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The Lowdown
April 2009 Archive
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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
updated daily
to fill you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry. 

The Lowdown is compiled by DN Journal Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.

The T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Silicon Valley conference  closed last night in Santa Clara, California, a few hours after Skenzo/Directi Co-Founder Divyank Turakhia provided the high point of the week by purchasing Ad.com for $1.4 million in Moniker's live domain auction. The day had begun with a speed networking event that gave attendees the opportunity to make dozens of new contacts over the course of the one-hour session. 

 


Speed networking session at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Silicon Valley Wednesday.

Next, in a conference first, Dr. Paul Mockapetris, the man who designed the domain name system, took the stage as a special guest speaker. Mockapetris recounted the fascinating history of how he was given the opportunity to play such a key role in Internet history while still a graduate student at the University of Southern California.

In one particularly amusing anecdote, Dr. Mockapetris recalled that the original idea was to use ccTLDS only. When some members of the small group charged with setting up the system kept pressing for gTLDs as well, those who had opposed it finally relented, saying ".com will never amount to anything anyhow." I'll have more on Dr. Mockapetris's talk in our comprehensive show review article that will be published late next week. 

Dr. Paul Mockapetris

A "Meeting of the Chiefs" seminar followed with a half-dozen industry leaders debating a wide range of topics. The panelists included Divyank Turakhia (Skenzo), Monte Cahn (Moniker), Rick Latona (RickLatona.com), Larry Fischer (DirectNavigation.com), domain attorney Ari Goldberger (ESQwire.com) and Gregg McNair (Strata Services).


Ron Jackson speaking Wednesday
(Photo courtesy of Barbara Neu)

 I spoke at lunch and for the first time released domain sales data for the first quarter of 2009. Total reported sales jumped 32% from the fourth quarter of 2008 (from $21.5 million to $28.3 million). I'll have an extensive breakdown of those numbers in our next free monthly newsletter that well be emailed to opt-in subscribers soon after a return to our home office in Florida this weekend.

The afternoon was devoted to Moniker.com's live domain auction and it was one of the best in a long time with $2.1 million in sales being rung up in just over 3 hours. The blockbuster was the $1.4 million sale of Ad.com - a transaction that once completed will be the fourth biggest sale reported so far in 2009.

Below is a photo of auction winner Divyank Turakhia being congratulated just moments after his winning seven-figure bid (photo courtesy of Barbara Neu).

The curtain then came down on the show with an auction celebration dinner followed by Parked.com's conference After Party. We will have dozens of additional photos and details on from those (and all other) conference events in our upcoming show review article. 

(Posted April 30, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/04-30-09.htm 

Attendees at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Silicon Valley conference  were greeted with an entirely new look when the first full day of business got underway Tuesday with a 10:30am session that resembled an episode of The Tonight Show. The stage was set up with host Howard Neu's interview desk, plus a sofa and easy chairs for the six guests; Neu's fellow T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Rick Schwartz, Divyank Turakhia (Skenzo.com), Joe Casale (Casale Media) Michael Gilmour (WhizzbangsBlog), journalist Paul Sloan and DN Journal's Ron Jackson.

Shot taken from my chair on stage. (Sloan, Casale, Turakhia, Schwartz and Neu
are seen left to right above. Gilmour and Jackson are off camera).

In addition to talking with his guests about the pluses and minuses of the dominating role that Google and Yahoo play in domain monetization, Neu screened a slickly produced video in which he played a role similar to Jay Leno in his "Jay Walking" segment on The Tonight Show.

The piece, filmed in Florida, presented an interesting view of how people on the street view domains and domainers.

"What's Neu?" A scene from the preproduced video

During the lunch break NameMedia's Pete Lamson and Brian Carr presented an interesting breakdown of the positive aftermarket sales results the company is seeing in their AfternicDLS and BuyDomains units. They said their median sales price has been virtually unaffected by the recession in the general economy. Two afternoon seminars followed (one on SEO and the other on the future of PPC and alternatives like minisites). I'll have more details on all of the individual sessions in our upcoming conference review article.

The rest of the afternoon was devoted to RickLatona.com's live domain auction. The auction generated $375,000 in sales led by Shows.com ($102,000), SmartPhones.com ($95,000) and RemoteControls.com ($32,000).

Scene from the RickLatona.com live auction at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Silicon Valley Tuesday

The evening dinner featured a thought provoking keynote address from Scott Klososky, an expert on using technology to succeed in business. I'll have to save highlights from Scott's talk for our show review article as I have to turn my attention back to the conference floor where Wednesday activities are still underway (at this very moment Ad.com just sold for $1.4 million to Skenzo's Divyank Turakhia in the Moniker.com live auction).

I'll close today's post with a scene from the official T.R.A.F.F.I.C. party staged by Skenzo after dinner last night. Attendees were whisked to a popular local nightclub by limousine for a casino night that gave everyone a chance to be a high roller for one evening at least.

Those who piled up the most chips were able to cash them in for prizes. Games of all kinds were set up throughout the club making it the closest thing to a Las Vegas casino you could find without getting on a plane and going there.

The conference will close tonight with dinner and a Parked.com After Party. I'll have details on today's activity in tomorrow's Lowdown post. 

(Posted April 29, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/04-29-09.htm

The T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Silicon Valley conference  opened last night with a welcoming cocktail party at the Marriott in Santa Clara, California. Though the crowd is lighter than usual for a T.R.A.F.F.I.C. event, the caliber of people here (in terms of their ability to make deals and dispense potentially life changing advice) should assure that those who made the trip will get their money's worth. NameMedia drew a steady flow of traffic to their booth with a wine tasting event that actually started an hour before the official party got underway. 

NameMedia's David Zakur pours samples at last night's wine tasting during 
the welcoming cocktail party at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Silicon Valley.

The NameMedia booth attracted attendees eager to try a full range of wines from Napa Valley's Suhr Luchtel boutique winery. The cocktail party ended at 9pm but many of the attendees simply moved around the corner to the hotel bar where the conversations were still going strong well past midnight.

The first full day of business got underway this morning with welcoming comments from T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu. The day's events are continuing as I write this but tomorrow I will have a post in this column recapping all of the Tuesday highlights. 

Companies continue to use T.R.A.F.F.I.C. as a platform to announce major news. This morning Parked.com announced the acquisition of mini-site monetization service WhyPark.com, a company founded by Craig Rowe that we profiled in our March Cover Story. For that piece we also interviewed Parked.com President Donny Simonton who essentially telegraphed the acquisition that his highly successful parking company announced today. 

