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The Lowdown
January 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.

Final Countdown to DOMAINfest Underway As Show Organizer Makes Major Acquisition + Two Fabulous Execs Heading Out On Their Own

We've been busy here getting the decks cleared here before heading out to Los Angeles Monday for the DOMAINfest Global 2011 Conference that will run Tuesday through Thursday (Feb. 1-3) at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica. Since we will be traveling coast to coast Monday there will be no Lowdown post that day, however beginning Tuesday we will have daily posts from the big event that is expected to draw over 600 domain pros from around the world.

If you are heading to DOMAINfest too, you can look forward to meeting a lot of very interesting people there. One will be James Morfopoulos, an impressive young man who will be at the show representing The Water School, a highly regarded charitable organization that the domain community has rallied around. James, the organization's Communications Manager, will be there to provide information about the 2011 Climb for Clean Water - an event beginning March 23, 2011 that will have internet professionals and others from around the world climbing Tanzania's great Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise awareness and funding for sustainable clean water solutions in Africa

As was the case in 2010,  Domainers will be widely represented in the adventure and there is still room for you to be part of this once in a lifetime experience. For planning and preparation purposes, the deadline for this year’s Climb for Clean Water is February 25th. The proximity of the Mountain to The Water School projects in Kenya makes 

James Morfopoulos
The Water School

Kilimanjaro the perfect destination because climbers get the opportunity to see firsthand the impact The Water School program has on thousands of children. Climbers will tour Water School projects in Nairobi before heading for the base of Kilimanjaro to start the ascent in an adventure that will continue through April 2nd.

The Water School is a registered global non-profit charity with a mission to provide simple, safe, strategic, and sustainable clean water solutions to the developing world. Lack of safe drinking water and adequate sanitation is the leading cause of illness in developing countries as it was in western nations 100 years ago. Repeated episodes of waterborne diseases can push children to the brink of survival, leaving them weak, malnourished and unable to survive common childhood illnesses, let alone attend school.  Over 400,000 people have participated in the Water School program to date.  

One of the thousands of families in Africa helped by The Water School program.

If you can’t climb or your company can't send a climber, there is still an opportunity to support the climb by being an official sponsor. Contact [email protected] for more information, or better yet, if you are at DOMAINfest see James in person for all of the details. 

The DOMAINfest conference is staged by Oversee.net who was in the news for another reason this week when the company announced it has acquired ShopWiki Corp., parent of the multinational Internet shopping search engine.  The acquisition is the first in the consumer retail space for Oversee’s expanding Vertical Markets division, which is further developing the company’s contextual search and comparative results capabilities to create site experiences that help consumers make purchase decisions.  

ShopWiki, founded in 2005 and majority-owned by growth equity firm Generation Partners, has shopping comparison websites serving 11 countries in North America, Europe and Australia.  The sites help users find places to purchase products for sale on the web by intelligently searching and organizing nearly half a billion consumer offerings.

Oversee, which operates successful comparison sites in the travel and financial services sectors like LowFares.com™ and CreditCards.org, was attracted to ShopWiki because of its potential to serve as a cornerstone of Oversee’s retail presence.  “ShopWiki is the most comprehensive shopping search engine in the market,” said Oversee CEO and President Jeff Kupietzky.  “The acquisition is a perfect fit with our ability to apply our expertise in acquiring and managing Internet traffic to improve comparison and buying decisions for consumers.”  Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

One other note today - two of the industry's most respected professionals - business development executives Mike Robertson and Jen Sale of Fabulous.com, have announced they will be leaving the company next month with plans to join forces in an as yet undisclosed domain-related venture of their own. 

Mike emailed me to say, "I want to stay in the industry and offer some value, so you haven't heard the last of me!" That is certainly good

Jen Sale and Michael Robertson

news and it will be interesting to see what Michael and Jen have in store. Whatever it is you can bet they will do it well.

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

iGoldrush Launches Domain Brokerage Network & Sub-Zero Temperatures Prompt Rob Grant to Give Rivals Cold Shoulder

iGoldrush has launched an innovative new domain brokerage service with an end-user focus. The company's CEO and owner, Paul Goldstone said, "Rather than approach the market as yet another Brokerage *Service*, we put together a Brokerage *Network* comprised of some of the best and most achieved independent brokers from around the world. We hand pick domain names from client submissions, and for those accepted, we pair them with a broker who has experience and contacts in that specific market"

Goldstone noted that domains currently under contract at iGoldrush include NL.com, Sirloins.com, Audit.com, Tortillas.com and several thousand more. With brokers and contacts on five continents he added that the company will not be restricted to .com inventory only.

Goldstone said the new brokerage model serves a demand from domain owners who are frustrated with services that primarily attract other domainers looking to buy at 


iGoldRush Owner/CEO Paul Goldstone

wholesale prices.  "By utilizing brokers with existing industry contacts, this new brokerage model allows sellers to better reach their sales targets. Based on the response so far, we know we're on the right track," Goldstone said.

Victor Pitts, Vice President of iGoldrush added "Paul really hit the nail on the head with this idea! I have been in the brokerage industry for many years now and I have seen things slow down recently.  This type of approach is exactly what's needed to get things moving again."

iGoldrush is adding additional brokers to their network, as well as other key positions within the business.  To submit resumes or domains for review, contact them at [email protected]

Rob Grant braving 20 degrees below zero weather atop
 Cobble Mountain in Saranac Lake, NY earlier this week.

