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September 15, 2013

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The Lowdown
July 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.

Local Directory Services Provider Local Matters Helps Put America.us on the Map

In our item yesterday about the development of Missouri.me we mentioned the site would need to differentiate itself from a very attractive developed site at Missouri.com

Missouri.com is owned by Telepathy's StateVentures, LLC, but LocalMatters.com developed the site under a licensing agreement with Telepathy. I am starting to see the Denver-based provider of local directory and specialized portal services pop up everywhere. 

Christian Zouzas, the owner of America.us, recently announced the roll-out of a full-blown website there. Again, this is the handiwork of Local Matters who developed the site in a revenue sharing arrangement with Zouzas.

If you visit America.us, you will notice that there are listings for all 50 states and every major city in the country. When you drill down the the location you are interested you find well-populated pages featuring links to travel, business, entertainment and information resources within that community. The advertising is currently a combination of banners provided by Local Matters and Google AdSense but ad space can also be sold directly to local advertisers in every city. 

Given the vast scope of a site trying to cover the entire United States, the kind of services provided by Local Matters (and several other companies who compete in the directory space) are real Godsends to domain owners who want to ramp up development on their properties as quickly as possible. 

Incidentally, America.us is just one of many top tier .us domains that Zouzas holds. He told us he is seeing a lot of encouraging signs for America's country code. One of those was a post on Bido.com co-founder Sahar Sarid's blog yesterday. In giving a progress report on his company's auction platform Sahar noted "just a market observation, .Info and .US are on the move, with very decent trading numbers (volume, prices, activity)." 

One other note today, .tel fans who plan to attend the Domain Convergence conference in Toronto August 13-14 can look forward to a free bonus event, Toronto TelCamp 1, that has been scheduled to coincide with the show. TelCamp 1 will get started at 8:30am on Saturday, August 15. Justin Hayward of the Telnic registry will be participating in the camp (as well as speaking at Domain Convergence). Rick Silver (n49.com) and Steve Smith (Webnames.ca) are also on a growing list of confirmed attendees for TelCamp 1.

Scott Smith (President of TelCartel.com) and two other leading .tel owner/developers, Mark Kolb and “Freaky Steve” are hosting the camp. Smith said, Telcamp 1 is a community-driven event where attendees define the agenda and collaborate on themes and issues surrounding .tel domains. Attendees will also learn techniques to help create new and compelling uses for the domains from community experts." People wishing to attend this event can sign up on the TelCamp 1 Toronto wiki at http://www.telcampus.org/wiki/TelCamp.

(Posted July 31, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/20090731.htm

Website Developer From the "Show Me" State Unveils Plans for an Online Local Media Empire at Missouri.me

Interest in development continues to grow among domain owners  who want to free themselves from dependence on PPC revenue, especially now that those earnings have fallen off a cliff. I've always felt that the best chances for development success lie in finding an underserved niche and building the best resource within that niche. That is exactly what 

Bruce Marler
Founder
LocalTek, LLC

Missouri's Bruce Marler is trying to do right now with development of a statewide portal at Missouri.me that is focused on serving the advertising needs of small to medium sized businesses in Missouri's underserved rural communities

Marler, who quit a six-figure a year high tech job this summer to follow his entrepreneurial dream, set up a new company, LocalTek, LLC, to serve as a one stop shop geared to making a web presence a no brainer for local businesses.  Marler said that LocalTek provides web development, advertising, and targeted online marketing packages that virtually any business can afford. 

Missouri.me serves as the foundation for a network aimed at tying together over 1,000 communities across the state. Each town within the network has its own site on a sub-domain of the main platform. For example a site for Linn, Missouri is located at Linn.Missouri.me

Marley got the Linn site off to a flying start by contacting the county government 

there, which had no website of their own, and offering to build one for them at no charge. They accepted and with that stamp of approval local businesses started buying ads on the site (much to the chagrin of the local newspaper who lodged a furious protest to no avail). Marler has started hiring people across the state to personally call on small business owners with an offer to put them on the web at a price they can afford.

Marler is so convinced that he can cash in on the migration of media consumers from traditional sources to the web that he has gone on to acquire nearly half of the 50 U.S. state names in the .me extension. 

Certainly some will question his decision to use .me which is the country code for Montenegro. As most of you know the government of Montenegro cut a deal to re-purpose .me, opening it for unrestricted global use with the world's #1 registrar, GoDaddy, as a powerful backer and promoter of the extension. 

Playing off the popularity of the word "me",  the extension has done pretty well in aftermarket auctions since it was relaunched. How well those prices will hold up and the degree to which .me will be accepted by web users remains to be seen but if it does gain a foothold people like Marler who are building well crafted useful websites on it will be the ones who deserve the credit.

As much as we love domains, content is still king and his appears to be strong enough to give him a realistic shot at making "me" part of a unique "brand" that people will remember, especially with his focus on catering to businesses who aren't used to such personal service. "We created LocalTek and the Missouri.me concept to level the playing field," Marler said. "Missouri.me allows each and every community in the state to have their own online presence while LocalTek’s web development and targeted marketing services provide value that cannot be matched by traditional advertising only firms, newspaper and even radio." 

One other thing that could work in his favor from a branding standpoint is the fact that Missouri's nickname is the "Show Me" state! 

Marler's company will undoubtedly lose some traffic to the very attractive site that Local Matters operates at Missouri.com (under license from Telepathy), but by zeroing in on his own well-defined niche LocalTek appears to have a good chance of forging a separate identity for Missouri.me. 

For this who want to follow his progress, Marler writes a blog about domaining and site development at BruceMarler.com. In one bit of very good advice he posted there Marler wrote "develop, develop, develop, find an idea that is interesting and works from the business side AND that you will enjoy and good things will happen. Find a hole and fill it, provide solid service at a fair price. People will buy."

(Posted July 30, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/20090730.htm

Rick Latona Auctions Seeking CPA, Lead Gen and Affiliate Marketing Domains for Upcoming Online Auction

Rick Latona Auctions is looking for submissions for the themed online auction they have coming up August 21-28. The special sale will be devoted to domains representing the CPA (Cost Per Action) -  Lead Gen - Affiliate Marketing sector. If you have appropriate names you would like to offer for sale you can submit them through this link.

Latona Partner David Clements said this domain category is currently experiencing unprecedented growth so the company decided to design an event that will bring together buyers and sellers of domains suited to this business. 

"Some of the top categories are: banking, insurance, weight loss, credit cards, herbals and nutritional supplements," Clements said. "For this reason, we are asking for domain name submissions in these categories as well as other categories that do well in the CPA space.”  

If you are more interested in buying rather than selling these kinds of domains, Clements said to keep an eye on http://www.RickLatona.com/auctions for up to date information and posted inventory for the auction.

Registration and bidding will conducted at www.proxibid.com/ricklatona starting August 21.  All technical questions regarding Proxibid registration and bidding can be answered by calling toll free 877-505-7770 from inside the U.S. or +1-402-505-7770 from outside the U.S.

David Clements
Partner, Rick Latona Auctions

 

(Posted July 29, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/20090729.htm

The T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Conference is Going Back to Las Vegas But They Want You To Help Them Decide Their Show Dates

The organizers of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference are seeking community input on when the first U.S. show on their 2010 schedule should be held. They have already settled on Las Vegas as the location but are trying to decide between two options on the calendar. Since each choice has its pros and cons they would like to hear from potential attendees on which dates would make it easiest for them to attend.

