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The Lowdown
November 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.

Major Expansion at PPX Produces New Domain Consulting, Management and Monetization Options  

In a post last week that featured photos and highlights from a gathering of domain owners in Hong Kong that was hosted by PPX International earlier this month, I told you that I would soon be getting a briefing on some new developments at PPX that I would share with you. That 

has now happened and I quickly learned that the rapidly growing company headed by Gregg McNair has been working overtime the past few months, putting the finishing touches on a host of new services.

For starters, PPX has just launched a comprehensive consulting service at DomainAdvisors.com and they are also preparing a January 2011 Beta release of a free self-managed domain management 

product at DomainManager.com. Optimization, analytics and domain monitoring are among the new features that will be introduced. Qualified larger portfolio owners who want personal domain management guidance can take advantage of still another product, a full-service alternative PPX provides at DMPro.com (formerly Strata Services of Hong Kong).

DomainManger.com Co-CEO Richard Lau (left) 
with PPX Chairman Gregg McNair.

Regarding DomainManager, McNair said, "Joint CEOs Richard Lau and Sam Dennis have worked wonders with their team in creating what will arguably become the boldest integration platform our industry has ever seen.” 

McNair is also high on the DM Pro unit headed by CEO Stephen Bjerking. He said that to optimize revenues DM Pro combines the many DomainManager features with years of hands-on experience in dealing with large portfolios. He also said clients are reporting revenues that have more than offset recent declines in PPC returns. 

Another key member of the company's executive team, PPX Group General Manager Tessa Holcomb just oversaw the launch of the conpany's newly redesigned website at PPX.com. Tessa has also spearheaded the launch of the new DomainAdvisors.com consulting service and is heavily involved in the upcoming DomainManager.com release.

DomainAdvisors is offering guidance covering the entire lifecycle of a domain. Services range from consultancy to acquisitions to all elements of monetization and sales. Tessa said the current team of advisors has already achieved success for existing PPX clients and the unit is looking to expand. They want to fill additional sales and management roles over the next few months and interested parties are invited to send resumes to jobs@domainadvisors.com.

PPC General Manager Tessa 
Holcomb
on a recent trip to Kenya.

DomainManager Co-CEO Sam Dennis in 
Kenya where he got a personal look at 
The Water School's life-saving work there.

While the new developments at PPX have kept Tessa, Gregg, Richard, Sam, Stephen and the rest of the team hopping, they still somehow always manage to make time for a charitable cause they are all passionate about. That is The Water School, a non-profit organization that brings sustainable clean water solutions to children throughout the developing world.

I have written extensively about The Water School's work in Africa, but more recently the organization has taken an active role in responding to the ongoing cholera outbreak in Haiti.  The Water School was among the first to respond to the needs of thousands of Haitians by distributing IV drip kits supplied by PPX partners. Over 1,700 people have already lost their lives during the crisis and authorities fear the situation could worsen considerably.  To learn more about the Haiti Cholera crisis or to donate, please visit this page at the Water School website. 

Incidentally, though The Water School was originally a Canada-based NGO, the organization is officially expanding to the United States with the formal VIP 

Launch of Water School USA on December 13th, 2010 in New York City. Anyone interested in supporting this event should contact Tessa Holcomb, who also serves as the Director of Philanthropy within the PPX Group. Her email address is tessa@ppx.com  

In a related note, I received a letter over the weekend from Water School Co-Founder Fraser Edwards about a special effort the organization is making this Christmas season. Fraser wrote, "For many children and families in developing countries, Christmas is just another day. The challenges they face remain the same even on this special day. The lack of safe drinking water and adequate sanitation is one of them and is a leading cause of illness and death."

"With support from generous donors, Water School has been working hard to reach people that desperately need access to clean water in Uganda, Kenya and Haiti. Since our 

Fraser Edwards (right) and Bob Dell
founders of The Water School

organization started in 2007, the results of our programs have been dramatic. Water School has reached over 400,000 people with clean water. The incidents of water borne disease have been significantly reduced with corresponding improvements in family health and school attendance.  Children are healthier!"  

Edwards continued, "This holiday season, we ask you to consider giving the gift of life by giving a gift of clean water. As you contemplate your gift list, we ask you to send special Water School Christmas e-cards to your family, friends or colleagues and make an online donation to Water School. Just $50 will provide a family of five clean water...for life! To find out how you can send e-cards and donate to the Water School online, please visit us at www.waterschool.com. For more information about our Christmas Appeal program or to order hard copy Christmas cards, please contact Barb Israel at bisrael@waterschool.com or call her at 403-934-2778."

"From the Water School Board of Directors and staff, thank you for your support. Your support will help us continue to make a major impact on children without clean drinking water. We wish you love, peace and joy this holiday season."

(Posted Nov. 30, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20101130.htm

Latest Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief Reports Total Domain Registrations Broke the 200 Million Barrier in 3Q-2010 + New Podcast Features Frank Schilling

Versign released their latest quarterly Domain Name Industry Brief (.pdf file) today. The new DNIB,  covering the 3rd quarter of 2010, reports that the total number of domain names registered worldwide has crashed through the 200 million barrier. The global domain base rose by 3.8 million in 3Q-2010 to a record total of 202 million.

Compared to the same quarter a year ago, total registrations have jumped by 13.3 million, a 7% increase over 3Q-2009. 

As always, the report is loaded with interesting data.  For example, it noted that today the English-speaking world makes up less than 40 percent of Internet users. Africa had less than 5 million Internet users a decade ago; now, it has more than 100 million. In 2000, Asia was essentially even with Europe and North America in the number of Internet users. Today it has more than those two continents combined. People always ask if there are still opportunities in the domain business. That explosive in other markets around the world should answer that question for you.

