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August 27, 2012

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The Lowdown
August 2011 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.

Hurricane Irene Pays an Unwelcome Visit to Domainers Along the Eastern Seaboard

I had the Weather Channel on through much of the weekend following Hurricane Irene's destructive tear up the Eastern seaboard from North Carolina all the way to Maine. With the storm passing through major population centers like Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston, I knew that a lot of people from our industry were experiencing the storm first hand and was hoping they would escape personal injury or serious property damage. I've heard from a couple but it will be awhile before the storm's full toll trickles in (though experts agree the damage will run into the billions of dollars). 

Some are just now getting back 

Hurricane Irene (NASA Photo taken from space)

online after losing their electricity for nearly two days. Long time friend and fellow domain investor Richard Meyer, who lives near Baltimore, told me he electric went out Saturday night around 10pm and he didn't get it back until after 2pm today (Monday). Fortunately, Richard's property weathered the storm well and his biggest loss may be limited to the contents of his freezer. As more people get their power back, allowing them to get back online, I'm sure we will hear a lot more from friends and relatives in the affected areas.

Rob Grant happened to be visiting friends in Rye, New York when the storm hit and while riding in their car the group got caught in the tidal surge that came in from Long Island sound. Rob sent me a picture of their predicament and fortunately, though the car was totalled, they all made it back to dry land soaked but safe and sound. As high as the water is in the photo below, Grant said it was taken an hour before high tide when the water went even higher. 

Domain investor/developer Rob Grant was riding in this car when it was swamped 
by the tidal surge Hurricane Irene pushed ashore on New York's Long Island

Last fall I was among those onboard the Carnival Imagination cruise ship for the first DNCruise conference when the boat had to be diverted from its original destination, Cozumel, Mexico, when Hurricane Paula blew up unexpectedly in the Gulf of Mexico and chased us thousands of miles east to the Bahamas instead. Though game nights on DNCruise were a blast, I'm hoping we won't be playing "Dodge the Hurricane" again when DN Cruise II leaves from Tampa next Monday (Sept. 5)!  Cozumel is on the planned itinerary again and I like our chances of actually making it there this time (and even if we don't I'm sure it will be a lot of fun with the domain crowd that will be onboard).

One other  note from the conference front, the current $1,595 registration rate for the 2011 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference coming up October 16-19 at the Ritz Carlton on Ft. Lauderdale Beach expires Wednesday night (August 31). Prices go up to $1,795 on Thursday.

Show organizers also announced there will be no online bidding for the conference's live domain auction on October 18. They will accept phone bids from those who pre-qualify and register to bid at least 72 hours before the event.

Pool area at the Ritz Carlton Ft. Lauderdale Beach 
where T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2011 will be held October 16-19.

(Posted August 29, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Left of the Dot Media Claims a Major Success With Their New Method of Domain Monetization

Left of The Dot Media Inc. (LOTD) created a lot of buzz when the new domain monetization company introduced itself during a Test Track session at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference in 

Vancouver, Canada in June 2010. As we noted in our review of last year's show, "Left Of The Dot's business model revolves around monetizing sub-domains of generic keyword domains. For example, one of their clients is Beef.com. Left Of The Dot finds companies in the beef business (many of whom currently have poor websites or no websites at all) who will pay to use the Beef.com brand by having Left Of The Dot build a website for them on a subdomain such as Angus.Beef.com or Alberta.Beef.com." 

The company's co-founders, Chris Jensen and John Lyotier, told the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. audience that names following that convention do very well in the search engines, almost immediately increasing visibility for their customers. 

Chris Jensen (left) and John Lyotier of LeftOfTheDot.com tell a 
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Vancouver audience about their new company in June 2010.

The LOTD platform caught the attention of the new owner of Importers.com, an investor who originally intended to ditch an existing website and park the domain after buying it last year. Instead the owner decided to let LOTD see if they could do something more profitable with it.

According to a note I got from Chris Jensen this week, LOTD's efforts have produced a home run with Importers.com. After investing nearly a year in re-tooling the site, LOTD has re-launched Importers.com as an online B2B marketplace for businesses looking to trade with G20 partners. Jensen said, "In cooperation with the new owners, Left of the Dot built has created an attractive, well-organized and safe new trading environment and the international business community is responding by signing up at the rate of over 800 per week for the import export marketplace."

By rebuilding the site rather than junking it, LOTD also retained businesses that had signed up at the original site so they now have a community that has over 400,000 members, making Importers.com a a realistic, North America-centric alternative to online B2B behemoths Alibaba.com and TradeKey.com. Jensen noted, "those sites are valued at $10 billion and $2 billion respectively. The existing sites value their customers at between $50 and $120 each, which gives Importers.com an implied value of at least $17.5 million – not bad for a business that essentially came for free."

Jensen added, "International trade is now hugely dependent on web-based services and Importers.com was one of the first sites that allowed Small Medium Businesses (SMBs) to find international partners... After considerable consultation with SMBs the new Importers.com allows businesses to get online via Marketing 

Names (for example, HardWood.Importers.com), get found via search engines (hundreds of this domain’s existing Marketing Names rank in the Top 3 results on Google, Yahoo and Bing), find customers via trade leads and establish credibility via rigorous Trust Certification."

LOTD co-founder John Lyotier said, "A memorable generic name like Importers.com is equivalent to quality real estate, the Park Places and Boardwalks of the domain industry. Importers.com represented the virtual equivalent of renovating an entire city center and giving businesses all the tools they need to grow and prosper – it’s good for each business and good for the community. The key for us is enabling importers and exporters to lease their very own sub-domains (Marketing Names) off the Importers.com brand so that they can become a valuable part of the community."

Jensen concluded, "We think that similar potential exists for many other premium domain names and the purpose of the Left of the Dot model is to unlock this potential and provide alternatives to ad based revenue." Barely a year since they broke from the gate, it looks like LOTD is off to a great start.

