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The Lowdown



March 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)

 

Organizers of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East conference coming up May 20-24 at Disney World's Grand Floridian Resort in Orlando have released the preliminary schedule for the show. An 

update on the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. website said, "As it stands now, transparency among monetizers will continue to be the focus. How to make sure you are getting the percentage you are told you are getting. How to make sure you are getting your fair share. Too much money at stake not to have some oversight. Plus we will have time devoted to SEO, The Snowe Bill and Speed Networking...and we will begin a more in depth look at developing and the different levels development may include."

Moniker.com will be on hand again to run the live domain auctions that are always a highlight of the event. The agenda will continue to be refined and added to right up until the final schedule is posted May 12. Those planning to attend should also note that tomorrow (April 1) is the last day to get a $200 early registration discount from the standard $1,995 registration fee.
(Posted March 31, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2008/dailyposts/03-31-08.htm

The death spiral is accelerating for newspaper advertising which just suffered its biggest drop in more than 50 years according to new data released today. Editor & Publisher Magazine reported figures from the Newspaper Association of America that said total print  

advertising revenue in 2007 plunged 9.4% compared to 2006 - the most severe percentage decline since the association started measuring advertising expenditures back in 1950

Though the online advertising revenues generated by newspaper owned websites is still growing at a double digit rate, there are signs that the rate of growth in that category is starting to slow down. Internet ad revenue for newspapers in 2007 grew 18.8% to $3.2 billion compared to 2006. In 2006, online ad revenue had soared 31.4% to $2.6 billion. In 2005, it also jumped 31.4% to $2 billion

Print classified advertising revenue, which had 

been the newspaper's overpriced bread and butter for decades, dropped a breathtaking 16.5% to $14.1 billion in 2007. With popular sites like CraigsList.org giving away classified ads for free that is a business that is not coming back for newspapers. 

Of course a lot of the ad dollars that had been spent on newspapers have migrated to the web, which begs the question why are domain owners seeing their share of a growing pie decline? With domain owners currently at the mercy of only two major upstream providers, Google and Yahoo, they haven't been able to do much about getting consistently shortchanged. I do believe that sooner or later competitors will spring up that will give those whose produce the traffic their fair share of the revenue being generated by that traffic. In fact I'm surprised it hasn't happened already.
(Posted March 28, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2008/dailyposts/03-28-08.htm

Domain owners are about to make another multi-million dollar payment on the "give away the ranch" contract ICANN handed Verisign a couple of years ago. Verisign announced today 

that for the second year in a row they are hiking the wholesale price of .com and .net domain names (the price they charge registrars) by the full maximum allowed (7%) in the sweetheart deal they wangled from ICANN in the face of near unanimous opposition from the Internet community. 

Starting in October registrars will have to fork over $6.86 per .com (up from today's $6.42) and $4.23 

for .nets (up from $3.85). Registrars, as they did after last year's price hike, will pass the higher costs along to their customers - in other words you. Even worse, judging from what happened last time, many registrars will take the opportunity to charge more for all extensions - not just coms and nets, so owners of other TLDs will get hit too. 

Domain owners continue to be under assault from every direction, including in the U.S. Congress where predators hope to change the law of the land via the proposed Snowe bill so they can more easily take away domain assets outright. Yet many domain owners continue to fiddle while Rome burns. If you don't want to fight for you assets be assured that you will lose them. The only other viable option currently on the table is to join other domain owners in the Internet Commerce Association and go on the offensive in what is shaping up as the biggest land grab in recent business history.  
(Posted March 27, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2008/dailyposts/03-27-08.htm

Skenzo, one of the leading companies in the traffic monetization business, today announced the completion of a significant minority investment from the Ashmore Group. The Ashmore Group is one of the world's leading Investment firms with over $36.5 billion under 

Divyank Turakhia
Skenzo Co-Founder and CEO

management. Skenzo said that in terms of revenue it was the fastest growing domain parking company in the world in 2006 and 2007.  

