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The Lowdown

June 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  
(DN Journal Editor/Publisher)

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Final preparations are underway for the 2008 GeoDomain Expo that gets underway at the W Hotel City Center in Chicago a week from Thursday (July 10). It's shaping up as a major 

event as ticket sales have already surpassed those of the 2007 show in San Francisco. Associated Cities and the Kelsey Group are joining forces to stage the event. AC Executive Director Patrick Carleton provides a preview of what is in store in an interview on the AC website. We also previewed the conference in our May newsletter and you can check out the show schedule here.

The GeoExpo, which has a focus on domain development, also has one of the lowest registration fees on the domain conference circuit - just $695. A member at GeoDomainer.com, Scott Roberts, will be going for even less than that - $0 to be exact. Scott was the lucky winner in the social networking site's free ticket contest. Roberts needed more than luck to win the contest. All entrants had to submit an essay on their goals in the domain industry and how they felt being able to attend the GeoDomain Expo would help them in accomplishing those goals. Congrats Scott. I'm looking forward to meeting you at the show!
(Posted June 30, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

GoDaddy.com today abruptly changed their corporate policy and banned all company employees from participating in online domain auctions operated by GoDaddy's TDNAM.com 

division and also prohibited employees from taking part in company purchasing, sales & back orders. The move came in response to complaints from TDNAM bidders about GoDaddy VP Adam Dicker winning auctions they were involved in (the company allowed employee bidding at the time). The protests started in a thread about DN 

Journal's weekly domain sales column at the NamePros.com forum and quickly spread to domain news outlets and blogs like DomainNameWire.com and TheDomains.com, then spilled over to broader Internet news outlets like Slashdot.com.

We think it was wise for GoDaddy to act promptly and decisively on this issue and they made the right call. It will be interesting now to see how another registrar, Tucows.com, resolves (or does not resolve) another highly publicized imbroglio with one of their customers who has accused them of unethical behavior.  TheDomains.com author and attorney Michael Berkens won 23 domains in Tucows auctions, only to have them taken back by the company when they claimed that had put them up for sale accidentally (that issue is the hot topic in the same thread we linked to in the paragraph above leading to TheDomains.com). Berkens was not the Lone Ranger. All told, 25 winning bidders had a total of 260 domains taken from them.
(Posted June 30, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

As you would expect the big buzz going around the industry today is centered on ICANN's decision yesterday to open the door to an unlimited number of domain extensions next year. 

We gave our initial take on that move in this column  yesterday. Since then articles have come out in several mainstream media publications that had called us for a comment on what the flood of new TLDs would mean to the domain industry and Internet users in general. Those included the New York Times (article written by Doreen Carvajal and Brad Stone) and the Los Angeles Times (written by Joseph Menn). 

As I told Joseph Menn at the L.A. Times, "Downtown real estate in Los Angeles doesn't get any less valuable because someone's building out in Oxnard." Many new TLDs have been released in the past and none of them have had any impact at all on the usage and value of the original .com, .net and .org extensions. Every time a new one comes out, hopeful speculators say "this time it's different" even though it has never turned out that way. Some are saying it again, but I fail to 

see how simply putting more unfamiliar extensions out there at once than ever before is going to change the key dynamic that has plagued new extensions - lack of public recognition that they even exist

Billions, probably trillions, of dollars have been spent branding the original extensions (especially .com) in the minds of Internet users. To them .com means the Internet. It would take a similar spectacular outlay of marketing dollars, and more importantly, actual usage of these new TLDs by major content providers, for them to break through the clutter. The cost would be so astronomical it would make the six-figure fees ICANN plans to charge operators of the new TLDs look like pocket change.

Studies have shown that few people visit more than 15-20 websites. Most of the established content providers they visit are already found on .com. Do people really think those .com content providers are going to abandon the dominating .com brand and relocate on a newly minted obscure extension that will be just one of hundreds of other newly minted obscure extensions?

Even Devo could make a comeback 
with their own vanity TLD (.devo) under 
ICANN's new extension plan.

