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August 27, 2012

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The Lowdown
May 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.

DomainSponsor Welcomes One of Their First Employees Back Home as Account Manager Mike Song Signs On

 

Account Manager Mike Song
DomainSponsor.com

It's often said that the only constant in the domain business is change. A lot of companies and good people have come and gone over the years but few came, went, then came back again - especially to the same place where they first made their mark in the domain industry. Mike Song has done just that and people who have been in this business a long time couldn't be happier.

In 2003 (the same year DNJournal.com was founded), a hot new Los Angeles based company, Oversee.net, had begun revolutionizing the domain monetization business with their DomainSponsor.com platform. One of the first people they brought on board that year (just the 5th employee they hired) was Account Manager Mike Song. With his professionalism and constant willingness to help, Song quickly developed a loyal and appreciative clientele. 

Over the next five years Song advanced to new positions in operations and portfolio acquisitions at DomainSponsor. His talents did not go unnoticed and in 2008 he was lured away by a management opportunity in business development in the affiliate marketing field.  Now, four years after he left, Song has come back home to DomainSponsor where he will again serve in the account management role where he made so many friends.

Song said, "I really missed working in the domain industry and working with so many old friends.  In addition, Oversee has some exciting growth plans and I am really looking forward to contributing and being a part of it.”  

Song will reports to DomainSponsor's Director of Sales, Sam Tseng,  who, like Mike, started at the company in 2003. Sam, who has been there even since, said, "I'm delighted that Mike is back. He is so knowledgeable and has a great reputation with customers. "

Director of Sales Sam Tseng
Domain Sponsor.com

(Posted May 31, 2012) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2012/dailyposts/20120531.htm

Industry Pioneer Monte Cahn Joins DomainHoldings Team as Executive and Advisor

Monte Cahn, the domain industry pioneer who founded Moniker.com in 1999 and served as the popular registrar and brokerage service's CEO for 10 years, has taken a new role with DomainHoldings.com. Cahn (who was the subject of one of our earliest Cover Stories back in 2003) will serve as an Executive in Residence and Advisor to the Board at DomainHoldings where he will help shape the company’s growth and strategic direction while also taking a hands-on role with the company's premium domain brokerage, auction and monetization services.

Cahn will also continue to serve as the President and Director of RightOfTheDot, LLC, an Internet consulting and advisement firm, that he co-founded with another industry leader, Michael Berkens

Regarding his new position, Cahn said “I chose to invest and take an active role in Domain Holdings because I really believe in and respect the leadership, like the differentiating and leading technology offering, and know that my

Monte Cahn 

contribution can further the strategic direction and success." Cahn also noted that RightoftheDot, LLC has chosen Domain Holdings Group as one of its partners for providing premium domain sales and monetization for new and existing TLD clients.

Cahn first gained widespread fame when he successfully brokered the historic sales of WallStreet.com and Autos.com that were recognized as the first $1 million and $2 million 

Cahn running a live domain auction
at the May 2008 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference

sales in the industry respectively. Overall Cahn has been involved in selling more than $300 million worth of domain names in the last 10 years, including seven-figure sales of Cameras.com, Dating.com, Photo.com, Bored.com, CreditCheck.com and Slots.com among others.  

Cahn is also credited with starting the very first domain brokerage company in 1996. He pioneered and innovated what are now considered industry standard services, including WhoIs privacy, domain escrow, domain appraisals, bulk domain management, domain security and theft prevention, stealth acquisitions and live domain auctions.

Domain Holdings Co-Founder John Ferber said, “Monte brings with him a range of knowledge dating back to the mid-90s where 

he was able to contribute services that widely shaped the industry and are still in use today. That type of forward thinking fits with our philosophy as we add to our brokerage and monetization services.” 

(Posted May 30, 2012) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2012/dailyposts/20120530.htm

Rick & Howard Lock in Dates For Their First Las Vegas T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Conference in 5 Years

 

Las Vegas image from Bigstock

The dates are now official. As I told you May 4, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu are taking the big show back to Las Vegas in 2013. When I wrote that, they had not yet locked down the exact dates for the event that will take place at an especially attractive new venue - the fabulous Bellagio Hotel. Now they have. 

The conference will open exactly one year from today, on Wednesday evening, May 29, 2013 and it will conclude with the customary farewell breakfast on Saturday morning, June 1, 2013.  

This will be the first Las Vegas T.R.A.F.F.I.C. run by Rick and Howard in more than 5 years. A four-year annual run there ended with the last one they helmed in February 2008 at the Venetian Hotel. There was one more show in Las Vegas under the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. banner in January 2010 at the Hard Rock Hotel, but that one was run by Rick Latona under a one-year licensing agreement with the show's founders. 

