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August 27, 2012

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The Lowdown

September 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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The latest T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference is now history but two more meetings for domainers will get underway over the next seven days, with both of those being held outside the U.S. First up

Cracow, Poland - host city for the 
MeetDomainers conference Oct. 3-4

will be MeetDomainers, a show that will be staged in Cracow, Poland this coming Friday and Saturday (Oct. 3 & 4). The event will include a live auction Saturday afternoon at 4:30 (local time in Cracow), powered by Aftermarket.pl, Poland's largest aftermarket site (you can view the auction list and register to bid through the link in this sentence).

 Show organizers said "Almost one hundred people will participate in this event – experts in domain investing, hosting services, web development and domain parking. Many different topics will be covered including the aftermarket, drop catching, parking 

and registration. Discussions will also focus on the ccTLD market, domain investing and legal issues as well."

The spotlight then switches to Canada where the first DomainConvergence conference will be held in Niagara Falls, Ontario from October 6-8. This event will also feature a live premium domain name auction that will be operated by Fusu, a new domain aftermarket specialist. That sale will begin at 3pm (EST) on Wednesday, Oct. 8. The auction is scheduled to run for one hour and unsold domains will go into a seven-day Internet auction. Fusu will charge a 15% fee to the seller, plus 1% of the reserve price (paid upfront) as a listing fee to encourage lower reserves. Domain owners can submit their domains via email to [email protected] until Oct. 4 (include your reserve price as well as your postal address and phone number).

Frank Michlick, the chairman of DomainConvergence, said "Our aim is to put together a great conference for the Canadian and international domainer community, filled with valuable sessions and opportunities to network. The live auction is the icing on the cake." You can get $100 off the standard registration fee of $599, by entering the code "dnjournal" when you sign up to attend. 

Elsewhere, the Extended Online Auction for T.R.A.F.F.I.C. New York will close Thursday (Oct. 2) at 3:15pm (U.S. Eastern time). More than 2,000 domains are open for bidding on the SnapNames auction platform. You can get more information and enter the auction here: www.moniker.com/extendedauction

Also don't forget that the online Bids for Kids charity domain auction we told you about last month starts tomorrow (October 1) and runs through Friday. Bidjit.com is hosting the bidding and you can check out the catalog hereSmashFactory.com is helping produce the event which will raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

(Posted Sept. 30, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Just got back into our Florida office today after being away all of last week for the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference in New York. It was an extraordinary event on every level and we will have the wire to wire details for you in our comprehensive conference review article that we expect to have ready for publication by this coming weekend. 

First we have to dive right into preparation of our new weekly domain sales report that will be a double length article this week. There was no report while I was away at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. last week so the new report will cover two weeks worth of data to bring you completely up to date on what has happened since our last report Sept. 16. Look for it late tomorrow night or Wednesday morning.

There will be at least one blockbuster in the new report. I just got word today that Sedo has completed the $1,015,000 sale of Invest.com via their GreatDomains premium auction site. That is the first seven-figure sale reported since the first quarter of this year. 

I got the news from Sedo's Kate Donahue who also told me she is getting married next month and moving to a new location 

Kate Donahue

with her soon to be husband. Kate will also take a new position at Sedo as the Marketing Manager for the UK market. Kate has been a big help to us by providing Sedo news and information and I know she will excel in her new position, just as she has in her current one. We wish her the very best as she makes all of these exciting changes in her personal and professional  life. 
(Posted Sept. 29, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

The 2008 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. New York conference ended last night with the annual T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Awards dinner and a Parked.com aftershow party at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott where 350 registrants gathered for this week's show. Moniker's live domain auction highlighted the final

day's schedule and didn't disappoint, ringing up just under $3 million when the bidding was all done. Certainly not a record total but given the severe dislocation in the  general economy and the fact that Moniker had to compete with two other live auction providers at this show (RickLatona.com and Aftermarket.com) it was a very respectable performance.  Buyers continue to recognize the value of good domain names, despite the reluctance to make large scale expenditures while there is so much uncertainty in the financial world at large.

Moniker's hit list was led by FinancialAid.com at $800,000 and also included four more six-figure sales; Floor.com ($275,000), Camps.com ($110,000), LT.com ($100,000) and Cleaning.com ($100,000). A number of .me domains also sold at impressive prices, led by Date.me at $70,000.

Auctioneer Wayne Wheat directing 
live domain auction in New York 

Right after the auction, the annual T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Awards dinner capped a very rewarding week in Brooklyn. Awards were handed out in seven categories with winners chosen by their peers in email balloting conducted among more than 2,000 voters. The most coveted personal award - 

Domainer of the Year -  went to Rick Latona, a man who has clearly been running at full throttle over the past year. Among other things, Latona rolled out a domain development service at AEIOU.com and entered the live domain auction business with an impressive debut event at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. New York that yielded $700,000 in sales. He was already successful with businesses like DigiPawn.com and Offshoring.com but with his new ventures he demonstrated over the past 12 months that he is going to be a force to be reckoned with in any category he decides to enter. Latona also writes a popular blog at RickLatona.com

In another category, three new members were voted into T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s Domain Hall of Fame; Yun Ye, Scott Day and Dr. Chris Hartnett. They join Frank Schilling, Sahar Sarid, Rick Schwartz and Ron Jackson who received the award over the past two years.

