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August 27, 2012

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The Lowdown
June 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.

Chance to Get Reduced Rate for Highly Anticipated T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2011 Ft. Lauderdale Show Ends Thursday (June 30) + New Company Joins Domain Monetization Fray

I fully expect the 2011 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference, coming up October 16-19, 2011 at the fabulous oceanfront Ritz Carlton Hotel on Florida's famous Ft. Lauderdale Beach will be one of the best, if not the best, show in the history of the ground-breaking T.R.A.F.F.I.C. series. 

That is saying a lot because there have been some great ones among the previous 21 conferences that date back the first major domain conference ever, staged by T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu in October 2004. 

For starters you have what I think is the best T.R.A.F.F.I.C. venue yet. I personally had a chance to tour the Ritz, including the top notch guest rooms and conference facilities, on a visit to the Ft. Lauderdale area earlier this year. The hotel is right on the ocean and provides spectacular waterfront views at every turn. You are also just

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders Howard Neu (left) and Rick 
on the balcony of Schwartz's Ft. Lauderdale Beach penthouse condo. The building next door (seen over Howard's shoulder at left) is the show venue - the fabulous Ritz Carlton 
located directly on the Atlantic Ocean waterfront. 

steps away from all of the top night spots, restaurants and attractions on one of the world's most beautiful beaches - a stretch of white sand that runs north and south for miles. 

View of the beach directly in front of the Ritz Carlton on Ft. Lauderdale Beach
where T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2011 will be held Oct. 16-19, 2011

Another reason I believe this will be one of T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s best yet is that it is the only T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference being held this year. Neu and Schwartz will have had a full year to prepare since their last show - the very well received T.R.A.F.F.I.C. South Beach show in Miami in September 2010. Even when they were doing multiple shows annually you could always count on them to deliver a world class event. Given more than 12 months to work on T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2011, I would be surprised if they didn't clear the exceptionally high bar they have set for themselves from past events.

The reason for today's post is to let you know that the last day to get the current early bird rate of $1,495 will be Thursday, June 30 (you can register here). On July 1, the cost goes up to $1,795.

 The T.R.A.F.F.I.C. shows Schwartz and Neu produce have never been the cheapest conferences and as long as they run them  them I doubt they ever will be. But I've yet to meet a past attendee who didn't feel they received excellent value for their money from these opportunities to spend a few days in paradise networking with new contacts and old friends alike. With most of the industry's key players on hand, countless major deals have been cut at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. over the years and 2011 will be no exception. I hope to see many of you on Ft. Lauderdale beach this fall!

One other note today - earlier this month I wrote a post about a new wave of domain monetization companies that have sprung up seeking to cash in on dissatisfaction with payouts at current parking providers. The field of newcomers continues to grow with RookMedia.net the latest to enter the fray. 

The people guiding the new company, based in Zurich, Switzerland, include some well-known industry names who made their mark with NameDrive.com. RookMedia quietly started running in February, exclusively serving very large portfolio owners. With their successful opening months under their belt they are now opening their platform to the rest of the industry. 

RookMedia's Ed Russell told me, "Our aim is to make the experience at RookMedia.net the closest thing possible to having a direct relationship with one of the big advertising providers. That means very accurate per domain statistics and a focus on increasing and optimizing traffic quality. If you want to point your domains and just collect a check in the mail every month, that is fine. But we cater better to portfolio owners that wish to build and improve their holdings in a data-driven fashion. We work together with our partners, and we hope it’s a more satisfying experience than “here are your stats, here is your check, rinse and repeat.”

The company's CEO, Ash Rahimi, added, “After turbulent times in the domain monetization industry, the sector is now mature and this is the first time that a professional platform has been built from the ground up with the benefit of a full understanding of all the technologies and techniques involved in providing a truly cutting edge system. While traditional monetization platforms have strengths and weaknesses in their specific niches, we have used our wealth of experience to build a brand new platform which we believe performs better across the board. This coupled with our streamlined company structure and attractive location means we can offer a premium service and still pass on a very large share of revenue to our partners."

"As portfolio owners ourselves, we understand the frustrations bred by the “black box” culture of other monetization providers. We therefore work hard at RookMedia.net to deliver the most accurate domain stats in the market. No estimates, no games, no excuses. Accuracy and transparency are vital in helping our partners build out their portfolios," Rahimi said.

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

With DNCruise II Just 10 Weeks Away It's Time to Book Passage - Rates Go Up July 1

With DNCruise II just over 10 weeks away Patrick Ruddell (Chef Patrick), who promotes the world's only domain conference at sea, has started beating the drums for the event's return 

engagement September 5-10, 2011. Last year's event aboard the Carnival Imagination earned rave reviews from those onboard but Ruddell still decided to switch up the itinerary to keep things fresh.  

The debut event in October 2010 sailed out of Miami and made stops in Key West and the Bahamas. The 2011 cruise will leave from Tampa, Florida and make stops in Grand Cayman and Cozumel, Mexico.

