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The Lowdown from April 2004 - Archived May 5, 2004

You thought TLD meant Top Level Domain? Well not on this page! This is Domain Name Journal's version of TLD - The Lowdown -  filling you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry!

A lot of us subscribe to keyword reports that tell us what words web surfers look for most often, but what about people who are looking to buy a domain? Afternic.com IT Specialist Bill Kerr gave us some insight into that by running a check on the top keywords recently entered in the search box at the popular auction venue. You can see the results in the table below showing how they rank and how many times each word was entered:

Top 30 Keywords Searched by Buyers at Afternic.com

(1) sex 290 (11) international 104 (21) debt 72
(2) limo 258 (12) book 103 (22) jewelry 70
(3) med 139 (13) gift 91 (23) hawaii 69
(4) domain 137 (14) a 90 (24) design 68
(5) travel 132 (15) love 87 (25) china 67
(6) gay 126 (16) drug 83 (26) store 66
(7) host 123 (17) home 82 (27) i 66
(8) casino 120 (18) job 80 (28) hosting 64
(9) game 118 (19) wifi 76 (29) auction 64
(10) poker 115 (20) cash 74 (30) jobs 62

Singer Pat Benatar has lost a WIPO case aimed at wrestling PatBenatar.com away from the current operator of a Benatar fan site. The 1980's hitmaker had given the site a green light to operate but somewhere along the line changed her mind and decided she wanted the name herself (she already owns Benatar.com). That flip flop apparently didn't play too well with the WIPO panelists. Here is a link to the complete decision and thanks to Dan Tobias for bringing the case to our attention via a post at DNForum.com... Happy birthday .US! April 24 marks the second anniversary of the opening of the American country code to general public registration. In the past 24 months, over 796,000 .US domains have been registered (as of Apr. 24), placing the extension in the world's Top Ten. Not bad for a mere toddler! As of mid April the leading extensions, ranked by number of registrations, were #1 .com (27,853,079), #2 .de (German country code with 7,517,840), #3 .co.uk (UK country code with 4,631,236), #4 .net (4,589,187), #5 .org (2,900,716), #6 .info (1,144,888), #7 .nl (Netherlands country code with 1,097,463), #8 .biz (968,447), #9 .it (Italian country code with 903,365) and #10 .us (794,485)... Did someone put LSD in Enom's Easter eggs? We can't think of any other way to explain the company's incredibly misguided decision to start putting popup ads on their customer's redirected URL's - without warning the people who pay their bills that they were going to do it! This has resulted in some Enom customers receiving letters from Google threatening to suspend their AdSense accounts since popups are a violation of their terms of service. Just as bad is the inherent damage to a company's image when their website visitors start getting hit by a barrage of popups (that the site owner didn't even know about)! At first, we simply could not believe a leading registrar would pull such a bonehead stunt, but Enom customers are in the forums posting messages they have received from Enom support confirming the company is doing this. Many, with portfolios numbering in the hundreds or even thousands of domains, say they have started moving them out. Unfortunately, Enom is not the only bad actor we're seeing a wave of complaints about... ItsYourDomain.com apparently doesn't believe the message conveyed by their company name. They seem to have decided the domains you register with them are their domains. If you don't believe it you will when you try to transfer one of "your" domains to another registrar. They will charge you a fee for leaving (that is higher than the fee to renew and remain a hostage there). If that doesn't discourage you enough they will also demand notarized paperwork, a throwback to the bad old days of Network Solutions. In addition, requests for auth codes (needed to move .org, .info, .biz and .us domains out) are frequently ignored. We believe such tactics should not be tolerated and have to recommend avoiding ItsYourDomain.com and their resellers. A Google search on the company's name yields multiple complaints against them starting on page 1 (one of their resellers, DomainsNext.com, is also a source of constant consumer complaints).  We believe ICANN needs to step in and put an end to this kind of "domain kidnapping" or at least require registrars stooping to this kind of skullduggery to put front page notices on their site telling customers they will be required to pay a ransom if they ever want to leave...Three-number domains have joined 3-letter domains on the endangered species list. Elequa generated a lot of news headlines last month when he bought up ALL of the remaining 3-letter .info and .biz domains. On April 2 the last .info and .biz 3-number domains also disappeared (.com, .net & .org threes disappeared some time ago). Several dealers had a hand in closing out that category. There are only 1,000 possible 3-number combinations in each extension (compared to 17,576 3-letter combos). Now that they are gone in all of the global extensions you will have to look at the country codes if you want to register one... This year's most popular April Fool's Day joke involved making posts in the various domain forums reporting that WLS (Verisign's controversial Wait List Service) had gone into affect without prior notice. For WLS opponents who overlooked the date on their calendar, that came as distressing news. Fortunately the prank triggered only a handful of suicides (and yes, that last line is our own contribution to April foolishness )... The Lowdown will live on in our Archive. At reader request we have opened a new section for The Lowdown in the DNJournal.com Archive. Since items in this column are usually topical and can quickly become dated we have not archived them in the past. However readers have pointed out that The Lowdown provides a nice snapshot of what is going on in the industry at a particular point in time and would be of historical interest to many as time goes on. So we have begun archiving the column once a month, starting with the material that was posted last month (March 2004). As each new month begins the column will start anew (obviously with a short list of industry items since the previous material will have moved to the archive). It will  grow daily as the month progresses and new items are added...Global domain sales giant Sedo.com is making a major move on the U.S. market. The German company  opened its first permanent American office in Boston April 1. Sedo will be the subject of our next Cover Story coming up in the next day or two. We are just waiting for some last bits of information from Sedo execs. They have understandably had their hands full with the opening of their new base of operations in the U.S.


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