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The Lowdown
April 2012 Archive
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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
updated daily
to fill you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry. 

The Lowdown is compiled by DN Journal Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.

Photos and Highlights From Day 2 Friday and Closing Day Saturday at Domaining Europe 2012 in Valencia, Spain (and Why I Will Go Home from Europe With No Hair!)

The Domaining Europe 2012 conference ended Saturday evening (April 28) in Valencia, Spain with the 4th event in this series winning rave reviews from every attendee we spoke to. The sell out crowd came from 23 different countries around the world. Show founder Dietmar Stefitz of Inverdom.com co-promoted this year's event at the four-star Hotel Sorolla Palace with the invaluable help of veteran conference producer Jodi Chamberlain

My last post from Spain covered the show's opening day. In this post I'll pick up where I left off giving you the photos and highlights from day 2 Friday as well as the closing day Saturday.

Mr. Stefitz kicked off a full day of business sessions Friday morning with welcoming comments to his guests from around the world (many remarked that Dietmar treated everyone as if they were guests in his home, not just people who came to a business event he happened to stage).

Stefitz noted the family atmosphere that prevails in the domain business and he urged the successful domain investors and developers in our space to share their wealth of knowledge with newcomers who will help the industry grow and continue to prosper in the years ahead. 

Show founder Dietmar Stefitz delivering 
his welcoming comments on day 2 of the
Domaining Europe 2012
conference.
 

One of the world's top domain attorneys, Paul Keating of Law.es, who maintains offices in Barcelona and London, was on stage next with a very informative discussion of the risks involved in domain name investing and how to manage them. 

Keating also discussed efforts in the U.S., Europe and other territories to get policy or even laws changed in a way that would make it easier for over-reaching trademark interests to take away domains they are not entitled to. Keating noted that all domain owners need to help fend off attempts to take away their rights. At the least you should contact your government  representatives when unfair laws are proposed (and ICANN when proposed policy changes could usurp your rights). 

Attorney Paul Keating (Law.es) discussed 
legal issues and domain investment risks.

At 11:30am EuroDNS.com Founder and Chairman Xavier Buck delivered an excellent keynote address on Domains: Past, Present & Future. The highly respected Internet entrepreneur has founded many successful ventures including the DCL Group and several of its subsidiaries, including popular registrar EuroDNS, DomainInvest, Datacenter Luxembourg and eBrandServices.

Xavier Buck delivering the keynote address at Domaining Europe 2012 Friday, April 27

With respect to the future Buck predicted that between 1,100 and 1,300 new gTLDs will be active by 2015 with the majority of those (about two thirds) representing brand names. He thinks that domains related to places (such as city geo domains) will be among the most successful with generic terms less so). Buck also forecast that by 2020 1 billion domain names will be registered across all extensions (five times more than the approximately 200 million that are currently registered) - and again he thinks widespread use of new brand name extensions will play a large role in the registration boom . With booming growth continuing for the Internet he said the future of the domain aftermarket looked very bright.

Alvaro Añon, a leading expert in website usability, UX and persuasion followed with some great advice on those topics for website developers. Añon spoke in Spanish and thanks to an excellent headphone translation system available at the show, all attendees could understand what was said whether it was in Spanish or English.

A view of the crowd listening to Alvaro Añon's presentation Friday afternoon, April 27.

In a logical follow up to Alvaro's talk about improving website interfaces, Braden Pollock of Legal Brand Marketing moderated a panel discussion on the ever popular topic of whether it is best to Park or Develop domains.

The Park or Develop Round Table Friday featured (L to R) moderator Braden 
Pollock
, Nico Zeifang (ParkingCrew.com), Jason Boshoff (DomainHoldings.com), 
Tommy Butler
(Glasgow.com) and Estrella Moreira (NameDrive.com). 

Pollock, a lead gen whiz who noted the discussion would also include alternative monetization platforms such as his specialty, said the topic might just as well have been titled Adapt or Die! While panelists like Tommy Butler are strongly pro development, Boshoff cautioned the audience, noting, "You're a domainer, if you are going to develop you had better be prepared to run a business and it is tons of hard work."

I moderated the next session but not much moderation was needed as it was essentially an open discussion of developments in both ccTLDs and gTLDs. Each panelist was invited to comment on trends in the categories they specialize in.

Friday's ccTLDs and gTLDs panel featured (left to right) moderator Ron Jackson 
(DNJournal.com), Helena Neidermaier (InterNetX.com), AnnaLisa Roger 
(DotGreen Community), Ken Hansen (Neustar), Phil Kingsland (Nominet), 
Arthur Piechocki
(NASK, the .PL Registry), Sergey Gorbunov (RU-Central).

I asked Helena Neidermaier, who handles international business communications for fast growing regstrar InterNetX.com, how registrars such as hers will decide which new gTLDs (of the hundreds expected to come online) will get the limited shelf space registrars have to offer their customers. She said market demand will dictate which ones are given space at InterNetX and which will be left looking for another registrar home.

AnnaLisa Roger, whose organization has applied to run the .green registry is understandably a proponent of new gTLDs, as is Ken Hansen, whose company also runs the .US ccTLD. Neustar has just launched a new promotional campaign for .US and Hansen believes the American country code has a lot of upside. In Nominet, Kingsland represents the administrator of one of the world's most popular ccTLDs in Great Britain's .co.uk and he expects the extension to remain dominant in the UK, regardless of what new gTLDs are introduced. Arthur Piechocki and Sergey Gorbunov talked about the rapid growth in their respective favorite ccTLDs; Poland's .pl and Russia's .ru

Friday's final panel discussion offered the expert's forecasts on The Next Five Years in Domaining.

The Next 5 Years in Domaining panel on Friday featured (left to right) moderator 
Dietmar Stefitz, Gregg McNair (PPX International), Marco Marcovici (Domain 
Development Fund), Joan Riera (DonDominio.com) and IT attorney Jorge Campanillas.

With respect to where to make money with domains over the next five years, Gregg McNair, Chairman at PPX International, said to look toward alternate monetization options, noting that his company made an early move toward CPA (cost per action) and has done very well with it. He also said that rather than debate whether new gTLDs are good or bad, investors need to find a way they can cash in on the impending new gTLDs (that would not necessarily mean buying new gTLDs but might include offering services to those who do). He said so much money will be thrown at that category that it would be crazy just to sit and watch the parade pass by. 

