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The Lowdown
January 2010 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.

Photos and Highlights From the Closing Day of a Fabulous DOMAINfest Global Conference in California

The 2010 DOMAINfest Global Conference closed last night with an unforgettable party at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles. It was the culmination of a three-day event that, despite the high standards set by the three previous shows in this annual series, still managed to exceed everyone's expectations. Based on the buzz this show is sure to create, going forward I think two words will be associated with DOMAINfest Global - "Can't Miss." When dates for the 2011 show are announced write them down (in blood if necessary) and make sure you are there.

The final day Thursday (Jan. 28) at the show hotel - the oceanfront Fairmont Miramar in Santa Monica - began with three seperate structured networking sessions that ran simultaneously in the Exhibit Hall.

Experts (who wore white lab coats to make them readily identifiable) answer attendees' 
questions about how to tap new end user markets for domain names in one of the three 
structured networking sessions at DOMAINfest Global Thursday morning.

In one corner a group discussed New End User Markets for Domain Names, in another the topic was Website Development Tips and a third gathering got tips on SEO/SEM for Domain Names. Attendees were free to circulate from one group to another during the hour-long session.

Next up was a second Pitchfest contest (the first was held on opening day Tuesday) that gave four companies (RootOrange.com, Skinected.com, RapidDomainBuilder.com and DevRich.com) a chance to talk about new domain monetization solutions they have developed. A panel of judges that included David Liu (Jefferies), Douglas McPherson (New Ventures Group), attorney/entrepreneur Richard Morganstern  and Ron Sheridan (RSS.com) then picked the winning presentation. That honor went to Chad Folkening (eCorp) for his new RapidDomainBuilder.com platform.

Chad Folkening answers questions from the crowd after judges chose his 
RapidDomainBuilder.com as the winner of Thursday's Pitchest Contest.

But wait - there was another big winner. After the final presentation the audience was allowed to vote on their favorite solution from among the eight companies that presented over two days and their choice wasn't the same as the judges. RootOrange.com wound up winning their vote with RapidDomainBuilder.com close behind.

RootOrange.com Co-Founders Frank Langston (left) and Camilo Acosta beat out seven other companies to win the People's Choice Award for Best New Domain Monetization platform.

After an outdoor lunch break in the Fairmont Miramar courtyard (on a gorgeous Southern California day), it was time for one the show's main events - Moniker's Live Premium Domain Auction. The four-hour sale (that included both in house and internet bidding) produced over $920,000 in sales. Coupled with the results from the Low and No Reserve Auction Tuesday night (just under $151,000) Moniker wound up selling over a million dollars worth of domain names at the conference.

Scene from Moniker's Live Premium Domain Auction Thursday at DOMAINfest Global

The top sellers in the auction were LoanCalculator.com ($215,000), GolfLessons.com ($65,000), PearlEarrings.com ($50,000) and a pair of names that went for $45,000 each; Husband.com and Golfshirts.com.

Within an hour after the auction closed DOMAINfest guests boarded a fleet of buses that took them to the world famous Playboy Mansion for a blowout party and fundraising event (for Jenny McCarthy's Generation Rescue Foundation) that ended the show on a very high note.

Inside the DomainSponsor tent at the Playboy Manson party last night. Guests were 
also free to roam the more than five acre estate that includes a separate gamehouse, 
zoo and the famous Grotto.

The most popular accessories at last night's party were digital cameras. In the photo below, Army.com's Mark Van Dyke gets to be the center of attention.

Dozens of professional models were brought in to make sure the the event was overflowing with beauty and pizzazz, but many guests from our own industry brought the same qualities to the party including Laura Schmidt (Thought Convergence Inc.) and Bari Meyerson (Moniker.com) whom you see in the photo below.

Now that the best DOMAINfest Global conference to date is in the books, I will be flying back home to Florida today. Tomorrow I'll start working on our comprehensive review articles of both DOMAINfest Global and last week's T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference in Las Vegas. Though we filed daily updates with photos and highlights from both shows that was just scratching the surface. We have many untold details and unseen photographs from the back to back conferences that will be published in our reviews. 

These two events spotlighted a lot of new and exciting things happening in our industry and I am heading home feeling extremely optimistic about how things will play out for domain owners and developers in the months and years ahead.

(Posted Jan. 29, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20100129.htm

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Day 2 (Wednesday) Photos and Highlights from the DOMAINfest Global Conference

The second day of the DOMAINfest Global Conference in Santa Monica, California opened Wednesday (Jan. 27) with a pair of stuctured networking sessions that gave attendees a chance to ask questions one on one with leading experts in two different fields. In the photo below an inquisitive group gathered to get advice on Buying and Selling Domain Names from Michael Berkens, Ari Goldberger, Larry Fischer, Monte Cahn and Kathy Nielsen

Scene from Wednesday's networking session on Buying and Selling Domain Names

At the same time, in another corner of the exhibit hall, another group congregated around attorneys John Berryhill, Paul Keating, Will Delgado and Steve Atlee for a Q & A session on Domain Names and Legal Issues

Next up was one of the show's main events - a fireside chat with Zappos.com Founder Tony Hsieh. Oversee.net CEO and President Jeff Kupietzky interviewed Hsieh, a 36-year-old Harvard graduate who sold his first company, LinkExchange, to Microsoft for $265 million in 1998. Hsieh used part of the proceeds to start up online shoe retailer Zappos.com, a company he sold to Amazon.com last summer for approximately $850 million.

Oversee.net CEO and President Jeff Kupietzky (left) interviews Zappos.com 
Founder Tony Hsieh during Wednesday's keynote "fireside chat" at DOMAINfest Global.

Hsieh, a very relaxed and engaging speaker with a disarming send of humor, said he thinks the most important keys to building a succesful business are building a strong culture and having a vision that goes beyond just making money. In the case of Zappos.com, the entire corporate culture is built around world class customer service and engaging customers on a personal level.

