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The Lowdown
April 2011 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.

Five Years in the Making - Domain Pioneer Marc Ostrofsky Tells Us About His Book Get Rich Click! That Hits Stores on Monday 

Marc Ostrofsky was one of the first people I heard about when I entered the domain business in the spring of 2002. He was already a legendary figure in the industry, known worldwide (as well as in the Guiness Book of World Records) for his 1999 sale of Business.com in a deal valued at $7.5 million (Marc had purchased the domain for $150,000 just two years earlier!)  

Naturally I was delighted when I had an opportunity to meet Marc in person and over the years I've spoken with him many times and always come away from those encounters feeling like I have learned something new. 

Not long after we first met, Marc told me he was working on a book about how to make money on the Internet that would be called Get Rich Click!  That was several years ago and every time I saw him after that he was still working on and excited about the book project. 

All of his hard work finally comes to fruition on Monday (May 2, 2011) when Get Rich Click! will be officially released (you can order it from a number of locations now and have the book in yours hands next week - I'll tell you more about that at the end of this article). Having read several chapters already, I can tell you it was worth the wait.

Marc Ostrofsky
Author, Get Rich Click!
 

For more on the book and the path Marc followed to create it, I hooked up with him for the interview below:

DN Journal: Marc, I don't recall exactly when you first mentioned the book project to me, but I know it was several years ago and that you have been pouring your heart and soul into it ever since. How long have you spent creating Get Rich Click!

Marc Ostrofsky: Ron, I've been working on Get Rich Click! for 5 years. Yes, 5 years! The idea started out as a simple book but evolved into a real project where it's more than a book. There are 100's of ways entrepreneurs are making money online and the more I researched, the more I found. Leaving out great ideas isn't in my DNA....so I kept adding to the book.

DN Journal: Five years is a big chunk out of anyone's life and you didn't need the money, so why did you decide to write it in the first place?

Marc Ostrofsky: I wrote Get Rich Click! because I am always asked "how can I make money online?  You keep doing it, can you tell me how I can too?"  So, I decided to do exactly that.  My own sites all have a different business model.

1. SummerCamps.com - One person working from their home selling ads on the site. The site is the #1 site for the keyword Summer Camps and lets parents match their preferences to help find the right camp for their child.  If they want archery sites in Chicago, put that into the site and a list of sites that match your requests will pop up.

2. Blinds.com - #1 on the search engines - and the largest site selling window blinds and window coverings. But we have ZERO inventory. ZERO warehouse. No products at all. Everything is outsourced and drop shipped...the business model is just amazing.

3. CuffLinks.com.  #1 on the search engines also. We sell cuff links.  The internet is made for niches...that is, "Riches are in the Niches" and CuffLinks.com is the poster child for that statement.

4. eTickets.com - I simply point the traffic to a site that sells tickets. They populate the site with great data about concert, broadway and sports event tickets, they sell the seats and give me 10% commission for everything sold.

5. Domain Names.  Buy, sell, lease, etc.

6. Affiliate marketing.

The bottom line was that it became apparent that just a little research to look for the "highest and best use" of a domain name was a successful and easy way to make money. Add to this, 100's of other ways to profit and you have a winning combination.

DN Journal: You've been in this business for a long time and I know that you have been involved in a lot of business endeavors in addition to the ones you just mentioned. Tell us about some of those and how those experiences helped you hone the strategy you wrote about for making money online.

Marc Ostrofsky at the 
2006 Domain Roundtable 
conference in Bellevue, Washington

Marc Ostrofsky: I have been here a lot longer than most of my contemporaries. I'm going to be 50 years old this year! I was in the private pay phone industry back at the time of deregulation. There were a lot of new markets evolving at that time (similar to the many opportunities now with the internet). I was involved in creating magazines and trade shows in pay phones, long distance service, 900 numbers, 976 numbers, voice mail, voice processing, telecom opportunities, prepaid phone cards, prepaid cellular and a host of other new opportunities tied to deregulation. Take that information and knowledge gained and apply it to the internet - and we have a lot of winning bits of data that, when put together, prove there are a lot of ways to profit in this market.

I have done 100's of interviews of successful entrepreneurs and asked how did you make so much money online. A firm called "Clickbank" was a common response. This firm is like a digital 

Amazon where all of the products are digitally based (audios, videos, written words, etc.) and each product for sale offered a high commission (up to say 70%). So if you create and maintain a mailing list of 50,000 people and you try to sell that list a $30 item with a 70% commission and only get a 2% response, you are looking at 50,000 x 2% or 1000 people with a $21 per sale or a profit of $21,000 to you.

DN Journal: From the beginning you told me the book you were writing would be about much more than domains and the final product shows that. But that being the case, why should the domain community have a special interest in a book that has a much broader focus?

Marc Ostrofsky: I'm a domainer at heart. But there are SO MANY ways to make more money online that I felt compelled to write this book from the point of view of a domainer. What really got my blood going was this fact. Take MutualFunds.com. I see major firms spending big bucks with Google to buy the keyword that I own the domain name of.  They spend a lot of money and I get half. Why don't these firms buy the name MutualFunds.com, get 100% of the viewers from the site, stop spending more money on the site, keep 100% of their competitors off of the site and write off the purchase of the website!?   Seems logical but corporate America just doesn't get it.

DN Journal: This business is constantly changing. What do you think are the best ways to make money today?

Marc Ostrofsky at the 
2008 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West 
conference  in Las Vegas.

Marc Ostrofsky: The truth is, it depends upon how much time and money you have. But selling affiliate products with a high commission tied to your keywords seems like a brilliant way for people  to make more money with domain names.   

DN Journal: Not having a lot of money available to invest is a problem for a lot of people. You have a chapter called "How to Make money With No Money." Tell us about that.

Marc Ostrofsky: This is my favorite way to make money (for the masses) - Find a product you THINK you can sell. In fact, find many such products that you find cheap enough that you think you might be able to sell them online - say on eBAY. List the products for sale - with a minimum price that includes a small profit for you. Sell the products and maybe make a few more bucks on the shipping charge.
Collect the money. THEN - go buy the product and fulfill it.

Bottom line...you don't need to buy it, finance it, warehouse it, then wait to sell it. The internet allows you (and say Blinds.com) to sell it THEN buy it.  Sell it first, THEN buy it.  It is simple and it works!

DN Journal: Thank you Marc and best of luck with the book.

Some of the other topics covered in Get Rich Click! include: 

* Comparing Domain Names to Real Estate

* Turning domain names into websites

* How to make money with Social Media including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

* Making money with Affiliate Marketing, Lead Generation and more

* Hundreds of other money making ideas and case studies that are working for others 

Places you can order Get Rich Click! now  include Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and at GetRichClick.com (GetRichClick.com will also let you download two free chapters to sample before you buy. The site is also giving buyers $500 worth of free advertising coupons on sites including Google, Amazon and MySpace).

