first family-oriented T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference with registrants encouraged to bring their spouses and children for the event. Our last post was written last night while Moniker's SnapNames Live Domain Auction was underway. That event ended with $4.3 million in sales, led by SkiResorts.com ($850,000), Meds.com ($460,000), DVDs.com ($300,000) and CPC.com ($200,000).

Scene from Moniker's SnapNames Live Domain Auction at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West 2008
conference at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas last night (Feb. 20)

Veteran domain investor Michael Berkens has the full list of auction results on his blog here. On another page, Berkens also posted commentary that we think accurately sums up the overall results from this auction as they relate to the current state of he overall domain market which remains strong.

We will be heading back to our home base in Florida tomorrow to begin work on our comprehensive conference wrap-up article that will appear on our home page by the end of next week. We have more than 1,200 photos and piles of notes to sort through in the meantime so  that we can produce the definitive event chronicle you have come to expect from us.
(Posted Feb. 21, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2008/dailyposts/02-21-08.htm

Moniker's SnapNames Live Domain Auction is underway as I write this today from the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West domain conference at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. I just slipped out to post an update on show events yesterday and earlier today since there has been no

Scene from the TrafficZ Party at the Rio Hotel last
night (Feb. 19) in Las Vegas. This outdoor deck at the Voodoo Lounge offered a spectacular 360-degree
view of the Las Vegas skyline from 51 stories up.

time to do it before now. Tuesday's highlights included a full round of seminars on the conference theme "transparency in the domain industry", or more to the point - the lack thereof. I'll have details on each of those sessions in our comprehensive show wrap-up article that will be published late next week. The business day was followed by Jim McCann's keynote speech (noted in my earlier post today), then a great party hosted by show sponsor TrafficZ at the Rio Hotel's 51st floor Voodoo Lounge (see photo at left).

For me and many others, the highlight of today's schedule thus far has been an unexpected delight delivered by Kevin Ham of Reinvent Technology. During the day's first panel discussion

Kevin Ham delivering a truly memorable
talk at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West 2008 this
morning (Feb. 20)

(about what has been learned from previous keynote speakers at T.R.A.F.F.I.C.) Ham, probably the most financially successful domain investor of all time, delivered a spontaneous from the heart talk about what constitutes real success in life that, with its focus on family and loved ones, left some in the room near tears. It was one of the most eloquent and moving speeches I have ever heard and Ham was given a well deserved standing ovation when he finished. Since it was early in the morning and most registrants slept in after being out late last night, only a few were lucky enough to be in the room when Ham started talking. I'm sure glad I was one of them.

There were two other excellent seminar sessions before the auction began this afternoon. The seminars and panel discussions at this show were some of the best I've seen in a long time. More on all of them in our wrap up article next week. I

have to head back out for the close of the auction and the farewell dinner tonight. The show closes tomorrow morning with a bon voyage breakfast and a T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Board of Advisors meeting. After those conclude I'll post tomorrow with highlights, final auction results and pix from the closing conference events.

Before heading back the floor, below are a couple of photos from Sunday's pre-conference Exotic Car Road Rally, courtesy of Barbara Neu.

Some of the cool rides in the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Road Rally Sunday (Feb. 17)

Sahar Sarid tries a Lamborghini on for size.

(Posted Feb. 20, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2008/dailyposts/02-20-08-2

Just enough time for a quick update as I'm heading out the door to start the final full day of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C West conference in Las Vegas. There's been no downtime since yesterday's 

1800Flowers.com Founder Jim McCann 
delivering his well-received keynote 
speech at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West in 
Las Vegas last night.

post thanks to Tuesday's jam-packed schedule that ended in the wee hours this morning with TrafficZ's official (and awesome) show party in the indoor/outdoor Voodoo Lounge, 51 stories up atop the Rio Hotel. Just before the party, 1800Flowers.com founder Jim McCann delivered a terrific keynote speech at dinner. 

Despite the late night I have to get off to an early start this morning with an Internet Commerce Association (InternetCommerce.org) board meeting at 8am (local time). Immediately after that I will on the first panel discussion of the day at 10am then will speak solo about domain sales trends at lunch. Following the afternoon seminars Moniker's big SnapNames Live domain auction will get underway at 3:30pm (Pacific time). Once that event is off and running I expect to have a chance to put together a more detailed post 

(with pictures) about yesterday's events at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. as well as some of today's happenings that will have been completed by then. I also got hold of some cool pictures from Sunday's pre-conference exotic car road rally. So, check back in this evening for more from Las Vegas!