Yes, a handful may make it, but I would be extremely surprised if the vast majority of them don't wind up in the already over-crowded new TLD graveyard.  David Castello of Castello Cities Internet Network has dubbed the proposed new extensions vTLDs ("vanity" TLDs), which I think is an appropriate moniker (no offense to Monte Cahn's fine company). Some may be interesting for novelty use, but without unprecedented marketing muscle put behind them, few are likely to amount to much more than that. 

Many different opinions abound on the topic (one of the many good discussions can be found at the DomainState forum) and none of us can say for sure what will happen in the future - but now that so many of us are on the record it will be interesting to look back five years from now and see who came closest to getting it right. We'll have more on this topic in our free monthly newsletter that will be emailed to subscribers this weekend.
(Posted June 27, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

I've spent most of today fielding calls from a wide variety of mainstream media outlets, including ABC News and the New York Times, about what impact ICANN's decision to allow 

New Internet real estate
is expected to start coming off the 
ICANN assembly line in 2009 or 2010

an unlimited number of new extensions will have on the Internet and those of us in the domain industry. As expected, the ICANN board voted to proceed with the plan today just before closing their 32nd International meeting in Paris, France.

I told the reporters that I don't expect this move to have a major impact on our industry or on which extensions most people will choose to build  their websites on over the next decade. I believe that because we already have historical examples of how little new extensions have impacted the use and popularity of the three original global extensions, .com, .net, .org (and the country code extensions assigned to each nation like Germany's .de and Great Britain's

.co.uk). The two oldest examples of new global TLDs were introduced in 2001 (.info) and 2002 (.biz) and despite their long time in the marketplace, neither has affected values or usage of the extensions that came before them. 

There are many newer examples that have fared much worse, not even moving the needle on the recognition meter. .Travel for instance has been a complete flop even though it incorporates one of the very best keywords on the web. .Pro has also failed to make a ripple despite featuring a word with a very positive connotation. It does take time to build recognition though, which is why I think the elder statesmen of new extensions - .info and .biz - are the most instructive examples of the long term prospects for a wave of new TLDs..

At the end of May, according to figures compiled by Denic.de, just under 5 million .info domains had been registered and just under 2 million .biz. (compared to over 76 million .coms, the extension that an overwhelming majority of the most commonly used websites are built on) .Info was able to inflate its numbers by offering extremely low or even free registrations. Both extensions were boosted by speculators who bought up the best  keywords. I don't think that will happen to the same degree when a flood of new extensions hits the market for a couple of reasons; 1) It would be prohibitively expensive to buy up keywords across a large number of new extensions and 2) there is little incentive to buy them up in the first place because, beyond the absolute upper tier of keywords, neither .info or .biz has had a lot of success in the aftermarket.

I expect that a flood of new extensions will create some confusion in the market place, but not confusion over what the long proven .com, .net and .org extensions stand for. Putting new extensions out there is the easy part. Burning them into people's consciousness is a much taller order as .info and .biz, after seven years of trying, are well aware. 

Some of the new extensions will probably offer some interesting niche or novelty plays that could be modestly profitable for speculators (just as .info and .biz have been for those who chose names very carefully) but overall I don't expect any of them to offer much of a departure from the .info and .biz scripts we have already seen. If anything the sheer volume of new extensions is likely to dilute the impact that any single one of them might have on the existing order of things. 

As usual, the primary beneficiaries will be ICANN who will charge hefty fees to operate a new extension and possibly registrars who will have more products to peddle. Individual registrants will have more extensions to choose from, but they will face the same dilemma they face today. You can get good keywords for less in extensions that aren't widely used - but you also get less recognition (and thus a greater likelihood of errors) when people search for your website or type your email address. Like most other things in life you get what you pay for.  
(Posted June 26, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Popular drop catching service SnapNames.com is offering a new array of domain lists that make it easier to ferret out the expired names you want to zero in on. In addition to essential 

lists like Exclusive and Expiring Names, Soon To Be Deleted and Most Active Auctions, SnapNames has added new lists focused on Geo Domains, Top Categories and Five Exclusive Expiring Domain Lists from their top registrar 

partners. In addition ten new data fields have been added to every SnapNames list that provide information on Bidder Counts, Word Counts, Length, Categories and more. You can download the lists you want here. There is also a link on that page that allows you to set up email alerts detailing auctions that are ending soon. 