Over the years International Falls, Minnesota and Fraser, Colorado have battled over which the coldest location in the nation. It seemed to be settled this month when International Falls was granted a trademark on the slogan "Icebox of the Nation." However well-known domain owner/developer Rob Grant said, "Not so fast!," claiming his upstate New York hometown, Saranac Lake, is actually the coldest place in the nation. 

In fact, being the smart domainer (and marketer) that he is, Grant has launched a new website to support the city's claim at ColdestPlaceInTheNation.com

Grant got some strong supporting evidence this past Sunday night (Jan. 23) when the temperature at Saranac Lake plunged to 35 degrees below zero! "We would challenge any other part of the country to match the severity of our unique climate when it come to extreme winter weather conditions," Grant proudly proclaimed (apparently unaware that this is not necessarily viewed as a good thing by some people, especially those of us who live in Florida).

Undeterred Grant went so far as to commission a Coldest Place in The Nation Trophy recognizing Saranac Lake's "achievement " - an award that was humbly accepted by the town's mayor, Clyde Rabideau, in a presentation ceremony yesterday (Wed. Jan. 26). 

At left above: Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau (L) accepts the Coldest Place 
in the Nation Trophy
from Rob Grant. In the photo at right, Grant sweetens the pot
by throwing in ear muffs, a pair of long johns and an official award certificate.

"Mayor Rabideau seemed at times to be overwhelmed with emotion as he fielded numerous questions from the press corps," Grant observed, though he allowed that the mayor appeared to be more excited about his insulated underwear than anything else. Granted added that the mayor's final quote when asked about this great honor was "Any press is good press in these trying times!"

(Posted Jan. 27, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Sex.com Broker Jeff Gabriel Named President at DomainAdvisors.com

Less than a week after announcing a new partnership with Linton Investments, PPX International's DomainAdvisors.com unit has made another major move - hiring former Sedo broker Jeff Gabriel as President of the domain consultancy service. Gabriel was the lead broker on the $13 million sale of Sex.com - the largest all-cash sale of a domain name ever reported.

Below is the official press release that DomainAdvisors sent out this morning announcing Gabriel's new role:

PPX International, Inc. is proud to announce Jeffrey Gabriel as the new President of its domain consultancy service, DomainAdvisors. Jeffrey will be responsible for overall business operations including building and maintaining strategic relationships, driving revenue and general management responsibilities. He joins the PPX team from a successful tenure at Sedo.com where he was personally responsible for orchestrating the sales of nearly $30 Million in domain names and websites in less than two years with the company; a feat undisputed as the world’s most accomplished!

Jeff Gabriel
President, DomainAdvisors.com

Gregg McNair
Group Chairman, PPX International

“I am delighted to welcome Jeff onboard to head up the DomainAdvisors team,” said Gregg McNair, Group Chairman for PPX International. “This is an exciting time for PPX with our strong line-up of product releases demonstrating our innovation and value proposition to domain owners and businesses alike. Jeff’s diverse background coupled with his deep sales roots and business acumen will be invaluable assets among our all star team.”

“There are tremendous opportunities ahead for DomainAdvisors to expand its world-class service,” Gabriel said. “I am excited about the opportunity to combine my business skills and aspirations with a proven team and look forward to continuing the PPX tradition by providing "best of breed" solutions to DomainAdvisors’ current and future clients."

DomainAdvisors, the latest service offering of PPX International, assists domain owners and 

online businesses in the overall planning and execution of their domain strategy. DomainAdvisors offers resources with the knowledge and understanding necessary to provide invaluable guidance during the entire lifecycle of a domain. Services range from consultancy to acquisitions, to all elements of monetization, development, branding and sales. Domains can be complicated and DomainAdvisors provides the opportunity to leverage years of industry experience to help maximize success.

- end Press Release - 

In our annual State of the Industry 2011 Cover Story that was published last week McNair said, "The industry related expansion that excites us most currently is DomainAdvisors, which is providing the last missing piece of our service package to our client base. You will hear much more about DomainAdvisors in coming weeks as we roll out our future program." McNair has certainly lived up to that promise with two major moves announced at DomainAdvisors since that article came out less than seven days ago. 

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

Castello Brothers Called on to Deliver Keynote Speech at South America's Biggest Domain Conference Next Month

When the 3rd International Internet Marketing & Domaining Conference is held in Punta del Este, Uruguay February 23-25, two very familiar faces will be seen on stage delivering the keynote address at the big event. The show's promoter, German Abal, called on the Castello Brothers (Michael and David) of Castello Cities Internet Network, Inc. to fill the keynote role after seeing them speak at the Domaining III conference in Valencia, Spain in September.  

 Michael Castello & David Castello
Castello Cities Internet Network, Inc.

Abal said, ”We are excited to have the Castello Brothers as our Keynote Speakers. David and Michael are two of the most successful domain developers in the world and our attendees will benefit from their experience.” Abal added that the conference will also give attendees a chance to learn the most efficient methods to acquire domains, sell domains in the aftermarket and monetize individual domain names and portfolios.

