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The Lowdown

January 2008 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)

See the Bido.com Video on You Tube!


The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA) has issued a new report on domain tasting calling, as we, the Internet Commerce Association (ICA) and others have, for ICANN to take action to end the practice. The CADNA report comes out just days after the ICANN 

Domain tasters wolf down everything in 
sight but the gravy train will end soon.

board passed a resolution suggesting that a .20 per name fee be imposed on domains returned within the 5-day grace period (AGP). Most experts acknowledge that this would effectively end the practice. An even smaller fee of .05 per name accomplished the same goal with the .org registry. Those fees work because of the millions of domains scooped up by tasters, only a handful produce enough profit (via monetizable traffic) to make the names worth keeping. If tasters had to pay .20 on every domain they grabbed they would soon be out of business.

While we have the same objective as CADNA, an organization that represents trademark owners, we have a big problem with a proposal in their 

new report. They want ICANN to impose a 50% re-stocking fee on any domain returned within the grace period. That's not going to happen and I think CADNA knows that. The grace period is there so that people who make an honest mistake when registering a domain (such as mis-typing a name) can get their money back within five days. There is a need for the AGP to be there and to work in the way it was intended. Unfortunately domain tasters have abused that privilege mercilessly to taste names for traffic before throwing them back for a full refund.

We have long been dismayed by this rampant exploitation of a loophole, but CADNA's "throw out the baby with the bathwater" approach is not the way to solve the problem. ICANN's proposal is a proven, sensible method that will get the job done and we would like to see it enacted as soon as possible. 

By claiming that the ICANN recommendation will not work before it has even been implemented (when the .org record already shows that it will work) we can only assume that there is an ulterior motive to CADNA's proposal that we are confident ICANN will (rightfully) reject. When their proposal is rebuffed, I expect CADNA to then claim that ICANN is not being responsive to the problem and that changes to current trademark laws are needed - changes that would make it easier for take away domain owner's assets, whether or not they are guilty of trademark abuse. In a nutshell - to make reverse hijacking legal. I believe that is the ultimate end game here.

Many industry leaders have been warning about this as has the ICA. The kind of overkill CADNA repeatedly suggests to solve TM issues would harm many ethical business owners - not just the bad guys. It's why I think domain owners need to support the ICA so that the organization will have the resources necessary 

to fight for laws and ICANN policies that are fair to all sides, including trademark and domain owners alike. Let's implement the ICANN proposal and see if it solves the problem. If it does, it will also prove that CADNA's preferred approach - using a nuclear weapon where a rifle would suffice - is unnecessary and indeed harmful to honest business people

For those who think the assault on domain owners will go away if they just continue to ignore the problem, here is another piece of news for you. Nominet, who runs Great Britain's .co.uk registry has just taken the domain name myspace.co.uk away from its owner and given it to the owner and operator or myspace.com. Looks like a clear case of  trademark infringement on the surface doesn't it?  But the .co.uk owner happened to register the domain six years before MySpace.com even existed! Now, the UK uses different standards than the UDRP - standards that make it much easier for TM holders to take away domains they should not be able to take. There are people who want to make the same kinds of changes to the UDRP so that taking away your assets would be as easy as taking candy from a baby. Unless these threats are met head on, this form of domain name abuse will be unstoppable. If you haven't already, do yourself and your business a favor and join the ICA.

(Posted Jan. 31, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Talk about dropping the ball! A European company paid $75,000 for Video.us last April in the largest .us transaction on record. Today the domain was dropped and immediately picked up by

drop catcher Pool.com (through registrar Secura GMBH) who will now auction the domain off to the highest bidder. Since the original owner obviously would not willingly discard a name they had recently paid $75,000 for, we have to assume they ran afoul of the .us registry's

Nexus requirements. The rules state that you have to be a U.S. citizen or have a business presence in the U.S. to hold a .us domain. The fact that the name was cancelled and returned to the registration pool (if only for a millisecond) before it's original expiration date would also support this scenario. Quite an expensive lesson to learn!
(Posted Jan. 31, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Here is an update on ICANN's plan for ending domain tasting (see our January 29 post below). In a new post on his blog today, attorney and veteran ICANN watcher Brett Fausett 

reported that a liaison to the ICANN board, Thomas Narten, says that last week's ICANN board resolution on domain tasting (that would impose a fee that would severely limit the practice) "wasn't a statement of new policy or a directive to staff, it was something more like a trial balloon for discussion." Fausett noted "If his interpretation is correct - and you should read it yourself here - ICANN won't impose the fee unless the ICANN community supports it and, even then, it won't go into effect until the next budget cycle, starting on 1 July 2008." So if you approve of 

the proposal you should let ICANN know when the issue comes up for public discussion this spring. ICANN has also issued their own press release on the subject with more details on the process.(Posted (Jan. 30, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