One other non-conference item to note - The .asia land rush starts today. Will be interesting to see the interest level for this newest member of the TLD family.
(Posted Feb. 20, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2008/dailyposts/02-20-08

The T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West 2008 domain conference got underway last night at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. Several hundred people were on hand for the welcoming cocktail party

that was followed by a special low or no reserve live domain auction at 8pm. Moniker.com conducted the special auction that served as an appetizer for their main live auction event coming up Wednesday afternoon (Feb. 20) at 3:30pm (U.S. Pacific Time). Just a few dozen names were put on the block in the warm up event last night, but those produced almost $200,000 in sales. The domains that sold included Cabinets.net ($20,000), Stereotypes.com ($19,000), Snowmobiles.net ($17,000), GrandCayman.net ($13,000) and CentralAmerica.net ($12,000)

Scene from last night's no/low reserve live 
domain auction conducted by Moniker.com 
at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West 2008 in Las Vegas.

The first full day of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference gets underway at 9:45am (local time) today and will include an 11:15am panel discussion on Transparency in the Domain Industry which is the theme of this show. Other scheduled highlights will be tonight's keynote speech from 1-800-Flowers.com founder Jim McCann, followed by TrafficZ.com's official T.R.A.F.F.I.C. party. 

Bido.com co-founders (left to right) Darren 
Cleveland
, Jeff Bhavnanie, Sahar Sarid and 
Ron Jackson
at last night's launch party in 
Las Vegas.

In another event after last night's auction in Las Vegas, the co-founders of Bido.com (Sahar Sarid, Jeff Bhavnanie, Darren Cleveland and myself) hosted the new company's official launch party at the Tao Nightclub. The first of a wide range of domain owner oriented services that Bido plans to roll out over the next 12 months was unveiled last night - a new live online auction format that will feature just one domain a day to give sellers the maximum possible exposure for their high profile domains (and the lowest sales commission in the  

industry - 8%). As a new educational feature each domain will also be accompanied by comments from a panel of experts who will provide personal opinions of that day's domain. The Bido auctions are to begin when the site launches Feb. 29.

Full house at the Bido.com launch party last night at Tao in Las Vegas.

In another step aimed at building and assembling the best possible suite of domain investor services, Bido announced that the groundbreaking domain management platform DNZoom.com that we recently profiled and the team that developed that free product have both been brought under the Bido.com umbrella. The company believes that move will ensure it has the right people and technology in place to roll out the additional services planned for the months ahead.

(L to R): Rick Schwartz, Frank Schilling and 
Kevin Ham at the Bido.com launch party.

(Posted Feb. 19, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2008/dailyposts/02-19-08

I'm heading out to Las Vegas this morning for the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West Conference that will be getting underway this evening at the Venetian Hotel. T.R.A.F.F.I.C. opens with a 5:30pm 

cocktail party followed by an 8pm no or low reserve live auction of 50 domain names that will be conducted by Moniker, who will also conduct the main live auction under the SnapNames Live banner Wednesday afternoon (Feb. 20) starting at 3:30pm (U.S. Pacific time). 

After tonight's opening T.R.A.F.F.I.C. festivities I will join my fellow co-founders, Sahar Sarid, Jeff Bhavnanie and Darren Cleveland to host the launch party for Bido.com at the Tao Nightclub starting at 10pm. With a cross country flight and all of those activities 

still ahead this day probably won't end until 4-5am in my home Eastern time zone, so if you are looking for me in Las Vegas this evening, just look for the nearest coffee urn! 

Starting tomorrow I'll post a daily item from T.R.A.F.F.I.C. in this column. Then, as always, the week after the show concludes, we will publish our comprehensive conference wrap up on the home page. 

Before heading out, I want to point you to a very interesting and encouraging page posted by the owners of Kooks.com who are fighting a reverse hijacking attempt by suing a company that is trying to steal their generic name. We will see more and more of these reverse hijacking attempts in the months and years ahead (ways to combat that trend will be talked about by the Internet Commerce Association (InternetCommerce.org) at T.R.A.F.F.I.C.). It is costing the Kooks.com owners a lot of money to defend their rights and this kind of costly litigation could befall any generic domain owner unless new rules or laws are enacted to prevent this kind of attempted theft.
(Posted Feb. 18, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2008/dailyposts/02-18-08

Blogger Steve Morales opened a site devoted to geodomains at SimplyGeo.com in December that quickly attracted an audience interested in the rapidly growing geo sector. Actually it 

attracted more than an audience - it attracted an investor - and a well-known one in geo circles, Skip Hoagland (owner of Atlanta.com, MyrtleBeach.com, Cuba.com and many others. A post on the site this morning announced that Hoagland had joined Morales in an LLC partnership that will operate the site going forward. 