The Grand Cayman stop on September 7th will be an especially big attraction because legendary domain investor Frank Schilling

The first DN Cruise was held aboard 
this Carnival ship in October 2010  

who lives there, will be meeting up with DN Cruise attendees. Ruddell said Schilling plans to join his visiting industry friends for a boat tour around the island, followed by a luncheon, sponsored by Escrow.com, where he will speak. For many, that alone will be worth the price of admission.

Speaking of the price, if you want to get the best deal available, you will want to book this week because the fare goes up July 1 (that increase is mandated by the cruise line, not Chef Patrick). If you act now you can get a shared interior cabin (Ruddell will hook you up with a roommate if you need one) for $499 ($559 starting July 1) or a shared window cabin for $579 (that goes up to $639 starting July 1). There will be another increase August 1, so the sooner you act the more you save. The rate covers all boarding fees, taxes, gratuities, room, all you can eat food, many cocktails and the excursion with Frank. 

Having been on last year's cruise I can tell you get a heck of lot for your money, even before you figure in the invaluable opportunity to hang out with industry experts and fellow domain investors for an entire week while cruising through the gorgeous Gulf of Mexico. I'm certainly looking forward to doing it again. You can find detailed information about the cruise on this FAQ page on their official site. 

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

Contract to Sell Social.com for $2.6 Million Signed in Deal Co-Brokered by Moniker & Marksmen's NameQuiver.com 

A contract to sell Social.com for $2.6 million has been signed by both the buyer and seller in a deal co-brokered by Moniker.com's John Mauriello and Marksmen Inc.'s Cyntia King on behalf of that company's new sales division at NameQuiver.com. Once transfer of the domain has been completed that will become the highest sale of the year to date, easily topping the current leader - DomainName.com - that was sold for $1 million last month.  

Social.com had received a $2.5 million bid in a Moniker/SnapNames auction associated with the DOMAINfest Europe conference in Barcelona, Spain earlier this month, but did not meet the reserve. The auction catalog 




indicated the expected price was $5 million or more. However, the seller, an unnamed Marksmen client, wound up deciding to accept the post-auction $2.6 million offer from an unidentified buyer in the UK and the paperwork has now been executed. 

As many of you know, Marksmen provides Intellectual Property protection for businesses including several Fortune 500 companies. Many of their clients, often with Marksmen's help, have accumulated valuable domains over the years and some have decided to liquidate selected assets they no longer have plans for. To assist them in that area Marksmen set up NameQuiver.com as a sales platform for those domains. 

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

ICANN's New TLD Program - Will it Be A Successful Moon Launch or Another Train Wreck? 

I've just gotten back from a pleasant four-day trip to Ohio to visit my mother (who is still going strong at 92). When I returned to the office this morning the big news was ICANN's approval (as expected) of a new TLD program that is expected to bring hundreds of new domain extensions to the Internet. They will start taking applications from potential new TLD operators on January 12, 2012 with that opening application round to close April 12, 2012. However, they don't expect any of the new extensions to go live before November 2013 - almost two and a half years from now. 

Let me preface my thoughts on the new TLDs by noting that I will likely benefit from them in the form of new ad revenue from new TLD operators. There are also friends and companies that I respect that will  make money by providing services to new TLD operators - and I will be happy for them.

Having said that, my opinion, as I have said in the past, is that there is no need for countless new TLDs. ICANN has come up with a solution for a "problem" that doesn't exist. The previous new TLDs they introduced a decade ago are still struggling to gain recognition on Main Street and there is an

infinite number of name combinations available in those still under utilized extensions (as well as in the approximately 200 long established gTLD and ccTLD extensions). 

While ICANN has said the new TLDs will be "revenue neutral" - not a big money maker for them - I don't believe it for a moment. When someone says "it's not about the money," it is almost always about the money. It's not about doing something beneficial for Internet users, in fact it seems pretty obvious that for the web's business users it will generate a lot of unnecessary new expense as they are forced to make defensive domain registrations in extensions they have no interest in owning. 

I also regret seeing an effective TLD organizational system that had been well thought out by the domain name system's original creators so cavalierly discarded in favor of a massive jumble of extensions that most will never use or even be aware of. In one fell swoop ICANN has paved the way for an Internet junkyard rather than a well planned, useful advance in Internet addressing. 

I'm not sure why some think that an unlimited flood of new TLDs will have a greater positive impact than the measured number of new TLDs introduced in the past. While I personally like and own quite a few of those, their rate of adoption by the general public tends to make me believe the web needs a couple of thousand new extensions about as much as Imelda Marcos needs another 2,700 pairs of shoes. More is not always better - it is just more. The new TLDs will be subject to the same low visibility and usage hurdles that .info, .biz, .mobi and others still have not fully cleared, years after their debuts. That is not to say that some of those extensions have not been profitable for their operators - they have been - again I'm talking about public need, not new money making opportunities for ICANN, new registry operators or even DN Journal.