ICANN is about to effectively end domain tasting. The minutes from the most recent ICANN board meeting have just been released and long-time ICANN observer Brett Fausett 

immediately spotted a major policy change that should stop the controversial practice. Fausett wrote on his widely respected Lextext blog that "the ICANN Board passed a new resolution that will impose ICANN's per name fee on all new registrations, regardless of whether they are deleted in five days. This ought to stop domain kiting dead in its tracks. Why? It changes the economics of tasting. Four-day names now come with the same ICANN fee as 365-day names. The resolution does not say when it will take effect, but you can imagine it will be soon." 

I am personally happy to see ICANN take this action (the vote was unanimous) as I believe domain tasting is an unintended wholesale abuse of the five-day grace period that has given the entire domain industry a black eye.  While no 

Attorney Brett Fausett
reported ICANN"s plan to end domain 
tasting on his Lextext blog today

implementation date is set, Fausett said the latest date it would begin is with the next budget cycle, starting on July 1, 2008.
(Posted Jan. 29, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

On his Conceptulaist.com blog today, Sahar Sarid pointed people to an interesting development at Richard Rosenblatt's domain giant Demand Media (the parent company of  

Lance Armstrong

registrars eNom and BulkRegister, manager of the .TV registry and a partner (with Network Solutions) in drop catching service NameJet). The story (picked up from PaidContent.org) revealed  that world cycling legend Lance Armstrong has taken an undisclosed equity interest in Demand Media. As part of the deal Demand is helping cancer survivor Armstrong launch a new health and wellness site at LiveStrong.com. The site is expected to launch in beta in the second quarter of this year. Demand Media already operates about 60 other websites in addition to the popular domain business sites they are known for in this inddustry. The booming domain conglomerate is believed to be generating approximately $150 million in annual revenues.

(Posted Jan. 28, 2008)

The .asia sunrise period will end Thursday (Jan. 31) with open registration for all comers slated to begin February 20. The sunrise period is for trademark owners to claim names they feel 

they are entitled to. In cases where there is more than one TM applicant for a domain, the .asia registry has been auctioning off the rights to those contested domains to the applicant that places the highest bid (the first time this has been done in a new extension sunrise launch). The registry said it received approximately 15,000 sunrise applications with 600 domain names receiving multiple applications. An auction for Tyco.asia 

ended at $7,600, one for Parliament.asia is still underway with the high bid at last report being $5,200iPhones.asia and Levis.asia are among other names that are going on the block.
(Posted Jan. 25, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Fortune Magazine senior writer Paul Sloan was on a panel discussion called "Understanding the Big Picture" that I moderated Wednesday afternoon (Jan. 23) at the DOMAINfest Global 

Fortune Magazine senior writer 
Paul Sloan speaking at DOMAINfest 
Wednesday (Jan. 23)

conference in Hollywood, California. In an article published this afternoon on Fortune's CNN website Paul talked about the show and the domain boom in an article titled "Are Domain Names Recession-Proof?" Sloan opened his piece by saying "Global markets are in a state of panic. Credit markets are all but closed. And recession fears are everywhere. But at the conference I attended in Hollywood this week, called DomainFest, you’d have little clue that the financial world was melting down. The domain world - the people that buy and sell names and make money from pay-per-click ads on their websites - is booming. Downturn? Bring it on."

I first met Sloan in 2005 when he started working on a landmark piece for Business 2.0 magazine called "Masters of Their Domains" that was the first major mainstream press article about this industry. I think 

his story had a lot to do with the remarkable influx of capital (and the wave of consolidation) that we have seen in this business over the past couple of years. Given his widely-read platform at Fortune and his ability to make complex topics understandable to the average investor, I would bet Sloan's latest look at this business will turn interest in the space up still another notch. With the general economy in distress people are going to be seeking safe havens. The fact that domains are now being viewed as a good bet for riding out economic storms speaks volumes about how far this business has come.

