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The Lowdown

November 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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I hope all of our U.S. readers had a happy Thankgiving Day Thursday.  Many are enjoying another day off today as the holiday has morphed into a four-day weekend for most American office workers over the years. In the midst of a meltdown in the general economy, here is still another reason for those of us in the domain business to be thankful - the continuing growth of the online advertising market. 

If you don't read the news carefully you might not even know that the online ad market is indeed continuing to grow and it continues to outperform all other major forms of media. It would be easy to get the opposite impression from a lot of recent press reports that stress the gloom and doom angle, even in areas where there is a ray of sunshine. I saw a perfect example of this earlier this week in a news wire story headlined "Forecaster lops 10 pct off 2009 online ad estimate."  The story goes on to talk about similar decreases in estimates for various online ad categories. Not a decrease in dollars spent mind you, a decrease in the estimates of how much the market would GROW next year. 

Is the sky really falling? 
Online ad spending is expected to 
set another new record in 2009.

You don't find out until the very end of the article that actual online search ad spending is still expected to shoot up a healthy 9% next year. In this economy how many sectors are expecting a near double digit rate of growth in 2009? If you have just one hand free you can probably count all of them on your fingers. Yes, before the Wall Street meltdown in September the estimates were for higher growth. Duh! Obviously a cataclysmic event like that will slow the growth rate of just about everything and for many industries it is proving to be a knockout blow, but not this one. Online ad sales continue to increase.

What do domainers and Britney Spears 
have in common? They've both been getting
a closer shave than they should be getting.

It is true that a lot of domainers would never know it from their dramatically declining PPC rates, an anomaly I still haven't seen a plausible excuse for. More ad dollars get spent on search quarter after quarter but your share gets sliced thinner and thinner. Obviously there is something wrong with this picture. However with zero transparency in the PPC space it's impossible to know who's hands are in your pockets. 

My guess is that it starts at the top with Google and Yahoo. All the more reason for domain owners to continue seeking ways to eliminate dependence on those two search giants. I was heartened to hear that the entire focus of the next DOMAINfest 

Global conference Jan. 28-30 in Hollywood, California will be about ways to build out your domains. Smart move as that is a subject that couldn't be more timely.

To end on a brighter note, Katie Wheat, the daughter of Wayne Wheat (the very capable auctioneer who has been directing Moniker's recent live domain auctions) has a new CD out

as well as a new music video on YouTube. You can get all of the details at KatieWheat.com (Wayne has obviously been teaching her well when it comes to the importance of having the right domain name!). You can order the CD from Katie's web site or head to her MySpace professional page to sample some of the tunes first. Her first single, "Supa Gyrl" is also available on iTunes (just do a search for Katie Wheat). 

Katie, who is just 15 years old, has a very contemporary pop sound and there's a good chance this young lady is going to make some big waves in the months and years ahead (as a former radio DJ and owner of several record stores, I really appreciate this kind of upcoming talent).

(Posted Nov. 28, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Happy Thanksgiving! Today is the national Thanksgiving Holiday in the United States. Just about everything is closed to allow family and friends to gather and give thanks for their many blessings. Sharing a bountiful meal is a highlight of a cherished holiday that dates back to the Pilgrims. We will have 14 people at our house today, with many coming from hundreds of miles away. It is always a very special day here and we hope that it will be in your home as well. 

I don't think I have to say much more today about how blessed we are to be in this business because it is something I say many times in this column and elsewhere throughout the year. Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for leading me here and for the many wonderful people I have met in this industry. I have had the opportunity to work in three different fields in my lifetime (broadcasting, the music industry and now the Internet). All three are filled with gifted people but this one, in terms of the brilliance, creativity and kindness of the vast majority of those involved, truly stands head and shoulders above the rest. Diana and I thank each one of you for making this our best Thanksgiving yet!
(Posted Nov. 27, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

One of the great things about the domain business is that it is a global business. For someone who wants to see the world, this industry offers some great opportunities to do that. That was amply illustrated over the past 30 days with one large group of domainers meeting on Australia's Gold Coast for T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Down Under, another gathering on the French Riviera for the SedoPro Partner Forum that we told you about yesterday, and still others seeing the wonders of Egypt at the ICANN meeting in Cairo earlier this month. A few people managed to attend all three of those events! 

Above: Guests on the Skenzo/LogicBoxes 
Egyptian Odyssey
tour during stops at the 
Pyramids of Giza
and the Great Sphinx.
(Photos courtesy of ICANNWiki.com)

One of the highlights of the Cairo trip was a guided tour hosted by Directi sister companies Skenzo and LogicBoxes called "An Egyptian Odyssey". The company decided to do something special in Cairo after getting a great reception for a Taj Mahal tour they staged during the previous ICANN meeting in New Delhi last February.

Directi CEO and Founder Bhavin Turakhia said “We received quite an overwhelming response to our Taj trip, and it has always been our intent to facilitate greater communication and foster exchange between all ICANN meeting delegates, and the internet community at large. And Cairo being such a beautiful and exotic city, we thought it but natural to create this special event for our guests, to provide them the opportunity to socialize and network with their peers even as they visit the last remnant of the Ancient Seven Wonders of the World.” 

The trip started off with an awe-inspiring tour of the Valley of the Kings, comprising the Pyramids of 

Giza and the Great Sphinx, the world’s largest monolith statue. This was followed by a cruise on the Nile River aboard the Nile Pharaoh cruise ship, replete with food and entertainment. There were visits to many other celebrated landmarks, including the Egyptian Museum, the Papyrus Institute, the Khan El Khalili market and the Sound & Light Show – a collage of all the sights and sounds that Cairo has to offer.

The event was attended by a diverse group of delegates including Bruce Tonkin (MelbourneIT), James Bladel and Tim Ruiz (GoDaddy), Jeffrey Eckhaus (Demand Media), Stephane Van Gelder (Indom), Jon Nevett (Network Solutions), Trey Harvin (dotMOBI) and Mason Cole (Oversee.net) to name just a few.

Skenzo President Divyank Turakhia said "We wanted the Egyptian Odyssey to be on an even greater scale than the Taj trip, and we left no stone unturned to ensure that our guests took back some very special memories from this event. All our guests immensely enjoyed the experience, which allowed them to explore the wonders of Cairo in a way that would not have been possible otherwise, due to their busy schedules.” 