(Posted August 25, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

On Your Mark, Get Set GO! 5 Conferences Scheduled Over the Next 8 Weeks + Sedo Adds New Member to Management Team 

There were far fewer domain conferences in the first half of this year than we've seen in the recent past, but things are about to get busy on the show circuit with at least five industry 

events scheduled over the next eight weeks in the U.S. alone. DOMAINfest will get things started with their Meet-up in New York City Tuesday night (August 23). The event will run from 7-10pm at the Mad46 Rooftop Lounge (located atop the 19th floor of The Roosevelt Hotel on Madison Avenue at 46th Street.) 

In addition to the networking dinner at the heart of the meet-up, a four-week long Moniker online auction is being held in conjunction with the event. Bidding on several hundred domains opens Tuesday afternoon and will continue until the sale closes at 3:15pm (U.S. Eastern time) on Tuesday, Sept. 20

On the opposite side of the U.S., new gTLDs will be the topic of the 2011 .Nxt conference that runs Wednesday through Friday (August 24-26) at the InterContinental Hotel in San Francisco. Then, two weeks from today (Monday, Sept. 5), the second edition of DNCruise (the only domain conference on a cruise ship) gets underway when a Carnival ocean liner leaves the port of Tampa, Florida for stops in Grand Cayman and Cozumel, Mexico before returning to Tampa Sept. 10.

Three weeks after the cruise, the first ever Geo Publishers Expo will get underway in Chicago with a Friday evening reception at the Fairmont Hotel. That even will continue Oct. 1-2 with most of the bright lights from the geodomain industry in attendance. 

The conference run ends with a grand finale - the only T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference of the year - an industry extravaganza that will be held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on Florida's Ft. Lauderdale Beach October 16-19

Today, show organizers Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu released details on the show's revamped live domain auction that will be held October 18 at 4pm (U.S. Eastern time). They are adopting a new domain submission and commission plan (detailed at the link above) that they believe will produce a much livelier event. 

Though I won't be able to make the two conferences this week, I will be attending and speaking at all of the latter three; DNCruise, the GeoPublishers Expo and, of course, the granddaddy of them all - T.R.A.F.F.I.C. I'm looking forward to seeing many of you at those events.

One other note today, Sedo has added a new member to their management team. Thies Lindenthal, a veteran internet entrepreneur and researcher, will bring his scientific expertise (and a PhD in Real Estate) to the domain pricing field as Product Manager for Domain Pricing. Sedo recently partnered with Lindenthal to develop IDNX, the first standard price index for domain names that uses real estate valuation methodology to accurately assess the domain name market. IDNX will continue to be an independent project.

Sedo CEO Tim Schumacher said, “Thies's expertise and experience with online commerce, coupled with his scientific background in economic and real estate research, are the ideal combination to help grow Sedo’s domain pricing service into the industry leader.” Lindenthal added, “I am thrilled to combine my passions for the domain market and real estate research at Sedo. I look 

Thies Lindenthal
(Photo: courtesy of epri.eu)

forward to continuing work on IDNX, and to bringing my research to Sedo in order to develop transparent, industry-leading domain pricing services for the marketplace.”

(Posted Aug. 22, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Domainers Going Back to Africa This Fall to See The Water School's Life Saving Work in Person

If you are a regular reader you know that the domain industry, rallied by PPX International Chairman Gregg McNair, has been a big supporter of The Water School, a non-profit organization that has developed a cost effective water purification program that is saving lives in Africa and other developing nations around the world.

McNair has led groups of individual domainers to Africa for both fundraising events (like climbs of Mount Kilimanjaro in 2010 and 2011 that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars) and "Vision Trips" that let Water School supporters see the great work the organization is doing in person by visiting villages where The Water School system has been deployed. 

McNair will do it again October 29 - November 2, 2011 when he will lead an industry group on the next Vision Trip to Kenya. They will be visiting  the world renowned Maasai Mara Game Reserve while they are there as well as visit Water School project sites in the Nairobi area. 

If this sounds interesting to you, you should know that you can go on the trip too! Other than the round-trip airfare from wherever you


PPX Chairman Gregg McNair

are to Nairobi, one set price ($2,257 for individuals or $3,542 for double occupancy) will cover all other costs, including all hotel accommodations, meals, ground transportation, the safari at the Maasai Mara Game Reserve Park and round trip airfare between Nairobi and Mara.

The trip was conveniently scheduled to start the day after ICANN's 42nd Public Meeting concludes in Dakar, Senegal. That will allow ICANN attendees to take an overnight flight from Dakar to Nairobi, then connect to the Maasai Mara flight and arrive there in time for lunch. 

In addition to being a once in a lifetime adventure your participation will also benefit a great organization that has made a huge difference in thousands of lives (more on that in a moment). Here is the full agenda for upcoming trip:

For more information you can contact Gregg at this email: ggg @ ppx.com. There are also more details about the trip, Kenya and the Water School in this flyer (.pdf file) about the Fall 2011 Vision Trip. 

To give you a little more background on The Water School. it was founded in 2007 by Bob Dell, a water scientist, and Fraser Edwards, a businessman with decades of experience in partnering with indigenous leaders to implement lasting change (I have met both men and have been very impressed with their sincerity, selflessness and skill sets). Lack of safe drinking water and adequate sanitation is the leading cause of illness in developing countries as it was in western nations a hundred years ago. Repeated episodes of waterborne diseases can push children to the brink of survival, leaving them weak and malnourished and unable to survive common childhood illnesses, let alone attend school.