As I noted in a post yesterday, the Los Angeles Times (free registration required) also wrote about DOMAINfest and today I spoke with a New York Times reporter who is gathering information for a piece he is writing on the domain boom. His interest was also piqued by news surrounding the show.
(Posted Jan. 25, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

We're back from this week's very successful DOMAINfest Global conference in Hollywood, California. Oversee.net did a masterful job in staging this meeting and everyone on 

their team should be extremely proud of the product they produced. They certainly represented their company well but more importantly they pushed the entire industry forward, an accomplishment that will benefit everyone in the domain business, whether or not they were able to attend the show. 

We have a  couple of other notes to add to the daily posts we filed from the conference. Oversee announced they would join EuroDNS to stage a conference in Paris, France at the Meridien Hotel June 19-20 (more information on this show can be found at DomainerMeeting.com). This event will dovetail nicely with the ICANN meeting in Paris June 22-27. Also, we noted that over $3.1 million in domains were sold during the two-day SnapNames Live auctions at DOMAINfest. If you would like to review the entire list of names sold, those are available here

Oversee.net CEO Lawrence Ng
welcoming attendees to DOMAINfest Global 
earlier this week in Hollywood, California

Now that we're back we will immediately start sifting through our piles of show notes and hundreds of photographs to produce our comprehensive conference wrap-up article that we expect to post on our home page by this time next week. We'll barely have our bags unpacked before it is time to head out again to cover the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West conference in Las Vegas February 18-21. That is always a great show and we plan to publish a T.R.A.F.F.I.C. preview article within the week to let you know what conference organizers Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu have in store for you this time around.
(Posted Jan. 25, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

The DOMAINfest Global conference closed its three-day run at the Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood, California last night (Wed. Jan. 23). Final day highlights included a second

SnapNames Live domain auction that yielded over $2.3 million in sales. Coupled with more than $817,000 in sales in the first auction Tuesday, the live twinbill produced over $3.1 million in sales. The auction caught the attention of the Los Angeles Times who published a very positive article (free subscription sign-up required to read) about the event and the industry morning. The story's headline was not so positive, but keep in mind that newspaper headlines are written by an editor with the intent to grab attention. The writer rarely even knows what the headline will be. In this case author Joseph Menn wrote an unbiased and informative piece that will be syndicated around the world today - a very positive development for our industry in my view. The top sellers Wednesday were Porn.net ($400,000), Bookmarks.com ($300,000), Photograph.com ($195,000) and Yemen.com ($100,000)

Auctioneer Mark Buleziuk called the action 
in two SnapNames Live domain auctions 
that produced over $3.1 million in sales 
at the DOMAINfest Global conference in Hollywood, California this week. 

Other highlights Wednesday included a very interesting keynote speech from Wired Magazine co-founder and best-selling author John Battelle, a closing round of well-crafted seminars and panel discussions and the grand finale, an evening dinner at which the first annual Domainers Choice Awards were handed out. I have to run for the airport in a few minutes to catch a flight from LA back to our Florida base, so I will have to save details of Batelle's thought-provoking talk and the Wednesday panel sessions (the last of which I had the pleasure of moderating) for our comprehensive show wrap-up article that will be out next week. 

Of course, I can't go before revealing the winners of the Domainers Choice Awards! They were selected in balloting conducted over several weeks on the DCA website. All visitors to the site were able to nominate and vote for their favorites, making these honors analogous to the entertainment industry's People's Choice Awards.  Without further ado, the envelopes please:

Best Domain Auctions: (co-winners) Moniker.com and SnapNames.com

Best Domain Financial Services: Escrow.com

Best Domain Marketplace: Sedo.com

Best Domain Publication: DNJournal.com

Best Domainer Tools: DomainTools.com

Best Domainers Blog: Elliot Silver for ElliotsBlog.com

Best Hosting Company: GoDaddy.com

Best Industry Spokesperson: Frank Schilling

Best Registrar: Moniker.com

Domainers Rising Star: The Castello Brothers (Michael and David)

Industry Achievement Award: Kevin Ham

Industry Customer Service Rep: Eben Smith of Sedo.com

Industry Trade Association: The Internet Commerce Association (ICA) 

Best Parking Company: TrafficZ

Domain Ambassador Award: The Castello Brothers (Michael and David)

Congratulations to all of the winners and a big thank you to CEO Lawrence Ng and everyone at Oversee.net for staging a superb conference and serving as such gracious hosts to your more than 600 guests this week. Again, our daily Lowdown posts from the show this week are just appetizers. Our definitive wall to wall coverage of DOMAINfest Global will be published by the end of next week (look for the intro on our home page). We have reams of notes and hundreds of photos to sift through so that we can produce the comprehensive conference review you expect from us. Now let's see if I can make that flight!

