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The Lowdown

October 2006 Archive

Here's the The Lowdown from DNJournal.com! Updated daily to fill you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry!

Compiled by Ron Jackson (Editor/Publisher)


A new article in Britain's Digit Magazine says the release of Microsoft's new IDN compliant Internet Explorer 7 browser is fueling new interest in International Domain Names (domains that are accessible in local languages and alphabets). The article quotes Ram Mohan, CTO and vice president of business operations for registrar Afilias as saying, "The fact that IE 7 and Firefox both support IDNs by default seems to have sparked a new level of interest in IDNs. Users are moving rapidly from ASCII-based names to multilingual access." Afilias says it is seeing the most demand for IDNs in Korea and Japan. For example, Japanese IDNs in the .jp domain have risen from 80,000 to 122,000 this year since the last beta version of IE 7 was released. In Korean's country code, .kr, IDNs now represent 30% of all registrations. Ram said he's particularly excited about that market. "Korea has been a bellwether in terms of the adoption of new domain name technologies," Ram says. "In Korea, they've already sold over 1 million domain names in local languages. It's a clear market requirement there."
Posted Oct. 31, 2006

Moniker.com has launched a new one-stop domain sales, research and monetization platform called  MarketPlace Pro. Moniker Co-Founder and CEO Monte Cahn said Marketplace Pro is the only venue that incorporates registration, buying, selling, live auctions, and monetization all in one location. “Marketplace Pro lets domainers and marketers, whether holding small or large portfolios, actively, find, buy, sell, and manage their online assets quickly, easily and safely,” Cahn said, adding that the site currently has more than three million domain names for sale. Users can search and sort results by price, industry, keyword, revenues and unique users as well as compare up to three domain properties side-by-side to determine the best one for them. Moniker is also offering domain financing services. Sellers can choose from three listing methods; buy now, direct negotiation or auction.
Posted Oct. 30, 2006

If you have been considering registering some 3-letter .mobis, it's too late. Last night, one or more entities registered all of the several thousand 3-letter combinations that were still available. 3-letter domains are valued in all major extensions because thousands of companies and organizations use a short acronym for their company name. Every possible 3-letter combination had already been taken in .com, .net, .org, .info, .biz, .us and .eu. For the other extensions, prices quickly rose after there was no longer a chance to register domains in the 3-letter category.
Posted Oct. 29, 2006

The T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East conference ended in Hollywood, Florida yesterday with $4.75 million worth of domains (114 names in all) sold in the highly anticipated live auction conducted by Moniker.com. That is the highest sales total ever for a live domain auction. The top seller was Cameras.com at $1.5 million. The $200,000 winning bid for Flowers.mobi also created quite a stir for that new extension. A silent auction started at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. will also continue until noon Monday and is expected to push total sales past the $5 million mark. We just returned from the conference and are now sifting through hundreds of photos and beginning work on our complete conference wrap up article that will be published Wednesday night, November 1. 
Posted Oct. 28, 2006

After four hours of sleep I am about to start the final full day at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East conference in Florida. The highlight today will be the largest live domain auction ever with over 300 premium domains scheduled to be put up for bid. Thursday's schedule included a seminar with Madison Avenue advertising experts that T.R.A.F.F.I.C. co-founder Rick Schwartz said was the best session in the history of the conference. The seminar focused on getting major advertisers to understand the value of domain traffic for reaching customers. Schwartz said he thought a major breakthrough for domain owners was achieved during that sometimes heated discussion. There were two great parties last night. One was a boat cruise up the Intracoastal Waterway sponsored by TrafficZ (where we met the Castello brothers (Michael & David) who will be featured in our December cover story) and the other, sponsored by iREIT, was at the Hard Rock Casino.
Posted Oct. 27, 2006