Skenzo Co-Founder and CEO Divyank Turakhia said “We are very bullish about the Direct Navigation industry and we plan to deploy sizeable resources for building unparalleled technology products in the direct navigation, online traffic monetization and advertising spaces. We already have the largest team of people (currently 250 employees) in the industry. We have very aggressive plans to recruit some of the best talent that exists. Our goal is to continue being the leading technology provider for the industry at large.”  Turakhia added "Skenzo has developed path-breaking technology and pioneered innovative practices in the direct navigation space and Ashmore’s experience, and proven track record makes them a perfect partner for Skenzo’s aggressive growth plans”

John-Michael Lind of Ashmore Group said “In a short span of time Skenzo has become one of the strongest players in the traffic monetization industry. We believe the Skenzo team has done a terrific job. We are very excited about this investment and are looking forward to working in close partnership with Skenzo to help further accelerate its growth and strengthen its leadership position.”
(Posted March 26, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2008/dailyposts/03-26-08.htm

Veteran domainer investor/developer Kevin Ohashi has just rolled out a useful new site at DomainSpammers.com. Anyone who owns a large portfolio of domains has been (and almost certainly continues to be) flooded with spam from multiple sources. There are always those

wasting your time by offering $50 for $10,000 domain names, and even worse, outright scam artists and phishing schemers. Ohashi's site was set up to expose the bad actors and warn other domain owners about the latest spam and scam activity.

Ohashi said "hopefully this will benefit all domain name owners who receive WhoIs spam based on the types of domain names they own or simply because they own a domain and are being targeted by scammers. From the classic appraisal scam to the more recent en0mcentral.com phishing attack and US Copyright Registry scam this site can hopefully help centralize information about the types of scams and spams domain owners are receiving and help owners better protect themselves from scammers and save time by not bothering with spammers."  

 

(Posted March 25, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2008/dailyposts/03-25-08.htm

Open registration begins in two new domain extensions this week. Tomorrow (Tuesday, March 25) second level registrations in Malaysia's .my opens for the first time. This isn't 

actually a new extension, but previously registrations in the Malaysian country code were limited to third level names, for example domain.com.my (the new second level opening removes the sub-domains to allow names like domain.my). The following day (Wednesday, March 26) public registration opens in the new .asia extension that recently completed a successful land rush period for trademark owners. Starting Wednesday all unregistered .asia domains become available in a first come first served basis. 

(Posted March 24, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2008/dailyposts/03-24-08.htm

Is the jig up? I've never known Rick Schwartz to be a guy who was at a loss for words, but the pioneer domain investor and co-founder of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference is apparently through 

talking. Yesterday Schwartz posted what he said would be the final post on his blog. For more than a year Schwartz has been warning that domain owners are in danger of losing their high value assets to predators (a prediction that took a step closer to becoming a reality with the recent introduction of the Snowe bill in the U.S. Congress).  Despite that dire threat, the vast majority of domain owners continue to fiddle while Rome may be about to burn. 

Schwartz has donated close to $100,000 to help get the Internet Commerce Association off the ground (as have people and companies like Oversee.net, Sedo and Frank Schilling), with the belief that domain owners have no chance to defend their assets and livelihoods unless they band together. The tepid financial response to the threat posed by the Snowe bill

Rick Schwartz

(which was well articulated by attorney/domain investor Michael Berkens on his blog yesterday) apparently convinced Schwartz he was wasting his time and money trying to rally the troops. Schwartz wrote "People are not paying attention to what is coming. They expect somebody else to take care of it for them...I am going back to taking care of my business." 

So, what I wrote less than a month ago in our February newsletter already seems to be coming to fruition: "The fact is the small handful of people and companies who formed the Internet Commerce Association are not going to keep paying the freight for everyone else who is content to sit on their hands and hope the problem goes away. It is time to join the fight and protect what you have earned through your foresight and sizeable investment in this space, or accept the consequences and say "oh well, it was fun while it lasted". 

In our January Cover Story (scroll down and begin with the 2nd paragraph after the Steve Forbes photo) Schwartz talked at length about what he saw coming, writing "our enemy is organizing and they will change rules and laws that will take YOUR domains and the earnings they currently make for you and your families and are actively trying to shift those dollars to their pockets for them and their families. But party on like a ship of fools my friends. My gift is seeing things before they materialize. But hey, don't pay attention. Don't believe it. Don't do anything. But I promise you that some day in the next 3-5 years (Maybe much sooner) I will 

Elliot Silver

point to THIS POST and let you know that there was an opportunity to avoid it but you were too busy laughing at what I suggest...The forces are gathering. You have a choice to ignore this. But when you do, ask yourself  how you are going to feel when your domains are in jeopardy? When it is too late? When your domains are gone and the income along with them?"