Before the agenda moved into Friday evening's special events, executives from three leading companies presented updates on the latest developments at their firms.

Industry News was presented by Helena Neidermaier (InterNetX.com), 
Daniel Eisenhut (EuroDNS.com) and David Thorpe (Sedo.com).

That was the final business session of Domaining Europe 2012 but there was still much more to come as the sun was setting. Gregg McNair, a long time supporter of The Water School, a life saving organization that is bringing a disease eradicating low cost clean water solution to the developing world, kept the crowd spellbound with a presentation about The Water School's work. 

Noting that 1.5 million people die annually from preventable diseases in Africa alone (the vast majority of those being children), McNair left the audience with a clear understanding of why The Water School cause has been adopted by so many in our industry. He said that nearly half of funds raised for The Water School's program has come from the domain industry. 

Gregg McNair gives European domainers an up close look at The Water School's work.

A little before 8pm, the Domaining Europe Awards were handed out by awards committee chairman Chisco Santibañez (an attorney who also co-produced the first three Domaining Europe conferences) and show founder Dietmar Stefitz. The first winner was Harry Ebert who took home the National Domain Award for Spain. Next the European Domain Award went to Nico Zeifang of ParkingCrew.com. The third honoree was attorney Jorge Campanillas who won the National Spanish Domaing Award.

Chisco Santibañez (left) and Dietmar Stefitz (right) present 
the Spanish National Domaining Award to Jorge Campanillas.

Two international awards followed with noted attorney Paul Keating, who has offices in Barcelona and London, being named winner of the International Domaining Award, then, in a complete surprise to me, I was called up to receive Domaining Europe's first award for International Communcations in the Domain Industry. I was even more surprised when organizers followed the award with a video featuring a Who's Who of the domain business congratulating me on the award and sending their own personal messages that were very moving to both Diana and I (you can view that video below).

 

Ron Video 04192012 from Kent Bryan Blanche on Vimeo.

If you watched the video above you can understand why I wuold be so moved by hearing those sentiments expressed by so many people I have such respect and admiration for. I learned that Jodi Chamberlain had been working on putting it together for months and had conspired with many other people to get me to Spain so they could spring the award and video on me (I also learned that my wife Diana knew it was coming for months but never let the secret slip).

Ron Jackson (DNJournal.com) receiving Domaining Europe's Award for International Communications in the Domain Industry from conference founder Dietmar Stefitz.

I want to thank those people and companies for the roles they played including (in alphabetical order): Above.com, .CO Registry, DomainHoldings.com, DomainAdvisors.com, Escrow.com, attorney Karen Bernstein, Nico Zeifang (and his ParkingCrew.com who produced the cool animation at the end of the video), Neustar and Sedo.com

Of course, I also want to thank everyone who took their time to appear in the video and touch my heart in the way that you did -  making me both laugh and cry during the 11 minutes it ran. When I get back to the U.S. I will be contacting each of you with a personal note of gratitude for your friendship and support.

Just as I thought my evening had ended on a triumphant note, Gregg McNair called back onstage and quickly cut me back down to size (literally).

As I wrote about prior to the show, Gregg McNair has been on a campaign since DOMAINfest Global in February 2012 to get me to let him shave my head as part of a campaign to raise $50,000 for the Water School. It all started when Gregg, Jan Barta (ElephantTraffic.com) and I were chatting at a dinner one night during that show. We were talking about three good guys (Vern Jurovich, Jeff Gabriel and Bill Lozada), who would end up having their heads shaved later that night by McNair in exhange for pledges to the Water School. Barta suddenly blurted out that he would pay $10,000 if I would let McNair shave my hair off. Frank Schilling (InternetTraffic.com) got wind of it and matched Barta's $10,000 offer for my scalp, suddenly putting me in the hot (barber's) seat.

McNair chased me all the way to Valencia, Spain where I finally threw in the towel - only to have it draped over my shoulders Friday night while McNair gleefully ran his electric clippers across my head - much to the amusement of the Domaining Europe audience. 

Above left: The before picture as "Mad Barber" Gregg McNair gets set to go 
on the warpath. Above right: Ron Jackson, left bald by McNair's handiwork, tries
to re-purpose his lost locks as chest hair (lacking a suitable adhesive that effort failed
along with my attempts to avoid crossing paths with McNair the past few months).

Below: On the plus side, I discovered that bald guys are chick magnets as this picture 
with Diana Jackson, Ron Jackson and Jodi Chamberlain will attest (of course, Diana 
may have just wanted to make sure she still had a ride back home to Florida.)

On another very positive note McNair told me that the donations after the scalping had pushed total collections past $40,000! ParkingCrew.com kicked in about $4,500 after offering a $150 donation for every person who wore a Parking Crew T-shirt to dinner that night. They quickly ran out of the 30 or so shirts they had on hand. Also, Toby Clements and David Clements stepped up immediately after my hair had been cut and cut checks totaling $2,000 ($1,000 from Toby on behalf of TobyClements.com and $1,000 from David on behalf of Brannans.com). Thank you to all who donated to the Water School! When I get home I will get more information on donations from Gregg so I can recognize others who gave. Anyone can make contributions at WaterShave.org.

Friday night ended with attendees treated to a great dinner at the Red VLC restaurant. In Spain dinners are typically served at 10pm (as this one was) so the evening ran until after 1am when Diana and I finally turned in after a day and night I am sure we will never forget.

Domaining Europe 2012 closed Saturday, April 28 with a great leisure networking day centered around a trip to the Vicente Gandia company's Hoya de Cardenas vineyard and winery about an hour west of Valencia. We were transported there in two luxury buses that gave us a great view of the Spanish countryside en route to our wine tour (and multiple tastings). 

Domaining Europe 2012 guests in the champagne cellar at the 
Hoya de Cardenas winery
near Utiel, Spain Saturday (April 28).

Our tour started in the champagne cellar at the winery and progressed to a champagne tasting, then a tram ride to the historic home at the center of the vineyard where the wine tasting room is also located. There we got to try the vineyard's latest white, red and dessert white wines. 

Jim Grace (DomainHoldings.com) at far right was among those enjoying the wine tasting.

The wines were very good and in Spain they are  incredibly inexpensive. The price for bottles of a good red wine in the Hoya de Cardenas gift shop started at just €3.50 (under $5). As you might expect, the domain industry visitors burned up the cash registers in the gift shop (Dietmar Stefitz took home several cases himself). 