Awards also went to the individuals and companies listed in the five categories below:

Rick Latona
Domainer of the Year Award Winner

Best Overall Solution - Fabulous.com
Best New Monetization Solution - Sendori.com
Best New Developer - Kevin Ham (for Vancouver.com)
We Get It Award - Foreclosure.com
Sponsor of the Year - TrafficZ.com

We will have photos and more details on all of the award winners in our comprehensive conference review article that will be published late next week. We will also have photos and details on all of the show seminars. So much ground is covered in those we can't do them justice in the daily Lowdown posts we file during conference week but they will get the attention they deserve in our definitive show review. Incidentally, one other piece of news was released during the Awards Dinner - Skenzo.com will become the lead sponsor for the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference in 2009 when shows will be held in Silicon Valley and New York City

A storm rolled into New York while the dinner was underway but attendees were able to stay high, dry and happy at Parked.com's after show party that was held in an adjacent ballroom at the Marriott.

The Parked.com team, led by CEO Sig Solares (seated in the center of the front row) just 
before they welcomed show goers to their T.R.A.F.F.I.C. after show party last night in New York.

Some small groups braved the weather and went out on the town for a few hours before heading back to the Marriott to close out the night at the Parked.com party. Thought Convergence execs Ammar Kubba and Jay Westerdal hosted a group at Peter Luger's famous Brooklyn steak house.

With 11 guys at Peter Luger's steak house last night in Brooklyn, domainers had enough men on hand to field their own football team. Starting at the front left and going clockwise around the table are Jay Westerdal, Ammar Kubba, Rob Grant, Michael Berkens (who also celebrated his 50th birthday last night), Nat Cohen, Tim Chen, Mike Ambrose, Roland Chemtob, Roy Flanders and Adam Dicker (Ron Jackson completed the line up and was behind the camera where he belonged). 

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. provided a farewell breakfast this morning and there was also a meeting of the show's board of advisers where conference co-founders Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu announced their plans for 2009 when they will host two shows. They also reminded everyone that the first T.R.A.F.F.I.C. show outside the U.S., T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Down Under, will be presented on Australia's Gold Coast less than two months from now, running November 18-20. We intend to be there to cover it for you.

The first show in 2009 will be in California's Silicon Valley April 27-30 at the Santa Clara Marriott (which hosted a T.R.A.F.F.I.C conference in January 2006). The second one will be back at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott in New York October 20-23, 2009. Looking further ahead, they also plan to make a return trip to Disney World in Orlando in January 2010. A conference they staged there last May had lighter attendance than usual, but those who made the trip thought it was one of the best shows in the series that began in 2004.

Diana and I are staying in New York an extra day and will join Howard Neu, his

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu thank attendees for coming in closing comments last night (Sept. 25)

wife Barbara and son Ray to see Mary Poppins on Broadway tonight. Barbara, Ray and Alina Schwartz again played key roles in helping Howard and Rick stage another outstanding conference. We've just scratched the surface of what went on in our daily posts from the show but you will get the full story a few days after we get back to Florida and finish sifting through dozens of pages of notes and more than 1,000 photos we snapped during show week.
(Posted Sept. 26, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

The first full day of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. New York conference Wednesday featured two highly anticipated live domain auction debuts staged by RickLatona.com and Aftermaket.com. Latona went first at 1:30pm and his auction crew, led by 2008 world champion livestock auctioneer Matt Lowery, helped book close to $700,000 in sales.

Spotter Preston Smith (left) coaxes a bid from an audience member while 
auctioneer Matt Lowery (at the podium) directs the RickLatona.com live auction. 
Latona is sitting to the right of Lowery.

Latona's top sales were MCC.com at $195,000, CountryClubs.com at $85,000 and DayTraders.com at $80,000. Though concern about the general economy kept prices for many domains from reaching levels they would have at last year's New York conference, this was an impressive coming out party for Latona, who may well have the best marketing and promotion mind in the business.  

Aftermarket.com auctioneer Jill Doherty
 helps drum up $150,000 in sales.

At 5pm Aftermarket.com (a new domain sales platform from Thought Convergence (the parent company of T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s lead sponsior TrafficZ)  staged their first live domain auction. They took a different approach, focusing on a short list of 50 domains with lower reserve prices than you usually see in live auctions. They also brought in Jill Doherty, a talented female auctioneer who provided a nice counterpoint to Latona's entertaining crew of real life cowboys.

The end result was approximately $150,000 in sales led by Illinois.org ($31,000), MadisonAve.com ($17,000) and StayAtHome.com ($15,000). I spoke with Thought Convergence exec Jay Westerdal after the sale and he was pleased with how smoothly the combined online/in-house bidding process worked.

Soon after the auction ended it was time for a lavish dinner sponsored by TrafficZ.com that featured a keynote address from legendary New York City real estate broker Barbara Corcoran 

Barbara Corcoran delivering her 
keynote address at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 
New York
Wednesday night.

that  thoroughly delighted the crowd. Corcoran, who made millions in NYC real estate, is a frequent contributor to NBC's Today Show. She is just a delightful woman; bright, forthright and full of pleasant surprises. She didn't mind dropping a little salty language into her talk when she wanted to make a point. T.R.A.F.F.I.C. co-founder Rick Schwartz is one of her biggest fans and I can see why - they have a lot in common when it comes to saying what is on their mind and pulling no punches when they do it. 