Those who were fortunate enough to be 

Delegates visiting the Khan El Khalili market 

there were enthralled by the mystic grandeur of the monuments and the rich cultural history and traditions of Egypt. Opportunities like this are just one more reason domain owners have reason to be especially thankful this holiday season.
(Posted Nov. 26, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

While I was in Australia last week for the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Down Under conference, Sedo's Tiffany Cuddihy sent me some info and a link to a photo gallery from the 3rd Annual SedoPro 

Sedo CEO Tim Schumacher welcomes 
attendees to the 2008 SedoPro Partner 
held on the French Riviera Oct. 26-28

Partner Forum that was held at the Royal Riviera resort on the French Riviera Oct. 26-28. I had planned to attend the event but the dates wound up conflicting with a trip I already had scheduled to Philadelphia for Parent's Weekend at the University of Pennsylvania where my daughter is a senior. 

I really hated to miss the Sedo conference because the SedoPro Partner Forum they staged last year at the Mohonk Resort in New York's Hudson Valley was one of the most enjoyable meetings I have ever attended. I'm sure those who made the trip to France for this year's event will say the same thing.

Cuddihy said domain industry professionals from around the globe participated in discussions on the marketplace roadmap and best practices and techniques for success. 

Attendees were provided with one-on-one consulting sessions with Sedo experts while also getting to enjoy a vacation experience 

that included a casino night, yacht sailing race and a chauffeured antique car tour of the French Riviera. 

Attendees gather at the Royal Riviera resort for the 2008 SedoPro Partner Forum

Casino night draws a crowd

Antique cars lined up to take attendees on a chauffeured tour of the French Riviera

Above and below: Registrants competing in the yacht sailing race

(All photos courtesy of Sedo.com)

The event also featured informative presentations and workshops on topics including domain monetization, proven methods and tips for selling domains to the corporate world, pricing methodology and negotiation techniques. 

Sedo’s COO and general counsel Jeremiah Johnston, who delivered a speech on protecting domains in a hostile legal environment, said: “We were pleased to once again bring this comprehensive forum to domain entrepreneurs and developers who gained invaluable insights on today’s critical industry issues, and leveraged unique opportunities to network with colleagues and Sedo experts. We look forward to continuing this tradition, to further establish Sedo’s valued relationships with our clients.”
(Posted Nov. 25, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

I'm back from Australia having finally gotten home to Florida 32 hours after leaving the gorgeous Gold Coast where last week's T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Down Under conference was held. It really is a grueling trip and after making it I can now fully appreciate what our Australian friends go through when they come to the U.S. for the domain conferences they have so loyally supported. Though the 12,000 mile trip was marred by lost luggage and travel hassles, the end result made it all worthwhile. Australia is a beautiful country - a fact well illustrated in the photo below that I snapped through the back windows of the Sheraton Mirage Resort where the show was held.

I enjoyed the Australian people as much as the view. Fun loving, outgoing and blessed with a great sense of humor, you can't help but love the Aussies. Brisbane-based Fabulous.com staged the show and their staff did a marvelous job of making sure everyone went home with great memories as well as a wealth of information about the domain business. 

The last event on the week's schedule was a trip to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary that was part of an optional post-show activity day Friday. Fabulous.com's Business Development Director Michael Robertson led the expedition and, as the photo below shows, he obviously has a special rapport with the animals.

You'll also notice Michael's sporty new mohawk. He acquired his new hairdo just before we headed to Currumbin when he let most of his hair go as part of the fundraising effort for cancer research that we told you about in our last post from Australia. 

Now that we're back we have a busy week ahead. In addition to catching up with hundreds of emails we are starting work on a double length domain sales report that will be published on our Domain Sales page around noon (U.S. Eastern time) Wednesday. Thursday of course is the national Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. (Diana and I will have over a dozen friends and relatives in the house for that celebration). I'll then spend Friday and most of the weekend putting together our comprehensive T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Down Under show review article that will be loaded with conference details and photos that you haven't seen yet. It will be the next best thing to having been there yourself so keep an eye out for that piece on our home page by next Monday morning.
(Posted Nov. 24, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

This is is my last post from Australia. I'll be leaving for the airport and the long trek back to the U.S. in an hour - leaving the land down under after a fabulous week  at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Down Under conference on the gorgeous Gold Coast. While the conference officially closed Thursday night there was an optional activity day Friday when attendees could learn to surf in the morning and visit a great wildlife preserve (Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary) in the afternoon. I saw a lot of really cool things this past week but nothing cooler than what you see in the pictures below - Thought Convergence COO Ammar Kubba shaving Fabulous.com COO Dan Warner's head Friday just before we headed to Currumbin.



What was so cool about that? Dan's session with our favorite unlicensed barber helped raise AUD$25,000 (about $19,000 U.S.) for cancer research. It all started at the show's tropical island dinner party the night before when Kubba approached Warner about soliciting the crowd for a donation. Warner (apparently after drinking several Dirty Dingos) told Kubba if he could get attendees to contribute $10,000 he would shave off all his hair. Kubba started working he crowd and within minutes he met the goal and over the next 24 hours it was far surpassed! 

Fabulous.com's Business Development Director Michael Robertson and domainer Merlin Kaufmann also helped fill up the pot - Robertson by getting his hair cut into a mohawk (which looks great by the way) and Kaufmann by allowing his beloved beard to go under the blade. Also, lest you think Kubba's contribution was limited to cheerleading and cutting Dan's hair (which he seemed to enjoy way too much) there's more. Ammar, whose head is already clean shaven, allowed the hair on his legs (and I'm talking about substantial foliage here) removed with wax strips. Ouch! I will have those photos as well as shots of Robertson and Kaufmann in our comprehensive show review article that will be published late next week. Kudos to this selfless quartet - all men with truly golden hearts.

As for the job Fabulous.com did this week, they truly shined. Before the conference I said I knew they would do a great job staging their first show but even the highest expectations I had of them were far surpassed. I have more to say on that but it is time to head for the airport so I will save it for a review article you won't want to miss. It will includes tons of great photos and details that we were only able to skim in our daily Lowdown posts. I'll be back here with a new post from the States Monday. G'day Mates!
(Posted Nov. 21, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown /2008/dailyposts/11-21-08.htm

Just as the first T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference ever held outside the U.S.  was beginning its grand finale, a spectacular outing on a barrier island off Australia's Gold Coast last night, I got word from Rick Latona that he has licensed the rights to host his own T.R.A.F.F.I.C  conference in Amsterdam June 2-5, 2009. Latona and T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Howard Neu are both here for T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Down Under and Neu confirmed that a joint venture deal had been completed with Latona to take T.R.A.F.F.I.C to Europe for the first time. 