Hoagland has had a busy 48 hours. Yesterday he announced plans to develop an association of .com sports domain owners that is to be modeled after the successful Associated Cities group of geodomain owners that he co-founded. The sports group will be called the EnthusiastSports.com Network and Hoagland, who owns Fishing.com, expects it to attract owners of key domains in all sports who would work to share ideas and cross-promote each other's properties, just as Associated Cities owners do now. 

After attending the GeoDomain Expo that Associated Cities staged in November I predicted that their group could well end up serving as a model for many other domain owners to follow. The trick is finding a vertical where members are

Skip Hoagland
new partner in SimplyGeo.com

not direct competitors so that they have no qualms about helping each other get ahead. It works with geos since every city is unique as well as in sports where each sport is different. 

Look to see more networks of this kind in the future. Even traditional media outlets are getting into the act in an effort to boost their web properties. Four major publishers (Gannett, Hearst, the New York Times and the Tribune Company) just announced today that they are joining forces to form an ad network called quadrantOne that will allow national advertisers to make a single ad buy that will put their banners on websites operated by all of the network's members.
(Posted Feb. 15, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2008/dailyposts/02-15-08

HOT LINK! Moniker has released the auction catalog for next week's live auction at  the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West conference in Las Vegas (as well as for an associated silent auction). The live/silent events will feature 3,500 domain names.
(Posted Feb. 15, 2008)

About 30% of all media is now consumed online with the Internet now running a close second to TV as the medium consumers devote the most time to. Despite all of those eyeballs

on the web, only 7.5% of advertising dollars are currently spent online. That is a huge imbalance that will be corrected over time, creating a gigantic flow of new ad dollars to the web. The immediate question though is how did that gap between market share of consumers and market share of advertising become so large? Why aren't advertisers already spending the share of their budget that they should be online?

The answers to those questions are in an interesting new column by Steve Latham at Online Media Daily. Latham cited a new McKinsey study of 410 marketing executives that found that they were so far behind the curve because they and/or their advertising agencies simply did not have sufficient

30% of media is now consumed 
on the web
yet advertisers only 
spend 7.5% of their budgets online
That makes no sense, so what's up?

capabilities to properly redirect their resources where they belong, even though they are wasting untold amounts of money on traditional outlets that no longer deliver the audience the web does! They are like a giant battleship trying to turn on a dime. Here is the survey breakdown giving the execs' answers as to why they have been so slow to react:

  • 52% said Insufficient metrics to measure impact,

  • 41% said Insufficient in-house capabilities,

  • 33% said Difficulty of convincing upper management,

  • 24% said Limited reach of digital tools, and

  • 18% said insufficient capabilities at agency.

There are lots of other interesting details in the article so check it out. Those ad dollars, and a lot of them, are coming to the web. It's just a matter of exactly when they will arrive. 
(Posted Feb. 14, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/
lowdown/2008/dailyposts/02-14-08

With more and more domain owners looking into development, SEO and marketing ideas are becoming very popular topics in the domain industry. MarketingSherpa.com just posted their annual ad:tech Survey detailing what the top web advertisers view as the best and worst online marketing tactics. There are some very interesting and surprising stats in the report

including the fact that 57% of marketers surveyed said that SEO produced "great ROI and outperformed other tactics" including paid search. That's a big move upward from the 45% that agreed with that statement the previous year (only  33% agreed with it in 2005). 

Meanwhile marketer satisfaction with the ROI from paid search is going the opposite direction with only 34% now saying it produces the best ROI, a big drop from the 49% approval rating paid search had in 2006. MediaPost.com pointed us to 

blogger Janet Meiners at MarketingPilgrim.com who says that increased competition and higher costs have lowered marketer's enthusiasm for paid search. That would at least partially explain the lower PPC payouts so many domain owners are reporting.