Frank Schilling is featured in a 
new podcast at OzDomainer.com.

I have several other notes to pass along to you today. Australia's Ed Keay-Smith has just released his latest podcast interview (#22 in an excellent series of shows) at OzDomainer.com. This is one you are sure to want to hear as it features legendary domain investor Frank Schilling

The show runs just over 36 minutes and I can't think of a better way for anyone who is interested in domain names to spend that short amount of time.

Our friend Francois Carrillo, who operates the popular domain news aggregation site Domaining.com, continues to expand his network of specialized domain aftermarket sales sites at an amazing clip. Francois has rolled out a new platform to sell geodomains at LocationDomains.com and also launched one for adult themed domains (sex, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, etc.) at MatureNames.com

The two new sites will fit in nicely with Carrillo's many other specialty sales sites like NumericDomains.com, BargainDomains.com and Flipping.co.

In addition to the sales platforms, Carrillo has just expanded into the domain escrow business with eCop.com. For this endeavor, Carrillo is focusing on sales of $5,000 or less and charging a flat fee of $25 for the service (he is recommending Escrow.com for sales above $5,000). eCop can also handled sales in which payments are broken into multiple installments over time (the charge in that case is $10 per payment received). eCop accepts PayPal payments only.

eCop doesn't take ownership of domains sold. Instead they hold payment from the buyer until the seller completed transfer of the names purchased. The funds are then released to the seller. 

(Posted Nov. 29, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20101129.htm

To All of Our U.S. Friends - Happy Thanksgiving!  

Thursday is Thanksgiving Day in the United States, one of America's biggest holidays. In a tradition dating back to the pilgrims, it is when we give thanks for the blessings in our lives. 

Over the years Thanksgiving has morphed into a four-day holiday weekend for many, which is nice, but unfortunately a lot of the holiday's emphasis has shifted form giving thanks to visiting shopping malls. 

Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) has become famous as the official start of the Christmas shopping season. Personally, I'd rather be drug over hot coals than go anywhere near a retail store on Black Friday! Been there, done that and it was a very unpleasant experience that I hope to never repeat.

Cyber Monday is more my speed. That is the Monday after Thanksgiving that some say is the biggest Interrnet shopping day

of the year. Actually, thanks to broad inventories and speedy shipping from the major online merchants, I can completely avoid the brick and mortar crowd and do my Christmas shopping well into December. That also allows me to keep my Thanksgiving focus on what the holiday was originally meant to be and what is meaningful to me - family and friends (OK, the food is pretty good too)!

However you spend your day, I hope Thursday will be a great day for you, that you will have much to be thankful for and that you all have a joyous holiday season in the weeks ahead. 

(Posted Nov. 24, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20101124.htm

PPX Picks Up the Hong Kong Ball and Runs With It, Treating Guests To a Far Eastern Gathering They Won't Soon Forget

Three weeks ago I told you that PPX International was planning an impromptu gathering for domainers in Hong Kong November 14-16. The Hong Kong based domain management and monetization company put the three-day outing together to fill the void created when Rick Latona cancelled the Hong Kong T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference he had planned for those days.

I just got some details on how the PPX event went.

As you probably know, PPX is chaired by Gregg McNair who was just named 2010 Domainer of the Year at the Miami T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference last month. Gregg got the Hong Kong party started Sunday night (Nov. 14) when he welcomed close to three dozen guests on a  party junk cruise around Victoria Harbour. The event, held in ideal weather, was catered by Jaspas, one of the city's premier restaurants.

While on board, attendees got to see Hong Kong's famed Symphony of Lights, a spectacular multimedia display that has been named the "World's Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show" by Guinness World Records

Gregg McNair (left) and Mike Ambrose 
on the Sunday night (Nov. 14) party junk 
cruise on Hong Kong's scenic harbor.

 

Above: PPX guests getting a grand tour of Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour.

Below: A group shot of the guests on PPX's opening night cruise. 
(Photos courtesy of Cindy Ho)

Day two (Monday, Nov. 15) began at 10:30am with guests meeting at the Hong Kong ferry terminal to board the TurboJET Ferry that would take them on a 40 mile trip from Hong Kong to Macau. There they had a chance to tour the historic Portuguese city and visit the famed Ruins of St. Paul’s.

They were also treated to lunch at the Wynn Casino where some  chose to stay and test their luck at the Blackjack tables. They apparently fared pretty well. PPX's Tessa Holcomb said, "Let’s just say we all came away with smiles on our faces and treated ourselves with an upgrade to “Super Class” on the ferry ride back to Hong Kong!"

Above: Part of the PPX entourage at Macau's 
famous Ruins of St. Paul Monday (Nov. 15, 2010).

PPX's Tessa Holcomb and Gregg McNair (4th and 5th from the left respectively)
with some of their guests who enjoyed a great outing in Macau Monday (Nov. 15).

The final day of the gathering (Tuesday, Nov. 16) got started with a tour of PPX International's Hong Kong offices. 

Above: Guests visiting PPX International's Hong Kong offices Tuesday (Nov. 16)

Below: After the office visit, NameDrive treated attendees to a 
traditional Yun Cha (Dim Sum) lunch in central Hong Kong. 

After lunch, the afternoon was left open so guests could take advantage of Hong Kong's rich sight seeing and shopping opportunities. Everyone then got back together for the grand finale - a 7pm dinner sponsored by DomainSponsor.com at the Azure Restaurant on the 29th Floor of a tower in the popular Lan Kwai Fong district. 