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Howard Neu 
at Thursday night's island excursion

Rick Latona will produce a T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 
conference in Amsterdam June 2-5, 2009

In a unique twist Latona told me the content for his show would be devoted entirely to country code domains (ccTLDs).  Latona is a big believer in ccTLDs and he plans to spur interest in the space by providing information on the unique aspects of country code domains, including legalities, transfer issues and methods of monetization. Managers and directors of various ccTLD registries will be brought in as featured speakers. Latona also plans to have his RickLatona.com live auction at the Netherlands show consist entirely of ccTLDs. 

Latona has been a major player in this industry for a long time but he has really moved front and center over he past year with a series of bold strokes. He started a blog that formed the foundation for a popular domain sales newsletter that many others are now emulating, jumped into the live auction arena with a flashy debut at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. New York in September and has now taken the next giant step by taking on production of an entire conference. Knowing Rick and having met the key members of his team in Australia this week I am certain that they are up to the considerable task of continuing T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s legacy of groundbreaking conferences - a legacy that Fabulous.com added mightily to with their tour de force performance in staging T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Down Under (TDU) this week.

Rick Latona looks on as Australian auctioneer 
Chris Norris conducts his live auction Thursday

Thursday was the final business day at TDU but many are staying over for an optional activity day today (as I write this it is early Friday morning in Australia - late Thursday afternoon back at our home base in Florida). There will be a Learn to Surf session this morning (the show venue, the Sheraton Mirage Resort, sits directly on the ocean) then an outing this afternoon to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary that I am very much looking forward to.

Thursday's schedule was highlighted by a pair of live domain auctions with Aftermarket.com getting the ball rolling early with their 8:30am (local time) event. Technical problems kept them from getting through their entire auction catalog (and also reportedly prevented some online bidders from getting their bids in). The end result was a sales total of approximately $165,000. The top sales were Saws.com at $52,000 and Camera.co.uk at $35,000. Several local .com.au  ccTLD  domains were also sold, led by Jeweller.com.au at $9,200.

Scene from the Aftermarket.com live auction at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Down Under

The Rick Latona.com auction that got underway with a delayed start at 12:30pm (again due to technical issues) fared better, racking up over $413,000 in sales. Latona told me that was consistent with their pre-show projections so he was happy with the outcome. His list was led by a pair of $150,000 sales; CR.com and SanJuan.com. Latona also emphasized local .com.au domains and sold several including History.com.au ($8,500), StockExchange.com.au ($7,500) and Snowboards.com.au ($6,000)

A final seminar session was held during a lunch break that was sandwiched in between the two live auctions. It focused on the unlimited number of new gTLD domains that ICANN plans to start rolling out next year. The panelists were Jothan Frakes (Oversee.net), Edmon Chung 

Page Howe tells attendees to look 
before you leap into a new gTLD

(.asia registry) and Page Howe (JoeDomains.com). I will cover his session in more detail in our overall conference review article that will be published after I return to the U.S. next week but I want to alert anyone who is considering applying for one of the new gTLDs to keep an eye out for videos that Fabulous.com plans to post of this (and all other) conference sessions.

In particular I think Howe's animated and entertaining presentation is a must see for you. Having personally gone through the ICANN application meat grinder at great expense with his .kids project, Howe met with only frustration and heartbreak along 

the way. It is a cautionary story you need to hear in its entirety before you commit the non-refundable $185,000 application fee (plus $75,000 annual renewal fees) that a new registry operator will have to cough up. 

With all conference business now out of the way, it was time for attendees to embark on the week's biggest social event - a cruise to a barrier island about 40 minutes away from the hotel where a wide range of activities, food and drink awaited. The multi-level boat left the dock a little after 3pm and soon after arriving on the island registrants were treated to helicopter and jet boat rides, parasailing, interacting with wallabies and other local wildlife or just hanging out around the tiki bars talking and having a good time. 

Above: The boat that delivered domainers to a tropical island paradise. 
Below: Domainers getting the lay of the land.

After night fell there was a terrific performance by a native Aboriginal dance troupe. They must have been doing a rain dance at one point because a ferocious rain storm blew up out of nowhere that sent people scrambling for cover. Spirits were not dampened though and the storm soon passed with attendees enjoying a buffet dinner followed by a stunning beachside fireworks show. Then it was back on board for a rollicking cruise home as people continued to celebrate their unforgettable island experience. The whole week was a home run for the hard working team from Fabulous.com. I'll talk more about that in tomorrow's post but now it's time to go learn to surf and see some native wildlife. G'Day Mates!

Making friends with a wallaby

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

Today is live auction day at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Down Under conference in Australia. In fact the first event of the day (it is Thursday morning here at the show venue) will be Aftermarket.com's premier auction that gets underway at 8:30am local time (that is 5:30pm Eastern time Wednesday in the U.S.). RickLatona.com's auction crew will then take over for a 12 noon sale (9pm U.S. Eastern time Wednesday). We actually got a nice little auction appetizer last night when a live charity auction to benefit the Internet Commerce Association was held during a gala dinner. Here's a scene from that event:

The ten-name auction wound up producing over $18,000 for the ICA, the non-profit domain industry trade association. The top sales were BodybuildingProducts.com at $5,200 (purchased by T.R.A..F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Howard Neu) and MovingCosts.com at $5,000 (purchased by Darren Cleveland of the Recall Media Group). Both of those domains were donated by show organizers Fabulous.com. Howard Hoffman of PPCIncome.com was also very active in the auction. In addition to donating a name that sold for $1,000 (FreeRangeFoods.com), Hoffman purchased two domains. The sale was run by a talented young Australian auctioneer, Chris Norris, who will also conduct the Aftermarket.com and Rick Latona.com auctions today.

The Wednesday schedule featured four seminars on topics ranging from Acquiring Domains and Web Development to Monetization Alternatives and Asset Sales. I'll have details on those in our comprehensive show review article that will be published late next week after I return to the U.S. I do however want to give you a little preview to build some suspense. The photo below was shown by one of the panelists (a well known and much loved figure within the industry) during his presentation. It was snapped during the final leg of his roundabout journey from the U.S. to Australia. While traveling by car from Sydney to the Gold Coast, nature called and the moment happened to be caught on camera. Other than the strategically placed happy face, this is not a doctored photo. Can you guess who this is? We'll reveal all in our upcoming show review article - not that you will want to have anything else revealed after seeing this! I guess the takeaway on this is that as brilliant as our fellow domain traveler is, he is sometimes prone to read a little too much into things he sees.