Of course, those of us from the U.S. would have a hard time getting much wine home what with airline restrictions, weight and customs issues to deal with. That being the case, I decided to limit myself to just one bottle. You can see the one I chose in the picture at left :-)

After our tour of the winery we were taken to the village of Utiel where we were treated to lunch at the El Tollo Hotel and Restaurant. Most of us had the traditional Spanish dish paella that originated in Valenica. We were also served more wine. In Spain wine is as common on the table as iced tea is in the U.S. (actually more so). I was going to crack my bottle there and share it but, alas, could not find a corskcrew big enough to get it open.

We were back at the Sorolla Palace Hotel before 6pm and guests started saying their goodbyes to friends new and old (and we met a lot of great new ones on this trip). By this morning (Sunday, April 29) most were on 

their way back home (or already there) but Diana and I are staying over in Valencia until Monday to see more of this delightful city. 

We will take a lot of fabulous memories home with us, with the hospitality that show producers Dietmar Stefitz and Jodi Chamberlain showed us and all of the Domaining Europe 2012 guests certainly among the best of them. Muchas gracias Dietmar y Jodi y viva España!

Domaining Europe 2012 Co-Producers Jodi Chamberlain 
and Dietmar Stefitz at the end of a very successful conference.

((Posted April 29, 2012) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2012/dailyposts/20120429.htm

Opening Day Photos and Highlights from the Domaining Europe 2012 Conference

The Domaining Europe 2012 conference officially got underway Thursday afternoon (April 26) at 4pm (local time) in Valencia, Spain. That left time for the many attendees who had already arrived in town time for a full day of sight seeing before returning to the Hotel Soralla Palace for the show's opening session.  

 

My wife Diana and I used that time to continue touring Valencia aboard the double decker hop on hop off tour bus that I wrote about in my first post from Spain Wednesday night.  We had only covered half of the available route Wednesday, so went back to see the rest of the picturesque circuit Thursday when Braden Pollock of Legal Brand Marketing and his fiance, best selling author Lisa Bloom, joined us to enjoy the ride around the city and the balmy 80 degree day. While sitting on the open upper deck of the bus under glorious blue skies we were treated to one stunning panorama after another.

Above: A scene from Valencia, Spain shot from the upper deck of our tour bus Thursday.

Below: Our bus-mates, Braden Pollock and Lisa Bloom at their window seat.

Soon after we returned to the hotel, a crowd comprised of domain investor/developers from 23 different countries filed into the Sorolla Palace ballroom for the show's opening session.

Part of the crowd at the opening session of Domaining Europe 2012 
Thursday afternoon, April 26

DomainHoldings CEO Jason Boshoff delivering 
the opening address at Domaining Europe 2012 

DomainingHoldings.com CEO Jason Boshoff got things started with an opening address highlighting new opportunities that are opening up in the domain industry. After several years of declining PPC rates Boshoff predicted that domain owners will see monetization revenues start increasing due to innovation from new companies that are offering more finely tuned pay per click  services or alternative monetization options such as zero click, niche lead generation and ad networks. 

As a service provider, Boshoff also believes the impending wave of hundreds of new gTLDs will have a positive impact on many companies in our space. Quoting Michael Berkens, Boshoff said new investors will be spending over $400 million on new gTLD applications alone. That will be followed by even more money spent on new web site development and optimization, marketing and publicity that will raise the general awareness of domain names to previously unseen levels.

After his address, Boshoff took a seat on stage to moderate the show's first panel discussion, an insightful Domain Brokers Roundtable that gave the audience expert advice on what they need to do to increase their aftermarket domain sales. 

The Domain Brokers Roundtable featured (left to right): moderator 
Jason Boshoff
, Frank Tillmans (Sedo.com), Jeff Gabriel (President, 
DomainAdvisors.com) and Toby Clements (Toby Clements.com)

With more domain owners looking to increased sales as the best way to offset PPC declines, the role  of brokers in the industry had gained tremendously in importance in recent years. In addition to selling tips (prime among them - setting a realistic selling price), the brokers weighed in on how new gTLDs might affect sales of existing extensions. Tillmans thinks a flood of new gTLDS will create confusion and only increase the value of .com and leading country codes like Germany's .de. Gabriel agreed that the general public does not understand domains requiring companies that use a new extension to have a matching premium .com address to avoid a high percentage of traffic loss. Clements observed that the market will ultimately decide as brokers will sell any extension as long as there is a demand for that extension.

The CEO and Founder of one major new gTLD applicant, AnnaLisa Roger of .Green, following with a presentation detailing why she believed .green will be one of the most widely adopted new gTLDs. AnnaLisa then joined a panel discussion that I moderated on New Business Opportunitues in New gTLDs

The New Opportunities in New gTLDs panel featured (left to right): moderator 
Ron Jackson
DNJournal.com), attorney Paul Keating (Law.es), AnnaLisa Roger 
(DotGreen Community), Phil Kingsland (Nominet, operator of the .UK registry) 
and Sergey Gorbunov (from leading Russian registrar RU-Central.)

I should first note that not all of the panelists, especially Paul Keating, think there will be many (if any) good new opportunities for domain investors in new gTLDs. Keating cited the lack of promotion provided by operators of previous new registries, .eu in particular, that he said left those extensions to die on the vine, leaving him skeptical of promises made by would be operators of new gTLDs who he believes are unlikely to have the tens of millions of dollars needed to market a new TLD. Ms. Roger on the other hand thinks the the relevancy of an extension like .green (and the public movement behind green efforts) will make it a success. Others agreed with the point Jason Boshoff made in the speech that started the show - that the introduction of so many new gTLDs at once will increase awareness and lift all boats.

That session closed the opening day of business at 8pm Thursday evening. In Spain the dinner hour is typically 10pm - late by the standards of many other countries, so Domaining Europe organizers Dietmar Stefitz and Jodi Chamberlain moved it up to 9pm. On a very pleasant evening attendees took a short walk to the Business Day Restaurant  for a dinner that received excellent reviews. 

Toby & Stephanie Clements (front left), along with Diana Jackson and David Clements 
(front right) at one of the many tables filled with Domaining Europe 2012 guests at the Business Day Restaurant in Valencia, Spain Thursday night. The conference had cut
off ticket sales after running out of available seats for dinner guests prior to the show.