(Posted April 29, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2011/dailyposts/20110429.htm

Toby Clements Takes Over Rick Latona Domain Newsletter - First Edition Went Out Today 

Earlier this month Rick Latona announced that he and long time partner Toby Clements 

were dividing up their assets and going their separate ways. As part of the deal, Clements, a  veteran domain broker, got 100% ownership of Latona's popular domain sales newsletter (and its 15,000 member subscriber list). Clements sent out his first newsletter to subscribers today. The list included 32 domains, many of them one-word .coms. You can sign up for the newsletter at TobyClements.com (Clements said a full site in also coming to that location soon). 

To find out more about what Toby has planned now that he owns the operation (as well as why he and Latona parted ways after so many years) I hooked up with Clements for the interview below:

DN Journal: First, let's address the obvious question. You and Rick have been like peas in a pod, have been long time friends and remain so. Why did you part company at this point in time? 

Toby Clements 

Toby Clements: There really isn't one specific thing that led me to the decision. I had been thinking about it for a while and one day I simply woke up and called a meeting with him. We negotiated for a few hours and parted on good terms. As you mention, Rick and I have known each other for a long time and our friendship is rock solid.
 
DN Journal: Most in the industry are familiar with the domain sales newsletter than you have taken over. Will you be making any changes in the format people have seen in the past?
 
Toby Clements: Overall the newsletter will remain the same. The fact is that it was an incredible way for us to reach anyone in the industry to sell names or make announcements. The subscriber base is massive with over 15,000 users ranging from small, medium and large buyers within the industry as well as end users and many Fortune 100 companies.
 
The newsletter will have a "New Domains" section as well as the "Reduced Until Sold" section. I am also debating on adding a "Traffic and Revenue" section as well, being these types of names are
always a hit.

DN Journal: How can people submit names for inclusion in the newsletter and what are some of the prerequisites you look for in names for the letter?

Toby Clements and his wife Stephanie
at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Amsterdam (June 2009)

Toby Clements: My site is still under development, therefore people can simply email me their names (with prices) and I will review them. Please send any domains to submissions@tobyclements.com along with prices and I will get back to you. 
 
As for the types of domains, only premium names need apply. I want to be known for high quality domains, therefore I am going to be picky. Anyone who has dealt with me knows that I shoot from the hip and am about as direct of a person as you will ever meet. I will look at anything and simply give my opinion. Obviously, .com is king. Other TLD's I prefer are .net, .org, .co.uk, .de. In all of my years of selling names, these sell the best.

DN Journal: Rick often included domains of his own in the newsletter. Do you also have a personal portfolio that you will be selecting names from for the letter?
 
Toby Clements: We used the platform to sell our names quite often in the past and I know that some people frowned on that, but I never understood why. It's a subscriber base that we worked on building for years and years in order to sell more domains, therefore we used it ourselves. I will say that my portfolio isn't something that I am looking to populate the newsletter with overall, therefore it won't happen that often. I would rather work on helping other people maximize the selling price of their names on a regular basis.
 
DN Journal: We are reporting a lot of sales in our weekly reports but we didn't see any 7-figure blockbusters in the first quarter of this year. Buyers seem to be focusing on value and manageable prices. What is your impression of the current state of the domain aftermarket?

Toby Clements: Times are tight and a lot of people are holding on to their wallets with a firm grip. I can remember buying and selling like crazy in 2007 and 2008. We threw money around like there was no tomorrow, but clearly that's not the case in today’s market. I think people are being more savvy with the less expensive names overall. Names from $1,000 up to $50,000 are the sweet spot with our subscriber base. To get a deal in the seven figures you really have to have all the planets line up, but on the smaller sales they tend to work with no problem. It's my intention to list the six and seven figure names, but overall I will focus on what works, which is value oriented names.

DN Journal: Do you have any plans to branch out into other services beyond the newsletter? 

Toby Clements: Not at this time, but I have been fielding some ideas and offers being that people know I am on my own now. For me, the newsletter is fun and it works. The sellers make money and the buyers get great deals. I will still offer financing on domains as well, but there are no immediate plans to do anything else. If you or anyone has an idea I would be happy to talk about it. I have every intention of listening to my audience, the domain community.
 
DN Journal: Is there anything you would like to add before we go? 

Toby Clements: Just that I am excited about my new venture and hope that everyone is happy with the results. Being I ran the newsletter in the past it's really like riding a bike for me. Looking at submissions, fielding the emails and phone calls and selling names is all in a day's work! 

(Posted April 27, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2011/dailyposts/20110427.htm

New DN Journal Cover Story Profiles Secret Millionaire John Ferber + More Details on DOMAINfest Europe Show Agenda Released

Yesterday I mentioned that I was wrapping up work on a new Cover Story that would be released today. That article - The John Ferber Story: How The Secret Millionaire Sold His Company for $495 Million and Why He Loves the Domain Business Now - is now out and is one I think you will enjoy reading. 

Few (if any) people in the history of the domain industry have entered the business accompanied by the aura of success that surrounded Ferber when he arrived on the scene last year as a Co-Founder of Domain Holdings Group, LLC. Ferber was already an Internet business star after selling  Advertising.com, the innovative online marketing company that he co-founded with his brother Scott, to America Online for $495 million in 2004.

The 37-year-old Baltimore native also came with a reputation for being  a humble, good natured guy whose primary mission in life now was giving back to those who have been less

John Ferber, Co-Founder
Domain Holdings Group, LLC

fortunate than he has been. The groundbreaking Microgiving.com website that Ferber founded caught the attention of ABC-TV and the network wound up featuring John in an episode of its hit series Secret Millionaire in March 2011. While the nationally broadcast TV show gave viewers a lot of insight into Ferber's big heart, it didn't delve into where this inspiring young entrepreneur came from, how he made his fortune and where he is headed now. We fill in all of those details in the new Cover Story.

Oversee.net, who is organizing the DOMAINfest Europe conference coming up June 7-9, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain issued an update on the show today. They said they are expecting attendance to be up 10% over last year's conference in Prague. If you want to go, there are still a few days left to take advantage of the early bird registration price of $695 that ends Saturday, April 30

Details have also been released on the list of networking excursions that will be available on the final day of the meeting, Thursday, June 9. The morning options will include a backstage tour at  Football Club Barcelona, a Gaudi Walking Tour, an Old Town & La Rambla Walking Tour, a Tapas Cooking Class and a Wine Tasting in Penedes. For the afternoon session you can choose between a Barcelona in the Middle Ages Walking Tour, the Montserrat Tour, an Old Town & La Rambla Walking Tour, a Savory Stroll Scavenger Hunt or a Tapas Bar Crawl. 