Soon after the much appreciated comic relief, Graeme Wood, the Australian founder of travel giant Wotif.com, delivered an interesting keynote address on the building of his groundbreaking company and the selection of its unusual domain name. They were originally after WhatIf.com but, despite going as far as hiring a private detective, they were unable to locate the owner of that domain and wound up improvising with great success. The rest, as they say as history. We'll have more on Wood's talk in our upcoming review article.

The Wednesday schedule closed with a delightful dinner and wildly funny show staged by Australian comic/magician Matt Hollywood. Hollywood used audience members in many of his bits including one that involved dressing up and  "shrinking" Thought Convergence COO Ammar Kubba with hilarious results (see photo below):

Once he was suitably attired, Kubba was put through a dance routine that can't really be described in words. I did notice Fabulous.com had a video camera rolling at the back of the room so I have a feeling the performance will eventually surface on YouTube where it should be a runaway hit. Kubba is always a great sport and Hollywood certainly picked the right guy to make this routine shine and bring the curtain down on a night that sent everyone back to their rooms with a smile on their face.

Now, its back down to the conference floor for me (as I write this the opening live auction is only an hour away). I'll have another update from Australia for you tomorrow when I will recount Thursday's highlights from T.R.A.F.F.IC. Down Under.
(Posted Nov. 19, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Greetings from Australia where the second business day of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Down Under conference will be getting underway at about 6pm U.S. Eastern time today (which is 9am Wednesday here on the Gold Coast where the show is being held at the Sheraton Mirage 

Resort). Yesterday's schedule was highlighted by a keynote address from ICANN President and CEO Dr. Paul Twomey, who is a native of Brisbane (a city located a little north of the Gold Coast. Brisbane is also home to Fabulous.com who is staging this first ever overseas T.R.A.F.F.I.C. show). 

As he always does, the personable and well spoken Dr. Twomey gave an interesting and wide-ranging talk about what ICANN is working on and how professional domainers can get involved in the organization's policy making procedure. He also fielded questions from the audience in a Q and A session after his talk. I will save the details for our comprehensive show review article that will be posted late next week after I return

ICANN President and CEO Dr. Paul Twomey 
delivering his keynote address at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 
Down Under
Tuesday (Nov. 17).

to the U.S. My goal with these daily Lowdown posts is to give you a flavor of what is happening overall at the show each day. Dr. Twomey's lunch time talk was sandwiched between a pair of morning seminars on Domain Strategy and Industry Development and another twin bill in the afternoon focused on Law & Regulation and Australian Domains

auDA CEO Chris Disspain

All four educational sessions were very well done and the finale on Australian domains was especially interesting to me. I am a firm believer in the value of major country code domains and since Australia relaxed some of its stringent rules on ownership and sale of .au domains, that ccTLD is enjoying spectacular growth averaging 25% annually. 

A four-man panel including the CEO of the .au governing body (auDA), Chris Disspain, presented an in-depth overview of where .au has been, where it is now and where it is headed in the future. Those of us visiting from the States learned a great deal about .au from both the panel and

Aussie domainers who filled us in on some of the unique issues that accompany investment in .au domains. I'll have more details and photos from all four of the Tuesday sessions in our show wrap up article.

Yesterday's schedule was supposed to culminate with an Australian BBQ Beach Party but the constant rain forced that event inside. Fabulous pulled off a great save and made the change of venue work, bringing in exotic animals and fire dancers that kept the crowd entertained. Before I left home my wife asked me to bring back just one thing - a koala bear! I'm sure that would create some issues going through customs, but I did get her some nice pictures of the koala bear that was brought to the party last night. Though the koala is certainly one of the most lovable creations on earth, I'm afraid we won't be able to add one to Diana's already overflowing menagerie of pets. 

Parked.com CEO Sig Solares pets a koala bear - one of several native Australian animals 
that were guests and big attention getters at Tuesday night's dinner party.

With respect to the rain, it has seldom let up since it started Monday and is forecast to continue through Thursday. With some luck it will break Friday for the show's post conference activity 

day. I feel for the show organizers who were looking forward to a week of great weather (something that is usually a sure thing on the Gold Coast at this time of year) but it is obviously out of their hands and it has been good for this region that has been going through a severe drought. 

The rain has also failed to dampen spirits among show goers. They are thoroughly enjoying the chance to meet so many like minded people from around the world. The majority of attendees are from Australia and there is no way you can hang around a group of fun loving Australians without having a great time! Their unique sense of humor and hospitality makes you feel right at home. While nice weather is obviously  a good thing, the #1 reason you go to shows is to meet with fellow domain investors - everything else is a distant second, so no worries here mate (hope I said that right - still getting the hang of the lingo).

One of the fire dancers that heated things 
up at last night's dinner party.

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

The first day of activity at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Down Under conference on Australia's Gold Coast is winding down as I write this. The time here at the Sheraton Mirage Resort is 10:30pm Monday night, which is 7:30 Monday morning back at our home base in Tampa, Florida where it is 15 hours earlier than it is here on the beautiful Queensland coastline. Coincidentally Queensland shares a nickname with our home state of Florida - both are known as the Sunshine State and that is printed on the auto license tags here. This was a special pre-show fun day (no business) that gave attendees a chance to try their hand at paintball, go kart racing and zorbing.

Domainers at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Down Under waiting to try their hand at Zorbing - which involves two people squeezing into a giant water filled ball after which they are pushed down a steep hill. Yeah - that sounds like something domainers would do!

We wonder how many zorbing related 
domain names were registered after this day!

The zorbing photos came to us courtesy of Fabulous.com who is staging the conference and has aleady gotten things off to a great start. I had expected to be there to shoot the actvity day events myself but due to long flight delays in both Los Angeles and Sydney I reached the Gold Coast five hours later than I planned.

I did get to the hotel just in time to make the welcoming cocktail party that was very well attended. There was a great mix of familiar faces and new ones (many from Down Under) and it was a pleasure to meet so many people for the first time - especially several Aussies that I have corresponded with but had never had a chance to meet face to face. 

It was a particular pleasure to meet Fabulous.com founder and domain legend Dean Shannon for the first time. Today's professional domain conferences all owe a debt to Shannon

who got the ball rolling with a gathering that came to be known as Deanfest in Beverly Hills, California in 2002. In the snapshot below, taken shortly after I arrived at the welcoming  party, Shannon (in a short sleeved black shirt) is seen in the lower right hand corner of the picture talking with two other attendees.

Scene from the welcoming cocktail party at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Down Under Monday night 
(Monday morning in the U.S.) on Australia's Gold Coast.

The Sheraton Mirage is a spectacularly beautiful ocean front resort. It was getting dark when I arrived but I will get some photos of the facility during the week to show you what I mean.  The party was still going on when I retired to my room to post this and get some sleep after spending the past 36 hours traveling. 