Speaking of auctions ending soon, the SnapNames Live/Moniker Paris Domainer Meeting extended online auction will be closing tomorrow (Thursday June 26) at 10am (U.S. Eastern time). In addition to domains that were exclusive to the silent auction, some first tier domains that did not sell in the live auction have been moved over to the online sale, including Jackpot.com, Hotels.eu and others.

Sedo's latest monthly GreatDomains premium auction also ends tomorrow at approximately 2pm U.S. Eastern time. The top names in that auction include Pasta.com, Brochures.com and Eco.org. You can review the full list here.
(Posted June 25, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

We've just posted a photo review of last week's DomainerMeeting conference in Paris, France. I was unable to make the trip as my wife had to undergo knee surgery the day before the event began but I arranged to have show organizers send us some photos so we could give you an inside look at the action. A special thank you goes to Xavier Buck and Freddy Schiwek from EuroDNS.com and Melanie Delannoy for providing the pictures.

The National Arbitration Forum reported today that the number of UDRP cases they handle continues to increase, though the rate of

growth slowed last year. NAF heard 1,805 cases in 2007, a 9% rise over the 1,658 cases handled in 2006, which was a 21% jump over 2005.

The NAF also announced decisions in three high profile UDRP cases involving YouTube.net, CTV.com, and AmericanGirl.net. The complainant (YouTube.com) won in the YouTube.net case while the domain owners prevailed in the CTV.com and AmericanGirl.net cases. A key passage in the CTV.com ruling said "The Panel determined that the three letters which constitute the essence of the disputed domain name are generic initials used by many parties to identify many goods and services. The Panel found Respondent to be in the domain name warehousing business, specializing in three character domains. Respondent’s use of CTV.com to attract Internet traffic is a legitimate business interest, especially in this case where none of the advertisements are related to Complainant’s television operations. More details on all three cases are available here

MyID.ca will conclude their third auction of premium .ca (Canadian ccTLD) domain names Thursday (June 26). Domains currently on the block include Single.ca, Lesbian.ca, Interviews.ca, Tulips.ca, Beautiful.ca and Tshirts.ca. New bidders can join the auction if they complete the authentication process by Noon EDT on June 26.

MyID's second .ca auction that ended June 12 drew five-figure winning bids on Interview.ca ($30,000), Bond.ca ($19,100) and Gamble.ca ($15,000)

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

ICANN's 32nd International public meeting is currently underway in Paris where it will continue through Thursday (June 26). You can review the complete agenda on the ICANN 

website. Several sessions have been devoted to issues surrounding a plan ICANN is considering that would create an unlimited number of new global extensions. My opinion is that we already have enough global extensions including some that are under utilized - .info and .biz - despite being available for several years now. It seems to me it would be wiser to let those extensions get on their feet before flooding the market with dozens, hundreds or even thousands of new extensions.

The fact that .info and .biz have had relatively low adoption rates compared to the original gTLDs, .com, .net and .org, tells me that there is not enough public demand or recognition of new extensions to roll more out at this point in time (even a few more, let alone hundreds more). 

I can only see a flood of new gTLDs creating a lot of confusion among Internet users, with few benefits to anyone other than ICANN (who would reportedly charge anywhere from $39,000 to $390,000 for the rights to operate a new TLD) and perhaps some registrars. An interesting conversation on this topic, initiated by blogger Michael Berkens, is currently underway at TheDomains.com

While we are on the topic of domain extensions and confusion, I have to comment on an item in a newsletter I got this morning from domain registrar Encirca.com. It said "EnCirca introduces 

28 new extensions for you to register, such as us.com, eu.com, de.com, and uk.com..."  These are NOT new extensions but because of this kind of misleading marketing I have had readers argue vociferously with me that they are. These are .com domains period - nothing at all new about them. What Encirca and many other registrars are selling are sub-domains of names like us.com and eu.com that are marketed by CentralNic