A pair of afternoon panel discussions filled the remainder of the business day. The theme of the first one, moderated by Ron Sheridan, was Turning Domain Names into Killer Websites

Panelists for a session on Turning Domains Names into Killers Websites were 
(from left to right in the photo above): Brian Gilbert (Thomason Management), Rory 
Holland (Credit.com), Rick Waters (Webcast 1) and Howard Wyner (Scentiments.com).

The next session was titled Domain Names: How Prime Internet Real Estate Builds SEO and SEM Success. I'll have commentary on both of these seminars (as well as all of the other conference businesses sessions) in a comprehensive conference review article that we will be publishing a week or so after the conclusion of the show.

The Domain Names: How Prime Internet Real Estate Builds SEO and SEM Success panel 
above, moderated by Oversee.net SVP and General Manager Ryan Berryman, included (left 
to right) Bruce Clay (Bruce Clay Inc.), Dan Ho (Adknowledge), David White, Danny Sullivan 
(Search Engine Land) & Melodie Tao (MarketingMelodie.com). 

With Wednesday's business out of the way it was time to get ready for a hghly anticipated Networking Dinner Party at the fabulous mountain-top Getty Center art museum in Los Angeles. Attendees were taken to The Getty on luxury buses and found an elaborate dinner buffet waiting for them in The Getty's entry hall.

Above: A scene from the Networking Dinner Party at The Getty in Los angeles last night.

Below: Guests at The Getty  included (left to right) Barbi Benton (probably the most famous
Playmate of the Year in the history of Playboy Magazine), veteran domainer Marc Ostrofsky
Bianka Krausch, domainer Chad Folkening and Barbi's husband, developer George Gradow.

Below: After dinner, attendees were free to explore the West Wing art galleries 
and the many masterpieces on display at The Getty (the first painting on the 
wall in the photo below is Van Gogh's Irises.)

The 2010 DOMAINfest Global Conference closes today with another full day (and night) ahead. The agenda includes three more structured networking sessions and a second Pitchfest in the morning, followed by Moniker's Premium Live Domain Auction this afternoon (it is scheduled to run from 2:00-6:00pm (U.S. Pacific time). Tonight the show closes with a huge DomainSponsor party at the Playboy Mansion. The party will double as a fund raising event (with a prize raffle) that will benefit Jenny McCarthy's Generation Rescue Foundation. I'll have the photos and highlights from all of the closing day events in this column for you tomorrow.

(Posted Jan. 28, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20100128.htm

Opening Day Photos and Highlights from the DOMAINfest Global Conference in Santa Monica, California

The 2010 DOMAINfest Global Conference opened with a record breaking crowd on hand at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, California Tuesday (Jan. 26). Show organizer Oversee.net has not released the exact attendance figure yet as late registrations were still  coming in, but the wall to wall crowds at every session confirmed their announcement that they had already set a new high water mark for the popular series. 

Scene showing part of the record-breaking crowd on hand for the opening 
of the 2010 DOMAINfest Global Conference Tuesday morning (Jan. 26).

The day began with Pitchfest, a contest in which four companies presented on new approaches they are taking toward improving domain monetization. The companies included Verisign, Elephant Traffic, AdMarketplace and Tempesta Media. A panel of four distinguished judges then picked the winner of the trophy awarded to the company they felt offered the best new solution among thre presenters. That honor was excepted by Adam Epstein who made the case for AdMarketplace.

(Left to right in the photo above): Adam Epstein of AdMarketplace who won Tuesday's 
Pitchfest
session, moderater Peter Celeste, judges Frank Schilling (Name Administration), 
Adam Rioux
(Octane360), Eric Liaw (Crossover Ventures) and Ron Sheridan (RSS.com).

A second Pitchfest session (replacing a previously announced Launchfest contest) will feature four more companies on Thursday.

After a lunch break Oversee.net CEO and President Jeff Kupietzky took the stage to deliver his welcoming comments as well as a very interesting overview of the current state of the domain industry. My Kupietzky expanded on the show's theme: Domain Names: Overlooked. Underutilized. Essential to Online Marketing Success. Jeff covered a lot of ground that we will go into more detail on in a comprehensive show review article that we will be publishing after the conference. The upshot of his remarks was that he remains very bullish about the prospects of the industry and his company in continue to make long term investments aimed at strengthing their position in the business.

Oversee.net CEO and President Jeff Kupietzky delivering his 
opening day address at DOMAINfest Global Tuesday.

Next up was a panel discussion about the unlimited number of new gTLDs that ICANN plans to begin rolling out later this year. Though the exact timing has not yet been set all of the panelists agree that the new TLDs are coming and talked about how they might fit into or affect current domain investment strategies.

New gTLD panelists (left to right in the photo above): Moderator Mason Cole (Oversee.net), 
Kurt Pritz (ICANN), Ken Hansen (Neustar) and Jon Nevett (Domain Dimensions, LLC).

The business day concluded with Moniker's No and Low Reserve Live Domain Auction - an event that set a new sales record ($150,950) for this opening day short list "appetizer" auction that sets the stage for the main auction event coming up Thursday afternoon from 2:00-6:00pm (U.S. Pacific time). The top sellers were FamilyCounselor.com and Love.info at $12,000 apiece, Pucks.com at $11,000 and Taskmaster.com at $10,000.

Auctioneer Wayne Wheat runs Moniker's No and Low Reserve Domain Auction Tuesday 
at DOMAINfest Global. He will be back to conduct Thursday's Premium Live Auction.

With the day's business out of the way it was time to party and the .CO Registry made that possible by hosting a colorful cocktail party and dinner at the Fairmont Miramar last night, complete with a Samba dance troupe and an irresistible beat that brought everyone to their feet. 

Samba music and dancers lit up last night's 
.CO Registry Party at the Fairmont Miramar.

