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The Lowdown

January 2007 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)


There is a very interesting article in the Financial Times today that anyone interested in domains and Internet advertising should read. The article, Dotcoms Start to be Lords of Their Domains, by James Altucher, details the very rosy prospects for popular websites and quality domains with so much ad money abandoning traditional media for online outlets. Altucher noted "Last year, internet retail sales were up 24% year-over-year and we had our first $100 billion-plus year in e-commerce with overall online retail sales at $102 billion for 2006. Next year, online advertising is expected to rise from $18 billion to $24 billion and still be just a single-digit percentage of overall advertising, implying there is heavy growth ahead."
Posted Jan. 30, 2007


Major media outlets as well as national governments are going to have to come to grips with the fact that their power is waning with the rise of countless Internet media outlets. At least that's the word from the World Economic Forum that ended in Davos, Switzerland Friday. News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch said ,"Big media's influence is waning amid an explosion of news sites, blogs and podcasts. It's so pluralistic, we all have less power, much less." In an article about this historic shift, the Hollywood Reporter's George Szalai noted a panel consensus that "media conglomerates and governments cannot stop, much less reverse, the reduced power they endure, brought about by the Internet and digital media. Instead, they have to learn to embrace change as an opportunity." 

Posted Jan. 29, 2007


Those who follow the Spanish language domain market will be interested in a compilation of the highest reported Spanish domain sales (in all extensions) according to the folks at Demene.com. We can't vouch for the accuracy of the prices noted as we haven't seen any documentation for most of the names listed. However, it is still an interesting peak at what is happening in the Spanish market through the eyes of a site that follows domain activity in that language. 
Posted Jan. 26, 2007  


Tomorrow (Jan. 26) is the deadline for those who want to submit domains for Moniker's.com live auction coming up at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West conference in Las Vegas March 7. Moniker has generated more than $11 million in auction sales over the past 12 months. For more information or to submit your domains for consideration, you can contact [email protected] or go to www.moniker.com/liveauction.
Posted Jan. 25, 2007


eNom, Inc. announced today it is working with Microsoft to enable the new domain registration services feature in Windows Live Custom Domains, a feature that became available today at Domains.Live.com. eNom Founder/CEO and Demand Media President Paul Stahura said, “Microsoft understands the importance of providing its customers an opportunity to create permanent, unique, personalized addresses on the Web while using its Windows Live services, and we are helping make this possible. Our strategy is to offer world-class infrastructure, tools and domain knowledge to companies like Microsoft to put the power in the hands of the customer.”  Windows Live Custom Domains allows consumers to easily create custom Windows Live accounts on their personal domain which then works with Windows Live and MSN services, including Mail, Messenger and Spaces.  For those who do not currently have a domain and wish to create one, eNom then enables them to register popular extensions like .com, .net, .org, .info and .biz. “From the soccer mom to the local non-profit – more and more, we are seeing end users’ desire to stake their own claim online,” Stahura noted. 
Posted Jan. 25, 2007

NameMedia's domain marketplaces, BuyDomains.com and Afternic.com, announced a new strategic marketing partnership with Australia's Fabulous.com today. Fabulous will use the popular aftermarket sales platforms at BuyDomains and Afternic as a premier distribution channel for the more than 500,000 domains available for sale in the Fabulous portfolio. The addition of those names will push the selection of domains available through BuyDomains and Afternic (and their global reseller network) past the 2 million mark. Peter Lamson, the Senior Vice President and General Manager of NameMedia’s domain name marketplace, said "The breadth and quality of the Fabulous.com domain name portfolio provides great benefit to our global small to mid-sized business customer base. This expanded domain inventory ensures BuyDomains Domain Consultants’ ability to find the perfect online identity for any online need." Dan Warner, the COO of Fabulous.com & Dark Blue Sea Limited, said "BuyDomains and Afternic are unequivocally today’s leader in domain name agency sales. In particular, their personal involvement with customers add real value to the transactions and provide superior sale services. We are pleased to have them as a new channel for our domain stock."
Posted Jan. 24, 2007