The show officially opens for business tomorrow and runs through Thursday with another special activity day scheduled after the show Friday. I'll have a daily post in this column with highlights from each day's events and a more comprehensive show review a few days after we return to Florida next week.
Nov. 17, 2008) To refer other
s to
the post above only you can use this URL:

This is shaping up to be an unusual weekend as I will spend ALL of it flying. I will be leaving  for Australia Saturday afternoon (U.S. EST) and, because I will be crossing the International 

dateline, I won't arrive on the Gold Coast until Monday afternoon (their time - which is 15 hours later than it is here in Florida). I am, of course, heading to Oz to cover next week's T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Down Under conference, the first T.R.A.F.F.I.C. show to be staged outside the U.S. 

Fabulous.com, who is based in Brisbane, is handling the conference under license from T.R.A.F.F.I.C. co-founders Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu. I know Fabulous will do a great job with the event and am looking forward to seeing everyone there. If you haven't already read it, be sure to check out our full conference preview article in which Fab's Dan Warner and Michael Robertson provide all of the details on what will be happening during show week.

Starting Monday, I'll file a daily item from Australia to keep you abreast of the conference highlights. As always, a few days after I get back we will publish a comprehensive wire to wire conference review to fill you in on what happened from start to finish. 

Also today we want to send our congratulations out to Oversee.net's Jeff Kupietzky who has just been promoted from Executive Vice President to President of the company. As most of you know Oversee is the parent company of DomainSponsor, Moniker and SnapNames and also stages the annual DOMAINfest Global conference in Hollywood, California. Oversee co-founder Lawrence Ng, who was featured in our March 2008 Cover Story, had been serving as President but will now concentrate on his duties as Chairman of the Board and Kupietzky will also join the board.

Jeff Kupietzky
Oversee.net President

In announcing the changes today Oversee said, "The move follows a thorough succession planning process and places Kupietzky, a longtime Oversee executive, at the helm as an experienced domain name and online advertising industry leader. As Chairman, Ng will remain actively involved in guiding the company he co-founded eight years ago with fellow Oversee.net board member Fred Hsu .  Oversee is a very profitable and fast growing organization, on track to deliver double-digit revenue growth this year."

Mr. Ng said, "Now is the right time for new leadership to drive the business to the next level. Jeff Kupietzky has worked closely with me for several years, he has in-depth understanding of the market and the company and he’s ready to help Oversee expand its industry leadership position." Kupietzky said he is looking forward to

taking on his new role adding “I’m thrilled to be working with Oversee’s customers to deliver more value. We have a very talented employee base, one that will build successfully on the firm’s relationships with our advertising and marketing partners.”
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With the decline in PPC revenue we continue to see more and more domain owners developing at least a few of their names into websites (development will also be the primary theme at the DOMAINfest Global conference in January). In the past 24 hours I've gotten word from no

Will this picture help 
Page Howe
more basketbal jerseys? 
You be the judge!

less than three well-known domainers telling me about newly developed sites they have launched. 

Page Howe of JoeDomains.com, who was the subject of our August Cover Story, is rolling out a series of specialized stores using NameMedia's Smart Name Shops platform. The first example is BasketballJerseyStore.com which caught my eye because of the basketball player pictured at the bottom of the home page who bears a striking resemblance to Howe himself. 

Howe confessed the likeness is him (not that anyone would mistake the image for Michael Jordan!). Word is the photo resulted from Howe losing a bet with NameMedia's Brian Carr on the Lakers-Celtics NBA championship series. Howe's Lakers lost so he was supposed to wear a Celtics jersey at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. New York conference in September. He apparently reneged on that obligation but finally settled the wager amicably with this homage to the Flint Tropics. I think it is admirable that Page pays his debts but I'm not convinced this image is going to help him move a lot of basketball jerseys!

Ari Goldberger and Larry Fischer took a more traditional approach with their impressive new site at InsuranceQuote.com. Larry tells me this is just the first of many ecommerce sites he and Ari will be launching on premier generic domain names.

Andrew Allemann, who already has a developed domain news site at DomainNameWire.com, is also branching out with his new RegistrarJudge.com site. The site lets visitors review and rate the various domain registrars. I can see this service being especially helpful to industry newcomers looking for peer guidance on where they should register their domains. 

As Australian PPC expert Michael Gilmour pointed out in our new Cover Story, it is hard to develop more than a handful of really good sites. However, even  though development is not the kind of scalable solution for large portfolio owners that parking is, just one successful site could create a new revenue stream with the potential to more than offset the current decline in PPC revenues. 
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The specter of tiered domain pricing has reared its ugly head again. Most will remember a major battle two years ago when the prospect of ICANN allowing Verisign to charge varying 

prices for domain name registrations and renewals (based on how much they alone thought the individual domains were worth) caused an uproar in the domain community. Verisign already uses that model with the .tv registry (which they administer under an agreement with the island of Tuvalu). Many blame that pricing scheme for stunting the potential growth of .tv, so when the possibility of variable pricing was raised when the .biz/.info/.org contracts came up for renewal two years ago the domain community rose up in arms and stopped it. 

The impetus for the revolt was the knowledge that if those registries were allowed to implement variable pricing then Verisign would also be allowed to do it with the popular .com 

and .net  registries they operate - potentially leaving millions of website owners to face massive renewal bills for their domains if Verisign chose to up the tab on them at whatever rate they wished.

The 2006 brouhaha was triggered when veteran domainer and long-time ICANN watcher (and Business Constituency member) George Kirikos spotted dangerous language in the proposed  .biz/.info/.org contracts and sounded the alarm. Now, in contracts that are being proposed for the new gTLDs that ICANN plans to start rolling out next year, Kirikos has again found a variable pricing trojan horse lurking in the contract language. If it slips through, all of the existing registries could again be in danger of being infected with the same virus. Kirikos first called attention to the new problem with a post at Circle ID October 24 and he has since brought it to the domain community's attention with forum threads detailing the issues at DNForum.com and DomainState.com

ICANN opened a public commentary window to support or oppose the new contracts on October 24 and in typical ICANN fashion that window will close very quickly - on December 8. Kirikos is rightfully alarmed that few protests have been posted on the public commentary site to date. As they did two years ago, every domain owner needs to make their opposition to variable pricing known now. Instructions for posting your comments can be found on this page at the ICANN site. You can also join the discussions at DNForum and/or DomainState to get answers and discuss strategy with fellow domain owners. 

