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The Lowdown
Sept. 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.

Domainers Ready to Meet in Europe, Important .AU Election Imminent in Australia and Canada Gets Its Own Domain Forum 

I'm off to Chicago Friday for this weekend's inaugural GeoPublishers.com Expo at the Fairmont Hotel. I told you more about that event last week and also had updates on the upcoming T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Ft. Lauderdale Beach conference on Monday and the early 2012 DOMAINfest Global conference in Santa Monica yesterday

There is another well established conference coming up on the other side of the pond next month. That is the 5th edition of Europe's popular Meet Domainers show that will be held at the Polonia Palace Hotel in Warsaw, Poland on Friday, October 14, 2011

Organizers have put together sessions dedicated to the European domain business including market trends in the host country, Poland, and the latest report from NASK, the administrator of Poland's .pl ccTLD. There will also be sessions devoted to startups and alternative investing including presentations on how to invest in wine, green energy or real estate. 

 

Another highlight is expected to be a three-hour workshop on How to Negotiate Domain Sales conducted by Ewa Kastory from Grupa Training & Consulting. The conference agenda will close with a live domain auction. 45 domain names (primarily in the .pl extension) will be put up for bid by  professional auctioneer Piotr Lengiewicz. Aftermarket.pl will serve as the auction's technical and escrow partner. The catalog includes Hotels.pl, Ibiza.pl and Ogrodnictwo.pl (gardening), to name just a few, and most of the domains have no reserves with bids starting at 1 PLN. Online bidding will be offered for those who register for the sale by October 12th.  

Friday (Sept. 30) is the last day to get the early registration rate of €153.75. The cost goes up to €184.50 Saturday (Oct. 1). We may have an even better deal for you. If you are a foreign domainer (you live outside Poland) and have never been to a MeetDomainers conference, organizers will give the first five of our readers who write to daniel@meetdomainers.eu free admission for the event. 

Simon Johnson

In another important event in another part of the domain world, auDA, the administrator of Australia's .au ccTLD will be holding their annual meeting on Monday, October 17, 2011 when four new directors will be elected to the auDA board. 

The only candidate from the domain investment community running for one of those positions is Simon Johnson (you can read his expanded candidate statement here). Simon is well-known in both the international and Australian domain communities. I met him at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Down Under conference in 2008 and  can tell you is well versed in all of the issues and would make an excellent board member. 

Johnson pointed out that this will be an especially important election for Australia as auDA is planning to extend their definition of  domain monetization. Johnson said, "This change may have serious negative consequences for Affiliates and Internet 

Marketers. This is because auDA Policy seeks to and/or has the effect of imposing content regulations on domain name registrants. As such, people will be forced to evaluate the type and quantity of information on their websites or parked pages, just to ensure compliance. If they don't comply, auDA can take action to put their domain name into Pending Delete."

"Unfortunately this over-regulation is also having a negative impact upon small business and is driving people offshore. Some domain investors are reassessing the high/extreme sovereign risk associated with .au and finding it to be outside their risk appetite," Johnson said. 

You can read all of the candidate statements here. Clearly this is an election .au investors will want  to pay attention to. You have to be an AUDA member to vote. Members who cannot attend the meeting but still wish to vote, can use this  Proxy Form (PDF) that includes with 

instructions. All qualifying Members have the right to appoint a proxy and the proxy does not need to be a Member of auDA. Proxy forms must be received by 5pm AEDST on Thursday, October 13, 2011. Late proxy forms will not be accepted.

David Sams

A couple of other notes before I head out for the Windy City and the GeoPublishers Expo: DNForum.com owner Adam Dicker has just opened a sister forum for Canadian domainers at DNForum.ca. Dicker (who is Canadian) said a key mission for the free forum will be to help get the Canadian ccTLD, .ca, the recognition it deserves.

Last but not least, we are getting some terrific response to our new Cover Story about David Sams. Sams won 9 Emmy Awards as a wildly successful TV producer in Hollywood. His credits include introducing Oprah Winfrey to America and helping launch iconic game shows Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! He entered the domain industry with still more success. A couple of years ago, a sudden stroke turned his life upside down but wound up putting David on an even more rewarding path. Check out his remarkable life story here.