The Water School program integrates health and sanitation education programs with the Solar Disinfection (SODIS) technique that effectively changes contaminated water to safe-drinking water. The science of SODIS has been proven with over 25 years of research from the science community. Clear plastic bottles are filled with contaminated water and placed in direct sunlight for one sunny day or 2 cloudy days. The UV rays of the sun effectively kill pathogenic microorganisms making the water safe for human consumption.

It is such a cost-effective solution that a  

$50 donation can provide safe drinking water for a family of five for life! That's what I call stretching a dollar and it is a key reason I am among the many in the domain business who are excited about what The Water School has been able to accomplish. 

(Posted Aug. 19, 2011)

Domain Broker Media Options Expands Into Daily Deal Space With DX.com

Most of our readers are familiar with Andrew Rosener's domain brokerage company Media Options. The company regularly sends out a popular email list of domains for sale. Media Options is breaking new ground now though, having just entered the hot daily deal space with a new subsidiary at DX.com

The clever new platform aggregates all of the local deals being offered in the United States and Canada by more than 400 Daily Deal companies. DX.com plans to expand into more international territories as well. 

Rosener said, "Our value proposition is that instead of receiving 10 - 20 emails per day from all the various daily deal companies (over 60 in New York City alone!), you can get just 1 email from DX.com with all the deals in one place, one email, one website." 

Rosener is confident that having a rare two-letter .com domain name to base the platform on is also likely to give his new venture a head start when it comes to credibility. "I believe that by using the name DX.com (Online Deal Exchange) there will be an inherent trust factor with clients that will separate us from the pack of other sites with odd names that few can remember," Rosener said.


Andrew Rosener
CEO, DX.com 

The site just went live this week and Rosener said you will be noticing a number of improvements with each passing day. "Very soon we'll be adding more functionality that will allow users to select specific categories of deals that they would like to receive and which ones they do not want to receive," Rosener noted, adding. "We still have some aesthetic finishes to complete, but we wanted to get the frame work launched and start building a customer base ASAP."

That's a wise move as you can expect more aggregators to pour into the exploding daily deal space. By acting  quickly and taking advantage of a memorable, high end domain, Media Options has a chance to hit a real home run with DX.com.  

(Posted Aug. 18, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Former ICANN Staffer Says Organization's CEO Rod Beckstrom was Fired + Those Seeking Web-Based Business Funding Invited to Apply for T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Test Track

Late Tuesday afternoon (August 16, 2011) ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom announced in a Twitter post that he would be leaving the organization when his contract expires in July 2012. A formal press release soon followed and was posted on the ICANN website. While Beckstrom said in his tweet, "I have decided to wrap up my service at ICANN July 2012," a well-known former ICANN staffer says that is not the case.  

Kieren McCarthy, a professional journalist who served as ICANN's General Manager of Public Participation until leaving that post in late 2009, published a detailed blog post titled "ICANN "Fires Its CEO" at Dot-Nxt.com after Beckstrom announced his departure. McCarthy is now the  producer of the .nxt conference devoted to providing information on the opportunities in new gTLDs that ICANN will begin accepting applications for in 2012. The next edition of that event will be held in San Francisco next week, running August 24-26.

ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom
will step down in July 2012

Regarding the impending end of Beckstrtom's tenure, McCarthy wrote, "Behind the pronouncements lies a different story. It is well known in ICANN circles that there has been significant concern over Beckstrom’s performance for some time. And we understand that Beckstrom’s “decision” was made for him at a secret Board meeting earlier this month." McCarthy goes on to detail issues that he said led to a board decision not to retain Beckstrom when his current contact expires. On the flip side, McCarthy also noted the positive things Beckstrom has done that have earned him supporters that have a considerably different view than those of Beckstrom's detractors. It's a very interesting read for anyone interested in the inner workings of ICANN. 

One other note today - people seeking funding for domain related ventures are being invited to apply for a spot in the next edition of  T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Test Track - a session with potential investors that will be held on October 17, 2011, during the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Ft. Lauderdale Beach conference that will be running at the oceanfront Ritz Carlton Hotel October 16-19.

In an email to the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. mailing list, organizers wrote, "With a panel of well-known (and well-off) Investors, both in and out of the Domain Industry, this year's

presentations should meet with substantial success. Each Entrepreneur will have the opportunity to make a 10-minute pitch to the panel, and if the ideas and numbers work, deals will be made! Anyone who has a concept, preferably, but not necessarily developed, that requires financing to make it come to fruition, is entitled to make their pitch and try to hit a home run."

The invitation concluded, "If you believe that your project will qualify, send us a 50-word paragraph of your concept, the amount of funding that you are seeking, how the funding will be used, and the percentage of your business that you are willing to give to an investor to make it happen.   As there are only 5 pitches that can be made in the time allotted, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. will determine which entrepreneurs have made the cut and will inform the participants on or before October 1, 2011. There is no form to fill out. Just tell us who you are and what you are looking for. Our decision as to who will be making their pitch to the Investors is final."

(Posted August 17, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Digimedia's Scott Day & Jay Chapman Co-Found New Foundation With iThemes Media CEO Cory Miller to Foster Web-Based Innovation and Creativity in Their Home State

Digimedia Founder Scott Day is one of the domain industry's true pioneers. In another ground-breaking endeavor, this time a non-profit initiative, Day, along with Digimedia President Jay Chapman and  iThemes Media CEO Cory Miller, have co-founded The Div, a foundation designed to serve as a tech community hub dedicated to web-based innovation, creativity and training in their home state of Oklahoma (the name “Div” comes from the web programming term <div>, which is the starting point for a container of elements). 

The organization will officially open its 1,800-foot office in Edmonds, Oklahoma a week from Thursday (August 25) with Oklahoma Lt. Governor Todd Lamb and Edmonds Mayor Patrice Douglas among the dignitaries that will be on hand for the Grand Opening (the office, at 1712 S. Kelly Ave., is right around the corner from Digimedia headquarters). 