It seems like domain owners are facing threats and challenges on every side these days, from the Snowe Bill (which, though derailed this year, is expected to reappear in new clothes next year) to the Kentucky government trying to claim the right to confiscate domain names. Another hot button issue is registrars competing with their own customers in the expired domain market, or in some cases (as with registrar Tucows.com's new YummyNames sales site), refusing to compete - instead sidestepping the entire competitive drop process and just keeping domains that expire at their registrar for themselves and selling them to the highest bigger. In conflict of interest scenarios like this, registrars have an incentive to make sure their customers do not renew their domain names. 

A backlash to this trend is developing, manifested again yesterday when the World Association of Domain Name Developers (the organization that stages the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conferences) stripped Tucows of the organization's Registrar Seal of Approval that was awarded to Tucows in the fall of 2007. That announcement came on the heels of a press release from Tucows yesterday announcing they were laying off approximately 15% of their staff. Perhaps income from selling off their customer's expired domains will help improve 

their financial situation but there is a question whether or not the benefits from doing that will be offset by a loss of business from domain registrants who are unhappy with the company's current direction.
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With the general economy in complete disarray nearly all of the "experts" are predicting a dismal Christmas season for retailers - with one exception, and I bet most of you will guess 

what that is before I even say it - that's right, merchants who sell online are expected to enjoy double digit growth over last year, despite the current financial meltdown. Time Magazine has all of the details in an article released today titled Will Online Sales Brighten a Bleak Holiday Season? Author Kristina Dell wrote, "Holiday forecasts predict zero to 2.2% overall sales gains for November and December, according to respective estimates by Bain & Co. and the National Retail Federation (NRF), the world's largest retail trade association. By comparison, online retail sales are expected to grow 12% to $44 billion according to Forrester Research.

Dell went on to delineate the reasons why online merchants continue to gain ground despite the current recession: "Rising financial anxiety and tight credit availability are making holiday shopping this year an exercise in self restraint, and the web offers a quick, clean shot at purchasing 24 hours a day. Moreover, with websites like FatWallet and SlickDeals featuring bargain basement prices, hunting around for the best value is a convenient mouse click away. That's an easier proposition for many than slogging to the mall and fighting traffic, crowds and parking problems."

I will be the first to give Dell a big Amen! on that one.  Even though I knew better, on Black Friday last year (the day after Thanksgiving Day that some say is the busiest shopping day of the year) I succumbed to all of the newspaper ads touting phenomenal bargains at the local 

The joy of holiday shopping at a local mall

malls. In search of a new flat screen TV I braved the crowds but after hitting multiple brick and mortar outlets within the first hour they opened, I went home empty handed as none of the stores actually had the TVs they advertised in stock.  I (and millions of others) won't make that mistake again. 

In writing about my experience a year ago, I summed it up by noting, "After five stops and a couple of hours of wasted time I went home and did what I should have done in the first place - ordered a TV online. It will be delivered to my door - no fuss, no muss - and for a cost that is just a tad more than

the come on prices the local stores tout, "bargains" that virtually no one actually receives." The previosuly unwritten follow up to that is the TV was indeed delivered the next business day (free delivery too!) and I have been enjoying it ever since.

When I think of holiday shopping at brick and mortar stores now, the same old adage keeps coming to mind - "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." To quote The Who's Pete Townshend, I "won't get fooled again."

While we are on the topic of the continuing shift of brick and mortar businesses to the web I have to mention still another example of that in the newspaper business. The local Tampa Tribune announced the layoff of 18 more newsroom staffers today, including my favorite columnist, Daniel Ruth. The rival St. Petersburg Times quoted the Tribune's executive editor, Janet Coats, as saying "many newspapers are finding their print product becoming a secondary outlet to their website." Though many of us who have worked in 

Internet publishing for years  have seen this coming, it is still stunning to me to see the editor of a major paper essentially admit that the war is over and the web won.
Nov. 11, 2008) To refer others to
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Our next weekly domain sales report is shaping up to be a strong one. Just got word that Sedo.com  closed two big sales today - Lowfare.com at $365,000 and Banners.com at

 $360,000. Sales data for the past week is still streaming in from the various industry venues, as well as private parties, and we are compiling it for our next report that will be published late tomorrow night (Tuesday, Nov. 11).

(Posted Nov. 10, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

SEO is Dead? Writing on his LearnToDuck.com blog today (I love that name!), Lijit Networks Business Development Director Micah Baldwin said “If you do SEO for a living, you will be out of 

business or irrelevant in 3 years.” Baldwin explained his reasons for feeling that way a day after he moderated a panel on SEO and Social Media Marketing at the Thin Air Summit in Denver. Baldwin's headline caught my attention because, with the increasing interest in development among domain owners, we are seeing more and more SEO experts at domain industry conferences. I wanted to know why Baldwin thought their services were losing their value. You can click the link to his blog in the first sentence to read his reasoning. 

Baldwin closed with what he said are "the truth's of today's marketing marketplace" opining that "If you are a company who employs an agency to provide Social Media expertise, fire them. Hire an internal evangelist. Several companies are doing this. Zappos and Ford are two examples that come immediately to mind.

Michael Baldwin

"If you are a company who employs an agency to provide Search Engine Marketing expertise, fire them. First, take the principles of search engine optimization (write focused content and use clean code) and have them distributed among the important personnel (development, marketing, sales, etc.). Make SEO organic, integral and integrated into your organization. Don't “do” SEO. Dont make it a separate function. Make tracking it part of your marketing effort."

"Second, select a CMS (content management system) framework (I recommend WordPress – it works great for even non-blogs!), that supports solid SEO principles. With WordPress, install two plugins: All-In-One SEO and XML sitemaps. That's it for SEO."

"If you are a company that thinks that SEO and SMM will be the holy grail to success, please send whatever you are smoking to me. There is only one thing that breeds success, and that is passion. Hire people that are passionate about your product; that can talk about your product with passion."

As you might expect, Baldwin's post is generating a lot of pro and con commentary on his blog. It's a very thought provoking article, especially for the steadily increasing number of domain owners who want to move from parking 

to development. For most of us that requires learning a new set of skills (or hiring someone who has those skills) so it's a good idea to pay attention to the debates currently going in development related fields like SEO.
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With so much bad financial news swirling around (including reports that online advertising revenue growth is starting to slow down as the recession takes hold) we wanted to send you into the weekend with some positive information to reflect on. 

Joe Apprendi, the CEO of ad network Collective Media, is a long time veteran of the space who has been through all of the ups and downs. Few people are as well positioned as he is to put the prospects for online advertising into perspective. Joe did that in an extensive interview with Steve Smith that was posted in Smith's Behavioral Insider column today at MediaPost. You have to register for a free MediaPost subscription (absolutely no strings attached) to read the full article, "Targeting Out of a Recession", but it is well worth doing as MediaPost is a constant source of valuable insight into the online media world (which all domain owners are part of).