Now, I have no problem with the CentralNic business model (they do not make any claims to be providing new extensions), but I do have a problem with registrars leading the public to believe they are getting something they are 


not. I've had too many excited newbies ask me how much their domains in these "new" extensions are worth. They think they have discovered great keywords in valuable new extensions and are quite distressed when I have to tell them otherwise. Those that bought with resale in mind will be sorely disappointed because there is virtually no aftermarket interest in sub-domains, aside from the occasional rare bolt of lightning from a blue sky. We will actually be reporting one of those in our next weekly sales column (a name sold at Sedo), but that doesn't change the fact that you will almost certainly go broke investing in sub-domains if you are buying them for PPC or resale purposes. 

One other note today - if you drop by Michael Berkens's site mentioned in our first item above, check out another hot topic - whether or not employees of aftermarket auction houses should be allowed to bid against their company's own customers. This discussion was triggered by a thread at the NamePros.com forum about aftermarket sales reported by DN Journal that 

Andrew Allemann followed up on Sunday by posting some additional background information on auction house policies at DomainNameWire.com. His post, like Michael's, has drawn dozens of reader comments on practices that many consider to be unethical. 

I think the auction venues would be better served if they prohibited their employees from bidding in the company's auctions (as many, including Sedo.com, SnapNames.com and Bido.com currently do). You can see by reading the blog

and forum posts that a large percentage of bidders will, rightly or wrongly, question the fairness of auctions where company employees are free to bid against them. Since this is an important issue with domain buyers I think that, at the very least, every auction venue should prominently and clearly post their policy on employee bidding so their customers can choose for themselves whether to play by those ground rules or take their business elsewhere. 
(Posted June 23, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

The first DomainerMeeting conference ended in Paris, France today with another Moniker live domain auction closing the schedule. The auction produced $361,000 in sales with more 

than a third of the total generated by a single domain, Aftermarket.com, that went for $125,000. Five other domains hit five figures; Rainbows.com and Domain.pl (Poland's country code) at $45,000 each, PhoneAccessories.com at $25,000, Loans.dk (Denmark's country code) at $15,000 and Motorbikes.net at $10,000. Three others; OUX.com ($9,500), Bavarian.com ($9,000) and Next.org ($9,000) just missed the five-figure mark.

There were some steals in the auction as well, most notably Muslim.info at just $400 (as a point of reference, Christian.info sold for for $35,000 in June of last year). Michael Berkens has posted a complete list of auction results on his blog. An accompanying silent auction associated with the show will continue to Thursday (June 26). Moniker's next live auction will be held July 12 at the GeoDomain Expo in Chicago.

(Posted June 20, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

The Internet Commerce Association (ICA) announced today that, in cooperation with EuroDNS, it will establish a sister organization in Europe. Internet Commerce Association-Europe (ICA-EU) will be headquartered in Luxembourg to better represent its members with 

the EU Parliament and agencies located in Brussels, the European Court located in Luxembourg, and the separate governments of the nations of Europe. The announcement was made on the opening day of the DomainerMeeting conference currently underway in Paris, France

The ICA is a non-profit trade association headquartered in Washington, DC. The organization seeks to preserve the entrepreneurial environment of the Internet that has made it such an innovative and high-growth arena for commerce in the U.S., Europe and worldwide. 

Domain owner's internet investments are being challenged by a number of 

competing  interests that would like to confiscate valuable domain names by changing the laws and policies that govern trademark disputes in the European Union and the U.S., as well as the process established by ICANN for the resolution of domain name disputes. 

Some governments are also advocating policies that would threaten the owners of valuable geo-domains, while others seek to censor internet content including domain name content. Domainers often invest large sums of money to purchase and develop their domains and require a stable  

Jeremiah Johnston (Sedo.com)
ICA President

and fair legal and policy environment to protect those investments. ICA and ICA-EU will coordinate their activities to explain and promote the interests of their members to national governments, the EU, ICANN, and all other relevant policy-making bodies. 

With its headquarters in Europe, ICA-EU will be able to better represent the interests of European domainers to the ccTLD managers and national governments of the continent. The establishment of ICA-EU also emphasizes that the Internet is a global platform for communications and commerce and that domainers must adopt an international approach in promoting and protecting their shared interests. 