After the agreement with Latona expired Schwartz and Neu were content to settle back into the one show a year in Florida format that they started with back in 2004 when they staged the industry's first large scale domain conference in Delray Beach. The only 2012 show will be held October 7-10, 2012 at the Ritz Carlton on Ft. Lauderdale Beach, a gorgeous oceanfront venue that also hosted the duo's lone 2011 show). 

The Las Vegas shows have always been popular though (the biggest crowd in T.R.A.F.F.I.C. history turned out for the 2007 show at the Venetian) and a number of regular attendees have lobbied for a return  

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders Rick Schwartz
& Howard Neu (Bobbleheads.com versions!)

there. With the previously over-crowded conference calendar having been winnowed out by market forces, Schwartz and Neu finally agreed to get back on board and do two shows (Ft. Lauderdale Beach and Las Vegas) next year. 

In the meantime, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2012 is barely over four months away now. No other major U.S. shows are slated for this year, so if you want to take advantage of the invaluable opportunity to meet and network with fellow domain investor/developers and service providers from around the world, now is the time to start making plans for a trip to the beach in Florida this fall.

(Posted May 29, 2012) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2012/dailyposts/20120529.htm

Generous Domain Industry Donors Support Newly Bald Brethren By Giving Over $50,000 to The Water School

At the beginning of this year ardent Water School supporter Gregg McNair (the Chairman at PPX International) came up with what, at the time, seemed to be a bit of a hare-brained idea (or perhaps I should say a hair-brained idea). The fun-loving Australian dynamo decided he could convince a few of his fellow attendees

at the DOMAINfest Global conference in California to let him shave all of the hair of their heads in exchange for donations to the Water School. 

Proving that you should never underestimate McNair's powers of persuasion, he managed to line up three brave souls who were willing to sit still while "The Mad Barber from Melbourne

(Left to right) Jeff Gabriel, Vern Jurovich & Bill Lozada
post-shave at DOMAINfest Global 2012 in California

mowed  their previously well-coiffed heads into barren wastelands! The sacrificial lambs - Vern Jurovich (InternetTraffic.com), Jeff Gabriel (President at DomainAdvisors.com) and domain investor Bill Lozada were obviously thinking with their hearts rather than their heads, but by stifling the urge to run for the nearest exit, the trio succeeded in winning thousands of dollars in pledges for the Water School from onlookers who appreciated their sacrifice. 

The only problem with all of this is it just encouraged McNair to go after new victims! As I have already documented in this column, I was the next to fall in the line of fire. Despite my best efforts to elude him, McNair chased me half way around the globe and finally ran me down in Valencia, Spain last month at the 2012 Domaining Europe conference. 

Again, on the plus side (in addition to the free hair cut) tens of thousands of additional dollars poured in for the Water School from kind-hearted domain industry donors. As of this writing, a total of $51,350 (and four scalps) has been collected as a result of McNair's two head hunting expeditions! When you consider that with $50 the Water School can supply a family of five in the developing world with clean drinking water for life, that is enough money to do a lot of good. 

My luck runs out - Gregg McNair mowing me 
down
at Domaining Europe 2012 in Spain

You can see a list of all of the generous donors at WaterShave.org and also track progress toward the $60,000 goal that was set for the twin events. The campaign is 85% of  the way there and you can help push it over the top with a donation that can be made at the same site.

Gregg "The Mad Barber" McNair 
taking another scalp in Spain

When Gregg started this whole thing he asked if I could acknowledge those who donated $500 or more in this column and I am happy to do that today. In addition to thanking those donors listed below, I want to express my gratitude to everyone who gave, regardless of the amount. Jan Barta (ElephantTraffic.com) and Frank Schilling (InternetTraffic.com) also deserve special recognition for going above and beyond the call of duty. Jan and Frank pretty much sealed my fate by putting $10,000 each on my head (and Jan had already given $3,000 when the first three guys went under the blade). 

ParkingCrew.com raised another $4,500 for the cause in Spain by contributing $150 for every person who 

wore a free ParkingCrew T-shirt to the closing night party. Also, in addition to wielding the razor, Gregg McNair, along with domain pioneer Richard Lau (who both serve on the Water School's Board of Directors) were among the five biggest individual cash donors to the campaign. Here is the full $500 or more honor roll, members of an incredibly giving domain industry community that I am very proud to be a part of: 

Jan Barta
Frank Schilling 
Parkingcrew.com 
Richard Lau 
Gregg McNair 
Toby Clements 
Xavier Buck
Andrew Rosener 
Eli Krik
Jason Liester 
Larry Fischer
Braden Pollock

Peter Maxymych (Emall.ca)
Nico Zeifang 
Bill Lozada 
Hakan Ali 
Rick Kirkendall
Adam Strong 
Paul Keating
Reidar Rytter-Fjoeren 
Ammar Kubba
Ari Goldberger 
Bob Olea 
Fred Warner
 

Thank you one and all!