The evening continued well after the dinner ended at well-known broker Toby Clements threw an open house party in the Presidential Suite at the top of the Sorolla Palace. That event was still going strong when Diana and I finally threw in the towel at 1 o'clock this morning (Friday, April 27). 

Part of the crowd at the after dinner party hosted by Toby Clements (TobyClements.com) 
that closed the opening day of business at Domaining Europe 2012 Thursday night.

As I write this day two of the conference is underway with a full slate of presentations and panel discussions on tap. I'll have photos and highlights from those as well as tonight's social events in my next post from Spain.

((Posted April 27, 2012) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2012/dailyposts/20120427.htm

Pre-Show Photos & Highlights From Domaining Europe 2012 in Valencia, Spain

Diana and I arrived in Valencia, Spain Tuesday evening (April 24) a little after 6pm local time to get ready for the Domaining Europe 2012 conference that will be held here Thursday through Saturday (April 26-28) at the Sorolla Palace Hotel. Show founder Dietmar Stefitz, who, with the help of veteran conference organizer Jodi Chamberlain,  is staging his fourth industry event here, surprised us by appearing at the airport to personally welcome us and drive us to the sleek Sorolla Palace where we were ushered into a top floor suite overlooking this beautiful city on Spain's Mediterranean coast. 

Knowing this would be our first visit to Domaining Europe, the keynote speakers from Dietmar's last conference, Michael and David Castello, had told us to be prepared to be wowed by the city, its friendly people and the hospitality shown by Dietmar, the show host who runs Inverdom.com. They were certainly right on all counts.

The Sorolla Palace Hotel - Valencia, Spain
Site of Domaining Europe 2012 

Shortly after we checked in we rendezvouzed for dinner with Jodi and two of the show's earliest arrivals, veteran domain investor Hennie Groot Lippman (who came in from Germany) and Daniel Eisenhut, the Chief Strategy Officer at Luxembourg based EuroDNS

(L to R): Ron and Diana Jackson (DNJournal.com), Jodi Chamberlain (Co-Producer, 
Domaining Europe 2012), Hennie Groot Lippman and Daniel Eisenhut (EuroDNS) at the 
El Timenol Restaurant in Valencia, Spain Tuesday night (April 24, 2012). 

One of Valencia's many claims to fame is that it is the birthplace of the famous Spanish dish paella. So, all of us but Daniel (who opted for octopus!) ordered the local favorite. After the very enjoyable  dinner (that followed an all night flight from Tampa to Atlanta to Paris to Valencia) we headed back to the hotel for a much need good night's sleep.

With a free day today (Wednesday, April 25), we took Dietmar's advice to get onboard one of the Valencia Bus Turistic double decker hop on hop off buses to best see the city's many attractions. 

When the bus arrived at the famed Santa Maria Cathedral at Plaza de la Reina, we hopped off to tour the indescribably beautiful 13th century landmark that is home to a chalice that many believe is the Holy Grail (the cup that Jesus and his disciples drank from at the Last Supper). 

We saw the impressive vessel along with the  countless works of priceless art, statuary and architecture that make this one of the most breath-taking buildings on the planet.

After touring the cathedral and enjoying a diet busting lunch on the plaza (gelato and a giant  chocolate filled croissant) we jumped on another bus to continue the city tour. We enjoyed it so much we are going to return tomorrow morning for a second circuit. The one we took today was a historic route. The other offering is a tour of the waterfront and the futuristic architectural gems in that district.

We'll get back in time for the official opening of the conference at 4pm Thursday when DomainHoldings.com CEO Jason Boshoff will speak at the first session. I'll be on stage at 7pm to moderate the day's closing session on New gTLDs.

The stunning Santa Maria Cathedral towering over 
Plaza de la Reina
in Valencia, Spain (April 25, 2012)

An inside view of the Santa Maria Cathedral

Domaining Europe 2012 Founder Dietmar Stefitz 
and Diana Jackson at tonight's impromptu dinner at 
La Piazza
in Valencia, Spain (April 25, 2012)

By the time we got back to the hotel this evening many more attendees had arrived at the Sorolla Palace to check in early for the start of the show tomorrow afternoon. About two dozen of those guests met in the hotel lobby at 8pm for some informal networking that morphed into an impromptu dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant - La Piazza.

Led by Dietmar and Jodi, the group walked in unannounced, transforming an otherwise slow weekday night into a bonanza for the delighted restaurant owner. In keeping with the "domain family" nature of the gathering, Dietmar arranged to have a wide variety of dishes brought out to each table to be shared family style. 

(L tor R) PPX International Chairman Gregg McNair, Melissa Gabriel (wife of 
DomainAdvisors.com President JeffGabriel) and NameDrive.com Director of Business 
Development Kamila Sekiewicz were among those in the Italian dinner "flash mob" 
Wednesday night (April 25, 2012) at La Piazza in Valencia, Spain.

The only problem was that this unplanned dinner was not part of the original conference agenda (nor its budget). That left the restaurant staff facing the unwelcome task of compiling a huge stack of individual checks. Toby Clements of TobyClements.com instantly became their hero (and the winner of a hearty round of applause from his dining companions) when he decided on the spot to make his company the sponsor of the dinner (an honorific accompanied by both widespread appreciation and a stiff tab!) 

Domaining Europe 2012 Pre-Show Dinner Sponsor Toby Clements and his wife Stephanie 
at Wednesday night's impromptu event at La Piazza in Valencia, Spain (April 25, 2012).

Toby will also be a featured member of the show's first panel discussion - Sell Your Domain: A Broker's Roundtable - Thursday afternoon at 4:30pm. I'll have photos and highlights from that session and all of the other opening day events in my next post from Spain.

((Posted April 25, 2012) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2012/dailyposts/20120425.htm

Spain Joins Michael Mann in the Domain Spotlight This Week and Deadline to Protest .Com Contract Renewal Arrives Thursday

Today I'm on my way to Valencia, Spain to cover the Domaining Europe 2012 conference that gets underway Thursday (April 26) at the Sercotel Sorolla Palace Hotel. I'll have daily photos and highlights from Spain in this column for you starting with an on location pre-show post on Wednesday

This will be the 4th Domaining Europe conference staged in Valencia by Dietmar Stefitz (who is getting a big assist from co-producer Jodi Chamberlain for this edition of the show). 

Valencia, which sits directly on the Mediterranean Sea, is Spain's 3rd largest city (only Barcelona and Madrid are bigger), a metropolis that offers a stunning mix of ultra modern architecture (exemplified by the futuristic Hemisferic and Palau de Les Arts) and buildings that have stood for centuries including the 13th century Cathedral in Plaza de la Reina where a chalice many believe to be The Holy Grail resides.