(Posted April 26, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2011/dailyposts/20110426.htm

People and Events in the News: Sai Pola at InGurus.com, Playboy Mansion Illness Update, .CO's Juan Calle and Australian Blogger David Harry

I hope you all had a pleasant holiday weekend. After Diana and I went to an early church service Easter Sunday I spent rest of the day working on a new Cover Story that I am excited about releasing. I'm wrapping up work on that piece today (a profile of one of the most successful newcomers our industry has ever seen). That story will be published tomorrow. It has been busy around here the past week so I've had a few items pile up on my desk that I wanted to share with you as we head into a new week.

First, a thank you to industry veteran Sai Pola for the interview he did with me and published on his InGurus.com blog last Wednesday. Sai asked some fresh questions and I enjoyed having the opportunity to talk with him for his article. 

As our regular readers know, we have been closely following the story of the outbreak of illnesses that occurred after the DOMAINfest Global conference's closing night party at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles this past February. Public health officials are still investigating

Image: Sura Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

what caused over 100 people to become sick. Yesterday (Sunday, April 24, 2011), the Los Angeles Times published the latest update on what the investigation has uncovered. Their article also had a useful link to the entire 24-page presentation that one of the investigating doctors gave about the incident at a Center for Disease Control convention in Atlanta on April 15. This has turned into quite the medical mystery and it will be very interesting to see the what health officials conclude when they finally wrap up their investigation.

Elsewhere, congratulations go out to Juan Calle, CEO of the .CO Registry (.CO Internet S.A.S.), who was named the Technology Executive of the Year by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce at the Chamber's 2011 Technology Leaders of the Year Awards dinners April 15th (the .CO Registry's marketing team is based in Miami).

The Technology Leaders of the Year Awards were instituted to "highlight individuals and organizations with extraordinary technological hands-on experience whose management of technology resources and/or technological innovatons have made outstanding contributions to their organization and the community."  

.CO's Lori Anne Wardi had some observations on why Juan has been so successful in an article she wrote about the award  that noted "Like all good leaders, Juan Diego Calle inspires followers. And when you think about it, following a leader is a purely voluntary act. It has nothing to do with positional power or authoritative command and control. After all, you can't command someone to give you their heart, or to engage their imagination on your behalf!" Amen to that Lori.

.CO Registry CEO Juan Calle receiving 
his Technology Executive of the Year 
Award
from the Greater Miami Chamber 
of Commerce
  - April 15, 2011
(Photo courtesy of .CO)

David Harry

Finally today, we want to tip you off to a new domain industry blog being written by veteran Australian domain investor David Harry at DavidHarry.me. David has been a full-time domainer since 2004 (and I have had the pleasure of meeting him at several conference over the years). 

On the new blog he plans to explore various forms of domain monetization. A look at the section headers on his home page will give you an idea of the areas he will emphasize. Some that are likely to be especially popular include Affiliate Marketing, Expired Domains and Making Money.

In his most recent post (as of this writing) David explains exactly what he looks for in a domain name when mining the daily drop lists. David knows his stuff, so check out the site. There is a good change you will want to bookmark it for regular reference.

(Posted April 25, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2011/dailyposts/20110425.htm

The Big Question Now - Where Does the New GeoDomain Trade Association & Expo Leave Associated Cities? 

Yesterday we told you about the launch of a new non-profit trade association and expo serving the geodomain industry - GeoPublishers.com. The birth of the new organization begs the question - what happens now to Associated Cities - the original trade association in the geodomain space and the organizer of five annual GeoDomain Expo conferences that were held between 2006-2010?

As I noted yesterday, Associated Cities has been impacted by an ongoing internal dispute between key figures in the organization. On one side has been AC Co-Founder Josh Metnick of Chicago.com (who came up with the original idea to form an association of geodomain owners) and Boulevards New Media Founder Dan Pulcrano, who has been a long time AC supporter and a past President of the association. On the other side has been Skip Hoagland, Co-Founder of Associated Cities and founder of Domains New Media

Despite the unfortunate situation between those parties, there is no understating the importance Associated Cities has had in pushing geodomains into the limelight. I reached out to Metnick, Pulcrano and Hoagland to ask where the 

 

launch of GeoPublishers.com (led largely by people who were prominent members at AC) leaves Associated Cities going forward. As is always the case I received prompt responses from all three. Josh is presently traveling abroad and both he and Dan said, understandably, that they would have to meet with fellow AC members before they could issue any formal statement on behalf of the organization (if the AC membership wants a comment issued on the establishment of the new group I will of course publish it here).

While Pulcrano could not speak for the organization, he did comment in his role as a prominent geodomain owner (with a portfolio that includes such gems as LosAngeles.com, SanFrancisco.com, Philadelphia.com, Seattle.com and many other major cities). Wearing that hat, Pulcrano told us the following:

Dan Pulcrano 
Founder & CEO, Boulevards News Media
(photo by Dina Scoppettone (c) 2008)

"Associated Cities has not had the opportunity to meet and respond to the press release, so I will respond on behalf of Boulevards, which is the largest owner of major US dotcom city domains and historically the biggest contributor to AC.

Boulevards has been consistent in its support for an industry wide trade association. We were the first to propose a nonprofit association, and worked hard in support that objective, so in the sense that the industry appears to be embracing the non-profit association model, we view that as validation of the concept that Boulevards initiated and developed in partnership with other industry stakeholders. In terms of financial contribution, no one has contributed more than Boulevards has to see the nonprofit vision realized.

 

The industry also owes a debt of thanks to people like Josh Metnick and Mike Ward, who did the heavy lifting to organize disparate geodomain owners into a common framework, 

and to Patrick Carleton, who as Associated Cities’ executive director, greatly expanded the expo, the membership and the industry profile.

 

Any new association stands on the shoulders of the groundwork that was done. It's no accident that prime geodomains are among the most valuable and coveted properties on the net, and why so many people want to be part of an association with the most elite geographical brands.

 

It is my hope is that the founders of the new group will have the wisdom to look at the broader issues of transition and representation. The last two Associated Cities boards were elected publicly, at conventions, with broad participation. Many people participated in the development of the bylaws that I think created a strong foundation, though not everyone had the patience and persistence to stick with a plan that was sound but not without some bumps. Startup teams naturally have disagreements, and the proper thing to do, I believe now as in the past, is to meet and sort those issues out and come to consensus. Without that, the industry will not have a common voice.

 

I believe that transparency, codes of ethical conduct and a member-elected board are critical for any association with a claim to represent an industry. We look forward to seeing what kind of governance structure and membership criteria the new entity will adopt and what type of public process it will use to choose its leaders. We'll evaluate that in making our decision on membership."

