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The Lowdown
December 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.

Reflections on the End of a Year (and a Decade) and the Start of New Ones

Yesterday I wrote about the good things I'll remember from the decade ending tonight at midnight - a 10-year span that Time Magazine called "The Decade From Hell." I am sometimes accused of being overly positive and it is a criticism I will readily admit to. I tend to see the silver lining in most clouds and when I woke up this morning I saw a spectacular natural phenomenon that reminded me why I have the mindset that I do. 

The photo I snapped below doesn't do it justice but it was all I had a chance to capture in the minute or two before the sun peaked above the horizon and washed away the stunning colors that stretched from the water a few feet in front of me into the heavens above.

This unexpected natural masterpiece was on display in my backyard for a few moments just 
before sunrise today - New Year's Eve - then it was gone (but the artist is always there).

I happened to wake up early today and when I came downstairs to get things started with my usual  cup of coffee the scene above was bursting through the rear windows and sliding glass doors. I had not seen anything like it in the 2 1/2 years since we moved into this house in the country just north of Tampa, Florida.

The sun was not up yet, but from below the horizon it provided a spotlight that illuminated an unusual multi-colored canopy of clouds. The sky in turn was perfectly reflected in the glassy smooth water of the pond that begins in our backyard and stretches across to the homes on the opposite bank (they are the dark swath flowing through the middle of the photo and their silhouette was also reflected in the water).

I grabbed my camera and got a couple of snapshots before the scene quickly faded in the glow of the rising sun. But it was there long enough to give me a sense of something far more beautiful and powerful than anything that man can manufacture. No painting (or photo) on earth has ever come close to capturing such indescribable beauty.

I was struck by how appropriate it was to see this on the last day of another decade - to be reminded that despite recessions and wars and all of the other ills affecting the world - there is always a new day ahead, another chance to try to make today a little better than yesterday was for myself, my family and friends and others around us. 

I also felt a certainty - one that I have felt many times in the past when seeing such natural wonders - that this could not be the result of an accident. I believe someone is in control - it just doesn't happen to be us! And that, I think, is a good thing. Given mankind's track record, I'm sure I would be a lot more pessimistic and perhaps even fall into complete despair if I thought we were on our own here - but I am confident that we are not. To me that means the future is in good hands and I am excited to see it continue to unfold. Bring on 2010! My hope for all of you is that it will be the happiest and most rewarding year of your lives. 

(Posted Dec. 31, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/20091231.htm

The Current Decade Ends in Less Than 36 Hours - Americans Say "Good Riddance" But I'll Miss the Aughts

Another decade will end less than 36 hours from now and according to a new report from the The Pew Research Center people are not going to miss the "aughts." The Pew study found that "By roughly two-to-one, more say they have a generally negative (50%) rather than a

generally positive (27%) impression of the past 10 years. This stands in stark contrast to the public’s recollection of other decades in the past half-century. When asked to look back on the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, positive feelings outweigh negative in all cases." 

Time Magazine went so far as to dub the past ten years "The Decade From Hell"! Yet, here I am - in the minority that has a generally positive view of this decade. But how could I not? I discovered the domain business in this decade - certainly a life changing development - and as a new technology nut, the technological improvements over the past ten years have been a delight to behold. I have been especially enthralled by what an advance the iPhone and HDTV have been - I dearly love them both (and don't even get my started on how cool computers and the web have become)!

With respect to cellphones I am actually in the majority in the Pew Study. Most people (69%) cited cellphones as a change for the better - a higher percentage than for anything else cited in the survey. The Internet and EMail are right at the top too, tied for third at 65% each, just behind green products with 68%

At the other end of the spectrum, More people getting tattoos ranks dead last among things people see as a positive trend - viewed favorably by only 7% of respondents and called a change for the worse by 40% (maybe I need to rethink that "Domains Rule!" tattoo I've been considering). Reality TV shows are also viewed with disdain. Only 8% say they are a change for the better while a whopping 63% (the highest negative number in the poll) say they are a change for the worse. Now I feel guilty about being a Survivor fan!

Interestingly enough, though most people think the current decade pretty much sucked - they remain optimistic and most Americans (59%) think the next decade will be better than the current one for the country as a whole, and this perspective is widely shared across most political and demographic groups.

This is a very detailed report with a ton of interesting information on how your fellow citizens view developments over the past ten years. I think you will find skimming through it a fascinating way to bring down the curtain on the aughts and get ready to go full steam ahead in the new decade that starts Friday.  

(Posted Dec. 30, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/20091230.htm

Click Here

RootOrange.com Contest Offers Free Ticket and Hotel Room for DOMAINfest Global

Our latest monthly newsletter was emailed to opt-in subscribers last night. The newsletter includes a profile of RootOrange.com, one of several new companies that have sprung up to offer alternate ways to monetize domain names. The Root Orange system makes it possible for domain owners to lease a single name to multiple businesses based on their geographic location. Our newsletter features an interview with company co-founders Camilo Acosta and Frank Langston who detail how the system works.

Here is another bit of news from Root Orange that is not in the newsletter. In an effort to persuade people to try their system, the company is running a contest that opened today featuring a grand prize that will give the 

winner a free hotel room and ticket to the DOMAINfest Global conference coming up January 26-28 at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, California. The contest winner will stay at the show hotel for four days and three nights at no charge. Seven other contest entrants will receive $200 discounts on DOMAINfest Global tickets. 

Entering the contest requires the following three steps:  

1) Follow Root Orange on Twitter (www.twitter.com/rootorange) or become a fan of Root Orange on Facebook.

2) Send a list of your domains that you would like to use in Root Orange's localized leasing domain monetization service to domains@rootorange.com

3) Complete agreement with Root Orange to enter the domain names Root Orange accepts from your list into Root Orange's monetization service. You will receive one contest entry for every domain moved to Root Orange. 

All entries must be submitted by January 15, 2010 at 11:59PM EST. Winners will be chosen at random. You can review the complete contest rules here

One other note today - .biz fans will be interested to know that URLCollection.com has decided to put the company's own portfolio of 1,228 .biz domains (including city names, country names, 3-letter domains and category defining product names) up for sale in a single lot. 

You can see the complete list of names in the portfolio in this thread at DNForum.com. The company said it will accept bids on the portfolio until the sale closes on Friday, January 8th, 2010 at 5pm (U.S. Eastern time).