CEO Monte Cahn of double award winner Moniker.com with DCA organizers Sally Letzer (left) and Donna Mahony (right). 

David Castello (left) and Michael Castello won twice so each will have an award to display on their trophy shelf.

Sedo.com CSO Matt Bentley with Sally and Donna after collecting one of two awards claimed by the company (Sedo's Eben Smith also won but was unable to attend). 

(Posted Jan. 24, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

The first ever SnapNames Live domain auction was among the highlights of day two at the DOMAINfest Global conference in Hollywood, California Tuesday. Over $817,000 

worth of domains were sold in the impressive high energy atmosphere generated by award-winning auctioneer Mark Buleziuk and his tuxedo clad spotters. 86 domains were sold led by Alimony.com ($75,000), Butcher.com ($50,000) and DrinkRecipes.com ($35,000) and Cemetaries.com ($30,000). This debut auction, held in front of a capacity crowd, was a tasty appetizer for a second live auction event coming up this afternoon from 4-7pm Pacific time that will feature an even stronger list of domain names. Registered bidders can participate in person at the Renaissance Hotel or via the internet.

Scene from the SnapNames Live domain auction 
Jan. 22 at the DOMAINfest Global conference at 
the Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood, California

Frank Schilling on stage during his 
Town Hall meeting Tuesday (Jan. 22)

The grand ballroom was also packed wall to wall earlier in the day when leading domain investor Frank Schilling hosted a highly anticipated "Town Hall" meeting. Frank has a remarkably broad knowledge of the domain industry and the economic forces that shape it - something he has clearly demonstrated through hundreds of insightful posts on his SevenMile.com blog. That, coupled with an exceptionally engaging and articulate way of sharing his knowledge person-to-person made him the perfect choice for introducing the Town Hall format. 

Domain owners were able to submit questions for Schilling in advance of the event and more were posed live from the floor. Schilling handled them all with aplomb in an extremely satisfying one-man show that left everyone better informed than when they arrived. We will cover some of his specific responses in our conference wrap up article that will be published on our home page by the end of next week.

The Tuesday schedule also featured another round of informative seminars and networking events. It was all capped off by another great DomainSponsor party last night at the Hollywood Highlands Night Club that featured a "Night at the Bazaar" theme complete with belly dancers and a performance by the Purrfect Angelz dance troupe.

The conference closes with another full day today. Highlights will include a late morning keynote speech from Wired Magazine co-founder and best-selling author John Batelle, an 

Part of the Purrfect Angelz dance troupe that 
entertained at the DomaninSponsor Party last night

afternoon panel discussion that I will moderate called "Understanding the Big Picture," another live auction and the show's grand finale - presentation of the first annual Domainer's Choice Awards at a dinner tonight.
(Posted Jan. 23, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

My first impression of the DOMAINfest Global conference that opened yesterday at the Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood, California - one word - Wow! This second year show made  

an impressive debut at the same venue last year but this time out it has simply exploded. Close to 400 people gathered here last year but by the end of the day Monday more than 600 people had checked in for the 2008 event that will continue through tomorrow night. 

At a time when we are hearing so much news about a major slowdown in the general economy it was very impressive to see that kind of growth at a function that, even though it provides an exceptional 

One of several opening day seminars at 
DOMAINfest Global
in Hollywood, California

value for the money spent, requires a serious financial commitment (airline flights, hotel rooms and registration fee) to attend. The most amazing statistic I heard was that more than half of the registrants at this conference said this is the first time they have ever attended a domain show. Conferences are one of the vital signs of an industry's health and the evidence here shows the domain business is still strong and growing at a remarkable clip. 

Adventurer Brent Bishop
delivering Monday's keynote speech

In the first major event of the day, Brent Bishop (who has climbed Mount Everest twice) ably stepped in as a last minute replacement for good friend and fellow adventurer Peter Hillary who had to bow out to attend the state funeral for his father, the legendary Sir Edmund Hillary, held yesterday in New Zealand. Bishop drew some interesting parallels between climbing mountains and succeeding with domains. I will have more details on his talk and all of the seminars and events from DOMAINfest in our comprehensive conference wrap up article that will be published late next week. While the event is underway activity is almost non-stop, so it's a challenge to break away long enough to post daily show highlights. You hate to be off the floor because you don't want to miss anything that is going on!  