Skip Hoagland
Founder, Domains New Media LLC

Skip Hoagland, also speaking as the owner of one of the world's greatest geodomain portfolios (including Atlanta.com, Baltimore.com, BuenosAires.com and many others), had this to say about the formation of a new association at GeoPublishers.com:

 

"Ron, as co-founder of Associated Cities and someone who has spent the last seven years to help others build not only AC, but much more important our Industry, I am glad to see the formation and launch of this new association. I feel this new association will be a positive replacement for the old association in every aspect and serve all its members the way it should be. Based on my current lawsuit against Associated Cities and its LLC members (which I regretted having to do, but had no choice), I do not see Associated Cities being a viable association moving forward, nor a competitor to our new association I feel it set our industry

back and I'm not sure until this lawsuit is over, but I imagine AC will be dissolved and this new association will be the sole association for this industry.

 

I am not at all disappointed about the launch of this new association and in fact very proud of those who dedicated their valuable time to make this happen to get this industry back on track and positive again. This has always been about building a successful industry and success for all of us, not about individuals and profit for a few from this effort. I have always believed from day one others success was my success and vice versa. Our profits would and should come from our company assets, not an association and its assets. Yes, people have to get paid for their work and I feel the structure of this new Asssociation addresses this the correct and transparent  way for all who wish to be members or attend conferences, Expos, Webinars, newsletters etc.  

 

The Geo Publishers name is very fitting as its members will be made up of New and Old Medias, print and online publishers like our company - Domains New Media LLC. We still publish magazines and now have just simply moved them online and use the City.com, State.com, Country.com brand name to do so. Examples include HiltonHead.com and Savannah.com. Our print products are Island Events and Savannah Scene; two magazines

that have been in print for over 30 years. Converging the new media geodomain/City.com brand with the old media print product has proven to be very successful for us. I see the Geo Publishers association attracting huge global membership and attendance to its Geo Conference/Expo including all current Geodomain owners, newspapers, TV, Radio and magazines that own these brands, or want to learn more about them, as well as many products and services wanting to sell to all of us to add to our Geo Domain Portal brand sites.   

I think this formation of this new industry association was long over due. I knew about its formation and fully supported it from day 1. This industry desperately needed an organization behind it, that was fully non profit, with a professionally run structure and people behind it with the knowledge and abilities to make it all work. Our industry now has this in all aspects 100%. As you can see I elected to not participate in any form or fashion other than just being a supportive member. I felt like I served my time as co-founder with the old association and did all I could to help move this industry forward and will continue to do so as I can as a member. 

I will attend the new Geo Publishers Expo in Chicago. Because this Geo Publishers Expo is now being run by the very powerful and influential Borrell Organization and will be part of the Borrell Conference, New Media geodomain.com owners and Old Media can now mix, attend sessions and learn about all the ways on how to be successful with the convergence of New and Old media as well as how to compete effectively against all the companies now attempting to get a slice of the local media pie. 

I like others feel we all have many opportunities to use our Geo Domain brands to launch very informative and effective New Medias companies and see many opportunities for many of us partnering with other local medias to create powerful local New Media entities to compete against others entering these local markets. Our company is in fact partnering with a local Newspaper in one of our 40 some markets. We feel this unique local media partnership will prove successful for all of us. We are also trying other unique partnerships with local directory/yellow page directory companies, using pure transactional business models in some markets. All these various tests are helping us to see and understand the most profitable and effective ways to compete against all of our competitors." 

(Posted April 22, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2011/dailyposts/20110422.htm

Huge Development in the GeoDomain World - Some of the Sector's Biggest Names Have Joined Forces to Launch a New Association & Expo at GeoPublishers.com

DN Journal Exclusive: Some of the biggest names in the geodomain world have joined forces to launch a new non-profit trade association based at GeoPublishers.com with physical 

offices in New Orleans. Fred Mercaldo of Scottsdale.com is serving as the organization's first President with Don Jones (NewOrleans.com) and Michael Castello (Castello Cities Internet Network) on board as 1st and 2nd Vice Presidents, respectively. Treasurer Peter Niederman (Boulder.com) and Secretary Jessica Bookstaff Doppelt (PigeonForge.com) complete the line up of officers while the Board of Directors includes CCIN'S David Castello (David and his brother 

 

Michael were profiled in our December 2006 Cover Story), Bill Hammack (NewOrleans.com), Tommy Butler (Glasgow.com) and Gordon Borrell (Borrell Associates). In addition,  Andrew Martin has been named Executive Director of GeoPublishers.com. Martin brings extensive corporate and non-profit experience to his new role and is currently in charge of the conference division at renowned local media research firm Borrell Associates.   

Several of the new organization's founders had leadership roles or were prominent members at Associated Cities, the geodomain trade association for .com city domain owners that has been staging an annual GeoDomain Expo (the last of which was held in April 2010 in New Orleans). Despite the success of its conference, Associated Cities has been plagued by widely publicized internal battles between some of its co-founders that has made it difficult for the organization to function as smoothly as some had hoped.

GeoPublishers.com will start fresh with a new concept that will include offering membership to those who own geo or geo-targeted domains or websites in any extension. The organization plans to provide its members with a wide array of benefits and services including local market data from  Borrell Associates, the opportunity to participate in co-op advertising deals, the GeoPublishers Newsletter, legal information, a  jobs board and marketplace and more. There will also be an annual Geo Publishers Expo with the inaugural conference to be held Sept. 30 through Oct. 2, 2011 at the Chicago Fairmont.

The association's president, Fred Mercaldo, said "The on-line Geo Publishing industry is skyrocketing and the need for this trade association is obvious. We will provide our members with many unique benefits including the sharing of information, interaction with the industry's most successful and innovative leaders and many other strategic initiatives. The GeoPublishers.com Board of Directors, along with our various committees, consist of some of the most impressive executives ever assembled in the history of the Geo Publishing industry. Our membership already includes publishing titans such as McClatchy Newspapers and Morris Communications.  I encourage all in the Geo Publishing industry to visit www.GeoPublishers.com and join today!"

Fred Mercaldo, President
GeoPublishers.com

With a charter membership role of over 200 geodomain websites already onboard and such a formidable array of leadership talent driving the organization, GeoPublishers.com will clearly be a force to be reckoned with in the geodomain space - a sector that I have always felt offers one of the greatest opportunities in the domain investment and internet business development world. All forms of local media continue to gravitate toward the web and  in my opinion good geodomains provide the perfect platforms to take advantage of that historic shift.