Scene from the DomainSponsor closing night dinner (Tuesday, Nov. 16) in Hong Kong

Kudos to PPX for graciously stepping up and giving those who had already made travel plans to Hong Kong (for the cancelled T.R.A.F.F.I.C. show) the kind of memorable experience they had been looking forward to. By the way, I understand that there have been some interesting developments at PPX recently. I expect to get a briefing on those this week and will tell you more about that as soon as the information comes in.

(Posted Nov. 23, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20101123.htm

Domainers Venture Out in the The Real World and Find Small Businesses Ready to Hang Their Shingles Online 

I just got back into the office today after an extended weekend trip that started Friday morning  in Mount Dora, Florida. My wife, Diana, and I went there for the Renninger's Antiques & Collector's Extravaganza, one of three annual outdoor sales Renniger's stages in the beautiful rolling hills just east of town. Hundreds of antique, art and collectibles dealers displayed their wares there  in one of the largest such events in the Eastern U.S. This weekend 

was twice as much fun for us since T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Howard Neu and his wife Barbara drove up from their home near Fort Lauderdale to enjoy Mount Dora with us. 

While the domain business was supposed to be on the back burner during the trip, I couldn't resist doing some domain name evangelizing by asking several of the antique dealers if they had their own domain name and website. Most did not but I was encouraged to hear several say they knew they needed one and intended to put their business online soon. They are coming to realize that a website is just as indispensable as a business card (actually considerably more so). I think that is why aftermarket domain sales have held up very well in the current recession and many domain sellers have told me they are having their best year ever.

Stained glass dealer Jim 

Barbara Neu (left) and Diana Jackson in front of a 
spectacular stained glass window at dealer Jim 
Blackmon's
booth at the Renniger's Extravaganza.

Blackmon of St. Petersburg, Florida was among the dealers I chatted with. Jim said the stunning stained glass panels and windows he has can cost well into five figures. I explained that for a tiny fraction of the cost of any one item in his inventory he could have a website capable of reaching affluent buyers all over the world. A single sale to just one website visitor would cover the cost of a domain name, hosting account and simple website showcasing his goods a hundred times over. In today's world it is literally crazy for guys like Jim not to have an online presence. He got it and told me he would get on it.

The working artist above was among those displaying their work at Mount Dora this past weekend. Most still have no online presence but many told me they planned to start using the web to market their goods. The ongoing migration of small businessmen to the web is good news for domain sellers.

Below: Barbara and Diana are picture perfect behind this frame they found at one of the booths.

We walked the Renninger's grounds for seven solid hours Friday and still did not manage to visit all of the booths before the day ended. The show would continue all weekend but instead of returning Saturday we decided to try our luck at a flea market adjacent to the antique fair.

Many of the flea market dealers used to set up at the antique show, but moved over to the flea market because the booth rental was far cheaper there. That allowed them to charge less for their goods and prompted us to pick up a few more interesting items. 

Saturday afternoon we headed into Mount Dora's quaint downtown area to do some window shopping and have lunch at the historic Lakeside Inn that overlooks Lake Dora. The Inn has their own website albeit a hyphenated one: Lakeside-Inn.com (another Lakeside Inn in Lake Tahoe, Nevada has the un-hyphenated version). 

Window shopping in Mount Dora Saturday

A handful of other businesses displayed URLs in their window or on commercial vehicles, but the vast majority have yet to make their web debut. I have no doubt they will join millions of others who are doing so each year though and every one of them will need a memorable domain name

We closed our visit to Mount Dora by heading to the city's beautiful lakefront park a couple of blocks south of the Lakeside Inn.  It was late Saturday afternoon, about an hour before sunset, and the setting was so tranquil it was one of the few times over the weekend that domain names didn't cross my mind.

Above: Diana & Ron Jackson at Mount Dora's lakefront park Saturday afternoon.

At left: Howard and Barbara Neu, also enjoying the Lake Dora view. Judging from the iPhone in his hand, Howard did not get the Enjoy Nature and Leave the Technology Behind memo! Like all patient domainer's wives, Barbara let it slide though :-)

Once the the sun started to set, Diana and I headed back to our Tampa Bay area home while Howard and Barbara pointed their car toward Orlando where they would extend their weekend with  a couple of more days of relaxation before returning to South Florida. 

This was just a little side trip in our home state, but I've found such breaks from the usual routine do wonders for your psyche. We all spend so many hours behind our computer screens that it is easy to become disconnected from the real world. I love the virtual world too but finding a balance between the two makes me appreciate my time in each one even more.

(Posted Nov. 22, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20101122.htm

DOMAINfest Global Lands the Man Who Inspired The Social Network Movie - Mike Mann Exits Online Company & A Thank You to Frank Schilling  

The man who wrote the book that the hit movie The Social Network was based on will be a featured speaker at the DOMAINfest Global 2011 conference coming up February 1-3 in Santa Monica, California

Ben Mezrich, author of The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, will be interviewed by Oversee.net CEO and President Jeff Kupietzky in a Fireside Chat at what will be the  fifth annual edition of DOMAINfest Global

Mezrich's website notes that Ben "has created his own highly addictive genre of nonfiction, chronicling the amazing stories of young geniuses who become wealthy against tremendous odds while skirting the edges of morality." His latest book, The Accidental Billionaires, was released last year and was quickly optioned by Sony Pictures. Aaron Sorkin then adapted the screenplay into the critically acclaimed and globally successful movie, The Social Network, directed by David Fincher.

Author Ben Mezrich will speak at
DOMAINfest Global 2011 in February.