The show's location - Punta del Este, Uruguay, is one of the most beautiful seaside resorts in South America. The host hotel for the continent's biggest domain show will be the luxurious Jean Clevers Park Hotel and additional rooms are available nearby at the Jamaica Hotel You can get more information at the show's official website

In another conference note, a week from today, I'll be boarding a plane for Los Angeles where the DOMAINfest Global 2011 conference gets underway Feb. 1 at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica

As always DOMAINfest is introducing some new wrinkles year. One of those - Dine With An Expert - is already getting a warm reception. Those who 

sign up in advance (through the link above) can choose to have breakfast or lunch with one of several experts who will also be featured speakers at the show. Nine seats per meal were set aside at each expert's table (and all nine have already been taken in some cases) so you will want to reserve a spot quickly to take claim one of the remaining openings.  

One other important piece of piece of show news today - the Domain Roundtable conference, coming up March 1-4 at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas - has extended the deadline for submissions to their live domain auction to this coming Friday, Jan. 28. The auction itself, to be staged by Aftermarket.com, will be held on March 3

(Posted Jan. 24, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Companies and People in the News: NameDrive, Kamila Sekiewicz, Left of the Dot & Frank Michlick 

In our new State of The Industry 2011 Cover Story I commented on the growing number of talented female executives who are changing the landscape in what has traditionally been a male dominated business. This morning I heard from another one those special ladies when NameDrive's Director of Business Development, Kamila Sekiewicz, dropped me a note detailing some major changes that have taken place at the well-known domain monetization company. 

Following a new investment in the company led by BIP Investment Partners S.A., the firm has been re-organized into a new entity, NameDrive S.A., that will have its home office in Luxembourg. The NameDrive management team will move from Cologne, Germany to the new headquarters where they will direct three separate subsidiaries that will operate from a Luxembourg office as well as ones in Texas and Romania.

The company expects the investment and re-structuring to help them expand their global presence and launch innovative new products. BIP is a public investor listed on the Luxembourg stock exchange and they have 

Kamila Sekiewicz
Director of Business Development

also invested in other domain industry companies including German registrar Key-Systems, Luxembourgian registrar EuroDNS, domain fund Domain Invest and Polish registrar az.pl.  

Michael Riedl, Investment Director at BIP said “We want NameDrive to be the Apple of the domain parking industry. We plan to widely intensify our cooperation with registrars and other related companies to provide seamlessly integrated products for domainers, ISPs, and hosters." Those who will be attending the DOMAINfest Global conference coming up Feb. 1-3 in Santa Monica, California will have a chance to meet NameDrive's new executive team members in person and learn more about what they have planned.

Frank Michlick
Chief Technical Officer
Left of the Dot

Elsewhere, new monetization service Left of the Dot scored a coup with the announcement that they have signed on well-known industry veteran Frank Michlick as the company's Chief Technical Officer. Frank, who co-founded Domain Name News, began to work with Internet technology in 1993 and registered his first domain name in 1995. 

His company, CyberTeam, helped many big European brands build their first internet presence. From 1997 to 2000 he worked to shape one of the biggest German Internet Service/eBusiness providers then, during his 5 years with the largest wholesale registrar, Tucows/OpenSRS, Frank enabled many domain name portfolio owners, registrars, hosting companies and resellers to better manage, monetize and grow their domain names. Most recently, Frank's entrepreneurial pursuits led him to found DomainCocoon, which provides

services in the areas of domain name management, custom registrar creation, and ICANN & ccTLD accreditation consulting.

Left of the Dot co-founder Chris Jensen said, "I am delighted that Frank has agreed to become our CTO. We were looking for someone to drive our technology hand in hand with our rapidly growing business; Frank brings a skill set and business understanding that few people in the world can match. Not only does he possess a great technology mind, strong character, and immense passion, but his knowledge of Domaining, domain registrars, and the entire domain ecosystem is second to none."


LeftOfTheDot.com  Co-Founders Chris Jensen (left) and John Lyotier
presenting at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Test Track in Vancouver,Canada in June 2010.

Left of the Dot has developed a platform to enable premium domain name holders to lease sub-domain inventory to small businesses, creating significant new, recurring, revenue streams for the domain holder. The monetization service leases these "Marketing Names" along with a fully-equipped, ecommerce-ready website to small businesses giving them a highly-brandable web presence. An early example of such an implementation is the generic domain name www.Villa.com that is presently under development by the company. At that site, villa owners and agents can lease premium sub-domains, such as Tuscany.Villa.com, Bali.Villa.com or Luxury.Villa.com. For many of its domains under management, Left of the Dot builds out the entire website for the generic domain name, converting the once parked page into a real and sustainable web business.

Of his new employer Michlick said, "Like many Domainers, I learned about Left of the Dot when the company was pitched successfully during the Test Track event at the June 2010 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference in Vancouver. When I learned that the company was seeking a CTO and technology evangelist and spoke in detail with them, I knew that the company was the right fit. Together, we have an opportunity to create something special and unique for the domain industry while building something of lasting value. I look forward to the adventure and journey ahead."

(Posted Jan. 21, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

DomainAdvisors.com Partners With Morgan Linton Investments to Expand Services at the PPX International Unit

Less than three months ago PPX International Chairman Gregg McNair launched a new service for the domain industry, DomainAdvisors.com. Now comes a new partnership announced today that will greatly expand the company's range of services. Below is the full press release about the new union:

DomainAdvisors is excited to announce a strategic partnership with Los Angeles-based Linton Investments LLC. Linton Investments started in 2007 and has spent the last three years acquiring, developing and branding exact-match domains. 