Day 2 today will be another busy day at DOMAINfest Global. As I write this it has just gotten underway with a pair of structured networking sessions. Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh's Keynote Address will follow. A pair of afternoon panel discussions will close out the business day, then attendees will be bussed to the fabulous Getty Center for a networking dinner party tonight. I'll have photos and highlights from Day 2 for you in this column tomorrow.

(Posted Jan. 27, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20100127.htm

The DOMAINfest Global Conference Gets Underway Today in Santa Monica, CA: Here's What is On Tap for Day One

The DOMAINFest Global conference gets underway today at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, California. I'm on site to cover the event and there is a busy day ahead starting with the first of two Pitchfest sessions this morning (a second one on Thursday replaces a previously announced Launchfest contest that was dropped to make room for an overflow crowd of Pitchfest applicants). 

This afternoon we will hear opening remarks from Oversee.net CEO Jeff Kupietzky who will also comment on the current state of the industry (some of Jeff's thoughts on that were also included in our current January Cover Story). Today's agenda also includes a panel discussion on new gTLDs and Moniker's No and Low Reserve Live Auction (scheduled to get underway at 5pm local time (8pm U.S. Eastern time). By the way, 50% of the sale proceeds from a special 51-name package will go to PAZAPA (http://www.siloe.org/), a nonprofit organization that provides care, treatment, and education for handicapped children in Haiti

The oceanfront Fairmont Miramar Hotel
in Santa Monica, CA where the DOMAINfest 
Global 2010
conference
gets underway today.

Tonight there will be a welcome reception and dinner to close out the opening day. I will be on the go for  the next 16 hours gathering photos and highlights from  the first day events that will be published in this colum tomorrow. I may have to do some of that running between raindrops. A 90% chance of rain is forecast for this afternoon and some of the events will be held in a massive outdoor tent. It will take more than rain to dampen the enthusiasm of the big crowd expected for the conference though. Now, it's time to get this show on the road!

(Posted Jan. 26, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20100126.htm

Photos and Highlights From the Closing Day (Saturday) at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas

The 2010 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas conference ended Saturday evening (Jan. 23) at the Hard Rock Hotel. The day wasn't scheduled to begin until 12 noon, but the start was moved up to 10am so the Latonas.com live domain auction that was interrupted by technical issues on Friday could be completed.

Saturday morning scene from the Latonas.com live domain auction that was completed 
after technical issues had forced it to shut down shortly after it had started Friday afternoon. 

The auction wound up producing a sales total of just over $456,000 with a South African ccTLD, Fly.co.za, emerging as the top individual sale at $65,000. Other notable sales included GoFish.com ($50,000), DietFood.com ($49,000), CatFood.com ($41,000), MotorcycleHelmets.com ($35,000) and MenSuits.com ($30,000)

A pair of afternoon seminars followed, beginning with a session on how to optimize your domain portfolio for the best possible monetization results. The panel featured (left to right in the photo below) Jon Waterman (DomainGateway.com), Donny Simonton (Parked.com) Dan Warner (DomainAdvertising.com) and Richard Lau (DomainManager.com).

The panelists discussed the importance of selecting the right keywords for your PPC landing pages and the relative pros and cons of 2-click, 1-click and even zero-click landing pages. The latter involves sending people who land on your domain directly to a relevant advertiser rather than presenting them with a page on links (Waterman's DomainGateway.com utilizes this model which has also worked for companies like Sendori.com).

The second session was devoted to playing the drop market and featured panelists (left to right in the photo below) Rob Monster (Epik.com), Steve Brown (NameJet.com) and Kellie Peterson (Name.com).

The panelists discussed the attributes that make some dropping domains desirable and the services you can use to research and pursue the names worth going after. I'll have more details on all of the conference's business sessions in a comprehensive conference review article that we will be publishing soon.

The show's final event was the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Test Track, a session that gave operators of seven online businesses who are seeking investment capital a chance to pitch their proposals to a panel of investors. The investors group included (left to right in the photo below) Jon Waterman (DomainGateway), Gregg McNair (PPX International), Tony Morgan (an Atlanta based angel investor) and Rick Latona (Latonas.com).

 

John Deneen (BuyersGuide.com)
 impressed the panel of investors 
during T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Test Track.

While none of the business owners wound up securing an investment, it still might happen for BuyersGuide.com owner John Deneen who impressed the panel with his detailed presentation. Deneen is seeking $2 million in exchange for 40% of his company. Waterman asked to schedule a meeting with Deneen after the conference to learn more and see if they can come to an agreement. 

With their first U.S. show proving to be a crowd pleaser, Rick Latona and his team (who took over promotion of 5 of this year's 6 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conferences) now turn their attention to their next event in Milan, Italy April 27-29.

I will also be switching focus now to the DOMAINfest Global conference that runs Tuesday through Thursday (Jan. 26-28) at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, California. You can read our show preview article here.  I will be traveling on to Los Angeles for the show tomorrow so there won't be a Monday Lowdown post. I hope to see you back here on Tuesday!

(Posted Jan. 24, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20100124.htm

Click Here

Photos and Highlights from Day Two (Friday) at the 2010 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas Conference

The second day of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas conference got underway at 10:30am Friday (Jan. 22) with a packed brunch sponsored by international tax planning and consulting firm Rowbothan & Company. Once everyone was suitably fueled with coffee and good food it was on to the day's opening business session - a lively discussion of ICANN's plans to roll out an unlimited number of new gGTLDs. The panelists (left to right in the photo below) were Gregg McNair (PPX International), Tina Dam (ICANN) and Joe Alagna (CentralNic).

Most people in the domain industry are pretty much on the same page, but the introduction of unlimited new gTLDs at once is a topic that has people who agree on most things lining up on opposite sides of this issue. McNair voiced the opinion of those who, based on the poor performance of many previous new TLD releases, don't believe there is any need for more. Alagna, whose company will offer backend services for new registry operators, said the time to debate whether its a good idea or not is over because the decision has already been made. He believes that people should instead focus on the new business opportunities new gTLDs could create. 