The windows they have to choose from are either late January or late April. In a post on his blog yesterday, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. co-founder Rick Schwartz said that if  they run the Las Vegas show in January they would do it right before the DOMAINfest Global conference that will be held Jan. 26-28 in Santa Monica, California. Dovetailing their event with the DOMAINfest dates would cut down on travel expenses (especially from the East Coast) for those who want to catch both shows. However they are concerned that being away for 7-10 days would be too long a stretch for some.

Schwartz said they were leaning more toward the late April window until they learned there would be a conflict on those dates wit the GeoDomain Expo that will run April 28-30 in New Orleans, so they decided to seek input from show goers as to their preferences. Schwartz said the best way to convey your thoughts on that would be to leave a note in the Comments section of the blog post he made on this topic Monday. 

In a related note, if you plan to go to T.R.A.F.F.I.C. New York October 26-29, the early preferred admission rate of $1,295 expires Friday (July 31). The regular rate is $1,995. The special $249 rate for spouses also ends Friday so if you are going to the show you may as well take advantage of the savings and book this week.

(Left to right): T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Howard Neu
Barbara Neu, Diana Jackson and Ron Jackson at the 
Vinoy Hotel in St. Petersburg, Florida Sunday (July 26). 

Schwartz's partner, fellow T.R.A.F.F.I.C. co-founder Howard Neu, and his wife Barbara were in our neck of the woods this past weekend. In order to hand pick the best hotels for their conferences, Rick and Howard, either jointly or solo, visit dozens of upscale hotels annually. 

Howard and Barbara came to the Tampa Bay area with a group of trade show organizers from a variety of industries who were invited to an all expenses paid visit to the historic and beautifully restored Vinoy Hotel in St. Petersburg

The Vinoy, now operated by Marriott and given a new appellation - the Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club, was built in 1925 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Before they headed back to their Fort Lauderdale area home Sunday, Diana and I joined Howard & Barbara for brunch at the Vinoy, a property that sits directly on the waterfront in downtown St. Petersburg. Howard and Barbara were both very impressed with the Vinoy, but they will be visiting many other hotels so it is still too early to say whether or not the Tampa Bay area will win a place on the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. calendar one day.

(Posted July 28, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/20090728.htm

Sedo Introduces Monthly Industry Spotlight Page to Highlight Domains Currently Available for Sale in a Specific Category

Sedo has just announced a new monthly "Industry Spotlight" feature that will highlight domains currently for sale in a specific category on the popular aftermarket site. The first 

category being highlighted is Real Estate which gets a dedicated page listing several dozen domains ranging in price from $500 - $5,000. Sedo said the spotlight pages are sent to the general media, to their domainer contacts and are featured in the company's monthly newsletter. For exceptional domains they also plan to incorporate banners for added exposure.

Sedo has already selected the categories for their next three Industry Spotlights. In August it will be Gambling domains. September will be devoted to Pharmaceutical domains and the October list will feature Dating/Relationship domains. 

If you own domains that relate to any of their upcoming industry spotlights, you can send 

New Sedo Industry Spotlight feature 
will highlight domains from 
specific categories every month.

them to Tiffany Cuddihy (tiffany.cuddihy at Sedo.com) so  they can be reviewed by Sedo's brokerage team. They will notify you if your domains made the cut.

On Friday we ran an item about another new feature coming to Sedo next month, a Price Suggestion Tool meant to give sellers some guidance on how much to ask for domains they put up for sale on the Sedo platform. We didn't have an exact release date for that tool in our post but we saw a release on Sedo's site today that says the Price Suggestion Tool is scheduled to go live next Monday, August 3.

Afilias, the .info registry has also introduced a useful new feature for those who want to find the best available registration prices for .info domains. The registry now maintains a dedicated "deals" page that aggregates all of the current special offers and sales that various registrars are running for .info domain names. 

You can also have the deal information sent to you by subscribing to the registry's RSS feed. There is even a widget available for Facebook and iGoogle users to help them keep track of registrar deals. Authorized .info registrars interested in submitting their deals profile can contact Afilias for more information. 

I would like to see all of the registries roll out a similar feature - it could save domain pros hundreds of dollars annually in new registration fees and generate a lot of new business for registrars that are running special price promotions to attract customers.

(Posted July 27, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/20090727.htm

Sedo Set to Introduce a New "Price Suggestion Tool" for Domain Sellers - Can Automated Appraisals Be Taken Seriously? 

Sedo is about to unveil a new Price Suggestion Tool aimed at providing domain owners with some guidance on how high they should price their domains on the popular aftermarket sales

site. Sedo has been beta testing an iteration of the feature that had been labeled Auto Appraisal Tool. In a newsletter sent to clients this afternoon they said the new name for the public rollout in August (the exact date has not been set) will be Price Suggestion Tool

Incorporating the word "suggestion" in the title is a good idea. It will be up to the user to decide to go with something near the suggested price or come up with their own number. I haven't seen Sedo's tool yet but to this point in time I have never seen an auto appraisal tool that didn't frequently produce wildly off the mark results. Some may make entertaining parlor games but I haven't seen much value beyond that, especially since some novices take even laughable results seriously.

Professional domain appraisal? 

To be honest, I have very little faith in human appraisals either (including my own). There are too many unknowable variables involved, not the least of which is how motivated is the seller? How badly might a specific buyer want a given domain? With those and many other other considerations involved, I don't think there is any way for anyone to consistently predict what individual domains will sell for. Yes, appraisals can have value for tax purposes if the IRS recognizes the appraisal company as a credible source - but as a reliable indicator of what the name would sell for on the open market - not so much.

Another problem with paid human appraisals is that there is a big incentive for unethical appraisers to give customers an inflated value for their domain so they will be happy and spend more money for additional "feel good" appraisals that have no real value to anyone, especially the mislead customer.

In real estate homes have enough in common (and enough historical sales data) to make recent prices paid useful in appraising homes that are currently on the market.  

However most domain names are unique in terms of how individual buyers with varying needs would value them. iReport.com was worth $750,000 to CNN but others with a use for the domain might not have paid more than $5,000. As is usually the case, any appraisal for that domain would have been meaningless.

Every week, after we post our domain sales report, people comment on names that have been sold, often saying things like  "how could that name go for that much?" Or "I have names that are a hundred times better than that and can't sell them for a fraction of the price that name went for!" Again it comes down to what name did the buyer, for whatever reason, decide was a name they really wanted for their business or domain portfolio. 

Having said all of that, if Sedo has improved on the other models out there they may have a tool that is good enough to provide inexperienced sellers with some guidance to consider and there would be some value in that. I think that over time the more successful domain investors develop a "feel" for pricing domains and I  think that is about as good a handle as anyone can get on the ever elusive "value" of a specific domain name.  

(Posted July 24, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/20090724.htm

A Company CEO and Domain Industry Family Member Has Died in a Portland, Oregon Auto Crash

This is the kind of news I never want to have to report. I received a note from Kanako Fujisaki at NetXposure bearing the sad news that the company's 38-year-old CEO Devin Donnelly was tragically killed in a one-car automobile accident July 9th in Portland, Oregon. The news was confirmed in a report from KGW-TV in Portland.

Devin founded NetXposure in Portland in 1995 and the digital asset management software company also has ofices in Tokyo, London and Bangalore, India. He was also an active domainer. Devin, his mother Jan Donnelly and sister Jill Donnelly own several thousand domains and many of our readers will remember meeting them at one of more of the many T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conferences they have attended.

I also wrote about Jan and JillXan in a November 2, 2007 Lowdown post after they were both named as finalists for the prestigious Stevie Awards for Women in Business. They were honored because of the work they had done in creating the Career Exposure Network and its leading women’s online recruiting site, CareerWomen.com.