“I learned early-on that I could get onto the first page of Google and Bing by combining exact-match domains with an informative content site and good SEO,” said Morgan Linton, Founder of Linton Investments LLC. 

Three years later Linton Investments has created over 150 online brands and helped countless Domainers move their top properties from Parking to profitable online businesses. Morgan’s Blog, MorganLinton.com, has become one of the top resources for Domainers generally and has helped lead the movement from Parking to Branding. 


Morgan Linton
Founder, Linton Investments 

With this partnership DomainAdvisors will combine the talents of both Morgan Linton and Daina Burnes. Daina's passion and enthusiasm for the industry was made apparent to all of those lucky enough to meet her at one of the several conferences she attended over the past year. Daina focused on new ways to leverage monetization models beyond PPC at Affiliate Summit West earlier this month and looks forward to gaining more insight at DOMAINfest Global in just a few weeks.  

PPX Group General Manager, former mega broker and mastermind behind DomainAdvisors, Tessa Holcomb said “The partnership with Linton Investments completes the range of services provided by DomainAdvisors with two of the nicest and smartest people in the industry. As a publisher author and acclaimed trainer Morgan personifies the term ‘Domain Advisor’.” 

Together DomainAdvisors and Linton Investments will help domain owners with all aspects of the domain lifecycle.

Linton Investments helps bridge the gap in the services already offered by DomainAdvisors by adding branding and development to the list. This breaks the mold from the traditional brokerage house, often focused on selling as many names as possible with little thought for the portfolio as a whole.  

“Domainers are stumped when it comes to selling to end-users or development and often end up selling their names for pennies on the dollars to other Domainers,” says Linton. 

In 2011 the game is changing. It’s not about who has the best domains, but who does the best with their domains. DomainAdvisors and Linton Investments are poised to take a new approach, leveraging an all-star team and delivering the full package to the domain industry.

- end Press Release -

In my opinion this is a very smart move for PPX as they continue to rapidly expand their service offerings. Morgan is a multi-talented guy who really knows his stuff. I'm sure DomainAdvisors.com clients will find he and Daina to be delightful people to work with in addition to being professionals who know how to add a lot of value to any online enterprise.

(Posted Jan. 19, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

With DOMAINfest Global Just 2 Weeks Away Organizers Announce Plans For Three Fabulous Parties

The 2011 DOMAINfest Global conference gets underway two weeks from today at the oceanfront Fairmount Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, California. Oversee.net, the organizers of the annual three-day extravaganza that will run February 1-3, just announced detailed plans for a series of eye-popping nightly parties that will cap each business day.  


Day one on Tuesday, February 1 will conclude with a Polynesian Paradise Party that will be held in the Fairmont's Pool Terrace and Miramar Gardens from 6:00-9:00 pm.  The event, sponsored by the .CO registry, will feature Polynesian music, dancers and cocktails, along with a worst Hawaiian shirt contest.

The next night will also bring a special treat - The Golden Era of Hollywood Party at the Mondrian Hotel’s famous SkyBar on Hollywood's Sunset Strip. That Wednesday evening event, sponsored by VeriSign, will run from 8:00-11:00p.m.  The party will feature music from Tinseltown's Golden Era, cigarette/candy girls, and classic black and white movies projected onto the building facade.

Then for the show's grand finale Thursday night, February 3, the Playboy Mansion will welcome DOMAINfest Global guests to DomainSponsor’s Third Annual Autism Fundraiser at Hugh Hefner's world famous estate. 

Scene from last year's DomainSponsor Autism Fundraiser at the Playboy Mansion.

This special event benefiting Jenny McCarthy’s Generation Rescue (an international movement of scientists, parents, and physicians researching the causes and treatments for autism, ADHD, and chronic illness) will run  from 8:00pm-1:00am.  A highlight of the party will be a silent auction of autographed sports and entertainment memorabilia.

DOMAINfest Global previous released an outstanding business Agenda for the show as well details about Moniker's big Live Premium Domain Auction Feb. 3 beginning at 4:30pm Pacific time. Registration for DOMAINfest Global is still open so it's not too late to claim a spot among the more than 600 domain industry professionals from around the world that are expected to converge on Santa Monica for the show.

In a related note, Oversee units Moniker and SnapNames, who are handling a special private auction for I.CO, are reminding interested parties that Friday (January 21) is the last day to complete the bidder qualification process required to take part in the auction. Bidding will open on Thursday, February 3, 2011 and conclude at 3:15 p.m. US Eastern time on Thursday, February 10.

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

Caught on Camera: David Castello Getting Intimate With a Star From the Twilight Movies - How Did TMZ Miss This!?

It has been over four years since I first met David Castello and his brother Michael (of Castello Cities Internet Network) during a T.R.A.F.F.I.C. event in Hollywood, Florida. After telling their story in a December 2006 Cover Story and learning more about them during our friendship over the past few years I felt like I knew them pretty well, but they keep surprising me

Take David for instance. Just this week I learned for the first time that the former rock & roll drummer's nickname was "Lone Wolf." He even has the nickname tattooed on his upper right arm. What's more, the live music production company he ran on L.A.'s Sunset Strip in the early 1990's was called Lone Wolf Presents.

Michael Castello & David Castello (right)
on the night we met in 2006.