Oversee.net, who stages DOMAINfest, has put together a very ambitious agenda that will include a domain Town Hall meeting led by Frank Schilling today and a second keynote speech from Wired Magazine co-founder John Battelle tomorrow, as well as two days of SnapNames Live domain auctions (the first scheduled to start at 4pm Pacific time today). 

I think one of the smartest innovations DOMAINfest implemented with this event was making the sponsor exhibit hall the place to hang out during the week. Without sponsor support there would be no conferences but sponsors often find that the location allocated for their exhibits is "off the beaten track." DOMAINfest cured that problem by filling the exhibit area with comfortable sofas and chairs and multiple refreshment stations always stocked with coffee, 

Attendees take a break in the sponsor exhibit hall.

soft drinks and snacks. You also have to walk through the exhibit area to get into two of the main seminar meeting rooms. As a result, the area was constantly packed and there was never a shortage of visitors to individual booths. I spoke with many happy sponsors who appreciated that and it will earn DOMAINfest a lot of repeat and new sponsorship business.

(L to R) Michael Castello, Ron Jackson
David Castello
and Natalie Lambert at 
last night's DOMAINfest cocktail party

Opening day ended with a boisterous cocktail party at the hotel's Twist Lounge that ran past the scheduled 9:30pm closing time. This was another great networking opportunity and attendees were out in force to take advantage of it, as well as to enjoy some great food and drink. It was a very enjoyable warm-up for the main social event tonight - the DomainSponsor party at the nearby Highlands Hollywood Night Club that will run until at least 2am Wednesday. That means there is an 18-hour day ahead of me and it's starting in a few minutes so I'll sign off for now. Wish you could all be here, but for those who can't we will do our best to document it for you and convey the show experience as best we can. 

(Posted Jan. 22, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

I'm currently in Los Angeles where the DOMAINfest Global conference will be getting underway today at Noon (Pacific time). They have a busy day on tap, including an afternoon keynote speech from Peter Hillary. At the end of the day I'll post an updated Lowdown item and 

photo from the show at the Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood. Looks like it will be late for our readers back east as the final event (an opening night cocktail party) isn't due wrap-up until 9:30pm Pacific, which will be after midnight in the Eastern U.S. The conference continues through Wednesday night.
(Posted Jan. 21, 2008)

I'll be heading out for Los Angeles tomorrow morning to get settled in for the DOMAINfest Global conference that runs Monday through Wednesday (Jan. 21-23) at the Renaissance 

Hotel in Hollywood. Before these trips I always gather as much reading material as possible so I can get caught up during the long coast-to-coast flight from our Florida base. Just downloaded a two-part interview with Michael and David Castello from SimplyGeo.com that I know will be a worthwhile read. Michael and David (who plan to be at DOMAINfest) are major proponents of domain development and always have a lot of great tips for people interested in building real businesses on their domain names. The two halves of their interview are here: Part 1 and Part 2.

There are a lot of very sharp guys and gals operating in the geo domain space where the Castello brothers have prospered with PalmSprings.com, Nashville.com and several other gems. Our upcoming February Cover Story will be about another giant in the geo field - Dan Pulcrano - who owns the .com domains for 20 of the 30 largest cities in America including LosAngeles.com, SanFrancisco.com and Dallas.com to name just a few. I just checked out LosAngeles.com again today in preparation for my LA trip. Dan and his team at Boulevards New Media have done a great job with that site and I am sure you will enjoy reading about how he built his new media empire.