The opening day event will run from 11am-12:30pm and will include an introductory class, How to Build a Website is 20 Minutes, that is representative of the kind of training the foundation will provide to help the local workforce take full advantage of the opportunities the Internet presents. The Div plans to offer weekly and monthly workshops

Digimedia Founder Scott Day


and classes, co-working days to bring local web pros together and will also host web-related user groups.

Digimedia President Jay Chapman


iThemes Media CEO Cory Miller

Jay Chapman said, "The Div's objective is to pioneer a local (in Oklahoma, "local" means statewide) internet-technology territory by inspiring and training the next generation to realize and harness the web's innumerable opportunities. Hopefully the foundation will impact and help others in Oklahoma and beyond! Like any non-profit, the Div is always seeking other like-minded folks to climb aboard, participate and partner."

Cory Miller, who will serve as The Div's President, noted, "When I launched iThemes in my home three years ago, I never imagined it would grow to what it has today. Now with a workforce of more than 20 people and iThemes on solid financial footing and growing, we believe giving back to the community and helping aspiring web designers, developers and entrepreneurs build a better Oklahoma just seems like the most logical next step for us, and the right thing to do.” If you go to The Div website, you will find a video at the top right on the home page in which Miller talks more about why he, Day and Chapman created The Div.

I think it is a terrific idea and one that may well be copied in other locales around the U.S. and the world. I've always felt that for many the key to moving ahead in today's stagnant economy is to turn to the Internet where opportunities still abound. The Div will provide a place where Oklahomans can learn how to build a brighter future for themselves and their communities on the web. 

(Posted Aug. 16, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Visiting Domainers Made it a Special Weekend on Florida's Gulf Coast

The hotbed for domaining in Florida is located along the Sunshine State's southeastern coast (stretching from Palm Beach down to Miami). As I've noted in the past, that area has one of the world's most active local domainer's groups in the South Florida Domainer's Group and many of the top companies and individual domain investors are located there. We, on the 

other hand, are located on the opposite side of the state in the Tampa Bay area that looks out on the Gulf of Mexico rather than the Atlantic Ocean. It isn't quite as busy on this coast but our side of the state has a lot going for it too - enough to attract some domain business friends to the area over this past weekend. Their visits give my wife Diana and I chance to spend a very enjoyable Saturday and Sunday seeing industry friends that we always enjoy being around. 

On Saturday we made the short hop over to Clearwater Beach to have dinner with Michael 

Florida's Gulf Coast has several beautiful cities 
including Sarasota (above), Clearwater and Naples.  

Castello (of Castello Cities Internet Network and Castello Brothers fame) and his wife Sheri who were spending some vacation time on the beach at the Sandpearl Resort. Michael and his brother David grew up on Florida's east coast (in Boynton Beach) and they come back to the state often to visit relatives on their side of the family. Sheri's mom Greta and her husband Ted also live in Florida but their home is in Panama City, in the panhandle. That's a long drive from Boynton, so Michael, Sheri and their kids, computer whiz Jonathan (who starts college near their Souhern California home in a few days) and Jessica (a talented 12-year-old who seems destined for an acting career), decided to meet Greta and Ted half way, bringing everyone together on Clearwater Beach for three days.  

We joined Michael, Sheri, Greta and Ted for dinner at the Sandpearl's Caretta on the Gulf restaurant and had the kind of wonderful evening we always do when anyone in the gracious Castello family is involved. I'll be seeing Michael (and David) again in about six weeks when we all be in Chicago to speak at the first ever Geo Publishers Expo at the Fairmont Hotel Sept. 30-October 2, 2011. 


(Left to right) Greta and Ted, Michael and Sheri Castello, Ron and Diana Jackson 
at Caretta on the Gulf in Clearwater Beach, Florida Saturday night (August 13, 2011). 

On Sunday (August 14), while Michael and Sheri headed over to Florida's east coast to see more family members and friends, Diana and I drove south to Sarasota to hook up with T.R.A.F.F.I.C. co-founder Howard Neu and his wife Barbara

Howard and his partner Rick Schwartz will be holding their next T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference October 16-19, 2011 at the Ritz Carlton on Ft. Lauderdale Beach. Howard and Barbara are always scouting for potential future show locations and that is what brought them to Sarasota from their home near Ft. Lauderdale. Specifically, they came to town to tour the 

(Diana Jackson, Howard Neu and Barbara Neu in front of 
the Dolphin Fountain in Sarasota's Bayfront Park Sunday.

Sarasota Ritz Carlton with a select group of conference organizers that were invited to check out the spectacular hotel that sits on Sarasota Bay.  

Diana and I both lived in  Sarasota for many years when I was a TV sportscaster on the ABC station there (we moved about an hour north to Tampa when I took a job with the CBS-TV affiliate in  that city). We have always loved Sarasota and our daughter Brittany just moved there for her last two years of medical school at the Florida State University College of Medicine. As you might expect, I've acquired a number of Sarasota  related domain names over the years, my favorite being Sarasota.us. So, we were delighted to have a chance to see Howard and Barbara again and have an opportunity to show them around one our favorite cities (returning the hospitality they showed us when they (and some other South Florida friends) gave us a grand tour of Ft. Lauderdale this past spring). 

After a morning drive to see several of our favorite places we headed back downtown to Marina Jack where Brittany joined the four of us for a leisurely lunch that allowed us to enjoy the restaurant's panoramic view of Sarasota Bay.

Diana, Brittany and Ron Jackson at the Marina Jack Restaurant 
in Sarasota Sunday (Aug. 14, 2011).