(Posted May 24, 2012) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2012/dailyposts/20120524.htm

ICANN Re-Starts Stalled TLD Application System As New Marketing Firm Enters the New TLD Fray

After being shut down for nearly six weeks due to technical issues, ICANN's TLD Application System (TAS) has finally been re-started. Those interested in operating new gTLDs will now have until 23:59 GMT/UTC on May 30 to finalize and get their applications in. ICANN is also expected to announce a new date soon for The Big Reveal when all of the applicants and the TLDs they applied for will be made known. 

The technical snafu and the long period of time it took ICANN to resolve the problem resulted in a lot of brickbats being thrown at the domain name system's oversight body. Even so, a lot of people still see riches in the soon to be 

expanded new gTLD space. Just last night, DomainDiction, a new company offering marketing services to new gTLD registry operators, announced it had entered the fray. 

There are a lot of familiar faces on DomainDiction's managerial staff, led by CEO Jennie-Marie Larsen who first entering the domain name industry 12 years ago as head of NeuStar's registry business operations in Europe. In that post she

participated in the creation, market introduction, and development of TLD business for .BIZ, .US, .and several ccTLDs when NeuStar was awarded contracts to operates those registries.

Chief Strategy Officer Pinky Brand is also well-known for his role in the 2006 launch and marketing of .mobi. The executive team also includes Head of Registrar Marketing John Kirkham, Head of UK PR & Marketing Tina Lord, Head of European Online Marketing Henry Lewington, Head of North American Online Marketing Rob Rozicki and Consultant for German OR & Marketing Christoph Hausel. You can read all of their bios here, along with that of Chief Financial Officer Hugo Idler

(Posted May 22, 2012) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2012/dailyposts/20120522.htm

DONA.com Becomes First Registrar to Offer UDRP Insurance & ICA Support Through Profit Sharing

Editor's Note: Since this article was posted, DONA.com has withdrawn its "UDRP insurance" offering. Mr. Carrillo detailed the reasons why in this post on his blog.

Francois Carrillo could be regarded as the Henry Ford of the domain industry but, instead of cars, a steady stream of industry products and services flow from Carrillo's non stop assembly line. His news aggregation site, Domaining.com, has been his most popular model and also provides a high profile launch pad for his frequent new offerings, the latest of which - DONA.com - brings a new value proposition to the domain registration game.

While DONA.com (an eNom reseller) doesn't offer the cheapest registration prices, they are competitively priced (especially if you do not have a bulk registration deal) and they come with a couple of extras that could be worth far more to customers than the small premium above what deep discount registrars charge (at the time of this post, DONA.com was charging $11.15 for .com, .net or .org regstrations).

The new wrinkle that Carrillo is introducing is UDRP Insurance with each registration. If someone tries to take your domain away through a UDRP proceeding, DONA.com will pay your legal defense fee if you win the case. Carrillo wants to protect registrants who are 

Dona.com creator Francois Carrillo

 

unjustly targeted by parties trying to take domains away from their rightful owners without paying for them. While the requirement to win the decision will not insure against biased UDRP arbitrators it will give responsible registrants who avoid infringing names a good deal more peace of mind than they have now when "winning" the case can still mean the loss of thousands of dollars in attorney fees.  

Before you undertake that expense, Carrillo said DONA.com will arrange free legal advice on the chances of winning your dispute, as well as a list of attorneys offering special rates to DONA.com members.

In another effort to support domain owner's rights, Carrillo is also promising that 30% of the profits generated by DONA.com will be donated to the industry's non-profit advocate, the Internet Commerce Association

The ICA employs an experienced Washington, D.C. based Legal Counsel, Phil Corwin, who has tirelessly represented the interests of domain investors at ICANN meetings and in the halls of Congress. Registrant rights are continually under attack and despite being out-spent and out-manned by over-reaching trademark interests Corwin and the ICA have helped fend off many proposed changes to policy and law that would have had an extremely negative impact on domain owners. 

Carrillo said, "We really need to have our voice heard to influence ICANN and governments to change rules and better defend our rights. It's critical and urgent that we unite and have a strong association to defend us. Without big changes things can only get worse, much worse." 