Jeremiah Johnston, ICA President, said “This is a big step for ICA as it reaches out to fulfill its 

worldwide mission. EuroDNS has been actively involved with multiple European governments and ccTLD managers effecting legislative and policy issues over the last several years. ICA is happy 

to have EuroDNS assuming a leadership role in the establishment of ICA-Europe. We hope that ICA-Europe is the first of what will eventually be many sister organizations. There has already been interest expressed from Latin America in forming a regional organization there.” 

Xavier Buck, EuroDNS CEO, said “EuroDNS is excited to help expand ICA into Europe. We saw what ICA achieved to foster a better legislative climate for domainers in the US and we are delighted to play our part to bring the same to Europe. All of us want to see the Internet remain a place where entrepreneurs can thrive and we really think EuroDNS can be of great help." ICA-EU expects to begin operations by early fall when it will also launch its website in multiple European languages. 

EuroDNS CEO Xavier Buck

(Posted June 19, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

New domain auction site Bido.com is set to open the bidding on its first auction this afternoon (Wed. June 18) at 1pm U.S. Eastern time. The first domain going under the hammer will be 

DiscountImages.com. In Bido's unique format, just one domain will be auctioned each day and bidding always starts at $1 with no reserve. Another interesting twist is a section with comments from experienced domainers about the name currently up for bid. Most of the speculation we saw before the Bido launch was that only positive comments 

would be allowed about the names being sold, but both positive and negative assessments of the debut domain, DiscountImages.com have been posted on the site, so it looks like Bido plans to let the chips fall where they may. 

While Bido is gearing up for their maiden voyage, Sedo's GreatDomains.com is set to open their latest monthly premium domain auction tomorrow (June 19) at 2pm Eastern time. The roster for this week-long event includes Brochures.com, Pasta.com and Eco.org among others.

The first DomainerMeeting conference also opens tomorrow in Paris, France. I had planned to go but had to reverse course because my wife will be undergoing knee surgery today in Tampa. It's a fairly simple procedure (repair some torn cartilage) but she will be on crutches for a few 

Eric Rice - DNCartoons.com

weeks so I need to be here to help her get around. With a little luck she will be ready to go for next month's GeoDomain Expo in Chicago (which we previewed in our latest newsletter). 

Eric Rice, who was the subject of our February 2007 Cover Story, has come up with an interesting new concept at DNCartoons.com. As its name implies the site will feature cartoons about the domain business, but Rice's new venture will also have a blog and newsletter that Rice said will offer high quality domains for sale at reasonable prices. The former BulkRegister.com General Manager (prior to the registrar's sale to Enom) is an experienced domain broker with a solid record of success so his newsletter should be well worth signing up for. 

Below is an exclusive preview cartoon from DNCartoons.

(Posted June 18, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

The biggest .org domain sale ever reported to us has just been completed by Michael Berkens of MostWantedDomains.com. The buyer paid $151,400 to get Sexe.org ("sex" in 

French) from Berkens. The previous .org high water mark was the $150,349 paid for Date.org in December 2006. Only three other reported .org sales have reached the six-figure mark; Loan.org at $105,500, University.org at $100,000 and Coffee.org, also at $100,000. Berkens, an attorney who is one of the pioneer domainers, has a blog at TheDomains.com where readers are currently discussing this landmark sale.

Sexe.org is the second biggest non .com global TLD sale reported so far this year (only Porn.net at $400,000 was higher). 
(Posted June 17, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Verisign has just released their latest quarterly Domain Name Industry Brief covering the first three months of 2008. The operator of the .com and .net registries said it added 14 million

domain names in 1Q-2008 as the total number of registered domain names in all TLDs worldwide crossed the 162 million mark. That is a 26% jump over the same quarter last year and a 6% increase over the previous quarter (4Q-2007). 