Dietmar and Jodi know that networking is the #1 reason people attend domain conferences so they have built ample time into the show schedule for registrants to enjoy Valencia together, a perfect way to get to know each other and get more business done. The entire closing day Saturday has been set aside for leisure activities that foster group networking (for those staying through the weekend, as Diana and I will, those opportunities will continue with a Sunday brunch).

Of course there will be plenty of traditional business sessions too with top notch speakers Thursday and Friday. New gTLDs will be among the subjects covered - a particularly hot topic since ICANN has had to postpone closing of the new gTLD application window (originally scheduled for April 12) due to technical glitches. As of this writing we still don't know when the application system will

Hemisferic and Palau de Les Arts in Valencia, Spain
Image from Bigstock

 

Above: The Sorolla Palace Hotel in Valencia, Spain - site 
for this week's  Domaining Europe 2012 conference 

Below: One of the meeting rooms at the Sorolla Palace

Below: The Poolside terrace at the Sorolla Palace

re-open or when the Big Reveal will take place letting the world know who has applied for what new TLDs. 

On a personal note, one of the highlights of the week in Spain (or lowlights depending on how you look at it) will be finding out whether or not I'll be coming home from Valencia with any hair left on my head. As I told you last month PPX International Chairman Gregg McNair has 

started a campaign to raise $50,000 for The Water School and he has already gotten $10,000 each in pledges from Frank Schilling (InternetTraffic.com) and Jan Barta (Elephant Orchestra) if he can get me to let him shave my head in Valenica. 

Those who want to see it happen can make a tax deductible donation at WaterShave.org or in person in Valencia if you will be there for the show. I am a big fan of the Water School's life saving work that helps eradicate water borne diseases in developing nations through an effective, low cost clean water solution. If donors step forward I'm coming to grips with the idea of coming home with an entirely new look next week. 

A couple of other notes before I head for the airport - Thursday (April 26) is the deadline for the public to comment on renewal of ICANN's widely reviled contract with Verisign that would  allow then to jack up .com renewal prices 7% a year in four of the next six years. You can make your feelings known by sending an email to com-renewal@icann.org. You can also read comments others have already made here: http://forum.icann.org/lists/com-renewal/.  (Hat tip to George Kirikos for  the reminder on this important impending deadline).

Michael Mann goes "gangsta"

And last, but certainly not least, kudos again to Paul Sloan for a very interesting article on domain industry pioneer Michael Mann that was published over the weekend at CNET where Paul is now the Executive Editor. Sloan wrote about Mann's domain registration binge earlier this month in which he went through $100,000 piling up almost 15,000 new registrations in just 24 hours!

Some immediately piped up saying it was a waste of money, but Mann, who co-founded BuyDomains and later sold the company to NameMedia, has proven over and over again that, when it comes to domains, he doesn't make many mistakes (we've written two Cover Stories about Michael, including one of our earliest ones in 2003 and another in 2007).

As for Sloan, no one from the mainstream business press has written more insightful and influential articles about the domain space than he has. His 2007 piece about Kevin Ham

called The Man Who Owns The Internet (written when Sloan was at Business 2.0 magazine)  put this industry in the mainstream spotlight and had a lot to do with a boom in the business that peaked that year. 

((Posted April 23, 2012) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2012/dailyposts/20120423.htm

New Book From Veteran Domainer/Developer John Colascione Details How to Master Your Website

One thing that has always impressed me about people in the domain business is how creative they are. We've got authors (including Marc Ostrofsky with his New York Times best seller Get Rich Click!), big time TV producers (David Sams), musicians (see Tuesday's item about David Castello for example) and others with impressive talents of all kinds. 

 

Now you can add John Colascione, the President and CEO at Searchen Networks (an internet marketing and search engine consultancy firm in New York) to the list. John's first book  - Mastering Your Website - has just been released in paperback and is available at Amazon.com (a Kindle version is also expected to be released by Amazon in the near future).

The 210-page, 30-chapter book is designed to be useful to everyone from beginning website developers to intermediate and advanced website builders and marketers. The opening chapters cover the basics before Colascione dives into the more detailed information people need to build, market and maintain a successful website.

The progression takes readers from the starting point of registering their domain name all the way through website editing software to 

Search Engine Optimization for developed sites, including insight into the most sophisticated search engine algorithms that determine how high websites are ranked.  

In addition to his role at Searchen Networks, John is the founder, lead developer and former President of Long Island Exchange ® Inc., a privately owned media company whose award winning website  provides Long Islanders with information, news and local business data. 

Colascione has over 10 years of website management and marketing experience including development, management, online advertising, online marketing, search engine optimization, social media marketing, consulting, server administration, brand development, content relevant advertising and database administration.

For more information about John and why he decided to write the 

John Colascione (right) with Go Daddy 
Founder Bob Parsons at the 2011 Wild West 
Domains Reseller Conference in Arizona

new book, check out the detailed guest post he wrote for Elliot's Blog to mark the release of Mastering Your Website.

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BREE on the Verge of Major Breakout With Release of New Video Featuring David Castello

After a long career in the music business the Castello Brothers, Michael and David of Castello Cities Internet Network, found even greater success in the domain industry. They own a boatload of great generic keyword and geo domains, many of them fully developed including PalmSprings.com, Nashville.com and Whisky.com to name just a few. Still, David 

BREE with Maryk McNeely (left) and David Castello (right)
on the set for their new video at The Standard in Nashville
 

(a top notch professional drummer) found himself unable to resist the  music world's siren call when he discovered a phenomenal new music talent in singer/songwriter BREE in the summer of 2010. 

David, who managed music clubs on L.A.'s world famous Sunset Strip in his pre-domain industry days, became Bree's manager and the two moved to Nashville last summer where they reeled in bass player Maryk McNeely to round out a trio that is making major waves in Music City.

The trio has already recorded tracks with Bob Ezrin's crack engineer, Justin Cortelyou (Ezrin is one of the top producers in music industry history having produced albums by Pink Floyd, Kiss, Alice 

Cooper, Rod Stewart and many others). Today, they just released their first video, directed by Marcel, for a rocking new tune Bree wrote called "Whisky" - very appropriate given the Castello Brothers ownership of Whisky.com. 