Joe Apprendi
CEO, Collective Media

At the start of the Interview, Smith asked Apprendi how the current slowdown compares to the last big downturn during the 2000 tech bust (when the dot com bubble also burst). Apprendi said, "When I was running ad sales at 24/7 in 2000, the rug was really pulled out from under us relatively quickly when the bubble burst. But there is a major difference between end of 2001 vs. 2008 going into 2009. Display media in aggregate is a core component of every marketer's strategy, including Fortune 1000 brand advertisers, not just the low-hanging fruit of direct marketers. So instead of it being the first to get cut as experimental media as it was back then, today it (online) is the core measurable media."

"In fact, we still believe that even though there will be a downturn in the ad economy, when people rebudget they are going to rebudget towards measurable media. There is a big difference from eight years ago in terms of the mindset of marketers who now have a tried and true media channel that works," Apprendi said. Apprendi went on to make many other salient points that should make you weekend a little brighter. 

Good generic domain names are 
like prime real estate. They 
represent vacant land where you 
can put up a PPC billboard or reach 
for the stars by developing a virtual skyscraper that towers over the surrounding landscape.

Yes, PPC income is way down from where it was a year ago, but overall, those connected to the online advertising market and online media in general, are positioned far better than most. This is particularly true of those who own quality generic domain names because those names have an intrinsic value that goes beyond their capacity to generate passive PPC revenue. Each one has the potential to be developed into a leading media property in its category, with a built-in flow of direct navigation traffic fueling the growth of the enterprise. That is a key reason that the domain aftermarket (other than at the ultra high end) has held steady despite the destruction we are seeing in the general economy (there is more on this topic in our latest monthly newsletter that was sent to opt-in subscribers).  

Certainly everyone feels the pain when the general 

economy suffers as much as it is suffering now, but how many people do you know in other fields that you would want to trade places with right now? 
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The Internet Commerce Association has posted a response to a press release issued yesterday by the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA) that erroneously 

portrayed cybersquatting as a criminal offense. It is common knowledge that cybersquatting (registering a domain name that includes a trademarked term that the registrant has no right to) is a civil matter, not criminal, yet CADNA continually makes these kinds of misrepresentations. Below is the statement released today by ICA Executive Director Michael Collins. For those not versed in trademark law, it includes many important points that will help you understand trademark issues:

Internet Commerce Association 
Response to CADNA
ICA condemns cybersquatting, but observes 
that it is a civil and not a criminal matter.

(Washington DC, November 06) – On Wednesday, November 5 The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA) released a statement that implied that 

Michael Collins
ICA Executive Director

cybersquatting is a criminal activity. CADNA said in its release "CADNA has been working diligently to further international and national policies that combat the practice of cybersquatting...As brands continue to learn about the prevalence and practice of online criminal activities..."  The Internet Commerce Association vigorously opposes cybersquatting. However, it is important to note that cybersquatting is a civil matter, not a criminal one.

There is a good reason that cybersquatting is a civil matter and not a crime. It involves a dispute between two parties about intellectual property, a protected mark. Trademark protection does not provide exclusive use of a mark in every class of commerce. Protection is even limited by geographic region in some cases. Therefore, there are many opportunities for dispute about who has rights to a mark in any given use. There are many famous marks that have multiple uses and multiple owners. This is how Olympic can be used for the famous international athletic competition that the world enjoys and also for Olympic Airlines, Olympic Arms and Olympic Paint. In fact, Olympic Paint owns Olympic.com and it is not a cybersquatter against other legitimate users of the Olympic mark. Trademark owners are already provided with two highly effective methods for dealing with the trademark abuse known as cybersquatting – the Uniform Dispute Resolution Process (UDRP) administered by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and national laws such as the U.S. Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA). Both these avenues balance the rights of trademark owners against the legitimate interests and considerable investments of domain name investors and developers.  

Under the UDRP it is the responsibility of trademark owners to create and enforce their marks against alleged infringement by identical or confusingly similar domain names. The same legal principle is the law in many jurisdictions; for example, in the U.S. this requirement was recently affirmed in prominent trademark litigation in which eBay prevailed against the luxury brand Tiffany. Disputes about trademark infringement, including disputes about domain names, should be resolved by civil courts without involving law enforcement. It would not be an appropriate use of government resources for law enforcement to expend its 

scarce resources in disputes about intellectual property unless a domain name is being used to directly facilitate a related criminal enterprise. It would not make sense for someone from the Olympic Committee to call the police if they find a picture at Olympic.com that includes a child in a soccer uniform.  

Cybersquatting is a problem that negatively impacts many businesses. Trademark owners, advertisers and domain name investors and developers alike are hurt by this abusive practice and many domain service providers employ notice and takedown complaint programs to assist trademark owners in protecting their rights. The Internet Commerce Association has adopted a Code of Conduct that prohibits intentional trademark infringement, has supported actions now being undertaken by ICANN to end abusive domain name “tasting” that facilitates cybersquatting, and will continue to support policy and legislation that effectively curbs cybersquatting and protects the rights of domain name investors and developers. However, we should all be careful to not overextend law enforcement by suggesting that it should be involved in resolving trademark disputes.
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Our free monthly newsletter is being email to opt-in subscribers today but we think it is one that everyone will want to read (it is also available online here). The newsletter contains our

latest quarterly analysis of domain sales data to see how the the domain aftermarket is holding up in the face of the financial meltdown in the general economy. We compare the recently completed third quarter of this year vs. the same quarter of last year as well as Year to Date results for 2008 (Quarters 1-3) vs. the same time frame in 2007. The results may surprise you! 

The newsletter also features more details (and new photos) from domain industry giants Dr. Chris Hartnett and Dr. Kevin Ham recounting their experiences at the Harvard Business School where they just completed the rigorous and internationally acclaimed Harvard Advanced Management Program.


Elsewhere, NameMedia has announced a free webinar November 19th on the subject of “SEO for Small Businesses.” NameMedia’s own SEO Expert Christine Smith will give an in depth look at how everyday business owners and operators can improve their Search Engine Optimization. Some of the things you can learn in the 30-minute interactive presentation include:

∙ The relevancy and importance of targeting the right keywords
∙ Why page titles and meta data matter
∙ H-1 headers tags
∙ Domain & URL structure advice and tips
∙ Internal & External linking
∙ How Webmaster Tools can help your site
∙ Robots.txt file, sitemaps, 404 Error pages and beyond
∙ Tips on site structure for local search
∙ The importance of directory listings
∙ Content, content, content!