Elliot Silver, who won this year's Domainers Choice Award for Best Blog also expounded on this topic today in a post titled Domain Industry Tsunami. It's time to make a decision. Do you have anything worth protecting? If not, no need to worry. If so, continue to ignore the gathering storm at your own peril. If disaster strikes no one will be able to say they weren't warned.  

(Posted March 21, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2008/dailyposts/03-21-08.htm

 

Register.com has lost a UDRP case the company filed in an attempt to take the generic domain name Register.cc away from another registrar, DomainIt.com. DomainIt founder Paul 

Paul Goldstone
DomainIt.com

Goldstone said, "Based on the history, facts, and evidence we felt confident that the panel would rule in our favor and we're very pleased with their decision. While we were obviously interested in preserving our own domain name, we were also concerned with the precedence a negative decision in this case could have had for other generic domain name holders. We were surprised by the dispute to begin with, but we now hope to move forward in the friendly-competitive relationship that registrars generally have with each other. Such a relationship is rare in many industries, but has become a standard in the domain business and that's something we wish to preserve."

The panel made the right decision in this case and Goldstone deserves credit for taking on the considerable expense of defending his rights to the domain - rights that were very clearly articulated by Goldstone's attorney John Berryhill. Goldstone's company has been using Register.cc in the domain 

registration business before Register.com was even incorporated. All of the details are in the decision published here. It makes for very interesting and instructive reading.
(Posted March 20, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2008/dailyposts/03-20-08.htm

I'm away today so won't have a Wednesday Lowdown post. Will be back tomorrow!
(Posted March 19, 2008)

Yahoo is making some interesting claims as they continue to play hard-to-get in the mating dance with current suitor Microsoft. Today Yahoo said Microsoft's $44.6 billion buyout bid is

too low because Yahoo expects their annual revenue to soar to $8.8 billion by 2010 - even though Wall Street analysts think it will be considerably less - around $7.1 billion.

On her blog at MediaPost.com Wendy Davis posted some interesting information from an SEC filing that Yahoo made today. Yahoo said it is strong in display advertising and that display will enjoy stronger growth than search advertising in the years ahead. In its SEC filing the company said "Display is a larger opportunity than search and we are positioned to extend our leadership in display."

The company also commented on other factors they think make Yahoo worth more than Microsoft is offering, saying the acquisition would boost “Microsoft from a sub-scale position to strong positions in search and display” and also give Microsoft a stronger stake in Asia, where Yahoo has solid partnerships. Davis concluded "despite Yahoo’s stance that $31 a share is too low, the report doesn’t argue against a merger in principle. If anything, when combined with reports that Yahoo and Microsoft are in negotiations, it seems to signal that Yahoo’s leadership realizes its acquisition is likely inevitable."
(Posted March 18, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2008/dailyposts/03-18-08.htm

I spent part of the weekend catching up on my reading. One interesting article from Mark Walsh at Online Media Daily titled Mobile Still Has Long Row to Hoe had some interesting

insight into the current state of the mobile internet - something of special interest to those who think .mobi will become the preferred gateway for mobile content. A big problem seems to be that most U.S. cell phone users are refusing to pay extra for Internet data plans from their cell phone service providers.  Walsh listened to Mobile Platform 2.0 panelists at the Media Summit held Thursday in New York and quoted Joshua Spanier, director of communication strategy at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners as saying, "American consumers aren't prepared to pay for anything. They want it all free in contrast to Asian and European cell customers." 

Hopes that special content would lure more 

paying customers is not paying off yet either. Walsh wrote "Neither the quality or quantity of content or the business models are in place yet to generate the audience growth necessary to make mobile media viable, according to industry players." Spanier said "From a marketing perspective, we are not yet able to make really interesting or engaging mobile experiences on mobile devices. We're still several years away from that." 
(Posted March 17, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2008/dailyposts/03-17-08.htm

The uproar over the Snowe bill (S 2661) in the domain community has led to widespread demands that language in the propose legislation that could harm domain owners be removed. 

However many are coming to believe that if the real goal is to go after phishing (rather than slip through a wholesale change in trademark law) then the bill should be completely scrapped. Yesterday Internet Commerce Association Executive Director Michael 

Collins posted an item at the domain industry trade association's website - InternetCommerce.org - that detailed why it would be much better to start from scratch. If a 

Michael Collins
ICA Executive Director

bad bill that is nothing more than a wolf in sheep's clothing becomes law, there won't be a chance to get truly effective anti-phishing legislation enacted for years to come. We've all see how ineffective the U.S. government's Can Spam Act has been in stopping spam. We should try to do better in combating phishing.

