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September 15, 2013

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The Lowdown
ly 2010 Archive
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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
updated daily
to fill you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry. 

The Lowdown is compiled by DN Journal Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.

Who Are They? Now We Know! Readers Help Us Match Names With Industry Faces  

In my last Lowdown post I asked readers to help us identify some people in our massive industry photo archives that I did not have names for. As I expected, our readers came through like champs! To start the first of what I expect will be many identification quests, I posted the shot of the two lovely ladies in the photo below that was taken at the 2008 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. New York conference and asked anyone who knew them to send me their names. The story quickly

took a spooky twist that makes me believe ESP is real

A couple of hours after posting the photo a random thought went through my mind - "If there is anyone I don't know Laura Schmidt will know them." Now Laura, who produces the Domain Roundtable conference, certainly knows a lot of people, but the same can be said for others who have been in the business for awhile. So I wondered why Laura's name specifically popped into my head. A short time later I was back at my computer and there was a note waiting from, you guessed it - Laura! As I told her - cue the Twilight Zone music! And sure enough she had the answer too - identifying Paolo Antik and Debbie Santoyo

Paolo Antik (left) and Debbie Santoyo

In addition to names, Laura had the back story for me. Paola had worked for Yahoo and then TrafficZ but has since left the industry (don't worry she will be back - no one can get this business out of their blood for long!). Debbie is also a Yahooite and the two of them had gone to T.R.A.F.F.I.C. New York to represent the company. First case closed!

While identifying two people might seem like a small thing to you, it is a huge help to me. When industry people pop up in the news I was having a hard time finding the best photograph (or finding one at all) among the tens of thousands of photos on my hard drive. Someone told me

Picasa Logo

about Google's Picasa program and it his been a Godsend (it is also free - amazing considering what a time and work saver it is). 

If I have a photo of someone and know their name, I can enter the name under the face in one photo and Picasa, using facial recognition, will then scour my hard drive and pull up every picture I have with that person in it and copy thumbnails into an album for that individual! Suddenly I could look up any name and see, in some cases, hundreds of shots of that person along with the exact location of the original photos on my hard drive. It made it a snap to find the best possible available shot of anyone in our database. That's why I want to identify the people in our files whose names I do not have.

Publishing some of those photos I need IDs for also gives me a chance to introduce you to some industry people you may not have known before either and it puts some fresh faces in DN Journal alongside the old standbys we have all come to know so well. 

By the way, I found that I need to give someone else credit besides Laura. Barbara Neu, who is the wife of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. co-founder Howard Neu, is a terrific photographer, so at the end of most T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conferences, she and I trade copies of each other's camera cards. When I got the names I needed from Laura and pulled up the original photo again in Picasa I noticed it was in one of my folders of photos taken by Barbara - so she gets credit for that great shot of Paolo and Debbie. I might have known - Barbara always takes the best pictures!

Since my first call for help yielded positive results I'll post another photo next week and we'll see who can be come up with an ID first next time.

Barbara & Howard Neu
at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas 2010

(Posted July 29, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

New Feature at DNJournal.com: Who Are They? Help Us Match Unidentified Domainers With Their Photos! Plus, More Upcoming Conference News

Over the years I have taken thousands upon thousands of photos of domainers at industry events around the world, including domain investors, company representatives, speakers, etc. While I try to get to know as many people as I possibly can, I noticed in going through our massive photo archive recently that we have hundreds of photos of people whose names I don't have on file. I would like to change that. I have always been a big believer in trying to put a name with a face when industry people come up in the news. I think that photos add a dimension that help all of us get to know each other better and in a small industry like ours where personal relationships can be invaluable, that is especially important. 

To match up more of our photos with names I decided the best course would be to call on our readers for help. Once or twice a week, for the next few weeks, I will post a photo from our files. If you can identify the person (or people) in the photo, send me an email (editor at dnjournal.com) with the person's name and if you have it, how I can reach them to verify the identification is correct. Also include the URL to the Lowdown post (or the day it was posted) so I can bring up the photo you are identifying.

I'll see what kind of response we get over the next month or so and if it looks like this idea will help me match up enough unidentified people with their photos, I will make it more fun in the future by setting up a reward system of some kind for the first person who provides a verifiable accurate ID  (I still have to give some thought 

to what those rewards might be - I would like to offer a choice from among several options so winners can pick something they can use - might be a domain company T shirt, a free DNJ classified ad, cash or whatever other cool thing we can come up with).

To see if this will fly, let's try some test runs over the next 30 days. I'll post a photo along with when and where it was taken. If you can ID the person (or persons) send me an email - again, editor at dnjournal.com. If it is YOU in the picture by all means let us know! When we get a 

verified ID I'll publish it in a follow-up Lowdown post along with the name of the first person to come up with the correct identification. It could be fun on a lot of levels, not the least of which will be introducing you to some new people that haven't been featured in our pages before. 