Mezrich has authored 11 books, including the wildly successful Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions.  This best seller was on the New York Times Best Seller List for 63 weeks and sold over two million copies in twelve languages.    

Jeff Kupietzky
Oversee.net CEO & President

Kupietzky said, "It is a great pleasure to have Ben Mezrich join us. Ben’s ability to tell a story will captivate our entrepreneurial audience by offering a first-hand look at the incredible accomplishments of very smart people willing to take risks. Our audience will also hear his unique insights into the development and evolution of social media and why this medium is one of the most critical channels for businesses today.”

Registration for DOMAINfest Global 2011 is currently open with a discounted registration rate of $1,195 in effect until December 31, 2010. The  2010 event, held last January, attracted more than 600 Internet professionals from 26 countries around the world. It was staged at the oceanfront Fairmont Miramar Hotel and the venue was so well received that the show will return there for the 2011 event. The hotel sold out for the last edition of DFG so if you want to go to the 2011 show it would be a good idea to make your reservations now.

Mike Mann

Elsewhere, social entrepreneur and Internet pioneer Mike Mann has sold his interest in SportsBoards Online, LLC, which includes the highly rated brands Skateboards.com, Surfboards.com and Snowboards.com. Mann helped form the corporation in 2007 with Danny Keith, Eric Rice and Rick Waters. Details of the sale were not released.

The trio of websites for board sports enthusiasts combine social functions with e-commerce. Visitors can see their favorite product, submit their videos and photos and read the latest blog posts and real time tweets related to their board sport.

Mann is the CEO and founder of SEO.com, CEO and founder of DomainMarket.com, as well as the chairman and founder of Phone.com

One other note today - I wanted to acknowledge and thank legendary domain investor Frank Schilling and the many other industry leaders and friends who contributed to an article about me that Frank published on his popular blog Tuesday.

It doesn't surprise me that Frank would be the one to put something like that together - his thoughtfulness and the encouragement he showers on others made a huge impression on me the first time I spoke to him when I was just starting out in this business years ago.  

I had only recently launched DN Journal and it was still barely on anyone's radar when Frank, whom I had never met, called me out of the blue one day just to tell me he liked what I was doing. He went on to give me some excellent advice about domain investing and I was thinking "here is one of the most successful domain investors of all time spending his time boosting the spirits of a newbie and sharing knowledge that most would have kept to themselves." 

Frank Schilling

That told me a lot about him and as time went on and I met Frank in person, met some of his friends and mentors and others he has in turned mentored along the way, it was obvious that my first experience was no isolated incident - that is just Frank

Over the years, you have often heard me talk about this industry attracting a very special group of people - bright, creative and caring entrepreneurs who are energized by each other and by being together in the right place at the right time as the Internet redraws the world's business landscape. Frank was the seed from which that opinion sprouted and it grew as I met so many others with similar qualities - more than I have encountered in any other business as a participant or reporter. To have earned his respect and that of the many other special individuals that wrote in his article and its commentary section is the highest honor I could possibly receive. So, thank you one and all.

(Posted Nov. 18, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20101118.htm

Warren Royal's Booming Bobbleheads.com Banks Equity Investment from Scott Day's Digimedia + .ME's Nataša Djukanović is Featured in the Financial Times

Warren Royal, who was featured in our December 2008 Cover Story, made one of the best investments in his life when he acquired Bobbleheads.com for $30,000 in the spring of 2008. Using that category defining domain name as his foundation, Royal went on to build Bobbleheads.com into the world's premier source for collectible bobblehead products. 

Warren's success has not gone unnoticed. Today it was announced that Digimedia, the new media powerhouse co-founded by legendary domainer Scott Day, has made an equity investment in Royal Bobbles LLC, the company Royal founded to own and operate Bobbleheads.com.  Digimedia owns some of
the best generic domain names on the internet, including Recipes.com, Chairs.com and
Decorations.com. They have been steadily building profitable businesses on their domains with Jerky.com and FantasyFootball.com
being prime examples.

Royal said, “When we decided that it was time to find an equity partner to join us in growing our business to the next level, there was no 

Warren Royal, Founder
Bobbleheads.com

question that Digimedia was the best possible partner we could hope for. We recognized right away that their remarkable experience, technology and business acumen would bring powerful benefits to our company and we are very proud to become their partners."

Rick Schwartz bobblehead

Ron Jackson bobblehead

Bobbleheads.com products are currently being sold in museums, gift shops, catalogs, and online stores nationwide. The company also is one of the top sources of custom bobble heads, producing thousands of custom orders each year for consumers worldwide. Veteran T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference attendees will remember that Bobbleheads.com produced custom bobbleheads of industry figures Rick Schwartz and Ron Jackson that Royal gave to T.R.A.F.F.I.C. New York attendees in 2008 (Schwartz) and 2009 (Jackson). 

Digimedia president Jay Chapman said, ”We felt that the partnership represented a powerful opportunity. Bobbleheads.com’s progress is remarkable, especially in such a short period of time. It was clear that the leadership, 

direction and vision of the company is very compatible with our own. We are excited about the synergies between our two companies in providing value and satisfaction to customers.” 

One other note today - congratulations are in order for Nataša Djukanović, the Director of International Sales for the .ME Registry. Nataša was profiled in one of the mainstream business world's premier publications - The Financial Times Monday (Nov. 15). In the article (a free registration is required to read FT articles) Nataša described what her work with .ME entails and what her daily schedule is like. 

She said that all five .ME Registry employees had just returned to their home base in Podgorica, Montenegro after being away for a month visiting business partners and attending conferences around the world. Nataša said the travel is necessary to let people know about .ME because the extension is a "new kid" on the domain block.