(Posted Dec. 29, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/20091229.htm

Biggest Online Shopping Day Ever

I hope everyone had a great Christmas Day Friday and that "Santa" brought you all of the things you were hoping for. Though overall Christmas retail sales were sluggish again this year, online sales remained a bright spot. In fact, comScore reported that Tuesday, December 15th set a new one day record for online retail sales, hitting $913 million, easily surpassing the second biggest day on record set November 30, 2009 (Cyber Monday) when sales hits $887 million.

MediaPost.com quoted comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni as saying that each day December 15th through December 17th (the last day that many online retailers would guarantee free shipping in time for Christmas), "saw at least $800 million in spending as savvy consumers may have been waiting for last-minute deals."

Overall, online holiday retail sales from Nov. 1 to Dec. 18 are up 3.7% to $24.757 billion after reaching $23.873 billion in the same period last year according to comScore. MediaPost said that a different source, MasterCard 

Worldwide, reported even stronger online growth, estimating e-commerce sales increased 13% for the period Nov. 1 - Dec. 12, and 14.4% since the Friday after Thanksgiving. MasterCard's SpendingPulse report characterized e-commerce as "one of the stars of the season."

Results from the final week before Christmas are not out yet but none of the days after December 17 was expected to rank among the highest because, as the calendar got closer to Christmas, people were afraid their online purchases could not be delivered in time for the holiday. 

Further evidence of the growth of ecommerce can be found in the latest list of companies that have signed up to run expensive ads in the February 7th Super Bowl telecast. In addition to online giants like Godaddy, Monster.com, CareerBuilder, Cars.com and E-trade, first time

Super Bowl advertiser Home Away joins the big-spending crowd. Home Away is an Austin, Texas based company that provides online vacation-rental listings services.

With the Super Bowl still more than five weeks away, more advertisers will be signing up and with the continuing growth of ecommerce, odds are good that the web will have additional representatives on the telecast of the big game.

(Posted Dec. 28, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/20091228.htm

North Carolina Domainer Launches a New Non-Profit Domain Name Knowledge Base Site

One of our readers, Abdu Tarabichi, dropped me a note to let me know about a new non-profit project he has launched called the Domain Name Knowledge Base (DNKB) at DNKB.org. The goal of the site is to help educate the public about the domain name industry by providing easily accessible answers to common questions about the business in a knowledge base format. Dozens of brief articles, with more being added all the time, provide answers to questions that are organized by category so DNKB users can zero in on the area they are interested in.

Tarabichi said “The project started as a result of the lack of centralized information about the domain name industry. People needed basic information on how to get started and wanted to know how it all worked.  I could see how important it was to educate people in this emerging industry so they could be successful, make smart choices and be part of it.” 

Tarabichi added "With virtually every business having a web presence in today’s global economy, DNKB gives knowledge to the average business person trying to navigate the purchase and management of a domain.  It helps beginners understand what domain names are and how they can register, host and manage them efficiently."

"The free service also provides information on various topics relating to successful management of domains, including securing, selling, marketing, acquiring, parking and assessing the market value of domains," Tarabichi said. "In addition it provides advice on how to respond to domain name sale inquiries and what you can do to avoid and settle domain disputes." You will also find a list of domain information and news sites at DNKB. 

The project has just been launched and has lots of room to grow. Tarabichi invites others to h
elp improve the project by emailing feedback on existing articles or by submitting articles of their own to articles at DNKB.org. Tarabichi, who is

Abdu Tarabichi
Domain Name Knowledge Base

 based in Charlotte, North Carolina, said he has been working with domains since 2001 and he also operates his own consulting company, Domains Guru, Inc. 

Thanks to the unidentified blogger who 
sent the Belgian chocolate cookies above! 
I had a hard time keeping the rest of the 
family away from them long enough for 
me to snap this picture!

Today is Christmas Eve of course and we wish all of our readers a joyous holiday season. Thanks to everyone who sent cards, greetings and gifts (I sent thank you notes back to everyone except the sender of a lovely tin of Belgian chocolate cookies that arrived today. Unfortunately, the enclosed message wasn't signed, other than noting that the sender is a blogger and always enjoys seeing us at the shows, so I don't know who to thank (though I suspect that every blogger in the business will now send me a note to say they sent it)! 

We will be off tomorrow, hosting a large gathering of friends and family for a Christmas celebration at our home. Some relatives are already here and they will be joining us for a midnight candle lighting service at our church tonight, something that has been a family tradition for as

long as I can remember. It helps us remember what this special holiday is really about. Have a great weekend and I look forward to seeing you back here on Monday!

(Posted Dec. 24, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/20091224.htm

.INFO Annual Report Says the World's 7th Most Popular Extension Tops All New TLDs With 5.3 Million Registrations

The .INFO registry operator Afilias released its 2009 .INFO Annual Report this week. The extension marked its 8th anniversary this year and it currently ranks 7th in total registrations among the more than 270 Top Level Domains (TLDs) worldwide. With over 5.3 million domains registered, .INFO also ranks 1st  among all new TLDs introduced since 2001.  

Roland LaPlante, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Afilias, said “.INFO is the undisputed most successful new TLD launched to date, accounting for over 40% of all new TLD registrations." LaPlante also said the registry plans to use the expertise it has gained to provide backend services for some of the new TLDs that ICANN plans to start launching next year. 

".INFO’s experience provides many lessons applicable to the launch of new domains to come," LaPlante said. "As an organization, Afilias has been able to use our experiences with .INFO as a benchmark for successfully gaining approval for, launching and growing more new TLDs than any other registry services provider.”

Afilias says that over 70% of .INFO domains resolve to real content and that more than 1 million unique Web sites are based on the extension. North America is the top region for .INFO use holding 61% of all .INFO registrations. Europe is next with 23% followed by the Asian markets with 11%, however, Afilias said the Asian region is one of the fastest growing. 

Roland LaPlante
Afilias Sr. Vice President 
and Chief Marketing Officer 

Afilias reports that .INFO also continues to gain penetration in the registrar marketplace which offers domain names for retail sale.  .INFO is now available with over 330 distributors that support over 90% of sales volume in the worldwide domain name industry.  