(Posted April 21, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2011/dailyposts/20110421.htm

Big Payday for Bill Karamouzis - Former DN Journal Cover Boy Sells His Online Game Company - Hallpass Media - to MindJolt

Major congratulations go out today to Bill Karamouzis (who was featured in our March 2010 Cover Story). Bill has just sold his thriving online game company - Hallpass Media - to MindJolt, one of the largest cross-platform game developers and publishers in the world with over 30 million mobile downloads and a reach of over 25 million users across the web. The sales price was not disclosed.

Bill, who raised eyebrows with his $350,000 purchase of the domain name CookingGames.com in December 2009, told me he will join MindJolt as a Senior Vice President and that the new position will have him moving from his home in Canada to MindJolt headquarters in Los Angeles within the next six months. 

In the official statement announcing the acquisition, Karamouzis said, "Hallpass sites have had tremendous success in reaching targeted audiences looking to play web-based games. Taking Hallpass to the next level by bringing our content to mobile and social environments is very exciting for us.” 

By purchasing Hallpass Media, MindJolt adds nearly 1,500 new games and over 4 million gamers to their platform, while also expanding MindJolt's distribution through Hallpass's popular game destinations. 

Bill Karamouzis
Founder, Hallpass Media 

MindJolt CEO Chris DeWolfe said that by acquiring Hallpass and a second company (SGN, a leading developer and publisher ofsocial mobile games) this week the company becomes a cross-platform ‘triple threat’ with great games across mobile, social, and web platforms. DeWolfe added, "This three-pillar approach enables MindJolt to deliver our games wherever people choose to play, and differentiates our service from others in this space."

SGN (Social Gaming Network), With over 30-million downloads, including two iPhone Appstore #1 hits and several top 10 hits, pioneered development of advanced mobile games offering console quality graphics and live multiplayer features on both iOS and Android platforms. With 

the strategic acquisition of SGN, MindJolt gains a roster of popular mobile games, including Mini Tycoon Casino, F.A.S.T., and Skies of Glory.  SGN also adds social mobile development capacity and plans to release a host of new games this year.  

Shervin Pishevar, the founder and executive chairman of SGN, said, "The team at MindJolt has an incredible track record of building

visionary companies. The gaming space is evolving quicker than ever and the lines between the web and mobile continue to blur.  Game services that transcend platforms and reach consumers wherever they play will be the ultimate winners; MindJolt is doing just that.” 

(Posted April 19, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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Update From Public Health Officials on Playboy Mansion Illness Outbreak Leaves Several Unanswered Questions 

Late Friday (April 15) the Los Angeles Times reported that earlier that day local health officials had released some preliminary results from their investigation into the widespread outbreak of illnesses that we reported after a domain industry party at the Playboy Mansion Feb. 3, 2011 (this was the closing event of the 2011 DOMAINfest Global Conference). Their findings to date were issued in a presentation made at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's annual Epidemic Intelligence Service conference in Atlanta.

Most of the speculation on the nature of the illness that struck well over 100 attendees has centered on the legionella pneumophila bacteria that causes both Pontiac Fever and the more severe Legionnaire's Disease. Those suspicions grew several weeks ago when public health officials confirmed they had found the bacteria in a "water source" at the Mansion. 

On Friday, in their CDC presentation, they pinpointed the location where they found the bacteria as a whirlpool spa, yet thus far officials said their lab tests have not yet confirmed any cases of legionellosis (Pontiac Fever of Legionnaire's Disease) among the affected attendees. Tests toward that end are continuing though and officials said those tests can take months to complete. 

They also said in a statement printed by the Times that even though Legionella bacteria was identified in a Playboy Mansion whirlpool, this bacteria has not been determined as the 

Image: Sura Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

source of the respiratory outbreak. The statement said "Other potential causes under investigation include influenza, as three individuals who attended the conference tested later positive for the flu. However, the cause of the outbreak has not been conclusively determined at this time."

Image: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

While testing has not yet confirmed legionellosis it did confirm three cases of H1N1 (Swine Flu) among those who fell ill. The testing also strengthened the likelihood the case for the Mansion being the source of the illness, revealing that those who attended the event there were 3.8 times more likely to have fallen ill than conference registrants who did not go.

A number of lingering questions will hopefully be answered when health officials finally reach the end of their investigative trail. If the illnesses were legionellosis and the bacterial source was a whirlpool, how did so many people fall ill who were nowhere near the whirlpool (including my wife Diana)? If it was a severe strain of influenza, why did so many report they did not show improvement until their doctors treated them with antibiotics (used against bacterial infections like legionella, not viral infections like  the flu)?

Hopefully those answers will be forthcoming as public health officials continue to try to unravel the 

mystery. I have been impressed by how thorough they have been in investigating what happened and it is obvious they will leave no stone unturned in an effort to get to the bottom of what happened. 

(Posted April 18, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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How Much Traffic Are Social Media Outlets Likely to Send to Your Site? New Research Provides the Answer

Most domain industry writers and bloggers are taking advantage of social media outlets like Facebook and/or Twitter to help drive traffic to their websites (I am among those who use both). No surprise there of course, but prior to reading an article by Gavin O'Malley at MediaPost Thursday I had not seen a breakdown detailing what percentage of an average web publisher's traffic could be credited to their presence at social media sites.  

The answer to that question came in extensive research done by Outbrain that O'Malley dissected in his article. It revealed that in the first quarter of this year, Facebook, Twitter and smaller social outlets drove 11% of external referrals to Outbrain's test group of more than 100 publisher's websites (this was a study of traffic from external sources only, however it did reveal that 67% of content viewing sessions begin internally from type-in traffic, bookmarks, clicks from the publisher's home page or other internal pages, etc).

Graphic: Renjith Krishan / FreeDigitialPhotos.net 

That 11% share of external referrals is just a fraction of the 41% of traffic that came in from search engines and also trails the 31% from links at other publisher's sites and the 17% from portals like Yahoo, AOL and MSN). However, social media's now double digit share is impressive given that most of the sites in that category have blossomed in just the past five years or less. 

News, entertainment & lifestyle
 links will generate the most clicks from
social media outlets back to your site.

Graphic: FreeDigitialPhotos.net 

As the public's adoption of social media has grown, the share of traffic those sites send to publishers has also grown quickly and it is expected to account for an increasingly larger piece of the pie as time goes on. 

The study also broke down the kinds of links posted at social media outlets that are most likely to generate a click back to the publisher's site. Among the six categories tracked by Outbrain, news, entertainment and lifestyle links were the ones that generated the most outbound traffic. 42% of that traffic came from news links, 30% from entertainment links and 13% from lifestyle oriented links. A surprise in the study was that sports links ranked near or at the bottom (as a former TV sportscaster that stat was a dagger in the heart for me!).

There is more interesting data in the story and with Outbrain finding that 33% of a publisher's content viewing sessions start from external links, it would be wise to take advantage of the information and the opportunity to drum up more traffic and recognition for your site by getting the word out in social media. 