(Posted Feb. 13, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2008/dailyposts/02-13-08

Sedo.com will run a geodomain auction for 7 days starting tomorrow (Feb. 13) at 2pm (U.S. Eastern time). Sedo said they organized a focused auction of “geodomains” and other travel-related names to make them more attainable for buyers while offering a targeted buyer base to domain sellers. The auction will feature Arabia.com, Iran.com, Iraq.com, Glasgow.com and Kosovo.com to name just a few. The full auction list is available here. By the way, if you are a geodomain fan you won't to miss our new February Cover Story on one of the real giants in that category - Dan Pulcrano of Boulevards New Media

Elsewhere TrafficZ.com has sent out an email alert to their customers warning about a phishing email scam being run by someone in China using the typo-domain TrofficZ.com (notice the "o" where the "a" belongs). It is an attempt to trick people into sending them their TrafficZ user ID 

and password. The con artist sent out emails spoofing the email address of TrafficZ personnel. TrafficZ's Sam Aidun said "The title of these emails usually read “TrafficZ | Domain Termination Notice”. The “notice” states that one of your domains has been deleted from your TrafficZ account and to visit Traffiz.com within 

72 hours or your account will be blocked.  The sender is listed as Deborah Amar, one of our Client Relations Specialists." If the recipient clicked on the link in the email they were taken to a fake TrafficZ site on TrofficZ.com. 

The phony site was no longer resolving when we checked today but this is another reminder to be cautious about clicking links in emails. Phishing used to be targeted primarily toward banks and financial institutions but with the boom in the domain industry some of the better known companies in this space are now in the crosshairs of criminals as well. 

By the way, with the continuing success of the domain business when so many other areas of the economy have hit a rough patch of road, some people are wondering if we could be in another bubble. Only time will answer that question, but there is an extremely entertaining music video at YouTube on the topic now called Here Comes Another Bubble. Check it out, it's hilarious and it has already been viewed by over 190,000 visitors!

(Posted Feb. 12, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2008/dailyposts/02-12-08

The winner of the Bido.com drawing for a free ticket to next week's T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West conference in Las Vegas (retail value $1,995) is Florida's Bob DeCecco. Bido.com held the free ticket drawing to celebrate the company's coming out party that will be held one week from

tonight (Feb. 18) at the famous Tao Nightclub in Las Vegas. Details of what Bido is all about will be released at the party and the site is scheduled to launch Feb. 29. Everyone who registered at the Bido site between February 1 and the end of the contest today at 12 Noon U.S. Eastern time was entered in the drawing. Congratulations to Mr. DeCecco!

(Posted Feb. 11, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2008/dailyposts/02-11-08

Too bad it took an impending recession to do it, but domain names are finally getting their turn in the spotlight in mainstream business news. This is largely because the boom in this 

business  stands out more than ever when compared to the drop off in so many other parts of the economy. That is a story angle reporters can't resist. I've seen more unbiased stories about this industry in major mainstream newspapers and magazines just since New Year's Day than I have seen in any full year since I entered the business. 

The latest, published just last night (Feb. 8), is one of the best yet. It comes from Investor's Business Daily, one of the true icons in the business media world. The article, titled Domain Name Game Still Going Strong; Tad Less Secretive, was written by Brian Deagon with 

whom I spoke at length prior to publication of the piece. In speaking with him I could tell that Deagon was a very meticulous reporter who would deliver a comprehensive, fair and accurate article and that is exactly what he did. This kind of reporting is what has made IBD the respected and influential publication that it is - and talk about a corporation that gets it - how about their killer generic domain name - Investors.com
(Posted Feb. 9, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2008/dailyposts/02-09-08

Just days after announcing they had brokered the $4 million sale of adult entertainment portal FreePorn.com, Moniker.com announced another blockbuster tonight when they 

confirmed they handled a $4.5 million deal that included entertainment website Bored.com. That site was valued at $4 million, with the other $500,000 coming from a package of 170 associated domains and websites. New owner JW Media will continue operation of the popular Bored.com site that was established in 1997 and now attracts 2 million visitors a month. 
(Posted Feb. 8, 2008)

Big congratulations to Parked.com Account Manager Christian Higgins and his wife Kim who won $50,000 as contestants on the popular syndicated TV game show Who Wants to Be 

a Millionaire. Chris, one of the industry's true nice guys, has been carrying the secret around with him for many weeks now. The show was taped in New York City late last fall but the soon to be married couple was not allowed to tell anyone how they did until the broadcast aired tonight (Feb. 8). Parked.com is based in Tampa Florida, where we are also located, so I'm sure all of Chris's friends at Parked were watching the local CBS station (WTSP-TV) at the same time we were this evening. 