As Collins wrote in his post "this is an ineffective anti-phishing bill and an overreaching trademark bill. Let’s work together to stop this bad trademark bill and then help Congress to do some really effective work on phishing. I invite CADNA to come clean and join us in asking Congress for a real anti-phishing bill. Phishing is harmful to their members too and we should work together to stop phishing, not be fighting over new rights for trademark owners who already have UDRP and ACPA on their side."

(Posted March 14, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2008/dailyposts/03-14-08.htm

If you have never been to a T.R.A.F.F.I.C. domain conference before and want to go, show organizers are offering the first 25 newcomers who register for the May 20-24 show in Orlando free hotel rooms for up to three nights. For everyone else those rooms at Disney World's Grand Floridian Resort cost $269 a night so it is a big savings if you qualify. The offer is only available to first time T.R.A.F.F.I.C. attendees and is not valid for new personnel of companies, groups or associations that have been to the conference. T.R.A.F.F.I.C. co-founder Rick Schwartz posted the details on his blog yesterday. If interested you will need to hurry because the offer expires at midnight tomorrow night (Friday, March 14). 

With the Disney World location this is being billed as a major family event and registrants are encouraged to bring their spouses and kids along for the big week in Central Florida.

Grand Floridian Hotel at Disney World
Site for T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Orlando May 20-24

 

Meanwhile, Fabulous.com is continuing to put a phenomenal amount of advance work and planning into the first international T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference that they will host on Australia's Gold Coast November 18-20, 2008. They have even set up extra optional activity days both before and after the show (Nov. 17 and Nov. 21) for those who want to make this a truly unforgettable trip Down Under. I got a sneak peak at the framework for their agenda today and to say it is ambitious would be a gross understatement. They already have a website for the show up at TrafficDownUnder.com that features some great photos of the show hotels and attractions along the Gold Coast. This one is still some distance away but it looks like it is shaping up to be something really special that warrants planning for now. 

(Posted March 13, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2008/dailyposts/03-13-08.htm

The many domain owners who vehemently oppose dangerous language in the proposed Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act of 2008 (also known as APCPA or the Snowe Bill S-2661) got a powerful ally today when the prestigious Electronic Frontier Foundation also 

lodged a protest against the legislation proposed by Republican Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine. A post by EFF Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry on the EFF website said "The bill starts off relatively inoffensively by prohibiting the use of false information to solicit identifying data from a computer (this was already illegal, but we’ll let that go for now). But then it goes on to forbid the use of brand names in domain names, and the use of another’s domain name in emails, on websites, or in web ads. This prohibition is unnecessary: if the use of a 

The Electronic Frontier Foundation 
has come out against the Snowe Bill S-2661

brand name in a domain name is confusing, it is already actionable under trademark law. And it is dangerous because, unlike current federal trademark law, the APCPA does little to protect noncommercial and comparative advertising uses of trademarks." 

McSherry added "To make matters worse, another provision allows any Tom, Dick or Harry to force domain name registrars to reveal a customer’s personally identifying information by simply sending an email alleging that the customer has violated the new law. No need to comply with the traditional legal niceties of, say, an actual filed lawsuit or a subpoena that might permit the customer to go to court to protect her anonymity. A mere allegation is enough. Sure, phishing is a problem. But you don’t solve it by rewriting trademark law and depriving lawful speakers of the chance to keep their identities private. This ill-conceived legislation should be stopped in its tracks." We agree whole heartedly with Ms. McSherry.
(Posted March 12, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2008/dailyposts/03-12-08.htm

By now most of you know that I was one of four co-founders of Bido.com, a multi-faceted company that now operates the free domain management platform DNZoom.com and that is scheduled to debut a one-name-a-day auction service on March 20. The company has come a long way since Sahar Sarid, Darren Cleveland, Jeff Bhavnanie and I started putting it together last October. With many other services scheduled to be rolled out in the months ahead I think it will prove to be a very successful venture but after careful consideration I have decided not to continue what has been a very enjoyable journey with Sahar, Darren and Jeff. 