After lunch we wanted Howard and Barbara  to see the fabulous Ca d'Zan mansion built in the 1920's by circus magnate John Ringling (who played a key role in turning Sarasota into a world class resort town.) Ringling bequeathed the bayfront home and the wonderful Ringling Museum of Art next door to the state of Florida and both are now enjoyed by thousands of visitors each year. There is also a Circus Museum on the grounds (that we also visited) as well as the historic Asolo Theater. All of the museums, the theater and Ca d'Zan (House of John) are now administered by Florida State University. 

Howard & Barbara Neu at Ca d'Zan in Sarasota, Florida Sunday (Aug. 14, 2011).

Ca D'Zan cost $1.5 million to build in the 1920s and a guide that took us through the house said it would cost $66 million to duplicate the house today. Unfortunately, John Ringling, who also had vast railroad, oil and land holdings, wound up losing his vast fortune in  the Great Depression. He gave the house to the State just a week before it would have been foreclosed on! I am reading a biography about him now (that focuses on his years in Florida) and it is a truly amazing life story.  

Diana and I have visited the house several times and I always learn something new on each visit. All in all it was the best kind of weekend. When you can spend time with good friends in great places and learn something along the way (a great byproduct of hanging out with smart people) it's hard to go wrong! I hope your weekend was just as enjoyable and that your upcoming work week will be rewarding. 

(Posted August 15, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Domain Industry Champion Jeremiah Johnston Leaves COO Role at Sedo to Open His Own Legal Practice - Will Continue as Their General Counsel

While I was away on a trip to the Silicon Valley this past week, Sedo announced that Jeremiah Johnston has stepped down as the company's Chief Operating Officer. Jeremiah, 


Jeremiah Johnston  

who is also an attorney, will be using his e-commerce and intellectual property expertise to launch his own legal practice and will also continue to serve as Sedo’s General Counsel and will remain a close advisor to Sedo management.

I've know Jeremiah for several years now and served with him on the Board of Directors of the Internet Commerce Association (which he leads as the ICA President) so I have had many opportunities to see how he operates personally and professionally. I can tell you he is one of the most impressive people I have met in this business and I have no doubt he will be immensely successful running his own shop, while remaining a huge asset to Sedo in his ongoing role as their General Counsel. 

In announcing Johnston's new venture, Sedo spokesman Daniel Le Ray said, "Since joining Sedo in 2004, Johnston has been instrumental in helping the Company keep a step ahead of the domain

 industry’s ever-changing legal and business landscape. With more than a decade of experience leading Internet-related companies and an academic background focused on international intellectual property, Johnston has helped Sedo identify significant opportunities and risks while championing the growth of the domain industry."

That latter point has been especially important and few people know how much effort Jeremiah put into spreading the word about the value of a good domain name to businesses that want to improve their chances for success online. He has done countless interviews with mainstream business media outlets and in many cases Jeremiah was the person who got those outlets to write about domains in the first place. 

Sedo CEO Tim Schumacher noted, "Jeremiah’s leadership and legal expertise has been a valuable part of establishing Sedo as a trusted partner and advisor in the domain marketplace. We look forward to continuing our longstanding relationship and building on the success we have experienced under Jeremiah’s guidance.” 

Johnston himself added this - "With the growing awareness about the importance of domains, the launch of new gTLDs and growing debate over internet regulations, it is an exciting time for IP law. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to continue my work with a company I truly believe in, while taking advantage of an important opportunity to dive more deeply into issues that are affecting the Internet on a much broader scale.”

We certainly wish him the best in his new venture and in his continuing roles with Sedo and the ICA. 

Sedo CEO Tim Schumacher

(Posted Aug. 12, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

DOMAINfest Global Will Return in January 2012 - the Playboy Mansion Party Will Not + A DNCruise Update

The DOMAINfest Global conference has set the dates for their 2012 show in Santa Monica, California. The conference, staged by DomainSponsor, will return to its popular ocean side venue at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel where the 2011 and 2010 editions of the event were held. It will run Tuesday, Jan. 31 through Thursday, February 2 and a preliminary agenda has already been posted on the DOMAINfest website. 

One thing show regulars will quickly note is that the closing night party which has been held at the Playboy Mansion the last three years in a row, will move to a new location in Hollywood that has not yet been named. A new party venue seemed to be a foregone conclusion after many attendees fell ill following last year's closing night event there - an unfortunate incident that made news around the globe. Though health officials still have not positively identified the mansion as the source of the infections it seemed liked the right time to move on. The Mansion has been a big draw for the conference but show regulars have now been there and done that enough times to make a new location for the closing night celebration something to look forward to. Past history indicates that DOMAINfest organizers will make it something special. 

The Fairmont Miramar Hotel
Santa Monica, California
Site for DOMAINfest Global 2012

Registration for DOMAINfest Global 2012 will open September 1, 2011 when an early bird rate of $995 (which includes all sessions, meals and official evening parties) will be available. The price rises to $1,195 October 1 before settling into the standard pre-conference rate of $1,295 on January 1, 2012. DOMAINfest has arranged for discounted hotel room rates at the Fairmont Miramar. YOu can get reservation details at  http://domainfest.com/hotel.  

We have some other domain conference news from Patrick Ruddell (Chef Patrick) regarding his second DNCruise (the only domain conference held on a cruise ship), that is coming up September 5-10, 2011. Ruddell said that the new .XXX registry has signed on to help sponsor the cruise's main event - a Grand Cayman excursion with legendary domain investor Frank Schilling (who resides on the island).  

Escrow.com had already taken sponsorship of that day's luncheon, but the .XXX Registry will cover the cost of the two boats needed to take attendees on a three hour tour through local waters. Ruddell said the registry will also offer a presentation on Sept. 6 - good timing since the new TLD's sunrise period begins the next day

With its launch imminent, the .XXX Registry is taking an increasingly high profile. While I was away on a visit to the Silicon Valley last week, the 

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Ft. Lauderdale Beach conference (coming up Oct. 16-19) announced that the .XXX registry had signed on to be the show's Diamond Overall Sponsor (the lead sponsor for the entire event).