(Posted Sept. 29, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2011/dailyposts/20110929.htm

DOMAINfest Global to Serve Up New Menu of Nightspots at Next Conference in Santa Monica

When the annual DOMAINfest Global conference returns to Santa Monica, California for its 2012 run January 31-February 2, the event will have an entirely new look at night. After three straight years of DomainSponsor grand finales at the Playboy Mansion, the closing night party this time around will be at the House of Blues in Hollywood. Guests will enjoy exclusive access to the entire club, including the VIP Foundation Room

The House of Blues is one of three new night-time venues that will be debuting at DOMAINfest Global 2012. On the opening night everyone will meet at Monsoon, a beautiful Santa Monica restaurant that features Pan-Asian cuisine and Balinese décor. That should be a great place to network, greet old friends and make new connections.

The following night's dinner networking party will shift to the famous Petersen Automotive Museum on Wilshire Boulevard in Los 

Angeles - a paradise for exotic car aficionados. The museum has one of the world's largest collections of race ars, classic cars, hot rods, motorcycles, and celebrity cars. DOMAINfest guest will be treated to gourmet food and guided tours of the museum, including special access to an exclusive “Super Cars” exhibit.

That is a nice line up of varied night life for the show - one that will give the event a fresh feel for the New Year. The conference itself will again be held at the oceanfront Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica (a fairly short cab ride from the L.A. International Airport) If you are thinking about going you can save some money by registering by Friday (Sept. 30). That is the last day to get the $995 early bird rate (the fee goes up to $1,195 Saturday). You can see the show's full preliminary agenda here.

I will or course be covering DOMAINfest Global again (last year's show review is here) and hope to see you there.

(Posted Sept. 28, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2011/dailyposts/20110928.htm

Author and Well-Known Google Critic Scott Cleland Added to Speaker's Lineup for T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2011 

Scott Cleland
Author of Search & Destroy: 
Why You Can't Trust Google Inc.

With the 2011 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference now less than three weeks away (the show runs October 16-19 at the Ritz Carlton on Fort Lauderdale Beach with pre-show cabana networking open Oct. 14-15), organizers Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu have been issuing a steady stream of updates and additions to the agenda. Today they announced that author Scott Cleland, known by many as "the world's leading Google critic" will be a featured speaker at the conference.

In addition to being a contributing writer to Forbes Magazine, Cleland authored the book Search & Destroy: Why You Can't Trust Google Inc. Cleland, who also publishes GoogleMonitor.com and Googleopoly.net, has testified about Google before Congress three times. Cleland, a former investment analyst, was also the first analyst invited to testify before Congress about the missed warning signs of Enron's fraud and bankruptcy. 

Cleland was also one of the first to sound the alarm about impending disaster at WorldCom. Fortune noted that Cleland was "ahead of the pack in raising questions about WorldCom's debt, profitability, and survival."  The former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Information and Communication Policy lives in the Washington D.C. area with his wife and two children.

With respect to Google, Cleland's Search & Destroy book site says, "the world’s most powerful company is not who it pretends to be...Beware the T-Rex in sheep’s clothing. Google has acquired far more information, both public and private, and has invented more ways to use it, than anyone in history. Information is power, and in Google’s case, it’s the power to influence and control virtually everything the Internet touches."

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Rick Schwartz said, 

"Scott Cleland will bring you to your feet. He has Google in his sights and has written extensively on the threat they pose! An ally that understands why Google is in the trouble they are with what is going on in Washington D.C. Why Goggle is making record profits and we are getting hosed."

In another announcement today, Schwartz provided an update on T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s  domain auction that will be held Tuesday, Oct. 18 at 2pm (U.S. Eastern time), noting that Power.com has just been added to the sale catalog. 

If you are interested in bidding in the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. auction you should note that for this show bidders will either have to attend in person or bid by telephone. In order to bid by telephone bidders need to be pre-qualified before the start of the auction. Schwartz said telephone bidders will be given call-in instructions 72 hours before the auction begins. 

(Posted Sept. 26, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2011/dailyposts/20110926.htm

Final Agenda Released For the First GeoPublishers.com Expo That Gets Underway Next Week in Chicago

Geodomain investor/developers will be gathering in Chicago late next week for the first ever GeoPublishers.com Expo. The event at the Fairmont Hotel will run from Friday evening, Sept. 30 through Sunday, October 2 with most of the key players in the geo space on hand, including the Castello Brothers who will speak during lunch on the first full day of business, Saturday, Oct. 1.