Ms. Dam, who has always represented ICANN well (and who celebrated a birthday at her first T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference  appearance Thursday), explained how the decision to release new gTLDs was reached, saying that it was in response to requests from the Internet communty. I'll have more about the specific comments each panelist made during this (and the other business sessions) in a comprehensive conference review article we will be publishing after the show.

In Friday's second business session, a panel that included (left to right in the photo above) attorney Zak Muscovitch, Andrew Allemann (DomainNameWire.com), Michael Berkens (TheDomains.com), attorney Howard Neu and attorney Eli Pearlman discussed some of the worst UDRP cases sent to arbitration panels in recent months. Each reviewed a case they thought was the most baseless brought against a domain owner and the audience then picked the worst of the worst - one involving LomaLinda.net and LomaLinda.org that was nominated by Muscovitch. You can learn more about some of these unconscionable cases here: UDRPWallofShame.com.

At 3pm keynote speaker Joseph McClendon III (above), a highly regarded peak performance coach, addressed attendees in a session about overcoming self-imposed obstacles to success. Registrants became active participants in the event as McClendon led them through an exercise that involved repeatedly jumping up and down from their chairs and screaming at the top of their lungs! It was actually quite therapeutic and one of those things where you kind of had to be there to understand. For a limited time you can do the next best thing and download McClendon's complete speech at MakeYourFate.com/Targeted (free offer expires Wednesday, Jan. 27).

Scene from the Latonas.com live domain auction that, soon after this 
shot was taken, had to be postponed Friday due to Internet connection issues. 

A little after 4pm the one major setback the show has experienced occurred when the Latonas.com live domain action had to be postponed soon after it began because of Internet connection problems. The auction was rescheduled for 10am this morning and is in fact underway as I am writing this post at 10:20am (local time) in the auction hall. 

With the business day concluded, everyone reconvened at the show's main party that was held Friday night at the Gold Lounge in the Aria Hotel, part of the spectacular new City Center development in Las Vegas.

Early arrivals at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Party held at the Gold Lounge in Las Vegas Friday nght.

The club was soon packed wall to wall so we started stacking our photo subjects vertically! In the photo at right you see (top to bottom) Ray Neu, Barbara Neu, 2009 Domainer of the Year Michael Berkens and his wife Judi.

The conference closes today. After the auction there will be two seminars, the first about how to optimize your domain portfolio and the second covering ways to play the drop market. The 2010 show will then close with a main event that is to get underway at 3pm (Pacific time) - the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Test Track. That session gives online business developers a chance to pitch investment opportunities in their companies to a panel of investors.

I'll have final day photos and highlights for you in a post in this column Sunday. On Monday I'll being taking the short flight over to Los Angeles to cover the DOMAINfest Global conference that gets underway Tuesday in Santa Monica.

(Posted Jan. 23, 2010)

Opening Day Photos and Highlights from T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas 2010

The 2010 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas conference got underway Thursday (Jan. 21) at the Hard Rock Hotel with approximately 240 enthusiastic registrants on hand. In the photo below Jodi Chamberlain and Ray Neu were kept hopping getting everyone signed in at the registration desk.

Photo below: After enjoying a lavish brunch, attendees took seats in the conference room to hear welcoming comments from show organizer Rick Latona

Rick Latona
Welcoming attendees to 
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas

The conference got underway at 12 noon with welcoming comments from Rick Latona who has taken over responsibility for staging five of the six T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conferences scheduled this year (show Co-Founders Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu will still stage one show next October on Miami's South Beach). 

Latona, whose many ventures include new domain brokerage & auction house Latonas.com, got his feet wet in the conference promotion business with a successful show in Amsterdam last spring. If the opening day buzz among registrants in Las Vegas was any indication, he will still be batting 1.000 when this show ends Saturday evening.

After Latona's opening comments, the first business session of the week, a discussion about the rapidly growing ccTLD market got underway featuring a four-person panel that I had an opportunity to be part of.

Photo above: ccTLD Panel featuring (left to right) Ron Jackson (DNJournal.com), Lori Anne Wardi (.CO Registry), Daniel Eisenhut (InternetX Registry) and Dan Warner (DomainAdvertising.com).

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Moderator Rick Silver

New moderator Rick Silver of N49 Interactive presided over the ccTLD session and will also moderate the remaining business sessions this week. Rick does a terrific job. He comes to every seminar fully prepared for the topic at hand and always keeps things moving along at a pace that holds everyone's interest.

I'll have more details on the ccTLD seminar (and all of the individual sessions) in our comprehensive conference review article that will be published after the show.

The remainder of the business day Thursday was devoted to a pair of networking sessions that Silver directed. In the photo at left Silver invites audience members to come to the podium in the first networking session to tell people about their businesses (Michael Pallatta of TrafficMedia.com is standing at the podium getting ready to do just that). A second networking session followed with the format that has been used successfully at previous T.R.A.F.F.I.C. shows. Attendees sat face to face in 

a circular formation with the outer ring rotating over one seat every two minutes allowing participants to meet dozens of people in the  course of the event. 

With the close of Thursday business it was time to party and attendees didn't have to go far. The first big social event was hosted at the Wasted Space night club inside the Hard Rock Hotel. The party drew a full house and everyone I spoke with thoroughly enjoyed it.

Above: Scene from the Thursday night party at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas. 

Photo Below: A highlight of the party was a live performance by drummer/domain developer David Castello who was sensational. Before becoming wildly successful in the domain development business, David and his brother Michael (who run Castello Cities Internet Network) had spent much of their lives in popular rock bands (Michael was an accomplished lead singer and guitarist). You can see a video from their heyday at MichaelSeven.com that will blow you away. The Castello Brothers life story was told in a December 2006 DN Journal Cover Story

David Castello rocks the house at the Hard Rock Hotel Thursday night.