(Posted April 15, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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Rescheduled Domain Madness 3 Auction Ready to Go Wednesday Afternoon, Japanese Domain Owners Aided By .ORG & Domain Pioneer Scott Day Turns 40

Technical problems blew up the Domain Madness 3 live auction that had been scheduled to run April 5 as part of the annual contest/conference/auction event staged by Mike Fiol and 

Boxcar.com. The rescheduled auction is now set to go at 2pm U.S. Central time Wednesday afternoon (April 13). In a post on his blog at DomainConsultant.com today Fiol said the company has beefed up it server capacity several times over in an effort to make sure things go as planned this time. 

To help re-ignite interest in the event, some new 

names have also been added to the catalog bringing it up to 65 lots. The full list includes Ocean.com, FinancialPlanners.com and AutoRepairs.com to name a few. Mike and his team put a great deal of work into Domain Madness each year and it looks like they are now well positioned to rebound from last week's setback. 

.ORG, The Public Interest Registry (PIR), made a very nice gesture Monday when PIR announced a plan to waive renewal fees for Japanese domain name holders who are unable to renew their .ORG domain names due to the aftermath of the disastrous earthquake and tsunami that struck that country. More than 15 

participating Registrars joined the PIR effort by committing to automatically renew (for one year at no cost) the .ORG domain names that would unintentionally expire due to the inability of the owner in Japan to re-up their registration.  Affected names will include those with expiration dates falling between March 11 – June 11, 2011.

Brian Cute, CEO of .ORG, said, “The recent earthquake in Japan and the destruction that followed has shocked and saddened everyone, including the Internet community. Survivors have been left without the basic necessities, let alone Internet capabilities. By waiving the renewal fees and working with our Registrars, we are protecting .ORG registrants in Japan from losing their domain names during a time when they and their country need to focus on sustaining and rebuilding. PIR’s goal, along with our valuable partners, is to assist in any way we can.”                                                                                                      

One other note today - domain pioneer Scott Day of DigiMedia.com is celebrating his 40th birthday today. Of course his friends couldn't resist having a little fun at the friendly Oklahoman's expense. That's why Digimedia's Old.com is redirecting to ScottIs40.com as I write this! On the plus side, the site let's you do something nice - send your own birthday wishes to Scott.

Scott and Digimedia hold one of the world's best domain portfolios, one that is studded with generic .com gems (several of them already developed into thriving businesses) including Oklahoma.com (naturally!), Jerky.com, Judo.com, FantasyFootball.com, Inventions.com, ChildCare.com, Clinic.com and dozens of others. 

Scott started buying domains in the 1990s while working with his dad as a watermelon farmer (Watermelon.com was one of his first acquisitions) and he went on to become one of the most successful (and well liked) domain investors in industry history.

Scott Day

(Posted April 12, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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Writer Apologizes for  Calling Domain Investors Squatters - Industry Veteran Follows Up With a Compelling Case for Domain Values 

Yesterday I told you about an article at BusinessInsider.com in which author Martin Zwilling talked about why it can be worth spending several thousand dollars on a good domain name. I noted that he used a pejorative word (squatters) in describing domain investors, a misleading term that understandably upset a number of people. To his credit, after Andrei Polgar at DomainingTips.com challenged his use of the word, Zwilling apologized for using the term in a comment added to his article today. Also to his credit (as I noted yesterday), his article overall was a fairer, more balanced account than many you see about domains in the mainstream business press (P.S. - thanks to John Picchietti for telling me about the article in first place).

Today, a related article went up at BusinessInsider, this one written by one of the brightest investor/developers in our industry, Alan Dunn, titled Why $10,000 For a Domain Name Is Still Cheap. Alan does an excellent job of breaking down how the cost of a domain name is considerably less than other common methods used to market a business, including billboards, radio, mobile advertising, etc. When you consider that you own nothing after using those traditional means of marketing, the value proposition of a good domain (an asset you will continue to own in perpetuity) becomes a no brainer

I think Alan's essay is so good that anyone who sells domains should bookmark it so they will have the link on hand to educate potential buyers who want to know why the money they are spending is going to be a good investment for their business. 

Alan Dunn

In a related note, Sedo is also doing some domain name evangelizing with the distribution of a new animated video that illustrates why finding the right web address is just as important to a business's success as its physical location in the real world. 

It is good to see all of these initiatives aimed at helping mainstream businesses understand how crucial a good domain name is in helping them add an effective online presence to their brick and mortar operations - something that is becoming a matter of life and death for many mainstream businesses as the world continues to migrate to doing increasingly more business online. 

One other note while we are on the subject of domain sales. This week I learned that the first known five-figure sale of a Hindi IDN domain name was made late last year, however seller Steve Clarke just now got clearance to release the details.  He got $10,000 for कैसीनो.com (puny code: xn--11b2b6b6a0bv.com) - which means "casino" in Hindi script. 

Finally today, registration has opened for the DOMAINfest Europe conference coming up June 7-9, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. An early bird registration fee of $695 will be in effect through April 30 so if you want to attend the big event at the Pullman Barcelona Skipper Hotel you can save a nice chuck of changing by signing up before the end of the month.

Regarding the hotel, organizers are expecting rooms to sell out

quickly so if you also want to take advantage of the discounted conference room rate you need to  download and use the special hotel reservation form available at the DOMAINfest website.

(Posted April 8, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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Business Insider Tells Mainstream Readers That Paying Thousands for a Domain Name May Be a Wise Decision + Michael Mann Tells You When to Quit Your Day Job

We all know that paying thousands of dollars for a domain name could be one of the smartest decisions that any business owner can make, but Main Street (and many mainstream business publications) still don't understand the importance of having the right online identity in

a world where it seems just about all forms of commerce are shifting to the web. That being the case, it was refreshing to read an article by columnist Martin Zwilling at Business Insider this week that told readers, "...if you want to be found and remembered on the Web, the perfect domain name can easily be worth several thousand dollars."

The article, titled "When To Pay A Premium For Your Company Domain Name," did use the pejorative "squatters" term in talking about domain investors who hold much on the web's prime real estate, but overall I thought it was a fair and balanced article. 

Zwilling, who is a veteran startup mentor, executive, 

author, tech professional, and angel investor, talked about domain industry superstars Frank Schilling and Dr. Kevin Ham in the piece. Of Schilling he wrote, "he had the guts and foresight to sweep up names shed during the dotcom bust, and is now the landlord of some of the most valuable real estate on the Web, estimated to be in the $500 million range." 

Zwilling correctly observed, "...But that’s all history, and you have to live with it" then proceeded to outline the steps he suggested entrepreneurs follow in order to get the name they need for their business. Check out the story for his advice and views on this timely topic.