She told FT that even though domains haven't been around that long, .com has become the traditional choice so she has to help educate people about alternatives like .ME.  Nataša said, " Everybody would automatically go for a .com domain, but names like VoteFor.me or Join.me are more memorable."

Nataša Djukanović
Director International Sales, 
.ME Registry

(Posted Nov. 16, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20101116.htm

Regional Domain Meetings Continue to Flower with Denver Event Added to 2011 Calendar - Plus, I.CO To Be Auctioned Off  

The constantly growing interest in domain names has triggered a wave of local and regional meetings that continues to gain momentum. This past weekend Domain Name Wire's Andrew Allemann hosted a Domainer Weekend in Austin, Texas, complete with tickets to Saturday night's Texas-Oklahoma State football game (the hometown Longhorns lost but the networking opportunity on one of America's coolest cities was a winning combination for attendees.

Tomorrow night (Tuesday, Nov. 16), the well established South Florida Domainers group will hold their latest meeting at the Sicilian Oven Restaurant in Lighthouse point, Florida. Chef Patrick, Michael Ward and Stu Maloff will be among those on hand. 

The Rocky Mountain Domain Conference will be 
held in Denver, Colorado Feb. 26-27, 2011

Denver is the latest city to get its own regional event. Michael Law just announced he will host the first Rocky Mountain Domain Conference on the weekend of February 26-27, 2011 in the Mile High City. Plans call for a domain discussion/networking session in downtown Denver on the first day then a trip to the nearby Copper Mountain Resort for a Ski/Snowboard Excursion the second day. 

I expect local and regional shows to play an increasingly important role in getting the good word about domains out to mainstream businesses in various markets around the globe. While most of these events are currently primarily aimed at 

domainers their scope is likely to  broaden considerably as time goes on. Meetings at this level are exceptionally well suited for showing local business people how to establish their own presence online.  With everything headed to the web, business owners are going to be looking for guidance in  that area and it all starts with a good domain name.

Elsewhere, the .CO Registry just announced it will auction off the single letter domain I.CO in the week ahead. Only pre-qualified bidders will be eligible to participate in the auction. Bidder qualification opened today at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco and will end on January 21st, 2011. The registry said the i.CO auction will be the first in an exclusive series of single-letter private domain name auctions commencing early in 2011.

The i.CO auction will be managed by Moniker® and SnapNames®. To register as a qualified bidder, or for additional information, you can visit: www.i.CO, email sales@moniker.com or call 1-800-688-6311 to speak to an agent. Bidder names and bid details will be kept confidential to protect your anonymity.

Over the weekend ICANN released the 5th (and they say "final") version of their New gTLD Applicant Guidebook. Don't bet on this being the last iteration though. Those who have been following the process closely are already finding some major flaws in version 5. As always with ICANN matters, George Kirikos offered some keen observations in a letter he submitted shortly after the public commentary period on V5 opened (the commentary period will remain open until Dec. 10 so if you wish to file your own comments, do so before then). Bloggers Kevin Murphy and DomainIncite.com and Michael Berkens at TheDomains.com are have also posted some excellent material on this topic that is recommended reading. 

Elliot Silver of the award winning ElliotsBlog.com has launched a nice new informational resource for people who have questions about domains. Always a proponent of category 

defining domain names, Elliot of course built the new site on DomainQuestions.com! With Elliot personally answering questions along with a little help from his friends, this could be just  the place to get you questions answered. 

Last but certainly not least today, Lizzy Grant (seen in the photo at right), AKA Lana Del Rey (an up and coming young singer who is the daughter of domain veteran Rob Grant) just reached another career milestone. Lizzy made a trip to Berlin, Germany where she joined one of Europe's hottest bands - Mando Diao (who has sold over 1 million CDs) to record a video for MTV Unplugged. The video played on MTV Germany throughout the weekend and is helping spread Lizzy's fame across the continent. 

(Posted Nov. 15, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20101115.htm

AfternicDLS Expands Their Premium Reseller Network Again With Popular Registrar Name.com the Latest to Come on Board 

The AfternicDLS and a leading registrar, Name.com, announced today that Name.com will join Afternic’s Domain Listing Service (DLS) - the company's aftermarket domain sales platform - as a premium partner.

By teaming up with leading registrars, the AfternicDLS is making possible instant transfer of domain names sold at any of their premium partner sites. Customers are much more likely to make a purchase if they can get the name immediately upon payment and start using it in their business without having to go through a cumbersome domain transfer procedure. The seller also receives Afternic's escrow protection.

 

Name.com is the fifth major registrar to join the AfternicDLS as a premium partner (the company has over 40 partners overall). NetworkSolutions and Register.com have already launched the instant transfer technology and two others; eNom and Moniker, will have it in place later this year. Sellers would need to have their name registered with one of those premium partners to enable instant transfer when the name is purchased from a listing at any of the premium partner sites. The addition of Name.com further's the AfternicDLS strategy to allow customers to “List Once, Sell Everywhere.” 

Jason Miner
Sr. VP, AfternicDLS

Bill Mushkin
CEO/Founder, Name.com

Jason Miner, senior vice president of sales and business development of Afternic, said, “Through these partnerships we are realizing the vision of a unified aftermarket - bringing together domain buyers and sellers in a more efficient marketplace. With a monthly reach of more than 35 million prospective domain buyers seeking quality domains, we expect that domain sellers will enjoy unprecedented sales success. The Domain Listing Service is functioning much as the Multiple Listing Service has for real estate transactions - becoming a hub of activity that meets the needs of both buyers and sellers.” 