In addition to statistics on the health of .INFO, the report also addresses news and initiatives that .INFO has undertaken over the last year. This includes .INFO’s efforts to reach new audiences via Facebook and Twitter, the recent .INFO Awards and the release of an interactive .INFO domain directory at www.info.info/directory .  The report also highlights Afilias’ continued efforts to keep the .INFO domain space and Internet users secure through its Domain Anti-Abuse Policy and supporting initiatives.

(Posted Dec. 2 3, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/20091223.htm

The Sky is Bright for Domain Owners Who Diversified - Part 3 - "Going to the Dogs" Isn't  a Bad Thing When it Comes to Development

On Friday When I wrote about four domain owners who are pursuing development strategies aimed at putting them in control of their own destinies, I didn't plan for it to become a series. But yesterday I learned about Rick Latona's new wine club ecommerce site at Vino.com and since it tied in to Friday's post so well I wanted to bring it to your attention and that became part 2 on the "diversification by 

development" theme. 

Again, I thought that would be it on that topic for now, but then Elliot Silver sent out a press release today announcing his latest site development project at DogWalker.com. This site exemplifies two things that I think are so critically important for successful development that it has to be included in the discussion. So welcome to part 3 on this topic!

Now, as most of you know, this is not Elliot's first rodeo. He has developed a number of sites and has chronicled his development experiences so that others can learn from them at ElliotsBlog.com.

Screen shot from Elliot Silver's DogWalker.com

We both believe that your best chance for development success  is to 1) find an underserved niche market so you won't be smothered by well financed and firmly entrenched competitors and 2) pick a subject within that niche market that you are personally interested in (preferrably not just interested in - but passionate about). 

If you care about the subject, all of the work you have to put into developing content and building the site will feel a lot less like work. It can even be fun - a much better state of mind to deal with than  drudgery which is what you get when you have spend all of your time on a topic that bores you to tears. If it is fun you are more likely to stick with it and your readers will sense your enthusiasm. If it is drudgery, you aren't likely to please your site visitors and you certainly won't please yourself. 

For the past seven years I have been spending as much as 80-90 hours a week, 52 weeks a year,  producing DN Journal and I can honestly say I still love writing about the subject of this site - domains and the people who love them as much as I do.  Though I am interested in a lot of other things, I don't think I am passionate enough about any of them to be able to devote that kind of time to them without quickly burning out

Elliot Silver

In Elliot's latest case study, he has found a legitimate niche market - dog walking - that is underserved on the web. He is also a dog lover (the idea for his site arose when he found it difficult to find something he needed for his own pet - a reliable dog walker). In my opinion he just cleared the two biggest hurdles you have to get over to have a good shot at making money from your website.

As someone who knows and loves his subject matter, he has a chance to become a dominant force in his niche with an attractive directory on a category killing domain that will bring dog lovers and professional dog walkers together. Yes, there is a lot more to do before the money starts rolling in. You have to keep producing fresh content to attract an audience and then you have to find advertisers who are willing to pay to reach the eyeballs that are coming to your site. But those two things are a lot easier to accomplish when the other two - the right niche and a real love for the subject - are in place.

You can read Elliot's press release at DogWalker.com to get more insight into his strategy for the site. I'm also sure he will blog about how things are going as time goes on. He has done that with his previous developments, sharing what has worked for him as well as those things that wound up being a waste of time and money. That is valuable information that has earned him a very loyal following among other domain owners who also want to end (or at least lessen) their dependence on PPC, affiliate programs or domain sales. 

Though you could fail many times before you succeed, I still believe that a well developed rich content or ecommerce site is the best way to make sure that  you are the one who holds the key to your domain's cash register.

If our dog Savannah could talk, I'm sure 
she would be excited about 
DogWalker.com
. She has a hard time 
getting me away from the computer long enough to take her for a walk. 

(Posted Dec. 22, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/20091222.htm

The Sky is Bright for Domain Owners Who Diversified - Part 2

I left you Friday with a post about four domain owners who are taking control of their own destinies by eliminating their dependence on parking revenue through domain development projects. Those four represent just a few of the many domain investors who are going down the same path. Still another example just arrived at my door today. FedEx delivered two bottles of 

Georgia wine from Vino.com. I am a wine fan but for the life of me I couldn't remember ordering anything from Vino.com (though I thought "now that is a heck of a domain name!")

Upon closer inspection I found that the package was a promotional gift from a new wine club site just launched by Rick Latona. A message inside explained that Latona's in-house development team is rolling out full blown businesses on some of the company's best generic domains. I have to admit the package got my attention and I promptly checked out the site which looks great. I'll share the wine with guests Christmas Day and if it is good I will probably sign up for a Vino.com membership. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Screenshot from Vino.com

I love seeing domain owners building out their sites with quality content or ecommerce solutions like this. Though it has always been possible to make a living from domain sales and PPC or affiliate income, I believe the best chance to earn big bucks is to diversify into at least one full scale development project, preferably centered around a topic you are passionate about. If that one fails to catch on, try another one. It only takes one success to have a massive impact on your bottom line. Babe Ruth struck out almost twice as often as he hit a home run (over 1,300 strikeouts in his career vs. 714 home runs), but the home runs made him the richest athlete of his era. One thing is for sure, you will never hit a development home run unless you step up to the plate.

Coincidentally the Vino.com news came just as I was putting the finishing touches on our new December Cover Story which happens to feature the man behind Vino.com (as well as Latona's Domain Brokerage & Auction House, DigiPawn.com and, starting next month, five of the next six T.R.A.F.F.I.C. domain conferences) - Rick Latona

Latona just may be the Godfather of Diversification. Our exclusive story details how the 37-year-old serial entrepreneur from Atlanta has managed to make a huge splash in this industry, even though he didn't enter the domain business full time until 2007! Check out the article - I think you will find it interesting, informative and inspiring. Latona proves once again that it is never too late to make it big in this business.  

Rick Latona

(Posted Dec. 21, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/20091221.htm

The Economy is Bad and PPC is Worse But The Sky is Bright for These Domain Owners Who Diversified 

Earlier this week I posted an item about increasing evidence that PPC revenue will start reversing a long decline in 2010. I closed that post with a comment noting that no matter how much parking improves domain owners should continue looking for ways to diversify their income streams and end their dependence on Google and Yahoo. If you can find new sources of revenue from your domains, the inevitable next downturn won't be as painful as the current one has been for so many.