I will also be in Chicago for the show, both to cover it for our 

 

readers and to serve as a guest speaker. Immediately after GeoPublishers President Fred Mercaldo delivers his welcoming comments Saturday morning (Oct. 1) at 9am, I'll take the stage to talk about Leadership in Local Media and how geodomains are a disruptive and driving force in that arena. 

I just got a copy of the Expo's final agenda today (subject to minor last minute changes of course) from GeoPublishers Executive Director Andrew Martin. Here's what is in store at the year's biggest geodomain event:

2011 GeoPublishers.com Expo Agenda
Friday, September 30, 2011  
6.00pm-7.30pm President's reception with Fred Mercaldo
Saturday, October 1, 2011  
8.00am - 9.00am Breakfast  
9.00am - 9.30am  Welcome address from President Fred Mercaldo  
9.30am - 10.00am Leadership in Local Media: Geodomains as a disruptive and driving force
Ron Jackson, DNJournal.com
10.00am - 10.45am   Maximizing ROI: how to make money, quickly: 
Alisa Cromer, Local Media Insider
10.45am - 11.15am Google is not the only game in town, Explore ways in which publishers are successfully monetizing their properties: 
Vik Chhabra, Director of Marketing - Chitika, Inc.
11.15am - 11.30am Break 
11.30am - 12.15pm

Revenue models: what works, what doesn't:               
Don Jones & Bill Hammack, NewOrleans.com

12.15pm - 1.00pm

Branding and marketing strategies for geodomains:
Jessica Bookstaff Doppelt, PigeonForge.com & Sara Mannix, Mannix Marketing

1.00pm - 2.30pm Lunch with the Castello Brothers: "State of the Geos Address"
2.30pm - 3.00pm

The Local Mobile Index:                                                 Presentation by Aimee Irwin, Verve Wireless

3.00pm - 3.45pm

How mobile is your media business? This session will look at the top ways that media companies invest in mobile businesses, text messaging, mobile sites, and mobile apps, and the revenue opportunities surrounding them: 
Sandy Martin, Schurz Communications (formerly Director of Mobile Initiatives, Borrell Associates) 

3.45pm - 4.30pm

GEO SEO: how to win terms and get traffic:                  

Mike McDonnell, CEO GeoPlatforms LLC and Capitis Media Inc.

4.30pm - 5.00pm

The Priceline program: what’s new at the world’s leading distributor of hotel nights
Rick Schneider, VP of Sales for Priceline Partner Network

Sunday, October 2, 2011
9.30am - 10.15am

Social Media Integration: how to engage audiences by leveraging your mobile products:
Paul Wagner, CEO Forkfly

10.15am - 11.45am

So What’s Happening in YOUR Market? Join this lively interactive session with Borrell Associates’ lead analysts as they field questions from the audience and look at what’s going on with online advertising in specific markets.  Participants will be asked to stand up and talk about their markets, and Borrell analysts will provide “live” information about those markets showing current ad spending and audience trends. Borrell’s A-team will drive what will be one of the most fast-paced and interactive sessions of the entire conference:
Gordon Borrell, CEO; Colby Atwood, President; Pete Conti, EVP Marketing, Borrell Associates Inc.

11.45am -12.00pm Wrap up         

There is still time to register for the event. Hope to see you in Chicago!

(Posted Sept. 22, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2011/dailyposts/20110922.htm

Igal Lichtman's TrafficMedia Scores Major Coup Inking Small Business Domain Development Deal With $5 Billion Wall Street Firm

DN Journal's first ever Cover Story back in 2003 was about Igal Lichtman and his innovative new domain monetization service DomainSpa.com. Over the years Lichtman's domain empire has blossomed into TrafficMedia.com, a one stop web solutions shop that offers everything from domain registration, parking, appraisals, sales and development to hosting and brand protection. 

One of TrafficMedia's most impressive products is its Vortalizer website building product that generates remarkably beautiful (and fully customizable) sites complete with graphics, content (including video) and monetization options in as little as a minute or two (you can see a sample site that he generated on the fly for me in less than two minutes here. Also, here is a page with examples from a variety of different business categories).