As any publisher will tell you, nothing gets people's attention quicker than a pretty face (fortunately in our business the pretty faces are accompanied by a lot of brain power too!). So, let's start with the photo at right. These two lovely ladies were photographed at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. New York conference in September 2008. Who are they?

Who are they?

We also have a couple of notes on upcoming domain conferences for you today. The keynote speaker for the DOMAINfest New York Power Networking Day coming up August 18 at the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan has been named. That will be David Mason, Senior Vice President for the AOL Content Platform. Mason joined the company when AOL acquired StudioNow, which he co-founded in 2007 and developed into the world's largest web-based video creation platform.  A veteran technology entrepreneur and e-commerce pioneer, he started one of the first Internet bookstores in 1994, which later became Buy.com. With all of the interest in video and creating content on websites, Mr. Mason's talk should be a very interesting one.

We also have an update on Chef Patrick's DN Cruise - the first domain conference on a cruise ship - coming up October 11-15. The Carnival Cruise Lines boat will leave Miami and make stops at Key West and in Cozumel, Mexico before returning to South Florida just in time for the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. South Beach conference October 19-21

For those who may have been on the fence about whether or not to take the cruise, host Patrick Ruddell just posted a money back guarantee in a You Tube video today. 

You can also find answers to the most common questions about any the cruise/conference on a FAQ page at DNCruise.com. I will be on the boat as well as at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. South Beach the following week. Hope to see you there!

(Posted July 27, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Domaining III Adds Castello Brothers As Keynote Speakers For Next Month's Conference in Spain + NameDrive Names Kamila Sekiewicz to Key Position

Two weeks ago we told you about the Domaining III conference coming up at the Hotel Sorolla Palace in Valencia, Spain September 23-25, 2010. This is the third annual edition 

of Spain's biggest domain conference, an event started in 2008 by Inverdom CEO Dietmar Stefitz. At that time we told you that Sedo CEO Tim Schumacher would be one of the keynote speakers. Today we learned that two more industry leaders, Michael Castello and David Castello (of Castello Cities Internet Network Inc.) will fill the other keynote slot (Michael and David were profiled in one of our most popular Cover Stories ever in December 2006). In addition to their keynote address the Castello Brothers will conduct a seminar, "Domain Names & The Power of Branding." 

Michael and David Castello (above) will join Tim Schumacher as keynote speakers 
at Domaining III in Valencia, Spain September 23-25

You can learn more about the Domaining III conference and register at the show's website (the site can be viewed in Spanish, English or German - click on the flag icons to switch languages).  

Elsewhere today, our congratulations go out to Kamila Sekiewicz who has been named as the new Director of Business Development at domain monetization service NameDrive.com. With this new position Kamila returns to the domain industry after taking a short break following her previous position as an International Senior Account Manager at Sedo

We also want to let you know that after 40 shows Owen Frager is bringing his Domain Success webcast series to a close Wednesday (July 28) when his special Power Lunch guest will be Rob Monster, the Founder of domain development platform Epik.com. Frager said, "Rob will show us how to transform dormant domains into revenue generating powerhouses through complete traffic and revenue transparency and 50/50 revenue share."

The one-hour webcast will air at 2pm (U.S. Eastern time) on Wednesday. There is no charge to listen in - all you need to reserve a spot is register here.

Kamila Sekiewicz
Director of Business Development

(Posted July 26, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

.CO Just Went Live Tuesday But  Domain Aftermarket Sales Sites Devoted to the Extension Have Already Popped Up

The newly re-launched .CO extension just opened for general registration Tuesday but before most new .CO domain owners even had time to change their nameservers new websites, forum and Facebook threads popped up offering newly registered .CO domain for sale. the highest 

profile sales site among them is Flipping.co by virtue of the fact it was launched by Francois Carrillo. Francois is the force behind a series of popular industry websites including news aggregation service Domaining.com, appraisal site Valuate.com and all extension discount sales site BargainDomains.com to name just a few.  

Carrillo's value proposition for Flipping.co includes free listings for anywhere from 15 days to 6 months and a sales commission of just 7% (escrow fee included). With other busy sites like Domaining.com in his network Carillo has the advantage of being able to drive traffic to .CO listings on his site.

Just how much of an aftermarket there is for .CO domains at this very early stage remains to be seen. The registry itself has said this is an extension for developers rather than those hoping for a quick profit by selling newly acquired domains. .CO has a higher registration cost (typically $25-$30) than .com so that puts added pressure on sellers to turn domains over quickly before they start getting eaten up by renewal fees that are almost four times higher than .com. That being the case, Flipping.co appears to be well positioned because quick flips are going to be more important for .CO domain owners  than most others.

In related news, the .CO registry reports that total registration passed the 300,000 mark today. That's an impressive number for just 72 hours on the market, especially given .CO's premium pricing.

.CO developers also got some good news when Google confirmed they would treat the extension as an international TLD rather than look at .CO as purely a country code extension. ccTLDs are usually favored in search results within their respective countries but usually do not have such high visibility in other markets. .CO is officially the cTLD for Colombia, but the nation decided to re-launch the domain this year and open it up for use around the world. 