As I write from the conference room at the Hard Rock Hotel, day two of the conference is underway. There will be two business sessions today followed by a keynote address from Joseph McClendon III. After we hear Mr. McClendon speak, it will be time for the Latonas.com live domain auction that is scheduled to run from from 4-7pm Las Vegas time. The big social event tonight will be a party at the fabulous new City Center development. I'll have photos and highlights from day two for you in the column Saturday. 

(Posted Jan. 22, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20100122.htm

 

Pre-Bidding Is Open for T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Auction, DOMAINfest Posts Final Agenda and Mocus.com Launches Affiliate Program Paying 50% on Domain Sale Profits

I have a few quick notes to pass along before I head off to Las Vegas for the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference that opens Thursday. The first item is about one of the show's main events - the live domain auction that is scheduled to run from 4-7pm (U.S. Pacific Time) on Friday (Jan. 22). Latonas.com just announced that they have opened pre-bidding for the sale. If you want to bid you will need to register here and it would be a good idea to do it at least 24 hours ahead of time to allow them time to process your registration. The full auction catalog is also out and can be reviewed here

Three days after T.R.A.F.F.I.C. ends the DOMAINfest Global conference will get underway in Santa Monica, California

DOMAINfest posted their final agenda today and it is looks like another great one. The show runs Tuesday (Jan. 26) through Thursday (Jan. 28). I'll be covering both DOMAINfest and T.R.A.F.F.I.C. for you with daily posts in this column plus our usual comprehensive conference review articles after each event ends.  I will be traveling to Las Vegas tomorrow (Jan. 20) so there won't be a Lowdown post Wednesday but I'll be back with you Thursday to let you know what is going on at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 

One other note today, Francois Carillo, whom most of you know as the owner of Domaining.com, has just launched a very generous affiliate program at one of his sales sites - short brandable domains marketplace Mocus.com. The program offers a 50% commission on the profits realized from domains sold by Mocus.com affiliates. You can get more program details and sign up here. Keep an eye out because Francois tells me he plans to introduce the same 50% affiliate program to his PremiumDomains.com and BargainDomains.com sites within the next few days. 

(Posted Jan. 19, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20100119.htm

With Back to Back Domain Conferences Coming Up the Mad Scramble to Beat the Clock Before Take Off is Underway

On Wednesday I'll be flying out to Las Vegas for the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference that gets underway at the Hard Rock Hotel Thursday where it will continue through Saturday (Jan. 23). Instead of coming home after it's over, I'll make the short hop over to Los Angeles for the DOMAINfest Global conference that runs Jan. 26-28 at the Fairmont Miramar in Santa Monica

I am very much looking forward to these events and, with both of them on the West Coast, I am happy to have them running back to back so I can take in both of these key events in a single trip across the country from our home base in Florida. The only problem is that going away for 10 days means I have to complete all of the work I would normally do in the final third of the month before I go. That has set off a mad scramble to beat the clock before Wednesday and I'm sure those of you who are going to be at both shows can also identify with that.

 

I wrapped up one major project today when I completed our 6th annual January State of the Industry Cover Story. As our biggest story of the year, this is always a huge undertaking but it is also very rewarding to be able to pick the brains of some of the industry's leading domain investors and developers, top level company executives, monetization experts and attorneys so we can share their insight and expertise with you. We had them comment on what they considered to be the most important events and trends of the past year and then to predict what is ahead of us in 2010. I hope you enjoy it and that you will pick up a lot of useful information that will help you and your business thrive this year.

One of the biggest things complicating this late January getaway is that quarterly and some annual tax tasks also have to be done before I go. With less than 48 hours left to get those and a number of other chores done before take off, I'm sure I'll by hacking away at the pile right to the minute it is time to head for the airport. The good thing is that I know from past experience that burning the midnight oil now so that I can spend time around so many great people at the conferences will be well worth it. I have been going to the major shows ever since they started with T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s debut event in October 2004 and I haven't been disappointed yet. Looking forward to seeing many of you in Las Vegas, Los Angeles or both.

Adam Dicker

While I worked through the weekend getting some of the major projects done, some other news items crossed my desk that I didn't get a chance to pass along before now. For one, DNForum owner Adam Dicker (who was profiled in our March 2005 Cover Story) announced to forum members the he has left his "day job" as a Vice President at GoDaddy. Dicker said he left after two years so he could spend more time on his other projects which include the popular forum. 

Also, two fellow Floridians, Bido.com co-founder Sahar Sarid and his right hand man, Jarred Cohen, announced they are pulling up stakes and moving themselves and the company to San Francisco. We certainly wish them the best in their new location.

One other note today -  Latonas.com has released the final catalog for their big auction at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas Friday. They have an excellent lineup that will include AEIOU.com, the domain name that T.R.A.F.F.I.C. organizer Rick Latona used for the mini-site service he decided shut down late last year.

(Posted Jan. 18, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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New Harris Poll Shows Vast Majority Will Refuse to Pay to Read News Online

A new Harris Poll delivered another body blow to struggling newspapers who hope to stay alive by moving their operations online and charging readers subscription fees for access. Until 

the Internet upset the apple cart, that model had worked for printed newspapers for over a century. However, if the highly respected Harris Poll is to be believed it will be a non-starter on the Internet. An overwhelming 77% of the more than 2,000 online adults surveyed said they would pay nothing to read a newspaper online. A small minority, 19%, said they would be willing to pay between $1 and $10 a month. Only 5% said they would pay over $10 a month.

That would appear to indicate that the papers will have to make on ad revenue alone if they are going to survive the transition to the web. In any case, time is running out on their existing model. The poll confirmed that the number of people reading print newspapers is continuing to decline at a rapid rate. Only 43% said they read a newspaper daily. 