This morning Igal took took me through a demo of Vortalizer (currently available to TrafficMedia clients whose portfolios generate at least $100 in monthly revenue) and it was jaw dropping. Not only does the platform produce a great looking website, it also generates a matching mobile site and Facebook company page! We are no longer talking about simple mini-sites here. It is a fully realized comprehensive small business solution.

It turns out I'm not the only one who has been impressed by the system. TrafficMedia 

Igal Lichtman
TrafficMedia.com
 

has just signed a Vortalizer based deal with Amdocs (NYSE: DOX), a $5 billion Wall Street company that had nearly $3 billion in revenue in 2010 alone and closed the year with $1.2 billion in cash on hand. 

Amdocs is a major global player in the Yellow Pages field and they are using Vortalizer to produce websites, mobile sites and Facebook pages for their thousands of small business customers. By licensing Vortalizer to Amdocs, Lichtman expects to dramatically increase the number of real business sites developed on the Vortalizer platform. That, in turn, will produce a flow of traffic sufficient to attract major direct advertisers giving TrafficMedia and its clients its own source of ad revenue, independent of upstream providers like Yahoo (a long sought solution for those who feel they are getting shortchanged in a world with few other viable options).

TrafficMedia has four representatives at the 2011 Directional Media Strategies Conference that got underway today in Denver where they are showing the audience of small business advertisers exactly what the Amdocs/Vortalizer combination can do for them - establish a multi-pronged online presence at an exceptionally affordable cost. 

I will be giving you a much more detailed look at the Vortalizer platform that Igal, Eran Shatzman, Gal Moran and their TrafficMedia team have built over the past two years in a major upcoming article. Between Vortalizer and some other groundbreaking technology that Igal showed me today (and solutions that others are also working on), I am optimistic that a new era is dawning in which we will all be able to build attractive, full-featured websites almost instantaneously. With those sites providing a solid foundation and framework for further development, how far you want to take them will be limited only by your imagination. 

(Posted Sept. 20, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2011/dailyposts/20110920.htm

Important Election in Canada This Week With Four Seats to Be Filled on the .CA Registry's Board of Directors: Candidates Include Industry Veteran Frank Michlick

An important election gets underway in Canada this week. Voting that will select four new members to the Board of Directors of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) - the body that administers Canada's official country code TLD, .CA - gets underway at 12 noon (Eastern time) on Wednesday (Sept. 21, 2011) and will conclude at the same time one week later (Wednesday, Sept. 28).

CIRA members will elect three new members from a Final Nomination Committe Slate and one new member from a Final Members Slate, with each new board member to serve a 3-year term.  You can see the finalists on each slate here

These finalists were culled from an original group of 221 applicants. Only 9 candidates made it to the Final Members Slate and one of those is a well-known and highly respected figure in the domain industry, Frank Michlick. You can read Frank's Nominee Statement here, detailing why he wants to serve on the CIRA board. 

Frank has an impressive resume that includes 5 1/2 years as a Senior Sales Engineer with popular Canadian Domain Registrar Tucows/OpenSRS. In 2007 he started DomainCocoon, a consulting business for Domain Investors, Registries, Registrars, Hosting companies and Resellers. He is also one of the managing editors at DomainNameNews.com.

Frank noted that he came to Canada as a 

Frank Michlick - one of 9 finalists 
on the Final Member's Slate vying for 
a seat on the CIRA Board of Directors.

German national in 2000 to devote his career to Canada’s Internet. "I am exemplary of this country's diverse cultural backgrounds and consider myself a true Canadian, having lived in Ottawa, Toronto and now Montreal with my wife and son," Michlick said. 

Frank added, "I will work to ensure that members and stakeholders in the .CA registry are better represented at the registry. My background and network within the domain industry will help me to achieve this goal."

I've always thought .CA was an excellent extension and its importance continues to grow as Internet users seek out local sources of goods, services and information. That in turn makes having  exceptionally well qualified people overseeing registry operations of utmost importance. Having known Frank for several years I know he would be an excellent addition to the CIRA board. 

Only one person can be elected from the nine well qualified candidates on the Member's Slate and it's bound to be a tight race, so CIRA members who want to support Frank or any of the other candidates need to make sure they cast their ballot - one vote could end up making the difference in this election. 