The Verisign report said ccTLDs were becoming increasingly important as Internet usage soars in emerging regions around the globe. With more than 

63 million ccTLD registrations now in place, the growth in country code extensions surpassed the overall growth rate, jumping 33% over the same quarter in 2007 and 9% over the previous quarter. Verisign said "The ccTLD growth was driven by a few ccTLDs that experienced remarkable double digit growth quarter over quarter, including .pl (Poland), .cn (China), .es (Spain), .ru (Russian Federation) and .fr (France)."

Verisign also singled out India as another example of exploding growth outside the U.S. The country has 41 million Internet users (ranking 8th in the world), yet that number represents just 4% of India's population, leaving enormous room for further expansion. At the end of the fi rst quarter of 2008, there were 1.2 million domain name registrations in India across all TLDs, a 46% jump from one year ago and 12% higher than the previous quarter. Of these registrations, approximately 685,000 are .com and .net domains and 410,000 are .in domains, representing India's country code. 

(Posted June 16, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

I'm currently traveling on a brief vacation so have been getting online just once a day before leaving the hotel in the morning. Several things have arrived in my inbox since I posted 

yesterday morning. NameMedia announced a deal with Tucows that, effective immediately, makes NameMedia's popular Afternic.com the exclusive platform for expired domain auctions involving names registered with Tucows. That will add over 100,000 domains a month to Afternic's already massive inventory of aftermarket and expiring domains. 

The inventory list for the SnapNames Live domain auction a week from today (Friday, June 20) at the DomainerMeeting conference in Paris has been released. Gems like Aftermarket.com, Hotels.eu, Holland.net and Golfing.org dot the list. Meanwhile, SnapNames' sister company, 

Moniker.com is reminding domain owners that Wednesday (June 18) is the deadline for submitting names in bulk for the live auction at the Internext Expo coming up August 8 in Hollywood, Florida. Limited submissions will be accepted through June 25 then only one-word premium domains through July 2.

If you are planning to go to the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. New York conference Sept. 23-26, you can save $500 off the standard admission if you register by Sunday (June 15) when the early bird rate will expire. 

Another conference I am looking forward to is the GeoDomain Expo in Chicago July 10-12. GeoDomainer.com is giving away a free ticket to that event in a contest currently underway at their site. To enter, you will need to sign up for a free membership at GeoDomainer.com, then visit the Groups section and click on the GeoDomainer Contest link for full contest details.

(Posted June 13, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

The Recall Media Group has announced that their new one-a-day online domain auction platform, Bido.com, will launch Wednesday (June 18) at 1pm (U.S. Eastern time). A Bido 

launch party had been held at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West conference in Las Vegas in February but the first auctions were delayed as their system was fine-tuned. Auctions will all start with a $1 minimum bid and no reserve which should generate some excitement. 

The first name to go on the block Wednesday will be DiscountImages.com. The rest of the opening week lineup includes GolfIowa.com,

RYY.com, GoldAuction.com, SpywareHelp.com, DomainTalk.com, VacantRoom.com and CerealBox.com.
(Posted June 12, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

More good news for the Internet and domain owners. According to a recently released study by leading market research firm IDC titled U.S. Internet Advertising 2008-2012 Forecast and Analysis, overall Internet advertising revenue will double from $25.5 billion in 2007 to $51.1 billion in 2012. During that period, Internet advertising will grow about eight times faster than advertising at large.

The report forecasts that the Internet will zoom from being the number 5 medium all the way to the number 2 medium in just five years. It will surpass newspapers, cable TV, and be bigger than broadcast TV as well. Only direct marketing will remain ahead of Internet advertising if the study is correct.

Video advertising will play an increasingly big role in Internet advertising in the years ahead as its revenue is expected to grow by a factor of seven from $500 million in 2007

to $3.8 billion in 2012, a compound annual growth rate of 49.4%. Brand advertisers are expected to shift significant amounts of money into video commercials, primarily from broadcast television.