The power of a great domain was again underscored in a press release we just received from Castello Cities Internet Network, Inc. It details the success Re/Max real estate agent Gary Ashton has had thanks to an exclusive advertising contract he signed with Castello's Nashville.com three years ago. In the first year of his contract to be the exclusive real estate agent on Nashville.com, Ashton said inquiries from the site were directly responsible for 35 property sales. In 2005, sales more than doubled to 72 properties and in 2006 Ashton's total jumped to 111 properties sold. "I can already see that my 2007 property sales will dwarf 2006," Ashton said. "After signing on with Nashville.com I was shocked to learn that some of the largest real estate companies in Tennessee had passed on using the site. I'll never understand why anyone in this business would let something like this slip through their fingers, but I'm certainly glad they did." Incidentally, the founders of the Castello Network were featured in our December 2006 cover story.
Posted Jan. 23, 2007

ICANN has hired a journalist who has frequently been critical of the U.S. based organization that oversees Internet domain names. According to ZDNet.co.uk, Britain's Kieren McCarthy, who has written for such publications as The Guardian, The Register and Techworld, has been named General Manager in charge of public participation at ICANN where he is to "ensure active participation in ICANN processes by Internet stakeholders, including end users." We think both the creation of the position and the purpose of the job represent a step in the right direction for ICANN, whom we have also frequently criticized over the past year for ignoring the wishes of domain registrants and their own constituencies. We also think that McCarthy, who has earned public trust through his credible reporting efforts, is a good choice for this position. We hope that he will be given the latitude needed to help solve the serious differences that have developed between the organization and the Internet community it is supposed to serve.
Posted Jan. 22, 2007

Group NBT (a leading UK domain name management company and managed web hosting provider) has acquired Ascio Technologies, a well-known provider of domain name services based in Copenhagen, Denmark for £18.3 million in cash, shares and options. Group NBT said the acquisition makes them the leading pan-European provider of domain name management services. Ascio's offices in Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and Norway will complement Group NBT's existing presence in the UK, France, Germany, Spain and the US. Geoff Wicks, Chief Executive of Group NBT, said "This acquisition gives us access to a significant part of the European market much faster than we could have achieved by organic growth alone and also provides good opportunities to increase our sales." Ascio, a privately held Danish company that includes SpeedNames Business and SpeedNames Online, had revenue of £10.3 million in the financial year ending Dec. 31, 2005 (2006 has not been reported yet), up 24% over revenue for the previous year. 
Posted Jan. 20, 2007

Last summer we told you about a deal John Gotts made that could have let him acquire Wiki.com for $3 million. As we noted in a column at the end of July, a door was left open for Gotts to walk away form the deal because the contract required him to pay only $10,000 a month for 6 months before a multi-million dollar balloon payment for the balance would be due. The deal gave Gotts time to try to build a new wiki platform on the domain, but it looks time has run out and the final payment will never be made. Wiki.com sent an email to users today announcing it was shutting down. The note said "Dear Wiki.com User: As some of you may have heard from the grapevine, Wiki.com is shutting down by January 25th, 2007. But have no worries: your content is safe and you will be able to continue as before without a hitch. MindTouch and John Gotts, the owner of Wiki.com, have reached an agreement to transfer all wiki sites and accounts to MindTouch. We have already begun the backup and provisioning processes to effect a seamless migration to our hosting facilities, which will occur over the next few days. The agreement does not include keeping the domain name; MindTouch is only taking over the wiki sites and their accounts." Today Wiki.com is simply redirecting to another wiki site, Wikia.com that TechCruch.com says is affiliated with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales
Posted Jan. 19, 2007

$2 million dollar worth of domains were sold in Moniker.com's live auction at the INTERNEXT conference in Las Vegas yesterday. 88 domains were sold in this auction of adult domain names (a small  number of mainstream names were also offered) with SheMale.com attracting the highest winning bid - $520,000. Two other names cracked the six-figure mark; BDSM.com ($295,000) and  InterracialSex.com ($150,000). A $5 million bid was placed on Porn.com but it did not meet the seller's reserve price. An online silent auction is also being held in conjunction with the event and that will continue through January 24
Posted Jan. 18, 2007