Bido.com Co-Founders (left to right): Darren 
Cleveland
, Sahar Sarid and Jeff Bhavnanie
(photo courtesy of Barbara Neu)

Having never been involved in a business partnership before I had some concerns about how well four guys with their own ideas about how things should be done would be able to work together toward one goal, but they have been an absolute delight to work with and I can’t imagine any group getting along better than we have. My decision to depart now has nothing to do with our working relationships or the Bido business plan which I still think is an exceptionally strong one. My decision is based on relationships, but they are relationships outside the company rather than inside it.

 

While Bido.com was an exciting joint venture for me, DNJournal.com remained my primary enterprise. I have been able to report on the industry in the way that I have for the past five years because I have taken time to build key relationships and trust with people and companies in every part of the domain business. As long as I call on them as an independent party, the door is always open. If I had to call on anyone as a potential competitor that would change the dynamic with those parties and make it more difficult for me to do my job at DN Journal.

 

I had not anticipated that this would be a problem because Bido’s business plan is based on launching entirely new services or bringing new twists to existing services that made them unlike any current platforms. However, as we have gone about putting the bricks in place I am seeing that other companies also have an interest in entering some of the same territory Bido is targeting. While that will not be a problem for Bido as a company (because I 

think they will be a strong competitor in any category they choose to operate in), it eventually would be a problem for me because DN Journal would no longer have open access to information from those Bido might end up competing with. 

 

So, while we are still early in the process I feel now is the time to step away and avoid future problems. Considering the track record that Sahar, Darren and Jeff have I understand that this decision means I am likely leaving a lot of future revenue on the table. But relationships have always meant more to me than money, so all things considered, I know that this is the right decision.

Working with Sahar, Darren and Jeff has been a very valuable experience. I learned a lot from observing how they work together and leave grateful that I had the opportunity. As businessmen each of them is truly light years ahead of me. I leave knowing that they are the ones who have been doing the heavy lifting on this project so they deserve to be the ones who reap the benefits from their talent and hard work. My best wishes go with  them.
(Posted March 11, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/2008/dailyposts/03-11-08.htm

In a move that may be the wave of the media future a half-dozen web, print and electronic media outlets in Silicon Valley (including the local NBC-TV affiliate on Channel 11 - have joined forces to form the Virtual Valley Network. If you read our February Cover Story about

Boulevards New Media founder Dan Pulcrano it won't surprise you to learn that Pulcrano is in the middle of this groundbreaking venture. His SanJose.com and LosGatos.com websites are part of the new network as is his weekly Silicon Valley print newspaper The Metro.

Establishment of the Virtual Valley Network comes on the heels of more layoffs at the area's major newspaper, the San Jose Mercury-News. Pulcrano said, "We are concerned about the consolidation, layoffs and disinvestment in local publishing and want to make sure that communities here are well covered. We will be expanding our news coverage and adding resources." Virtual Valley's editorial director Eric Johnson said "Please send resumes, we are looking for news writers and editors who know this market well." 

Dan Pulcrano

Jessica Bookstaff

In a related note, Pulcrano finished his term as Chairman of AssociatedCities.com last week and Jessica Bookstaff, owner of Durango.com and PigeonForge.com was elected as the new Chair at the leading geodomain organization's annual board meeting in Cancun, Mexico Saturday. 

The night before, another Associated Cities board member, David Castello and his wife Natalie from Castello Cities Internet Network (owners of PalmSprings.com, Nashville.com and many others), visited my wife and I at our Tampa, Florida home and later that evening we had the pleasure of their company for dinner at a Tampa landmark, Bern's Steak House. David and Natalie are wine lovers so I knew they would enjoy Bern's which has 

the largest wine collection of any restaurant in the world - approximately 1 million bottles (100,000 are in the cellar and another 900,000 bottles are in a warehouse next door). After dinner Bern's treated us to a tour of their famous cellar (photo below). 

Left to right: Ron Jackson, David Castello, Natalie Lambert and Diana Jackson
checking out the wine cellar at Bern's Steak House in Tampa Friday night (March 7).

(Posted March 10, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2008/dailyposts/03-10-08.htm

The Internet Commerce Association has just released vital information that will help domain owners protest anti-domainer language in the controversial Snowe Bill (named after lead sponsor Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) that is currently being considered in the U.S.