One other note on DNCruise, Ruddell said that Carnival Cruise Line's cabin inventory is getting low, so now is the time to sign up if you want to be aboard when the ship leaves Tampa, Florida Sept. 5. There will be stops in Grand Cayman and Cozumel, Mexico before the boat returns to Tampa Sept. 10. If you want to know more about what the conference/cruise experience entails, check out our review of the first DNCruise last October.  

(Posted Aug. 11, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Silicon Valley Without the Silicon -  Tech Enclave Can Also Boast of Natural Beauty and Endless Attractions

Diana and I are back after spending the past week in northern California's tech Mecca, Silicon Valley. Our son Aaron just moved there from Boston to join Apple Computer as a chemical engineer based at their world headquarters in Cupertino. In another major life change, Aaron 

and his wife of one year, Nancy, welcomed their first child, Nicolas, two months ago and as you can imagine we couldn't wait to see the newest member of the family. So, we headed west last Thursday and just got home this morning. 

My two previous trips to the area had been spent almost entirely in the Santa Clara Marriott Hotel where the 2006 and 2009 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Silicon Valley conferences were held. This time I decided I wanted to see more of what the Valley had to offer outside its hotel room walls and away from the campuses of the tech giants like Google and Yahoo that are located there. So, we spent all of our time exploring the area and visiting family members and friends who live there. We were delighted to discover there is much more to the Silicon Valley than tech with eye popping natural beauty and a summer climate that is as good as it gets anywhere on the globe. 

After spending Thursday evening and most of Friday with Aaron, Nancy and Nicolas, we spent Saturday morning (August 6) strolling 

Baby Nico and proud grandmother Diana 

around downtown Los Gatos, a spectacularly scenic community located near the base of the Santa Cruz mountains. It has understandably become a popular place for newly minted tech multi-millionaires to make their homes. There is a Bentley dealership (that also carries Ferraris and Aston Martins) on the main street, where you will also see plenty of exotic cars parked along the curbs.

Exotic cars like this Ferrari add to the "curb appeal" of downtown Los Gatos.

While walking along Los Gatos Boulevard we spotted a newspaper box filled with copies of Dan Pulcano's popular Silicon Valley news weekly - Metro - and picked up a copy to read during a stop at one of the many inviting sidewalk cafes.

We then headed about 25 miles north to visit Diana's niece, Beth, her husband and their son who live in Emerald Hills (adjacent to Redwood City). Diana's sister was also there, having come in a few days earlier from Florida to visit her daughter's family. Aaron, Nancy and Nicolas also came up and Beth took all of us on a visit to the historic (and stunning) Filoli Mansion and Gardens located just a couple of miles west of her house. 

Filoli was completed in 1917 and was built for Mr. and Mrs. William Bowers Bourn, prominent San Franciscans whose chief source of wealth was the Empire Mine, a hard-rock gold mine in Grass Valley, California. Mr. Bourn arrived at the unusual name Filoli by combining the first two letters from the key words of his credo: “Fight for a just cause; Love your fellow man; Live a good life.”

After Mr. and Mrs. Bourn both died in 1936 the estate was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. William P. Roth, who owned the Matson Navigation Company. Mrs. Roth made Filoli her home until 1975 when she donated the House and formal garden to the National Trust for Historic Preservation for the 

Above: Visitors strolling through the fabulous 
Filoli Gardens
Saturday (August 7, 2011)

Below: a corner of the enormous ballroom inside 
the Filoli Mansion (the room is 70 feet long 
and 32 feet wide with 22-foot ceilings!). 

enjoyment and inspiration of future generations. If you are ever in the area I highly recommend seeing this national treasure. After the Filoli visit we headed back to Beth's for a late afternoon cookout that completed a perfect California day.

Diana loves to hunt for antiques so Sunday morning we visited the San Jose Flea Market, which claims to be the country's first flea market (established in 1960) as well as the largest. We didn't make any finds there but did a lot of walking which helped burn off some excess calories. It's a good thing we did that because the next stop was Palo Alto for a great Sunday Brunch at the Il Fornaio Restaurant with one of my earliest friends from the domain business, Howard Hoffman, and his wife Randy

Palo Alto is another gorgeous community with giant magnolia trees lining both sides of the main thoroughfare. It is also home to Stanford University where Howard got his Master's Degree after graduating from M.I.T.  After brunch he and Randy took us on a walking tour of the Stanford campus under the kind of sunny, deep blues skies you usually only see on postcards. Stanford is one of the world's best and most beautiful universities. The most jaw dropping building on campus is the interdenominational Stanford Memorial Church, a chapel dedicated in 1903 by Jane Stanford in memory of her husband, Senator Leland Stanford.  The couple had founded the university itself in 1891 as a memorial to their son Leland Stanford Jr

Stanford Memorial Church is the crown jewel of the Stanford University campus. 

We started our last full day of the trip, Monday (August 8), with a visit to scenic Saratoga, another town favored by the captains of Silicon Valley industry. The first stop was another masterpiece of natural beauty, Hakone Gardens, the oldest Asian estate and garden in the Western Hemisphere (and another place now cared for by the National Trust for Historic Preservation).

It was designed and built by San Francisco cultural leaders Isabel and Oliver Stine in 1915. Inspired by the displays at the 1915 Pan-Pacific Exhibition, Mrs. Stine traveled to Japan where she was enchanted by the Fuji-Hakone National Park and wanted to have her own Hakone Gardens in the hillsides of Saratoga. Wandering  through the 18-acre estate is like being suddenly transported to an idyllic retreat in Japan. 

Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, California
(Mon., August 8, 2011) - my favorite photo from our visit. 