Bill Mushkin, CEO and Founder of Name.com, added, “The use of premium domain names to drive traffic and rank well through SEO is becoming more mainstream and is being used by small and big businesses alike. Joining Afternic’s DLS allows us to connect more sellers and potential buyers through the industry’s largest reseller network, giving sellers the best chance to sell their domain and buyers the best chance to find the perfect domain for their project or business.”

Afternic’s DLS sales model also allows domain owners using Afternic’s parking service to have a “This Domain for Sale” link placed on parked pages. Leads from that link are sent directly to an experienced sales team for immediate follow-up. The parking service also has a 5% cash back program. If your domain has been parked with Afternic for at least 14 days prior to selling you will get a 5% reduction in the sales fee.

Sales fees depend on which of two available promotion levels you chose when listing your domains. Those are: 

DLS Premium:  Names are registered at a Premium Promotion partner, opted-in to the program, domains are priced at a specific figure and are a .com, .net, .org or .biz.  Names then can be sold on all DLS Network partners plus all DLS Premium partners.  Names are then transferred instantly when sold at a DLS Premium partner site. DLS Premium has a 20% sales fee; 15% sales fee if parked with Afternic.  

DLS Network: Names can registered at any registrar. Names will be listed for sale at all DLS Network partners but will not be listed at any DLS Premium partners. DLS Network listings have a 15% sales fee; 10% sales fee if parked with Afternic.

AfternicDLS home page 

The AfternicDLS says that more than 90% of domains sold on their platform are sold to end users. More than half of the names sold there find buyers through the listings spread across partner sites on the DLS network, illustrating the benefits of their "Sell Everywhere" strategy.

(Posted Nov. 11, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20101111.htm

Afilias Announces .INFO Website Award Winners - Hands Out Over $15,000 in Cash Prizes  

Afilias, the operator of the .INFO Registry, today announced the winners of their 2010 .INFO Awards. A panel of judges selected the top three websites built on .INFO domains from a field of more than 130 entries submitted from over 20 countries around the globe. At stake was a $7,500 first prize, $5,000 for 2nd place and $3,000 for third...and the winners are (drum roll please): 

First Place GreentTravelClub.info, a portal where site visitors can search for eco-friendly hotels while traveling throughout Europe.

Second Place: GlutenFreeHelp.info, a website dedicated to providing information on the subjects of gluten intolerance, gluten sensitivity and celiac disease.

Third Place: Klimaretter.info, an information source on climate change and global warming.

.INFO has posted a video on YouTube featuring audio quotes from this year's award winners. First prize winner Yvette Schlutter from GreenTravelClub.info said “We are overwhelmed by this 

amazing success for our company and website. This is definitely a confirmation that we are on the right track and have been able to successfully spread the word about eco-friendly hotels on the Web.”

Roland LaPlante, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Aflias, said ".INFO has proven itself as an intuitive top-level domain with millions of great websites. Our 2010 winners have embraced the need to globally share information on the Web with a secure and information driven domain name.”

To encourage more voter participation, .INFO also gave away a free Ipad to a voter chosen at random.  The lucky winner of the Ipad was Nadia Chatwick

Roland LaPlante
Sr. VP, Afilias

One other note today. Over the weekend our latest newsletter was emailed to opt-in subscribers. It included a breakdown of 3Q-2010 domain sales reported to DN Journal. A lack of 7-figure blockbuster sales in the latest quarter caused the total dollar value of reported sales to fall slightly (-3%) from the same quarter a year ago but a big 15% jump in the median sales price showed increasing values in the market at large.

If you received our newsletter be email Sunday, you will still want to check out the updated copy online because the addition of some late data resulted in a small revision in some of the 3Q-2010 numbers. 

(Posted Nov. 8, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20101108.htm

The 20 Biggest All-Cash Domain Sales Ever Reported by DNJournal.com   

Last week when the news broke that Sex.com would be sold for $13 million in a bankruptcy court auction (payment and transfer of the domain have not yet been completed) a number

of mainstream media outlets, including ABC News, AOL's DailyFinance.com and The Economist, contacted me to ask where that sale would rank among the biggest domain sales ever reported. 

I have never published an all-time biggest sales list, because I won't vouch for sales reported before we started tracking and verifying aftermarket sales in late 2003. Many of the sales reported prior to that were not cash deals (payment was often made, at least partially, with stock that declined dramatically in value) and some of the reports were simply bogus (Beauty.cc at a "reported" $1 million being one of the most infamous examples).

None the less, when a big sale like the impending deal for Sex.com is in the news, 

 

mainstream outlets always want to know where that sale ranks among the biggest deals ever, so I tell them the ones we we will stand by as all cash sales of a domain name only. Others often mix sales of online businesses, like Insure.com at $16 million, into their lists of top sales even though comparing the sale of domain names to developed businesses is like comparing apples to oranges - they are not the same thing and shouldn't be ranked as if they were. Still other lists repeat erroneous information from other sources and list transactions that never happened (Israel.com at a reported $5.88 million for example, never happened). 

The Economist decided to follow our methodology and printed the 15 biggest all cash sales ever reported by DN Journal in their report about the Sex.com sale. By the way, their list is accurate - some other sites that quoted sales reported in DN Journal are not because they had typos that turned singular domains into plural ones (for example, some listed Diamonds.com and Computers.com when the names we reported sold were the singular versions; Diamond.com and Computer.com). 