At the time Simonton said, "Coming up with a way to combine a domain parking feed and a content system would be the best of both 

Parked.com President Donny Simonton
(today at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Silicon Valley)

worlds."  That combination is now a reality and it will be interesting to see if this new hybrid can provide the breakthrough in domain monetization that so many domain portfolio owners are looking for. Just before the deal was announced WhyPark provided some extra incentive to try the service but making it completely free of charge (the company previously charged $99 to use their platform).

(Posted April 28, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/04-28-09-2.htm

The 2009 GeoDomain Expo  completed an impressive run at the Catamaran Resort in San Diego Saturday. The annual event is staged by Associated Cities, an organization that boasts many of the world's top .com city domain owners among its members (Chicago.com, LosAngeles.com, Atlanta.com, and Nashiville.com are just a few examples of sites run by 

Borrell Associates CEO Gordon Borrell
speaking Saturday at the GeoDomain Expo

AC members). Though AC has a specific focus, the GeoDomain Expo is open to everyone and, because of its emphasis on how to develop profitable locally oriented websites it has built up a loyal among people who own domains in a variety of categories and extensions. 

The busy closing day scheduled opened Saturday morning with a thought provoking keynote address from Dr. David Brin, a well-known futurist and science fiction author who is based in San Diego. 

A seminar on how to earn money with travel affiliate services followed, then in another highlight of the day, Borrell Associates CEO Gordon Borrell delivered an uplifting talk at the noon luncheon. Borrell is an expert on local ad spending and he assured the geodomain owners

in attendance that they are perfectly positioned for the massive transition of ad spending from traditional media outlets to the web.

In an especially lively and informative session after lunch, the topic was the future of geodomains and ICANN's plans to roll out an unlimited number of new global TLDs starting early next year. The panel (seen in the photo below) included, left to right, Internet Commerce Association Legal Counsel Phil Corwin, Jothan Frakes of Minds+Machines, David Castello and Michael Castello of Castello Cities Internet Network. I'll have details on this session (as well as all of the others from the Expo) in our comprehensive conference review article that will be published within the next week.

In a new twist on the traditional live domain auction format, Aftermarket.com and DomainConsultant.com moved their sale outdoors so bidders could enjoy the gorgeous San Diego day. In the photo below spotter Sevan Derderian explains the auction procedure as attendees began taking their seats.

The auction wound up producing just over $100,000 in sales, led by SierraMadre.com at $15,000, followed by TowerOfLondon.com at $10,000 and  BrooklynJobs.com at $8,000. The curtain came down on the 2009 Expo with a series of small group dinners at the San Diego's best restaurants. Attendees could sign up for any of ten top restaurants for to celebrate their last night in town.

This show was a success despite being pulled together in a very short period of time. A lot of people share the credit for that with Associated Cities Executive Director Patrick Carleton and Mark Burgess, the owner of SanDiego.com, deserving special mention for the work they put in to make it happen.

Our daily Lowdown posts from the show just skimmed the surface. We'll have many more photos and much more detail in our upcoming show review article.

Patrick Carleton and Mark Burgess

(Posted April 28, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/04-28-09.htm

The first full day of business at the Associated Cities GeoDomain Expo in San Diego  got underway Friday morning (April 24) at 9:15 when San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders welcomed visiting domain owners to this beautiful Southern California city. It is the first time in 5 years of attending domain conferences that I recall a local mayor showing up to greet attendees. Another sign that the world at large is starting to recognize the growing importance of geodomain websites in the Internet firmament.

Associated Cities President Dan Pulcrano 
delivered his State of the GeoDomain 
Industry address Friday morning.
(Photo courtesy of Dina Scoppettone)

Associated Cities President Dan Pulcrano then took the podium to deliver a well received State of the GeoDomain Industry address. With their potential to become the primary local media platforms of the future, the .com city geodomain owners who make up AC's membership have a lot to be happy about. However Pulcrano reminded them that there are also challenges to face and, if geodomain sites are to take the place of the traditional media outlets that are in decline, there will be a responsibility to act in the public interest as well.

The balance of the day was devoted to five seminars and a luncheon address from Chris Tolles, the CEO of news aggregation giant Topix.com. I'll have details and photos from Tolles's informative talk and all of the educational seminars in our comprehensive conference review article that will be published next week.

The evening social schedule got underway with a sumptuous dinner at the host hotel, the Catamaran Resort and Spa. A highlight of the dinner was an appearance by Ingrid Croce, the widow of the late, great singer Jim Croce. Ingrid, who operates Croce's Restaurant in San Diego, played a key role in the redevelopment of the city's fabulous Gaslamp Quarter that is now one of America's most vibrant entertainment districts. After her talk Ingrid signed free copies of a new CD she has released featuring some of Jim's live performances.

After dinner, double decker tour buses took 

Ingrid Croce
at the GeoDomain Expo Friday night

attendees to the Gaslamp Quarter for a blowout party at one of the city's top nightclubs - Fleetwood. The photo below is a scene from that event, one that proved to be a perfect capper to an exceptionally informative and entertaining day at the Expo.

The GeoDomain Expo closes with another jam-packed day today. highlights will include a 9:30am keynote address from futurist and science fiction author David Brin, a luncheon talk from Borrell Associates CEO Gordon Borrell and this afternoon's live geodoman auction. Aftermarket.com and DomainConsultant.com will present the auction that is scheduled to get underway at 4pm U.S. Pacific time (7pm Eastern). 

Though show organizers got a very late start in putting this year's Expo together, they are delivering an impressive high value event (despite the relatively low cost to attend) that has attracted a bigger crowd than most expected with approximately 150 people on hand. I'll have a recap of Saturday's highlights for you in our next post.

(Posted April 25, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/04-25-09.htm

The 2009 GeoDomain Expo got underway Thursday night in San Diego with a luau-themed welcoming cocktail party at the Catamaran Resort and Spa. The outdoor event was staged on the Catamaran's scenic back lawn, just a few steps from the hotel's Mission Bay beach.

The GeoDomain Expo is staged by Associated Cities, whose members are .com city domain owners. However, the Expo attracts registrants who own all kinds of domains. The show's single-minded focus on website development has made it a "think tank" on building out domains and that has made the Expo a must attend event for many people. 