We then made the short trip to another great Saratoga landmark - Villa Montalvo - a stunning estate with a fabulous gated garden that was built in the same era as Hakone Gardens and the Filoli Mansion. Senator James Phelan, California's first elected senator, constructed Montalvo on 175 gorgeous hillside acres, complete with 2.5 miles of hiking trails, in 1912.  Phelan, who died in 1930, bequeathed Montalvo to the state of California to serve as a site for the advancement of art, music, literature and architecture. The grounds and galleries are now open to the public at no charge. Montalvo was awarded inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. 

Villa Montalvo - Saratoga, California

After lunch at one of Saratoga's open air sidewalk cafes Diana and I went in different directions for the evening. She went to Aaron's to spend Monday evening with the new grandbaby while I hooked back up with Howard Hoffman to go to the San Francisco Giants -  Pittsburgh Pirates game.

Howard is a diehard Giants fans who has two sets of season tickets at the team's AT&T Park, one of the best stadiums in all of baseball. Unfortunately, it was a tough night for the home team as the defending World Champions lost 5-0 (however they were still in 1st place at the end of the evening).

Howard Hoffman (left) and Ron Jackson at the Giants 
game Monday night (August 8) in San Francisco


The view from Howard's seats along the first base line at San Francisco's AT&T Park.

For a visiting Floridian, used to 95 degree temperatures in August, one thing I will remember about Monday night in San Francisco was how cold it was. There's a quote attributed by most to Mark Twain that said, "The coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco." I totally get that now :-)  Fortunately Howard warned me in advance and thanks to the long sleeved T-shirt, hooded sweat shirt and outer jacket he recommended, I survived the mid 50's temperatures (with a wind chill that made it feel like the mid 40's) and had a great time. 

Tuesday morning, we paid one more visit to our new grandson before heading back to the San Jose airport for the long trip home. I came back with a new view of the Silicon Valley. Unlike most of the world, I will no longer think tech when I think of the Valley. I'll think about the valley's natural beauty and the family and friends who have the good fortune to live there.

(Posted August 10, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Editor's Note: I'm currently on a visit to the Silicon Valley and with a non-stop schedule here won't have an opportunity to post the next Lowdown item until I am back in the office Wednesday (Aug. 10). I will fill you in on the trip then.

Rob Grant's RealEstateDirectory.com & eDevelopers.com Team Up to Launch New Domain Leasing Model With PhiladelphiaRealEstate.com

RealEstateDirectory.com CEO Rob Grant and eDevelopers.com President and CEO Cody Maher have announced a unique content and leasing partnership with the initial launch of PhiladelphiaRealEstate.com. After several months of testing and development the site went live in June and has just been successfully leased to Philadelphia based realtor Noah Ostroff, who will operate the site as a unique real estate portal in the major Philadelphia markets.

Grant said, "We are extremely excited to partner with Cody Maher and Dino Adamou of eDevelopers with the initial launch of this unique platform and I'm thrilled to be working with

Noah Ostroff, who has proven to be a very entrepreneurial and forward thinking Realtor in his approach to traditional real estate marketing. This is a big commitment on everybody’s part with the signing of a long term lease, as well as a willingness to experiment with a unique real estate model that will grow and evolve as the market changes."

eDevelopers first approached Grant back in October 2010 at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. South Beach conference in Miami. Dino Adamou of eDevelopers said, “Rob liked what we offered but was initially hesitant to move forward as others in the industry failed to deliver on their promises. However, we agreed to test our model out on a few of his real estate domains. It has been wildly successful and we are extremely excited about what the future of this model might hold.” 

Rob Grant
CEO, RealEstateDirectory.com 

Cody Maher said, "We designed the Software package to be highly scalable and easy to deploy. Within a matter of 1 week, we launched the real estate platform and began focusing on the SEO campaign which has been running for two months. The domain was originally beyond page 10 in Google search results and today sits at the top of page 2. We anticipate the site to hit page 1 within the next 3-4 months.”

Their client, Noah Ostroff is also a happy camper. "This is an amazing opportunity for anyone looking to capitalize on an opportunity to grow their business through one of the most sought after domain names in their region. It is a turn-key package that will seamlessly enhance their current business without interruption," Ostroff said.

In addition to the launch of PhiladelphiaRealEstate.com, Grant and the team at eDevelopers are testing new platforms with sites at CaymanRealEstate.com and IowaRealEstate.com. Grant said that if the model continues to be successful, this same leasing concept will be executed across more real estate domains in the RealEstateDirectory.com 

portfolio - the largest network of geo-targeted real estate domains in the world. Grant and eDevelopers hope to open up new opportunities in the real estate industry by offering 'turn key' real estate portals to brokers and agents who are looking for both powerful branding and strategic marketing solutions 

eDevelopers.com develops turn key web portals with their real estate, ecommerce and lead generation platforms. In addition to these software packages, the company operates a content creation company at ecopywriters.com as well as a link building service at edomainers.com. Together, these businesses provide clients with a comprehensive approach to web development and SEO. 

(Posted August 4, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Network Solutions - The First Domain Name Registrar - Acquired by Web.com 

Web.com, (Nasdaq:WWWW) a leading provider of internet services and online marketing solutions for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), today announced the signing of a definitive agreement for Web.com to acquire privately-held Network Solutions, the original domain name registrar. The transaction will create a huge online solutions company focused on providing web services to SMBs, a market estimated to be larger than $19 billion

Under the terms of the agreement, upon the closing, Web.com will pay Network Solutions $405 million in cash and issue 18 million shares of Web.com common stock, in addition to refinancing existing net debt of Network Solutions and paying certain fees. Network Solutions is currently majority owned by General Atlantic LLC, a leading global growth equity firm.