(Posted May 21, 2012) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2012/dailyposts/20120521.htm

iPhone App Puts Historical Domain Sales Information at Your Fingertips

On the day that I began my trip to Spain to cover last month's Domaining Europe 2012 conference in Valencia, Simon Johnson sent me an email to let me know about a new iPhone app that Kikabink International Pty Ltd. (a Melbourne, Australia based company that Johnson co-founded) had just released. With the trip to Europe and the game of catch up required after I got back I just now had a chance to download the free app that Simon wrote about. 

It is definitely a useful tool that you are going to want to add to your smartphone arsenal. The app provides access to more than 72,000 historical domain and website sales (dating back more than 10 years), enabling you to review sales prices and use that information to help value other domain names that are similar. Johnson said the app, simply called Domain Sales, is the first one in the world to provide sales data on a wide range of TLDs including mainstays .com, .org and .net as well as ccTLDs like .de, .co.ukcom.au, .ca and .us to name just a few. You can filter for specific TLDs, domain age or length and also set exclusions. 

Johnson noted, "Business owners often have difficulty finding domain names, as many of them are already registered. As such they have to buy domains on the aftermarket. The issue then becomes, how much should they pay? The Domain Sales app solves that problem by providing comparable sales. The real-estate industry uses comparable sales to value property and we believe Internet real-estate is no different."

Johnson added, "The app provides sales from major aftermarkets, auctions and private sales and users can also get real-time reports on what has just been sold, where and for how much. We're really proud of what the Domain Sales App can do. It really levels the playing field. Now anyone can get the facts and discover how much their domain or website might be worth." 

You can download the app from Apple's 

Screenshot from the Domain Sales app

 

You can also set filters to refine results.

iTunes® App Store or by visiting http://www.DomainSalesApp.com. To get my copy I just typed "Domain Sales" in the App Store search box on my iPhone and it came right up. Add the fact that there is no charge for an app that many would gladly pay for and it is obvious this is an app that anyone interested in domains should have on their phone. 

(Posted May 18, 2012) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2012/dailyposts/20120518.htm

Marriage Made in Heaven: Protrada Adds Appraiso Valuation Tool to Their Website Development Platform

A couple of months ago I told you about a new website appraisal tool that had just been released at Appraiso.com. The tool was the product of a year-long development effort by the company's three co-founders, a group that included well-known domain investor/developer, blogger and serial entrepreneur Morgan Linton. Today the Appraiso.com team announced a new partnership with Protrada.com and it couldn't be a more natural fit. 

 

Protrada is an innovative company (launched last year) that puts a streamlined system for domain buying, selling and development all under one roof. By pairing its website development platform with Appraiso's site valuation tool, Protrada gives its clients the ability to track what their sites should be worth if they decide to put them on the market.  

Protrada CEO Troy Rushton

Protrada CEO Troy Rushton said, “We created a platform that allows anyone to build one, two, or ten websites all with a few clicks. Partnering with content providers and allowing for the addition of interactive features without writing a single line of code has greatly contributed to the initial success we have seen. Appraiso was an obvious fit for us. Thousands of people are building websites with Protrada and now they can find out how much those sites are worth. This gives Protrada users a way to better understand how the digital real estate they are developing can grow in value over time.”

Rushton added, "When Protrada users are ready to sell, Protrada can seamlessly allow users to list these sites on some of the top domain and website marketplaces on the planet. Having a valuation benchmark will reduce uncertainty and stimulate transactions and Appraiso is well positioned to become the standard."

Speaking for Appraiso, Linton said, "The founders saw a gap in the market and spent a year crunching numbers and building a tool to accurately estimate the price of a developed website. We saw the opportunity to innovate in one of the fastest growing spaces on the Internet and we went for it. Before marketplaces like Flippa, website sales happened underground, scattered across hundreds of forums across the net. With over $31 million in website sales in 2011 alone, Flippa has shown that the market for developed websites is growing, and fast."

“With the incredible growth of smartphones and rapid adoption of Internet users across the globe, digital real estate is a large and growing market and we’re looking forward to playing a valuable role in this next phase,” Linton said, adding “The best part is we are still seeing only the tip of the iceberg, and unlike physical real estate, with digital assets the sky really is the limit!”   

Appraiso Co-Founder Morgan Linton

(Posted May 17, 2012) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2012/dailyposts/20120517.htm

Bari's Back! Former Moniker Exec Bari Meyerson Takes Business Development Position at eNom

Bari Meyerson, a popular domain industry veteran who was a fixture at Moniker.com before leaving that registrar last December, is returning to the trenches in a business development position with Seattle-based registration giant eNom.com

Ms. Meyerson, who was a Senior Account Manager at Moniker, was among many staffers who left Moniker at the end of last year when Oversee.net was prepping the company for sale to KeyDrive S.A. (that sale was completed in January). Known for her hard work and the excellent care she provided clients, Bari made a lot of friends at and for Moniker and I'm sure no one that knows her will be surprised to hear that another company has enlisted her services. 