One other note today, Great Britain's Jilo Media, headed by James Iles, has launched a new website at DomainersWorld.org, a resource that Iles describes as "a guide to the best registrars, blogs, development services and drop catchers, as voted for by site users."

The voting process is the site's hallmark. DomainersWorld.org profiles the major domain service providers and blogs and then gives visitors the opportunity to vote for a particular service or site if they have found it useful. Visitors can also leave comments about the service or blog. Iles said, "It gives new and experienced domain investors the chance to find out what services other domainers like, what blogs they read and which forums they visit.

(Posted July 23, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Five Shows in 14 Days! With the Addition of Two MeetDomainers Events in August Next Month's Domain Conference Schedule Will Be The Busiest Ever 

Things supposedly slow down in the summer but that certainly won't be the case for the domain conference circuit next month. In fact August will end up being the busiest show month ever with no less than five major conferences scheduled between the U.S. and Europe. The calendar is actually even more jam-packed than it looks at first glance because the five events will be shoehorned into a period of just two weeks in the latter half of the month!

In recent weeks I have already told you about three of those shows (DOMAINfest New York, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Dublin and the SedoPro Forum in Boston) and today I have details on two more events that have been added to the August mix. In an effort to keep things straight,

let's run through all five of them in chronological order and in the process I will give you some extra details that I just received today about two MeetDomainers shows coming up in Europe next month. 

The one-day DOMAINfest New York Power Networking event will kick off the summer conference marathon on Wednesday August 18 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan

The very next day, Poland's third annual MeetDomainers conference will get underway at the Sofitel Grand Hotel in Sopot, Poland where it will continue through August 21

The MeetDomainers show was founded by Daniel Dryzek two years ago and debuted with a show in Krakow, Poland. The event's 2009 sophomore outing was held in Warsaw, Poland. Dryzek dropped me a note today and said this year's show will advise attendees using tax havens to pay lower taxes, how to find and develop profitable domains and how to run a 

successful internet business. Speakers will include "Man of the Year in the Polish Internet" and Ernst & Young "Entrepreneur of the Year" award winner Michal Branski as well as Andrzej Paczuski - voted the best tax advisor providing services to the financial sector in Poland. 

There will also be extensive networking opportunities and for those who want to combine pleasure with business, the conference schedule also includes a full day of beach activities in Sopot. More information about the show is available here.

Three days after the MeetDomainers show concludes, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Dublin will get underway in Ireland at the Shelbourne Hotel (a national treasure built in 1824). T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Dublin will run August 24-26, then, just a day after T.R.A.F.F.I.C. ends, the spotlight shifts back to 

MeetDomainers and that group's first ever UK show. That event will be held at the Hilton Deansgate Hotel in Manchester August 27-28. 

DDfund.eu and NameDrive joined forces with Dryzek to bring the MeetDomainers conference to the UK. They promise to bring together top domain investors, entrepreneurs, developers & SEO experts from around the world for this event.

Though NameDrive is best known for their domain parking service, the organizers say the focus of this show will be domain development. Lesley Cowley of Nominet and Bryan Lip of 

Expedia are among the confirmed panelists and our friend Morgan Linton has also reportedly agreed to attend and speak. The 1st day of the conference will feature panellists and parties with the following day highlighted by Paintballing with the idea that working in teams will encourage networking.

On August 31, three days after MeetDomainers Manchester ends, Sedo will welcome invited guests to their U.S. home base in Boston for a SedoPro Forum event - the first of several meetings on a SedoPro World Tour. If past SedoPro events (the most recent having been held in Key West, Florida last October) are any indication, the Boston meeting (a two-day event ending Sept. 1) will be a real treat.

There will also be plenty of show activity in September and October but we will save that for another day. However, for those who really like to plan ahead, I have to add that Domain Roundtable announced on their Twitter feed last night that they will be returning to the conference fray March 1-4, 2011 at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. No other details were released but a conference site is up and details will be posted there when they become available. 

Domain Roundtable is staged by Thought Convergence (parent company of TrafficZ). Their last show was held in Washington, D.C. in June 2009. Several weeks back Thought Convergence CEO Ammar Kubba told me the company had decided to give Domain Roundtable this year off while they considered how they wanted to position the conference going forward. 

At that time Ammar told me the idea was to go upscale and make it a truly memorable event that would stand out from the pack (when we spoke, show producer Laura Schmidt was 

already out scouting locations around the world). The spectacular 2011 venue shows they are going full steam ahead with their new vision for Domain Roundtable.

(Posted July 22, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Bulletin: After 7 years of tracking the domain aftermarket we saw something this week that we've never seen before - non .com domains took more places on our weekly Top 20 Domain Sales Chart than .coms for the second week in a row. Last week non .com's outnumbered .coms 11-9. The score was the same this week (in both cases the non .coms included eight ccTLDs and three non .com gTLDs). Get all of the details in our new weekly domain sales report.

