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Domain Development: Chris Sheridan Details Why the Weebly Way Keeps Gaining Ground

By Ron Jackson

When I entered  the domain business back in 2002 there were three ways to make money with domains - 1) sell (or lease) them, 2) park them and hope to make pay per click (PPC) revenue from type-in traffic or 3) develop them into full-blown websites that could produce revenue in a number of ways depending on the business model (e-commerce, direct advertising or paid subscriptions being among the many options). The problem with the latter option is that, especially for the technologically challenged, it has just been too hard to do.

One thing about technology though - it keeps marching on - and new solutions have hit the market that have made domain development much easier than it used to be. Platforms like WordPress, Weebly, Wix and Squarespace are among the enticing website building options domain owners now have to choose from. From a domain investor's standpoint, Weebly has an ace in the hole in industry veteran Chris Sheridan, who has played a leading role in both the domain and website building worlds.  Full Story Here 

Lumis.com Co-Founders Show the Domain World is Still a Land of Opportunity

By Ron Jackson

The domain industry has always been one of constant change. So much so that opportunities come and go, often it seems, in the blink of an eye.  Some think the heyday of the entire business has come and gone but newcomers are continually proving there is still plenty of opportunity out there, but it isn't necessarily located where it used to be. 

For most of our readers the business has been all about buying and reselling or monetizing domains from their own portfolio, but that very highly competitive space isn't the only way to fly. Lumis.com, a successful new domain brokerage and digital asset consulting company, is a case in point. 

Lumis was founded just last year by three guys who all entered the domain business less than three years ago. One of them has already helped complete a $2 million domain sale (Freedom.com - the second biggest sale of the year to date). 
Full Story Here

NamesCon 2018 Preview:  How the New Owners Are Revamping the Big Event in Las Vegas

By Ron Jackson

For the 5th consecutive year,  the NamesCon Global conference (that will run January 28-31, 2018 in Las Vegas) will usher in a new year for hundreds of domain industry professionals from around the world. Attendees will see some new twists this time around the track as the upcoming show will be the first to be fully operated by its new owners, Cloudfest (formerly known as World Hosting Days). We got together with Cloudfest/NamesCon President Soeren von Varchmin to get the details on what you can expect when the curtain goes up at the Tropicana Hotel.  

Soeren told us, "2018 is about showcasing an experience that felt different yet wholly familiar. Understanding that networking is a prime objective of our guests, we have scaled back our agenda to provide more opportunity for guests to meet, mingle and make important connections." We have the details on the show's new look that you won't want to miss. 
Full Story Here

Startup Services Provider Enqos is Impressive Encore for Former Marchex Domain Manager Riccardo Soff

By Ron Jackson

I was surprised by how many domain industry veterans I ran into at this year's NamesCon conference in Las Vegas who had launched new companies of their own or were continuing to grow enterprises that they had started up after initially working for others or as independent domain investors. One of them was Riccardo Soff who was the Domain Manager at Marchex when I first met him. After earning at MBA at Oklahoma City University in 2006 Riccardo began his business career with Amazon, then joined giant domain portfolio holder Marchex in 2008 and remained with them for nearly five years.

At NamesCon I learned that Riccardo had co-founded Enqos, a fast rising Seattle-based tech company, with his brother, Sherwyn. Enqos provides Engineering, Marketing and Support services to startup companies and now a roster of clients that includes companies from the Fortune 500 as well as the domain and other industries.   
Full Story Here 


Riccardo Soff

An Inside Look at Sedo's Strategy for Promoting and Marketing New gTLDs and Accelerating Aftermarket Sales

By Ron Jackson

Ever since new gTLDs began rolling out in January 2014, we've heard criticism that they have not been marketed vigorously enough - leaving many in the general public unaware of their existence. Some have pointed the finger at ICANN and industry trade groups, some at new registry operators and some at registrars and even the registrants who aren’t developing the names they register or promoting the ones they have built out.  

