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December 18, 2014

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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.

Zero to 60 in a Split Second: Coffee.Club Goes From a Domain Name to a Business Delivering Product in Just 6 Weeks  

You've got to hand it to Bill McClure - when this guy gets an idea he doesn't mess around! Just over six weeks ago Bill stunned the crowd at a closing night T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference party by announcing he had cut a deal with the .CLUB registry to buy the Coffee.club domain for $100,000 spread over 10 years.

Bill, who was already in the coffee business with his Coffee.org empire, promised to have a full blown coffee subscription club operating on the domain within a month. True to his word a Coffee.club website was up and taking orders before the end of November - and this week  customers began receiving their first shipments from the new company. 

Seeing a new business go from the registration of a domain name to creating a website to packaging and delivering a product this quickly is like seeing a sports car go from 0 to 60 in a split second. It just doesn't happen - but in this case it did

Bill McClure
Coffee.club Founder

Coffee.club will serve as an excellent test case for how well a business built on a new gTLD can do. Will customers be confused when trying to find the site? Time will tell. Will there be a problem with search engine ranking? Time has already told. Here in Tampa Coffee.club comes up on the first page of Google's organic search for "coffee club" (and that's without the parenthesis which narrow a search).

 

Barely six weeks after Bill McClure bought the Coffee.club domain name customers began receiving shipments from a fully developed business built on the domain. 

At first glance, as a coffee lover with a 6-month subscription that just started,  I certainly like the business model. Coffee.club lets you choose your favorite roasts (light, medium or dark) of gourmet beans sourced from some of the world's top growing regions, as well as how often and how many 13-ounce bags you want shipped.

More importantly, I also like the coffee. I have always been a dark roast fan (before my first box from Coffee.club arrived I already had a half dozen different kinds of beans in the house, all dark roast except one). Still I wanted to try both so ordered bags of medium and dark. 

As I expected the dark was my 

favorite and it was exceptionally good. I think the improvement over the already good coffee I had in the house can be attributed to the fact that the Coffee.club beans were roasted just days before I ground the beans. Most of what you get from retail outlets is several weeks or months old. That is why it is so hard to duplicate the great cup of coffee you get in a good restaurant when you make it at home. 

So, Coffee.club will be an interesting story both from a domain and general business perspective. Bill has an exact match domain, an excellent product that he knows inside out and he is a great guy to boot, so a lot of people will be rooting for him.  It also takes guts to be a guinea pig and he knows, as one of the first end users out of the new gTLD blocks, that he is one - but .CLUB and new gTLDs in general would have a hard time finding anyone better to lead the charge.

(Posted December 18, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20141218.htm

 

Oversee Out of Conference Business After Selling Domainfest to NamesCon - New Shows in the Offing? 

After Oversee.net sold off the last of their high profile domain divisions, DomainSponsor.com, earlier this year (following the 2012 sales of Moniker.com and SnapNames.com) most have expected them to also jettison the Domainfest conferences they have been staging over the past decade (the last of which was held in Hollywood, California last spring).

That has now happened. On Wednesday (Dec. 16), Richard Lau, the founder of the NamesCon that just debuted last January in Las Vegas, announced that NamesCon has acquired Domainfest from Oversee for an undisclosed price. NamesCon promptly re-christened the opening day of their upcoming January 2015 show as Domainfest@NamesCon

 

With its rich history, the big question now is whether Domainfest will be given a new life of its own beyond its initial "name for a day" use at NamesCon. It looks as though it will. NamesCon acquired the Domainfest.com name along the with the conference and is already using it to promote NamesCon 2015. On the new home page at Domainfest.com, Lau states that Domainfest day at NamesCon will be "the first in a series of international DomainFest regional events."

NamesCon Co-Founder Richard Lau

If so, that would be a return to the roots of Domainfest which go back to smaller regional meetings in places like Los Angeles and Barcelona. It wasn't until 2007 that the large scale Domainfest Global events began with a show in Hollywood and a new domain in Domainfest.com that Donna Mahony had donated to Oversee (Donna staged her first Domainer's Choice Awards at the second Domainfest Global event in 2008).