Chris and Kim answered a string of tough questions correctly to ring up the hefty prize 

Parked.com Account Manager Christian 
Higgins 
and wife Kim share a kiss after 
winning $50,000 on TV game show.

total. As an added bonus the show, which had a Wedding Week theme, also surprised them with a pair of 24-karat gold or platinum wedding bands (they get to choose between the two precious metals). Congrats Christian and Kim and we wish you a wonderful and prosperous life together. You are certainly off to a great start!
(Posted Feb. 8, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2008/dailyposts/02-08-08-2

If you can't beat them join them. In what is believed to be a first, a well-known daily newspaper has just announced that it will stop printing a daily paper but will continue to 

There won't be as many newspapers in 
the trash in Madison, Wisconsin when 
their daily paper goes all digital in April. 

operate as a web publication only. The Capital Times, a newspaper that has been publishing continuously since 1917 in the state capital city of Madison, Wisconsin said it is making the move in "an effort to fully embrace the future of news." The switchover is to take place on April 30. 

The paper's Associate Editor John Nichols told Editor & Publisher magazine "It is hard to be an afternoon daily newspaper in the world of 24/7 television and the Internet. It is hard to keep fresh and current." Nichols added  that traffic to the paper's website (which benefits from being located on Madison.com) has soared in recent years, making the time right to go all digital. We are sure his paper won't be the last to make this decision, but The Capital Times now has the distinction of marking a key turning point in media history.

(Posted Feb. 8, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2008/dailyposts/02-08-08

It has been very interesting to see how the "tone" in mainstream press articles about the domain industry has changed for the better this year. In the past there always seemed to be a 

noticeable anti-domain business bias in many articles so it has been refreshing to see a lot of journalists going back to being journalists instead of editorialists in their news coverage. The latest example is a piece called What's in a (Domain) Name? Some Serious Cash by Chris Gaylord published in the Christian Science Monitor today. Chris sticks to the facts and relates them in a way that the man on the street can understand. 

The true value of domains as investments, advertising billboards and business platforms is finally getting its just due. As I have mentioned before, a lot of this favorable new attention stems from the fact that domains now offer a great story angle for mainstream reporters. At a time when many other corners of the economy 

have hit tough sledding, the domain business continues to more than hold its own. 2008 has yet to play out but if the status quo continues, the stature of the domain business should only increase in the eyes of investors looking for a port in the storm.
(Posted
Feb. 7, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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The power of a great domain name  to free businesses from reliance on search engine traffic was demonstrated yet again when PalmSprings.com announced a record for visitors in 

January when 173,255 unique guests visited the site. Kate Buckley, Executive VP with PalmSprings.com's parent company, Castello Cities Internet Network (CCIN), said “Over 50% of these visitors came directly to PalmSprings.com and not from Google, Yahoo or MSN." Buckley said that constant flow of direct navigation traffic is made up largely of people planning to visit Palm Springs within the next 30-90 days. 

Buckley said that Palm Springs businesses have awakened to the unbeatable value of targeted traffic. Tim Anctil, the new General Manager of The Colony Palms Hotel in Palm Springs said "Part of my focus was to bring awareness to the hotel, increase our sales base and traffic and hopefully, reach a clientele that was appropriate for our luxury-boutique hotel. In the past 90 

days, we have multiplied our investment by 10 and have an ADR well over $200 per nightfrom our PalmSprings.com traffic. What seemed like a risky move to try when I first began has turned out to be the smartest decision I’ve made." Mary Nold, co-owner of the Coyote Inn in Palm Springs added "PalmSprings.com gave us our best year in 2007 and looks to top that in 2008." 

The principals in CCIN (owners of PalmSprings.com, Nashville.com and many other great blue chip domains) are Michael and David Castello, who were featured in our December 2006 Cover Story. They also picked up two Domainers Choice Awards at the recently concluded DOMAINfest Global conference in Hollywood, California.