Part of the problem may just be perception. Unlike, say, parking companies who market directly to domain investors, the marketing that is being done on behalf of new gTLDs has largely been aimed outward, making those efforts less visible to a lot of us than ones focused inward on the domain community. You need look no further than industry giant Sedo to see what I mean. Known for a decade and a half for their aftermarket and monetization platforms, Sedo has also been at the forefront of new gTLD marketing efforts. We talked with their Chief Marketing Officer, Christian Voss, about why they have taken that effort on their shoulders and their strategy for boosting new gTLD awareness.     Full Story Here 


Sedo CEO Tobias Flaitz & 
CMO Christian Voss

The Silver Screen Beckons Domain Attorney Brett Lewis Who Wrote & Co-Produced New Movie "C STREET"

By Ron Jackson

For over a decade now Brett Lewis has been one of the top attorneys in the domain industry. What many may not have known is that Brett is equally talented in other fields.  In particular acting and film making have long been part of Lewis's life. He acted  throughout grade school, high school and college,  often in comedic roles. At New York's Hamilton College he acted alongside Sarah Rafferty, the star of hit USA Network TV series Suits.

After college Lewis made the painful choice to forego acting and follow a career path in law (he graduated Magna Cum Laude from Brooklyn Law School). Still, his passion for creative expression never waned. He started writing for fun in 2006, then wrote and produced a short comedy film, High Maintenance, in 2009.  He also wrote and produced a series of Web clips for the political web site Omiro.com in 2012. Now Lewis has unveiled his biggest project to date - a new feature length movie he wrote and co-produced. The timely political comedy C STREET will be available on iTunes US and iTunes Canada starting August 19. Lewis traveled a long and winding road to get here and have the story of how he got it done.   Full Story Here 


Brett Lewis

Huge Boost for GeoDomains: Business Star Tom Henderson Teams Up with Fred Mercaldo to Form City Brand Media

By Ron Jackson

Last summer we told you about a funding campaign that the unique geodomain development platform CitiesPlanet was undertaking in an effort to establish the company as the global standard for .com city geodomain owners seeking to maximize the value of their assets. We can now tell you that company founder Fred Mercaldo (who operates a successful city domain of his own at Scottsdale.com) has not only succeeded in getting the investment he was seeking - a new opportunity opened that produced far more financial support than he was looking for! Better yet he attracted a team of world class partners to help the company's more than 100 "City.com" clients reach their full potential.

Mercaldo, who was profiled in the March 2013 DN Journal Cover Story, told us, "CitiesPlanet has finalized negotiations with Tom Henderson and his San Francisco Regional Center group, resulting in a new corporation being formed: City Brand Media, LLC. I am ecstatic to finally have the partnership in place that will really be a game changer in the City.com space. Tom and his group have both the vision and the resources to properly support our efforts to develop, manage and increase the value of each City.com property in our portfolio.”

Full Story Here 


After €400,000 Purchase of Viajes.com Amado Martin Benitez Aims to Become a Major Travel Industry Player With Newly Launched Site

By Ron Jackson

You may not have heard of Barcelona, Spain based domain investor/developer Amado Martin Benitez before, but don't be surprised if you start seeing the 33-year-old entrepreneur's name everywhere in the near future. In 2012 Benitez managed to acquire one of the world's best Spanish language domain names - Viajes.com ("Travel" in Spanish) for €400,000. After more than two years of painstaking development work, Benitez's company has launched a new site on the premier domain that he is confident will make him a power in the huge travel markets serving Spain and Latin America.

Benitez said acquiring Viajes.com involved some of the hardest negotiating he has ever been involved with because the seller, legendary South American domain investor Chris Chena, is a guy who is fully aware of what great Spanish keyword domains are worth. Benitez recalled, "Chris had just sold Juegos.com to Spill Games for $10 million. I was trying to negotiate the price of Viajes.com with him for at least a year and a half... but then the global economic crisis hit and we were able to work things out – plus, I’ve always been a saver and I had some cash to spend!," Benitez laughed.     Full Story Here 


Amado Martin Benitez
Viajes.com Founder

The NamesCon 2015 Preview: Bigger and Better are the Bywords for Round 2 in Las Vegas

By Ron Jackson

After a remarkably successful debut event last January, the NamesCon conference will be returning to the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas January 11-24, 2015 for an encore that promises to be even bigger. Show organizers expect the attendance to jump by as much as 50% and they have booked dramatically increased floor space to comfortably handle the crowd. 

To find out what NamesCon Founder Richard Lau and his fellow Co-Producers, Jothan Frakes and Jodi Chamberlain, have in store for you, we connected with each of them. Richard told us, "We know attendees are expecting an industry leading conference and we have to deliver. The clarity of goals for this year is different from last year. This has brought sponsors on in larger numbers and the pre-registration list is well over 500 now. If you are in the domain name space, NamesCon is the place to be.