Update from TR.A.F.F.I.C. East: Yesterday had to be the busiest day I've ever had at a T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference. There wasn't a spare minute from the time I got up Wednesday morning to the time I went to bed early this morning - but that is T.R.A.F.F.I.C. for you! There were many highlights Wednesday, including announcement of the formation of the Internet Commerce Association, a new non-profit organization with a full-time Washington lobbyist, Phil Corwin,  that will be devoted to protecting the rights of domain owners. There was also a tremendously entertaining and informative keynote dinner speech from Motley Fool co-founder Tom Gardner and of course another legendary DomainSponsor party that ran until 3am this morning. I'll have more information (and photos) from these events and everything else that has happened at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. in our conference wrap up article Nov. 1. The show venue - The Westin Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood, Florida, is an absolutely stunning location that everyone is raving about. Have to run now - there is another extremely busy day ahead.
Posted Oct. 26, 2006

Approximately 500 domain industry professionals arrived in Hollywood, Florida today for the start of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East 2006 domain conference. The main event was the opening night cocktail party, a massive networking mixer that got underway at 5:30pm and ran until about 10pm. The first full day of activity starts Wednesday morning with attorney Steve Sturgeon speaking at an 8:30 breakfast and ends with the big DomainSponsor party that runs from 9pm to 3am! Wednesday's schedule will  be highlighted by the after dinner keynote address from Motley Fool co-founder Tom Gardner.
Posted Oct. 24, 2006

The T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East 2006 domain conference starts tomorrow afternoon at the Westin Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood, Florida. We will be there to cover the event for you, with a complete wrap up scheduled for publication on our Home Page the evening of November 1st. We will also try to post a few items from the show on this page this week. The conference schedule is jam-packed each day from early morning to late at night so it is impossible to stop and write a lot while the show is in progress without missing important events that need to be covered for the upcoming article. 
Posted Oct. 23, 2006

Former Pool.com CEO Taryn Naidu has joined eNom, Inc., the world’s second-largest Internet domain name registrar, as an executive advisor to eNom’s management team. eNom Founder and CEO Paul Stahura (who is also COO of Enom's parent company, Demand Media) said “Taryn is a true domain name player whose expertise coupled with his solid reputation is very valuable. We have our sights set on growing the aftermarket business, and with Taryn’s experience, we can implement our new aftermarket strategy.” Naidu’s immediate focus will be eNom’s Club Drop aftermarket and auction business. Naidu said “Online users have become more sophisticated and their appreciation for aftermarket opportunities is increasing. I will help eNom put in place what is needed to anticipate their users’ needs and take Club Drop to the next level." Naidu was one of the original Pool.com team members when that drop-catching service started up in 2003. He worked his way up from programmer to President and ultimately, CEO. Naidu has a computer science degree from the University of Regina
Posted Oct. 20, 2006

ICANN has decided to delay approval of the controversial proposed new contract agreements for the .org, .biz and .info registries and commission "an independent study by a reputable economic consulting firm or organization to deliver findings on economic questions relating to the domain registration market" before making a final decision. The resolution passed by the ICANN board yesterday comes after the three registries sent ICANN letters offering to change language in the contracts to address one of the primary complaints - that the contracts would allow the registries to charge any amount they wanted for domain registrations and renewals, including different prices for different domains. However in thoroughly detailed Oct. 13 post at the DomainState.com forum, George Kirikos, the domain owner who originally sounded the alarm about the new contracts, noted that the new language proposed by the registries still leaves open a huge loophole that could lead to variable pricing.
Posted Oct. 19, 2006

The market for International Domain Names (IDNs) should get a major boost from Microsoft's official release of its new Internet Explorer 7 browser yesterday. IE7, which has the lion's share of the worldwide browser market, is IDN compatible (unlike its IE6 predecessor), allowing people around the world to browse using their native languages and alphabets. By bringing easy accessibility to IDNs to computers around the globe, IE7 removes one of the few remaining obstacles to broad adoption of IDNs.
Posted Oct. 19, 2006