Above (left to right): Bob Olea, Tom Dailey and 
Brenda Jones
enjoying the opening night cocktail party 
at the 2009 GeoDomain Expo in San Diego.

Below: Part of the crowd on hand for the opening event.

While the evening cocktail party marked the official opening of the Expo there had actually been activity at the Catamaran throughout the day. Each year a special set of seminars is held prior to the Expo opening for Associated Cities members only. Those sessions got underway at 9am Thursday and continued until the fifth and final one wrapped up at 4pm.

Scene from one of the Associated Cities members only seminars Thursday.

The public seminars and special sessions get underway Friday morning at 9:15 Pacific time. By the time the business day ends at 5pm eight sessions will have been presented on a wide variety of topics. The main event Friday evening will be a night out in San Diego's famous entertainment district, the Gaslamp Quarter. We'll have photos and highlights from the Friday schedule in our next post Saturday.
(Posted April 24, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/04-24-09.htm

I am in San Diego today  where the 2009 GeoDomain Expo gets underway this evening with a beach luau at the beautiful Catamaran Resort & Spa where the show is being staged. The photo below was taken early this morning from the balcony of my room, which is less than 50 yards from the beach on the Sail Bay section of Mission Bay.

Though the public Expo doesn't start until this evening there are some private sessions currently underway for Associated Cities members only. AC is the .com city geodomain owner's association that stages the annual show. Below is a shot from an outdoor luncheon served before the member's sessions resumed this afternoon.

After tonight's opening social event things will get down to business Friday morning with welcoming comments from San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, followed by a State of the Industry address from Associated Cities President Dan Pulcrano.

There will also be a full slate of seminars Friday. I'll be moderating one of those, Newsmakers & Buzz Generators, at 1:30pm local time. My panel will featuring Elliot Silver from ElliotsBlog.com, Andrew Allemann from DomainNameWire.com and Sean Stafford from SiteGraduate.com. We will be discussing the explosion of domain blogs and news outlets and the role they play in meeting  the ever growing demand for news and information about the industry. 

The GeoDomain Expo contnues through Saturday. On Sunday I'll fly north to Santa Clara, California where the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Silicon Valley conference starts Monday.

RickLatona.com has released their complete catalog (including all reserve prices) for the live domain auction they will be running at that show Tuesday afternoon (April 28) starting at 3:30pm Pacific time.

The next day, Wednesday April 29, Moniker will run their live auction, starting at 3pm Pacific Time. Today Moniker released an updated 

catalog that includes category information, including extension and domain length, to make it easier to browse through the more than 5,500 names that will be offered between the live event and the associated extended online auction that will run until May 7. 

(Posted April 23, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/04-23-09.htm

I'm traveling today - en route to the GeoDomain Expo in San Diego that gets underway tomorrow (Thursday) and continues through Saturday (April 25) at the Catamaran Resort

They have put together an interesting program in one of the world's most beautiful locations so I expect this conference to be something special, just as the previous ones staged by Associated Cities have been. The show will include a live geodomain auction Saturday afternoon (starting at 4pm Pacific time) that will be staged by Aftermarket.com and DomainConsultant.com.

I will have daily updates from the show in this 

column starting tomorrow. On Sunday I will head up the California coast to Santa Clara where T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Silicon Valley gets underway Monday (April 27) and continues through Thursday, April 30. I'll be providing daily updates from that show in this space as well. I will also be posting updates on Twitter, so you can follow us there if you would like more frequent bits of information from this show road trip (our Twitter ID is @dnjournal). It is going to be a busy eight days but I'm looking forward to seeing many old friends again as well as making a lot of new ones!

Evidence of the new Internet start-up boom  that Time Magazine wrote about last week seems to be popping up everywhere this week. An article Monday in one of our local papers, the 

St. Petersburg Times, was headlined "Palm Harbor DVD Bulk Reseller Finds Boom in Economy's Ditch." The story detailed how Distribution Video and Audio was benefiting from a new wave of customers who have been buying their surplus DVDs to stock Internet retail businesses

The story said the company's CEO, Brad Kugler, "is  now presiding over the latest 

growth niche, one nurtured by people out of work and eager to make money off the Internet from home. Individual entrepreneurs buy small batches of the close-out inventory DVDs from Kugler's company and then resell them on the Internet, sometimes doubling their investment. Sales in that business slice, which DVA calls its special units division, are up 60% in the first quarter compared with a year ago."

Another article talked about how people who have been laid off and are unable to find a new job are deciding to turn something they are passionate about into their own business. Many of them are launching those businesses online rather than take on the high cost of a brick and mortar operation when their finances are already stretched thin. 

USA Today chimed in with their own article Monday. In a piece headlined "Some Lose a Job and Become an Entrepreneur" reporter Laura Petrecca wrote, "Get ready to see more baked goods, custom-designed clothes, jewelry and even horse saddle pads on the market. Those are some of the products that laid-off workers are hawking as they try to grow small businesses. And many more goods and services

are likely to come as jobs disappear and the government encourages entrepreneurial ventures." While the USA Today article is not specifically about Internet businesses, even start ups that operate primarily offline are coming to realize that a website is the most cost effective way to promote their businesses.

These new start-ups have helped boost aftermarket domain sales at the low to middle end of the market favored by small business owners while the high end continues to lag. It is likely that trend will continue for some time as most buyers have limited resources and have to make every dollar count. The net effect I have seen on my own domain business is stronger revenue overall as domain sales to small business end users has more than offset the decline in PPC revenue, even though the latter category has fallen by close to 50%.

One other note today, the latest GreatDomains.com premium online auction ends Thursday (April 23) at 1pm U.S. Eastern time. This month's auction includes many one-word and 3-letter .coms (NIB.com, RXI.com and GJR.com to name just a few). There is a full list of featured auctions here.

(Posted April 21, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/04-21-09.htm

With the severe downturn in the general economy this might not seem like the best time to open a new business but that hasn't stopped a trio of veteran domainers we know from starting up three new companies this month. Founder/CEO David Harry of Australia's Xtra Parking 

Pty Ltd. has just opened the doors at KeyRPM.com, a service that is partnering with parking companies to provide a seamless keyword optimization platform that KeyRPM says can boost revenue from your current parked domains.  No name server changes are required ad you can choose which domains you want them to optimize. The company ran an invitation only beta test for several months and is now open to the public.