Karsten Weide, program director of Digital Media and Entertainment, said "What will help drive this trend is that consumers are starting to realize that, as opposed to TV, Internet video lets them watch what they want, when they want, and increasingly, where they want."
(Posted June 11, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Andrew Miller and Mike "Zappy" Zapolin are featured in a very interesting new article - "Realtors of the Web" - that has just been published by Israel's Globes Magazine. A 

translated copy of the article has been posted at the dynamic duo's website InternetRealEstate.com (Andrew and Zappy were also featured in a DN Journal Cover Story in September 2005). The article's sub-heading said "Mike Zapolin and Andrew Miller were two brokers on the grey track on Wall Street, but they then realized the potential of the internet, bought a few domain names for pennies and sold them for millions of dollars to become the realtor barons of the net."

Mike Zapolin (left) and Andrew Miller
Internet Real Estate Group

Their company owns some amazing domains, including Music.com, Software.com, Phone.com, Chocolate.com and Podcast.com. Today they are into developing their properties. Before they shifted into that mode they sold several blockbusters including CreditCards.com, Computer.com and Beer.com.
(Posted June 10, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Rob Monster is on the move again - teaming up this time with the Castello Brothers, Michael and David and their company Castello Cities Internet Networks, Inc. (CCIN) to 

develop their Traveler.com domain into a global travel portal. Rob's companies, Monster Venture Partners (MVP) and DomainStrategies.com, have recently entered a number of joint development projects with owners of top tier generic domain names, including HealthCare.com, WiFi.com, Patents.com and others.

CCIN CEO Michael Castello said, ""We first made our mark developing intuitive Geo-specific travel sites such as PalmSprings.com, Acapulco.com and Nashville.com while Traveler.com was the 800- pound gorilla waiting quietly in the wings. CCIN's partnership with Rob Monster and Domain Strategies will unlock the global potential of Traveler.com to become the ultimate travel portal and make that vision a reality."

Rob Monster, Managing Director of MVP and Chairman of Domain Strategies, will serve the new company that has been formed to build Traveler.com as Chairman of the Board. A search for a CEO is under way. The company headquarters is expected to be in Seattle, which is already a global hub for online travel innovation, including firms such as Expedia, Yapta, and Farecast

Rob Monster

Monster said "The Castello Brothers have assembled one of the highest quality domain portfolios that are still privately held. I am very much looking forward to partnering with David and Michael to develop the Traveler.com domain into a world class company. 

From our industry due diligence, we believe that there is a large opportunity to create a travel industry portal that is both user-centric and global. A number of the building block technologies and strategic partners have already been identified. We expect to bring the ingredients together quickly in a manner similar to other MVP-backed domain development ventures." 

(Posted June 9, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer predicted Thursday that "in 10 years all media will be delivered via the Internet. Despite the steady demise of so many traditional media outlets and the 

ongoing expansion of the Internet that is hard for an old media junky like me to imagine - but if Ballmer is right, or even close to being right, the future of domain names as media properties truly is boundless

In a meeting with Washington Post editors Ballmer said "In the next 10 years, the whole world of media, communications and advertising are going to be turned upside down - my opinion. Here are the premises I have. Number one, there will be no media consumption left in 10 years that is not delivered over an IP network. There will be no newspapers, no magazines that are delivered in paper form. Everything gets delivered in an electronic form." That is one big WOW! there. Right or wrong it certainly sets your mental wheels turning. 

If you are planning to develop some of your 

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

domains into media outlets (or own quality domains that would make good media outlets for buyers), click the link to the Washington Post above and see what Ballmer has to say about your future. As I have said many times before, we are all incredibly fortunate to be in the business we are in and positioned in the way that we are positioned today. 
(Posted June 6, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

The .ME land rush begins tomorrow (June 6). In case you haven't heard, .me, which is Montenegro's country code, is now being marketed globally as a general purpose extension 

(much like ccTLDs .ws and .cc before it). Montenegro signed a deal with an independent company that is operating the new .me registry and touting the domains as being perfect for personal use. Their slogan is .Me is about You! 

To take part in the land rush you need to apply for the names you want with one of the accredited .me registrars. In the land rush period different parties may submit applications for the same domain name. At the end of the land rush June 26, if there is only one 

application for a domain name, the domain name will be awarded to that applicant. If two or more parties apply for a domain name, those parties will enter an auction to determine who wins the domain name. Open registration of .me domain will begin July 17. .Me will be pricey. The registry requires a two-year initial registration and most registrars are charging around $50 a year during land rush and $25 a year when open registration begins.