Corcoran, who is very much a self-made millionaire, expressed a lot of admiration for domainers whom she viewed as kindred spirits. They returned the love by crowding around her for a chance to shake hands long after her talk ended. I'll have some of the details from Corcoran's speech in our comprehensive show article that will pubished around the end of next week. 

The evening closed with TrafficZ's official T.R.A.F.F.I.C. party at the Water Street Lounge on the Brooklyn side of the East River. The comfortable brick-walled old pub on a cobblestone street was a popular choice with attendees and the wall to wall crowd kept the party going into the wee hours of the morning.

Scene from TrafficZ's official T.R.A.F.F.I.C. party last night at the Water Street Lounge.

The final full day of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. New York is underway as we write this. Moniker's main event live domain auction highlights the daytime schedule with the annual T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Awards dinner and a party hosted by Parked.com headlining the evening line-up. We'll have some photos and highlights from the Thursday activities in this column tomorrow.

One other note today. Yesterday we noted we had heard reports that GoDaddy was one of two registrars (Enom being the other) that caved in to Kentucky's demand that several registrars turn over a total of 141 gambling related domains without due process for their clients who owned the domains - this even though Kentucky has no apparent legal right to make such a demand. Today GoDaddy reportedly said those rumors were not true and they did not turn over any domains. If that is the case they are to be applauded. Enom on the other hand is going to have some explaining to do. There were calls from the podium at several sessions today recommending that domain owners move their domains elsewhere (with Moniker, who refused to turn over domains, often cited as a good choice).
(Posted Sept. 25, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

When the Snowe bill came along to threaten domain owners we noted that would be just the first of many gambits aimed at separating domain owners from their assets. Now comes one

that is even more outrageous as the state of Kentucky is demanding that registrars turn 141 gambling related domain names over to that state, despite the fact that Kentucky has no jurisdiction or valid claim to those domains. Scarier still, two registrars, Enom and GoDaddy, have reportedly turned customer domains over to Kentucky, before their clients have even had an opportunity to address this attempt to hijack their domains (Editor's note: a day later Godaddy said they had not turned over any domains). The Internet Commerce Association met 

yesterday afternoon in New York just before the T.R.A.F.F.I.C  conference got underway and ICA President Jeremiah Johnston (who is an attorney) released this statement on the matter:

"The Internet Commerce Association is aware of the extreme concern of ICA members regarding the action of the Kentucky Attorney General ordering the seizure of 141 gaming related domain names. It appears that there may be no statutory basis for this unprecedented action, that Kentucky may lack sufficient jurisdictional grounds and that it also may violate the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution. The ICA intends to immediately investigate this matter, including outreach to affected ICA members as well as to those registrars subject to the Kentucky order. Once we have gathered additional information, the Board will consider further appropriate action to confront this dangerous precedent."

Michael Berkens has been on top of this issue from the start and is posting regular updates on his blog, The Domains, which is highly recommended reading on this and other industry issues.
(Posted Sept. 24, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

The 2008 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. New York conference got underway last night with a good crowd on hand at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott. Attendance appeared to be about 50% higher than at 

A T.R.A.F.F.I.C. attendee samples a few of 
the many delicacies laid out for the opening 
night cocktail party in New York last night.

the last T.R.A.F.F.I.C. show in Orlando in May. The show got underway with the traditional welcoming cocktail party in the Marriott's grand ballroom. Conference organizers told me before the show that the food at this conference would be beyond belief and they more than met that promise in this opening event. Attendees feasted on mountains of crab legs, lobster, shrimp (approximately the size of turkey legs!), sushi and a variety of other entrees and desserts. Amid the lavish layout registrants enjoyed catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.

Despite the near meltdown we are currently seeing in the general economy, the mood in the room seemed to be very upbeat and optimistic. The sentiment I kept hearing expressed by just about everyone I talked with was how fortunate we are to be in the business we are in when so many other sectors are struggling to stay afloat. Certainly everyone is concerned with what is going on in the financial world at large, but

the shift of so much business to the web leaves most feeling that there are few better ports in the storm than the one this industry is currently providing.

After the cocktail party, the first of four live auctions that will be held this week was staged by Moniker. com. This brief no or low reserve opening night sale serves as an appetizer for the larger sales that will follow. Moniker wound up generating $99,450 in sales, with more than 70% of their catalog (47 of the 65 names listed) changing hands. The top sale was Men.org at $12,500 followed by CashiersCheck.com and NetworkingJobs.com at $7,000 each.

Auctioneer Wayne Wheat conducting Moniker's opening night live auction.

Moniker's main live auction event will be held Thursday starting at 3pm U.S. Eastern time. Meanwhile there is a lot of anticipation surrounding the debut of two new live auction providers who will stage their first sales this afternoon. At 1:30PM RickLatona.com will stage a 90-minute auction and at 5pm Aftermarket.com will present their sale, also scheduled for an hour an a half. This evening a keynote speech from real estate giant Barbara Corcoran (familiar to many of you from here appearances on The Today Show) will highlight a dinner sponsored by TrafficZ.  TrafficZ's official show party will follow and run into the wee hours of the morning at a local nightspot.

After last night's Moniker auction, NameMedia invited several dozen attendees to a late night social event at the River Cafe directly across the East River from Manhattan. The restaurant, located at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge, offered a spectacular view of the New York skyline from their terrace tables.