With Richard Lau and the entire NamesCon team focused on their upcoming sophomore show, now less than four weeks away, it will probably be awhile before they are ready to release more details on their plans for future Domainfest events. However, given what they have been able to do with NamesCon in such a short period of time, there will be a great deal of interest in the game plan they end up unveiling. 

(Posted December 17, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20141217.htm

Giving Back: Escrow.com Golf Tourney with Matching Funds from Go Daddy & the Parsons Foundation Raises $380,000 for Wounded Veterans

For the past three years Escrow.com and Hanna's Restaurant has staged an annual golf tournament in Southern California to raise money for the Semper Fi Fund and America's Fund. These funds provide immediate financial assistance and lifetime support to post 9/11 wounded, critically ill and injured members of all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families, ensuring that they have the resources they need during their recovery and transition back to their communities.

This year's tournament at the Coto de Caza Golf and Racquet Club was staged November 10th (which happens to be the Marine Corps birthday!) and the total proceeds have now been tallied. Escrow.com wound up cutting a $95,000 check to each fund - $190,000 total - and that is only half the story. Go Daddy and The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation matched every dollar raised - bringing the total to $380,000!

As many of your know, Go Daddy Founder Bob Parsons is an ex-Marine and a long time contributor to veteran related causes. This 

year he and Renee's foundation are matching  anyone's donation to the Semper Fi fund dollar for dollar up to $5 million. If you want to donate between now and December 31, they will match your donation too.

With non-stop promotion from  Escrow.com and Hanna's Restaurant this year's Orange County Supports Our Troops Tournament (OCSOT is a 501(c)3 registered charity) attracted 233 players (with another 75 donors attending the tournament dinner) as well as some big time sponsors including FedEx, Cox, PepsiCo, Bank of America and others. 

Above: Among those standing out in the crowd at this year's tournament were (L to R): retired  Master Sergeant Davey Lind (Davey is a 20-year Marine veteran who lost both legs during his second deployment to Iraq in 2007 when his vehicle struck an IED), NHL hockey great Teemu Selanne, Escrow.com President Brandon Abbey and Golf Pro Rick Booth.

Below: Escrow.com's Jessica Schirner and Lisa Fikejs were on hand to welcome the more than 200 golfers who helped raise $360,000 for the Semper Fi Fund/America's Fund

This kind of support for our wounded veterans and their families is, of course, always good to hear about but with it coming in the Season of Giving, it seems especially timely right now. We hope everyone involved and all of our veterans have the happiest of holiday seasons and are richly blessed in the new year ahead.

(Posted December 16 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20141216.htm

EasyGroup Does It the Hard Way - Coughs Up Over $21,000 For a Domain 9 Years After UDRP Attempt Failed

A common complaint about ICANN's Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution (UDRP) process is that decisions handed down by UDRP panels or individual arbitrators can be wildly inconsistent if not downright inexplicable. A perfect reminder of that came today when we got an interesting domain sale report (more on that in a moment) on the same morning that Michael Berkens published an article at TheDomains.com about a troubling UDRP decision involving EasyTrain.com that went in favor of London's easyGroup Limited.

Judge image from Bigstock  

Michael noted that the decision by a lone arbitrator, William R. Towns, appeared to give EasyGroup the right to every domain containing the word "easy" that the company holds now or may decide to trademark at any time in the future.