Even more ominous is the fact that the younger people are, the less likely they are to read a 

newspaper. That means the audience the papers need to reach in the future has little interest in  their product. Of those 18-24 years old only 23% said they read a paper each day and almost as many - 17% - said they never read a newspaper. At the opposite end of the spectrum 64% of people 55 and over read a newspaper daily, but those are the folks who are least likely to be where the newspapers have to go - online. 

I happen to be one of those who reads a newspaper (from cover to cover) every day. I don't want to see them disappear but it is obvious they are going to have to make it online if they are to survive. While the Harris Poll presents a bleak outlook for the papers, I think a lot of them can survive if they can hold on long enough for technology to catch up and solve their predicament

I recently received an Amazon Kindle as a gift. The handy eReader lets me have any one of 53 newspapers delivered electronically to the device in less than 60 seconds. I can pay for one copy at a time (typically 50 cents to $1 for one edition) or take a subscription (those tend to be pricey - about $10 a month for most local papers -  a price the Harris Poll shows that the vast majority will not pay). 

I sampled some single copies from various papers to see how the migration to electronic delivery worked. On Sunday for example I downloaded the Los Angeles Times. Lots of great stories and it was well worth the money - but the big downside is that unlike books, reading a newspaper on a black & white 6" display leaves a lot to be desired. Forget about the kind of compelling color photographs that add so much to modern newspapers. 

That could change soon though. At the recently concluded Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, dozens of new eReaders were introduced and later this month many expect the big Kahuna - Apple - to blow the market wide open with a new full color, large format tablet (10 or 11" touch screen) that could be perfect for displaying newspaper and magazine content in its original glory. I think a lot more people would find that experience worth paying for, especially since it would be available on a mobile device that you could take along with you to read in a car or on a plane. Having to sit in front of a desktop computer to read online newspapers just doesn't offer the comfort or convenience level of sitting in a favorite chair with a cup of coffee while you read, or catching up with the news on a bus or train ride. 

With a full color (video capable) display giving advertisers a great palette to display their wares on, the papers should be able to dramatically ramp up the paltry online ad revenue they currently receive. That, along with being able to do away with the costs of newsprint, delivery trucks and door to door newspaper carriers, would allow them to eliminate the subscription fees people are reluctant to pay or at least or drop them to an acceptably low level.  It seems to me their biggest challenge will be staying alive long enough for exciting new delivery platforms to pull their bacon out of the fire. 

CNet has a great wrap up on the Harris Poll results including more detailed data in this story by Lance Whitney.

(Posted Jan. 14, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas Keynote Speaker Promises to Help You Reach Peak Performance in Your Business 

The T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas conference gets underway next week at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. The event starts Thursday (January 21) and runs through Saturday the 23rd. I've been waiting to see who show promoter Rick Latona would pick as his keynote speaker. 

The answer came today when motivational speaker Joseph McClendon III, a disciple of world famous peak performance coach Tony Robbins, was added to the Friday (Jan. 22) agenda to deliver a 3pm keynote speech.  

McClendon is the founder of Pro-Sequences Research Group, a Los Angeles based peak performance coaching organization that works with leaders in the political, entertainment and business communities internationally. As an instructor at UCLA, McClendon has taught Re-engineering, Leadership, Management and Advanced Communication courses for the university's Engineering and Management Extension program.

He also serves as the Senior Head Trainer and Instructor at Robbins Research's Mastery University, attended by business entrepreneurs and CEOs from 46 nations. The faculty includes General Norman Schwarzkopf, financial genius Peter Lynch, and marketing master Jay Abraham.

Joseph McClendon III
Keynote Speaker for 
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas

As the senior head trainer for  Robbins Research International McLendon has worked side by side with Robbins for over 20 years. He and Robbins have also co-authored two best selling books (both of which are available at Amazon.com).  McLendon's bio says "His remarkable ability to go straight to the core of the challenge and effect rapid change makes him a unique commodity as a turn around specialist and success coach."

I am a firm believer in the power of positive thinking so I am I looking forward to hearing what McClendon has to say. While his speech will obviously not be about domaining per se, there is a very good chance that his talk will help attendees succeed not only in this business, but in any other endeavor they choose to pursue.

(Posted Jan. 13, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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DOMAINfest Global Hotel Sells Out, IDNTools.com Takes a Bow in Times Square & Free Webinar to Focus on Top Parking/Selling Strategies for 2010 

It looks like the 2010 DOMAINfest Global conference coming up January 26-28 in Santa Monica, California is going to draw another big crowd. Show organizers announced this 

morning that the host hotel, the oceanfront Fairmont Miramar, is almost sold out and I later heard from others who tried to book rooms that they are now all gone. Pretty impressive when you consider that DOMAINfest took over the entire five-star hotel for the conference. 

If you are planning to go to DOMAINfest but didn't 

get a room reservation, no need to despair. DOMAINfest said they have secured additional accommodations across the street at the Huntley Hotel. You will have to phone the Huntley directly at 1-310-394-5454 and mention "DOMAINfest" to get the discounted $209 room rate (plus tax). 

By the way, in case you missed it, our preview of the DOMAINfest Global conference, featuring an interview with Oversee President & CEO Jeff Kupietzky, has all of the details you will want to know about what is shaping up to be another outstanding show. 

This IDNTools.com billboard is on display 
in New York City's Times Square.

When I interviewed Aaron Krawitz and Gary Males of IDNTools.com for our monthly newsletter a couple of months ago, I was impressed by the professionalism and initiative demonstrated by these two young entrepreneurs. They showed it again this week when they made a big splash for their company and IDN domains in general by unveiling an electronic billboard ad in the heart of New York City's Times Square

Krawitz is the Editor of IDNBlog.com where he announced the promotional gambit Monday in a post that noted "IDNs really deserve more publicity as they are a fantastic opportunity

all too often misunderstood and summarily dismissed...This will have a positive effect for domain investors and IDNers on the whole. Each large public ad makes our investments more mainstream and understood. I hope IDNTools will benefit greatly from this Times Square promotion, and I also hope that more people will become interested in domains and IDNs as a result." 