Barbara Neu shot this photo of Diana and I at NameMedia's 
gathering at the River Cafe in New York last night.

T.R.A.F.F.I.C New York continues through Friday morning. We will have a daily post in this column with some of the highlights from each day's activities. Late next week we will publish our comprehensive review of show week with a more detailed account of show events and dozens of photos that will put you in the middle of the action.
(Posted Sept. 24, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

I've spent the day clearing the decks so I can head out tomorrow morning for New York and the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott. I've enjoyed all of the 

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. shows but this one is shaping up to be an especially interesting one. How will the debut of multiple live auction houses at the same conference work out? What kind of impact will the near meltdown in the general economy have on the auctions and the show itself? Will the show's theme "Beyond PPC" reveal any profitable new strategies to help offset the universal decline in parking revenue? 

It will definitely be an interesting mix and when you throw in the opportunity to see old friends again and make a lot of new ones, I'm really looking forward to it. Incidentally, there will be no Lowdown post Tuesday (Sept. 23) as I will be en route from Florida to the Big Apple. Starting Wednesday I will post daily highlights from the show in this column and of course, as always, a few days after the conference we will publish the industry's definitive show review article.

Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge
Site of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. New York 2008

There is going to be a lot to talk about with very little downtime is the days ahead (the show runs through Friday). As soon as my plane lands Tuesday I'll be heading to the Internet Commerce Association's annual meeting at the Marriott. It starts at 4pm and any ICA members in town for the show are invited to attend. The first official T.R.A.F.F.I.C. event, the welcoming cocktail party will get underway at 6pm, followed by the first of four live auctions - this one a brief appetizer run by Moniker that is scheduled to start at 7:30pm. The auction will be followed by a few invitational cocktail parties at nearby nightspots, so I'm sure the first night will be a late one - but that is true of every night at T.R.A.F.F.I.C.

In some other show notes, Aftermarket.com has released their their final sale catalog, joining Moniker and RickLatona.com who released their catalogs Friday. Aftermarket.com called on DomainConsultant.com to help cull their list of submissions and their catalog features DC's notes on the individual domains  they selected.

There are always sponsors who use T.R.A.F.F.I.C. as a launch pad for new products. One of the more interesting ones being rolled out this week will be the new Domainer Accreditation Program from LogicBoxes.com. In a nutshell the program provides large domain portfolio owners with consulting services that make it a snap for them to become their own ICANN accredited registrar.

Bhavin Turakhia
LogicBoxes CEO

LogicBoxes CEO Bhavin Turakhia said, "Apart from the benefit of eliminating the ‘middle man’ (the Registrar) between domain owners and their portfolios, the Accreditation also provides them with an unbeatable level of flexibility in portfolio management and even opens up newer profit centers for them."

LogicBoxes said that one of their objectives  is to dispel several myths that exist about ICANN Accreditation – the most prevalent one being that it’s prohibitively expensive. Since few domainers have the expertise required to obtain or maintain an ICANN Accreditation and handle Registrar-related issues like compliance, UDRPs, WDRPs, etc. Logicboxes will provide them with an end-to-end solution that requires minimal maintenance. Having consulted over 65 ICANN Accredited Registrars, the company has the experience and resources needed for a turnkey solution.

By the way, Bhavin is also co-founder of Directi with his brother Divyank who is profiled in our current cover story.

One other thing before we head for the airport, Sedo had announced the results from their SedoCares "Wishing Well" Promotion, inaugurated to help construct clean water wells in Ethiopia. Sedo was able to contribute $11,466 to the "Wishing Well", on behalf of each sale that occurred in their marketplace throughout August. Half of those funds, $5,733, will go to the winner of the promotion, Chris Afton James, with the other half going to CHF International who administers the well building program.
(Posted Sept. 22, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Between the latest monthly premium domain auction at Sedo's GreatDomains and the quartet of live auctions that will be held at next week's T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference in New 

York, a remarkable number of high quality domains are being offered for sale over the next seven days. The GreatDomains online auction started yesterday with Fly.com, Bicycle.com and Planet.com among the domains on the block. Their auction will end next Thursday (Sept. 25) and Sedo will be hosting an auction closing champagne celebration at their T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference booth at 1pm on the 25th. 

A couple of months ago we heard rumors from credible sources that Sedo would likely be one of the live auction presenters at T.R.A.F.F.I.C., however the company's Chief Operating Officer, Jeremiah Johnston said, “Contrary to the speculation that Sedo would be one of the auctioneers at the upcoming T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Conference, we’ve decided to focus our resources on our high-performing online auctions." 

Sedo COO Jeremiah Johnston

Though Sedo is out of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. mix, Aftermarket.com and RickLatona.com will be joining Moniker.com in presenting live auctions next week. Moniker, who was the sole live auctioneer at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. prior to the upcoming event, will run two auctions in New York. Moniker and Rick Latona have both announced their final auction catalogs (available through their links above) and Aftermarket.com has whittled their list down to the prime contenders that were released on the DomainTools.com blog yesterday. 