Some of you may have missed the list we provided for The Economist so, for all who are interested, below is an expanded list of the 20 biggest sales reported by DN Journal since we started tracking the domain aftermarket in the fall of 2003 (this list is current as of November 5, 2010. If the Sex.com sale successfully concludes at $13 million it will move to the top of this list):

The 20 biggest cash domain sales ever reported by DNJournal.com

1. Fund.com

$9,999,950

 

11. Computer.com

$2,100,000

2. Porn.com

$9,500,000

12. Seniors.com

$1,800,000

3. Diamond.com

$7,500,000

13. Fly.com

$1,760,000

4. Slots.com

$5,500,000

14. Dating.com

$1,750,000

5. Toys.com

$5,100,000

15. Auction.com

$1,700,000

6. Clothes.com

$4,900,000

16. DataRecovery.com

$1,659,000

7. (tie) Vodka.com

$3,000,000

17. Ticket.com

$1,525,000

7 (tie). Candy.com

$3,000,000

18. (tie) Russia.com

$1,500,000

9. Shopping.de

$2,858,945*

18. (tie) Tandberg.com

$1,500,000

10. CreditCards.com

$2,750,000

18. (tie) Cameras.com

$1,500,000

*Shopping.de sold for €1,960,000 in 2008. The dollar equivalent at that time was $2,858,945.

(Posted November 5, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20101105.htm

No Free Lunch: Despite UDRP Win Brazilian Company Decides to Settle the Tab for ChilliBeans.com After Being Sued By Frank Schilling

I got a note from Frank Schilling this week letting me know about a favorable outcome to a long running domain dispute centered around one his company's many generic domain names - ChilliBeans.com. Two years ago a Brazilian company, Balglow Finance, that makes sunglasses called Chilli Beans filed a UDRP against Frank's company, Name Administration Inc. (NAI) in an attempt to take the domain without paying for it, even though their trademark rights (like all trademark rights) were limited to a specific category of goods, not including the more commonly known food use that most would associate with this name and that NAI had in mind for it.

As happens way too often in UDRP cases the panel, despite the evidence, ruled against the domain owner even though Balglow Finance themselves just admitted that "the generic Chillibeans.com domain name violated no enforceable rights of Balglow Finance."

Frank Schilling
Name Administration
 

 

Everyone who knows Schilling knows he has always done things the right way and he is not going to knowingly violate anyone's legitimate trademark rights. By the same token, he insists that his rights be respected as well. Schilling has never let anyone usurp those rights and, as one of the most successful domain investors in history, he fortunately has the resources to fight back. Schilling has won close to 20 UDRP cases in the past and if necessary he will take the fight further than that to defend his assets. That is exactly what he did in this case as NAI wound up filing a lawsuit against Balglow that stopped transfer of his domain name in its tracks. 

Having been stymied in their effort to take NAI's property without paying for it, and their prospects for successfully defending their actions in the lawsuit tenuous, the company decided to settle and wound up doing what I think they should have done in the first place - negotiate a purchase price for the name that was fair to its owner. That has now been done and the dispute settled once and for all with the two sides mutually benefiting from a fair transaction. A joint announcement from the two companies follows:

Name Administration Inc.  ("NAI") and Balglow Finance SA ("Balglow Finance") are pleased to announce that they have come to a mutually beneficial agreement in regard to the domain name ChilliBeans.com and the settlement of the law-suit filed by NAI in the Cayman Islands concerning the domain name.  Both parties have agreed that NAI’s use of the generic Chillibeans.com domain name violated no enforceable rights of Balglow Finance. The settlement of this dispute will see NAI transfer title of this generic name to Balglow Finance to assist it in its online efforts relating to Balglow Finance’s expansion of the “Chilli Beans” brand of eyewear.

“While it’s unfortunate that this dispute necessitated a trip to the Cayman Court, we are most pleased to have resolved the matter in such a mutually beneficial way," said Frank Schilling, MD for NAI. He continued, “NAI’s only interest in the domain name was as a generic term.  Now that it’s been settled that NAI’s registration and use of the domain name violated no rights of Balglow Finance we are pleased to facilitate the transfer, as the domain name is beneficial in advancing the business of Balglow Fianance, and while valuable to NAI, has less long term value to our company."

It's too bad it took two years to get there, but at least this story closed with the appropriate ending.

(Posted Nov. 4, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20101104.htm

PPX Invites Domainers to Visit Them in Hong Kong Nov. 14-15...Associated Cities President Fred Mercaldo Resigns...Castello Brothers Add Country Music Feed to Nashville.com...Singer/Domainer's Daughter Lizzy Grant Featured on National TV 

Rick Latona cancelled his plans to stage a T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference in Hong Kong this month, but domainers who had planned to go or who would just like to visit Hong Kong week after next will still get a warm welcome from Hong Kong based PPX International and company Chairman Gregg McNair

Tessa Holcomb, PPX's Director of Business Development and Philanthropy, said several visitors have already contacted her about coming, so PPX is getting reading to roll out the red carpet in their home town November 14th and 15th

On the evening of the 14th (a Sunday night) there will be a dinner cruise through Hong Kong's harbour aboard a traditional Chinese junk boat. 

Gregg McNair
Chairman, PPX International
 

A traditional Chinese junk boat on Hong Kong Harbour

A tour of the PPX office and a day trip to Macau will also be on the list of activities planned for November 14-15.  

Above: Macau's central square - the Largo do Senado 

Above: The Ruins of St. Paul's in Macau

Ms. Holcomb noted that airlines have slashed prices on flights to China, making it more affordable to  see Hong Kong (PPX style) while meeting the PPX team and their Chairman - the winner of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s 2010 Domainer of the Year Award - Gregg McNair. If your plans allow you to join the festivities, Tessa asks that you email her right away at tessa@ppx.com or give her a call at  (508) 809-0998 (dial +1 first if calling from outside the U.S.) to reserve a seat on the boat or have any questions answered.