Scott Alliy at Allied Internet Solutions (parent company of eComInvestments and DomainsAvailableNow.com) has started a website announcement and promotion service that Alliy said is "designed to help newly developed sites get valuable exposure, links necessary to increase traffic and awareness of their web business." The unique element of the program is that it doubles as an affiliate program (for those who wish to use that feature) with an instant 40% payout with each completed transaction.

Rick Latona has also added a new company to his stable of businesses. DigiLoan.com joins long established sister company DigiPawn.com in providing domain financing services. The key differences between the two are that interest at DigiLoan is calculated on an annual basis, the

 loans run 3-5 years and payments include both principal and interest. Short-term cash advances and very small needs will still be processed through DigiPawn, while DigiLoan handles bigger amounts and offers longer terms. The company adds that those who want to borrow money to buy domains from Latona's popular newsletter or from one of their auctions will be given special consideration.

Even though the final shape of ICANN's controversial plan to roll out an unlimited number of new gTLDs is still very much up in the air, a number of companies are making plans to pursue specific extensions. The latest is San Francisco's BRS Media who announced today that they intend to go after a new .radio extension. BRS has a lot of experience in this category having launched the  repurposed .FM and .AM ccTLDs as multimedia platforms in 1998. For the .radio initiative, the company will be working with Minds + Machines as their consulting and registry back end provider.

(Posted April 20, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/04-20-09.htm

Is Twittersquatting the new Cybersquatting?  An article published at Pingdom.com today says it is and they have some interesting facts to back up that assertion. A lot of companies are now using the fast growing microblogging site Twitter.com to market their products and 

services (many in the domain industry also use it to post news and information, including me under the user ID dnjournal).

With tens of millions of users on Twitter (and even more on Facebook), many believe that getting your company name as a user ID on those social networks could end up being almost as important as having your .com domain name.  While a number of domainers were quick to secure their Twitter names most corporations haven't, including the ones that should know better, tech companies.

Pingdom found that two-thirds of the top 100 tech brand names were either still available as Twitter User ID's, or worse, are in the hands of someone other than the companies that own the brands. I have already see this within our own industry. When a user named imonetize started 

following me at Twitter I assumed it was the monetization company of that name owned by Jerry Nolte. Instead it turned out to be someone who registered that name so they could post complaints about the company (another good reason why you should lock up you business name there before someone uses your own brand against you). 

Pingdom found that 10 of the names of the world’s 100 biggest, most knowledgeable IT companies were still not registered as of this month (however Pingdom was nice enough to notify the companies about that). 15 accounts using famous tech brands were clearly in the hands of individuals rather than the company. 42 accounts were occupied by anonymous users, presumably individuals, and only 33 of the 100 accounts seemed to be used by the company in question. That is what is known as a wakeup call!

A couple of other notes as we head into the weekend. The catalog has been released for the live domain auction at next week's GeoDomain Expo in San Diego. You can even start bidding now if you wish. The live event will be staged on Saturday, April 25 from 5pm-6:30pm (Pacific Time).

The Internet Commerce Association today joined in a Friend-of-the-Court brief filed with the Kentucky Supreme Court urging it to uphold the decision of the Court of Appeals that domain names are not “gambling devices” subject to seizure under Kentucky law. 

The full story on the ICA website notes "The brief responds to an appeal filed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky after it lost at the Court of Appeals level. Kentucky’s 2008 seizure of gambling site domains sent shock waves through the domain name investment and development community because, if permitted by the courts, it would have established an extremely dangerous precedent by which any government entity could claim jurisdiction over a domain name simply because its website could be viewed from within its borders, and then attempt to seize the domain name without advance notice or due process."

(Posted April 17, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/04-17-09.htm

Earlier this week I saw another forecast for 2009 advertising revenues that reiterated previous predictions that the only media platform that will see growth in ad spending this year will be the Internet. All forms of traditional media will decline

Of course newspapers are the biggest basket case with some already folding their print operations and going 100% digital. But new data from the magazine industry shows that sector also got clobbered in the opening quarter of 2009.

According to the Publishers Information Bureau, rate card revenue for consumer magazines dropped 20.2% compared to the same quarter in 2009, while the number of ad pages plunged 26%.

No category escaped the carnage.  In ad pages,  Financial, Real Estate and Insurance titles collectively dove 45.7%,  Automotive plummeted 47.5% and Retail retreated 34%. The most solid performer, Drugs and Remedies, still had no antidote to the destruction, taking a 13% hit. 

Among individual well-known magazines, here are some examples of the across the board decline; Boating (-47.4%), BusinessWeek (-39.8%), Entertainment Weekly (-37.5%), ESPN Magazine (-31.8%), Martha Stewart Living (-37%), Motor Trend (-31.9%) and Spin 
(-39.3%). 

I subscribe to magazines in a lot of different categories and in recent months the issues that arrive in the mail are often so thin they look more like pamphlets than magazines. This latest bloodbath in print media again underscores how timely the theme is for next week's GeoDomain Expo - "Freefall! (How to Monetize the Collapse of Traditional Media). The show runs April 23-25 at the Catamaran Resort in San Diego (I will be there to cover it for you of course.)

The .com city domain owners who will be meeting in San Diego are exceptionally well positioned to take advantage of the historic migration of media to the web. As you know, many city magazines are named after the city they cover (like Los Angeles Magazine and New York Magazine). The beauty of the .com city domain is that it already has the perfect brand for any local media operation, whether it be a city magazine, a newspaper or a broadcast outlet. It also has the versatility to be used, as many of them are, as a tourist/travel guide. 

For the truly ambitious owners of those domains, all of those ingredients can be combined into a dominating one stop shop that has the brand recognition needed to mop the floor with the competition. Virtually all of the major city .com owners have been hard at work developing and improving their websites for years now. The opportunity to get development tips from the large number of them who will be in San Diego makes attending that show an especially attractive proposition for anyone looking to turn a domain asset into a full blown business.

(Posted April 16, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/04-16-09.htm

GoDaddy is being sued for alleged cybersquatting  in their domain parking program. We have learned that the plaintiff, Ubid, Inc. filed the suit April 6  in the U.S. District Court for the 

Northern District of Illinois, asserting that GoDaddy is diverting Internet traffic to deceptive parked domains in violation of the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA).