(Posted July 21, 2010)

.CO Gets Off to a Fast Start - O.CO Sells for $350,000 and Total Registrations Pass the 100,000 Mark Within 30 Minutes of Launch 

The .CO extension opened for public registration this afternoon (at 2pm U.S. Eastern time) and the re-launched TLD (officially the country code for Colombia, but now available to anyone worldwide) got off to a blazing start. In the months leading up to the start of general 

registration 39,000 .CO domains had been taken during the Sunrise and Land Rush periods, however within 30 minutes of today's open registration launch, the total number of .CO domains taken had soared past the 100,000 mark and they were still going strong as of this writing.

The extension also got a major boost when it was announced that Overstock had purchased the rights to O.CO from the registry for a whopping $350,000. While that is a very nice chunk of change, the registry should receive even more value from having a USA Today Internet 50 Index company putting a high profile .CO domain into everyday use. Corporate adoption and promotion is the real key to success for any extension that wants to achieve widespread public recognition.

While no registry has the resources to make their extension a household name on their own, the .CO Registry has done a phenomenal job of putting .CO on the radar of everyone in the domain business, as well as a significant number of people in the business world at large. Their marketing team, led by registry CEO Juan Diego Calle and Director of Marketing Lori Anne Wardi has been working around the clock for the past few months to keep .CO at the center of industry conversation. With many new extensions expected to launch in the years ahead, I think you'll see a lot of new registry operators use their playbook in an effort to break through the TLD clutter. 

.CO certainly got Overstock's attention. Their Chairman and CEO Patrick Byrne said "In the new era of the Internet, where short and memorable web addresses are critical for capturing the attention of mobile and socially connected Internet users, our O.CO web address will help to reinforce our brand and expand our business among these audiences." By the way, for the very interesting back story on the Overstock - .CO connection, check out Michael Berkens' account of how it germinated at a cocktail party during the recent ICANN meeting in Brussels (with Michael himself playing an important role). 

(Posted July 20, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Open Registration at Everyday Prices Just Hours Away for .CO Domains - Also in the News: Sedo, Rick Schwartz, ICANN and Canada's Rick Silver

The general public can start registering  .CO domains at everyday prices starting Tuesday (July 20) at 11 registrars that have been selected to offer the newly re-launched extension. Each registrar will set their own retail price but it look like most will fall in the $25-$30 range. 

.CO is officially Colombia's country code but that nation decided to open the TLD for global use, allowing individual registrants to take advantage of the fact that "co" is a popular abbreviation for a number of terms, with "company" being the one I think of first.  

There are several other items to bring you up to date on today . A couple of weeks ago we told you about a new format for the SedoPro Forum that is transforming what had been an annual conference for Sedo's best clients into a "World Tour" that will take it to a number of cities in the months ahead. At the time we noted Sedo planned to put up more details on a dedicated website, including registration and hotel information. That site 

is now online at SedoProWorldTour.com. The invitation only conference series starts in Boston (home of Sedo's U.S. headquarters) with a two-day event August 31-September 1

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference co-founder Rick Schwartz is reporting another big generic domain sale - Punchbowl.com - a name he sent to Punchbowl Software Inc. for an undisclosed sum. Though this sale was subject to an NDA, knowing Rick it is unlikely he let the name go for less than six figures (he rarely lets any name go for less than that).  

ICANN has some important public comment deadlines coming up. An issue that is of special concern to domain owners is an proposal to change the domain transfer process.  The idea is to enhance security and reduce hijacking but many believe the initiative could disrupt the aftermarket by allowing a seller to undo a transfer months after it has been completed.  

Fabulous.com Operations Manager Peter Stevenson 

posted a comment today that nicely sums up what is at stake (thanks to George Kirikos for the link to this). The deadline for making your voice heard on this is Sunday July 25. You can post your comment here.   

Another deadline for public comment on a Registrant Rights Charter and Improvements to the Registrar Accreditation Agreement is coming up July 30. For more background on this issue you can read the comment posted by Mr. Kirikos here. You can post your opinion here

Rick Silver

Finally, in case you missed it - we posted a new Cover Story over the weekend - a profile of n49 Interactive Founder Rick Silver titled Country Code Alchemist: How .CA Devotee Rick Silver Is Turning Canadian Websites Into Gold

Silver rules an online empire built on his nation's relatively unheralded country code extension - .ca - an extension that most others routinely overlooked. While there is no doubt that .coms still rule the Internet roost, ccTLDs have been coming on like gangbusters over the past couple of years, making Silver's bet on top tier generic .ca domains look smarter with each passing day.  

The new cover story will take you through the entire journey that led Silver to where he is  today –

a trip that began when he became the first member of his family born on Canadian soil after his parents had barely escaped the Holocaust. I think you will find his story to be fascinating on both a personal and a business level. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.  