A number of smart domain investors are already well down the path to diversification and I want to close the week by recognizing what a few of those people are doing on the development front. Let's start with Sahar Sarid and Jarred Cohen at Bido.com. On Wednesday they rolled out a major new update to their innovative social auction platform. Sahar provided a complete rundown on all of the changes in a post on his blog, so I'll point you there for the many details. 

The one thing I would like to add is the reason why I think that Bido has a great chance to break out in a big way. That is Sahar and Jarred's dedication to listening to community feedback and acting on the requests their customers make - even if it involves making time consuming and expensive changes to the impressive site they have already built. As some of you will recall I was one of the co-founders of Bido when it launched early in 2008 but left the project soon after

From day one Sahar was dedicated to trying new things that would set the company apart. But he always emphasized that if customers didn't like an idea he incorporated, we could scrap it and reshape 

Sahar Sarid
Bido.com Co-Founder

the platform as customers dictated along the way. It is obvious from Bido's new makeover that his philosophy remains the same as the company nears its second anniversary. A lot of business owners give lip service to the old axiom "the customer is always right" but few really back that up with their actions. Bido keeps doing it and that engenders a lot of customer loyalty and positive word of mouth buzz that will serve them well as they continue to build a truly unique sales platform.

Andrew Miller
Internet Real Estate Group

When you talk about building full-blown businesses on domain names, few can match the record of success that Andrew Miller and Mike "Zappy" Zapolin have has at Internet Real Estate Group (we profiled them in a 2005 Cover Story). They started and sold several websites and businesses based around category defining dotcom domain names, including Beer.com, Diamond.com, CreditCards.com, Shop.com, and Luggage.com and they currently manage and are shareholders in a stunning collection of names and websites including InsuranceQuotes.com, Phone.com, Patents.com, Alerts.com, Software.com, Chocolate.com, Sweepstakes.com, Safety.com and Sportsfan.com

They have accomplished a lot in the four years since our Cover Story ran. If you would like an update, you're in luck because our Australian friend Ed Keay-Smith has just released a 

42-minute podcast interview featuring Andrew at OzDomainer.com. Ed is an excellent interviewer and time spent listening to Andrew talk about domain acquisition, development and sales is always time well spent so do yourself a favor and check it out this weekend.

Along with veterans like Andrew and Zappy, this industry has been blessed by a wave of newcomers who are bringing new ideas, passion and unbridled energy to the business. One of those is Bruce Marler of LocalTek.com who has developed a successful statewide geodomain network at Missouri.me. A lot of people are taking note of that including the folks at iSupportServices.com who liked Marler's project so much they called on him to partner in the development of their own state domains, starting with NorthCarolina.me

Marler wrote about the new partnership on his blog and also noted that Localtek business is booming.  "We have been providing website development and geo targeted online advertising to our clients through Missouri.me for the last year. The response from our customers has been tremendous and we are now growing beyond our wildest projections,” Marler said. So, there's another guy who won't have to worry about how much Google or Yahoo decides to pay their PPC partners. 

Rob Grant

Finally, I'll close with an update from Rob Grant on his just-for-fun RecessionWreaths.com project (a development we told you about earlier this month). Rob is not selling anything (but good cheer) with his site but it is proving how far a little development work and some marketing elbow grease can carry a new website.

"We launched the web site with a fairly aggressive PR campaign and a national release distributed through PRWeb.com," Grant told me, adding that "Tuesday afternoon we did a live TV remote interview with the largest New York regional news station - Time Warner Channel 10 News. The video is showcased on their website now."

"We have also been picked-up nationally by a number of online publications and continue to gain traction with the media. But what's so 

interesting about all of this is that we are purely a concept wrapped around a provocative domain name - we don't sell any products, and don't try to make money. We are just an idea - with an interesting story line - that has great appeal to the public during these tough economic times," Grant said.

"One reporter from Fox News asked, "how do you make money...I don't get it. Do you have wreaths being made by your agents that you are selling to support the business?" This is really a fascinating case study in the power of a 'concept domain name' coupled with a unique story line and imaginative marketing. I just love doing this stuff!," Grant exclaimed.

These are just a few examples of things people are doing with their domain names besides parking them. It is great to have PPC as a revenue stream and everyone is rooting for it to come back in a big way, but there are many other possibilities and opportunities to make money (or in Grant's example - just a big splash to show what can be done). Domain names are such unique and versatile assets you just have to love them!

(Posted Dec. 18, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/20091218.htm

Click Here

Domain Conferences Unveil Attractive Agendas for January Shows and Verisign Plays Scrooge Again With Another Price Increase for .Com and .Net

The 2010 domain conference schedule gets underway barely a month from now with two major shows that will be staged back to back on the West Coast. Both have pretty much finalized their conference agendas and I am very much liking what I am seeing on their schedules.

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas will be up first, running January 21-23 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Rick Latona and his team will handle the production of this show as part of a new partnership arrangement with T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu and Latona is definitely putting his own stamp on the event.  The first thing you will notice when you look at the show agenda is that no sessions will start before 12 Noon. Each day begins with a leisurely brunch that will open at 10:30am

This may seem like a small thing on the surface, but it is a smart change given the show's location. With all of the attractions to choose from in Las Vegas, you can bet that registrants are going to enjoy having some extra time in 

the morning before they have to get up and get ready for the business day. At past shows in Las Vegas, the morning sessions were nearly empty so the promoters are wise to have heeded that clear message and rearranged the schedule to suit what their attendees want.

The other thing registrants clearly wanted is more networking opportunities, something the Latona team heard loud and clear when they surveyed their clients a couple of weeks ago. They responded by devoting more time to networking events (especially on opening day) so attendees will have ample opportunity to meet new people and strengthen relationships with those they already know.

DOMAINfest Global, which runs January 26-28 at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, California is also bending over backwards to make sure their attendees will experience an event to remember. They stage this show just once a year and a look at what they have planned makes in obvious that they used their entire 12 months of prep time to put together a blockbuster event. 

The detailed agenda released today revealed that Frank Schilling, Ron Sheridan and Adam Rioux (of Octane 360) will be the judges for the show's new Pitchfest contest that aims to uncover new, innovative products or services designed to enhance the value of parked or developed domain names.