EasyGroup has claimed the rights to terms like EasyTrain, EasyCar, EasyGym and many others including EasyHotel. That last one brings us to the new domain sale I mentioned above. This morning I got a documented sale report (including a copy of the completed Escrow.com transaction) from Pascal De Vries showing that he sold EasyHotel.ch (a Swiss country code domain) last week for $21,800. De Vries said the buyer, represented by an agent from a negotiating company, was none other than easyGroup IP Licensing Ltd

But wait a minute. If EasyGroup really owns the rights to EasyHotel, as they claim, why did they cough up so much money to buy this name? It turns out that easyGroup had tried to get this domain from De Vries once before, back in 2005, but not by offering to buy it but by trying to

Cart full of cash image from Bigstock

take it through a UDRP filed against De Vries. The problem was, easyGroup lost that one (for a variety of reasons, including the fact that De Vries had a Swiss trademark of his own on the term). 

So, nine years later, easyGroup had to part with some cold hard cash to get the domain. Of course, they may be able to acquire more "Easy" domains like EasyTrain.com through  UDRP (this one made easy for them by the fact the respondent never answered the claim) but they can't always count on a slam dunk as they learned the hard way - and as we have seen over the years from decisions that often defy common sense.

(Posted December 15, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20141215.htm

Domaining Europe Set to Return to Valencia, Spain Next Spring

Dates have been set for the 7th edition of the Domaining Europe conference in beautiful Valencia, Spain. Show founder Dietmar Stefitz will oversee the event set for April 23-25, 2015 at the Sorolla Palace Hotel

The Sorolla Palace, which also hosted the previous conferences in this series, offers a a show rate that is a remarkable bargain - just €70 a night for a double room with single occupancy (€75 for double occupancy).  We've stayed there and it is a very attractive modern hotel that is located close to Valencia's many attractions, including its waterfront on the Mediterranean Sea

The local hop on hop off bus stops at the hotel and is a great way to see the popular resort city that has some of the world's most stunning ultra-modern architecture as well centuries old historical landmarks. It is a great place for a conference which is why many attendees keep coming back year after year.

While the agenda is still be formulated you 

 Dietmar Stefitz
Domaining Europe Founder 

can also expect a diverse program that will feature domain experts and company representatives from around the world. We'll have updates on speakers and specific sessions as those are set leading up to the show.

Some of the attendees at the 2014 Domaining Spain Conference gathered  
on the front steps of the Hotel Sorolla Palace in Valencia, Spain for this shot.

(Posted December 11, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20141211.htm

Photos & Highlights from Rightside's Big Day at NASDAQ Friday 

This past Friday (December 5, 2014) was a memorable day for the management team at Rightside - the parent company of four well-known domain industry brands - registrars eNom and Name.com, aftermarket sale platform NameJet and new gTLD registry operator Rightside Registry. Leaders from the Kirkland, Washington based company spent the day in New York City where they hosted their first Investor & Analyst Day at the Nasdaq MarketSite, and capped off 

the day with Rightside CEO Taryn Naidu ringing the closing bell (Rightside trades in the NASDAQ exchange under the symbol NAME). NASDAQ and Rightside provided some photos from the busy day in the Big Apple. 

Rightside CEO Taryn Naidu presenting at the company's Investor & Analyst Day 
Friday (Dec. 5, 2014) at the NASDAQ MarketSite in New York City.

Above: CEO Taryn Naidu in front of the NASDAQ video wall 
shortly before ringing the closing bell Friday (Dec. 5, 2014).

Below: A wide view of the full Rightside team at the ringing of the closing bell Friday.

Above: A close up view of the Rightside team after ringing the NASDAQ closing bell.

Below: NASDAQ's video wall changes to display Rightside's ticker symbol: NAME

All told eight members of Rightside's management team presented during the day, providing investors and analysts with an in-depth look at how Rightside's new generic top level domains (gTLDs) are being used, how the company's end-to-end vertical integration has positioned it to capitalize on the new gTLD opportunity, and how the new gTLD program is transforming every aspect of the company's business.