Another DOMAINfest note; the complete catalog for the two-day SnapNames Live auction at the show Jan. 22-23  has just been released. You can download the inventory list here

Michael and David Castello

Dan Pulcrano

There won't be much downtime at the DOMAINfest conference but I'll try to break away from the action to post a daily Lowdown item from the show starting Monday. Of course we will also publish the definitive conference review soon after I get back. Looks like they've put together a fabulous event. Looking forward to seeing many of you there next week and/or in Las Vegas next month for the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West 2008 conference at the Venetian Hotel Feb. 18-21.
(Posted Jan. 18, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

In our latest weekly domain sales report released Tuesday night (Jan. 15) I noted that we had not yet seen the first blockbuster domain sale of 2008. Well now we have

Rick Scwhartz has reason to smile 
after $750,000 sale of iReport.com

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Conference co-founder and pioneer domain investor Rick Schwartz has just completed the sale of iReport.com to the Cable News Network for $750,000. As the contract was being finalized Schwartz was asked if he had any similar domains so he told CNN he also owned the hyphenated version, i-Report.com. When the cable TV company expressed interest in getting that domain as well to protect their planned branding of iReport.com, Schwartz said he decided to give them that less desirable name at no charge rather than re-open negotiations and delay closing of the deal for iReport.com. 

This deal gets the New Year off to a good start. A $750,000 deal would have ranked among the 12 largest sales of 2007. It is also encouraging to see a major end user like CNN recognize the key role a domain name can play as the platform for launching a new product or service. 

(Posted Jan. 17, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Moniker.com's latest live domain auction - an adult name sale - ended yesterday at the Internext Expo in Las Vegas with a little over $1 million in total sales. The top individual domain was MaturePorn.com at $130,000. All live auction results are available here (Warning: Adult content).

Next up on the auction calendar is the first monthly GreatDomains auction of the New Year which gets underway tomorrow (January 17) at 3pm (U.S. Eastern time). The auction will run for one week, ending on January 24. The names up for bid are to include 

flats.com, Indian.com, latest.com, test.net and other one-word premium domains. You can see a complete list of available domains here.
(Posted Jan. 16, 2008)   

Oversee.net, the parent company of DomainSponsor.com, SnapNames.com and Moniker.com (whom they purchased earlier this month) has executed a definitive agreement with private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners that allows Oak Hill to make an investment of 

$150 million in Oversee.net’s holding company. Specific terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

According to Oversee, the funds will be used to augment organic growth and acquire technologies that will enhance its suite of services in the online marketing and domain name industries. The company will also continue to evaluate possible acquisitions that would extend its overall capabilities. 

“Oak Hill understands that the online marketing, traffic and domain name sectors are rapidly growing, and they share our vision for establishing Oversee as a leading, trusted partner for domain owners and advertisers” said Oversee.net co-founder and CEO Lawrence Ng. “Their commitment and support will add fuel for organic growth and will help us capitalize on opportunities to broaden our capabilities.” 

Lawrence Ng
CEO and Co-Founder, Oversee.net

Robert Morse, a Partner at Oak Hill Capital Partners, added, “Oversee is an innovative company which we believe is well positioned for growth over the coming years. We’re looking forward to working with Lawrence and his talented team as they play a leadership role in this dynamic industry.”  The transaction is expected to close by the end of this month. 

(Posted Jan. 15, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

The DOMAINfest Global Conference gets underway Monday (Jan. 21) at the Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood, California and we've gotten several bits of new information from show organizers to supplement the details included in the conference preview article we 

published earlier this month. If you are planning to attend you can save $200 by pre-registering for the event. The fee will rise from $795 to $995 if you wait until opening day Monday to sign up onsite. 

Organizers just announced an added attraction for the opening  night cocktail party, reporting that Playboy stars

Sara Underwood, Jennifer Korbin and Brande Roderick will be on hand to meet attendees and pose with those who would like to get their picture snapped with a Playmate.

The conference will be featuring live domain auctions both Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 22-23 (conducted by SnapNames Live). During those events, several names will also be auctioned off 

to raise funds for Grassroots.org. If you would be willing to donate a domain drop a note to [email protected], giving then the domain name and auth code so it can be

transferred to Grassroots.org (be sure the domain is unlocked). Also provide the name you wish to appear on your IRS tax receipt-of-donation letter that will acknowlede the value of the donation for tax purposes, based on an appraisal by Moniker or auction value (domains estimated to be

Frank Schilling

valued at or over $1000 will be appraised for you. Those estimated to be valued under $1000 can also be appraised if the donor wishes to cover the appraisal fee). In a fun twist for this election year, the charity list will also include some fun domains like FrankSchillingForPresident.com.

Speaking of Frank, another conference highlight will be a Domainer Town Hall Meeting Tuesday morning (Jan. 22) that will be hosted by famed domain investor Frank Schilling. Attendees will be taking part in an interactive discussion on the domain industry and where it's going. Schilling will field questions and share his insights on what the future holds for the industry as well as discuss significant trends affecting the space. Even if you can't be there in person you can submit questions for the Town Hall. Just send your submissions to [email protected] by 

Thursday (Jan. 17) and be sure to include your full name and company name so you can be acknowledged in the Town Hall if your question is selected. 