(Posted Sept. 19, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2011/dailyposts/20110919.htm

Industry Landscape Continues to Change - Oversee.net Cuts 13% of Staff & Deck Reshuffled at DomainAdvertising.com

The one constant you can always count on in the domain industry is change. We've certainly seen a lot of it this summer with the decline of some companies, the birth of new ones, management changes and mergers at others, etc. After the departure of several key 

executives, including President Jeff Kupietzky a couple of weeks ago, Oversee.net announced a 13% reduction in staff today. Oversee is the parent of some of the industry's best known brands including DomainSponsor, Moniker, SnapNames and the DOMAINfest Global conference. 

 

The official comment released by the company indicated that some new hiring would also be part of the workforce realignment. The statement  said, "As part of its plan to address new growth opportunities, Oversee.net has realigned its work force resulting in a staff reduction of 13 percent. These moves, along with pending new hires, will allow the company to leverage core assets to innovate more effectively, improve competitive positioning and achieve growth."

Yesterday, industry giant Directi announced they are merging their two well-known monetization platforms, BigJumbo.com and DomainAdvertising.com into one entity that will fly the DomainAdvertising flag. 

The company's announcement said, "This merger combines the best features from each of the platforms, further strengthens our position in the domain parking market. The move brings with it a gamut of advantages and possibilities – the combination of DomainAdvertising.com’s graphic-rich, topical templates and BigJumbo.com’s superior keyword optimization technology, more resources on the account management and optimization front, greater industry insights and access to more intelligence– just to name a few."

DomainAdvertising also had a major management change recently. Former President Dan Warner quietly left the company earlier this summer after serving in that position since November 2009. The company's management team is now being led by DomainAdvertising Founder & CEO Divyank Turakhia (who is also the co-founder of Direct i, along with his brother Bhavin) and Sr. VP for Business Development Andrew Allemann (who is also well-known as the founder of DomainNameWire.com).

(Posted Sept. 15, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2011/dailyposts/20110915.htm

Ready for the Adventure of a Lifetime?  The Water School Announces 3rd Climb of Mount Kilimanjaro + Veteran Domain Investor Nat Cohen Unveils a New Blog

Several dozen domain investors and industry executives helped raise funds for one of their favorite charities, The Water School, by undertaking a major challenge - climbing Africa's majestic Mount Kilimanjaro in 2010 and again in 2011.  Nearly all successfully reached the 19,340-foot summit and many said the adventure (which included a visit to life saving Water School projects in the area) changed their lives for the better. 

If the possibility of participating intrigued you but you missed out the past two years, you are going to get another opportunity in 2012. The Water School just announced that Water Climb 2012 will be held March 25 - April 5, 2012. Registration has opened and will continue until December 1, 2011 when the window closes. The limited number of positions are being offered on a first come first served basis.

The event combines adventure travel with an authentic cultural experience. Past climbers have returned with treasured memories, incredible stories and the knowledge that they are part of something that both changes and saves lives.

 

Mount Kilimanjaro

The adventure begins March 25, 2012 when participants will arrive in Nairobi.  On the 26th and 27th they will tour Water School projects there and see how the organization's simple, cost effective water cleansing system is helping eradicate water borne diseases. On the 28th they will arrive at the Kili base camp hotel with the 6-day climb beginning March 29th and concluding April 4th. On the 5th, the climbers will head home of go off on an optional safari at the famous Masai Mara Game Reserve (the safari will be arranged at an additional cost for climbers wanting to extend their trip).

Fundraising targets will be set for each climber to work towards prior to the climb with tools and resources being provided to help reach those goals. Previous climbs have raised several hundred thousands dollars. When you consider that it takes just $50 to provide clean water for a family of six people for life, you can see how many people can be helped through the single annual event.

One other note today - the domain industry blogosphere has gained another important participant - Telepathy.com's Nat Cohen. Nat, an industry veteran who has built one of the world's top collections of generic domain names, knows this business as well as anyone I've ever met. So, if you are looking for another source of information from an experienced domain investor who has already been there and done that (and done it as well as anyone in our field) you will want to check out what Nat has to say on his new blog at DomainArts.com

Nat says he will only post when he feels he has something worthwhile to say, so the blog will not have daily updates, but when he does post you can bet it will be worth reading (he has been pretty busy since launching the blog Sept. 1, with seven posts made in the first seven days. I wouldn't expect anyone to keep up that pace for long but it has gotten DomainArts.com off to a quick start). 