That's all well and good, but here is where things get a little bit weird. If you have seen the wildly popular Twlight movies you will remember seeing a beautiful white wolf among the vampires and werewolves running amok.  It turns out the actual wolf in the film and the domain industry's Lone Wolf - David - recently met face to face with an unexpected outcome.

David and his girlfriend Bree Pelkey just paid a visit to the Wolf Mountain Sanctuary in California's  Lucerne Valley - a wolf refuge run by Native Americans that the Castello Brothers help support through a special page on their PalmSprings.com website. The wolf from the Twilight series now lives there so when David and Bree visited the facility sanctuary founder Tonya Littlewolf decided they should meet. Tonya happened to be taking pictures when the wolf, obviously sensing a kindred spirit in David, decided to get to know the visiting Lone Wolf better. 

Bree Pelkey and David Castello with David's new best friend 
at the California's Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

Tonya Littlefoot told David it is unusual for one of the wolves to warm up to a stranger that much (I suspect David may have cheated by wearing his filet mignon cologne but I'm probably just being jealous!). 

"Even though I’m smiling I was really taken aback because I didn’t know where the wolf was taking this," David laughed in describing how it felt to have a wolf suddenly lick his face. Turning serious he added, "the moment that Tonya caught with her camera has a lot of personal meaning to me."

If you are ever in the Palm Springs area the Wolf Mountain Sanctuary is just 70 miles from  town. Visitors are welcomed Thursday through Sunday from 10am to 4pm. A donation of just $25 will let you join a one-hour tour (if you donate $150 you will be given a private one-hour tour with Tonya and the wolves).

"It's a very moving experience and worth every penny," David declared after seeing Wolf Mountain Sanctuary for himself. He also got to learn first hand where the idea of wolfing something down came from - he just never envisioned being the entree!

(Posted Jan. 14, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Meeting Mania: In Portland, Los Angeles, Denver, Cologne & the Bahamas Doors Will Be Opening for Domainer Investors  

The 2011 domain conference season is about to get underway in earnest. At least five shows will be held between now and the first week of March, giving domain investors a chance to meet face to face and explore new opportunities in attractive locations scattered across three 

countries. These events will range from local gatherings that will give domainers from a specific area an opportunity to get together and compare notes to giant events with a global focus

A new event for Portland, Oregon domainers will kick things off January 25th when 


organizers will stage an inaugural event at a local winery - Vie De Boheme. The idea is the brainchild of industry veterans Ron Sheridan (RSS.com) and Jonathan Stanfill (SnapNames.com). SnapNames and Moniker are sponsoring the kickoff party that gets underway at 6pm on the 25th. You can get more information on that and future Portland events on the group's new website at PortlandDomainers.com

The following week the year's first mega event takes place in Santa Monica, California where the 2011 DOMAINfest Global conference will run February 1-4 at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel with over 600 professionals from around the world expected to attend.

One of the main events at DOMAINfest Global will be Moniker's live Premium 

Domain Auction that will get underway at 4:30pm (U.S. Pacific time) on Thursday, February 3. Pre-bidding for that sale is actually already open with Designers.com, Girl.com, Chili.com and Love.me among the domains up for bid. 

In late February another new local event will debut when Denver gets its first domain show - the Rocky Mountain Domain Conference. This one will be held in downtown Denver on Saturday, February 26 with an optional Domainer Ski/Snowboarding Excursion to nearby Copper Mountain Resort scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 27. 

The cost to attend is under $50 but they are also capping registrations at 50 people, so if you want to take part you will want to register right away. 

The following week March comes in a like a lion with two big events in the opening week of the month, both outside the U.S. Domain Roundtable will get the party started when they return to the conference circuit at a spectacular new venue - the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. The show will run from March 1-4 at the world class destination.

Roundtable is dangling an enticing carrot in front of registrants - the first 100 to sign up can choose one Atlantis activity of their choice on Tuesday afternoon (March 1) free of charge. The options include a behind the scenes Atlantis aquarium tour, a snorkel & sail adventure, cigar & rum tasting, deep sea fishing or a Nassau shopping shuttle.

Roundtable also has a big live domain auction planned with Aftermarket.com doing the honors. If you want to get names into that sale you need to act now, the deadline for submissions is January 21 

The preliminary agenda for the show has been 

posted, so you can check that out to see all of the others things Domain Roundtable has in store for you.

The day after Roundtable gets underway, the next stop on the SedoPro Forum World Tour will open in Sedo's hometown - Cologne, Germany. This invitational event, held to thank Sedo's top clients, will run March 2-4 and give guests a chance to visit Sedo's Cologne headquarters, swap ideas with company management, dive into the world-famous Cologne Carnival and spend a wellness day at Holmes Place.

I have been to some of the past SedoPro Forums and they were unforgettable events. They used to be held once a year in a single 

location,  but last year the company decided to take the show on the road with multiple events in a year long global tour. The Cologne conference follows 2010 meetings held in Boston, Seoul, Korea, Tuscany, Italy and London. If you have the opportunity to go to Cologne you are sure to love it. 

As you can see, there will be many opportunities for domain owners to get together over the next seven weeks in a variety of places and at price points to fit every budget. What a long way we have come since the first major domain conference was held just six years ago! 