In its obituary article about Devin's untimely death, 

NetXposure CEO Devin Donnelly

The Oregonian newspaper noted that "Devin graduated from Lake Oswego High School and attended the University of Arizona. He was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. He studied at Waseda University in Tokyo and worked at the U.S. Embassy there. During his time in Tokyo, he developed a passion for the Japanese culture and became fluent in Japanese."

Regarding his professional career at NetXposure, The Oregonian said "Over the past 14 years, the company grew under Devin's leadership through acquisitions and strategic partnerships to become an innovator and leader in its industry. His intense focus and progressive thinking resulted in his firm winning many industry awards."

Our condolences and deepest sympathy goes out to the Donnelly family and the many people whose lives Devin touched. As The Oregonian noted, "Devin was a loyal friend. His close friends knew him to show great tenderness, compassion and humor: he was always there when it mattered."

(Posted July 23, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/20090723.htm

eNom Issues Statement on Domains Stolen from Warren Weitzman's Account and NameDrive Throws a Roadblock in the Thief's Path

We have several new developments to report in the case of the domain names stolen from industry pioneer Warren Weitzman's eNom account that we made public yesterday. First, eNom sent us an official statement regarding this incident in which they wrote:

"The eNom team is working diligently to address the issue of the domains missing from Warren Weitzman’s account. We are working with the gaining registrars and are confident Mr. Weitzman’s domains will be recovered shortly.  eNom would like to stress that 

this issue is not related to the security within our platform.  This unfortunate situation is related to Mr. Weitzman’s account only.  eNom has invested heavily in its security protocols and particularly understands the concerns and needs of domain name professionals.  We would like to assure our customers that their domains are protected and their account information confidential."

On another front, NameDrive, the parking company where the thief has been trying to monetize the stolen domains announced this afternoon that they have blocked the perpetrator's access to their account there. In a post on his blog, NameDrive CEO Gregory Manriquez wrote:

"It has come to our attention that several domains which were hijacked from Warren Weitzman in recent days have been pointed to NameDrive’s nameservers at fastpark.net. We have great sympathy for Mr. Weitzman in this difficult time. Our legal team are in contact with him and we are doing all we can to help resolve this situation. We have blocked the perpetrator’s access to his NameDrive account and will return all revenue made on the domains to Mr. Weitzman as long as the domains are pointed to our servers as NameDrive do not wish to profit from such activity."

One other note on this case. As we noted yesterday, the WhoIs information on the first domain stolen from Weitzman's account, Adios.com, falsely shows 'John Thalacker' as the new registrant. The real John Thalacker is a veteran domainer whose name the thief appropriated while filling out the bogus WhoIs info at 000Domains where the name was transferred. Mr. Thalacker has no association with the domains taken and doesn't own a 000Domains account. He is simply another innocent victim of the criminal responsible for these thefts.

We look forward to being able to tell you that all of the stolen domains have been returned to Mr. Weitzman. In the meantime, if you have any information that could help him or the authorities in this process, please contact Warren at Warren.com.

Warren Weitzman

In other news today, DomainSuccess.com is excited about lining up Mixergy founder Andrew Warner for their next live interview session coming up tomorrow night (Thursday, July 23) at 8pm Eastern time. A preview on DomainSuccess notes, "The Mixergy Mission is to introduce you to doers and thinkers whose ideas and stories are so powerful that just hearing them will change you. You will be motivated, uplifted and inspired as Andrew shares not only his own story, but those of the achievers he’s interviewed over the past years. Including the founders of Jib Jab, Gary Vaynerchuk (the Wine.tv guy), Timothy Ferriss, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and others." You can reserve a free seat for the session here.

SnapNames.com completed the first in a new monthly series of Showcase Auctions Tuesday, booking close to $90,000 from 38 sales. The highest bid went to DegreePrograms.com at $31,555. You can see the full list of results here.

The next sale in the series gets underway August 11 and the deadline to submit names is one week from today, Wednesday, July 29. You can read the submission criteria and other details here.

(Posted July 22, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/20090722.htm

Major Domain Hijacking Alert: Industry Pioneer Warren Weitzman Has Over a Dozen Domains Stolen From his Enom Account

Warren Weitzman's worst nightmare has just come true.  Weitzman has been in the domain game since 1994 and oldtimers in the industry know him as one of the pioneers in the business. Weitzman is a quiet guy who has never been interested in the spotlight, but as the victim of a major domain hijacking he is speaking up now with the hope that the publicity will lead to the return of his domains and prevent problems for others who might unknowingly buy the stolen names and lose their investment. Weitzman is also trying to find out how the theft happened and he believes the break-in could have occurred as high as the registry level at Verisign.

Weitzman first learned something was wrong on Thursday when Rick Waters, who is developing Adios.com for Weitzman's company, called to tell him that suddenly Adios.com had stopped resolving at the assigned DNS.  "I immediately went into my account at Enom and saw that Adios.com was there, still locked, with the same normal email for me, and everything appeared to be fine," Weitzman said. "But when I did a WhoIs lookup at DomainTools it showed a ‘John Thalacker’ as the registrant, 000domains as the registrar, and fastpark.net as the dns and lander, plus a phone number that didn’t work." (Editor's note: John Thalacker is a veteran domainer whose name was apparently picked at random by the thief for the false WhoIs info on this domain. So John is also being victimized by the criminal).

"I immediately called Enom, emailed them transfer-

Warren Weitzman
domain hijacking victim

disputes and inquired how the domain could be in my account while showing another owner in the public record simultaneously.  I alerted everyone I knew, but no one could understand how this could happen,' Weitzman said.

"After contacting Enom, we learned that all of the domains were still locked but Adios.com was no longer in Enom's database.  It had been transferred out. How could this happen without a notifying email, EPP, without a hack at the Verisign level or some kind of cooperation from Enom?  We also found that other domains had been transferred out to the same DNS (fastpark.net) and those names now showed various registrant information (mostly privacy WhoIs)," Weitzman said.   

Weitzman said the initial list of names taken from two different accounts he has at Enom includes these domains:

Sou.com
Tysons.com
Speel.com
Procredito.com
Stickum.com
Nansi.com

Circut.com
Airwatch.com
Adios.com
Boxheads.com
Twiller.com
Greatglasses.com

"All of these names showed in Enom’s transfer-out report as moving over the last 2 weeks, Sou.com being the first, moving on the 8th of July," Weitzman said. "While I received a response from the transfer-dispute department at Enom, there has been no explanation nor any guess as to how this could happen."

Even worse, the string of thefts did not end there. Weitzman said, "This morning we noticed two more of our best names, Before.com and Even.com, were moved to Directi overnight with Privacy WhoIs. These domains were both locked and using my primary email as contact information.  I have had them since 1995.  Even after changing passwords on these accounts,  the domains continue to disappear.  How could someone even know my login/username for these accounts, let alone passwords?  This is why we think the error or hack has taken place at Verisign - domains are showing in both registrars at the same time, there are no email notifications or EPP code requests," Weitzman said.

"I am wondering if anyone else has had this experience with Enom or knows whether Verisign has been hacked. We cannot understand how 

this could happen, right under our watchful eyes, and may still be going on. Enom claims to have locked down my accounts from further domain movement and to have contacted the gaining registrars," Weitzman said. "They said they will notify me when they hear back from the registrars who hold the names now."

Meanwhile, some of the names that have already been taken from Weitzman's account continue to move (a common situation with stolen domains). "We noticed that Sou.com, the first of the hijacked domains, was transferred again, this time to NamesDirect as registrar and again, fastpark.net as the lander and another private Whois," Weitzman said. "I hope that by publicizing this, we can find out if anyone else has had this experience and what the resolution might be.  It is also our hope that no one will purchase any of these names," Weitzman added.