(Posted Jan. 15, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Moniker.com's next live domain auction will be held tomorrow (Tuesday, Jan. 15) at the Internext Expo (the world’s largest business-to-business online and digital media adult

conference) in Las Vegas. The premium adult domain name auction will take place at the Palms Ballroom at the Palms Resort and Casino and will run from 4:00 pm–7:00 pm (Las Vegas time). 

More than 250 domain names will be on the block during the live event with an additional 2,000 domains up for bid during a concurrent online auction that begins tomorrow and continues throughout the week. The entire auction inventory can be viewed here. Those who can’t attend but are interested in watching the live auction can view the auction through an online, streaming video feed available on the Moniker website.
(Posted Jan. 14, 2008)

I'll be away on a four-day family trip by car today through Sunday and will have very sporadic internet access so I don't expect to post any Lowdown items again until Monday (Jan. 14). While I'm away check out our January Cover Story that has just been posted: The State of the Industry January 2008: Our Panel of Domain Experts Analyze What Happened in 2007 and Share Their Forecasts for 2008. It is lengthy enough to keep you busy until I get back! Have a great weekend.
(Posted Jan. 10, 2008)

Over the last 24 hours Network Solutions has taken the fiercest corporate beating I've seen in this industry since the last big registrar debacle involving the now disgraced Registerfly.com. I'm sad to say that they deserve the nearly universal condemnation they have received and they 

will continue to deserve it until they reverse the outrageous policy that came to light yesterday. When people visit the NetSol site NetSol virtually peers over the visitor's shoulder (without telling them they are being spied on) and immediately registers every available domain the visitor conducts a search for! They then lock that domain up for four days unless you pay them $35 to let it go (in the meantime anyone else can register the idea you entered in their search bar providing they pay NetSol's ransom). Since they have registered the domain it is no longer available to register at any of the many registrars that charge far less for better service. When they finally do get around to letting the names go they will be instantly 

snapped up by domain tasters so there is a very good chance that the person who came up with the idea for the domain will never get it. NetSol is banking on that threat to pry the sky high $35 fee out of the visitor's wallet.

To make matters worse, NetSol then insulted everyone's intelligence by labeling what they are doing as a "customer service". They explained that the only reason they are stealing their visitor's ideas is to keep them from being stolen by someone else (so called front runners)!. Try doing that at your local bank. "Honest officer, I only held them up to make sure the money was 

safe from the real bank robbers!" The irony is that NetSol, contrary to their lame protestations, is now committing front running themselves - not to mention wholesale trademark infringement as they are now the registered owners of thousands of TM domains including those bearing the brands of some of their closest competitors. As just one example, as of this writing they own www.dotsterdomainnames.com and are displaying a Network Solutions banner on that infringing domain. The fact that they intend to drop it in four days (unless they can sell it of course) doesn't absolve them of the infringement on this and thousands of other domains. 

This spectacularly unethical  

What if McDonalds started registering 
Burger King domain names and putting 
their own ads on those domains?  

practice has understandably received virtually universal condemnation across the web since it was uncovered. Over the past 24 hours there have been hundreds if not thousands of posts blasting NetSol (talk about a public relations nightmare for a company that was already held in low regard to begin with - partly because they charge 3-5 times more for a domain registration than most popular registars do). We still fully expect that Network Solutions will stop this abuse of their potential customers. Until they do, visiting their site is simply asking to be mugged.
(Posted Jan. 9, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Warning to Network Solutions customers! Emails we have received from readers as well as posts at the DomainState.com forum report that if you search to see if a domain name is 

available at NetworkSolutions.com they immediately register it themselves if it is available and will charge you $35 if you still want to get the domain you looked up! Unbelievable but apparently true from all of the reports we 

are seeing. Since they  instantly take the name you will not be able to go anywhere else to register it and will be stuck paying NetSol more than triple the amount many other popular registrars charge. In our opinion this is blatantly unethical behavior on Network Solutions' part and we would guess they will be forced to reverse course as a firestorm of protest and negative publicity is bound to result from this abuse of their customer's trust.
(Posted Jan. 8, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