(Posted December 9, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20141209.htm

Global Travel & Entertainment Company One Degree World Places Big Bet on New gTLDs - 1st Websites Launched Today

Howard Lefkowitz
Founder & CEO, One Degree World

Las Vegas based One Degree World launched the first of what they say will be hundreds of revolutionary new travel and entertainment partner websites today and all of them are being built on new gTLDs. One Degree World (ODW) is a new company founded by Howard Lefkowitz (the well-known entrepreneur was once President and CEO of Vegas.com) who has put together a management team that includes executives who’ve worked for some of the world’s biggest brands including Wal-Mart, Google, Caesars, Amazon, Travelport, American Airlines and others. 

The first ODW sites to go live are:

LosAngeles.BUZZ

London.BUZZ

Orlando.BUZZ

Paris.BUZZ

Vegas.BUZZ

Vegas.NINJA

Shows.VEGAS

Nightclubs.VEGAS

Lefkowitz said “One Degree World has reimagined and reinvented travel as a unique destination experience within the sites powered by our platform, taking travel beyond Point A to Point B to include what happens after you arrive, No longer will customers have to

search multiple websites to plan their trips, or even their entertainment and activities in their home market for that matter. We’ve developed patent-pending capabilities for booking everything from an airline ticket and hotel room to VIP table service at a club, restaurant reservations, or a ticket to a college football game, all self- contained for the consumer within each of our partner sites. It’s a game-changer for the travel and entertainment industries and this is just the beginning.”

All of the ODW sites have corresponding Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest accounts. Links to the social sites can be found on each website. The company said that each of the partner websites will include Guaranteed Best Pricing, Certified Rate Protector™ (Should the rate drop post purchase, for the same dates and terms, the reservation will be rebooked at the lower rate and the difference refunded to the customer.  This is automatic and the customer will receive an email about their newly lowered rate and newfound cash) and Curated Content and Reviews.

·     In addition the company said partner websites operated by the One Degree World e-commerce solution can orchestrate reservations for:

  • More than 300 cities

  • More than 500,000 hotels

  • Nearly 900 airlines

  • 26,000 tours and attractions

  • Concert, sports, theme parks and event venues globally

  • A myriad of restaurants that number in the thousands

  • Accessibility in 58 different languages and 93 currencies

It is certainly an ambitious initiative and having a proven entrepreneur like Lefkowitz behind it makes the One Degree World launch one that people will be paying close attention to. It will be a major test of how well consumers will receive new gTLD websites.

(Posted December 8, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20141208.htm

...And the Hits Just Keep on Coming! A 7-Figure Sales is Reported for the 3rd Week in a Row

For the 3rd time in as many weeks a 7-figure domain sale has come to light (with the most recent two both uncovered by George Kirikos). George dropped us a note today to report a $1 million sale of QNB.com that he discovered while  going through an SEC filing made by Pennsylvania's QNB Corp. (the parent company of QNB Bank). QNB Corp. sold their three-letter domain to foreign bank - Qatar National Bank - and filled the gap by moving their site to QNBBank.com.  

Million dollar image from Bigstock

 

We will be charting this sale in our next weekly domain sales report that will be out Wednesday evening (December 10). It will be the 11th 7-figure sale charted so far this year with four of those coming over the past five weeks. 

The hot streak started when we charted the $1,261,000 of  Power.com on November 12. A slow week followed by then on November 26 our weekly chart was topped by the biggest sale of the year to day, Z.com at $6,784,000. Then this week we were able to tell you about a deal George alerted us to that has Invest.com changing hands for more than $5 million. We haven't been able to chart that one yet for two reasons - 1) the buyer, while confirming the amount was over $5 million has not released the exact price paid and 2) the domain is still in escrow (perhaps being paid for over time). Now comes QNB.com which can be charted next Wednesday.

It is always good to close out a year with momentum on your side and if this trend continues 2014 will have a nice swan song indeed and leave many excited about the prospects for the new year ahead. 

(Posted Dec. 5, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20141205.htm

Worldwide Domain Registrations Still Booming -  More than 18 Million Added Over Past Year According to Verisign 

Verisign released their latest quarterly Domain Name Industry Brief (.pdf file), covering 2Q-2014 this week and it contained a lot of good news. The operator of the .com and .net registries reported that 18.6 million domain names across all extensions have been added since the end of the same quarter a year ago - a healthy 7.2% year over year jump. 