(Posted July 19, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

New Partnerships Allow Skip Hoagland to Expand His Empire Again With the Launch of Shooting.com and CarClassifieds.com

Skip Hoagland's ever expanding Domains New Media network has expanded yet again with the launch of Shooting.com and CarClassifieds.com. Hoagland, who was profiled in our July 2008 Cover Story, has one of the world's best portfolio's of .com geo and generic keyword 

Skip Hoagland
Founder, Domains New Media

domain names. As Hoagland explained in our article, he has managed to develop many of his outstanding domains into popular websites (including Atlanta.com, MyrtleBeach.com, BuenosAires.com and Fishing.com, to name just a few) by forming partnerships with skilled designers and developers. 

Hoagland applied that successful strategy again to transform category killing domains Shooting.com and CarClassifieds.com into new destinations online. Hoagland worked with cousins Juan Pablo (J.P.) Reynal and J.J. Reynal of Buenos Aires, Argentina based Patagonia Publishing Company S.A. to get Shooting.com off the ground.

 Patagonia is a well-established publishing company that has produce numerous books, videos and websites since being founded in 2000.  Like Hoagland, J.P. and J.J. are avid 

hunters and anglers - self described "outdoor fanatics - so the men had an instant rapport that led to their business partnership. 

J.J. Reynal
Patagonia Publishing Company S.A.

Juan Pablo. Reynal
Patagonia Publishing Company S.A.

The Reynals set up Shooting.com as a social and interactive online network devoted to hunters in U.S. and around the world. Visitors can post their own photos, videos, stories and hunting knowledge on the site and participate in Shooting.com's specialized forums. 

Hoagland has also become a major player in the Classified Ad space and owns dozens of product and geo-targeted classifed as domain names. To get CarClassifieds.com developed he joined forces with Tony French, the President & Co-Founder of Automotive Internet Media, a premier integrated media and lead distribution company.

With the weakening (and even demise) of many of the country’s newspapers over the past few years - and over a billion dollar decline in traditional classified ad revenue - CarClassifieds.com expects to help fill the void with an online automotive classified site that lists millions of new and used vehicle for sale.  

French pointed out the many advantages the web provides over fading traditional classified platforms.  “When many people think of classified advertising, they usually think of text-only running down a narrow column in the newspaper, generally with no pictures,” French said. “With online classifieds, you’re not limited by the boundaries of print.”  

Tony French, President
Automotive Internet Media

"CarClassifieds.com provides the vehicle price, descriptions and options, multiple photos, seller’s contact information, optional vehicle videos and more. Consumers can get an appraisal on their trade-in, communicate with sellers, shop for insurance and save money on financing - all in one place without leaving their home.” 

Hoagland noted, “My philosophy has always been to team up with the right partners. I was very impressed by what AIM had accomplished in such a short time, but what is important to me is their understanding of the automotive industry and their expertise in SEO – a powerful combination.” 

One other note today - this is the final day of the .CO Land Rush (the period when the most desired domains are available at premium prices before general public registration begins). You can claim a Land Rush domain through any one of 10 .CO Accredited Registrar partners, including GoDaddy.com, Register.com, Network Solutions, eNom, InternetX, Dotster, Melbourne IT, OpenSRS, My.co, and Dominio Amigo, or any of the resellers within each registrar’s extended networks. When more than one party seeks the same domain those names go to auction.

General registration of .CO domains will begin on Tuesday (July 20). From that point on anyone can register a .CO domain at lower everyday prices that will be set by the various registrars whom the .CO Registry has authorized to offer the extension.

(Posted July 16, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

.ORG Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary - Do You Know What the 1st .ORG Domain Ever Registered Was? Plus, DevHub Gets a Game-Based Makeover

The venerable .ORG registry is celebrating its 25th anniversary this week. It was on July 10, 1985 that the first .ORG domain name was registered. That was Mitre.org, a domain claimed by the MITRE Corporation, a not-for-profit organization that provides systems engineering, research and development, and information technology support to the government.

.ORG was one of the six original generic top level domains (TLDs), along with .com, .net, .edu, .mil and .int. From the start, .ORG was meant primarily for non-profit organizations but it has always been open for anyone to use. Over the years .ORG had acquired a high level of trust among internet users and, with more than 8.5 million registered names, .ORG  is universally recognized around the globe.

The .ORG registry has been operated by the Public Interest Registry (PIR) since 2003 with partner Afilias providing registry and DNS services that ensure the reliability and security of the popular extension. Since PIR took over the .ORG contract from the original registry operator, Verisign, seven years ago, the number of .ORG domains registered had jumped by close to 300%, a testament to the extension's key role in the domain name system. 

One other note today - DevHub.com has launched the latest iteration of their large scale domain development platform. DevHub Sr. VP Mark Michael said the upgraded system solves a huge problem for publishers who want to turn their domains into live websites. 

"The biggest problem in site publishing is the fact that so many people start building a site/blog but NEVER finish!" Michael said. "We figured it out! and within a week's time we saw a 500% increase in sites/ blogs completed."