At the end of the session, you’ll have the opportunity to have your specific questions answered. This event is free, but pre-registration is required. You can sign up here

Sedo has also announced a special event for later this month. Starting at 1pm (EST) on November 27th, they will will host a numeric-themed domain auction featuring some of the most popular and universal numbers. These include two-digit domains like 88.com, 40.com, 13.net, 70.com and less generic domains such as the prestigious Manhattan zip code, 10029.com. The one-week auction will end on December 4th at approximately 1pm EST.

Sedo is also accepting domains for this auction event.  For more information on seller criteria, owners of generic numeric domains can contact Sedo Broker Matthew Rosebrook at [email protected] or  call (617) 499-7238. Qualifying sellers can also apply directly through their Sedo account.

(Posted Nov. 5, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

We were happy to hear from GeoDomainer.com administrator Steven Morales today.  If you are a fan of the geodomain social community site you know that it has been offline for the past couple of weeks. In addition, Steven's blog about the geodomain industry at 

SimplyGeo.com had not been updated since early October. As a result, we started receiving emails from concerned readers wondering if he was OK, a concern compounded by their knowledge that Morales is on active duty with the U.S. Army.  

I contacted Steven's partner, Skip Hoagland, to find out what was happening and learned that Morales was on a military mission that had prevented even Hoagland from reaching him. Skip finally got a message to Morales and Steven in turn got back to me to let me know that was fine and to fill me in on what has been going on. The mission has kept him offline for most of the past month and while he was away a technical issue that he is still trying to resolve took down the GeoDomainer.com site. While that issue is being resolved, Morales let me know that you can reach the site though an alternate URL: 

Steve Morales

http://www.geodomainer.ning.com. Morales is getting back into the saddle now and should be a regular fixture on the domain news circuit again soon. 

Elsewhere, Sedo.com has announced they will conduct an exclusive dotMobi Auction, beginning tomorrow (November 5th) at 12 Noon (U.S. Eastern time) and ending November 12th at approximately Noon EST. The domains up for bid include bank.mobi, cellphones.mobi and computer.mobi, to name just a few. You can check out the full auction inventory here. More auction details are also available here.  

Domain industry veteran and security expert Ram Mohan has been selected by the ICANN Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) to serve as its non-voting liaison on the ICANN Board of Directors. Mr. Mohan, who is an Executive Vice President and the Chief Technology Officer at Aflias,  will be seated at the conclusion of ICANN's 33rd International Public Meeting which is currently underway in Cairo, Egypt where it will continue through Friday.

Mohan has been active in the ICANN community for many years and has helped draft new policies and guidelines related to the administration and registration of domain names, such as the Redemption Grace Period and IDN implementation guidelines. He also serves on the Steering Committee of the Anti-Phishing Working Group, the Advisory Committee of the Internet Society and the W3C, is an Advisor to the Computer Emergency Response Team - India (CERT-IN), and a Board Member of the Registry Internet Security Group (RISG)

Mohan said, “Internet security, particularly securing the Internet’s naming and addressing architecture and insulating it from vulnerabilities that can be exposed by criminals and terrorists, is one of the key challenges of our time. I am honored to have the confidence of my colleagues in the community to serve in this important position at ICANN.” 

Ram Mohan
Afilias Exececutive VP & CTO

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We want to kick off the new week by congratulating domain industry leaders Dr. Kevin Ham and Dr. Chris Hartnett on their new advanced degrees from Harvard Business School! As we 

Dr. Chris Hartnett and Dr. Kevin Ham
at Harvard Business School graduation
ceremony October 24 in Cambridge, Mass.

reported back in August, Chris and Kevin were accepted into Harvard's prestigious Advanced Management Program, the highest level executive program offered by the Harvard Business School. They joined 177 other executives from 45 countries around the world for the intensive two-month program that had them sequestered in a classroom 14 hours a day, six days a week. They successfully completed the rigorous course and were awarded their diplomas on October 24. 

In addition to their personal achievement, Chris and Kevin were able to serve as evangelists for the entire domain industry while going through the Harvard program. Chris told me that after their discussions with leaders from so many global corporations, "all of the major companies of the world now know what a “Domain” is and also have a new found appreciation for their value, Traffic and future development potential."

Dr. Hartnett and Dr. Ham are close friends and Hartnett serves on the board of the company Dr. Ham founded, Reinvent Technology. Both were featured in DN Journal Cover Stories ths year, Dr. Ham in May and Dr. Hartnett in June. We'll have more on their experiences at Harvard in our next monthly newsletter.

P.S. Just got a note from reader Brendan Regan who let me know about a recent Wall Street Journal video report on the Harvard Advanced Management program that happened to catch a shot of Kevin and Chris at work! You can see it here.

Elsewhere, in another positive development for the geodomain industry the owners of Richmond.com (The Whitlock Group) have sold their award winning site to Media General, a communications giant based in the Virginia city. The price was not disclosed but is believed to be well into seven figures (the press release is here). By spending what it took to acquire Richmond.com, Media General confirmed our belief that the future of local media belongs to the the owners of .com city domains.

I happen to be very familiar with Media General because they own the local newspaper and NBC-TV affiliate in our home town of Tampa, Florida. In my opinion buying Richmond.com was a move they had to make in order to survive in the long run.  Like many other local media companies, Media General has been taking it on the chin (especially their newspaper properties) as more and more people turn to the Internet for their news. 

I have subscribed to Media General's Tampa Tribune for 25 years but the paper has shrunk so much that it is now just a shadow of its former self. After the latest downsizing a few weeks ago I switched to the more robust St. Petersburg Times and will let my Tribune subscription lapse. I had mentally pretty much written Media General off entirely but the forward thinking they showed in acquiring Richmond.com makes me believe they now have a chance to navigate the treacherous straits from traditional media to the new media world online. I think more and more old media companies will be forced to make similar moves if they want to survive.

One final note today, Fabulous.com has announced the 10 domain names that will be sold in a charity auction to benefit the Internet Commerce Association November 19th (during the 

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Down Under conference that Fabulous will be hosting on Australia's Gold Coast). The domains (and the parties that donated them) are:

Rick Latona Auctions will handle the charity sale as well as their own live auction on the 19th. Aftermarket.com will follow on the 20th with the show's premier live auction. The conference itself will run November 18-20 with special activity days both before and after the show dates. You can read our exclusive conference preview article here

(Posted Nov. 3, 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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