IDNTools will be featured in rotation on Reuters’ iconic Times Square electronic billboard for 72 hours. The caption below their logo on the billboard says “Investors profit from IDN domain names bought from sites like IDNTools.com.” 

One other note today, the AfternicDLS and SmartName has scheduled their first free webinar of the New Year for 2pm (U.S. Eastern time) on Thursday, February 4. The one-hour session

is titled Discover the Top Domain Parking and Selling Strategies for 2010. Topics to be discussed include: 
How to use simple, efficient, and free solutions to make you more money you’re your domains.
• Why enhanced PPC should be part of your monetization strategy.
• When to use, ecommerce, and content solutions.
• Specific examples and techniques to help you achieve your goals for your domains.

You will also have a chance to ask your questions in a Q&A session that will conclude the webinar. Space is limited so it would be a good idea to reserve your free seat now at
https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/792040306

(Posted Dec. 12, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20100112.htm

HyperLocal Online Media Sites Soaring While Old Platforms Continue to Sink

The opening line in an article at TheDeal.com says it all: "While newspapers have been decimated by the economics transforming today's media industry, Web sites that report news 

and deliver other content at the neighborhood, or "hyperlocal" level, are bursting with life..." The article goes on to describe how hyperlocal sites have gotten so hot they have become prime acquisition targets for big media and big tech companies. This is obviously a very positive development for geodomain site operators who are local by definition, though the hyperlocal boom should help all sites that provide useful news and information for local residents.

The money being thrown at the larger operators in this category is mind boggling. Last month Google tried to buy local information provider Yelp.com for $550 

million and was turned downSeveral successful acquisitions were made in the sector in 2009 though. MSNBC.com bought EveryBlock.com for an undisclosed sum and AOL landed both Patch Media Corp. and Going Inc.

TheDeal.com noted that "Meanwhile, hyperlocal startups continued to get funded. In December, Outside.in, which pulls together neighborhood blogs and other local content, announced it had closed a $7 million Series B round of funding, led by existing investor Union Square Ventures, with participation from new investor Turner Broadcasting System. As part of Turner's investment, CNN.com will use Outside.in's aggregation and curation tools to power hyperlocal news across all of its sites. The new round brings Outside.in's total raised to $12 million." Not bad for a site operating on an Indian ccTLD (.in).

Even though they missed out on Yelp, Google isn't giving up on hyperlocal. Instead they have decided to "roll their own" solution. They now have a Local link on their mobile application that, when you click it, brings up all of the businesses in the immediate area where you are located, including Restaurants, Lodging, Gas Stations, Shopping, etc. This will give them an opportunity to rake in even more money from local businesses who want to be listed on those hyperlocal Google results pages. 

Hyperlocal is just one example of several areas online that have boomed throughout the recession and continue to provide great opportunities at a time when the outlook is positively bleak in so many other places. 

One other note today - domain auction site Bido.com just launched their new Bido Guarantee Program that opens up some new sales options for domain owners. Bido has assembled some of the top buyers in the industry, called their Guarantee Partners (including firms like Name Administration, NameMedia, National A-1, Rick Latona, etc), who submit their offers for domain names that they are willing to buy in a private auction not open to the public. 

If you are the seller, you have there choices when the auction ends -  1. Accept the Guarantee Offer (the highest bid) and sell the domain, 2. Send the domain to a No Reserve public auction using 75% of the Guarantee as a starting bid or 3. Keep the domain and walk away if you don't like either of the first two options. You can take advantage of this latest Bido innovation by submitting listings here. You can also learn more about the program from a post at Bido Co-Founder Sahar Sarid's blog.

(Posted Jan. 11, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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The Domain Aftermarket Gets Another Competitor as Howard Neu & Danny Pryor Launch New Sales Platform

The list of places where you can sell your domain names increased by one Wednesday when T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Howard Neu and Danny Pryor of Rodan Media Group launched a 

new joint project at BestDomainsWebsite.com. The owners of the new venue said it lists quality, discount domain names across 20 different categories, ranging from employment to 

sports, with a special page for deep-discount domain names. They added that more categories may be added as demand for their new style of domain sales platform grows.

 
Those who wish to sell domains on the site can set up a free account, then submit up to ten domain names per submission. There is no listing fee. The only cost would be a 10% commission on completed sales. BestDomainsWebsite.com allows  buyers and sellers to communicate directly with each other after a domain is sold.  The website's private message board makes it easy for the two parties co-ordinate transfer details once a purchase has been made.

The feature set at BestDomainsWebsite.com will also include an option for sellers to upload screen-shot images from the websites or landing pages seen on their domains. The owners said that feature will make it easier for buyers to see the potential in the domain names listed. The site also plans to release a Domain and Website Guide soon to provide new investors with tips on acquiring domain names and developing websites for their online businesses.

Howard Neu

Danny Pryor

Co-Founders of a new domain sales platform at BestDomainsWebsite.com

BestDomainsWebsite.com is part of Fidelity Funding Network, Inc., a type of semantic network that the owners say is "aimed at providing investment news, wealth management strategies and investment brokerage services in the domain space." BestDomainsWebsite.com is one of five websites currently active on the Fidelity Funding Network.  The others are FidelityFunding.com, InvestingFunds.com, EconomicsPolicy.com, and SaveForTheFuture.net.

(Posted Jan. 7, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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Hypnotic New Album from Domainer's Daughter Lana Del Ray (AKA Lizzy Grant) Now Available on iTunes

In October I told you about the debut release (a 3-track EP called Kill Kill) from recording artist Lizzy Grant, the daughter of veteran domain investor Rob Grant who was the subject of 

our April 2008 Cover Story. Today, Lizzy's first full-length album Lana Del Ray (a moniker that also serves as her stage name) went up for sale on iTunes (just $9.99 for the 13-track album or 99 cents for any of the individual songs).