The four judges for a second new feature - Launchfest - were also named with David Liu (Jefferies & Company), Douglas McPherson (New Ventures Group and Idealab), Richard Morgenstern (who has thirty-five years of high level business, legal and finance experience) and Eric Liaw (Technology Crossover Ventures) filling those chairs. Launchfest aims to reward the most innovative and viable plan for building an online business around one of ten undeveloped, premium domain names made available by Oversee.net (the parent company of DOMAINfest Global).

You can check out today's press release for more details on individual show sessions and events. We will also be publishing our own detailed conference previews within the next couple of weeks.

One other late breaking news note before we leave you today. Verisign has announced another wholesale price increase for .com and .net domain names that will take effect on July 1, 2010. .Coms will jump from $6.86 to $7.34 and .nets will go up to $4.65. Keep in mind that these are wholesale prices that registrars pay. Registrars can charge the public anything they want. 

These continual increases (at far above the rate of inflation) can be traced back to a sweetheart no bid contract that ICANN gave Verisign in 2006 despite widespread community opposition.

An ongoing lawsuit filed by CFIT also stemmed from that discontent. Michael Berkens aptly dubbed the latest price hike a "Christmas present from Verisign" in a blog post about the increase today. 

(Posted Dec. 17, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/20091217.htm

Is Holding Out a Tin Cup the Best Way to Monetize a Website that Gets 5 Million Unique Visitors a Month? The Miami Herald Will be the First to Know

So it has come down to this. In an effort to survive the historic media shift from traditional platforms to the web, a major metropolitan newspaper with a rich tradition has been reduced to the electronic equivalent of panhandling. In what may be the single best illustration to date of 

the seemingly inescapable bind newspapers find themselves in, the Miami Herald has started asking its website readers at MiamiHerald.com for donations. This, even though the paper told the Associated Press that its site receives 5 million unique visitors a month. You would think that with that kind of traffic, advertisers would be falling all over themselves to give the Herald their money. 

The paper says the problem is that they can only charge online advertisers about a tenth of what their print advertisers have been paying and that is not enough to cover their news gathering nut (even though hundreds of employees have been laid off in recent years). 

In the past high paying print advertisers covered the newspaper's expenses but with the Herald's print circulation melting faster than an ice cube in the Sahara desert (weekday circulation is down almost 25% in just the past 12 months!) those high paying advertisers are quickly disappearing. In addition to reaching fewer print readers, one would have to assume that they don't like the idea of paying 10 times more to advertise in print than on the web either. It is a vicious circle that has ensnared just about everyone in print media. 

They know that reader migration to the web is inevitable and already well underway, but print advertising revenue is disappearing far quicker than it can be replaced with online ad revenue. I have always believed that the scales will eventually balance. Advertisers want eyeballs and eyeballs are eyeballs, whether they are looking at an ad in print, on TV or on the web. The question is how many in traditional media can hang on until an equilibrium is reached? 

On the surface it looks like having 5 million website visitors a month would bring things into balance very quickly. However if advertisers are only willing to pay 10% of their print rates to 

reach those web readers, that brings the equivalent value of those 5 million web visitors down to 500,000 newspaper readers. The Herald currently circulates nearly 5 million newspapers a month (about 163,000 a day Monday through Saturday and 238,000 on Sundays). So you can see that online still kicks in only about 10% of their total revenues. 

It is true that the Herald's distribution costs are 

dramatically lower online, but newspaper readers pay subscription fees that help offset some of the real world distribution costs. Website visitors pay nothing and past history indicates it is unlikely they will ever be willing to do so. And there's the rub. The papers will have to continue ramping up their website traffic and the rates they charge online advertisers. They are in a race against time and many are losing the race. Hence long shot experiments like asking online readers for donations. 

I don't think that will ever put more than a drop in the bucket but I can't blame them for pulling out all of the stops and trying. Though I am obviously in the online media camp, I don't want to see the nation's great newsrooms disappear - professional journalists are indispensable to the health of our democracy. I am hopeful and feel reasonably confident that the best ones will survive the transition to the web - and I am thankful every day that it is a transition I made years ago.

(Posted Dec. 16, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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PPC Revenue is Finally Expected to Rebound in 2010 With Google Being the Prime Beneficiary

After an exceptionally long drought in which many saw their PPC revenue drop by 75% or more, evidence is mounting that domain owners will finally witness an end to the carnage in 2010. The latest indication of an upturn came today when Jefferies stock analyst Youssef Squali raised his price target on Google stock (already rated a buy) from $600 to $695 a share (Google closed at $593 today).

Citing increased optimism among advertisers amid an improving macro environment, Squali noted "Our channel checks point to strengthening advertising, e-commerce environment and improving fiscal 2010 outlook, which bodes well for Google. Over 65% of online ad budgets continue to go to Search, with Google claiming the lion's share."

Squali added "Commentary out of Yahoo, AOL and Value Click last week also points to strengthening demand from advertisers." As almost all of you know, Google and Yahoo provide the vast majority of the PPC income received by domain owners.

Adding to the optimism is the fact that online sales were up 3% from November 1 to December 6 indicating that holiday season e-commerce is bouncing back, at least modestly, from last year when it fell 3%

The big question now is how much of an ad spending increase will filter down to domain 

owners?  After the massive losses incurred over the past year, a 5-10% up tick wouldn't prompt many people to pop champagne corks, but at least it would be a step in the right direction. It will take many more steps to get back to where we were, but as Lao Tzu, the father of Taoism, said, ""The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." If we can get back up from the canvas and start walking again in 2010, maybe we will eventually be able to break into a sprint.

Regardless of what happens, the enduring lesson from this downturn for domain owners should be to continue looking for ways to diversify and end your dependence on Google and Yahoo. A parking revenue comeback would be most welcome, but if you can find new sources of revenue from your domains, the next inevitable downturn won't have to be as debilitating as the current one has been for so many.

(Posted Dec. 15, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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Misadventures in Brick & Mortar Land and WhyPark Charity Auction Opens on New Latonas.com Platform

I'm back after four days of visiting family members in frigid central Ohio where I grew up. It was 15 degrees (with a wind chill that made it feel like 5 degrees) when we arrived there Thursday evening. That really made me appreciate the 83 degrees we had here in Tampa, Florida this afternoon on my first day back home following the trek north. 