The complaint says that GoDaddy receives all profits from its "free parking" service, as well as a 

share of the profits from their paid parking service. Ubid claims that GoDaddy is violating the ACPA both by "trafficking in" and "using" domain names that are confusingly similar to the plaintiff's trademarks, and by profiting from its advertising deals linked to the deceptive domains.

Eric Goldman, who is an Associate Professor at the Santa Clara University School of Law, offered some additional perspective on the suit Tuesday on his blog. Goldman noted, "Even if GoDaddy "turns off" its parking program, others may try to fill the void and monetize the exact same domain names. As a result, I'm still not clear exactly what uBid hopes to accomplish with this lawsuit (other than to take some cash out of GoDaddy's pocket if it wins).

(Posted April 15, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/04-15-09.htm

The keynote speaker has been announced  for the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Silicon Valley conference coming up April 27-30 in Santa Clara, California. Scott Klososky, an expert on executive 

Scott Klososky
Keynote Speaker for 
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Silicon Valley

strategies for dominating with technology, was chosen to give the keynote address.  Klososky, who has been growing technology companies for more than 20 years, is the former CEO of three successful start-up companies, and he sold his last company for $115 million

Klososky helps organizations win in the market by helping them to better see the future and reorganize the way they implement technology as a tool.  He also helps people understand how the cultural changes driven by the new generation of employees hitting the market can be an asset instead of an anchor.

In other T.R.A.F.F.I.C. news, RickLatona.com has released the first half of the catalog for their live domain auction at this month's show. It is a very impressive list, including such gems as Belgium.com, French.com, Seoul.com

Sofas.com and PinballMachines.com. You can see the fill list of this first wave of names on Latona's blog and if you have top tier names you want to sell, they are still taking submissions for the second half of the catalog that will be released soon.

(Posted April 15, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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Moniker.com has released the complete catalog for their upcoming live and extended online domain auctions associated with the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Silicon Valley conference that runs April 

27-30 in Santa Clara, California. There are over 5,500 domains in the catalog. Moniker will select some of the best of those for their live auction that will run April 29 from 3pm-6pm (Pacific time). The remaining names (as well as names not sold inthe live auction) will be available in the extended online auction that will run from April 29 to May 7.

The domains that will be on the block include Ad.comRealty.com, the powerful combo of WeddingGifts.com and WeddingGift.com and a couple of nice geodomains; SanBernardino.com and SantaClara.com. The latter name should be of special interest since Santa Clara is the host city for the conference. 

Earlier in the week, RickLatona.com will be staging their T.R.A.F.F.I.C. live auction. That sale will run from 3:30pm-6pm (Pacific time on April 28). They will be releasing their final catalog soon.

One other conference note today. Tomorrow (April 15) is the deadline to take advantage of the discounted early bird registration rate ($795) for the 2009 Domain Roundtable conference that will be held at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. June 14-17. That event is being produced by Thought Convergence (the parent company of TrafficZ, Aftermarket.com and DomainTools). The agenda for that show has already been posted so you can see what is in store for the first Roundtable show to be staged on the East Coast.

(Posted April 14, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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In a post last month I wrote about  seeing a noticeable uptick in my domain sales despite the severe recession underway in the general economy. The first quarter of this year wound up being a record one for me and it came on the heels of a record year in 2008. As I reported in March, others who cater to small business end users, like NameMedia's AfternicDLS were also seeing increased sales at the low to middle end of the market favored by start-ups with limited capital. 

I just got the new issue of Time Magazine (cover dated April 20) and it has a major article confirming that what I have been seeing is not a fluke. I had opined that the pick up in sales was being fueled by people who had lost jobs in the recession and who, with replacement jobs so scarce, decided to try starting up their own business. The most cost effective way to do that is to set up shop on the web and many of my customers have been telling me that is exactly why they are buying a domain from me.  

In a story titled "The New Internet Start-Up Boom: Get Rich Slow", Time's Josh Quittner weighed in on the trend, writing, "The economy might be melting down like a pat of butter on a hot Hummer roof, but for some people — you, maybe? — this could be a very good thing. 

The upper corner of the Time Magazine 
cover dated April 20 highlights an article 
on a new Internet Start-Up Boom.

Here's why. At no other time in recent history has it been easier or cheaper to start a new kind of company. Possibly a very profitable company. Let's call these start-ups LILOs, for "a little in, a lot out." These are Web-based businesses that cost almost nothing to get off the ground yet can turn into great moneymakers (if you work hard and are patient)."

As Time stated, the new new start-up companies have tight budgets so their impact is being felt at the lower end of the domain aftermarket. Those who deal in higher end names are not seeing the same kind of surge, though blockbuster sales have not gone away entirely. Case in point, RickLatona.com sold Webcam.com for $1,020,000 in an online auction that ended Sunday. We'll get a further reading on the high end of the market when both Latona and Moniker.com stage live auctions at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Silicon Valley conference later this month (April 27-30 in Santa Clara, California).

Howard Neu
The subject of our new Cover Story

Speaking of T.R.A.F.F.I.C., our new April Cover Story profiles T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder and noted domain attorney Howard Neu. Domains are just the latest stage in Neu's remarkably diverse career. As a talented singer, actor and interviewer he has appeared on radio, TV, stage and in movies. Neu has also been a judge, mayor and highly respected political campaign manager who ran former U.S. Vice President Hubert Humphrey's Florida Presidential race against Richard Nixon in 1968.  So how did a guy with this resume end up as a key player in the domain business? Our new article has the answers.

By the way, Neu's flamboyant partner, Rick Schwartz, will be in the spotlight tomorrow afternoon (Tuesday, April 14) at 1pm (U.S. Eastern time) when he will be the first live video guest on Bido.com. Schwartz will be interviewed during Bido's daily one-hour auction (the name for sale Tuesday is also a nice one, Today.us).

(Posted April 13, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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You can stop calling Richard Gabriel now!  I had been hearing rumors that Physicians.com was sold for $250,000 earlier this week. That was confirmed this morning when the buyer, Richard Gabriel, called me and asked that I make the deal public so people would stop calling him at all hours of the day asking him if the rumors were true! As it happens Gabriel was also on the other side of one of the year's biggest deals last month. He was the seller of Auction.com, a domain purchased by REDC for $1.7 million. That is the third biggest sale reported so far in 2009.