If you have any information that could help Warren recover his stolen domains, you can send it to Warren at Warren.com. We will follow up with new developments as they occur.

(Posted July 21, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/20090721.htm

Long Weekend Getaways Are Great But There Is No Escaping Domain Names (Especially Bad Ones)!

This afternoon I returned from an extended weekend in Mount Dora, Florida, a charming town northwest of Orlando that is known for its historic homes, bed & breakfast inns, antique shops & shows and the beautiful natural scenery around Lake Dora. I took my wife Diana there to partially make up for taking her to a domain conference (Domain Roundtable in 

Washington D.C.) on our 25th wedding anniversary last month (I will continue to make it up this summer with other long weekend getaways like this). Don't get me wrong - we both had a great time at Roundtable and enjoyed celebrating the event among friends - but an occasion like this also needs to be marked in a non-business setting. 

So, even though I took my laptop along, I only went online briefly a couple of times after we made the two hour drive from our home just north of Tampa to Mount Dora Friday morning. But you know me - I never stop paying attention to domain names and the trip to Mount Dora gave me plenty of fodder for a new Lowdown item - this one.

We would be visiting Mount Dora for the first time so I did a lot of Internet research on the resort town before going, picking the place we would stay (that wound up being the Magnolia Inn bed & breakfast, a delightful place that was even better than it looked online), plus restaurants and shops we wanted to visit and things we wanted to do when we got there.

The first thing I did was go to MountDora.com to see who owned it. That turned out to be the local chamber of commerce. They have a serviceable site but their business directories didn't give me the reviews I was looking for so I could start making choices. So I typed "Mount Dora" into Google to see what the search engine would turn up. The second search result (after MountDora.com) was the city's official website  located, unfortunately, at a very unsightly address, so bad it is hard to believe they use it - ci.mount-dora.fl.us! No joke. Three dots and a hyphen thrown in for good measure. 

As a .us fan myself, I have no quibble with the city using a .us domain (they have always been popular with government sites and in fact were available to government entities only until April 2002 when there were opened to everyone else in America). However why use a name like this instead of oh...just grasping at straws here...say something like MountDora.us? Out of curiosity I looked up who owned that and was surprised to find that I did. 

Again no joke. I have no recollection of picking it up, but with over 6,000 domains I've been surprised like this a number of times in the past. Still, I do know the city could have taken it before .us was opened to the general public (it wasn't registered for the first time until a couple of weeks after .us was available for general registration). The city site's high Google ranking shows that the extension (and laborious name) is not an impediment to finding them in search engines, but I can't imagine how much ci.mount-dora.fl.us must get butchered when people try to type it in (and forget about trying to remember a name like that).

I came across another inscrutable choice of domains while researching Mount Dora in Google. The third free result (and top paid result) was for a site at WhatToDoInMtDora.com. I kid you not. A six-word domain name - actually five words and an abbreviation. The name for this  general city guide again shows content can overcome a tortured domain name in search engines - but for giving people an easy name to remember so they can type it in, this one would not have been high on my list (to their credit they were smart enough to also register WhatToDoInMountDora.com and redirect it to their site to eliminate at least one obvious typo. Mount Dora is the common spelling, not Mt. Dora). I think something simpler like MountDoraGuide.com would have worked better for them. When I looked it up, I found that name was unregistered and I liked it well enough to take it.

The Donnelly House (above) was built by Mount Dora's first mayor, John Phillip Donnelly, in 1893. It is now on the National Register of Historic Places and was one of the first places we stopped as we love Victorian architecture.

The Magnolia Inn in Mount Dora - good reviews on TripAdvisor.com steered us to this marvelous bed & breakfast two blocks from downtown and it was even better than we expected. They have a decent domain name too - MagnoliaInn.net.

Diana in the parlor at the Magnolia Inn.

Sunset on Lake Dora.

This wooden boardwalk meanders through a spectacular 8-acre nature preserve on the banks of Lake Dora.

One of these days I could see myself doing local city guides for underserved destinations in Florida like Mount Dora. I never did find one for Mount Dora that gave me what I was looking for. I wound up going to TripAdvisor.com and basing my decisions on the many customer reviews there. The lodging and restaurant choices I made based on that information worked out very well for us and we wound up having a great weekend. There was also that added bonus of getting one new domain name out of the deal and even better, discovering I already owned one that I like a lot, especially after visiting the lovely town the name represents.

Michael Castello & David Castello (CCIN.com)
will deliver the keynote address at the Domain 
Convergence
conference in Toronto next month.

One other note today - since I was offline most of the weekend I was late reading a note from David Castello that he and his brother Michael (of Castello Cities Internet Network) will deliver the keynote address at next month's Domain Convergence conference in Toronto. Great choice by the show organizers - I've been learning about development from the Castello Brothers since I first met them in October 2006 so I know first hand how much value they will bring to the conference that will be staged  

at the Radisson Admiral Habourfront Hotel August 13-14. The title of their talk will be The Future of Domaining - Building Your Brand. I don't now anyone more qualified to speak on that topic.

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Dates and New Location Announced for the 2010 DOMAINfest Global Conference 

The 2010 DOMAINfest Global Conference will stay in Los Angeles but Oversee.net's big annual event is moving from Hollywood to the beach. The show will run January 26-28 and 

the new location will be the posh Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica where attendees will be treated to a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean. Oversee said, "To enhance the intimacy and networking at DOMAINfest Global, the entire hotel property has been reserved exclusively for this conference. 

Online registration will open August 15 with an Early Bird discounted registration rate of $895 available through September 30.  The registration rate increases to $1,095 on October 1

Oversee said "The 2010 conference will focus on the importance of domain names in online marketing, with additional focus on how to use domain names to get the most out of the pending economic recovery.  The conference theme and specific agenda session topics will be announced in the coming weeks. The event also will feature two live Moniker ® domain name auctions, powered by SnapNames Live™ technology." For more information visit DOMAINfest.com. Our comprehensive review of this year's January show in Hollywood is here.

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New White Papers Promote SEO Benefits of Generic Domains & .ME as a Marketing Platform

Edwin Hayward has just released another interesting white paper at his MemorableDomains.co.uk site. This one clearly demonstrates how generic keyword domains help boost rankings in the three major search engines; Google, Yahoo and Bing.

Hayward started with 125 randomly selected generic .co.uk domain names that host active websites. At each search engine he then determined the position of each site within the first two pages (20 results) for a search on the keyword (or words) contained within the domain name (for example, SpecialEffects.co.uk and the keywords "special effects").

Hayward found that Yahoo UK (default mode) and Google (default mode) each produced a similar numbers of domains ranked within the first 20 results - 56% and 57% respectively. Bing UK (default mode) gave even greater weight to generic keyword domains with 62% of the tested names ranked within the top 20 results. 

Hayward noted, "While it's impossible to calculate the exact contribution of the domain name to the overall ranking probability, it would seem evident from the above that it is an important factor. It's clear that the domain name is even more relevant in determining the position of a particular site within the overall search results. This is a straight like-for-like comparison since Google, Yahoo and Bing are all attempting to rank exactly the same sites. On all 3 search engines, ranked sites fell on average within the top 7 results, and the domain name clearly played the most important role in the case of Bing, with ranked sites ending up inside the top 3 results."