So how did they do it? Michael said, "Think: Wordpress + Farmville + Adsense = DevHub.com. Over the past six months we've built a system that enables guided, fun online brand building (beyond just website creation) that is directly associated with a game of building a city/empire. We also have analytics, quality control, etc. that enables us to place great monetization next to content and pay out monthly to our users. It's a game that pays it users! There are levels/modules to unlock, awards based on custom ‘tracks’ the publisher uses, devatars, a  marketplace and more." 

For those who prefer to work without the gaming aspects, those can be turned off, so it looks like the new platform has a very good chance of keeping everyone happy. It is certainly a fresh approach to the mass development conundrum.

DevHub Sr. VP Mark Michael speaking
at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Vancouver (June 10, 2010)

(Posted July 15, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Fresh Off Their World Cup Win Spain Is Now Gearing Up for the Country's Biggest Domain Conference + Oversee CEO Jeff Kupietzky's CNBC Interview is Now Online

Domain conferences continue to spread around the globe and another international event - one you may not have heard about before - is coming up at the Hotel Sorolla Palace in Valencia, Spain September 23-25, 2010. Domaining III (this site can be viewed in Spanish, English or German - click on the flag icons to switch languages), will be the third edition of an event started in 2008 by Dietmar Stefitz, CEO of Inverdom (Spanish language site/English site). 

Last year's show attracted 90 domain professionals who owned a cumulative total of approximately 200,000 domain names. Stefitz said he expects growing local interest in domains to draw a record crowd for the event this time out. He has already confirmed Sedo co-founder and CEO Tim Schumacher as one of the keynote speakers for Domaining III.

Stefitz said, "Domaining III is the leading industry event in Spain, attracting the country's most important domain name investors and online entrepreneurs. With top domainers from across Europe also cominng in, we are sure this event will be a win win for all attendees."

Stefitz  said the conference agenda will cover the latest market trends through seminars, workshops and networking. "Additionally, important issues like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the potential of new country code top level domain name extensions (ccTLDs) or the potential conflicts in terms of intellectual property will be discussed," Stefitz added. 

Oversee President & CEO Jeff Kupietzky

One other note today - when I was vacationing in the Carolinas at the beginning of this month I unfortunately missed Oversee.net President and CEO Jeff Kupietzky's live appearance on CNBC-TV where he was given an opportunity to explain the value of high quality domain names to a huge mainstream business audience. 

I'm sure many of you missed the live broadcast as well. Fortunately, thanks to YouTube, the four-minute segment Jeff was featured on is now available online. You can check it out for yourself here (this would also be a good link to send friends and acquaintances who wonder if you actually work in a real business!) 

We've all been waiting for the day when the value and importance of good domain names become common knowledge on both Wall 

Street and Main Street. Kupietzky helped moved the ball downfield for all of us with his well prepared appearance on the influential cable network.

(Posted July 13, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

How Directi Livened Up ICANN's Latest Meeting: Inside Their Brussels Beerfest at the World's Best Stocked Bar

As most of you know by now, the latest international ICANN was held in Brussels, Belgium June 20-25. A lot has been written about about the various policy issues discussed there (new gTLDs were among the hot topics) but the event wasn't limited to dry banter about technical matters and Internet governance. Directi's LogicBoxes and Skenzo units saw to that by hosting an invitational Brussels Beerfest on the night of June 22nd at the Delirium Cafe

This was not just any old beer tasting event. If you are a beer aficionado you probably know that the Delirium has been cited by the Guinness Books of World Records for having the largest variety of beer commercially available at any one place on earth - more than 2,000 types in all! To give you another metric that puts it into perspective - the beer menu is 3" thick! We, or course, sought out pictures to put you inside the event. 



Directi Co-Founder Bhavin Turakhia 
was on hand to welcome guests.

Directi made sure guests knew they had 
arrived at the right place  by stationing 
staffers outside the Delirium Cafe.

The servers had to be the 
most popular guys in the place!

After a long day of ICANN meetings guests 
had a chance to get better acquainted.

Above: Just a small section of the sumptuous buffet that assured guests 
would find the perfect food to go along with their beer choices.

Above and below: The Delirium Cafe proved to be 
the perfect venue for socializing with friends old and new.

Above: Judi Berkens (wife of TheDomains.com blogger Michael Berkens
visits with good friend Gregg McNair of PPX International

Directi's Vishal Manjalani (left) catching up with friends at the company's Brussels Beerfest.

If you really love your beer and want to see who else had a chance to sample some of the 2,000 brews, Directi has posted 173 photos from the event on their Flickr page for your enjoyment. 

2,000 beers. That sounds like it could be just enough to have one for each of the unlimited number of new gTLDs ICANN's hopes to roll out over the next two or three years.

(Posted July 12, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Weekend News Roundup: .CO Land Rush Extended, CFIT Wins Another Round Against Verisign & New Domain Auction Developments

Since returning from vacation Tuesday I've been playing catch up while simultaneously putting out a new double length domain sales report and working on our next Cover Story that will be out the first of the week. As the week progressed there were several interesting industry developments that I wanted to pass along to you before getting back to work on the Cover Story.  