Sales at the live domain auction to be held October 27 at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East domain conference in Hollywood, Florida are expected to run well into seven figures. A number of individual domains could sell for over $100,000. Even if you don't have that much in your bank account you could go after some of the prime domains with financing help from DomainCapital.com. Company COO Gregg Freeman told us "Domain Capital is offering our services to all qualified auction participants.  At the last T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Show in Las Vegas , we financed 50% of the $2.1 million in domain names that sold. Domain Capital is the first and only company to offer financing to businesses based on the inherent and recognized value of premium domain names." To pre-qualify for financing or have questions answered, Freeman can be reached at 201-302-5100 ext. 24 or via email: gfreeman at domaincapital.com.
Posted Oct. 18, 2006

If you were at Sedo.com's 2006 Partner Forum, or just wished you had been able to attend the gathering of domain owners in Cologne, Germany at the end of September, you will be interested in photos from the event that have been posted online by Sedo. A video is also to be posted on the same page soon.
Posted Oct. 17, 2006

I missed posting the past few days while I was out of town attending Parent's Weekend at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia where my daughter is a pre-med student. I thought I would have time to post from the road but they kept us busy all of the time. I could never get work completely off my mind though. Every time I passed a sign on campus that had a web address, I was struck by the fact that much better, easier to remember domain names were likely to be available for a registration fee. Educational institutions tend to use very long URLs with a lot of backslashes. For example, finding that my daughter was helping with her student chemistry society's website, I registered a four-letter acronym for them to use as a redirect to a mile-long domain (with four back slashes) that would never be remembered (and couldn't even be copied down without making a typo or two). Now they can direct people to their site with an easy to remember URL with a total of only 7 characters (including the extension). While domainers are acutely aware of these things, many businesses and organizations still don't understand the value and importance of a memorable domain name.
Posted Oct. 17, 2006

Namewinner.com, a long-time drop catching service operated by Dotster.com, is exiting the drop business. Dotster has announced a partnership with SnapNames.com to handle sales of the registrar's expired domains.  A note posted on the Namewinner site says: Dear NameWinner customers, We are pleased to announce that domain names previously available for bidding on NameWinner are now available on SnapNames.com. We have partnered with SnapNames to auction Dotster’s expiring domains. This change allows us to focus our efforts on building the best domain monetization system for our customers. We are days away from the launch of the new RevenueDirect domain monetization system.
Posted Oct. 12, 2006

Popular domain aftermarket sales venue Sedo.com is about to roll out a new auction service.  Sellers will be given the option to move their domains to an open auction once their price expectations have been met through Sedo's traditional offer/counter-offer system. Auctions will run for a maximum of one week, closing seven days after the seller's reserve price has been met in the traditional system. For premium domains ("premium" being based on Sedo's judgment), sellers would not have to wait to receive an offer before entering the auction system. Those sellers will be able to work with a Sedo broker to determine a reserve and list the domain for auction. Sedo Auctions is conducting a pre-launch promotion where any premium domain owner who lists their domains with Sedo Auctions before October 24th would pay only a 3% commission rate (the normal rate is 10%). Sedo claims that including your domains on Sedo Auctions will dramatically increase their exposure to a world-wide network of motivated buyers. For more information about listing premium domains with Sedo you can send an email to [email protected]
Posted Oct. 10, 2006

If you own casino or other gambling related domains, you have probably noticed a substantial falloff in your pay per click revenues. In the wake of a new U.S. law banning online gambling transactions, an article at ClickZ.com notes "Big international outfits including 888 Holdings, operator of 888.com and Casino on Net are closing their doors to U.S. bettors and others may follow." ClikZ quoted a source close to 888 Holdings as saying "It will have a huge impact on the way online marketing is done...if you're not taking money bets in the U.S., then what's the point of spending on online advertising targeted to the U.S.?" Still, Marc Lesniak, who runs the Casino Affiliate Convention conference series, predicted gambling sites will find some way around the ban. "There's way, way, way, too much money in this business to stop it," declared Lesniak. "It'd be like trying to stop an ocean liner going full speed on a dime."
Posted Oct. 9, 2006

