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August 27, 2012

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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.

Tebowing.com - Registered Less Than 60 Days Ago, Getting Millions of Visits, Now Worth Big Bucks?

This afternoon I spent some time chatting with Boston Herald reporter Brendan Lynch who is writing a story about the "tebowing" craze that is sweeping the globe. In case you haven't heard tebowing is striking a prayerful pose while down on one knee, a la Denver Broncos

quarterback Tim Tebow who has become an NFL sensation after leading the team to a series of miraculous come from behind wins over the past eight weeks. The Broncos have won 7 of the 8 games the former University of Florida star and Heisman Trophy winner has started. In the five games before Tebow entered the line up they were a dismal 1-4. 

Lynch's story will center on Tebowing.com, a new site that a fan put online after registering the domain name less than 60 days ago. The site's owner told Lynch that Tebowing.com has had millions of page views in the past month as the Tebow story captured people's imagination around the world. The site features hundreds of photos of people tebowing, often in front of famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, or in odd locations like the ocean floor where a scuba diver is shown striking the pose.

Scuba diver "tebowing" in 
photo submitted to Tebowing.com.

Lynch wanted to talk to me about the possible value of the Tebowing.com domain name now that this craze had gone viral. That is almost impossible to determine without knowing exactly how much traffic is coming through the site and how much revenue it is now generating (also as a developed site with interesting content, any price paid now would likely be for more than the domain name alone). At the moment, not much is being done to monetize that traffic. There is just an ad for Tebowing T-Shirts with proceeds to benefit Denver area charities and a couple of PPC banners pulled from an ad network. 

Tim Tebow on the cover of ESPN Magazine

It doesn't appear that many advertisers are bidding on the term in search engines yet either. Even though more than 39 million pages come up at Google when you type in tebowing, there is only one ad for what appears to be a cheap knock-off T-shirt being sold on Ebay for $10.95. Still, if Tebow and tebowing mania continues to grow, the owner is likely to find himself with many more monetization options, perhaps including direct advertising from companies selling Tebow jerseys, Christian books, etc. 

Some may wonder if there is any trademark infringement involved in Tebow's name being part of the domain name, but Tebowing.com is mostly just showing pictures of people posing in a way that mimics their hero, so on the surface the site would  

appear to be on safe ground, with one possible exception. There are photos of Tebow himself in the site's header and if those are not licensed or approved for use, they could cause some problems for  the owner. Odds are he is following the rulebook in that area as well though.

In any case, lots of  other speculators have also jumped on the bandwagon. Within 2-3 days of when Tebowing.com was registered October 25th, the term "tebowing" was taken in every other well-known extension, including  many representing countries outside the U.S., including .co.uk, .in, .ws and many others. As of this writing the only notable extension I saw still available was the European Union's .eu. Odds are, most of those alternatives will be wasted money, but it just shows how fast a new term can take off when the media gets on board. 

As for the .com, it definitely has significant value beyond reg fee now, so the owner came up with a  winner with that choice. Just how valuable his asset is, or will be in the future, remains to be seen. That will be influenced by how long Tim Tebow continues to reign as the Mile High Messiah, however as a Heisman Trophy winner and a widely admired role model, Tebow will continue to have a  huge fan base for years to come, so tebowing may well have a long shelf regardless of how the rest of his pro career goes.

(Posted Dec. 13, 2011)

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