The chilly weather in Ohio and doing some shopping in an actual store there (rather than online) did make it feel a little more like Christmas but the novelty quickly wore off. My wife, daughter and I had piled up a cart full of stuff in a department store but when we went to the checkout line it stretched all the way to the back of the store! It was literally the longest line I have ever seen in my life. To save money on payroll, the store decided to open only a few cash registers. We left hundreds of dollars worth of stuff in the cart and walked out rather than wait over an hour for them to take our money. 

I saw several other people who wanted to buy carts full of merchandise do the same thing. Today I was back on Amazon instead, ticking off the final items on my gift list, certain that brick and mortar retail is beyond hope.

There are certainly more important things than shopping at this time of year though and the folks at WhyPark.com obviously haven't forgotten that. Today they opened a fundraising charity auction on a new platform provided by Latonas.com. The event will conclude Friday (Dec. 

18) at 3pm (U.S. Eastern time). The person who places the single highest bid in the auction will get to name the charity that all of the funds go to - a twist that will add some fun and excitement to the event.

The charity auction also gives everyone an early peak at the new Latona's Domain Brokerage and Auction House website. Owner Rick Latona opened this beta version of the site to accommodate the WhyPark auction while simultaneously testing their systems. In a post about the new auction site on his blog 

today, Latona wrote, "What we want to be is nothing less than the Christies or Sotheby’s of intellectual property. Your names deserve a classy representative and this is what we are trying to accomplish." 

I think the Latonas.com site is conveying the image the company wants to get get across. It has an appealing upscale look that will put domains placed on the site in an unusually attractive environment. It will be very interesting to see how this new platform develops in the weeks ahead. 

While we are on the subject of auctions, I'll remind you that the latest monthly Moniker SnapNames Showcase Auction ends tomorrow (Tuesday, Dec. 15) at 3:15pm (U.S. Eastern time). This auction is featuring geo and local search domains. 

Two other specialty auctions featuring one and two-character .biz domains will also be ending later this week. Sedo is offering six one character domains in listings that close Thursday (Dec. 17) at 12 noon (U.S. Eastern time). Those are X.biz, L.biz, N.biz, Q.biz, Y.biz and 3.biz

Meanwhile, the first phase of the TwoDotBiz two-character auctions being run by Pool.com will also be closing Thursday. There are more than 200 domain names still available in this first phase including DR.biz and 88.biz. The next phase of the auction with another set of two-character domains will open on January 4, 2010.

(Posted Dec. 14, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/20091214.htm

Editor's Note: I will be away through Sunday paying a pre-Christmas visit to distant family members who can't travel to Florida to be with Diana, Brittany and I on Christmas Day. I'll resume our daily Lowdown posts on Monday (Dec. 14). In the meantime have a great weekend and enjoy the special time of year we are about to enter.
(Posted Dec. 9, 2009)

Ad Spending Recession Coming to an End? New Survey of Over 1,000 Global Business Leaders Indicates a Turnaround May Be at Hand 

Ad spending has a huge impact on the revenue streams on both companies and individual investors in the domain space. The amount you make from PPC, affiliate marketing and direct 

advertising sales are all impacted by how much money businesses around the world commit to their ad budgets. The severe recession that has enveloped the globe over the past year has, or course, walloped ad revenues for most media outlets (online platforms did fare much better than traditional media, but still saw a decline). With a New Year approaching just over three weeks from now everyone is hoping to see things rebound in 2010 and a new survey of more than 1,000 global business leaders conducted by StrongMail strongly suggests that will happen.

MediaPost.com's Joe Loechner broke down the results from the 2010 Marketing Trends Survey. It showed business owners are becoming more optimistic about business conditions and plan to increase online ad spending as a result. 50% of the respondents said they expect their customers to spend more in 2010. 23% expect them to spend the same and only 8% believe their customers will spend less. 

As a result, 48% of those surveyed said they plan to increase their overall marketing budgets next year. According the survey the biggest beneficiaries of those extra dollars will be Email 

marketing (69% plan to spend more in this area), Social Media marketing (59% expect to boost spending here) and Search marketing (with 42% planning to pour more money into SEO and PPC). The biggest losers are Events (44% plan to spend less on trade shows and events) and Direct Mail (42% expect to cut spending here). 

It looks like just about everyone is getting on the Social Media bandwagon. While 59% said they will spend more on social media marketing only 3% expect to cut back here (the best figure in any ad spending 

category). Respondents listed the biggest benefits of social media marketing as awareness building (cited by 64%), customer loyalty and retention (49%) and expanded reach (46%). 

Mobile, as you would expect, is also expected to see a nice bounce in 2010 as more people use smartphones to go online.  22% of respondents said they planned to ramp up mobile ad spending while only 5% indicated they would spend less. 

I certainly wouldn't be popping the champagne just yet, but if these advertisers follow through with the intentions they expressed in this survey, things could be a good bit brighter for domain owners and developers in 2010.

(Posted Dec. 8, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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Are You Developing Domains With an Eye on Local Ad Revenue? A Major Conference in L.A. This Week & Upcoming Free Webinar Could Help Put Money in Your Pocket

A lot of domain developers, especially those in the geodomain community, are counting on local advertisers to provide their revenue stream. If you are one of those developers, you know that understanding the local ad market and how to tap into it is critical to your success.

Fortunately, more and more sources of information on that specific topic are becoming available. One of the biggest ones, the annual BIA Kelsey Interactive Local Media Conference (ILM09) will be held at the Hyatt Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles this week. The event gets underway Wednesday (Dec. 9) and continues through Friday.

BIA Kelsey is one of the world's leading local media research companies and the company's Co-Founder and Chairman John Kelsey is already a familiar face to many in the geodomain space, especially after he delivered the keynote address at the 2008 GeoDomain Expo in Chicago.

Hyatt Century Plaza - Los Angeles
Site of the ILM09 conference this week

BIA Kelsey Senior VP Matt Booth, who  is the Program Director for the ILM09 conference, said that the local media market is starting to rebound in a big way. Booth said, "At last year's conference, Neal Polachek (BIA Kelsey President) and I made the following prediction: From this economic crisis the next set of remarkable companies will emerge that will come to define the local media market. The unparalleled downturn will cause consumers and advertisers to change and shift their behaviors. This shift will create the foundation and opportunities to build the next set of great businesses."