Opposition to ICANN's plan to flood the Internet with an unlimited number of new gTLDs continues to build. Yesterday, the International Olympic Committee put ICANN on notice, stating that the IOC is reserving the right to “take action against ICANN for damages resulting to the IOC or the Olympic Movement from the implementation of the gTLD proposal.” As word of the ill-advised ICANN plan (that was widely publicized by USA Today and the Industry Standard earlier this week) continues to filter out I believe you are going to see a massive wave of resistance develop in the months ahead.

I am starting to get a gut feeling that, despite ICANN's insistence that the rollout of new gTLDs is going to happen, this flood of web flotsam and jetsam may never materialize. Similar to previous "sure things" that were derailed by public backlashes, like Verisign's WLS (Wait List Service) and the .xxx extension, a similar situation seems to be developing here. 

You can have a say in whether or not it does happen by posting your opinions on this page at ICANN.org, but you have to hurry as the public commentary period ends Monday (April 13).  I know there is a widespread, and from past history justified, feeling that ICANN ignores the very commentary they solicit and in the end does whatever they feel like doing. Still, at the very least, you are helping create a public record that in the long run provides documentation of how well (or not so 

well) the organization has followed its own "ground up" policy making procedures. That record may well play a role in ICANN's own future as overseer of the domain name system.

As Max Menius of Greensboro, North Carolina noted in comments he posted at ICANN today, "Pushing this TLD fiasco on and on in the face of huge opposition is going to threaten the stability of the internet, and further undermine the public's confidence in ICANN's decision-making processes and loyalties. This game of back-and forth "open discussions" has played out."

Some eloquent arguments have been made in the public commentary thread and there is one in particular that I think everyone should read, especially those involved in any of the thousands of global businesses that will be burdened with new, unnecessary expenses to protect their brands and marks in countless new extensions if ICANN's plan is allowed to become a reality. That letter, written by George Kirikos of Toronto, Canada, is a devastating indictment 

of ICANN's new gTLD plan that I urge you to read in its entirety.  

Kirikos quoted a letter written in 2004 by Tim Berners-Lee (the inventor of the World Wide Web) that, in one of many passages relevant to ICANN's current plan, said "Our first instincts, then should be not to change the system with anything but incremental and carefully thought-out changes. The addition of new top-levels domains is a very disturbing influence. It carries great cost. It should only be undertaken when there is a very clear benefit to the new domain." 

In his own notation, Kirikos added, "Instead of the above well considered incremental approach (even advocated by the Department of Commerce, NTIA and DOJ) ICANN proposes a wild-west free for all." My sentiments exactly and I can't see anything good coming from that approach to administering the domain name system.

Tim Berners-Lee

(Posted April 10, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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Veteran domainer Edwin Hayward  who operates MemorableDomains.co.uk, has just published an ambitious White Paper that  underscores the value of generic domain names, especially with respect to using them to improve results from search engine advertising campaigns. His study showed that ads featuring a generic domain name produce up to 105% more clicks than identical ads using non-generic domains. Hayward noted, “We finally have some hard numbers to back up the long-standing belief that generic domain names attract more clicks in search engine listings.”

Hayward's study tested the AdWords performance of ads that shared identical headlines, copy and landing page content, but used different display and landing page URLs. Here are some of the interesting findings from Hayward's research:

  • The CTR of ads featuring an “ideal match” generic domain was between 15% and 42% higher than either of the generic and non-generic domain name alternatives.

  • The winning generic domain name also produced between 45% and 105% more clicks than the alternatives, across the same timeframe and keyword set. 

    Regarding the large jump in click throughs Hayward said the boost likely comes from these factors: 

  • The close match between the domain name and the product searched for (irrespective of the search keywords used)

  • Automatic bolding of search terms in the domain.

  • The potential positive impact of the domain name on ad quality score.

Hayward concluded, “Businesses looking to improve CTR and clicks from their PPC SE campaigns now have a proven and simple technique for doing so: use a targeted generic domain name in your ads.”

The 2009 GeoDomain Expo starts two weeks from today in San Diego. The annual conference produced by Associated Cities was designed to help domain owners build out .com geodomains, but the principles and techniques that are taught there can be very helpful to anyone that wants to develop domains from almost any category into profitable websites. 

To get the inside scoop on what will be 

happening at this month's show, we hooked up with Associated Cities Executive Director Patrick Carleton and the organization's Acting Chairman of the Board, AC Co-Founder Dan Pulcrano, for an exclusive interview that you can read here.

The T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Silicon Valley conference will be held April 27-30 in Santa Clara, California, right after the GeoDomain Expo, and the official T.R.A.F.F.I.C. website has just gotten an attractive makeover. T.R.A.F.F.I.C. CO-Founder Rick Schwartz said, "There are many updates coming. But I think you will already see an interesting change. We'll be adding videos and other snips from previous T.R.A.F.F.I.C. shows. We also hope to broadcast interviews each day live and direct from the show. This site will be the place to check for updates."

One final note today - the NameMedia family just got a new addition. Ted Olson (the Acquisitions Manager at NameMedia's BuyDomains division) and his wife are celebrating the arrival of their fourth child. Ted, mom and their beautiful new daughter are all doing well. I noticed that the .com domain for the youngest Olson's first and last name was just registered yesterday, so it looks like Ted has not let his excitement over the new arrival keep him form covering all of the bases!

(Posted April 9, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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The topic of ICANN's plan to flood the Internet  with an unlimited number of new global domain extensions continues to be a hot topic. Following yesterday's piece in USA Today, one of my

favorite tech publications, The Industry Standard, weighed in today with an article by Paul Boutin whose thoughts were summed up in the story's headline - "Latest plan for domain names is as doomed as .coop and .mobi." I know that headline won't win The 

Standard any friends in the .mobi camp (.coop doesn't have to worry - they don't even have a camp), but whether or not you think .mobi has a future, I think the points Boutin makes in the body of the article are valid. 

Summing up the business community's objections to having a truckload of unwanted new gTLDs dumped in their laps, Boutin wrote, "If ICANN's plan goes into action, it'll allow what will seem like an infinite number of possible URLs. Competitors and opponents can potentially register them, to steal traffic away from authentic sites. Business owners told USA Today that they fear another round of spending to lock out domain claim-jumpers." 

Boutin added, "Mainstream Internet users will probably see the new custom domains as too complicated, like 9-digit ZIP codes. The ad hoc standard of cramming a series of words into a .com domain such as thestandard.com, seems to work fine for just about everyone. Most Internet users have figured out that Googling the name of a company, person or organization usually finds the correct site, so there's no need to memorize a long URL in the first place."