The .me extension (Montenegro's country code) is the subject of another white paper that has been produced by UK based marketing conpany Brands-and-Jingles.com. The free 39-page report (available as a PDF download) is being issued to commemorate the one-year anniversary (July 17) of .me's rollout as a "re-purposed" ccTLD that is available for unrestricted registration worldwide.  

The Brands-and-Jingles folks are obviously big .me fans (they also produce a blog called .ME Of Course) so their paper is meant to make a case for the extension as an 

effective platform for online marketing. To do that the document, among other things, cites prices paid for .me domains in recent auctions, gives examples of live sites where it is being used and outlines how .me stacks up against other recently introduced extensions. 

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More bad news for traditional media outlets. A new survey of business marketers from Forrester Research says that 60% of those surveyed intend to increase their interactive 

marketing budgets by shifting money away from traditional media. According to a Research Brief article at MediaPost.com, direct mail is the category the largest percentage of marketers planned to cut, with 40% of them saying they would make reductions there. Newspapers were the #2 target on the hit list, named by 35% of respondents. 28% said they would spend less with magazines and 12% cited television as the medium where they were most likely to cut back. 

The study says the biggest winners among interactive platforms will be social media and mobile marketing platforms. Over the next five years, social media is expected to enjoy a 34% annual growth rate (compounded annual basis) with mobile marketing increasing by 27% a year. That means social media would explode from $716 million in 2009 to $3.11 billion by 2014. Mobile marketing would zoom from $319 million this year to $1.27 billion by 2014.

 

The revenue drain at traditional media 
outlets is accelerating as advertisers 
shift their marketing dollars to the web.

Online display advertising is expected to go from $7.83 billion this year to $16.9 billion in 2014 - a 17% annual growth rate.  Today's 800-pound gorilla, search marketing, is expected to grow more slowly, but still a very healthy 15% annually, which would take it from this year's $15.39 billion to $31.59 billion five years from now. Email marketing is projected to go from $1.25 billion to $2.08 billion - an 11% annual rate of growth.

To show just how bad things are going for the traditional media platforms, a a corollary report from Forrester says budgets for old standbys like television, print, radio and magazines, along with staff and training expenses and branding/advertising expenditures have been slashed by two-thirds from last year's levels. When it comes to media and advertising, the Internet is obviously where you want to be.

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I've seen a lot of interesting new updates on domain industry websites over the past 24 hours and wanted to run through those with you today as the changes are all well worth noting. Let's 

Edwin Hayward is featured in a new 
podcast interview at OzDomainer.com

start the tour at OzDomainer.com where Ed Keay-Smith just posted the 12th episode in his very well-done series of podcast interviews with industry pioneers.  Ed's guest this time around in veteran domainer Edwin Hayward from MemorableDomains.co.uk

In addition to starting one of the very first domain news and information sites, iGoldRush.com (which he later sold), Hayward has been buying, selling and developing domains for more than a decade now. In the past year he has also been releasing research papers that illustrate why generic keyword domains are so valuable. 

Hayward has a wealth of experience to share and Smith does a very good job of drawing out what you might call "The Best of Edwin Hayward" in a show that runs just over an hour and a quarter. 

Another well-known industry veteran, Australia's Michael Gilmour, just unveiled an impressive new and improved version of his widely-read Whizzbangs Blog. The eye-appealing site now offers an improved public forum and a closed social community that has many features similar to Facebook, including the ability to upload photos and post messages on the walls of friends. There is also a new feature that allows you to post your own blog commentary on the Whizzbangs site. I also like the searchable index for locating previous articles of interest.

Gilmour, who was the subject of our November 2008 Cover Story, is an acknowledged expert on the PPC business and has frequently spoken on that topic at major domain conferences. His writings on that subject and other industry issues make Whizzbangs Blog a site that should be bookmarked in your browser.

Michael Gilmour - WhizzbangsBlog.com

The big changes at domain auction site Bido.com are continuing this week. On Monday the site replaced its original one domain name a day format with a new system that puts multiple domains on the block daily. Bido is also using a panel of experts to vote on the names to be offered for sale, which should also improve the quality of names put up for bid.

As you know, there are many new mini-site development services to choose from today. We covered several of them in our March 2009 Cover Story, including DevHub.com. They have just introduced a new premium development 

package for those who don't have time to use the provided set of tools to build their own. For a fee (free estimates are given) they will produce a completed site for your domain and they say it can typically be done within 48 hours. DevHub says the sites are optimized for search and can be edited as you wish once the design is done.

Another one of the popular mini-site development services, AEIOU.com, has just opened up a new affiliate program. They will pay 10% of the lifetime revenue produced by anyone you refer to them and they say that share will be bumped up to 15% if you generate a lot of new business through your referrals.

NameMedia's BuyDomains.com also has a new affiliate program and they are hosting a free 30-minute webinar on Thursday (July 16) at 2pm (U.S. Eastern time) to show you how to earn money through their program. You can reserve a seat for the webinar here

ICA Legal Counsel Phil Corwin

Last but not least, we highly recommend that you read a new letter from Internet Commerce Association Legal Counsel Phil Corwin detailing what happened Monday in a special ICANN road show meeting in New York City. The event (and another one that will be held Wednesday in London) was devoted to ICANN's planned rollout of new gTLDs (and the attendant fallout from that unpopular plan, particularly among trademark interests). 

Corwin went to the event with strong reservations about how fairly the interests of domain registrants (who provide 100% of ICANN's revenue) would be represented at the proceedings. His fears were realized when Corwin found that domain owners, at virtually every turn, were given little or no consideration whatsoever. You need to read the details to know what we are up against. 

Believe me, with respect to defending your assets, burying your head in the sand and hoping the problem goes away is not a good long term strategy.

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You may remember a post from May  when I told you about the owner of Atlanta.com, Skip Hoagland, moving to hire reporters  away from the long established local newspaper, the Atlanta Journal and Consititution. Another key player in the geodomain space, Castello 

Cities Internet Network, led by brothers Michael Castello and David Castello, has just made a creative move of their own that promises to bring more local readers to their thriving PalmSprings.com site. 

Rather than raid local publications for talent, the Castello Brothers have forged a win-win partnership with Bob Marra, the well-known owner of three popular local publications; The Public Record, Wheeler's Market Intelligence  

Michael Castello & David Castello
Castello Cities Internet Network
 

and Travelhost Magazine Palm Springs & Desert Cities. Marra has agreed to write a new weekly column, The Palm Springs Valley Business Update with Bob Marra for PalmSprings.com and in return the site will promote his print publications. 

Bob Marra

While Marra will benefit from exposure to PalmSprings.com's global Internet audience, the site will gain fresh weekly content from a local leader who will bring his own well established following to PalmSprings.com. With this move, PalmSprings.com also serves notice that it is now more that just a tourism oriented site - the foundation has been laid to grow it into an influential media platform.

David Castello noted "Bob is a frequent speaker at all Tourism Bureaus, Visitor Bureaus and Hotel Associations including Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells and La Quinta.  He usually gives the "State of the Local Economy" talk at city luncheons and is also a founding member of the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership (CVEP)." 

With so many people migrating from print to the web Marra is obviously one of the forward thinking commentators who understand the importance of expanding their personal "brand" online. The importance of doing that was underscored in an article published in the New York Times yesterday. The piece by Brian Stelter, Web Traffic (or Lack of) May Be a Reason for a Columnist’s Dismissal, reported that the Washington Post is believed to have dropped long-time columnist Dan Froomkin because fewer people were reading his column online.  In an analysis of Mr. Froomkin’s departure, The Washington City Paper called it a historical marker for The Post, “the first time that a major personnel decision has hinged so squarely on Web hits.”