Another time sensitive note today. The extended early bird registration period for next month's GeoDomain Expo in Chicago ends Sunday (June 8). Starting Monday the price will jump from $595 to $695

...and last but not least, SnapNames.com will continue to be the exclusive auction source for expired domains from Register.com. The two companies announced renewal of their contract today. Register.com CEO Larry Kutscher said “SnapNames was the first company to offer an organized aftermarket platform for buying and selling domain names. It consistently provides excellent service to its partners and customers and has a great reputation for transparency and performance. Because of these factors, we wanted to continue that productive relationship.”
(Posted June 5, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

MyID.ca will be running another premium .ca (Canadian ccTLD) online domain auction starting tomorrow (June 5) and running through June 12. The names scheduled to go on the block 

include VP.ca, Gamble.caDiplomas.caBond.ca and Investigations.ca to name just a few of the more than 100 domains on the auction list. You can see the entire auction inventory here

In an auction that ended May 29 MyID.ca received strong winning biddings for CV.ca ($53,000), Income.ca ($25,299), Diploma.ca ($17,352), Pharmacies.ca ($15,100), Eyeglasses.ca ($10,999) and many others. MyID.ca has another auction scheduled to begin June 19 and they eventually intend to run weekly sales, all of which will feature .ca domains exclusively.

(Posted June 4, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

By now many of you have heard about an impromptu speech that Dr. Kevin Ham (the subject of our May Cover Story) made at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West conference in Las Vegas on

February 19, 2008. I wrote about it in our Lowdown section the following morning as well as in the May Cover Story. The speech, on the real meaning of success, drew a standing ovation and as word about it spread people who were not fortunate enough to be there started asking how they could get a copy of the talk. An anonymous donor paid to have a few DVD copies pressed up and distributed at no charge but the supply was quickly exhausted.

I'm happy to report that the video has now been posted online at Kevin's company site, Reinvent.com, so anyone that wishes to do so can see this moving speech. The video is here. Watching it will be time well spent.

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

This was an interesting weekend - a nice mix of work and recreation for a change (usually it is only work). After getting our preview of the upcoming Domainer Meeting conference in Paris 

(June 19-20) posted Friday night I was able to put the finishing touches on our comprehensive review of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East conference in Orlando and get it published Saturday night (though the article is done we are going to add a Photo Gallery to the piece tomorrow as we have dozens of great additional shots from the show that are too good to leave sight unseen). While you are waiting for our Photo Gallery check out the cool new T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Speakers Wall on the conference's web site that has pictures of virtually every person who has ever spoken at a T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference!

On Sunday, Parked.com's Monte White took my wife, daughter and I to the Tampa Bay Rays - Chicago White Sox game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg (Parked.com has a block of four Rays season tickets). We had a great time, especially since the Rays won in dramatic fashion with a home run in the bottom of the 10th from the last man in the batting order - Gabe Gross. Before he hit it out, Monte, who was once a radio play-by-play man, told me that despite being at the bottom of the line-up, Gross had a lot of "pop" in his bat and he proved to be right when Gross delivered that round tripper (the former Auburn quarterback also had a two-run triple earlier in the game). Staffers at Parked.com and DN Journal have a lot of the same favorite local pastimes as we are both based in the Tampa Bay area. 

The work week got off to a weird start with reports in several publications this morning saying that Israel.com had been sold over the weekend for over $5 million. Those reports turned out to be false but even now some sites are still perpetuating the erroneous "sale" news by quoting the original site, Haaretz.com, that originated the bogus story. 

Domain sales (this time real ones) were also the 

Above: Nat Cohen (Telepathy.com). I just sent this pic to Rick Schwartz to fill in one of the few holes in his new T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Speaker's Wall photo page.

Monte White (Parked.com) took us 
out to the ball game Sunday afternoon.

topic of a four-minute report on National Public Radio's Morning Edition today. The piece covered what is happening in  the domain aftermarket, focusing on Moniker's live auction at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East. You can listen to that report here.

(Posted June 2, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

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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