Latona introduced a new wrinkle by allowing bidders to start bidding online a week before their Sept 24th live auction in New York. The hammer on all of their domains will drop there on the 24th (the same day Aftermarket.com's sale will be held).  It's going to be very interesting to see how the multiple sales fare and we will of course be there to cover it all for you.
(Posted Sept. 19, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

If you are a frequent reader you know that I see .com city geo domain as the likely successors to traditional local print, audio and video media outlets in the years ahead. In  addition to carrying the local "brand name", a  city geo domain provides a platform that allows 

instant global dissemination of any form of media at a fraction of the cost required to do the same thing in a very limited geographical area through today's newspaper, radio and TV platforms. So, a new report from research firm Borrell Associates stating that "independent city dot-coms could emerge as a formidable foe to their “more mature media brethren” came as no surprise to me.

Borrell charges $995 for the full report titled What’s a Web Site Worth? Valuation Metrics For Local Web Sites, but there is an excellent summary on the Associated Cities website that is free. The AC article notes Borrell's belief that "city dot-coms, as well as other “pure-play Web sites” are better positioned for growth than Internet assets developed around local newspapers." 

"Firm founder Gordon Borrell also indicated separately that city dot-coms are logical acquisition properties for media companies and that his firm will be making that recommendation in the coming months." In my case, Borrell is preaching to the choir - I have long been a believer that this is where the media world is headed. In addition to Associated Cities' excellent synopsis, a free executive summary of the report, which was produced in concert with the BIA Financial Network, can be downloaded here.
(Posted Sept. 18, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

There won't be a Lowdown post today...well, since what I am writing now is actually a post, I should say there won't be a domain related post today. This is my wife Diana's birthday so I am going to spend the day with her then take her out to dinner somewhere we haven't been before.

I spend so much time behind the computer she doesn't see a lot of me (other than the back of my head when she walks by my desk) except on special days like this. Oh yes, and at domain conferences. Diana usually goes to the shows with me - I think primarily so she can see other human beings once in awhile. My work habits severely curtail our local social activities, so she likes to go along for the ride when show time rolls around. Diana is looking forward to T.R.A.F.F.I.C. next week in New York because it will give her another opportunity to see some of the friends she has made in the domain business and to hit the art museums. 

Ron & Diana Jackson

Diana is a painter, and that is great past time to have when you are married to a workaholic. The fact that painting keeps her happily occupied for hours at a time is good for me too -  I can feel a little less guilty about being planted in front of a monitor and keyboard almost every waking hour. She is a very patient and self sufficient person and never hassles me about being neglected. I'm not sure if that is because she is exceptionally understanding or is just happy she doesn't have to deal with me too often! In any case, we have had a great run that will hit 25 years next summer. I wouldn't have wanted to spend that quarter of a century with anyone else.
(Posted Sept. 17, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

It's showtime again! The T.R.A.F.F.I.C. New York conference gets underway one week from today at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott where the event will run Sept. 23-26. This is shaping 

Moniker CEO Monte Cahn makes a point 
at the company's T.R.A.F.F.I.C. live auction 
at Disney World in Orlando last May.

up to be an especially interesting conference as show organizers Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu take things in a new direction (they talked at length about this in an exclusive interview that we published in our latest monthly newsletter that was sent out to opt-in subscribers at no charge).

The most talked about change is the scheduling of multiple live auctions, with Moniker.com staging two (a brief one on opening night, Sept. 23, and their main event on Sept. 25) that will compete with sales presented on Sept. 24 by both Aftermarket.com and RickLatona.com. Moniker's Sept. 25 sale will include several high profile domains from the .me registry including Buy.me, Rent.me, Date.me and Love.me among others.

Aftermarket.com called on 

DomainConsultant.com to help them fashion a a tight list that the DC folks say "will be fast, focused and full of value, full of ‘deals’, full of excitement...This is not your grandma’s domain auction!" Rick Latona is bringing in a world champion auctioneer to run his event and to undrescore that he is in the live auction business to stay, Latona has already signed on to stage another sale at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Down Under conference coming up in Australia November 18-20.

Another highlight of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. New York will be a keynote speech from real estate expert Barbara Corcoran, a frequent guest on NBC's Today Show. Corcoran is going to talk about the links between real world and virtual property. A major end user, Brad Geisen, will also be there to talk about his purchase of Foreclosure.com and how that led him to buy Property.com in what the parties involved say is one of the most valuable domain deals on record. Many details of that deal will reportedly be discussed and disclosed for the first time. Wall Street Journal Online reporter David Kesmodel will also be on hand to sign copies of his book, The Domain Game

There are lots of reasons why, despite the proliferation of shows, it is still well worthwhile to make it to one whenever you can. I likely never would have met the subject of our new September Cover Story, Divyank Turakhia (or most of are other previous Cover Story subjects) if T.R.A.F.F.I.C. had not appeared on the scene in 2004 to provide a central location where like minded people could meet face to face to get acquainted, compare notes and do business. The opportunity to personally connect with so many key players in one place at one time is priceless.

While we are talking about conferences it is a good time to note that the February 19-21, 2009 Domainer Mardi Gras show in New Orleans that we told you about a few weeks back now has a live site online

Divyank Turakhia

with more conference details. The event, staged by Parked.com and Modern Domainer Magazine will be held at the Westin Canal Place Hotel adjacent to the French Quarter. Given the New Orleans location, the time frame (which is the weekend before Mardi Gras) and the track record of the people putting it on, you can bet that this event will be a blast. 
Sept. 16, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

BusinessWeek magazine has named California domainer Daniel Negari as one of America's Best Young Entrepreneurs for 2008. The popular magazine does an annual round up of the

most promising future moguls from the 25-and-under age range. BusinessWeek said, "We asked BusinessWeek readers to nominate candidates aged 25 and under who are running their own companies that show potential for growth and establish the talent of the founders behind them. Given the current credit crunch and the ailing economy, we were pleased to receive a record number of nominations this year."