Prior to that domain investors numbered just a handful of isolated individuals huddled behind their computer screens in a business where face to face contact was almost unknown. I don't  think it is a coincidence that the amazing growth we have seen in the industry in recent years has occurred over the same time frame that we emerged from our cocoons, started networking with people one on one, forming new partnerships and learning what works (and what does not) from colleagues who share our passion for one of the world's most interesting businesses. 

(Posted Jan. 13, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

A Good News/Bad News Day: Wedding Bells Set to Ring for DevHub Co-Founder Mark Michael But Queensland Flooding Has Fabulous.com Exec Begging for Help

I got a note from DevHub Co-Founder Mark Michael today letting me know that his days as a bachelor will be ending this year. Mark and his lovely fiancée, Ashley Hayes, will be tying the 

knot Sept. 2, 2011 in Seattle (a city that is also DevHub's home base). 

"After eight years together, starting from our time at Central Washington University when Ashley helped me campaign for my landslide win in the Student Body President election, and continuing through our professional careers and hectic business life, we decided to take the next step together," Michael said. 

Mark added that any domain owners who would like to attend (and take advantage of the open bar) should drop him an email. I'm not sure Ashley has signed off on that one yet though!

In addition to co-founding DevHub, a popular domain development platform, Michael directs the company's strategic marketing. His email is "Mark at EvoMediaGroup.com."

Ashley Hayes and Mark Michael
will be wed in Seattle Sept. 2, 2011 


Mark Michael and Ashley Hayes

If Mark and Ashley's friends want to start looking for wedding gifts they might want to check out Macys.com. In another sign of the runaway growth of ecommerce on the web, the company has announced a major expansion of their online operations. After seeing online sales at Macy's and its sister store, Bloomingdale's, shoot up a combined 28.5% in the first three quarters of their fiscal year, Macy's said they planned to hire 725 new people over the next two years to staff their booming web operations. (Thanks to Rob Sequin for the tip on that story).

I have another message to relay today - this one of a considerably sadder nature.  By now you've all probably heard about the devastating floods sweeping through Queensland in Australia and threatening the state's capital city of Brisbane. As many of you also know, Brisbane is home base for one of the domain industry's most popular companies, Fabulous.com

In an effort to raise awareness and donations for the Queensland Flood Relief Appeal, Fab's Business Development Director, Michael Robertson, has been growing a beard and posting daily flood updates on Facebook along with photos of his steadily blossoming beard. 

Michael told me. "We're experiencing some of the worst floods seen since 1974. Myself and the Fab team are fine, but there are a lot of families that have lost everything, including lives." Michael urged anyone that can spare a few dollars to visit  the Queensland government's official donation collection site where the many options for sending funds are detailed.  

Michael Robertson 10 days into his
beard growing binge to raise awareness
for Queensland flood relief efforts

I had the pleasure of visiting Queensland when Fabulous.com hosted the November 2008 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Down Under conference on the state's Gold Coast, about an hour south of Brisbane. It is a stunningly beautiful area blessed with some of the world's most friendly people so it is truly heartbreaking to hear about the devastation currently being wrought there. Our prayers are with everyone being affected by the flooding.

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

Rob Grant Rings Up Nice Geo-Targeted Real Estate Domain Sale, Sedo Super Broker Jeff Gabriel Resigns and DOMAINfest Issues Final Call for PITCHfest Entries

Rob Grant owns the world's largest collection of geo-targeted .com real estate domains and it is a rare occasion when he parts with one of them. However, this evening  Grant, the CEO of 

RealEstateDirectory.com announced that he has sold ParkCityRealEstate.com to EW Partners of Park City, Utah for $60,000 in a deal brokered by GoDaddy.com

Grant said, ""We rarely sell any of our valuable geo-targeted real estate domains unless the offers are significant and reflect the true value of these names. ParkCityRealEstate.com was a domain that I originally hand registered back in the November 1996. This is a great example of how valuable these real estate .com domains have become over the years as a unique asset class - despite ongoing recessions and our current global financial crisis. Frankly, there's no better investment out there." 

Recently, Grant partnered with Sothebys Select Real Estate to leverage his domain names in test markets throughout New York,  building custom sites around geo-targeted 

Avid fisherman Rob Grant reeled in a nice
.com real estate domain sale this week. 

domains like www.LakeGeorgeRealEstate.com. These partnerships are based on generating targeted real estate leads that can convert to actual sales and commissions. 

"If you're fortunate enough to own a specific real-estate.com domain in a given city or region, and you take the time to really develop that name into a major real estate portal, you'll invariably own that market on the internet," Grant said. "We've proven that repeatedly with our own real estate firm here in the Adirondacks. AdirondackRealEstate.com is now responsible for 95% of all our real estate and vacation rental leads. We rarely use print any more for any of our real estate advertising."

Congrats to Rob, whose sale will undoubtedly give him a spot on this week's Top 20 sales chart that will be out Wednesday. 

Elsewhere today, Michael Berkens reports that his Sedo broker, Jeff Gabriel, has resigned from the company. Jeff made a huge splash in November when he brokered the biggest all cash domain sale ever reported - Sex.com at $13 million. Meanwhile another Sedo broker, Dave Evanson,

just scored a plum listing in Massachusetts.com. It is very rare for a state .com domain to go up for sale so this domain, owned by Telepathy Inc., is bound to attract a lot of interest. If you would like more information send Dave an email at [email protected]

One other note - organizers of the DOMAINfest Global 2011 conference coming up Feb. 1-3 in Santa, Monica, California, are reminding people who want to compete in the show's PITCHfest contest, that the deadline to enter is January 21. You do not have to be registered for the conference to submit ideas. If your idea is among those chosen, you will be admitted free to present to the DOMAINfest audience. 