That brought  the total number of domain name  registrations worldwide to over 280 million. 4 million domains were added in the 2nd quarter alone, a 1.4% boost from the previous quarter. 

Percentage-wise, the country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs) performed even better than the market as a whole, growing 11.5% year over year to a total of  129.3 million domain names.

Verisign's .com and .net TLDs also continued to grow. The two extension, combined, totaled 128.9 million at the end of 2Q-2014, 3.7% higher than one year ago.  .Com, the world's most popular extension, accounted for the bulk of those with 113.7 million registrations. .Net stood at 15.2 million domains making it the 4th most popular in the world. Tokelau's .tk (which is given away free) was #2  and Germany's popular cctLD, .de, #4. China's .cn rounded out the first five (up two notches from the previous quarter, pushing Great Britain's .co.uk down a notch to 6th and .org to 7th). 

(Posted Dec. 4, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20141204.htm

TLD Registry to Present World's First Masterclass on Booming Chinese Domain Market at NamesCon 2015

With the 2015 NamesCon conference less than six weeks away major elements of the show's agenda are rapidly falling into place. Today TLD Registry, the owner/operator of the Dot Chinese Online (.在线 ) and Dot Chinese Website (.中文网 ) top level domains, announced they will present a  Chinese Domaining Masterclass lecture series taught by TLD Registry’s Simon Cousins and Jin Wang that will run over all four days of NamesCon. The 2nd annual show opens on Sunday, January 11 at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas where it will continue through Wednesday, Jan. 14

The purpose of the Masterclass (which will repeat sessions multiple times throughout the conference to make it easier for everyone

 

to attend) is to educate predominantly western domain name investors about the large and expanding domain name market in China, and how those investors can  invest in Chinese Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) without knowing a word of Chinese. The lecture series, comprised of four separate sessions, will be offered every day, both in the main conference track and in a dedicated Masterclass classroom.

NamesCon co-producer Jothan Frakes said “We believe that the Chinese Domaining Masterclass will be a huge asset for NamesCon, in terms of delivering something unique, educational, and valuable for the participants." NamesCon registrants who attend at least three of the four Masterclass sessions will be given their own binder copy of the entire comprehensive curriculum.

China image from Bigstock

Instructor Simon Cousins said, "We are proud of the work that our expert team has put in to creating this one-of-a-kind curriculum. We believe that this unique resource will close the language barrier between English and Chinese, and help domain name investors to build successes in China’s largely-untapped market.” 

Simon's fellow instructor Jin Wang added, "The 100-page complete curriculum contains everything taught in the Chinese Domaining Masterclass, and more. It’s the only guide available right now that teaches westerners how to invest in Chinese domain names, which is quite important, considering nearly a quarter of humanity is Chinese.”

A pre-reservation list will be made available for those who want to sign up beforehand to secure a seat for any session in the 48-person presentation room. The first session of the Masterclass will take place on Sunday, January 11, in the “Whoisology Room” on the first floor of the Tropicana from 4:40pm–5:40pm. On Monday, January 12, a panel entitled “Doing Business in China” will be held in the “Famous Four Room” from 11:50am–12:50 p.m. with a TLD Registry sponsored box lunch immediately following. All other sessions of the Masterclass will be held in the Ashton Room 2 on the second floor of the Tropicana. Again, as noted earlier, repeat sessions will be offered every day of the conference. 

One other note today. Our congratulations to Mike Sallese won won the drawing we held for a free six-month membership at Coffee.club - the new gourmet coffee subscription service that Bill McClure

launched over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday Weekend. The win means Mike will have nearly 20 pounds of gourmet coffee (worth over $300) delivered to his door over the next six months.

(Posted December 2, 2012) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20141202.htm


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