"Nearly every metric and survey we've collected since then makes us more confident in our perspective," Booth said, adding " Evidently, the marketplace agrees because the huge attendance for this week's conference will make it one of the three largest BIA/Kelsey events ever. This is just one of the signs that the markets have turned."

"In many ways, this conference was a harder one to organize because there are simply so many interesting businesses operating that we couldn't possible fit every one of them into a three-day program," Both said. " Nevertheless, Mike Boland and Peter Krasilovsky have built what I believe is one of the more valuable conference programs around the topic Monetizing the Local Opportunity."
The speakers, to name just a few, will include Anamitra Banerji (Twitter), Meredith Papp (Google), Tim Kendall (Facebook), Cyrus Krohn (MSN Local, Microsoft), Lem Lloyd (Yahoo), Kara Nortman (Citysearch) and Chris Spanos (AOL Local). 

If you can't make it to the conference BIA Kelsey had another event coming up that you can take part in from the comfort of your own home. They have a free webinar called "Defining the Local Media Landscape for 2010" coming up Thursday, Dec. 17 at 2pm (US Eastern time). The event will feature a panel of six expert speakers and analysts who will cover traditional media (radio, television and newspaper) as well as online media (interactive media, online classifieds and mobile). In a roundtable discussion, they

will review and analyze 2009 and look ahead to 2010 - providing a selection of predictions that will cover several categories of local media. You can register for the free webinar here

A couple of other notes today. Sedo just unveiled a slick redesign of their popular domain aftermarket website this morning. The company said the major update is the result of an extensive study involving Sedo members, employees, consultants and focus 

groups. In addition to major site enhancements, Sedo said they focused on making simple improvements to the site to create a more engaging and intuitive environment. As an example they cited new navigation and login systems that allow users to manage their Sedo accounts and navigate the site more efficiently.  The site tree has also been streamlined so users can focus on what’s most important to them. 

While we are on the subject of websites, we have to tell you about an especially timely one, just in time for Christmas - RecessionWreaths.com - that has just been launched by Rob Grant (who was the subject of our April 2008 Cover Story). 

The faux ecommerce site touts a "perennial favorite" - the Cut-Up Credit Card Wreath - featuring maxed out credit cards from the nations biggest banks. The site says, "these cards, sporting 30% interest rates and late penalty fees, are sliced up into attractive snowflake patterns and add a dash of color and fun to every wreath! These wreaths also come with signed, angry letters demanding immediate payment. (Please note that we only accept cash for these specialty wreaths)!"

In keeping with the spirit of the site, it advises you to save money by just printing out the picture of the wreath and hanging it on your door (thumb tack not included)! Grant told us, 

Rob Grant

"We have people who actually want to buy these wreaths." The problem is he only had four made by some of the real estate agents in his Lake Placid, New York office so he would have something to photograph for his tongue in cheek website. However, Grant thinks he may have stumbled onto something here noting, "If you're in real estate right now, you've got a better shot at selling a wreath than selling a house!" 

"So now we're inviting the public to submit their own ideas to RecessionWreaths.com (the most recent concept was for a wreath shaped like a hangman's noose). If we ever do get through this recession, we have a sequel already lined up (for better times that are just around the corner) - FunnyWreaths.com - due to launch sometime between 2012 and 2015!" Grant said.

(Posted Dec. 7, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/20091207.htm

New Domain Sales Site Launched by Industry Heavyweight Andrew Miller of the Internet Real Estate Group

The number of options for buyers in the domain aftermarket continues to grow. Andrew Miller, co-founder of industry heavyweight Internet Real Estate Group (IREG), dropped me a note this morning to let me know he has launched a premium domain sales site at SimpleDomains.com

As many of your know, IREG started and sold several websites and businesses based around category defining dotcom domain names, including Beer.com, Diamond.com, CreditCards.com, Shop.com, and Luggage.com and they currently manage and are shareholders in a collection of names and websites (both inside and outside SimpleDomains.com) including InsuranceQuotes.com, Phone.com, Patents.com, Alerts.com, Software.com, Chocolate.com, Sweepstakes.com, Safety.com and Sportsfan.com.

Regarding his new aftermarket project at SimpleDomains.com, Miller said, "We own a portfolio of hundreds of incredible category domains, a few in development, but  mainly, we have been selling them to domainers and end users. For now they are 99% our own domains that we have been successfully selling at or below fair market value." Miller said SimpleDomains would consider featuring listings from outside sources but only if the domain are "fabulous".

You can keep up to date on what is available at SimpleDomains by signing up for their free daily domains newsletter. Miller said, "We are 

Andrew Miller
SimpleDomains.com

sending special offers, rights to buy or see offers on some of the world’s best domains, all at below fair market value." Miller has also started his own blog at SimpleDomains that he plans to update regularly. With his experience and knowledge of the industry that could quickly become a very valuable resource.

Our industrious friend at Domaining.com, Francois Carrillo, also wrote today to tell us about a valuable tool that has been added to his free Valuate.com automated domain appraisal site. The first trademark checking search engine, created by Estibot, has been incorporated into the Valuate.com results. 

If you enter a name that could have trademark  

issues, an X will appear in the far left column of the search results. For example, if you enter  iphonestore.com and then mouse over the X in the results it will bring up a message that says "Exact trademark issue with APPLE on the term "iphone." Probablility 100%. Risk 10/10".

Carillo said there are several important points to remember when using the TM checker tool: 

  • EVERY word is trademarked (ex: apple, orange, great, elephant) so it’s pointless to have a TM scanner that checks every TM because 99% of domains will have some generic TM.
  • TM checker only works on BIG Fortune 1,000 companies + their products (ex: Microsoft => xbox => halo) + smaller industry companies (ex: Verisign, GoDaddy). 
  • TM checker is optimized for companies that have a history of suing domainers (ex: Verizon, Viacom, Facebook, Twitter, etc). 
  • It’s NOT a comprehensive TM check. Always consult a good TM lawyer for real analysis. It’s only good for identifying obvious TMs in a portfolio.
  • It detects typos. You can adjust the probability match (default is 65%, but you can lower it to  30% to make the search very broad).