After sifting through the nominees, BusinessWeek selected its finalists and now the public is voting to determine the winner. The field will be reduced to the top five vote getters who will be announced at the end of this month. You can vote for Negari here (Negari and his company, Beverly Hills Mint, are the fifth entry on the ballot).

Daniel Negari
(Photo from BusinessWeek.com)

Beverly Hills Mint is a high-end real estate finance business brokering commercial and residential loans worth $5 million or more. The company now has 14 commission-only brokers and two employees. Negari says Beverly Hills Mint took in $650,000 in 2007.

Though Negari's domain investments are not mentioned in the BusinessWeek profile, the 2006 Southern Cal graduate  has become active in this industry and many domainers have gotten to know him through the private domain forum at TargetedTrafficForum.com and as an active bidder in aftermarket domain auctions.
(Posted Sept. 15, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Every two years the esteemed Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C. releases the results of an exhaustive survey that reveals where people go to get their news and information. The latest biennial report has some fascinating data that goes beyond confirming the migration of news consumers to the web that we are all familiar with. It also shows that the demographics of the web audience is far more attractive to advertisers than the audience still relying on traditional media. 

Pew broke survey respondents into four distinct categories:

  • Integrators (23% of the public) - they get their news from multiple mediums led by TV, radio and the Internet.

  • Net-Newsers (13%) - It's the web only for the younger crowd.

  • Traditionalists (46%) - They stick to old school media.

  • Disengaged (14%) - They have little interest in news no matter where it comes from.

While the traditional sector is still the largest, it is rapidly shrinking and those users are the oldest with an average age of 52. In addition, they are the least educated. 60% have no more than a high school education and 43% are unemployed. By contrast, the Integrators are affluent and highly educated. The Net-Newsers are also affluent and even more highly educated (eight of ten have at least some college). The Net-Newsers are also the youngest with an average age of 35. These are the consumers advertisers covet and that is why ad dollars are flooding the web (and a big reason why domain values have held up well in the midst of a major economic downturn).

Since the1990s, the percentage of Americans who say they read a newspaper on a normal day has plunged by almost 40%; the percentage that regularly watches network TV news each night  has fallen by 50%. The statistics are stunning and there is a lot more interesting demographic data in the full article, so check it out if you want to learn more about why the place you do business - the Internet - is the place to be.
(Posted Sept. 12, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

The product of another joint venture between a premium generic domain name owner and a partner with site development, capital and business relationship expertise has been unveiled at 

SlideShow.com. In June Domain owner Gil Benatar contributed the name to the Slideshow.com, LLC that is jointly owned by Benatar and Domain Strategies. Within two months the attractive fully developed site for for posting, sharing and publishing presentations and pictures was up and running.  

Domain Strategies President and CEO Scott Fasser said, “We combined technology from Identity.net for single sign-on, iPaper for publishing from Scribd.com, open source image management, as well as proprietary content in order to create Slideshow.com.”  Funding for the site came from Rob Monster's Seattle-based Monster Venture Partners

Monster said, "Gil has been an ideal business partner for this venture, not only because of his contribution of the premier domain name in the

Scott Fasser
Domain Strategies President/COO

space, but also for his 20 years of knowledge and expertise in the development of presentations and communication tools. The initial site is a foundation for growth into the premier online utility for posting and sharing presentations in a secure environment using the Identity.net user management framework.” 

Benatar said, “I was interested in building a great business on the Slideshow.com domain and the approach by Rob Monster and Scott Fasser of Domain Strategies was the perfect fit for my situation. The fact that we were able to research, plan, build and launch a relatively complex site within a couple of months was very impressive.”

You'll be hearing more and more stories similar to this one as owners of top domain names enter partnerships to get their properties developed. I am aware of several such projects currently underway that involve well-known domain owners. Partnerships like this are the logical next step beyond PPC for those looking to take their assets to another level and free themselves from dependence on Google or Yahoo.
Sept. 11, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Sedo.com has announced they recently brokered the $500,000 sale of LI.com. That will rank among the year's ten biggest sales when we chart it in our weekly sales report next Tuesday 

night. The news was included in a Sedo press release this morning about the September GreatDomains premium online auction coming up Sept. 18-25. That sale will feature Fly.com, Planet.com, Brews.com, Gaps.com and Address.net among others.

The domain aftermarket continues to hold strong despite the downturn in the general economy and falling PPC revenues in the domain industry. Sedo CEO Tim Schumacher said, "We have seen increased participation each month, a higher percentage of domains sold and higher average sale prices, and this latest auction will build on our success."

Our latest weekly domain sales report provides further evidence of continued interest in high quality domain names. Our new Top 20 chart is headed by a trio of six-figure sales, led by RVRental.com at $325,000
(Posted Sept. 10, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

A founding member of the Internet Commerce Association, Rick Schwartz, has announced his resignation from the non-profit domain industry trade group. Schwartz detailed his reasons for leaving in a post on his personal blog today. Schwartz concluded his post by saying "The bottom line is I had very little influence inside and sitting at the table. I am hoping I can do more to shape things from the outside."