Michael (left) and David Castello at the
Jan. 2008 DOMAINfest Global conference

(Posted Feb. 6, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2008/dailyposts/02-06-08

Steve Morales has posted a good interview with geodomain giant Skip Hoagland at SimplyGeo.com. Hoagland's portfolio of approximately 2,000 top notch domains includes such

gems as Atlanta.com, Savannah.com, MyrtleBeach.com, Cuba.com and BuenosAires.com, as well as a number of non-geo blockbusters including Fishing.com. After corresponding with Skip for a long time I finally met him in person at the GeoDomain Expo in San Francisco in November. Very sharp guy whose experience in business, publishing and domain development make him one of the industry's best resources.  Hoagland is also one of the co-founders of Associated Cities, a geodomain owner's association that is a great model of how people in this field can work together to advance everyone's interests.

Another key figure in the geodomain space, Dan Pulcrano, will be the subject of our upcoming 

Skip Hoagland

February Cover Story. Pulcrano (who is also an Associated Cities co-founder) has a remarkable porfolio of major American city domains including LosAngeles.com, San Francisco.com and Dallas.com (all told he owns 20 of the 30 largest U.S. city .coms). It's a story you won't want to miss.
(Posted Feb. 5, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2008/dailyposts/02-05-08

Late Update on the Bido.com Launch Party at the Tao Nightclub in Las Vegas this month (originally reported in our Feb. 1 item below). The date has been moved up from Feb. 20 to Feb. 18, the opening night of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference at the Venetian Hotel. Start time for this invitational event will still be 10pm. It will follow T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s official welcoming cocktail party so there will be no conflict with conference activities.
(Posted Feb. 4, 2008)

An auction for Video.us ended at Pool.com today at $18,500. This domain had been sold to a company based in Belgium less than a year ago for $75,000 in a private transaction - the largest .us sale that has been publicly reported to date (we've heard rumors that News.us sold 

for low six figures but that was never confirmed). At some point during the year someone noticed that the email address on the Video.us WhoIs record had begun bouncing. Around this time the .us registry was also reportedly questioned about whether or not the Belgian company met the Nexus requirements for owning a .us domain. Since the contact information with the domain was no longer valid, we are told the registry could not reach the owner to verify Nexus information and wound up canceling the registration. Pool was successful in catching it when it dropped and proceeded to auction it off to the highest bidder. Losing the name was obviously a costly mistake for the company that purchased it last year.

Video.us was sold in a Pool.com auction

In other sale news, Moniker.com confirmed over the weekend that they had brokered the sale of the adult entertainment portal FreePorn.com for $4 million. That site has been online since 1996. Look for another announcement soon about another site that has been sold in the same price range.
(Posted
Feb. 4, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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BULLETIN (Feb. 1):  Microsoft has offered over $44 billion to buy Yahoo!

ANOTHER HOT LINK (Feb. 1):  New New York Times article on the domain boom 

Bido.com will stage its coming out party Feb. 18 at the famous Tao Nightclub in Las Vegas during the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West 2008 conference. To celebrate Bido is running a contest

to give away a free admission ticket to T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West (retail value $1,995). To be eligible for the free ticket drawing all you have to do is register at the Bido.com website before the contest ends at 12 Noon (U.S. Eastern time) on Monday, February 11 (the conference runs Feb. 18-21 at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas). When you fill out the free registration form be sure to answer Yes on the line asking if you want 

to be included in the free ticket drawing (entries limited to one per person). If the winner does not confirm their intention to accept and attend T.R.A.F.F.I.C. as Bido.com’s guest on the day of the drawing, successive drawings will be held until the ticket has been awarded. 
(Posted Feb. 1, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2008/dailyposts/02-01-08-2

The next live domain auction is on tap this afternoon when Moniker stages a sale for the Internet dating and social networking industries at the iDate 2008 and Social Networking Conference being held in Miami Beach . The event will get underway at 5:30pm (U.S. Eastern

time) with names including Introduction.com, TGP.com, Honey.net and InternetDating.us among those scheduled to go on the block. The auction will be broadcast live on WebmasterRadio.FM

Meanwhile, the silent portion of the SnapNames Live auction conducted in association with the DOMAINFEST Global conference ended yesterday with $916,583 in sales. Added to the $3.1 million in sales during the two live events at the show, that pushed total sales over $4 million. Michael Berkens has a list of the silent auction results on his TheDomains.com blog today. Top sales included AR.com at $225,000, Saw.com and $50,000 and Per.com at $40,000.

Scene from the SnapNames Live auction 
at DOMAINfest Global Jan. 22

(Posted Feb. 1, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2008/dailyposts/02-01-08


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