The video, shot in the ballroom at The Standard (Nashville's oldest free standing building, one that dates back to 1845), will be the centerpiece of a new promotional campaign for the United States and Canada that will run for the next ten weeks. The band then expects to head out on the road this summer.  

If they come anywhere near you, that is a show you are going to want to see. Bree and her standout backing musicians have a unique look and sound that is unlike anything else on the music scene today. The new video captures that very well. I was pulled in immediately by the opening scene, shot in the middle of the night, with a 1965 Chevy Impala convertible careening down the street (with David behind the wheel) carrying 2012's coolest new band to The Standard. If you like music I know you will love the video, so be sure to check it out!

BREE

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.US Finally Getting Big Promotional Push From the American ccTLD's Registry - Neustar

Though I registered my first domain name in 1997 (MusicParadise.com, to serve as the online home for a brick and mortar record store I owned at the time), I didn't discover the domain business until 2002 when an ad in PC World magazine for .US caught my eye. In the spring of that year the American ccTLD, previously reserved primarily for government use, was opened to all American citizens as well as businesses with a presence in the U.S. 

Neustar, the .US registry, placed the ad to spread the word and they undoubtedly got a great return on their advertising investment. I know because I've single handedly spent tens of thousands of dollars on .US domains since seeing that one ad, a promotion that piqued   

my interest in domains as assets you could buy and sell as well as build websites on. I started researching the field after seeing the ad and have been in the domain business ever since. 

Unfortunately, though I know Neustar made enough money off me alone to pay for the cost of that ad, I don't recall seeing another ad or promotion for the extension since 2002! The lack of promotion  has been a sore point with many .US investor/developers who felt the registry's apathy had left a potentially great TLD to die on the vine. At long last, the 10-year drought finally ended this past week when the registry rolled out an extensive promotional campaign aimed at the extension's natural constituency - American small businesses

Neustar set up a new website at the aptly named About.us to explain the benefits of using a .US address. There is also a Who's On .US section showing other businesses that already successfully operate from the American ccTLD and a Tool Kit for jump starting website  development on newly registered .US domains. 

There is a new slogan - Start With .US - and a new contest - The Small Business Dream Big Contest - detailed on a special Kickstart America page at About.us. Two winners will receive an all expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. May 20-24 where they will be guests at the National Small Business Week Conference

They will also get free professional consulting, a complete website design 

and marketing plan from a top ad agency and a local online advertising campaign tailored to the business (Neustar says the total value of the prize package comes to $12,000).

The contest, which is open now, ends on May 11, 2012. To win, entrants need to submit a video (it can be recorded on a device as simple as smartphone) telling judges about their business and how they would use a .US website. More tips for making the video are on the contest page. 

While the promotional effort has been a long time coming, it looks to me to be a comprehensive, well thought out program. With the new About.US website in place the registry now has an attractive and informative  destination to drive potential customers to (especially over the next month when the contest will give them an attractive lure). 

They will now need to support that asset with marketing money and muscle to get the word out. They can take my word for it - advertising works (and I have about 3,000 .US domains to prove it!)

I've always thought the extension was a no-brainer 

Screenshot from About.us

that just needed some careful cultivation to get it in front of  the right audience - small to medium sized businesses (SMBs). That is who I have always marketed my .US domains to and I have managed to do that profitably over the years, averaging several sales to SMB end users every month. 

 My only disappointment with .US has been a belief (that I still hold) that the extension could and should be utilized much more widely than it has been in its first decade as a publicly available ccTLD. So, I am delighted to see Neustar making an effort to boost .US recognition. I also think it will benefit them in other ways beyond helping .US grow. They are competing with others to provide registry services for new gTLD operators and with those flood gates opening soon, being able to show those potential clients that they are capable of promoting an extension (as well as providing rock solid back end operations) will give them a leg up in that battle. 

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Moniker Closes Year's 2nd Biggest Domain Sale + ICANN Forced to Delay New TLD Application Deadline

Moniker.com has closed a $500,000 sale of Jackpot.com. When we chart the sale in our next weekly report Wednesday (April 18) it will rank as the second biggest sale reported year to date (assuming, of course, that no larger sales are reported between now and then), trailing only PersonalLoans.com, a domain that sold through DomainNamesSales.com in February for $1,000,000.

You may recall that Jackpot.com was offered in the DOMAINfest Global 2012 live auction in February with an estimated price range of $750,000-$1,000,000. It did not sell but Moniker kept working the name and found a buyer whose 500K offer was enough to persuade the owner to cash in.  Moniker's John Mauriello told me they sold some other high end names from the auction after the event but  those are subject to NDAs.

Jackpot image from Bigstock 

One other note today. This was supposed to be the day that ICANN closed the application window for those who wanted to operate new gTLD registries. However, this morning ICANN announced they have pushed the deadline back to Friday, April 20 due to technical problems with its TLD Application System (TAS) software. 

The delay is already bringing ICANN a good deal of criticism with Michele Neylon's piece at Circle ID titled ICANN Takes "Fail" To A Whole New Level being just one example. 

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Industry Veteran Jim Grace Joins DomainHoldings as Director of Monetization

DomainHoldings.com continues to add to its staff of seasoned industry veterans to fulfill the mission stated when the Delray Beach, Florida based company was founded in 2010 by John Ferber and Chad Folkening. That is to offer services that help clients manage all aspects of a domain’s life-cycle, from acquisition to divestment. 

Domain monetization, through the company's DomainPower.com platform, is one of the pillars the company is built on and they have just brought in industry veteran Jim Grace to oversee that critical area as Director of Monetization. Jim joins DomainHoldings after seven years at Oversee.net's DomainSponsor monetization unit where he was a Senior Account Manager. During that time just about professional in the domain business became acquainted with Jim and appreciative of the work he did.

Domain Holdings CEO Jason Boshoff  acknowledged that, noting, “Jim has a proven track record of growing and 

Jim Grace
file photo

sustaining relationships, and his savvy and industry insight will help us identify new market opportunities and continue the platform’s rapid growth."

Grace said, "Domain Holdings has positioned itself as an alternative to traditional parking and provides its publishers and advertisers increased revenues. I am excited for the opportunity to join the team and be a part of the growth." 