No need to feel sorry for Froomkin though - he has already found a new job. He was promptly snapped up by the popular web only publication, the Huffington Post, where he will write regular dispatches and manage four reporters in Washington. 

In other notes today, registration has opened for the 2009 Domain Convergence conference that will be held in Toronto, Canada at the Radisson Admiral Habourfront Hotel August 13-14. This will be the second outing for the event that debuted last year in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Those who register before July 20th can save $100 off the standard fee of $749.

Domain Convergence, the only event in Canada of its kind, was founded by Frank Michlich who noted “Not only do attendees get the opportunity to learn from world-renowned 

industry experts, but they also have the chance to network with other domainers and pursue profitable relationships that would otherwise be impossible to develop.”

Frank, as you may know, co-founded DomainNameNews.com with Adam Strong and Adam is celebrating some big news of his own. He and his wife Angie welcomed their second child, Grant Nathaniel Strong, to the world Saturday afternoon, just after 5pm. Grant, who weighed in a 6 pounds, 6 ounces, joins older brother Blake in the Strong household. Our congratulations to Adam and Angie on this very special event for their family.

Vivian Tran

Last but certainly not least, Friday was marketing and communications whiz Vivian Tran's last day at Oversee.net (parent company of DomainSponsor, SnapNames and Moniker.com). Vivian decided to go back to school to get her MBA and she will do it at one of the nation's top business schools, Emory University's Giozueta School of Business in Atlanta

I was in touch frequently with Vivian over the past few years and always looked forward to seeing her smiling face at Oversee's DOMAINfest Global conferences. She is a brilliant, talented young woman whom I have no doubt will make a big splash in the business world when she is done at Emory. 

Many of Vivian's former duties at Oversee will be handled now by Oversee's Creative Manager Jennifer McKay.

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I have often said that the people I have met over the years in this industry are by and large the best and brightest I have come across in any profession. As a lifelong journalist I have had an opportunity to be around accomplished people in a number of different vocations and while 

there are good people everywhere I am convinced that our business is blessed to have more than our fair share of them. I was reminded of that again last night when I got a letter from Gregg McNair, the International Director of Strata PPX Services, asking for help in publicizing a project with the potential to save thousands of lives.

Gregg has been a fervent backer of The Water School, a charitable organization dedicated to eliminating waterborne diseases in Africa and other parts of the world. A United Nations report estimates that there are roughly two million child deaths every year as a result of people not having access to clean water. Almost 40% of total child deaths from water related problems occur on the African continent. 

In April McNair led a group of domain industry 



Gregg McNair
Strata PPX Services

people to Uganda to show them the problem (and the solution) first hand. He is now organizing another trip for September when he will take another group to Kenya. Gregg plans to mail out the details to friends and acquaintences in the industry this weekend, but in case you are not on his mailing list, here is a copy of the information he is sending out: 

Dear Friend,

As many of you know my partners and I have for some time been passionate supporters of the Canada based charity, TheWaterSchool.org (please have a good look at this site!) introduced to us by long time supporter Richard Lau.

In April this year I took a small group of industry people to Uganda where we were exposed first hand to the real needs of the tribal people, particularly with respect to waterborne diseases. It was a moving and challenging experience for us all and we each came away determined to do something about it within our own means and collectively. Moreover the work of TWS in providing a simple, sustainable solution was demonstrated and observed among the villages and schools we visited.

We undertook to provide a further opportunity 

for industry folks to be exposed through TWS to the needs and solutions, by arranging another visit in September 2009, this time to Kenya.

It is only 6 days out of your life and I ask you to consider seriously coming with us…if the people don’t win you over the wildlife certainly will! (no trip to Kenya would be complete without a Serengeti safari experience!). Cost excluding return airfares to Nairobi is US$2,000 including all
accommodation and meals in Nairobi and on safari.

For those who cannot make it for whatever reason can I ask you to encourage and/or assist others to be there. We are thrilled to know that Sedo have already discussed support and having a representative there.

We all enjoy an incredible industry and despite so called tough times we have it so easy compared to many we will see and meet in Kenya. The dates September 23-29 have been fixed and planning has begun. The proposed trip schedule is attached.* It will be refined as we get a handle on how many will attend.

The following people are either committed or are seriously working on attending: Yoni Belousov, Merlin Kauffman, Ammar Kubba, Greg Dumas, Kelly Keesee, Richard Lau, Hakan Ali, Daniel Negari, Rick Latona, Simon Mills, Daniel Law, Susan Prosser, Sam Dennis, Alphan Culha and many others.

We are grateful for the interest being shown by many industry corporates and we would love to see at least one person from the major players on board. You never know, a fruitful business deal or relationship could actually be a byproduct of your involvement!

At StrataPPX, as many of you know, our primary motivation is to try and make a difference in this world, and to see this work expanded is a major objective to which we and others have made a significant ongoing commitment. There is absolutely no obligation to donate implied in this invitation to attend. We are convinced that going forward your awareness alone will ensure that more kids are saved from totally preventable death from water borne disease.

I am hoping that you can get behind this initiative and pass it on to others whom I may have missed.

Warm regards
Gregg

* A copy of the detailed trip schedule Gregg referred to in his letter is here. This page also has more information on the Water School's unique and effective Solar Water Disinfection Program.

Editor's Update (8/24/09): One change on the trip schedule linked to in the paragraph above. The hotel in Nairobi has been changed from the Fairview to the Nairobi Safari Club (www.nairobisafariclub.com).

If you do not receive this letter from Gregg in your email and would be interested in joining the group going to Kenya, you are invited to drop Gregg an email at ggg@stratappx.com.

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I have some exciting news for the geodomain community and the domain industry at large today. I have learned that the dates and location for the 2010 Geodomain Expo have been set by show promoter Associated Cities and I think the choices they have made will carry this already popular conference to new heights.  

The big event will be staged in one of the world's greatest convention cities, New Orleans, with the event running from Wednesday, April 28 through Friday, April 30, 2010. Those dates will also coincide with the 40th anniversary of the world famous New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

Dan Pulcrano, the interim Chairman of Associated Geos LLC (the parent company of Associated Cities) and CEO of AC member Boulevards New Media said, “Not only will the sessions be top flight and useful, but the music, food and entertainment will make this a memorable and enjoyable experience for anyone who joins us.” 

Donald F. Jones, President of AC member,  NewOrleans.Com Media, LLC, said

The 2010 GeoDomain Expo logo designed
by Kara Brown includes "winged globe" 
and bottlecap images made famous in 
New Orleans folk art (the city's street 
dancers use the bottle caps as shoe taps)

 

"NewOrleans.com is very excited to be hosting the Geodomain Expo next year in New Orleans. Attendees can enjoy the incredible music of our famous Jazz Fest, wonderful food and the historic architecture and ambiance of our city. Did we mention Bourbon Street?”

I am especially happy to see Associated Cities give themselves this much lead time to promote the 2010 show. Their 2009 show in San Diego and the 2008 event in Chicago were both staged just a few weeks after they were announced. Both were successful despite the short notice, primarily because this show, with its single minded devotion to developing domains into full blown category killing businesses, offers something truly unique. The last two shows have proven that even if they have to scramble to make last minute travel arrangements, people want to be there

Josh Metnick
Associated Cities Co-Founder

Now, with the added advantage of having plenty of time to prepare, spread the word and organize their 2010 program, I believe that this show, with everything it has to offer, will be a huge hit. AC Co-Founder Josh Metnick of Chicago.com expects nothing less. "Next year attendees can expect an even better program, with even better content than any of our previous conferences have had," Metnick promised. 