Elsewhere today, I'm sorry to hear (through ElliotsBlog,.com) that Scotttsdale.com owner Fred Mercaldo has resigned as President of Associated Cities. Fred took the position five months ago and many hoped he would be able to help work out legal and personal issues (that we have previously reported on) that have had some of the Associated Cities co-founders at odds with each other for several years now.

Fred told Elliot he wasn't making any headway on that front and the effort was taking too much time away from his business so he had no choice but to step away from the voluntary role. Despite the turmoil, Associated Cities has continued to put on one of my favorite trade shows - the annual GeoDomain Expo. I've always felt that if the outstanding political and legal  issues could be resolved the sky would be the limit for AC and the Expo.

Fred Mercaldo

 

On a happier note from the geodomain scene, the Castello Brothers, David and Michael, have just taken another giant step forward with their Nashville.com site. Through a new deal with Earbits, Nashville.com has added a new streaming commercial free country music feed that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

In addition to being a great city in its own right, Nashville is synonymous with country music so this is a marriage made in heaven for both Earbits and Castello Cities Internet Network (the Castello owned corporate parent of Nashville.com). The music feed is instantly available from a prominent tab on the upper left corner of Nashville.com's home page.

While we are on the subject of music and domains I have some other exciting news to pass along about one of our favorite singers - Lizzy Grant (AKA Lana Del Ray), the daughter of veteran domainer Rob Grant

One of Lana's most popular songs, "Diet Mountain Dew," was featured on last night's episode of the CW Network's network TV series 90210 (a re-boot of the original Beverly Hills 90210 series). The CW website lists the songs played on the latest episode (Season 3, #307 - I See London, I See France). You can see the music video of "Diet Mountain Dew" on Vimeo if you want to get a full appreciation of Lana's talent. 

Rob tells me Lizzy is currently in London working on some new cuts with top producers and musicians in Britain. In my opinion (informed by owning my own record stores for 12 years) it's just a matter of time before Lizzy/Lana has her first major label record deal. 

Lizzy Grant (AKA Lana Del Rey)

(Posted Nov. 2, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20101102.htm

Photos & Highlights From the First IDN Event Saturday Night in New York City 

With interest in IDN domains growing it was just a matter of time before the first formal IDN conference was staged in the U.S. IDN Event, organized by Aaron Krawitz and Gary Males of IDN Tools, was held Saturday night (Oct. 30, 2010) at the Park Avenue Haru Restaurant in New York City

Our friend Steve Kaziyev of NamePursuit.com, who lives in New York, was among the attendees and Steve was kind enough to send us some photos and highlights from the meeting. There were about 40 guests on hand and nearly all flew in for the event, including several who came from other countries. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elliot Silver (standing) delivered a well-received 
presentation about business website development.

The agenda featured four presentations that were delivered while guests enjoyed a three-course sushi dinner. The sessions included IDN 101 delivered by Krawitz and Males, The IDN Advantage presented by .Asia CEO Edmon Chung, Geo Domaining explained by Associated Cities Executive Director Patrick Carleton, and Small Website/Business Development presented by Elliot Silver of ElliotsBlog.com. 

A panel discussion, featuring Andrew Snow and Michael Schneider, followed the presentations and included a market review, tips for buying and selling IDNs, .com vs ccTLD considerations plus future predictions. 

Elliot Silver (ElliotsBlog.com) and his wife Karen were among the guests at IDN Event.

By the time business closed with a lively one hour networking session it was close to midnight. That was no time to slow down though, so attendees piled into a limo and headed for an after party at a local club.  

IDN Event was also accompanied by a SnapNames IDN Showcase auction that is still going on online. Bidding closes at 3:15pm Eastern time Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 3) so you still have time to check out the catalog.

Krawitz and Males said the positive reception for this first IDN event means they will likely make it an annual affair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patrick Carleton of Associated Cities was among the IDN enthusiasts who came to New York City for the meeting.

In the crowd at IDN Event (L to R above): David Stadler (NameDrive), John Yeomans, Steve Kaziyev, Tony Cassala (AirportService.com), Nat Cohen (Telepathy) & Edmon Chung (.asia).

Moshe Schneider (right), who has been involved in six-figure IDN transactions, came 
all the way from Israel for IDN Event. Andrew Snow is seated to his left.

Above: A scene from the 2010 IDN Event afterparty in the wee hours of 
Sunday morning, Nov. 4. (This photo courtesy of Aaron Krawitz).

One other note today. We just published our latest monthly Cover Story and I think it is one our best. Former football player Chad Folkening has had to continually change directions to get around obstacles in life. A series of untimely events broke his body, derailed a business and, in the most unbearable one of all, claimed the life of a 25-year-old brother. Yet Folkening has managed to come through it all, learn from experience and emerge stronger than ever as a leading player in the domain investment and website development world. 

Folkening might be the best kept secret in the domain industry. Don't get me wrong. Certainly a lot of people in this business know the friendly Midwesterner and he has been one of the biggest players in the space since the mid 90s. However, the self effacing Indiana native, who was a two-time All-State football player, has never been one to talk a lot about himself or his business success. As a result, you haven't seen his name in industry headlines nearly as often as some of his famous contemporaries. It's time for that to change. The complete article is at this link:

Chad Folkening
Founder, eCorp.com
and Co-Founder, 
Domain Holdings LLC

Broken Field Run: How Domain Investor/Developer Chad Folkening Went from Mowing Lawns to Buying Mansions

(Posted Nov 1, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2010/dailyposts/20101101.htm


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