Ten finalists will be named on or before January 28. Each finalist will be given 5 minutes on stage to present their innovative online business, service or technology idea. After each presentation, a panel of judges will assign a score of up to 25 points in each of the following areas: creativity, viability, originality and revenue potential. The winner will be the finalist who receives the highest combined score from the panel of judges. 

Also, at the end of the session, the audience will indicate which finalist's product/service was their favorite using a real-time text message voting system. So, we may see two different winners - the judge's choice and the audience favorite. The winner will receive the DOMAINfest Global 2011 PITCHfest Innovator trophy and will be prominently mentioned in a post-show press release, exposing their idea to a broad audience.

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

Big Changes Ahead for NewOrleans.com as Owners Announce New Partnership Deal With VEGAS.com

In what looks like a geodomain marriage made in heaven websites representing two of America's most popular vacation destinations - Las Vegas and New Orleans - are joining forces in a new partnership that will bring big changes to the current site at NewOrleans.com. VEGAS.com, the world’s #1 city travel portal, entered a strategic relationship with NewOrleans.com under which they will re-develop the NewOrleans.com site using the powerful booking and vacation planning technology that has made Vegas.com a powerhouse in the geodomain space. 

That means the full weight of a VEGAS.com team that includes nearly 500 staff members,  

including bi-lingual 24/7 customer service in English and Spanish, and award-winning marketing and technical teams will be thrown behind the remodeling of NewOrleans.com.

NewOrleans.com CEO Don Jones speaking
at the 2010 GeoDomain Expo in New Orleans

Don Jones, CEO of NewOrleans.com, said “VEGAS.com is the world leader in technology to support a city travel website. We’re thrilled to bring that expertise to our market. Our goal is twofold: provide the visitors to New Orleans with the best possible planning and booking experience and at the same time support our community’s important hospitality industry."

Jim Gibson, president of VEGAS.com, added “Our partnership with NewOrleans.com will provide visitors with an improved, interactive look at the city. The stress of planning a vacation will be greatly simplified by this site which will offer an extensive look into where to stay, what not to miss, all while searching based on your specific preferences . We have leveraged our existing technology to ensure that planning a vacation to ‘The Big Easy’ will be easy indeed.”

NewOrleans.com will host an extensive list of hotels and activities, while maintaining accuracy and impact with its locally created and monitored information. The new design will allow for multiple bookings in a single transaction, promotional rates, and ultimately a full service travel shopping cart. Air and hotel packages will offer service from 1,700 cities worldwide through a global network of 400 airlines. The wide variety of travel options combined with insider knowledge of the city’s festivals, world class restaurants, famous music scene, nightlife and culture will be designed to provide a one-of-a-kind experience for any traveler looking to visit New Orleans.

My thanks to Skip Hoagland for the tip on this story.

(Posted Jan. 7, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Would You Like to Be Your Own Registrar? Free Webinar Will Tell You How to Do It and What It Costs + Jeff Bennett In Line to Host SXSW Panel With Your Help

In my last post I told you about a free BIA/Kelsey one-hour webinar coming up Tuesday (January 11) at 2pm U.S. Eastern time that will cover ways to increase your ad sales to local advertisers. Today I got word from Web Host Industry Review about another free webinar coming up two weeks from today that will be of interest to anyone who has considered becoming their own ICANN accredited registrar as many other major players in the domain industry have already done. The webinar, titled Demystifying ICANN Accreditation will run from 2-3pm U.S. Eastern time on Thursday, January 20.

WHIR has lined up the right people to talk about this topic - representatives from LogicBoxes (and their Accreditation.com service) who have helped accredit over 15% of the world's registrars. They also power the domain registration software of industry powerhouses like UK2.net, ResellerClub, Wordpress and HostGator. The presentation will also be supported by Tim Cole, the Chief Registrar Liaison from ICANN. Tim will be providing an ICANN's perspective on what you can expect from the Registrar accreditation process.

The questions that will be answered during the webinar will include things like how much does an ICANN Accreditation really end up costing?, What are the hidden costs?, What rules and regulations will companies need to abide by if they get ICANN Accreditation?, When or at what stage should I look at getting my company ICANN Accredited? and Is ICANN Accreditation really worth it? If you are interested in getting the answers to those questions and other you may have, you can register for the free webinar here.

Swap.com CEO Jeff Bennett

One other note today - another huge SXSW (South By Southwest) conference is coming up March 11-20, 2011 in Austin, Texas and this one could have a dash of domain industry flavor with your support. SXSW has a unique format in which they have potential attendees vote on proposed programming, then once semi-finalists have been chosen in the polling (as they now have been), people can post comments in support of their favorites. Show organizers will review those comments and use them to pick the final panels that will appear on the agenda.