Sen. Olympia Snowe
(R-Maine)

Congress). The ICA has posted information on how American citizens can contact their senators to lodge a protest and also provided a sample letter to help you verbalize your opposition to the present language in the bill.

As stated at InternetCommerce.org, "It is very important that every U.S.-resident ICA members as well as other domainers write to their U.S. Senators and advise them of the serious concerns raised by Sen. Snowe’s “anti-phishing” bill. Because it has been labeled consumer-friendly legislation aimed at stopping a serious consumer scam, your Senators may be inclined to support it unless they learn that it is not as advertised - and that their constituents have major concerns about it. Constituents are voters, and elected officials care about what they think.

The ICA urges you to take a few minutes this weekend to send your own e-mails and letters. The Senate is only in session for one more week and then is in recess the entire second half of March so these communications need to to start arriving on Monday to help get this dangerous issue resolved before it goes any further.
(Posted
March 8, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2008/dailyposts/03-08-08.htm

Sahar Sarid has just announced a $1,000 contest on his Conceptualist.com blog to generate ideas for new features domain owners would like to see incorporated in DNZoom.com's domain management platform (Sahar is a co-founder of DNZoom's new parent company Bido.com, as am I). When he announced the contest March 7, Sahar wrote "we’re offering $1,000 for what we think is the best concept submitted within the next ten days." Full contest rules are posted on his site.
(Posted March 8, 2008)

Canada's FinancialPost.com published a fascinating story about the Geosign meltdown (triggered by Google's crackdown on keyword arbitrage) Tuesday (March 4). Writer Robert 

Thompson did a masterful job in detailing how the fortunes of the rapidly rising company evaporated almost overnight and why Google threw the switch on the electric chair that fried them. 

With the Snowe bill (that we talked about in our February newsletter) so much in the news there is another magazine article you should read at ComputerWorld by reporter Jaikumar Vijayan that has a very good breakdown of the controversy surrounding the proposed legislation. Internet Commerce Association Legal Counsel Phil Corwin is prominently featured in the article. The ICA is expected to release sample letter suggestions tomorrow that domain investors can send to their own Congressmen in an effort to get dangerous language excised from the bill. 

(Posted March 6, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2008/dailyposts/03-06-08.htm

All of a sudden video is all the rage in domain news. Last week we mentioned Marcia Lynn and Warren Walker's site at DomainerTV.com. Veteran domain investor/developer Page



Page Howe
kicking back at a
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West
2008 party
in Las Vegas last month

Howe also has a site up and running at DNTV.tv. Page's site is labeled as being in pre-launch as he makes daily tweaks to his format. He took a big stride forward yesterday (March 4) by adding appropriate background graphics to accompany his commentary.

I also liked his use of a "prop" - the Australian hat he paid $5,000 for at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West in a fund raising auction for the Internet Commerce Association. A viewer can get bored pretty quickly watching someone read news copy, so it's important  to have visual elements like the graphics and hat (that was tied into an accompanying personal story about its significance) to hold people's attention. Page's March 4 report was especially effective as a result.

Of course, it also helps a lot to know something about the domain business! Page has the credentials there too having made not just one but two seven-figure sales in 2007 (Seniors.com and Guy.com).

(Posted March 5, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2008/dailyposts/03-05-08.htm

Interesting article at Online Media Daily today about how Google views their prospects if the U.S. economy goes into a recession. Author Tameka Kee quotes Alan Eustace, Google's Senior 

VP of Engineering and Research as saying ""If an advertiser knows that they'll make five dollars by spending one dollar, the chance is high that they'll spend it.  We've stressed measurability and providing a clear return on investment since we started our advertising business - and the growth of paid search shows that advertisers have bought into that. That's what will help us in times like these."

Kee said "Eustace acknowledged that as a 

relatively young company, Google hasn't yet experienced a true recession - and that the market would have to, in a sense, "wait and see" what future performance would look like."