The 2010 GeoDomain Expo will be competing with an unprecedented number of conferences that are scheduled to run in various locations around the globe next year. There will even be one in New Orleans just 10 weeks before the Expo as Domainer Mardi Gras plans to run in 

mid February 2010 after a successful debut this year. In most cases that close proximity on the calendar would split up the pool of attendees, but New Orleans is one of the very few towns that is attractive enough to pull big crowds to both events, especially when the two shows differ so much in their focus. 

The Geodomain Expo gives operators of local and destination-focused geo websites an
opportunity to share information, exchange best practices, learn about industry trends, meet vendors and form friendships with other operators. Associated Cities said the 2010 program " will include speakers and panels related to the business of operating geodomains, as well as social and networking events, a trade show and opportunities to purchase and invest in geodomain properties."

I have been to the past three GeoDomain Expos and had the honor being the keynote speaker at the 2007 event in San Francisco. The Expo is a conference where I feel that I always learn something new and valuable about building domains into real businesses. As a result, no matter where this show turns up in the years ahead I plan to be there. For those who have been on the fence, the 2010 GeoDomain Expo dates and location and the added luxury of lots of preparation time should make attending this one a no brainer.

Dan Pulcrano 
The Associated Geos Interim Chairman 
confirmed the 2010 GeoDomain Expo will 
be held in New Orleans April 28-20, 2010
(Photo courtesy of Dina Scoppettone)

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When the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference announced a new partnership  with Rick Latona Auctions that made Latona's company the sole provider of live domain auction services for T.R.A.F.F.I.C. shows, people wondered how Oversee's Moniker.com would respond. After 

pioneering the live auction platform at  T.R.A.F.F.I.C., Moniker lost the opportunity to sell there when the Latona deal was announced. Last night we found out at least part of what is next for Moniker when Oversee announced a new monthly online domain auction that will combine the resources of Moniker and their sister company SnapNames.com with the sales events being held on a new and improved platform at SnapNames.com.

The first auction of the series, entitled "Summer Stimulus," begins July 16 at 12 noon U.S. Pacific time (3pm Eastern) and 

 

concludes July 21 at 12:15 p.m. Pacific (3:15pm Eastern). Subsequent auctions will begin the second Tuesday of every month and end two days later on the second Thursday. Oversee said the sales will feature low or no reserve pricing. The catalog for the first auction can be seen here

To submit a domain name for their future monthly auctions, go to http://showcase.snapnames.com where you will also find a calendar of upcoming events. The deadline for submitting names for the August showcase auction is July 28. 

With the auction competition heating up Bido.com served noticed that they intend to be among the major players when they unveiled a slick new makeover today. To their credit Bido has brought several fresh and unique twists to the auction game with a bevy of interactive features that come bundled in an exceptionally attractive interface. They call it the "Social Auction" platform which sums up their approach very well.

The new look will soon be complemented with multiple daily auctions instead of the one-a-day format the company started with.  Bido Co-Founder Sahar Sarid provided more details about the changes at Bido in a post on his blog today.

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As I write this the public memorial service for Michael Jackson that will be televised around the world is just getting underway at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. An amazing 1.6 million 

people registered for a lottery in which just 8,750 winners were drawn to receive two tickets each to today's star-studded event. 

I was wondering if anyone from the domain community would be among those in the live audience when I got word from David Castello of Castello Cities Internet Network that he and Natalie Lambert were there. They had each entered their email addresses in the lottery and Natalie's name was pulled. They arrived at the Staples Center around 7 o'clock this morning (Pacific coast time), six hours ahead of the start, to avoid the traffic snarl around the arena. David sent me the photo below taken shortly after they arrived (as you can see dozens of others were already on the scene with them.)

Natalie Lambert and David Castello at the Staples Center in Los Angeles this morning
waiting for doors to open for the Michael Jackson public memorial service.

If you read our December 2006 Cover Story about David and his brother Michael, you know that they are both accomplished musicians. I'm sure the opportunity to be at this event in memory of one of the most influential artists of all time has special meaning for David and Natalie as a result.

One other note today, The Rick Latona Auctions premium .cm domain name sale starts this event at 8pm (U.S. Eastern time).  The final list of 46 domain names includes names with reserve prices as low as $1,000.  These names are not included in the regular landrush or open registration and are only available at this auction.  If you wish to bid you can register at www.proxibid.com/ricklatona. Bidding will continue for one week (ending July 14 at 8pm Eastern).

As soon as the auction ends, the Netcom.cm Sarl landrush starts.  For more details, the official site for the launch is http://register.cm. The names in the premium auction include Cars.cm, Casino.cm and Poker.cm to name just a few.

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Professional domain name investors have long understood the value of generic domain names, especially those that define entire categories of goods or services. Most corporations have been slow to catch on to what a generic domain can do for their marketing efforts but  

there is increasing evidence that more and more of them are figuring it out. Veteran domainer Edwin Hayward (a Brit who lives in Japan) has been documenting that trend with specific examples representing Great Britain's .co.uk extension. 

Hayward started out with an article titled 100 Smart Companies that Understand the Concept of Generic Domain Names that detailed how prominent companies were using generic domains to generate new traffic (for example cereal maker Kelloggs uses breakfast.co.uk to drive traffic to their home site). Edwin just published a follow up to that piece called 100 More Smart Companies that Understand the Concept of Generic Domain Names, in which he uncovers another hundred 

Edwin Hayward

corporations that have found generic domains are the perfect way to boost business (an example from the latest list is Sennheiser UK whose Headphones.co.uk domain sends targeted traffic directly to their home site).

Rob Sequin

U.S. domainer Rob Sequin has been doing similar research on the .com market for some time. He takes an even broader view, looking at how companies are using domains consisting of various words and phrases (not just category defining terms) for creative marketing campaigns (for example American Express using MyLifeMyCard.com and Burger King using HaveItYourWay.com). 

Sequin said, "We find this development to be very interesting and especially encouraging for domain entrepreneurs holding a large and diverse portfolio of domains."  Sequin has 250 examples of this kind of domain marketing on his site that I think you will find interesting. 

Domainers have often wondered how major 

corporations could be so "clueless" about the power of domains. Certainly the majority remain so but Hayward and Sequin have shown that the tide may finally be starting to turn.

NameMedia has announced a relaunch of their popular domain aftermarket sales platform, Afternic.com. The company, which has more than 2 million domains available for purchase, said the relaunch "includes new features designed to enhance domain name sales performance and members’ user experience."

If you would like a personal tour of the new Afternic site, the company is presenting a free webinar on Thursday (July 9) at 2pm (U.S. Eastern time) and again on July 23 at the same time. To sign up just send an email to Jennifer Tanzi - jtanzi@namemedia.com.

There is also some news from Sedo.com today. Their parent company, the AdLINK Group, announced the sale of their display advertising unit, AdLINK Media to France's  Hi-media in exchange for a 10.7 % share of Hi-media S.A. plus € 12.2 million in cash. The AdLINK Group will now focus on its two performance-based marketing businesses, Sedo and Affilinet.

In another note from Sedo, the company is supporting Nora Nanayakkara's bid for a seat on the Nominet Board as a Non Executive Director.  Nora is Sedo UK's Director of Business Development and, as most of you know, Nominet operates the .uk registry. 

Sedo said Nora "will fulfill the requirements to bring broad perspective, a range of experience and personal qualities, specialist knowledge of the digital space, and a very large network of contacts in the .uk stakeholder community." In a letter from Nora posted on the Sedo site she spelled out how she would approach the job if elected to the board.  You can learn more about Nora and what she has to offer the .uk communiity by visiting her blog at  NoraNanayakkara.co.uk.  