Michael Mann

While we are on the subject of business, and entrepreneurialism in particular, here is another useful link to a 30-minute audio interview featuring BuyDomains.com Founder Michael Mann's advice on When to Quit Your Day Job. Michael, who has been featured in not just one, but two separate DN Journal Cover Stories (August 2003 and September 2007), has founded, run and sold a number of successful businesses and has always been an invaluable source of information.

The new interview was originally posted as a special webinar on his Make Millions and Make Change! website. That is also the title of the book he authored to share his tips for business and personal success, and - even more importantly - how to "get out there and make the world a better place" - something Mann has done for many years now through the Grassroots.org charitable foundation that he founded.

(Posted April 7, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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Jodi Chamberlain Named President of TeamLauncher.com - New Outsourcing Firm Based in Manila

Jodi Chamberlain has been selected to serve as President of a new Manila, Phillipines based outsourcing company that has just launched, appropriately enough, at TeamLauncher.com (her new company is also developing a related venture that will soon debut at iGlobalRecruiting.com). Many of our readers know Jodi well from her long time association with Rick Latona's companies. She has had an especially high profile at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conferences that Latona staged in 2009-2010 which she helped to produce.  

Most recently Ms. Chamberlain served as Director of Sales for Offshoring.com. The skills in the outsourcing field that she demonstrated there led to marketing venture capitalists Tadd Rosenfeld and Rick Ramos calling on her to lead the new company they formed to compete in the full time staff leasing category.  

Ms. Chamberlain told us, "We are promoting heavily, attending Ad Tech in April with an exhibit booth and planning to attend four more shows this year. I'll also stay committed to the Domain Industry. If anyone needs a hand with development etc., they know I'm here to help."

Jodi Chamberlain
President, TeamLauncher.com

 

Tadd Rosenfeld (left) and Rick Ramos
Co-Founders, TeamLauncher.com

Jodi said, "The core of our business model is bringing web developers & clients together to simultaneously help each other. The staff provides excellent service in writing articles, data entry, design, programming, link building, SEO and much more. Clients are led through recruiting first where they review profiles of available candidates for hire. They may speak to possible candidates over the phone, through email or on IM. Once they find their employee this person will report directly to the client 40 hours a week and from our office."

"Our team provides work stations, 

computers, high speed internet and any additional tools the client may need their staff  to use. We also manage the staff, our shift supervisors make sure the staff arrives on time, that they understand the assignments and are available to the client throughout the work shift." 

Ms. Chamberlain added, "The staff provided to the client is placed on our payroll, so they are considered our employee and we hold ourselves accountable for their work. At anytime if there are concerns we step in immediately to view the situation. If the staff isn’t capable of performing to the clients expectations, we replace them for free. Our contracts are based upon a six month commitment and all of our employee’s start at $995 a month (Full time)." 

We wish Jodi the best of luck in her new position and believe the company founders made a wise choice in selecting her to run the new company.

One other note today - organizers of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference coming up October 16-19, 2011 at the Ritz Carlton on Ft. Lauderdale Beach (the only T.R.A.F.F.I.C. show this year) announced today that registration fees will be going up Friday (April 8). Thursday will be the last day to get the current $1,295 early bird rate. As an added bonus, those who sign up before 5pm (U.S. Eastern time) tomorrow (Wednesday, April 6) will get a $100 room credit at the Ritz Carlton. On Friday, the registration fee will increase to $1,495. 

(Posted April 5, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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The Rest of the Story: Party at Secret Millionaire's Home Was Just the Start of a Special Weekend in South Florida Where T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Will Reconvene in October 

I'm back home from a delightful four-day visit to South Florida that started with the South Florida Domainers group meeting at Secret Millionaire John Ferber's house in Boynton Beach on Thursday night (March 31, 2011). As I told you Friday, we spent the following day visiting Ferber's Domain Holdings Group LLC office in Delray Beach and touring that beautiful oceanside community (Delray Beach is also the city that hosted the first ever T.RA.F.F.I.C. conference in October 2004).

The next T.R.A.F.F.IC conference will be held Oct. 16-19, 2011 at the fabulous Ritz Carlton in Ft. Lauderdale Beach and if you plan to go I would highly recommend spending an extra day or two in Ft. Lauderdale to enjoy the spectacular scenery in that part of the world (T.R.A.F.F.I.C. will have their cabanas overlooking the Atlantic Ocean open the two days before the show (Friday and Saturday, Oct. 14 & 15) so you can get in some networking as well as enjoy the sunshine before the main event opens on Sunday, Oct. 16).

The view from inside one of the Ritz Carlton cabanas that 
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. will take over during their next show in October 2011. 

If you have just one extra day for sightseeing I would recommend spending it on one of the city's Water Taxi boats that will give you a stunning view of the city's magnificent multi-million dollar waterfront homes and yachts. The Water Taxis traverse the Intracoastal Waterway both day and night and one $20 ticket lets you get on and off at more than a dozen hot spots as often as you want (if you never get off the boat, it covers the entire circuit in about three hours with the operators providing details on who owns or lives in the most palatial houses along the way).  

My wife, Diana, and I spent Saturday (April 2) doing the Water Taxi tour with four fellow industry couples who live in the Ft. Lauderdale area (Rick & Alina Schwartz, Howard & Barbara Neu, Michael & Judi Berkens and Ray Neu and his girlfriend Kimberly Ann). Below are some photos and highlights from the day that will show you what to expect if you decide to take advantage of the Water Taxi service when you come to T.R.A.F.F.I.C. next fall. 

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders Howard Neu (left) and Rick Schwartz on the balcony of Rick's 
penthouse condo on Ft. Lauderdale Beach (the building over Howard's left shoulder is the 
Ritz Carlton Hotel where the next T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference will be held Oct. 16-19, 2011

The day started with everyone invited to meet at Rick Schwartz's penthouse condo on Ft. Lauderdale Beach, which sits just south of the Ritz Carlton and has a spectacular panoramic view of both the ocean to the east and the Intracoastal Waterway to the west (this is a vacation home for Rick whose main residence is in Boca Raton). 

View of the Intracoastal Waterway from Rick's wrap around balcony.

There is a Water Taxi stop a short two-block walk west of the Ritz Carlton. In the photo above you can see one of the Water Taxi boats (just to the left of the building in the foreground) leaving the dock. The boats stop at each designated location every 30 minutes or so throughout the day and into the night. On a perfect, sunny South Florida day, our group walked to the nearby stop (#4 on the map you can pick up at any stop) and a boat arrived just a few minutes later. We bought our tickets on board and were quickly on our way.