I have been a supporter of some of the previous new TLDs and I believe there is room for a few more carefully chosen ones with sound backers that would fill a real need (Boutin likes .eco or an alternative, .green - which I think is the better of the two). However I see 

no logic in burying potential diamonds under an infinite wasteland of cubic zirconium that no one will ever use - but that many businesses will still have to pay for, like it or not. 

Elsewhere we have some conference and auction updates to pass along today. Moniker has released a list of some of the most likely domains to be added to their April 29 live auction at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Silicon Valley. The potential roster includes Ad.com, Realty.com and SantaClara.com (the city that will host the conference) to name just a few. They plan to release the final auction catalog April 14

RickLatona.com will also be running a live auction at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Silicon Valley with their sale slated for April 28th. They just announced that anyone willing to submit good generic direct navigation domain names to that auction with a reserve price of no more than 6X annual earnings will have their sales commission reduced from 15% to 10%. Names have to be submitted by Saturday (April 11) to qualify.  

Meanwhile the company's online adult auction (that was tied to the recent Phoenix Forum) is still underway with the final hammer scheduled to drop at 2pm (US Eastern time) on Sunday (April 12). That sale features some exceptional generic domains including XXX.com, WebCam.com and Novelties.com. The entire list of names can be viewed at www.proxibid.com/ricklatona.

Rick Latona

In an especially welcome bit of news from Latona (because it involves his health) I was happy to read on his blog that he is kicking a 20-year smoking habit. Latona said it has been three weeks since he last lit up. He even announced plans to launch a new site to help others give up cigarettes at KickTheHabit.com (leave it to him to have the perfect domain name for the project!). It will be his first business to consumer ecommerce site in seven years and I think this one has the potential to be a massive hit.

Finally, DomainConsultant.com said they will be announcing the winner of their Domain Madness contest (that ended March 31) during the GeoDomain Expo coming up April 23-25 in San Diego. They sold 25 of the 48 domains put up for sale in the Domain Madness auction (for a total of close to $150,000) and the contestant who came closest to predicting which domains would sell during that event will get a cool $1,000 for their efforts. You can get more details on how the Domain Madness sale and content went here.

(Posted April 8, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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USA Today just published an article  about the potential turf wars brewing over ICANN's plans to start rolling out an unlimited number of new global TLD extensions as soon as the end of 

this year. The article by Charisse Jones pointed out that many in the mainstream business community are unhappy about the plan because it could cost them millions of dollars to protect their trademarks and brand names in esoteric extensions that they have no interest in using.

I can see their point and am also of the opinion this is a poorly thought out plan. The USA  

Today reporter interviewed me for this article and we spent over an hour talking about the  ramifications of flooding the Internet with new TLDs, the vast majority of which would sink without a trace, just as several other new extensions have in recent years. 

Ms. Jones is a diligent reporter and I appreciate the time she spent researching the article and getting a grasp on the subject matter before writing about it (something too few mainstream reporters do when reporting about domain related issues). I do think I should expand on one of my comments that she quoted in which I said ".Com was the only choice in the early years of the Internet, so that has been branded in the public's consciousness. If you're a small businessman and you buy a new extension you've got an uphill fight. It's going to be like being invisible on the Web."

This was part of a detailed conversation that she obviously could not use in its entirety because of her space limitations. As you all know, .com was one of the three original primary extensions (along with .net and .org) but the only one meant for general use, so it was the only real option for businesses, other than network and internet service providers that the .net was intended to represent. As a result .com became synonymous with the Internet in the American public's mind (local ccTLDs held sway in many other parts of the world). 

In 2001 two new global TLDs, .info and .biz, were introduced. The next year America's country code, .us, which had previously been reserved for government use, was opened to the general public. I personally hold many domains in all three of those extensions, so I am certainly not opposed to new TLDs. However I've learned from experience that it takes many years for any new TLD to gain even modest public recognition and use on the Internet. 

After seven years, I've only recently seen the original round of new TLDs gaining some ground among small businesses who want domains that include words or terms no longer available in .com. They continue to be largely  ignored by most major corporations (who acquired .com addresses long ago), other than some foreign companies, like BMW, Hitachi and Club Med, who think in ccTLD terms and use .us for their American operations.

That is why I say that a small businessman who buys a name in a new extension that will only be getting started next year will essentially be invisible on the web for a long  time to come (short of an unimaginably expensive marketing campaign - the likes of which no previous new TLD registry has had the capacity to undertake). 

There is certainly no shortage of available space in the under-utilized new TLDs that have been introduced over the past 8 years, so there is no need for a flood of new extensions when the existing ones are still finding their place on the web. I think the better path would be to continue to release new extensions in a methodical manner where a clear need and viable use can be demonstrated (though ICANN's painfully slow process for doing that could certainly be streamlined). The purpose of extensions in the first place was, like a good filing cabinet, to bring organization and meaning to the naming system. In my opinion ICANN's plan would replace that with clutter, chaos and unnecessary expense for thousands of businesses.

I'm sure you have your own opinions about ICANN's plan and you can make those known to ICANN now - but you need to act quickly as their current public commentary period on the new gTLD issue closes on Monday (April 13). You can let ICANN know your views by posting your opinions on this page at ICANN.org. There are more links and background on these issues in a thread started by George Kirikos at the DomainState.com forum that we encourage you to review.

(Posted April 7, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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I became a fan of Australian domainer Ed Keay-Smith's  podcasts at OzDomainer.com in April of last year when I caught his in-depth interview with the Castello Brothers (Michael 

and David). Not long after that Ed went on a seven-month tour of the world (now that is what I call a holiday!) but he just got back behind the microphone for the first time since the Castello Brothers show. 

I had the pleasure of being the interviewee for Ed's latest show released today, which is the 9th episode in his series. We covered a lot of ground in the 57-minute podcast including ideas on today's best domain opportunities, the most effective places to sell names, the most important things industry newcomers should know, thoughts about ccTLDs (including Australia's .com.au), domain forums, conferences and more. Ed is a very solid interviewer with a casual, engaging style that I think you will find very appealing. I hope you enjoy the program and thanks again to Ed for the invitation.