First, the .CO registry announced that, due to high demand, their Land Rush period that had been scheduled to end Tuesday (July 13) has been extended to Friday, July 16. Land Rush is a period when the most desired domains are made available at premium prices before general public registration begins (open public registration of .CO domains will begin July 20th). 

The .CO registry says 26,000 premium .CO domain names have already been registered with many being taken by top global brands and Fortune 500 companies. Nicolai 

Bezsonoff, the chief operating officer of .CO Internet, said " July 16th will be the last opportunity for corporations, major brands, start-ups and individuals to secure their desired domains early."  On July 20, all unclaimed domains will be added to the general pool and released on a first-come, first-served basis.

You can claim a Land Rush domain through any one of 10 .CO Accredited Registrar partners, including GoDaddy.com, Register.com, Network Solutions, eNom, InternetX, Dotster, Melbourne IT, OpenSRS, My.co, and Dominio Amigo, or any of the resellers within each registrar’s extended networks.  The registry said Land Rush domains are priced at a premium level "to reflect their high value and high demand." Prices average between $250 to $300, depending on the registrar. 

If more than one Land Rush application is received for a particular domain name, it will be auctioned to the highest bidder. 

The Coalition for ICANN Transparency (CFIT) has won another skirmish in its long running legal battle with Verisign in which, among other things, CFIT is challenging Verisign's sweetheart no bid contract with ICANN. That arrangement has led to a steady stream of price hikes on .com and .net domain names, the latest of which just went into effect July 1. 

In the latest round Verisign had asked the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for a rehearing after the court had overturned a 

lower court's dismissal of the CFIT case. On Friday, the 9th Circuit denied Verisign's request. One of the CFIT attorneys, Bret Fausett, released the news and you can read the entire decision here (.pdf file). 

From this point (barring a settlement of some kind) Verisign could try to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, otherwise it will be tried by the District Court. So, it will still be awhile before the final chapter is written in this saga.

There is also some news on the domain auction front. Moniker and SnapNames completed their first ever .US showcase domain auction on Thursday and the results were better than many expected. 35% of the domains listed were sold (30 of 86 domains totaling $42,127), led by Flights.us, a name purchased by an end user for $11,770.

AirlineTickets.us and CreditReports,us were next at $3,600 each, followed by Psychics.us ($2,915) and Gadgets.us ($2,050). I put a few domains into the auction myself and sold three at an average price of $1,100 each. That is right at the level I average in selling .US domains to small business end users so the outcome was better than I would have predicted for an industry auction.


As the .US auction was winding down Moniker and SnapNames announced they will stage a live premium domain name auction on Wednesday, August 18 during the DOMAINfest® One-Day Power Networking Event at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City.

The catalog is packed with generic gems including Quotes.com, Rate.com, Stocks.com, StockQuotes.com and Reggae.com to name just a few. The auction will run from 4:00-7:00pm 

(U.S. Eastern time) on August 18 and will be followed by an extended online auction that will run through Wednesday, August 25 at 5 p.m. (U.S. EDT).

(Posted July 10, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

SedoPro Forum Moves To New "World Tour" Format Featuring Multiple Events Around the Globe - Plus WhyPark Announces Major Upgrade With New Domain Apps

After running four annual gatherings (the most recent being held last October in Key West, Florida) the SedoPro Forum is switching to a new "World Tour" format that will begin next month with a get together in Boston, the home base for Sedo's North American operations. That meeting, to be held August 31 & September 1, will be the first in a series of events that will be staged worldwide

A Sedo spokesperson said the company hopes this new "World Tour" approach will accommodate a more diverse group of clients, who aren't always able to attend a single annual SedoPro event due to the location or timing. 

With the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Dublin conference (August  

24-26) occurring right before the newly announced SedoPro event in Boston, a number of domainers may choose to go directly from Ireland to Boston to enjoy some more Celtic pride. Sedo said guests will be given a taste of local culture and entertainment the Massachusetts metropolis. 

The Boston conference will kick off a series of events  that will take place in seven different cities on four continents throughout the upcoming year. Other locations are to include Seoul, Korea; Tuscany, Italy; London, Cologne, Germany and two other yet to be named locations in Australia and South America. Sedo said a new SedoPro event website, with full event details, will be up some time next week and will include information regarding discounted reserved room blocks. The events will be spaced out so guests can attend one or all of the events worldwide.

The SedoPro Partner Forum is a different animal than the mainstream domain conferences like T.R.A.F.F.I.C. and Domainfest Global. Where those shows cover a broad range of industry issues and trends and attract registrants of all kinds, SedoPro Forums are special corporate events that are staged primarily to thank top clients and business associates for their support.  

Elsewhere, WhyPark.com (the scalable domain development division of Parked.com, Ltd.) has announced a major upgrade to the service. The company said a new suite of Domain Apps will allow users to "add depth, relevant engaging content and functionality, through the use of one-click installs, to domain names hosted at WhyPark."