She will be a major asset at DemandMedia's eNom where Chris Sheridan, the Vice President, Business Development said, "Bari will be responsible for growing/managing Enom’s existing domainer client base as well as

Bari Meyerson
eNom.com 

targeting domain investors. In addition, Bari will be focused on identifying strategic opportunities around domain parking, premium names, and value-added services."

Sheridan added, "During Bari’s fives years at Moniker, she managed a portfolio of their top 500 registrar clients and assisted in the domain sales of Scores.com, Poker.ca and Dating.com." 

This is a better business with Bari in it so I'm sure this announcement will be very well received throughout the industry. Congratulations to both Bari and eNom on a very smart addition to their team. 

(Posted May 15, 2012) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2012/dailyposts/20120515-2.htm

With 3 of His 5 Daughters Graduating This Week Marc Ostrofsky is Going Plane Crazy (and Paying $1.5 Million for College Educations Probably Doesn't Help)!

It's a good thing that domain industry pioneer and author Marc Ostrofsky knew how to Get Rich Click! (the title of the best selling book he released last year). Ostrofsky estimates it will end up costing him $1.5 million to put his five daughters through college and that doesn't count the air fares he is racking up crisscrossing the country to attend three graduations this week alone! 

Ostrofsky, who lives in Houston, Texas,  just finished the first ceremony at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina where Kelly Ostrofsky graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Evolutionary Anthropology. Now he flies to St. Louis. Missouri where Kelly's twin sister, Shelly Ostrofsky, will graduate Phi Beta Kappa from Washington University with degrees in Psychology and Spanish.

After watching the twins both graduate with honors, Ostrofsky will then fly home to Houston 

Marc Ostrofsky

for another daughter's high school graduation from Kinkaid Prep School on Friday (she will move on to Boston University). Marc's oldest daughter graduated from college last year and now works for Sony in New York City while yet another is an undergrad at the University of Denver).

When the Ostrofsky twins graduated from high school four years ago, former U.S. President George W. Bush (who has twin daughters of his own) gave them a piece of advice - "Ladies, I advised my twins NOT to go to the same college. It may have been the last time they ever listened to me. You should listen to your dad and NOT go to the same college so you can each grow as individuals," Bush told them. 

 

Kelly Ostrosky (L) and Shelly Ostrofsky (R) get some advice from former U.S. President (and fellow Houstonian) George W. Bush four years ago when the twins graduated from high school.

They took his (and Marc's) advice. At Duke Kelly studied fossils in South Africa and Georgia (the nation that was once part of the Soviet Union, not the U.S. State) and she plans to do more research this summer in Ethiopia. Both Kelly and Shelly now plan to take a year off to see more of the world,  then either go to graduate school or look for a job in their field of expertise.

With all of those college bills to pay, Marc will likely keep writing and investing in or developing domain names. I can't swear to that though because Marc's only comment for the record was "Let's just say I have less hair than I did five years ago and what little there is has turned gray!"

((Posted May 15, 2012) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2012/dailyposts/20120515.htm

New Quarterly Study From Sedo Shows Rising Domain Sales With Buy Now the  Most Popular Listing Option (Passing Offer-Counter Offer for the First Time)

While I was playing catch up last week after returning from the Domaining Europe 2012 conference in Valencia, Spain, I didn't have a chance to pass along the news that Sedo has 

released their latest quarterly Domain Market Study (.pdf file), covering domain sales made on their worldwide platform in the 1st quarter of 2012. The Sedo reports are always packed with useful information on the latest trends in the domain aftermarket. 

The new report was no exception as it showed two particularly interesting trends - 

 

the foremost one being rising sales in the secondary market for domains. Sedo logged more than 10,000 transactions totaling over $19.6 million. Both figures were the highest recorded at the popular sales platform since the second quarter of 2011. 

The other especially notable trend was the increasing shift toward fixed price Buy Now sales as opposed to those made through the offer-counter offer system that has reigned in the past. Apparently that reign is over. Sedo said that in 1Q-2012, for the first time, Buy Now sales surpassed those made through offer-counter offer negotiations with 39% of sales being made through Buy Now purchases vs. 34% through offer-counter offer. 

The Sedo report said Buy Now's new status as the most popular transaction option is due in part to the strength of  Sedo’s partner network, SedoMLS, which distributes Buy Now names for sale globally (often showcasing aftermarket names in the purchasing path at leading registrars). The report noted, "This increase shows that end user buyers are finding the faster, Buy Now purchase an increasingly attractive option.

.Com continued to account for far more sales than any other extension on the Sedo platform, claiming 45% of total sales. The next closest TLD was .DE, the popular country code for Germany, that took 16% of the sales pie.