There is a major job opening at Sedo.com. The popular domain aftermarket sales and PPC company is looking for a Director of Business Development. According to the job description "You will play a key role in a diverse range of sales functions and be responsible for developing relationships with our existing key partners and clients as well as play an integral role in developing new ones. In this role, you will report to the CEO and will work closely with the different departments in our organization to set, shape and execute the partnership and sales strategies of our companies. If you’re looking for a challenge, this is it!" Follow the job description link above for more details, including the qualifications needed to be considered for this position.
Posted Jan. 17, 2007

In their latest newsletter, Sedo.com had announced they would hold a premium .mobi auction starting Valentine's Day, Feb. 14 that would include 58 names including music.mobi, photos.mobi and theaters.mobi. However, it looks like the announcement was premature and the auction will not be held next month after all. A post yesterday in the .mobi registry's blog said "a rumor appeared on some domain industry news sites last week about an upcoming online auction of dotMobi Premium Names in February. Unfortunately, that is not true and no online auction is planned for February. Any auction (or allocation via other methods) of any dotMobi Premium Names will always be announced officially by dotMobi and will be viewable at http://dotmobi.mobi."
Posted Jan. 16, 2007

An interesting article in the New York Times Sunday said the major American TV networks are facing a dilemma on how to deal with Google's popular video site, YouTube.com. NBC Universal says it is having to send 1,000 requests a month to YouTube to have them take down copyrighted material that has been posted without permission by YouTube users. Often, as soon as the material is taken down someone else uploads it to the site again. The networks may wind up pursuing lawsuits against YouTube but they have to weigh the fact that they also benefit from the promotion their shows receive on YouTube. Most of the giant media companies are trying to negotiate licensing deals with YouTube to insure they get paid when their material shows up online, but there is also talk that the networks may start their own competing video site, while turning their legal departments loose on YouTube. You'll remember Napster once rode high before copyright infringing uploads brought them crashing back to earth.
Posted Jan. 15, 2007

If you are an Afternic.com customer or are thinking about becoming one so you can list your domains for sale on the popular aftermarket exchange, the company is offering a little extra incentive. Afternic will provide a free domain name appraisal (appraisals normally cost $19.95 there) to those who purchase an Exchange membership or renew a current Exchange membership by January 31. To get the free appraisal on any domain, once you purchase or renew your membership, send an email to website @ afternic.com or call  407-880-3211.
Posted Jan. 14, 2007

Oversee.net, the parent company of DomainSponsor.com, has acquired popular travel site LowFares.com. Oversee CEO and co-founder Lawrence Ng said “LowFares.com is a great strategic fit for us as we broaden the scope of our lead generation business. Our advanced lead generation technology will boost the value of this consumer site. Coupled with our technical skill and marketing expertise, we expect to enhance the site’s offering to both consumers and advertisers.” LowFares.com allows consumers to make side-by-side comparisons of prices from various travel sites. In addition buying active web-based businesses like this, Oversee and DomainSponsor have been actively buying domain name portfolios over the past year.
Posted Jan. 12, 2007

The online advertising market will more than quadruple over the next five years to reach $82 billion worldwide according to a new research report from Susquehanna analyst Marianne Wolk. "Advances in targeting are driving increases in ad spending, as strong return on investments are made more evident by rising deployment of Web analytics," Wolk said. She added that online advertising could grow at a rate of 21% annually for the next five years. Beneficiaries of the boom will include Google (thanks to its dominance in the search advertising market and its acquisition of video site YouTube), and the other two search giants, Yahoo and Microsoft.
Posted Jan. 11, 2007

If you have developed a .mobi site you might have a chance to be an award winner. The dotMobi registry sent out a note to their registrars yesterday saying "The Webby Awards are known as the Oscars of the Internet and nominations for the 2007 Awards are in full swing. For the first time, this year's awards will include the Webby Mobile Awards with three new awards, sponsored by dotMobi, to recognize the growth and quality of content being developed for mobile devices. Sites built on .mobi's open standards can be submitted for consideration in "Listings & Updates," "News & Entertainment" and "Mobile Marketplace" categories and can be submitted until January 26, 2007, at www.webbyawards.com/entries/
Posted Jan. 9, 2007