A UK-based live event production company, Genesis AV Consulting Ltd.,  is planning to stage a new domain conference, the Euro Domain Forum, at London's Earls Court 

Earls Court Conference Centre - London
Site for Euro Domain Forum planned for May

Conference Centre in May 2008 (the exact dates have not yet been  released). Genesis director Jean-Paul de Beurges said, "The meeting, planned exclusively to meet the needs of domain industry professionals, will address the key issues facing the industry in 2008 and provide an informal networking opportunity for domain industry professionals from around the globe." 

de Beurges said a domain auction will also be part of the event and added "We think it’s time the domain industry had a properly 

organized networking event and business forum in the UK. We believe that by matching our skills in staging live events with the needs and demands of domain professionals the Euro Domain Forum will become the must attend event of the year.” 

de Beurges said the company is currently lining up sponsors and will have an informational site set up at EuroDomainForum.co.uk (the site was not yet resolving at the time of this post). Conference information is also available from another Genesis director, Peter Sutton, via his UK phone number - 01923 852165.
(Posted Jan. 8, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

The latest update on the holiday shopping season showed online merchants were the big winners again this year. In a report from the Center for Media Research today, the latest 

numbers from ComScore, Inc. were dissected for 57 days of the 2007 holiday season (November 1 - December 27). They showed nearly $28 billion has been spent online during the season-to-date, marking a 19% gain versus the corresponding days last year.  

ComScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni said "We continue to see some relatively strong online spending days. The day after Christmas saw online sales of $545 million, more than double the sales on the same day last year."  Brick and mortar stores weren't as fortunate, but once the final numbers are in a surge of last minute shoppers is expected to bring the holiday season total for all retail in at close to the 3.6% increase that had been predicted going into the season.

(Posted Jan. 7, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:


Oversee.net (parent company of popular domain parking company DomainSponsor.com and the DOMAINfest conference) today announced the acquisition of Moniker.com, the well-known

registrar, domain services provider and producer of live domain auctions at key domain conferences and webmaster events. Moniker also confirmed the deal on their website. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Moniker operations will remain in Pompano Beach, Florida and will continue to be led by Monte Cahn, President of Moniker. Cahn has agreed to a multi-year commitment with Oversee to continue running Moniker, in addition to o the r senior executive responsibilities within Oversee.  

The Oversee press release said "Oversee acquired domain name auction leader SnapNames® last June, and the company believes the addition of Moniker will give Oversee a complete array of services to cement its leadership position in the domain name secondary market.  Oversee will leverage the two divisions’ capabilities by adding Moniker’s live auction and back-office services to SnapNames Live™ to offer the industry’s most comprehensive live and silent auction services. The first demonstration of the integration will be at DOMAINFest Global later this month, where SnapNames Live will lead and conduct the auction, with Moniker providing valuation and escrow services.  More integrated services are planned, including:  

  • Deepening Moniker’s continuing commitment to its auction partners through the use of the SnapNames Live technology in Moniker-managed auctions

  • The addition of DomainSponsor as an available option in Moniker’s TrafficClub monetization service

  • Availability of Moniker’s registrar services for SnapNames and DomainSponsor customers

  • Inclusion of traffic and monetization history as data for domain name auctions

  • A complete set of Domain Asset Management services that offer domain owners all the tools necessary to profitably manage the ir domains.

Commenting on the transaction, Moniker CEO Cahn said, “Oversee’s advanced technology platform and strong financial resources give us the capability to focus on fur the r expanding our market opportunity.” Lawrence Ng , CEO and Co-Founder of Oversee.net said “We are delighted that Monte Cahn and his team of experienced professionals are becoming part of the Oversee family. Our primary objective, as a company, is to continue adding and developing capabilities that offer customers a greater breadth of products and services.”

Our view is that the Oversee/Moniker combination makes perfect sense and will create an extremely powerful domain conglomerate. The domain industry has been consolidating for the past couple of years now but this marriage truly stands out as a watershed event.


Moniker.com CEO Monte Cahn


Oversee.net CEO Lawrence Ng

(Posted Jan. 3, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

The closing date for the DomainTools.com online auction (see our Dec. 28 post below for more information) has been pushed back one week to Thursday, January 10. Organizers said the date was changed after a number of potential bidders expressed concern that they would not have time to research the auction list and get in their bids due to the original date's close proximity to the New Year's holiday.
(Posted Jan. 2, 2008)

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