Sedo CSO Liesbeth Mack-de Boer summed up the report saying,  “The results of this quarter’s domain market study are extremely promising.

.Com image from Bigstock

With the highest sales numbers we’ve seen since early 2011, this year may have the potential to become the strongest for the domain market in quite some time."

((Posted May 10, 2012) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2012/dailyposts/20120510.htm

2012 DNCruise Officially Scuttled But Organizer Patrick Ruddell May Raise the Anchor Again Next Year

After two well received voyages in 2010 and 2011, DNCruise, the only domain conference held on a cruise ship, will not leave port in 2012. Organizer Patrick Ruddell (AKA Chef Patrick) gave me the news today. Ruddell, who co-owns ScienceFiction.com  (with Braden Pollock) said the decision came was based on one thing, or to be more precise, the lack of one thing. " TIME!," Ruddell exclaimed.  " Zezura and I dedicate a lot of our time to ScienceFiction.com - so much time that we do not feel comfortable stepping away from the website for 5 to 7 days."

Ruddell noted, "DNCruise 2010 and 2011 were both set in motion before ScienceFiction.com started and took off to where it now receives over 500,000 monthly visitors. Plus, it has been really difficult trying to figure out how we could top visiting Grand Cayman and Frank Schilling like we did last year."

"Still, this was the toughest decision I have personally have had to make since entering the domain business," Ruddell said. " You know from being a guest on both cruises that I take a lot of  personal pride in the event and put all of my effort and emotion in it."

 

Patrick Ruddell
DNCruise Founder

Ruddell added that the decision was made even more difficult when he realized the event had more significance than he originally envisioned. "The first cruise was all about my brand," Ruddell said, " but after spending time with the guests and realizing that our event offered something others could not, the second year was solely for the industry. Coming back for a third cruise in 2013 would be for that reason alone, doing what I can to help grow and encourage beginner to intermediate domainers to succeed."

 A scene from the opening night cocktail party aboard the
Carnival Inspiration during DNCruise 2 in September 2011. 

"Many life-long relationships were formed on both DNCruise 2010 and 2011," Ruddell said. "A week does not go by without an email asking when will the next DNCruise be? So yes, this was tough, and extremely difficult for me to say we will not be returning in 2012."

Ruddell did leave the door open for a return of DNCruise in 2013 but at this stage he did not want to guess what the odds of sailing again might be. "I honestly do not know right now," Ruddell said. " We are extremely busy with our work and DNCruise takes a lot of time to organize and coordinate with so many guests. If we are able to make a 2013 event happen we would look around June or July, during the summer months so domainers can take their families, or sometime in October or November, so it could run back-to-back with T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Ft. Lauderdale.

The Carnival Imagination (docked in Nassau, 
Bahamas
during the 1st DNCruise in October 2010. 

With a 2012 cruise now out of the equation, Ruddell said he will focus on continuing to build quality content to drive more traffic to ScienceFiction.com. He also plans to re-enter the field he specialized in before he moved into the domain business. " In addition to my web properties I have decided to get back into physical real estate," Ruddell revealed. " I will be able to get back into doing what I do best, flipping investment properties. I am also currently in the process 

The Carnival Inspiration leaving port in Tampa, 
Florida
at the start of DNCruise 2 in September 2011

of doing some minor renovations to my new office space in Tampa, Florida. We should be moved in by mid-month, also giving me space to accommodate ScienceFiction.com's growth."

While I think it has been a good thing for the previously over-crowded domain conference schedule to finally get scaled back to a sustainable level, DNCruise will be missed. With its unique cruise ship format, it offered something no one else did. That has been the key for the events that survived the conference shakeout and are now positioned for renewed growth. DNCruise may not be back, but I'm  keeping my deck shoes handy just in case!

(Posted May 8, 2012) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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Author and Honorary Domainer Lisa Bloom Releases Another Best Seller and Writing Bug Bites Ammar Kubba

TV personality and best selling author Lisa Bloom, the fiancée of well-known domain industry figure Braden Pollock (who was the subject of our December 2011 Cover Story) has another hit on her hands. Fresh off of her best selling book Think last year, Lisa released the perfect companion piece, titled Swagger, last week.  The new book has already shot up to #1 in the Conflict Management category and #5 in Parenting at Amazon.com. 

Lisa, who has accompanied Braden to several domain industry events, including Domaining Europe 2012 in Spain two weeks ago and DNCruise 2 last summer, offered "Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-

Braden Pollock and Lisa Bloom at the Domaining 
Europe
conference in Valencia, Spain (4/26/12)
 

Down World" in Think and has followed that up with "10 Urgent Rules for Raising Boys in an Era of Failing Schools, Mass Joblessness, and Thug Culture" in Swagger. The two volumes belong in every parents' library and judging from sales they are finding their way there in droves.