In addition to more from Richard, Jothan (who crafts the show's ambitious multi-track agenda) and Jodi (the Queen of conference coordination) will give you a ground level look at their critical responsibilities. So, let's get this party started!   Full Story Here 


CitiesPlanet Launches Fundable.com Campaign to Realize the Pioneering Development Platform's Game Changing Plan for GeoDomains

By Ron Jackson

Last year we told you about CitiesPlanet's new partnership with Tallwave, a venture company that also made a substantial cash investment in the geodomain development platform created by Scottsdale.com's Fred Mercaldo (Fred was also profiled in our March 2013 Cover Story).

CitiesPlanet aggregates over 100 City.com brands under one umbrella and Mercaldo is intent on growing the company into a new media powerhouse. Toward that end Mercaldo and his partners are entering a third round of funding (one they expect to be the final round) and they are doing it in a thoroughly modern way, having engaged business crowd funding firm Fundable.com to help CitiesPlanet reach its goal of raising $500,000 in exchange for 25% equity in the company. 

Full Story Here


That's a Wrap! Wall to Wall Photos & Highlights from DomainFest 2014 in Hollywood

By Corinne Forti

The 2014 DomainFest conference wrapped up its three-day run at the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Hollywood, California April 2, 2014. This year's event marked a return to Tinseltown where it ran from 2007-2009 before moving out to the beach for a four-year run in Santa Monica. In another move aimed at keeping things fresh, DomainFest also hopped from its usual mid-winter spot on the calendar to its first foray in spring.

The agenda also had a different look with new gTLDs getting a bigger place in the spotlight now that they have begun arriving en masse. One thing remained the same though - the great networking opportunities that attendees consistently name as the most important reason they go to industry conferences. If something unique is thrown into the social mix, like this year's private concert by Stone Temple Pilots, so much the better! 

Full Story Here 


Sedo Revisited: How the Pioneering Domain Company Has Kept Pace  Through a Decade of Constant Change

By Ron Jackson

In recent years the original founders of industry pioneer Sedo have made a profitable exit, selling their shares in transactions that resulted in the domain sales and monetization powerhouse becoming a subsidiary of German corporate giant United Internet. In the nearly 10 years since we first profiled Sedo much has changed there but one thing remains the same - the company continues to play a leading role in an industry where the tides are always shifting. Many other companies that failed to adapt have come and gone but Sedo is now well into their second decade, determined to make the next 10 years even better. 

To get a complete overview of today's Sedo, we connected with several members of the company's leadership team to find out how see Sedo has changed (and what has remained the same) and to get an update on the company's latest service offerings, as well as what they have in the pipeline. Our conversations started with CEO Tobias Flaitz who took over leadership of the Cologne, Germany based company 18 months ago.     Click here for Full Story 

Sedo's home office building
in Cologne, Germany

Someone Filed a UDRP Against Me - Now What?

Editor's Note: If you find yourself asking the question in our headline, this guest article by veteran Internet legal counsel Brett Lewis of Lewis & Lin LLC is for you! 

By Brett Lewis, Lewis & Lin LLC

Being on the receiving end of a UDRP Complaint can be unnerving and worrisome for some clients, while others receive it as a declaration of war.  Many factors will influence whether a domain name registrant chooses to fight back and file a response, including the value of the domain name, the registrant’s ability to fund a defense, and the odds of successfully defending the domain name.

Although the odds are generally stacked against registrants statistically, statistics can be misleading. Many times respondents should expect to lose, because they are engaged in conduct that runs afoul of the dictates of the UDRP and governing law. However, the odds for respondents in contested proceedings are far better – perhaps in part because the Respondents are represented by counsel, and in part because the domain names in question are worth defendingClick here for Full Story 

Cyber law image from Bigstock

Inside Sedo: Co-Founder & Former CEO Tim Schumacher Leaves With a Fascinating Look Back at the Decade He Spent Running the Show 

By Ron Jackson

January 31, 2012 marked the end of an era at domain aftermarket and parking powerhouse Sedo.com. It was the day that company Co-Founder and long time industry leader Tim Schumacher officially completed his run as Sedo's CEO and, after more than a decade leading the Cologne, Germany based company, set his sites on new business ventures outside of the domain space. 