Google's stock price has been falling since both  they and comScore reported that clicks on Google ads declined in the 4th quarter of 2007. Eustace said the drop stemmed from two things the company did on purpose; instituted algorithmic improvements on the ad-serving end and reduced clickable space in AdSense ads (used by domainers).  Eustace said "we made choices to reduce the number of advertisers and decrease accidental clicks, because the changes deliver better information to users and make them click more in the long run." Eustace claimed that while clicks had decreased, advertiser conversion rates were much higher.
(Posted March 4, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2008/dailyposts/03-04-08.htm

A Photo Gallery has been added to our T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West 2008 review article. It features some nice snapshots we weren't able to use in the story. Check it out, you might see someone you know!
(Posted March 3, 2008)  

To the many people who are concerned about the Snowe bill introduced in Congress this week, and looking for direction on how best to respond, the Internet Commerce Association is currently putting together sample letters that you will be able to send your own Congressmen. Those are expected to be ready later this week. We will let you know as soon as we get word that they are available.
(Posted March 3, 2008)  

Our review of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West 2008 conference in Las Vegas has just been published. In that report we talked about a very moving and inspiring impromptu 50-minute speech given 

Dr. Kevin Ham delivering an unforgettable 
talk Feb. 20 at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West 2008 

by Kevin Ham (one of the world's most succesful domain investors) during an early morning seminar. Many people at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. missed it because of the early hour that came on the heels of the late night official show party the previous evening. As a result, an anonymous donor who heard the speech paid to have a limited number of DVDs of the talk made to distribute to T.R.A.F.F.I.C. registrants who missed Ham's address. I've just learned that they have a limited number of extra free copies left. The first 100 people located in North America who request them from T.R.A.F.F.I.C. co-founder Howard Neu - Howard @ NeuLaw.com - will be sent copies at no charge (Overseas shipment would require an additional fee). After those are gone additional pressings would only be produced upon request at a cost of $25 in North America and $45 elsewhere in the world (includes postage).

By the way, we are currently working on a Photo Gallery to add to our T.R.A.F.F.I.C. wrap up article (with many extra shots that did not appear in the article). I'll post a note in this section when it is done and available online.
(Posted
March 3, 2008)  

When our February Newsletter started going out Friday (Feb. 29) the first mailings contained an error that was corrected in follow-up mailings after being brought to my attention by Microsoft Senior Attorney Aaron Kornblum. For those who received the initial newsletters please note that two companies I listed as being members of the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA), Microsoft and Bank of America, are not members of that group. The newsletter focuses on the anti-phishing bill introduced in Congress this week that has language in it that is of great concern to domain owners. 

CADNA was mentioned as one of the supporters of the bill. 

In addition to holding one of the world's best-known trademarks, Microsoft also happens to be one of the largest domain portfolio owners. Mr. Kornblum has been a frequent speaker at domain conferences, most recently appearing at the DOMAINfest Global conference in Hollywood, California a few weeks ago.

In addition to noting that that Microsoft is not and never has been a member of CADNA, Aaron commented on the new bill before Congress. "Microsoft now is conducting a thorough review of the bi-partisan legislation introduced last week, the Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act of 2008," Kornblum said. "Certainly, domain name “cybersquatters” violate intellectual property law. But not all domainers are

Aaron Kornblum
Microsoft Senior Attorney

cybersquatters. Some domainers elect to become cybersquatters (or other wrongdoers, such as phishers) by engaging in registrations or other related misconduct that  violates the law. Intelligent people may disagree on when this line has been crossed. However, cybersquatters potentially are liable for their actions and damage the very core of the domain name industry and its legitimate, ethical activities."

Aaron added, "Leading brands such as Microsoft now are taking action against domain name cybersquatters, as well as cybercriminals such as phishers, to help protect consumers from potentially dangerous and confusing Internet domain names, and to guard their intellectual property online. Microsoft’s Domain Defense Program has focused on exposing the true identity of cybersquatters, preventing them from hiding behind private registration protection services as well as to educate consumers and everyone who does business online to the importance of domain names and their brand online."

"As I highlighted at the DOMAINfest Global Conference in January, Microsoft believes that the 'trust and reputation' of the domain name industry and its members is one of the most important issues it now faces, along with security plus safety and intellectual property,"

 Kornblum said. "Domain name registrants and registrars, trademark owners, and online advertising networks and associated companies – all roles held by Microsoft – all possess a variety of different legal rights and responsibilities in the marketplace. A thorough understanding of these issues is one of the most important challenges for anyone participating in this industry. Your publication’s accurate reporting on these issues is critical to these understandings." 

We, of course, do take that responsibility very seriously and appreciate it when readers bring any factual errors in our reports to our attention so they can be corrected and the record kept as accurate as humanly possible.
(Posted March 1, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2008/dailyposts/03-01-08.htm

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