The domain industry group who toured Ft. Lauderdale by water on 
Saturday April 2, 2011. Front row (left to right): Judi Berkens, Barbara Neu
Howard Neu
, Alina Schwartz and Diana Jackson. Back row (left to right): 
Michael Berkens
, Kimberly Ann, Ray Neu, Rick Schwartz and Ron Jackson.

Above: One of the Water Taxi boats we boarded to get an up close and  
personal look at Ft. Lauderdale and its amazing homes and yachts.

Below: Judi and Michael Berkens on board as the trip gets underway.

The boat passed a seemingly endless line of eye-popping mansions with accompanying yachts that cost as much or more than the homes they were docked at (the houses all fall in the seven or eight figure range). Many are owned by some of the world's most famous names in business and entertainment and who owned what was pointed out by the captain's mate.  

One of the hundreds of mansions and yachts 
you will see while cruising the Intracoastal Waterway

At mid day we decided to disembark for lunch at a popular waterfront restaurant, the 15th Street Fisheries (see the photo below). After lunch, we waited just a few minutes for the next Water Taxi to come along, then re-boarded to continue the tour.

Above: Another one of the showplace homes lining the Intracoastal Waterway

Below: Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen's yacht Meduse (one of several he owns) was 
among the big boats we passed (there is a covered helicopter on the back of Allen's yacht).

 

Before we returned to our original boarding point we disembarked one more time for refreshments at the Briny Riverfront Irish Pub in the popular Las Olas district. Judging from the photo below, we may have to limit Judi and Barbara to soft drinks next  time!

After regrouping at Rick's condo for some enjoyable conversation we decided to walk over to the Ritz Carlton for an evening snack before everyone headed home. This day was a perfect way to wrap up our South Florida visit and left us looking forward to coming back in October for T.R.A.F.F.I.C. (if not before). 

We headed back home to Tampa Sunday but couldn't resist stopping at the famous and unbelievably massive Sawgrass Mills outlet mall (located in Sunrise, just a few miles northwest of Ft. Lauderdale) on the way. Howard and Barbara (who live just minutes away) joined us there for what we thought would be a three-hour excursion. It ran over six hours instead and we still didn't see it all! Yet another, reason to plan on spending some extra time in this special part of the world next October. We hope to see many of you then as well.  

(Posted April 4, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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Secret Millionaire Hosts South Florida Domainers Meeting  - Photos & Highlights From the Thursday Night Event in Boynton Beach

DomainHoldings.com Co-Founder John Ferber, who was featured on ABC-TV's Secret Millionaire program Sunday night, March 27, hosted a meeting of the South Florida Domainers group Thursday night (March 31) at his oceanfront home in Boynton Beach. Local groups like this are popping up around the country and are playing an increasingly important role in growing the industry by providing networking opportunities and educating local businesses and media outlets about the importance of domain names to online business success. By generously throwing his doors open to the South Florida group, John and his girlfriend, Jenna Wehner (who runs her own online business at UnrealDeals.com) gave the organization a huge boost with a record crowd of approximately 80 people turning out for the occasion.

Above: John Ferber, Jenna Wehner and their Yorkie Mason welcomed the South Florida 
Domainers
group to their Boynton Beach home for a meeting/party Thursday night (3/31/11).

Below: Early arrivals begin gathering on John Ferber's pool deck overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

While most of the attendees came from nearby South Florida communities, one - veteran domain investor Steven Sacks - came all the way from Indiana. Sacks happened to be in town visiting his close friend, fellow Hoosier Chad Folkening, who is also a Domain Holdings Group co-founder.

Above: Indiana's Steven Sacks (center) traveled furthest for the event, followed by
Ron & Diana Jackson who made the four hour drive from Tampa to attend their first
South Florida Domainers group meeting. Diana is at left and Barbara Neu at right.

Below: John Ferber (center) shares ideas with Scott Ross (left) and Scott's 
son Evan (right) who is a rapidly rising young star on the Florida political scene.

Shortly after sunset the crowd gathered on the pool deck for a brief auction of domain names and paintings produced by a local artist, with all proceeds going to the charities that Ferber had already donated a total of $100,000 to in the Secret Millionaire episiode that aired March 27, 2011.

John Ferber (center) conducts an impromptu charity auction supported by attendees 
that ringed the pool (only a small fraction of the crowd is visible in the photo above).

Millions of people were moved by the generosity Ferber showed in the national telecast and made donations of their own to the causes he spotlighted. You can help too with a donation made through the Microgiving.com website that Ferber founded to help raise funds for worthy causes of all kinds. 100% of any donations made through this link - www.microgiving.com/profile/secret-millionaire  - will go to the organizations featured on Secret Millionaire

Ferber's partner, Chad Folkening, also spoke at the event and declared South Florida to be the "domaining capital of the world." Chad can make a persuasive case for that argument with many of the most successful domain investors in history living in the area (and many in attendance Thursday night incuding Michael Berkens, Zappy Zapolin and Alan Dunn, to name just a few). Several of the industry's most influential companies are also located in South Florida. 

The South Florida Domainers group (and their events) are being organized and led by (left to right in the photo below) Stu Maloff (StupendousDomains.com), Rick Waters (Webcast1.com) and Mike Ward (BocaNames.com). They are doing a great job of growing the organization and I'm sure they would be happy to provide advice for others interested in leading a similar group in their own community.

Our thanks Stu, Rick, Mike and especially to John Ferber and Jenna Wehner for being such wonderful hosts for this event.

Diana and I decided to stay over in South Florida for the weekend. To learn more about John and what he and his team are building at Domain Holdings Group LLC (a firm founded just last year), we visited the company's office in Delray Beach today (Friday, April 1). The enthusiasm and energy there is off the hook as you can see in the photo below.

John Ferber (front row left) and his team members at Domain Holdings Group LLC
are already making big waves in domain development, SEO and monetization.

I'll be sharing what I learned in a major profile that will be pubished this month. After the visit to John's office, he and Jenna joined several South Florida domainers, along with Diana and I for a wonderful lunch at Delray Beach's famous Sundy House (a boutique hotel and restaurant built on a stunningly beautiful property featuring lush tropical vegetation, fish ponds and waterfalls that transport you to another world).

Above: The lunch group at the Sundy House Friday, April 1 (clockwise from left 
to right) included Rick Schwartz, Alina Schwartz, Barbara Neu, Howard Neu
Jenna Wehner, John Ferber, Ray Neu, Diana Jackson and Ron Jackson.

Johh Ferber's many talents apparently include photography. He snapped the photo 
of his visitors below in the gorgeous gardens at Delray Beach's Sundy House. 

The weather is beautiful in South Florida this weekend and we are look forward to another group outing Saturday before heading back to our side of the state Sunday. I'll have more on how the rest of the weekend plays out for you on Monday and hope that wherever you are in the world, you are having a great weekend as well.

(Posted April 1, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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