As an ICA board member (I accepted an invitation to serve as an independent director a few months after the organization was founded in the fall of 2006), I knew Rick's announcement was coming and the reasons for his decision. Like so many domainers, Schwartz is a self-sufficient entrepreneur who is used to calling the shots and seeing immediate action as a result. Running an organization by committee, as is the case with the ICA, can be extremely frustrating for anyone who is used to running their own business. 

As everyone knows from his public comments, Schwartz has strong opinions about how things should be done and he has never shied away from voicing his opinions in board meetings as well as in personal discussions we have had about the ICA. I have always respected him for

Rick Schwartz

his candor and there are points he and I firmly agree on, especially the need to see much better daily communication between the ICA and the domain community. 

I still believe the ICA is the best hope for the domain community to survive the increasing assault they are facing from forces who completely missed the domain opportunity, but now want to change laws and policies so they can take domain owner's assets away from them. If there had been no ICA, odds are the Snowe bill would have sailed through Congress unopposed this year, leaving domain owners in dire straits. Many similar and even more threatening challenges lie ahead. 

Without question the ICA can be improved and the best way to do that is for more people to get involved and step into leadership positions. The current board will vote in the next annual meeting (to be held this month at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. New York) to expand the board so more people will have a role in determining the group's direction. The ICA can be shaped entirely by the community, but only if more community members get involved. 

So, do  I think Schwartz was wrong to walk away? Not at all. In fact I think that the hope he stated, that he could be more effective from the outside, could indeed be the case. As with all outspoken figures Schwartz has his supporters and his detractors. Many of the detractors refused to support the ICA effort for the sole reason that Schwartz was involved in founding the group. They mistakenly believed that the ICA was somehow a vehicle to further his personal agenda (and the agenda of other founding members). It has never been that, and this break should make that obvious to everyone. 

The founders envisioned an organization that would give domain owners strength through unity. Unfortunately, being the independent lot that they are, only a fraction of domain owners have heeded Ben Franklin's sage comment during the American Revolution, "If we don't hang together we shall hang separately." 

I'm sure that Schwartz will remain vocal about what he thinks the ICA should be doing and the ICA would do well to consider his comments and those from everyone else in the community in setting the course ahead. However as with any other group effort, no one is going to get everything they personally want. Compromise, as unpalatable as it can be at times, is often necessary to keep an organization intact. The key is whether those compromises end up producing something that is stronger and more beneficial to all members than the alternative - leaving an unattended gate wide open for enemies to flood through. 

For his part, Schwartz has done nothing but generously contribute both time and money (more than $100,000) to the ICA effort. If the organization continues to grow and improve and become what everyone wants it to be, Schwartz will deserve much of the credit for that. It is regrettable that he feels he can no longer support the association, but for the long term health of the ICA, I think it is good for the leadership to keep changing so that the community can see an organization that represents ideas and the common good, rather than any person or group of individuals. 

In just two years, four of the original six founders have already left the board - Schwartz, iREIT, Straat Investments and Frank Schilling (though Schilling still makes a no strings attached founding member level contribution to the organization each year). New members have come onboard and more are wanted. By January I will have spent two years as an independent director. I am certainly willing to step down and let another fresh face fill that role. The cause, protecting domain owners and their rights, is what is important. If, like Rick Schwartz, you believe that cause is not being served well enough now, you can help fix that.

Former ICA Board Member and 
current supporter Frank Schilling

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

The .pro registry relaunched the seldom-used extension this afternoon with lower price points that .pro backers hope will generate some interest. One of the primary .pro registrars, Encirca

is charging $24.99 for the first year of registration, with subsequent years priced at $49.99 each. Still extremely pricey compared to .com but less than previous .pro levels that were around $99 annually. Registry restrictions  

have also been eased. .Pro was originally aimed at licensed professionals who could show valid credentials but now looser "self-certification" means if you claim to be a licensed professional they will take your word for it. 

Bido.com, one of the scheduled live auction providers for the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. New York conference coming up Sept. 23-26 has pulled out. Bido recently suspended online auction sales on their site due to ongoing technical issues. That leaves Moniker, RickLatona.com and Aftermarket.com as the live auction providers at this show - the first to feature live sales produced by competing venues. In addition to their main sale on Thursday Sept. 25, Moniker will be running an opening night auction Tuesday Sept. 23 that is to feature approximately 50 domains from the private collection of conference co-founders Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu.

.Mobi fans might be interested in a trade show coming to San Jose Oct. 6-7 called the Mobile Content & Marketing Expo. A two-day pass to the event at the San Jose Marriott costs 

Skip Hoagland

$995. A one-day pass is $595 but admission to the Expo Hall and certain special events will be free if you register before Sept. 24 ($50 if you register after that date).

Finally today, congratulations to Skip Hoagland on a new partnership that will have him involved in developing Cairo.com. Hoagland told us Cairo.com will be developed by Geo Domains New Media, a division of his primary company Domain New Media LLC. Hoagland said "this will add to our Middle East partnerships and network which include Alexandria.com, Amman.com and TelAviv.com. Cairo.com is a huge global tourist destination and we are very excited about this newest addition to our company. We will offer services to others who do not have the desire or time to develop these valuable assets and at the same time do not want to sell them either."