Less than 48 hours after Schumacher turned over his CEO duties to Tobias Flaitz, I sat down with Tim in Santa Monica, California, where we were both attending the 2012 DOMAINfest Global conference, for a private chat about his years at Sedo and the company's meteoric rise during that time. The result was a fascinating look back at a turbulent decade in which the company first thrived, then had to survive a global recession that washed many others away. You won't want to miss this inside look at the history of one of the industry's key companies.     Click here for Full Story 

Tim Schumacher, Sedo
Co-Founder & Former CEO

The GeoPublishers.com Expo Makes Its First Appearance on the GeoDomain Stage With an All-Star Cast in Chicago 

By Ron Jackson

The first ever GeoPublishers.com Expo was held Sept. 30 - Oct. 2, 2011 at the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago with some of the world's top geodomain owners on hand for the inaugural event. This show followed in the footsteps of the popular GeoDomain Expos that were staged by Associated Cities before that groundbreaking organization was sidetracked by irreconcilable differences among some of its founders.

Many former AC members were involved in putting together the new group and its conference, an event that impressed with exceptionally strong programming and a first rate venue in a great city. Here is our wire to wire coverage of what went down in the Windy City.    

Click here for Full Story 


DNCruise 2 Delights Domain Industry Guests on a Wonderful Week-Long Cruise Through the Caribbean

By Ron Jackson

Alumni from the debut edition of DNCruise in 2010 were first in line to sign up when the event's organizers, Patrick Ruddell (Chef Patrick) and his wife Zezura, announced plans for DNCruise 2 to run Sept. 5-10, 2011. Last year the itinerary was changed on the fly when an unexpected hurricane developed in the Gulf of Mexico, but attendees still kept a sunny disposition throughout, delighted to have an opportunity to spend several days networking with industry veterans and newcomers alike in a low cost, casual, fun filled environment.

This time the weather fell in line with everything else and was picture perfect. A change of port to Tampa, Florida also opened up an especially attractive Western Caribbean itinerary that not only took cruisers to Cozumel but also to Grand Cayman for an unforgettable day with legendary domain investor Frank Schilling on his home turf. 

Click here for Full Story 

DNCruise 2 took dozens of 
domain industry guests on 
a memorable tour of the 
Caribbean Sept. 5-10, 2011

Backstage at Domain Holdings: How They Are Turning Tier 1 Generic  Domains Like Mortgage.org Into Fully Developed Businesses

By Ron Jackson

When Advertising.com co-founder John Ferber (who was featured on ABC-TV's Secret Millionaire March 27, 2011) and domain industry pioneer Chad Folkening teamed up with Erik Simons to found Domain Holdings Group, LLC last year, big things were expected from the new domain development, SEO and monetization company. Ferber already has one massive success under his belt with the sale of Advertising.com (a company that he and his brother Scott founded) to AOL in 2004 for $435 million in cash and his new partners also have a long history of internet success. 

As expected, that new union is already bearing fruit. The acquisition and development of Mortgage.org on behalf of a major corporate client is a perfect example of the multiple skill sets that Domain Holdings Group, LLC can apply to projects they take on. The Mortgage.org story also offers an interesting case study in the process of turning a premium domain name into a full-blown business that stretches across traditional geographic boundaries.  Click here for Full Story 


Rick Schwartz Takes Off the Gloves: Says Domainers Getting the Shaft While "Partners" Roll in The Dough

By Ron Jackson

We hooked up with long time partners Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu to do an interview previewing their 2010 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami conference. However, the conversation quickly morphed into one covering much broader ground once we started talking about recent changes in the industry and how the current business environment would be addressed at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Miami.  

Schwartz said, "Domainers are not happy with the trends. They feel like they are getting the shaft while our so-called “partners” are rolling in the $$$ we are making for them...The end user pays $5.00 for a click, but we get 5 cents and we are supposed to believe that is an 80% cut? I think every domainer knows this is garbage and that it has to change. I believe that T.R.A.F.F.I.C. is going to start a conversation that Yahoo and Google cannot ignore. I have listened to their empty lip service for six years and now it is time for show and tell."     Click here for Full Story 


Howard Neu and Rick Schwartz

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