Knowing Lizzy's immense talent I downloaded the album as soon as it was released and am listening to it (for the second time) as I write this. I can tell you with 100% honesty that I love it

As some of you know, before I entered the domain business I had my own record store in Tampa, Florida for over 12 years (before that I had been a radio DJ for four years before moving on to TV). One of my favorite things during the years I had the music retail business was putting new albums on the store's sound system that I knew would make people stop and ask who is that!? If I still had the store today, I can guarantee you that putting Lizzy's new record on would stop people in their tracks. Her sound is that unique, hypnotic and appealing. 

Lizzy Grant (center) with Michael and Judi Berkens 
at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. New York conference 
(September 2009)

Lizzy currently records for 5 Points Records and she makes frequent club appearances in New York City. When the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference was in New York in September, Lizzy popped in at the evening events to say hi to her many friends in the domain industry. 

She is a wonderful young woman who has the complete package needed to break through in the music business - a unique sound, songs with inescapable hooks, an engaging personality and a great look.

 A Huffington Post review said this about Lizzy: "Her music videos have such a wonderfully nostalgic, classic American feel - From American flags and classic cars in the video "Kill Kill" to Calico Hills, Las Vegas, sparklers, Planet Hollywood and 

images of her as a flower child and Marilyn (Monroe) in "Yayo" - Even the way the videos are shot is retro - at times you feel as if you're transported back to 1950s-1960s America." You can see Lizzy's outstanding videos for yourself on her MySpace page, where her profile has now been viewed almost 100,000 times.

After seeing one of Lizzy's live shows Radio Exile wrote: "Walking into the crowded rock-lined basement was like stepping onto the set of Mad Men. Lizzy's entire set made me feel as if I were in some smoky early '60's lounge; her voice is from a different era and her presence, naturally coy and shy, gives off this slightly plastic, slightly Warholian feel." 

In addition to her MySpace page you can follow Lizzy's career and listen to selected tracks on her personal website at LizzyGrant.com (getting her name in .com shows her father has taught her well!). 

The most played songs on her MySpace page (both of which are on the new album) are "Kill Kill" and "Yayo." Other personal favorites for me are "Gramma (Blue Ribbon Sparkler Trailer Heaven)", 

"Raise Me Up (Mississippi South)" and "Smarty." They all have this infectious beat that I'll be subconsciously humming to myself for weeks to come.

If you like to try before you buy, you can download "Gramma" FREE today at Amazon.com. If you like it as much as I think you will, you can get the whole album there as well as on iTunes. 

(Posted Jan. 5, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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Behind Closed Doors: T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas Introduces Private Option for Test Track + DomainState Forum Goes Up For Sale

Earlier today we published a preview of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas 2010 conference coming up January 21-23 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The preview includes an interview with Rick Latona who will be take over promotion of five of the six T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conferences scheduled this year (show Co-Founders Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu will stage a conference scheduled for  Miami's South Beach in October).

We have some additional news about T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas that came in after we did the interview with Rick. A highlight of the conference will be Test Track, a session where business owners seeking capital for their enterprises will get a chance to pitch their story to a panel of angel investors. The new wrinkle, just announced today, is that some business owners who do not want to make their pitch in front of a public audience will be allowed to meet with potential investors behind closed doors.

Rick Latona emphasized that "Most pitches will still be made in the room in front of everyone, but this is business.  We don’t want to miss an opportunity to invest in an existing company or a start-up just because the owner doesn’t want to ask for funding publicly.”

Applications to pitch your business to the investors can be made at www.targetedtraffic.com/test-track.php.  Applications for the closed-door pitches are made on the same form, but those should start off the Description field with “Closed-Door Preferred” or “Closed-Door Only

By the way, as most of you know, the Test Track idea is based on ABC-TV's Shark Tank program which drew a solid audience when it debuted last year. It has been off the air for several weeks now but a brand new season begins Friday night, January 8 at 9pm (U.S. Eastern time). If you haven't seen this fascinating show before, check it out to get an idea of what you will be seeing live at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. in Las Vegas.

 

One other note today, one that is a sad one for most domain industry veterans. The three founders of the DomainState.com forum, Paul Cotton, Paul Shaw and Matt Purtell, have

announced that after seven years of running the venerable site, they are putting it up for sale. In a note to forum members, the administrators said, "Our aim is to have the site sold within the next couple of weeks and we are considering offers now so any interested parties please contact us ASAP at admin@domainstate.com."

When I entered the industry in the spring of 2002, the two Pauls and Matt were moderators at DNForum.com where their sage, unbiased advice won them a loyal and appreciative following. They went on to create their own forum at DomainState that has always been unique in a number of ways. For one thing, they didn't accept advertising. The trio always viewed the site as their "hobby" with the ownership side of it being just a means to an end so they could have a special place to talk domains. 

DomainState Co-Founder Paul Shaw at
the 2006 Domain Roundtable conference

Beholden to no one, you could always count on them for honest answers to questions posed in the forum. Many did not like the answers they got, but the admins felt it was far more important to tell site visitors what they, from their extensive experience, believed to be true rather than what people wanted to hear. Everyone had to check their ego at the door and I have always thought that was one of the most valuable aspects of the site. If you wanted an unbiased sounding board, DomainState has been the place to find it.

Though I communicated with them through the forum many times over the years, I never got to meet Paul Cotton or Matt Purtell in person (Paul lives in England and Matt in Australia), however I did have the honor of meeting Paul Shaw (DomainState ID: Snoopy), also an Aussie, when he crossed the ocean to attend the 2006 Domain Roundtable conference in Bellevue, Washington. 

The founders said the decision to sell was made because "we have realized that it is no longer something we can commit the same level of energy as we once did." I wish the three of them well and say goodbye with a sincere thank you for the time, expertise and advice they so generously shared with everyone who asked for it over the years.

(Posted Jan. 4, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20100104.htm


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