Former NameMedia President Jeff Bennett, who is now the CEO of Swap.com, put together an interesting panel that is in the final running. Bennett's session, titled Talkin' Bout Reputation: Building Trust in Online Communities, would address a growing concern as online shopping and social networking collide: How do you establish a community of trust among virtual strangers

Bennett, whose company has 1 million users across the U.S. swapping items they have for all the items they want, would explore the issues of reputation and trust as online shopping transforms from point-and-click purchases to a social system of peer-to-peer transactions. Using Swap.com's community culture as an example, Jeff would cover how start-ups can build a community that drives the right behaviors and how businesses can leverage the power of connections, recommendations, and targeted actions that are being formed with this new model of online shopping.

You can help make sure Bennett's timely panel is on the SXSW agenda by posting your comment here as dozens of supporters have already done (it takes less than a minute to create the free account needed to comment). Time is growing short though. The deadline for posting comments is January 11. I'm sure Jeff will appreciate your support.

(Posted Jan. 6, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Want to Sell More Ads to Local Businesses? Free Webinar Will Provide Tips on How to Do It In 2011

With more and more local advertisers shifting their ad dollars to the Internet I have always liked the position of geodomain owners. If you happen to be one of them (or plan to develop geo-targeted domains of any kind), local media giant BIA/Kelsey is presenting a free one-hour webinar next Tuesday (January 11) at 2pm (U.S. Eastern time/11am Pacific) that you might find very interesting. The session, titled Momentous Change Ahead for Local Media in 2011, will cover everything from the explosion of deal a day site site like Groupon to the arrival of mobile local search to the surge in social media marketing.


John Kelsey speaking at the 
2008 GeoDomain Expo in Chicago

A panel of six analysts will also offer their picks and predictions for the developments, players and categories that will matter in 2011. BIA/Kelsey said "The discussion will include insights on both online (local, social, classifieds, mobile) and traditional media (radio, television, Yellow Pages, newspaper)." 

Kelsey Founder John Kelsey was the keynote speaker at the 2008 GeoDomain Expo in Chicago and in listening to him I was very impressed with his vast knowledge of the local advertising space. Sitting in on a free

webinar from his company looks like an excellent opportunity and you certainly can't beat the price.

One other note today, Aftermarket.com has announced that are accepting submissions for the live domain auction they will stage at the Domain Roundtable conference coming up March 3, 2011 at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas

Submissions will be accepted through January 21 with the final auction list due out in mid-February. The company said its live auction platform has been completed revamped for its debut at DRT.

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

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Unveils Inviting New Tropical Venue For Fall 2011 Event & Cancels Plans for a San Francisco Show in March + Another Appeal Fails for ICANN's Fowlie

Fresh off their fabulous 2010 South Beach show in Miami, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference Co-Founders Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu have announced a new venue for their next show October 16-19, 2011 in South Florida. They will be moving a few miles up the beach to the posh new Ritz Carlton Hotel on Fort Lauderdale Beach.  

The organizers said that registration for what will be T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s 22nd show will be opening up in the days ahead with early bird rates that will offer a discount of close to 50%. 

The Ritz Carton Ft. Lauderdale Beach, Florida will host
the next T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference in October 2011

View of the beach from the lobby at the Ritz Carlton Ft. Lauderdale Beach

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. has reserved all of the cabanas at the Ritz Carlton (above)
 for their October 16-19, 2011 conference. 

View of the Atlantic Ocean from one of the Ritz Carlton's cabanas. Both the cabanas and the 
hotel pool are located on the 6th floor giving guests a spectacular elevated view of the beach.
(three photos above courtesy of Barbara Neu)

While announcing the October show, Schwartz and Neu also announced they had decided not to proceed with a conference they had been considering staging in San Francisco in March on dates that would have been adjacent to the 40th International ICANN meeting there. Neu said, "We had a specific agenda, with a specific goal that could only work at the proper venue. After we held an exhaustive search and then sent out a poll a few weeks ago to see what most folks thought, it became clear that the interest to connect domainers with ICANN was not really there to have a meaningful and impactful show and on the heals of the other shows, just did not make sense."

Elsewhere today, ICANN Ombudsman Frank Fowlie, who was involved in an ugly flap aboard an Air Canada flight in 2009, has had another appeal to the Canadian Transportation Agency rejected. The embarrassing affair started when Fowlie (who will be leaving ICANN this month) got into an argument with first class cabin flight attendants after his meal was served late. That resulted in the airline banning him from boarding a connecting flight in Montreal.  

Fowlie filed a complaint with the CTA after being forced to wait a day to travel, but as Kevin Murphy of DomainIncite.com reported last February, the CTA dismissed the complaint saying Fowlie failed to provide enough evidence that he had been mistreated. Fowlie then filed a new complaint asking the CTA not to publish his name in their public report announcing the February decision. That complaint was also rejected last July. 

Undeterred Fowlie decided to swing for the fences one more time and filed another appeal of the original decision, based on “new evidence” - that being a statement from Mary Ann Mulhern, who was described as Dr. Fowlie's "traveling companion" (a report on the web indicates she became his wife a few months after the brouhaha on the Air Canada flight (photo of the couple).

As was the case with his first two appeals, it was another swing and a miss for Fowlie as the CTA ruled that the new "evidence" was not persuasive enough for them to revisit their original decision. The new ruling noted, "The Agency finds it improbable that Ms. Mulhern's witness statement was not discoverable or available to Dr. Fowlie with exercise of due diligence on his part before the Initial Decision was issued." Given that his "traveling companion" was a woman who would soon be his wife, it certainly looks like the CTA got that call right. Thanks to George Kirikos for the heads up on the latest decision.

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

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