Incidentally, the last time I saw Jim (who was my account representative at DomainSponsor) he was sporting a cool new look that is considerably different than the one in the file photo above. The addition of an immaculate handlebar mustache has become something of a personal  trademark for him and left a lot of us wondering why we didn't think of it first! Grace will be representing DomainHoldings at the Domaining Europe 2012 conference in Valencia, Spain later this month so I will make it a point to get an updated photo of him while we are there covering the show for our readers.

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Largest IDN Sale on Record Comes to Light - Deal Completed in 2011 Came with $216,000 Price Tag

We have learned that a deal for the  Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) Москва.com ("Moscow" in Russian) was completed in July 2011 when the final installment on a $216,000 purchase price was paid. That is the highest verified sale price reported to date for an IDN. 

The deal was originally subject to a  confidentiality agreement but Gary Males at IDNTools.com was able to persuade the seller and buyer Moshe Schneider to release details of the transaction, including the documentation we required to verify the price paid. Noted domain attorney John Berryhill was retained to handle the transaction and ensure that all terms of the sale contract were met. 

With this information in hand we have added Москва.com (punycode xn--80adxhks.com) to our 2011 Top 100 Domain Sales Chart where the the domain is ranked #26 among the year's top reported sales. 

Moscow photo from Bigstock 

Москва.com has not been developed and it looks like the current owner may not plan to do so. The domain is currently being offered for resale at Frank Schilling's DomainNameSales.com

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Rick Schwartz Puts His Fight Against Reverse Domain Name Hijackers in the Mainstream Business World Spotlight 

If you keep up with domain industry news you are already well aware that a little-known company from Brazil that operates from the ccTLD SaveMe.com.br is attempting to use the UDRP process to hijack the generic domain name, SaveMe.com, from its rightful owner, veteran domain investor/developer Rick Schwartz

The perpetrators don't even hold a trademark on the term "Save Me" in their own country (let alone anywhere else), but it is relatively cheap to buy a UDRP "lottery ticket" and take a stab at absconding with a valuable domain without paying for it, especially since there are no penalties for reverse domain name hijacking, even if you if you are caught and found guilty of the offense by the arbitration panel. Little wonder then that such shenanigans have become all too commonplace in recent years.

Like many domain owners, the irate Mr. Schwartz has had enough and he is not only 

Rick Schwartz

fighting to keep his property, he is making sure the would be hijackers in this case are clearly identified and he is sounding a broader alarm to make domain owners in the mainstream business world aware of the burgeoning threat to their online assets in a current system where crime (morally speaking if not technically) too often does pay. Today Schwartz and his attorney, Howard Neu, issued a press release that was published all over the web, including at the Wall Street Journal's popular Marketwatch.com site. 

The release noted one of the many absurdities in the Brazilian company's claim - the fact that Schwartz registered SaveMe.com 15 years before the Brazilian company even existed. If that isn't brazen enough for you, here is another one - the Brazilian company has asked WIPO for a three-member arbitration panel, composed entirely of Brazilian nationals. Again no surprise as  someone who is willing to try to steal something that is not theirs is unlikely to see anything wrong with stacking a deck either.

Theft photo from Bigstock

Schwartz noted, "This is a perfect example of Reverse Domain Hijacking. A party, with no rights whatsoever, tries to bully folks into giving up their domain name, and the domain name owner in many cases can't afford to defend his property. That defense often costs many thousands of dollars. We are determined to let folks who may own valuable dot-com real estate know what is to come, as a bad decision here could have a huge impact on online business. In fact, it could make U.S. businesses much more vulnerable, because we rely on dot-com for our online presence and commerce, as opposed to other extensions or country codes."

If hijackers are successful in purloining a domain through the UDRP process, the only avenue left open to the domain owner is to sue them in federal court - a move that normally pushes the victim's defense costs from the  thousands of dollars into tens of thousands of dollars. Even so, Schwartz, 

who is fortunate enough to have the financial resources to do so, has already indicated he will sue the attackers if they somehow manage to get a decision in their favor (unfortunately, wildly unfair UDRP decisions do happen). 

No date has yet been set for this arbitration hearing but when it happens people will be watching it very closely because if someone can take a domain in a clear cut case like this - something that would make a mockery of the UDRP process -  then clearly no one's domain is safe from would-be hijackers.

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DomainHoldings CEO Jason Boshoff to Deliver Opening Day Address at Domaining Europe 2012 & PPX Chairman Gregg McNair Plans "Hair Raid" There

The Domaining Europe 2012 conference coming up April 26-28  just announced a big addition to their speaker's line up for the upcoming event at the Sorolla Palace Hotel in Valencia, Spain. DomainHoldings.com CEO Jason Boshoff has been added to a busy agenda that already includes a keynote speech from EuroDNS Founder and Chairman Xavier Buck on April 27. 

Since earning his business management degree from South Africa's Natal University in 1992, Boshoff has held executive positions managing operations and building teams responsible for the development and marketing of direct-to-consumer products. He has worked with clients ranging from Wal-Mart to automotive giant Pep Boys among many others.

Jason Boshoff
CEO, DomainHoldings.com 

In early 2007, Boshoff partnered with John Ferber and Erik Simons as COO of their online marketing incubator companies and helped them successfully execute the marketing and management of high profile campaigns for Coca-Cola, Baskin-Robbins, Celebrity Cruises and other globally known brands.

With the rise of the web, Boshoff has implemented successful enterprise SEO, PPC and lead management solutions in the extremely competitive and demanding field of Internet marketing.

When DomainHoldings was launched in 2010 Boshoff joined Ferber, Simons and their fellow co-founder, Chad Folkening, at the new company that manages all aspects of a domain’s life-cycle, from acquisition to divestment. Collectively the companies leaders have generated billions of dollars in sales for their customers.

You can still register for the show here. For those who won't be able to make it in person, I'll be there to put together daily photos and highlights for you that will appear in this column. I know some of you are hoping that one of those photos will show PPX International Chairman Gregg McNair shaving all of the hair off my head during the show, just as he did to three other hapless domain industry figures during the DOMAINfest Global conference in California earlier this year.   

It's not that Gregg is a sadistic guy (though his three previous victims may beg to differ with me on that point) - it's just that he is passionate about a very special charitable organization, The Water School, and has found that he can raise a significant amount of  money for the school by scalping people with his trusty hair clippers.

His fund raising progress in being tracked at WaterShave.org (where you can also make what would be a much appreciated donation) and as of this writing he already had over $17,000 in the till from his "hair raid" at DOMAINfest Global. 