(Posted Sept. 8, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Parked.com hosted a dinner party last night in Tampa, Florida where the well-known domain monetization company is based. Clients and domain owners from around the Sunshine State were invited to the event at Jackson's Bistro on Harbour Island, overlooking the Hillsborough River.

Photo above: Some of the Florida domain owners at a Parked.com 
dinner party Thursday night (Sept. 4) in Tampa.

Photo below: At far left CEO Sig Solares and Christian Higgins were among the Parked.com 
team members who welcomed guests from the Tampa Bay area and other parts of the state.

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Howard Neu, his wife Barbara and son Ray (who has become an avid domainer) traveled the furthest distance, driving over from Miami. Internet Commerce Association Executive Director Michael Collins also made the trip, driving in from Orlando. Parked hosted the casual affair to give local domain owners a chance to get together with each other and, despite living in the same area, some were meeting in person for the first time. 

Facing the camera in the photo above are (left to right) Butch Decossas (Parked.com), 
Howard Neu, Barbara Neu, Diana Jackson and Ray Neu. In the foreground  facing away 
from the camera are Parked.com's Monte White (left) and Sig Solares (right).

As the domain industry continues to grow, local gatherings like this will become more commonplace. Everyone on hand had a great time and truly appreciated Parked.com's role in bringing everyone together. 
(Posted Sept. 5, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Verisign has released their latest quarterly Domain Name Industry Brief covering the second quarter of 2008. The new report shows demand for domain names continuing to surge

At the conclusion of 2Q 2008 168 million domains were registered worldwide, a 22% jump over the same quarter last year. Despite a deteriorating general economy, this also represents a 4% rise over the number of registered domains at the end of 1Q 2008. 

One of the hottest growth areas was .com and .net registrations in Latin America. In 2Q 2008, those enjoyed a cumulative surge of 31%, outpacing worldwide growth for .com and .net by 11 percentage points.

Country code domains also continued to show solid growth. 65 million ccTLDs were registered at the year's midpoint, a 27% jump from the last year and a 4% rise since the last quarter. 

The ten largest TLDs in total registrations remained in the same order they were in the previous quarter: 1) .com  2) .de  3) .cn   4) .net  5) .uk  6) .org  7) .info  8) .nl  9) .eu and 10) .biz. 
(Posted Sept. 4, 2008) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Is the world ready for still another domain conference - especially one that will be staged on just four weeks notice? Before you run screaming for the exits, hear me out. According to 

information we received this afternoon, the first Canadian domain conference of its kind, Domain Convergence, will be held in Niagara Falls, Ontario October 6-8. In addition to giving our friends north of the border a meeting of their own, the fact that this one is being organized by industry veteran Frank Michlick means it is worth taking a look at. Frank is the co-founder of both SharedReviews.com and DomainNameNews.com and also operates an industry events calendar at DNCalendar.com

Frank Michlick
Domain C

Michlick said "The focus of the Domain Convergence conference is to foster an open information exchange. Too often in our industry there is an air of secrecy and mystery. This conference is a forum for people of all portfolio sizes and earning levels to come together and share their insights." Michlick added that the conference will focus on domain name development and monetization as well as domain portfolio management.

Domain Convergence will be held at the Marriott Fallsview & Spa in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. Early bird registration is available through September 10. A limited number of rooms are available at a reduced rate of $179 and can be reserved through the conference information line (800) 614-3780. In addition, there are a few sponsorship opportunities still available.

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

I hope all of our U.S. readers had a relaxing and enjoyable Labor Day weekend. I took the name of the holiday a little too literally and spent most of the 3-day holiday weekend working. The results are in our latest monthly newsletter that went out to opt-in subscribers Saturday

and a new feature article about David Kesmodel, the author or The Domain Game, that was published yesterday. I think you will find both of those pieces well worth reading. 

In the story on Kesmodel, the author talked about the string of obstacles he had to overcome to get his landmark book about the domain industry into print. The Wall Street Journal reporter told us how he managed to keep the book alive after the original publisher bailed out, what he would do differently if he had a second chance and what the domain industry can do to clean up its image.

Our new newsletter started out as a preview of this month's T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference in New York, but quickly grew into something bigger. While talking with us 

David Kesmodel
Author of the The Domain Game

about the show's agenda and "Beyond PPC" theme, T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s outspoken co-founder Rick Schwartz sounded off on what he sees as a series of major threats facing the domain industry.

Rick Schwartz
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder

Schwartz laid into cyber squatters, PPC companies, registrars and even "show fatigue." Whether or not you plan to be in New York for the Sept. 23-26 show, the points that Schwartz raises are thought provoking and worth discussing (as many are currently doing in threads at the three major domain forums; DNForum, NamePros and DomainState).

One other note today, Due to the Labor Day holiday in the U.S. Monday, this week's sales column will be published one day later than usual - on Wednesday night (Sept. 3). We normally receive sales data reports from the leading aftermarket venues each Monday, then write the column on Tuesday for publication that night. With the U.S. based companies closed Monday it was necessary to shift the production schedule accordingly.

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

HOT LINK: The concerns of all Americans on this Labor Day holiday are with our countrymen in New Orleans and along the Louisiana coast where category 3 Hurricane Gustav is hitting today. An Intercosmos Media Group team including Parked.com CEO Sig Solares is currently at the company's high rise office in New Orleans where they are posting storm information on a live blog at GustavBloggers.com
(Posted Sept. 1, 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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