David Brown, Chairman and CEO of Web.com., said "This transaction represents a unique opportunity to dramatically expand our scale, add further momentum to Web.com's already

improving top line growth, and further expand our market share as the nationally recognized go-to provider of online marketing solutions specifically tailored to small and medium-sized businesses. Our integration strategy will be similar to our successful acquisition of Register.com, and we will be in a strong position to cross-sell and up-sell our services to Network Solutions' approximately two million retail customers and hundreds of thousands of wholesale customers. We believe this combination will provide significant long-term shareholder value as we grow our business, capitalize on synergies, improve our margins and generate substantial cash flow to invest greater resources in growth and branding initiatives."

Tim Kelly
Network Solutions CEO

Tim Kelly, CEO of Network Solutions, said, "Network Solutions has been a pioneer in this industry for nearly 30 years. We are very excited to combine our expertise, resources, customers and award winning customer service with Web.com. Our combined company will have tremendous know-how and a broad portfolio of online marketing, web services, social media and mobile solutions to help small businesses grow in the increasingly connected online world."

The transaction, which is subject to Web.com shareholder approval as well as customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions, is expected to be completed in the fall of 2011. At the close, General Atlantic and other current Network Solutions shareholders are expected to own approximately 37% of Web.com.   

(Posted Aug. 3, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

The AfternicDLS Goes Mobile and Nominations Now Being Accepted for Annual T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Awards

The AfternicDLS has become the first domain aftermarket venue to roll out a mobile phone application that allows buyers to search and bid for domain names. The well-known marketplace operated by NameMedia can now be accessed on iPhones and iPads through a new free app that is available to download from Apple's App Store. The application allows prospective domain buyers to search an inventory that includes millions of domain names listed for sale through the domain listing service. Users will also be able to download lists of available domains based on custom searches.

Jason Miner, the Senior Vice President and General Manager of NameMedia’s marketplace, said, “By embracing new technologies we extend the reach of the DLS and better meet the changing needs of our customers. As the world relies more on handheld devices to do business, offering a mobile application is a logical step in improving access to our inventory. Both domain sellers and buyers benefit if we are able to connect supply and demand effectively."


Image: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

AfternicDLS Mobile follows in the footsteps of some other technology advances at the company, including instant transfer capabilities. Instant transfer simplifies the purchase of domains by eliminating the traditionally lengthy escrow process, making names available for immediate use by the buyer.

With 2011's only T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference now just 10 weeks away (October 16-19 at the Ritz Carlton on Florida's Ft. Lauderdale Beach), the show's organizers have begun accepting nominations for the annual T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Awards

On October 18 awards will be handed out in these categories: Best New Monetizing Solution, Best Overall Domain Solution, The We Get It Award, Developer of the Year, Best Domain Blog, Sponsor of the Year, Domainer of the Year and the Domain Hall of Fame (two persons are 

inducted in the HOF annually - those who are already members include Rick Schwartz, Frank Schilling, Ron Jackson, Scott Day, Yun Ye, Michael Berkens, Sahar Sarid, Michael Castello, David Castello, Rick Latona and Monte Cahn).  

To nominate a person or company in any category, send their name along with a sentence or two noting why you think they are deserving of the award to [email protected]. If you want to make a nomination, you will want to do it now while you are thinking about it because nominations close at 6pm (U.S. Eastern time) on Friday (August 5)

(Posted August 2, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

U.S. Officials Arrest New York Man and Seize 16 Domain Names Allegedly Used to Sell Counterfeit Goods  

In the summer of 2010 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) began a series of Homeland Security Investigations targeting people involved in the illegal movement of people and goods into, within and out of the United States. As part of that campaign ICE has taken down websites and seized 141 domains that the agency said were being used for illicit activities.  

In the latest phase of their operation completed late last week, 31-year-old Ryan Breen of Savannah, New York was arrested and charged with using the Internet to traffic in counterfeit goods. If convicted, Breen faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $2 million fine. Breen was identified as the owner and operator of a website that sold unauthorized apparel from the FX Network TV series "Sons of Anarchy." The unnamed website offered to sell counterfeit t-shirts using the show's trademarked brand. 

This sixth phase of ICE's "Operation In Our Sites" also resulted in the seizure of 16 domains used for websites that ICE said sold knockoffs of 13 well-known brands, including Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Lacoste, Nike, Oakley, Ralph Lauren and Ray-Ban among others. The domains seized were:

  • discountedoakleysunglasses.com

  • onlypuma.com

  • ralphlauren-polos.org

  • solesold.com

  • toryburchsoutlets.org

  • toryburchsoutletsale.net

  • ventma.com

  • choosepuma.com

  • ebayshoppingjoy.com

  • lacosteshoesmall.com

  • menlacosteshoes.com

  • newerahatsnow.com

  • newerahatss.com

  • pumaforever.com

  • replicaoakleysunglasses.net

  • shoplacosteshoes.com

During the course of the operation, federal law enforcement agents made undercover purchases from online retailers suspected of selling counterfeit goods. Purchased counterfeit items included: shoes, boots, sneakers, jackets, shirts, hats and sunglasses.

Once the materials were confirmed to be counterfeit or otherwise illegal, HSI agents obtained seizure orders for the domain names from federal magistrate judges. In most instances, the counterfeit goods were shipped directly into the United States from 

suppliers in other countries using international express mail. The 16 websites have been shut down, and now show a banner stating that the domain name of that website has been seized by federal authorities. This nationwide operation was spearheaded by the HSI-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center).

ICE Director John Morton said, "American business is under assault from counterfeiters. These counterfeits represent a triple threat by delivering shoddy and sometimes dangerous goods into commerce, by funding organized criminal activities, and by denying Americans good-paying jobs. HSI and our partners at the IPR Center will continue to work together to keep counterfeit products off our streets." More details on the latest operation are here. Thanks to Homero Alejandro Gonzalez for the tip.

(Posted Aug. 1, 2011) 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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