Jeff Kupietzky
Oversee.net President 

Oversee.net, the parent company of DomainSponsor.com, Moniker, SnapNames and the DOMAINfest Global conference announced three key appointments today.  Elizabeth Murray has been named Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Senior Vice President.  She will report directly to company President Jeff Kupietzky .  Also, Oversee’s board of directors has elected Allen Morgan, Venture Partner at Mayfield Fund, and Scott Jarus, CEO of Cognition Technologies, Inc., as company directors.

Mr. Kupietzky said, “Oversee is aggressively expanding its leadership position in the domain name marketplace, the digital real estate market of the Internet. Liz, Allen and Scott collectively have deep expertise with both public and private technology-based companies.  All three are extremely valuable additions to the organization, and Oversee welcomes their breadth of experience.”

ResellerClub, one of the worlds largest ICANN accredited Registrars just announced that its DNS Service is now available free of charge with domains as well as other products offerings.

The company said it will be rolling out several other free services in the near future including domain forwarding, website builder options, email hosting as well as a chat client. 

ResellerClub CEO Bhavin Turakhia said, "My level of 

excitement knows no bounds as we launch the very first of our free product suite. This string of products has been on the cards for a while now and I can assure all our Resellers that the forthcoming products will be every bit as useful as the newly launched DNS Service”
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Organizers of the Domain Roundtable Conference coming up June 14-17 in Washington D.C. have released the agenda for their event. The show opens with a Sunday evening cocktail 

reception at the Grand Hyatt, followed by two full business days culminating in a three-hour live auction to be staged by Aftermarket.com on June 16th. 

The conference will capitalize on its Washington D.C. location by calling in experts to talk about potential legislative threats to domain owners. While the agenda has been set, the roster of speakers has not yet been finalized. Registration for the show is open though and you can take advantage of an early bird discount if you register by April 15th.

BuyDomains has announced another free event in their ongoing series of Webinars. The next one will focus on "Using Google Analytics to Help Your Email Marketing Campaigns Succeed." The 30-minute webinar will get underway at 2pm on Thursday, April 16. You can reserve your seat by registering here.
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I was sorry to hear that Dark Blue Sea CEO Richard Moore would be leaving that post at the end of June.  After stepping down, Moore will continue to serve the DBS board as an 

Executive Director but once he leaves his current job I'm afraid we won't seeing as much of him as we have in the past. 

As most of you know, Dark Blue Sea is the parent company of Fabulous.com, one of the most highly regarded customer-centric companies in our industry. Many domainers have had the pleasure of getting to know Richard over the years as he ably represented Fabulous and DBS on the conference circuit - and even more so when Fabulous hosted their own unforgettable  T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference last November on Australia's Gold Coast, near their home base in Brisbane

In their dealings with the domain community Richard and his team have consistently lived up to the company's most recognizable brand name - Fabulous. Though his role will change this summer we are hopeful that Moore will continue to be available to share his broad knowledge of the industry with all of us.

Richard Moore
Dark Blue Sea CEO

Dark Blue Sea has named the company's current CFO, Gregory Platz, to fill the CEO position effective July 1. Gregory has been with the company since it was founded in 1999 so he obviously knows the firm inside out and we wish him the very best in his new assignment leading Dark Blue Sea. 

Santa Clara Marriott Hotel
Site of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Silicon Valley 2009

A couple of other notes to pass along today - the preliminary agenda for this month's T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Silicon Valley conference (April 27-30 at the Santa Clara Marriott) has just been posted. You can get more information from our show preview interview with T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Rick Schwartz that was published in our latest newsletter

There is also news about this month's GeoDomain Expo in San Diego (April 23-25 at the Catamaran Resort). Tomorrow (Friday April 3) is the last day to take advantage of the special early bird registration fee ($595). It 

jumps $100 Saturday and will cost $400 more at the door. I'm looking forward to covering both the GeoDomain Expo and T.R.A.F.F.I.C. for you and hope to meet many of you in person at one or both of those events. 
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Bido.com's first charity domain auction raised $2,120 this afternoon for the Hacienda de los Milagros  (House of Miracles) animal rescue shelter in Arizona.  The shelter is in danger of closing as donations have dried up in the wake of the current economic downturn (Arizona has been one of the hardest hit states in the U.S.). In addition to the auction proceds, Bido's Sahar Sarid told us domainers had also made $5,000 in direct donations to the Hacienda.

Veteran domainer Donna Mahony, who lives near the shelter, sounded the alarm and it was very good to see the domain community rally behind this effort. The winning bidder will receive a lot of approximately 100 animal related domain names (plus some nice extras) that were given to the cause by a number of generous donors.  Even though the auction is over you can still help by making a donation directly to the Hacienda. 

In another innovative auction event, 

Photo from the 
Hacienda de los Milagros

DomainConsultant.com's Domain Madness live online domain auction (powered by Aftermarket.com) was staged Tuesday and televised on the web from the Kingpin Suite at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas. 21 domains were sold for a total of $136,320, with top sale honors going to Loco.com at $55,500. Those were respectable results for a debut effort and more importantly the DC team came up with a very interesting new concept for domain auctions that I can see growing into a real force.

Mike Fiol (left) and Sevan Derderian hosted 
the live webcast of the Domain Madness auction

They got off on the right foot by assembling a catalog of decent domain names at attractive prices then, to build interest in the  auction, they paired it with a timely contest (drafting off college basketball's March Madness theme) that gave entrants a chance to win $1,000

For the auction itself, in what I think was a master stroke, they set up the live webcast from a hot party location to attract viewers (more than 200 were online throughout most of 

the bidding). Domain veterans Mike Fiol and Sevan Derderian hosted the show and they both have appealing senses of humor that kept people engaged.

By adding some extra show biz pizzazz to the webcast I could see future events attracting even more viewers as well as more domainers who would want to make the trip to the show location to have some fun and be part of everything going on behind the scenes. It's a fresh idea and they have lots of room to expand it from here. Well done.

One other note today - organizers of this month's GeoDomain Expo (coming up April 23-25 in San Diego) have posted the first draft of the show agenda on the conference website. I'm impressed with the speakers and topics they have lined up. The seminar subjects are very timely and they will help the domain developers this show is geared to continue to build their properties into thriving businesses.  

I'm looking forward to being there, participating 

on a couple of the panels and hosting the GeoDomain Awards dinner on the closing night. You can still register for the show (which has one of the lowest fees in the industry).  I have yet to meet anyone who has attended a GeoDomain Expo that didn't feel like they got more than their money's worth from being there and I'm sure this one will continue that tradition.
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