Dr. Phil was among the many anticipating the release of Lisa's new book. He had her on his nationally syndicated TV show as a special guest last week (Phil has had Lisa on a number of times and he also put Braden on the air, speaking from the audience, in an episode with Lisa last year). 

Lisa been a fixture on American television for the past decade, appreaing regularly on CBS, CNN, HLN and MSNBC shows. The award-winning journalist, legal analyst, trial attorney and daughter of renowned women's rights attorney, Gloria Allred, has also been featured on Oprah, Nightline, Today, Good Morning America, Rachael Ray and many other popular programs. From 2001-2009, Lisa hosted her own daily, live, national show on Court TV, and she has guest-hosted Larry King Live, The Early Show, and Showbiz Tonight.  

In addition to her many talents, Lisa is one of the most personable, down to earth people I've ever met. People who have become acquainted with her at  domain industry events will certainly attest to that and if you happen to see her at a future show, be sure to go up and say hello! 

While I'm on the subject of writing, I was excited to hear that one of the most knowledgeable (and personable) people in our industry, Thought Convergence CEO Ammar Kubba, is about to launch his own blog at Afterthought.com (you can leave you email address there now to be notified as soon as the blog goes live).

Ammar and his long time friend and business partner Kevin Vo were featured in our October 2007 Cover Story that was one of our most popular profiles ever. Together they run some of  the best known service providers in our business including TrafficZ, DomainTools and Aftermarket.com with Los Angeles based Thought Convergence serving as the parent company of those entities. 

Ammar, who describes himself as a serial entrepreneur and humanist, will bring great insight (and, I expect, his terrific sense of humor)  to a blog that will undoubtedly become a daily must read as soon as  it launches.

Ammar Kubba
Afterthought.com

((Posted May 7, 2012) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Gives the People What They Want - A Return Trip to Las Vegas, Plus Escrow.com Launches New Tool for Brokers 

 

Las Vegas image from Bigstock

I was delighted to get an email from Rick Schwartz this morning with a message he released soon after on his blog. After a three year hiatus the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference will be returning to Las Vegas next year. Better yet, the show will be staged at the fabulous five-star Bellagio Hotel for the first time. Though the exact dates were not announced, Rick said it would begin right after Memorial Day weekend. Memorial Day falls on May 27 in 2013, so,  I would reserve May 28, 2013 through Saturday, June 1, 2013 on your calendar if you want to attend what promises to be a memorable event. 

Schwartz and fellow T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Howard Neu were content to schedule just one annual show in Florida in 2010, 2011 and 2012 (the 2012 show will be held October 7-10 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on Fort Lauderdale Beach, a marvelous oceanfront venue that also hosted the 2011 show). They would have been content to retain that schedule but T.R.A.F.F.I.C. regulars (including me) have been urging them to take the pioneering conference back to Las Vegas - a city whose many attractions have made it wildly popular with show goers. The stage shows, quality hotels and restaurants and sky high 24/7 energy level make Las Vegas a fun place to visit, even for non-gamblers like myself.

The Bellagio show will be T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s first visit to Las Vegas since January 2010 when Rick Latona, under a licensing arrangement with Rick and Howard, staged one at the Hard Rock Hotel. On the night that show closed I joined Howard, Barbara and Ray Neu on a self-guided city tour that was a blast. As it happens, we wound up at the Bellagio because the beautiful hotel has so much to offer, including its world famous dancing fountains - the best free show in Las Vegas. To get both a good view of the fountain show and an excellent late night snack, we grabbed an outdoor table at the Paris Hotel cafe right across the street from the Bellagio where I snapped the photo below.

 

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Howard Neu and his wife Barbara at the 
Paris Hotel's outdoor cafe with the Bellagio Hotel behind them (January 2010).

One of the most memorable moments in T.R.A.F.F.I.C. history for me came at the 2007 Las Vegas show that drew a record breaking crowd of over 600. I'll never forget walking into the ballroom on the first day and having my jaw drop when I saw the crowd. That's when I knew that our industry had arrived - to quote Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz,  the domain business was "not in Kansas any more!" Loved it then and I can't wait to go back in 2013. 

In another important announcement, Escrow.com has just launched a new tool that will be especially useful to domain brokers as it enables any three parties to securely complete an online sale. Escrow.com put together a 

concise video that, in just over a minute, explains how the simple process works. It is already being employed by veteran brokers like Andrew Rosener at MediaOptions who spent several months during the product's beta phase using and advising the Escrow.com team on the features brokers would value most. 