(L to R) Jeff Gabriel, Vern Jurovich & Bill Losada after 
Gregg McNair got through with them at DOMAINfest Global.

McNair hopes to entice me to go under the blade by dangling a fistful of donation pledges in my face in Spain. In fact he already has commitments from Elephant Traffic's Jan Barta and Internet Traffic's Frank Schilling of $10,000 each if he can get me to submit. When you consider that a $50 donation to The Water School can provide safe drinking water for a family of five for life it's clear that every person or company that follows Jan and Frank's lead, regardless 

of how large or small their donation may be, is going to make it harder for me to say no to Gregg, something that is is already hard enough to do when someone confronts you with a sharp object in their hand!  

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Independent Operators Trouncing Local Newspapers and TV in Fight for Online Advertising Revenue 

If you've been thinking about developing a geo or geo-targeted domain name into you own local media business, you might be wondering how good you odds are in competing for online advertising dollars against websites operated by long established newspapers or TV stations. 

In most markets the newspapers and TV stations have developed pretty impressive websites and they have the advantage of a brand that is already well-known, as well as traditional media platforms they can use to promote their websites. 

Having worked in local TV for almost 20 years and knowing the power of the medium, I would have guessed that  the local TV and newspaper websites would have an edge in the battle for online market share (even though both are seeing ad dollars decline on their legacy platforms as the audience continues to move to the web). So I was a bit surprised to see a report from 

New Media Vs. Old Media image from Bigstock

highly regarded local media research firm Borrell Associates this week that showed that was not the case - in fact it's not even close.

As noted in a post at Media Daily News Tuesday, independent local media operators won the lion's share of the $16.4 billion spent on local online advertising last year - a whopping 46.2% share of the market. Sites operated by local newspapers were a distant second with a 24.7% share followed by directories at 12.6%, then - in fourth place - local TV sites with 12%. Radio sites were almost a non-factor with only 1.8% of the market and radio's share actually fell from the year before. 

Watching Television image from Bigstock

The TV sites on the other hand are growing faster than any other segment, so don't count them out just yet - especially with the ever increasing popularity of online video. Nine years ago sites operated by local TV stations had an almost invisible 0.4% share of online ad revenues, so they've come a long way to get their 12% and now they are starting to kick into high gear.  In 2011 their revenues were up 41% from the year before and in 2012 Borrell predicts they will grow another 25% to $2.7 billion

Still the TV and newspaper sites are far behind independent operators in market share. It may by that the independents are more internet tech savvy and are benefiting from first mover advantage (though some newspaper and TV sites went online early, most were given little attention until the owner's traditional outlets started seeing ad revenue evaporate). Whatever it is, it should be re-assuring to current and future locally oriented website operators to know that, with relevant, high quality content, they can more than hold they own against their old world foes. 

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Domain Industry Evangelist Troy Rushton to Share Big Stage With Donald Trump and Anthony Robbins Next Week in San Jose

Protrada.com Founder and CEO Troy Rushton is going to get a golden opportunity to tell the mainstream business world about the value of domain names next week. Rushton has been invited to join Donald Trump, Anthony Robbins, Robert Kiyosaki and other successful entrepreneurs who will be featured speakers at the National Achievers Congress 2012 that will be held in San Jose, California April 10-12.

 

Troy Rushton
Protrada.com Founder and CEO

An audience of approximately 8,000 is expected to be on hand when Troy headlines a session on a topic near and dear to all of our hearts - domain name investing. His appearance is one of the first initiatives in a new Protrada campaign aimed an taking domain name investing to a new mass audience of qualified investors. 

Rushton will explain to investors why they should consider adding domain names to asset classes ranging from real estate to options trading that they currently tap to build their portfolios.  

He has put together a program that will include  information and advice (some to be shown via pre-recorded video commentary) gathered from well-known domain industry figures including Morgan Linton (MorganLinton.com), Adam Dicker (DNForum.com), Paul Nicks (GoDaddy.com), Braden Pollock (LegalBrandMarketing.com), Paul Goldstone (IGoldRush.com), Shane Cultra (DomainShane.com) and many others.

In addition to sharing tactics and strategies employed by successful domain name traders Rushton will also take the opportunity to

introduce attendees to Protrada's new comprehensive platform for domain buying, selling, management and development.

Rushton noted, “Introducing domaining to a new audience will greatly benefit the industry as a whole. Every time I attend industry conferences, domainers tell me the greatest barrier to industry growth is a lack of liquidity which would be remedied by new investors. We have an opportunity to help solve that problem for the benefit of all stakeholders and that’s exactly what I’ll be doing at NAC 2012 in San Jose.” 

One other note today. The AfternicDLS continues to add firepower to their Premium Reseller Network. They announced that popular registrar NameCheap.com has joined the platform. That means that Namecheap customers will have direct access to millions of aftermarket domains that have been listed in the AfternicDLS system.

With the partnership now live, NameCheap customers will see the Afternic listings among those on their search results screen and the premium aftermarket domains are tagged to stand out in the pack. Since Afternic’s network utilizes Instant Transfer technology, NameCheap customers will have  instant access to the domain they purchase, making the process as easy as registering a new domain.  

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Philly.com and Two Philadelphia Newspapers Sold for $55 Million to a Group of Local Business and Political Leaders

The City of Brotherly Love was rocked by a major media deal today when the Philadelphia Media Network, publishers of Philly.com, the Philadelphia Inquirer and The Daily News was sold to a group of powerful local business and political leaders for $55 million. This comes just two years after the company had been purchased for $138 million. A big ouch for the sellers.

The New York Times reports that the new ownership group includes Democratic power broker George E. Norcross III, parking lot magnate Lewis Katz, Joseph Buckelew, who owns a large South Jersey insurance brokerage firm, philanthropist H.F. Lenfest and William P. Hankowsky, a real estate investor and chief executive of Liberty Property Trust.

Philly.com will likely turn out to be the most valuable asset in the portfolio as the newspapers continue to be plagued by the decline that has affected print publications across the 

Philadelphia's Love Park
Love Park image from BigStock

country in recent years. In its latest round of job cuts The inquirer just laid off another 45 employees last month and announced plans to drop 35 more over the next six months. 

Still, the new investors think they can right the ship. Norcross told the New York Times “This is first and foremost a business decision. Our intention is to own the business and find new ways to make the business successful.” The new owners will keep Greg Osberg on as the company’s publisher and chief executive. Osberg reportedly helped assemble the new ownership group. 

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