Nat Cohen, DomainArts.com

(Posted Sept. 13, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2011/dailyposts/20110913.htm

DNCruise 2 Delivers Big Dividends For Attendees on Last Week's Voyage to Grand Cayman and Cozumel

I've just returned from the second annual DNCruise conference - the only domain conference held aboard a cruise ship - and this year's event (which ran Sept. 5-10, 2011) succeeded in topping last year's well received debut cruiseI'm currently putting together a wire to wire recap that will give you an inside look at how the conference/cruise unfolded. That will be out before the end of the week, but in the meantime I wanted to share a few quick photos and highlights with those who have been waiting to hear how the voyage that was so well organized by Patrick Ruddell and his wife Zezura went. 

Our home away from home - the Carnival Inspiration - docked at Cozumel, Mexico 
during DN Cruise 2 Friday, September 9, 2011.

We left Tampa on the Carnival Inspiration last Monday (Sept. 5) and made our first stop Wednesday at Grand Cayman where legendary domain investor Frank Schilling (who lives on the island) met attendees and hosted an unforgettable day in paradise. After we were ferried ashore Wednesday morning, buses took us to a local yacht club where attendees boarded two speedy excursion boats for the next leg of the adventure. 

First stop was a sand bar where everyone entered the crystal clear water under dazzling blue skies to enjoy something that for me was not just a conference highlight, but a lifetime highlight - playing in the water with huge stingrays that were as gentle as kittens. The graceful sea creatures would rub against your legs, massage your back, allow themselves to be picked up and even offer kisses! It was an amazing thing.

DNCruise attendees swimming with Grand Cayman's friendly stingrays!

We then moved on to a second stop for snorkeling on a wildlife laden reef - then it was on to Rum Point for lunch and an informative and inspirational talk from Frank Schilling that held everyone in thrall. 

Above and below: Frank Schilling talking to DNCruise guests 
during an outdoor luncheon at Rum Point on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011. 

After lunch we made the return trip to the Inspration and by late afternoon were steaming off toward our second destination, Cozumel, Mexico. We arrived there Thursday morning (Sept. 8) and attendees went off on a variety of different adventures. 

Diana and I started the day with a small group helmed by PPX Chairman Gregg McNair (wherever Gregg goes a good time follows and this was no exception). We wound up in a cantina across the harbor from where the Inspiration was docked where the proprietor offered up a unique "breakfast"  composed primarily of margaritas and tequila shooters. When I inquired about healthier alternatives something apparently got lost in translation as the proprietor's idea of accommodating my request was to bring me a glass filled with three times more liquid than those of my companions. My recollection of what happened over the next few hours is a bit foggy but the takeaway for me was to refrain from being too vocal on any future visits to such establishments!

"Breakfast" in Cozumel (left to right) Chris Waters, Jodi Chamberlain, Gregg McNair
Ardean Christian, Brett Lewis, Michael Gilliam (face obscured - he's obviously the smart one
in the group!), Ron Jackson (holding the Big Gulp glass) & Diana Jackson - Fri., Sept. 9, 2011

The return to Tampa took all day Friday and the day at sea was put to good use with a full slate of sessions about development and an excellent keynote address from former Oprah! TV producer  David Sams that closed the business program (Tuesday was also a day at sea that also offered a variety interesting sessions). Add in time sunning on the deck, the lively group dinners each evening, game nights, parties (hosted by Mr. McNair of course) and, best of all, networking with a great group of people (more on them in our upcoming review article), and the crowd pleasing  cruise was a winner on very level. 

The diverse group of attendees included industry veterans and newcomers alike. 
Above lead gen whiz Braden Pollock of Legal Brand Marketing gets some love from 
his fiancee, best selling author and TV personality Lisa Bloom (left) and Diana Jackson.

Patrick and Zezura put a ton of work into making it all happen and, coupled with the generosity of a large slate of sponsors, guests were treated to one of the most remarkable bargains in the conference business. 

Gregg McNair (left) greeted by DNCruise organizers Zezura and Patrick Ruddell when he 
arrived for the opening night cocktail party Monday, Sept. 5 aboard the Carnival Inspiration.