Nora Nanayakkara

(Posted July 6, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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I hope all of my fellow Americans enjoy a wonderful July 4th holiday weekend. I know most of you will be celebrating in one way or another through Sunday but here is something that is very important for you to do first thing Monday, if you don't have an opportunity to do it before then. In fact Monday will be you final opportunity to do it. I'm talking about Monday (July 6) being the deadline for you to help yourself and everyone else in the industry by posting a comment to ICANN opposing recommendations made in the Implementation Recommendation Team (IRT) Report.

In a nutshell, if ICANN adopts the recommendations made by the IRT committee (that was stacked with representatives of trademark interests) you will lose the small amount of protection you still have against over-reaching trademark holders through the current UDRP system. It would be replaced by a new URS (Uniform Rapid Suspension) system that would make it far easier for someone who has designs on your assets to put you out of business

Internet Commerce Association Legal Counsel Phil Corwin has written a concise letter detailing what is involved and what is at stake that you can read here. If you wish you can take his commentary on the issues that are of the greatest concern to you and use those in your own post to ICANN. To leave your comment just send it in an email to this

 

address: irt-final-report@icann.org (put whatever you wish in the Subject line - something as simple as IRT Comment will work). You will get an e-mail back from ICANN asking you to confirm your submission. Be sure to respond to that email with your confirmation, otherwise your comments will not be posted for ICANN to take into consideration. You can see what others have already posted to ICANN here. Some of the best commentary on this issue has consistently come from George Kirikos as you can see in this example

In Corwin's letter he also notes that he is planning to attend an ICANN "consultation" meeting on their proposed new global TLDs on Monday, July 13 in New York City (similar meetings will be held in three other cities around the world over the next month and those locations and dates are also in Phil's letter). The new gTLD program is the back door TM interests are using to try to get IRT recommendations inserted into contracts for the original extensions, .com, .net and .org. Corwin is hopeful that domainers and other interested parties in the area will also attend and asks you to advise him if you will be there by dropping him an mail at pcorwin@butera-andrews.com.

Corwin noted "We know that the trademark community is actively encouraging its members to attend and speak out at these consultations, so it is vitally important that the domain investment community, as well as the many other constituencies and organizations that have raised strong concerns about the IRT process and recommendations, be in attendance as well. Freedom is never free. Please take the time this weekend to send

ICA Legal Counsel Phil Corwin

a comment to ICANN, and please consider attending one of the upcoming global consultations – because those who would diminish registrant rights are already planning to do so."

Barbara Neu

One other note today - with help from her son RayBarbara Neu has posted hundreds of cool photos from the last two T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conferences on Photobucket. They put you right in the middle of the action at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Silicon Valley show (held in Santa Clara, California in April) and the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. ccTLDs conference that was staged last month in Amsterdam

As you probably know, Barbara is the wife of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. co-founder Howard Neu. What you might not know is that she has a terrific photographic eye and somehow seems to be everywhere at once using her camera to document conference festivities. I often borrow shots from her to supplement our own conference coverage. Now you can see all of the pictures that were left on the "cutting room floor" so to speak.

Check out Barbara's Amsterdam photos here: photobucket.com/TRAFFICccTLDs2009 
and her Silicon Valley shots here: photobucket.com/santaclara2009.
For both galleries, you can click the Slide Show link on the upper right of each page then sit back and watch the good times roll! Speaking of good times have a great holiday weekend and we will see you back here on Monday.

(Posted July 3, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/07-03-09.htm

The 2nd quarter of 2009 just closed so we ran through our domain sales data from the past three months to see how the latest quarter fared against the previous quarter, as well as year 

over year against 2Q-2008. You've undoubtedly heard people talking about how many bargains there are on the aftermarket these days as the recession has forced many to sell assets. The lower prices people are paying showed up clearly in our sales data for the just concluded quarter. 

The total dollar value of all sales reported to us in 2Q-2009 was just $21.1 million, a $7.2 million drop from the $28.3 million reported in 1Q-2009. More disheartening was the fact that the $21.1 million total was worse than the $21.5 million reported in the final quarter of 2008 when most felt the market had hit bottom. In 4Q-2008 fear ruled after the historic 

 

collapse of major financial institutions left consumers too scared to buy much of anything. After a very nice upturn in 1Q-2009 it looked like things in the domain business were looking up but clearly we're not out of the woods yet.

The year over year results were about the same as those from Q1 to Q2 of this year. In the same quarter last year, total sales came in at $27.7 million, $6.6 million more than Q2-2009. 

As is usually the case, a few very high ticket sales impacted the results from one quarter to the next. The 1Q-2009 uptick was fueled by a trio of seven-figure sales; Toys.com ($5.1 million), Fly.com ($1.76 million) and Auction.com ($1.7 million). 2Q-2009 had a pair of seven figure sales; Candy.com ($3 million) and Webcam.com ($1.02 million), plus last week's half million dollar deal for Talk.com. So, the top three sales of 1Q-2009 totaled just over $8.5 million while the top three in 2Q-2009 came in $4 million lower at a bit over $4.5 million. The difference between just those three sales accounted for $4 million of the $7.2 million decline from the first quarter to the second this year.

"Greetings Wal-Mart Shoppers, you'll find 
some great .com deals on aisle number 5!"

While the high end slipped most sales platforms continued to do well at the low to middle end of the market favored by small to medium sized businesses. The situation is very similar to what the recession has brought to the general retail world. Purveyors of low priced merchandise like Wal-Mart are doing better than ever while upscale retailers are getting clobbered. 

As domain buyers have similarly trimmed their budgets, the median sales price of domains has also come down. In 1Q-2009 the median sale price in our database was $2,600 (down from $2,750 a year earlier). In 2Q-2009 it slipped again to $2,488. Keep in mind that we track sales starting at $2,000 for .coms and $1,000 for non .coms. As a result the medians in our database are higher than they would be if we followed sales below $1,000.

This declining price cloud has an obvious silver lining for one group - domain buyers. Many are finding deals on high quality domains that would have been almost unimaginable just one year ago. 

(Posted July 2, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/07-02-09.htm

On Monday I posted an item about seeing increased usage of America's .us ccTLD by businesses and organizations in our home area (Tampa, Florida).  As a follow up, today I learned about a highly unusual situation in which a publicly traded American corporation, 

Go America, Inc. (NASDAQ: GOAM), changed their name to Purple Communications (NASDAQ: PRPL) and in the process abandoned their GoAmerica.com website for a .us replacement - Purple.us

The more obvious choice, Purple.com, was registered in 1994 and according to a FAQ on its site, the domain is not for sale. That left Purple 

 

Communications to find the next best option and the Novato, California based company decided that was the .us version of their new name. 

It has been fairly common for foreign corporations, who are intimately familiar with ccTLDs in their home countries, to use .us domains (for example BMW, Club Med, Hitachi and Iceland Air ), but ironically Americans companies scarcely know their own country code even exists. Obviously, rare cases like Purple Communications making the move to .us are not going to change that overnight, but it is another example of the American ccTLD slowly building recognition one brick at a time. 

In another note today, NameJet.com announced that they have reached an agreement with the .cm (Cameroon ccTLD) registry to be the exclusive auction provider for their upcoming land rush. NameJet started taking free pre-orders 

this afternoon and those will be accepted through July 31st.  Auctions will then be scheduled for all domains where there was more than one pre-order application. There are FAQs on the NameJet site that will answer other questions you might have about the .cm rollout.

(Posted July 1, 2009) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2009/dailyposts/07-01-09.htm


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