WhyPark founder Craig Rowe said, "Customers have been demanding new engaging applications that will attract and retain visitors to their sites.  Domain Apps By WhyPark offers just that through relevant search engine friendly text as well as video, photos and data.”

The new Domain Apps available to WhyPark customers include Comparison Shopping, a Hotel Directory, Local Business Listings, Online Flash Games, Twitter Stream, Weather, Web Directory and YouTube Videos. Several of the Domain Apps provide new revenue stream opportunities including the Web Directory and Comparison Shopping Apps. To learn more about Domain Apps by WhyPark, you can visit http://www.whypark.com/domainapps/.

One other note today, a special .US showcase domain auction being staged by Moniker and SnapNames will end Thursday afternoon (July 8) at 3:15pm U.S. Eastern time (12:15pm Pacific). The auction features a number of generic gems including, Candy.us, Slots.us, Now.us, FederalGrants.us and CreditReports.us, to name just a few.

(Posted July 7, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

A Memorable Summer Vacation in a Corner of the Country That the Internet Forgot

My wife Diana and I just returned from a delightful summer vacation that, for the first time I can remember, took me beyond the long reach of the Internet over the entire 4th of July weekend. Before completely escaping the clutches of the web, we started the trip last Wednesday (June 30) in Asheville, North Carolina, a popular destination in the mountains that grace the scenic western edge of the state. We went to Asheville because we had always wanted to see the famous Biltmore Mansion, the largest private residence ever built in America. 

The Biltmore Mansion in Asheville, North Carolina 
(that's Diana sitting on the edge of the fountain in the foreground)

The 175,000 square foot home, featuring 250 rooms - including 40 bathrooms - was built on a stunning 8,000 acre estate by George Washington Vanderbilt over a six-year period from 1889-1895. It is still owned by his descendants today but the house and its fabulous gardens have been open to the public since 1930 and the estate attracts more than one million visitors annually. The house is even more spectacular inside but photos are not permitted indoors so unfortunately I can't share those sights with you. If you ever get the chance to go see it for yourself, do it - I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

We spent a couple of days in Asheville, then rented a car and drove a little over two hours south to historic Abbeville, South Carolina (the first meeting to consider seceding from the Union was held there in 1860 and five years later, Confederate President Jefferson Davis met in Abbeville with his top generals to decide whether or no to continue fighting the Civil War. The decision to surrender was made and later executed by General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox).

The Hearthside Manor, the bed and breakfast where we stayed in Abbeville, South Carolina

Abbeville's rich history and lovely Victorian homes (we stayed in one - a charming B&B called the Hearthside Manor) were not the reason we went to Abbeville though. Our oldest daughter and her husband had bought a lakefront vacation home on Lake Secession, about 15 miles northwest of Abbeville, a little over a year ago and invited us to come see it and spend the 4th of July weekend with them and their friends. They live across the state in Charleston and have been driving the four hours to Abbeville almost every weekend since they bought the place. I don't like to drive around the block and couldn't understand why anyone would make that kind of trip so often. Now I know.

Above: View of Lake Secession from the lakeside house. 
Below: Out on the lake July 4th with our son-in-law Pat at the wheel of their pontoon boat.

We had no Internet access at the lake and cellphones worked only occasionally, leaving me disconnected from the outside world for the first time since I entered the domain business. I am usually busy every waking minute so spending every hour of every day just enjoying the scenery and talking with family and new friends made time feel as if it had slowed to a crawl. Though we were away less than a week, it felt like I had a month-long break from the normal routine.

The people who have homes at the lake have formed close friendships and spend a lot of time together. On the evening of the 4th, we joined about 30 people (including kids, parents and grandparents), at neighbor Chris Brown's  house for a big cookout. Brown owns a popular local grocery store (Corley's Market in Greenwood, SC) and he knows how to do a cookout right. As darkness fell, we all set up chairs along the house's shoreline to watch the annual fireworks display the city stages at the lake.

Above: Moving our chairs down to the shoreline to watch the July 4th fireworks display.
Below: A rocket explodes over Lake Secession

Tuesday it was time to pack up and reluctantly return to the real world. I love the domain business and living in Florida, but the Carolinas have an environment that is hard to top. There are a lot of great places to visit or live there and even more great people  - Southern Hospitality is not just a slogan there, it's the way people live and treat the people they meet. They made this one of our most memorable and enjoyable vacations ever.

Now it's time to get back to work. There is a busy week ahead. I expect to publish a double-length weekly domain sales report tomorrow evening and in the next Lowdown post I'll recap some of the things that are currently happening in the domain business. By the first of the week we will also have a new Cover Story out (a profile of one of Canada's top domain investor/developers) and a new monthly newsletter is also in the works. So, though I've been AWOL the past week, you'll see a lot of me in the days ahead!

(Posted July 6, 2010) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

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