Moniker.com today announced a list of premium adult domain names that will be offered during a live auction on  Wednesday, January 17 at the Internext Expo in Las Vegas. Internext, the world’s largest business-to-business online and digital media adult expo, will be held at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino January 15-17. Names that will be available during this auction include AdultBooks.com, Hotties.com, Sex.net, Mature.net and Cams.mobi. The live auction (and a supplemental silent auction) will only be open to Internext attendees. Those interested in purchasing a domain name must be present at the live auction or have a representative present in order to be a bidder/buyer at the event. Official rules and procedures for the auction can be found on this page at Moniker.com. 
Posted Jan. 8, 2007

After apparently being left for dead last year, the prospect of a new .xxx extension for adult domains has been revived. Associated Press writer Anick Jesdanun has an article out today detailing a new proposal from ICANN that might let creation of an online "red light district" go forward. ICANN had rejected an existing .xxx proposal from registry operator ICM Registry Inc. of Jupiter, Florida last May. ICANN has opened the new proposal to public comment but did not indicate when it would make a final ruling on creation of a .xxx extension.
Posted Jan. 6, 2007

It looks like America's country code, .US, is starting to make some inroads among major corporations. Three more new examples came to our attention today at USForum.us. The Discover credit card company started using Discover.us after recently being spun off as a separate company by Morgan Stanley. Nestle's Pure Life water, a major bottled water brand in America now has the URL Nestle-PureLife.us on the label of every bottle. One of the world's largest makers of projectors and LCD monitors, BenQ, is now using BenQ.us for their USA site. The URL is reportedly now plastered on taxis everywhere you go in Las Vegas (coincidentally, I also have a 19" BenQ LCD monitor on my desktop). It will take adoption by a lot more companies like these to achieve widespread recognition for the American ccTLD, but names like Discover, Nestles and BenQ are very nice bricks in the .US foundation.
Posted Jan. 5, 2007

Most of the PPC revenue received by domain owners flows from Google. Yahoo! is the other big player in the space, but in the past year Google has been further widening the gap between the two search giants. One of the best articles we have seen about the reasons why Google has been able to dominate in this area has been published at Skrenta.com. They think the game is over and Google has won - and will only get stronger in the future. Check it out - we think you will find it to be an exceptionally interesting read.
Posted Jan. 4, 2007 

The President and CEO of the .org registry (PIR), Edward G. Viltz, has abruptly resigned. Viltz had been the top executive at the Public Interest Registry since February 2003. PIR announced the resignation (which was effective Dec. 31) today and said Eva Frölich, chair of the PIR board of directors, will serve as acting CEO until a replacement is named. No reason was given for Viltz's desparture, however he said "my four year personal objectives for PIR have been attained.” During his tenure at PIR, the number of .org domain names nearly doubled, breaking the 5 million mark in September 2006. 
Posted Jan. 3, 2007     

We've always loved good entrepreneurial stories (which is one reason we write so many of them). The founder of WebHosting.com, Jesse Rasch, has posted a good one on his blog that details how he built his multi-million dollar company and the role that acquiring his great generic domain name had in the company's success. Rasch, who bought the domain for just $30,000 in early 1998, said "the day we launched our new retail web hosting brand at WebHosting.com, our sales quadrupled and would continue to grow in the weeks to come as the domain's generic descriptive nature was highly relevant for search engine optimization. Within 15 months of changing our name to WebHosting.com, we had registered over 150,000 domain names for tens of thousands of hosting customers in over 140 countries around the world and were on track to surpass $10 million in annual sales." Despite results like that, a remarkable number of major corporations have no idea how much their business would benefit from owning the keyword .com that defines the industry they are in.
Posted Jan. 2, 2007

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

We need your help to keep giving domainers The Lowdown, so please email [email protected] with any interesting information you might have. If possible, include the source of your information so we can check it out (for example a URL if you read it in a forum or on a site elsewhere). 

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