Elliot Silver has more details about the new service on his blog where you can also read and/or leave feedback about the product. Both Rosener and Escrow.com's Director of Business Development Andee Hill have also been responding to questions there should you need any more information about incorporating the new tool in your transactions.

((Posted May 4, 2012) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
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Before We Return to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming Some Final Thoughts on Domaining Europe 2012  

The Domaining Europe 2012 Conference ended in Valencia, Spain Saturday evening (April 28) but Diana and I stayed in the lovely city on the Mediterranean Sea until Monday so we could visit a few more of Valencia's many attractions. We spent Sunday at  the biggest aquarium in Europe, Oceanogràfic, located in Valencia's  stunning City of Arts and Sciences complex, home of some of the coolest sci fi chic architecture you will see anywhere on the planet. 

Scene from Oceanogràfic in Valencia, Spain Sunday, April 29, 2912

 

A shark swims over Diana Jackson's head in a glass 
enclosed walk-through tunnel that puts you in the middle 
of the sea creatures inhabiting Oceanogràfic's  waters.

The futuristic City of Arts and Sciences presents a jarring juxtaposition to the 13th century cathedral in the Plaza de la Reina that we visited when we arrived in Valencia. This remarkable diversity in Spain's 3rd largest city makes it an especially attractive place to hold a conference.

When you combine that with a great centrally located venue at the Hotel Sorolla Palace,  Domaining Europe founder Dietmar Stefitz's track record of four successful shows and the added boost the event got from bringing conference veteran Jodi Chamberlain in to co-produce this year, you have an event that has a good chance of becoming the top domain show on the continent. 

This year's event attracted people from 23 countries and ticket sales had to be cut off when there was no more seating available at the evening dinner venues. You can bet they will book more elbow room next time around.

We arrived back home to Florida in the wee hours of Tuesday morning and, as noted in my last post from Spain, I came home with a lot less hair than I had originally crossed the Atlantic with (none to be exact). PPX International Chairman Gregg "The Mad Barber" McNair finally ran me down in Valencia and persuaded me to give up my hair in exchange for donations to The Water School - a life saving organization that we both support in every way we can. 

In new photos that came out today (at right, courtesy of TargetDomain.com's Facebook feed) you can see how things got off to a bad start and quickly went downhill for me from there! I thought about trying to wiggle out of McNair's hot seat but once pledges hit $20,000 I no longer had the luxury of saying no because I know how far that money will go toward eradicating disease by introducing The Water School's inexpensive clean water solution in developing countries.

I am happy to say that pledges passed $40,000 by the time we left Valencia and donations can still be made at WaterShave.org. I'll be getting some more information on specific donors and amounts from Gregg in a few days so I can recognize those generous givers in this column.

I was also happy that we were able to do this in Valencia where McNair gave a terrific presentation that showed domainers on the European side of the pond how important the Water School's work is. The domainers there also showed how generous they are by extending a helping hand to those in desperate need of one.

After getting back home, there was still one bit of conference related business I wanted to take care of. That was to send a personal thank you note today to each of the 20 people or companies that helped Jodi Chamberlain produce the surprise video that was shown Friday night  after I was honored to receive Domaining Europe's 1st Award for International Communications in the Domain Industry. Their congratulatory messages made an already special night truly unforgettable for Diana and I.

Leading the lamb to slaughter - unlicensed barber 
Gregg McNair (left) and Braden Pollock (right). 

One thing bothers me - Gregg McNair 
has  way too much fun doing this!

I may look pretty happy here but this was 
before someone handed me a mirror!

In a related note, I learned today that in addition to the message they recorded for the video, the DomainAdvisors.com team (of Gregg McNair, Jeff Gabriel, Tessa Holcomb, Amanda Waltz and Gina Aubrey) had spent a good bit of time putting together a comic Powerpoint slide show centered around a night out with a Ron Jackson bobblehead doll that was 

originally planned for the video but could not be included.  It kind of reminds me of one of those Mr. Bill sketches from Saturday Night Live except I don't get abused as badly as Mr. Bill did :-)  

My only minor quibble with the slide show is it hints I might be a Boston Red Sox fan (since they are major  rivals of our Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East that could never happen!)  They also show my bobblehead cozying up to a New England Patriots jersey but the Pats are way too good for a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan like me to appreciate. I am however on board with the admiration my bobblehead shows Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird - he was the best. You can  check it out here to see what I mean.

Now, with a wonderful week in Spain in the books, we return to our regularly scheduled programming, starting with a new double length domain sales report that will be out Thursday night. In the meantime, thanks to all for the memories!

((Posted May 2, 2012) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2012/dailyposts/20120502.htm


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