I'll have much more on DN Cruise 2 in our upcoming review, in the meantime it's not too early to start thinking about DNCruise 3 in 2012. I know a lot of this year's attendees are already planning to be onboard. 

(Posted Sept. 12, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2011/dailyposts/20110912.htm

DNCruise Leaves Port From a City Mourning the Untimely Loss of Its Most Beloved Citizen

This will be my only Lowdown post this week as I will be away, joining dozens of other domain investor/developers onboard a Carnival cruise ship  for the 2011 DNCruise conference. I learned on last year's cruise that even though Carnival sells Internet service onboard, that service falls into one of two categories, poor or non-existent (and it's usually the latter!), so I am expecting to be disconnected from the web until the boat returns to its home port (which also happens to be our hometown) - Tampa, Florida on Saturday morning (Sept. 10).

For many DNCruise attendees, who spend just about every waking minute on the web, a break from the  internet and (and phones) is one of the things they like best about the only domain conference held on a cruise ship. There is a lot to like about this unique event and I'm very much looking forward to it and the new itinerary for 

 

2011. The ship leaves Tampa this afternoon (Monday, Sept. 5 - which is also one of America's biggest holidays - Labor Day) en route to the first stop - Grand Cayman where we will arrive Wednesday morning. 

Attendees are eagerly awaiting that stop because legendary domain investor Frank Schilling, who lives on Grand Cayman, will be welcoming attendees and giving a talk that day at lunch. From Grand Cayman the ship will proceed to Cozumel, Mexico where it will dock all day on Thursday. Friday will be a day at sea filled with domain sessions and seminars - just as Tuesday's day at sea will be (I'll be interviewed by Morgan Linton in a Q&A session that will close Tuesday's business schedule). As always, I will have a full review of the conference for you (and hopefully a better tan for me!) after we return.

While I am looking forward to the cruise, I have to tell you that I am leaving town with sadness over the untimely death of one of my heroes - Lee Roy Selmon. Selmon, the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers All-Pro defensive end (and the only Buccaneer in the NFL Hall of Fame) suffered a stroke on Saturday and passed away at the age of 56 on Sunday. 

I got to know Lee Roy during the many years I spent as a TV sportscaster in the Tampa Bay area. While Selmon was a great football player (both in college at Oklahoma and in the NFL) he was not a football hero to me (or even to himself). He was a human 

being hero. I have honestly never met a more humble, admirable man than Lee Roy Selmon. He was a complete inspiration to me (and everyone else he came into contact with) - the prime example of how to treat all people with courtesy and respect and live your live with class and dignity. 

I don't think there is any doubt that Selmon, who also served as the Athletic Director at the University of South Florida and lent a helping hand to countless community endeavors, was the single most beloved citizen in the Tampa Bay area and our entire region is mourning his loss at such an early age. Still, he leaves behind a remarkable legacy that will continue to inspire people who were fortunate enough to come in contact with him to be better men and women. 

Lee Roy and his brothers Dewey and Lucious, all played at Okahoma and Dewey also played in the NFL for Tampa Bay. Dewey's demeanor was the same as Lee Roy's (and from what I have heard Lucious was cut from the same cloth). The reporters who covered them, and were unused to such humility from men that people put on a pedestal, used to remark that their mother must have been a phenomenal woman to raise three men who all turned out like the Selmon Brothers did. Amen to that and farewell to a man I will never forget.

(Posted Sept. 5, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2011/dailyposts/20110905.htm

Forecast Says Small and Medium Sized Businesses Will Spend Most of Their Marketing Budgets Online By 2015 + DX.com is Sold Just Two Weeks After Launch

When I reported yesterday that Verisign's latest Domain Name Industry Brief showed total global domain  registrations jumped by almost 9% over the past year (far out-stripping the anemic growth rate of the general economy) I noted that showed that our readers were "in the right line of work."

We got further evidence of that this week when local media experts BIA/Kelsey issued a forecast that predicted small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) will spend the vast majority of their marketing budgets on digital advertising, performance-based platforms and customer retention business solutions by 2015.  