(Posted Dec. 4, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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Antvirus Software Maker Tabs .CM As the World's Riskiest Domain

McAfee, one the of largest manufacturers of anti-virus software, just named Cameroon's .cm country code extension the riskiest domain to visit in the world. CNet reports that McAfee claims 36.7% of all sites using the African nation's extension pose a security risk. The firm said that since .cm is often a typo for .com, cybercrooks like to use that domain to set up typo-squatted sites to infect your computer with malware. 

Now here's a surprise. Guess what extension is #2 - soaring from #9 one year ago? That would be none other than .com with 32.2% of its sites potentially hazardous to your computer's health according to McAfee's 3rd annual Mapping the Mal Web report (PDF file). 

McAfee rated other extensions for specific ills. Romania's .ro was named the riskiest domain 

 

for malicious downloads, with 21% of its sites delivering viruses, spyware, and adware. .Info is supposedly the one most used for spam with 17.2% of its sites generating junk mail.

Faring much better is .gov, the extension reserved for government use that has almost no risk according to McAfee. Japan's .jp was designated the safest country code with just 0.1% of sites considered to carry a risk. 

McAfee said  that cybercriminals prefer registrars that provide inexpensive domains, volume discounts and generous refund policies. 

Domains are also in the news at the Wall Street Journal today. In his VentureWire blog, Scott Austin revisited the story behind one of the most famous domain sales of all time - Business.com at a 

reported $7.5 million (the cash value would end up being considerably less). Scott contacted me for some of the background he used in that story including our list of the 10 highest domain sales since we started tracking the aftermarket near the end of 2003. 

(Posted Dec. 2, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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Commentator Predicts Websites Will Replace Brick and Mortar Stores Within Five Years

Imagine what domain names that define various categories of products and services would be worth if websites replaced all (or even most of) the world's brick and mortar stores. Well, it's going to happen within five years predicts Laurie Sullivan in a provocative post on her Cutting Through the Clutter blog at MediaPost.com today.  

In an article titled The Obsolescence Of Brick-and-Mortar Sullivan wrote, "Brick-and-mortar retail stores selling everything from clothing to high-ticket items like flat-screen TVs will turn into warehouses where consumers can touch and feel the merchandise. Websites, supported by search engines and site search, will become the cash cow for the retail store. Advertisers will have more of an opportunity to address consumers because many will spend the time online that they would have spent in the store. Tracking sales and pulling in data from social sites to target consumers with specific ads, coupons and discounts will become much easier for marketers."

 

 

Now, as you would expect, skeptical commentators on Sullivan's blog pooh poohed her prediction pointing out that similar predictions have been made (and failed to materialize) for the past 20 years. I don't think it will happen either, though I'm certain the web will continue to take market share away from brick-and-mortar year after year. Even so, I can't get a comment out of my head that David Carr made in a New York Times article Sunday about new media replacing old platforms like newspapers and magazines (I wrote about that article in depth yesterday). 

Carr wrote, "Those of us who covered media were told for years that the sky was falling, and nothing happened. And then it did. Great big chunks of the sky gave way and magazines tumbled — Gourmet!? — that seemed as if they were as solid as the skyline itself. But to those of us who were here back in September of 2001, we learned that even the edifice of Manhattan itself is subject to perforation and endless loss."

The unthinkable happened in media, so as preposterous as Sullivan's prediction appears to be on the surface and as much as I can't see it happening over a five-year span, recent history has shown us that with the disruptive power of the internet at play, anything is possible

Sullivan makes some persuasive points noting, "There are several reasons retailers would want to move sales online. For starters, it's less expensive to sell that way. Retailers can stock less inventory. Most well-run online sites pass on the order to a fulfillment house or manufacturer. That can mean 100% margin when drop-shipping the order, says Sucharita Mulpuru." Mulpuru is a Forrester Research principal analyst."

Sullivan wrote, "Sales on the Web have been outpacing store sales for several years. In fact, online divisions of multichannel retailers typically outpace their brick-and-mortar counterparts by between 20% and 30%, Mulpuru says. "It 

should be cheaper to transact business online," Mulpuru adds. "You don't have to pay for visual merchandise or for physical stores." Sullivan also quoted EMarketer Senior Analyst Jeffrey Grau who says store-based retailers are tired of seeing online retailers eat their lunch. As a result Grau said the brick and mortar crowd "will compete more aggressively against Amazon and other pure plays in 2010 as they turn to the Internet as a source of growth. "They must be envious of Amazon's strong 2009 sales growth figures," Gray concluded. 

I already do most of my shopping online. After running the Black Friday brick and mortar gauntlet a couple of years ago, I will never do that again! I happily spent Cyber Monday online knocking out a big chunk of my Christmas shopping and everything will be delivered to my door tomorrow. No fuss, no muss. I don' think even Sullivan believes that every retail store will be subjugated by the web in five years, but even if it happened with the majority of stores, I could see myself getting along just fine in that environment and being positively ecstatic about what such a development would mean for the value of domain names that identify specific products and services.

One other note today - in an announcement I was especially excited to hear, DomainSponsor, who is organizing the DOMAINfest Global conference coming up in Santa Monica, California next month, announced that they will hold a Networking Dinner Party for attendees at the Getty Center on Wednesday, January 27. Whenever I am in a major city, visiting the top local art museum is always on my To Do list. 

The Getty is really something special too. It sits on a 110-acre hilltop site in the Santa Monica Mountain range. DOMAINfest attendees will have exclusive access to the campus, which offers dramatic architecture, tranquil gardens and breathtaking views of Los Angeles and the coast. If you are a Project Runway fan, you probably saw the episode a few weeks back that was shot at the Getty and revealed what a truly spectacular site it is.

DOMAINfest guests will also have exclusive access to the West Pavilion and its collection of important works of art, as well as to the Special Exhibition Pavilion, which includes a limited-time Rembrandt exhibition on loan to the Getty. To facilitate networking and fun, the DOMAINfest party at the Getty will feature a sketching competition and a mystery art quest that involves unlocking a secret code using clues related to art work on display in the West Pavilion. with some great prizes going to the winners. This is an event I am really looking forward to.

Photos from The Getty above and
below courtesy of Getty.edu

(Posted Dec. 1, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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