Four prominent U.S. Senators have signed and sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Commerce (the agency that oversees ICANN) requesting that the approval of the controversial proposed .com settlement agreement between ICANN and VeriSign be delayed until the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation has had an opportunity to review its provisions, including proposed terms for automatic renewal and automatic price increases. The chairman of the committee, Sen. Ted Stevens, and committee members Daniel K. Inouye, Gordon H. Smith and Byron L. Dorgan signed the letter which said "We believe that in order for ICANN to be a lasting and sustainable institution, ICANN needs to improve on issues of accountability and transparency. It is important that the concerns of all interested parties, including the Internet community, are considered before any decisions are made."
Posted Oct. 6, 2006

Coverage of the new .mobi extension is already popping up in the mainstream press. BusinessWeek writer Catherine Holahan wrote of the first major articles after the start of the land rush period (which runs Sept. 26 through Oct. 10). Her story balances the positive viewpoint from dotMobi CEO Neil Edwards with a less enthusiastic opinion from Verizon's General Counsel Sarah Deutsch. It's way too early for anyone to know how successful .mobi will be, but we have seen and heard a lot of comments about how well the land rush was handled in terms of giving everyone a fair shot at the best available domains. That has been a marked improvement over the widespread discontent spawned by launches of other new extensions including .eu earlier this year.
Posted Oct. 5, 2006

A new study from leading ad agency Universal McCann, "The New 'Digital Divide', How the New Generation of Digital Consumers are Transforming Mass Communication," says that technology has replaced music as the source of the "generation gap." The  study found that the 16-34 age group is 25% more likely than ages 35-49 to use instant messenger and about 40% of 16-34 year olds belong to a social network site, twice the percentage of 35-49 year olds. Nearly 40% of 16-34 year olds have met someone in person after first making contact on the Internet.  71% of 16-34 year olds have participated in blogging and they are three times more likely than those 35-49 to write their own blog. McCann Executive Vice President David Cohen said "there is no doubt that we are moving rapidly from a world of passive receptivity to active engagement. Accountable engagement innovation is the battlefield of the 21st century." 
Posted Oct. 4, 2006

The .Mobi registry reports that over 100,000 domains were registered in the first four days of the land rush for the new extension designed for mobile devices. .Mobi CEO Neil Edwards told WebHosting.info "It was great to see more than 13,000 brands get their .mobi domain names during the trademark registration period earlier this year, but it's even more exciting to see the general public sign up more than 100,000 names globally to build mobile Internet sites using the .mobi domain. The mobile Internet revolution is officially underway." The land rush continues until October 11, when registration prices will be reduced to standard rates that will apply from that point forward (prices will vary from one registrar to another).
Posted Oct. 3, 2006

In an article at MediaPost.com today, author Joe Mandese cited a new quarterly study from ZenithOptimedia that indicates the Internet will overtake outdoor advertising as the fifth largest ad medium this year and is closing in on radio's fourth place ranking in the global ad market. The agency says much of the growth is coming from an acceleration in demand from smaller advertisers who are "embracing the affordability and targeting capabilities" of online advertising. More detailed data is available in Mandese's article (free registration required to read).
Posted Oct. 2, 2006

Craig Snyder has joined Internet REIT (iREIT) as its new Chief Operating Officer. Snyder comes to iREIT from Marchex, Inc., where he served as Executive Vice President of Business Development. Snyder's resume includes over 20 years of senior executive experience  Marchex, InfoSpace, Citibank, Pepsi Cola and the United States Navy. iREIT CEO Bob Martin said, “The addition of Craig Snyder to the iREIT management team is a major milestone in the evolution of the company. Craig brings significant operations, business development, team management and leadership experience to the team, and he is well-known and respected in our industry." iREIT was the subject of our August 2006 Cover Story.
Posted Oct. 1, 2006

If you've been out of the loop lately, catch up in the Lowdown Archive!

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