 

 

The forecast said by that year the amount of money that SMBs will allocate to traditional advertising will plunge from 52% in 2010 to just 30% in 2015. The 70% lion's share will go to digital/online media (mobile, social, online directories, online display, digital outdoor), performance-based commerce (pay-per-click, deals, couponing) and customer retention business solutions (email, reputation and presence management, websites, social marketing, calendaring/appointment-setting).

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This tectonic shift will obviously create a huge market opportunity for businesses serving SMBs and developing SMB tools that will help them transition to the new media world. Overall, U.S. SMB spending on media, marketing and business solutions will grow from $22.4 billion in 2010 to $40.2 billion in 2015, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12%. SMB spending on digital/online media will grow from $5.4 billion in 2010 to $16.6 billion in 2015, a phenomenal CAGR of 24.9%!

By contrast, SMB spending on traditional advertising will be essentially flat during the forecast period, experiencing a meager 0.6% CAGR, from $11.8 billion in 2010 to $12.1 billion in 2015. So which side of the fence would you rather play on?

As one example of this trend, BIA/Kelsey President Neal Polachek noted, "With the advent of daily deals to drive customer acquisition, SMBs are now increasingly focused on leveraging technological solutions to engage, grow and retain a higher percentage of their customers. As this trend accelerates, these SMBs will turn to outside providers - media companies as well as pure-play technology providers - to harness simple tools, which will enable them to maximize the long-term value of each new customer they acquire." Despite the current economic malaise, there are going to be a lot of opportunities online over the next few years that can continue to keep you ahead of the pack.

Speaking of daily deals, as Neal Polacheck did above, just two weeks ago I told you about domain broker/developer Andrew Rosener launching a new site at DX.com that aggregated daily deals from multiple sites in one location. Today, in another example of how hot this space has become, Rosener told me DX.com has already been purchased by a major player in the online daily deal space - DealExtreme.com - for an undisclosed price (undisclosed, but a figure that made Andrew very happy). 

That may be the fastest execution of an exit strategy that I've ever seen! Adam Strong wrote about the sale earlier today at DomainNameNews.com. Adam actually had a hand in the polished "look" of DX.com that may have helped attract a suitor so quickly. Strong, a long time domain investor/developer, is also a principal in Logo.com, the company that designed the DX.com logo for Rosener. 

As nice as it is, it looks like the logo was retired with the sale though. With a well-established website already in place, DealExtreme.com's main interest was acquiring the rare two-letter domain DX.com to use as a quick shortcut to their site (DX.com already redirects to DealExtreme.com).

Andrew Rosener

(Posted Sept. 2, 2011)

Global Domain Registrations Show Impressive Gains Jumping Close to 9% From a Year Ago

Verisign (who operates the .com and .net registries) has released latest quarterly Domain Name Industry Brief, a report that is always loaded with interesting information about globaldomain registrations and trends. The new report covers the second quarter of 2011 which closed with more than 215 million domains registered worldwide. That is an increase of 5.2 million from the number registered at the close of the previous quarter. It is a 2.5% quarter over quarter rise and a very healthy 8.6% jump over the same quarter a year ago (16.9 milliion domains have been added globally since the close of 2Q-2010). 

Obviously that is a much faster growth rate

 

than the general economy, another indicator that most of you reading this are in the right line of work. The ten most popular TLDs (in terms of total registrations) include four gTLDs and six ccTLDs:

1. .Com

2. DE (Germany)

3. .Net

4. .UK (United Kingdom)

5. .Org

6. Info

7. .NL (Netherlands)

8. .CN (China)

9. .EU (European Union)

10. .RU (Russian Federation)

The only change in the order was .CN (China) moving up one slot to become the world's eighth largest TLD, and .EU (European Union) dropping one slot to become ninth largest. 

Taken together, .Com and .Net added 8.1 million registrations to finish 2Q-2011 with 110 million. That is 8.3% better than last year and a 1.8% move up from the previous quarter. Country-code TLDs (ccTLDs) added a total of 2.9 million names in the second quarter. That is an 8.4% rise from one year ago and a 3.6% jump from the previous quarter.  

The latest issue of the Domain Name Industry Brief also contains an update on ICANN's controversial  plan to roll out an unlimited number of new gTLDs. The Brief discusses what that means for potential applicants, brand owners, domain name registrants and ordinary Internet users worldwide.

(Posted Sept. 1, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2011/dailyposts/20110901.htm


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