Still, unless the U.S. government intervenes, or the new TLD onslaught is halted by a lawsuit, my opinion (and yours) are moot points as of today. We can now only sit back and see how this all unfolds - see if it is a train wreck or the cyberspace equivalent of landing on the moon. Judging from past ICANN initiatives, lopsided give-away-the-store contract negotiations and other stumbles that have cost domain registrants dearly, I don't  think it will play out well (and the huge jackpot ICANN is hoping for may morph into cement overshoes instead) but your guess is as good as mine. If I could tell the future I would have been at the horse track today instead of sitting here writing this post!

(Posted June 20, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Editor's Note: I will be away visiting family through Sunday (June 19). I hope you have a great weekend and will drop back in Monday for the next update to The Lowdown.

Photos and Highlights from the 2011 DOMAINfest Europe Conference In Barcelona, Spain 


Peter Celeste, Oversee.net Sr. VP & 
DomainSponsor GM, welcoming attendees 
to DOMAINfest Europe 2011 in Barcelona.  

The 2011 DOMAINfest Europe conference was held last week in Barcelona, Spain. The event, put together by Oversee.net, ran at the Pullman Barcelona Skipper Hotel Tuesday, June 7 through Thursday, June 9. With the help of Oversee's Corinne Forti and Aaron Kvitek we've gathered some show photos and highlights to share with you.

After kicking off with a cocktail reception at the host hotel Tuesday evening, the conference focus shifted to business first thing Wednesday morning (June 8) when Oversee.net Senior VP & DomainSponsor General Manager Peter Celeste took the stage in the Grand Ballroom to deliver his welcoming remarks.  

One of the industry's best known attorneys, Barcelona based Paul Keating, founder of Law.es, followed Mr. Celeste on stage to present the show's opening seminar.  Keating covered current key legal and regulatory issues affecting domain owners 


Attorney Paul Keating was the featured speaker in the opening session 
at DOMAINfest Europe 2011 in Barcelona, Spain on Wednesday, June 8.

Next up was Richard Baxter, CEO of SEOgadget.co.uk, who described the impact of Google’s recent Panda algorithm changes.  Baxter also explained in detail how certain basic and advanced SEO best practices could dramatically help publishers achieve better rankings in light of those recent algorithm changes.  

The DOMAINfest Europe audience receiving advice from SEO expert Richard Baxter

The final morning session Wednesday was also one of DOMAINfest Europe's main events - the keynote speech from Dr. Harry Brignull, a User Experience Designer and Cognitive Scientist who curates DarkPatterns.org, a site dedicated to understanding deceptive user interfaces with the aim of stamping them out and improving the web for everyone.

Dr. Brignull got a chuckle out of the audience during his introductory remarks when he theorized that Domainers might be too clever for their own good when it comes to user experience design.   He said that he understands the strong desire for clicks and conversions, but warned against using tricks and misdirection. He showed several examples of well known brands that have paid the price in bad social media PR and decreased customer loyalty as a result of using so-called “dark patterns” in user experience design.  

Keynote speaker Dr. Harry Brignull

After a lunch break attendees returned to the conference hall for two afternoon panel discussions. The first was a TLD Update: Growth Trends and Investment Bets moderated by Lisa Box and the second a session devoted to Mobile, Social and Affiliate Revenue Strategies moderated by Joerg Schnermann. 

Neustar's Ken Hansen speaking during the TLD Update session Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Moderator Joerg Schnermann (far left) guiding a discussion on Mobile, Social 
and Affiliate Revenue Strategies
Wednesday afternoon (June 8). 

Oversee's Aaron Kvitek said, "Attendees could be seen taking notes throughout the Wednesday morning presentations as well as during the afternoon panel discussions. This is always a good sign that speakers and panelists were providing helpful tips and advice. PowerPoint files and videos of all presentations will be available by the end of June on the DOMAINfest.com website. "

Attendees stayed busy taking notes and asking questions during business sessions.

A live Moniker/SnapNames domain auction had been scheduled to close the Wednesday business schedule but technical difficulties forced organizers to scrap the live event and convert it into a week-long premium online auction that closes tomorrow (Wednesday, June 15) at 3:15pm U.S. Eastern time. An extended online auction will follow and run until 3:15pm (again U.S. Eastern time) on June 22. 

On Wednesday night attendees were treated to a networking dinner party that left them well fueled for the full day of networking and relationship-building excursions that closed the conference Thursday (June 9, 2011), along with a farewell dinner that night.

The dinner parties introduced attendees to authentic local cuisine.  Kvitek said,
"A wide range of Spanish tapas (small appetizers) were offered, giving everyone a chance to taste gourmet bite-sized creations that can’t be found anywhere outside of Spain. Excellent local Catalonian wines and cavas (sparkling wine) were also prominently featured."  

Good food, wine and networking helped make
DOMAINfest Europe 2011 a memorable event. 

Networking and relationship-building activities are always a big part of DOMAINfest events and the Barcelona event continued the tradition. On Thursday attendees made their choices from an attractive list of excursion options and headed out to explore Barcelona.  "It was a great way for attendees to form relationships around common interests other than domain names and PPC advertising trends," Kvitek said.  

He noted that the most popular morning excursion ended up being the “backstage tour” of 4-time European Cup winner FC Barcelona’s soccer stadium Camp Nou. In the afternoon, the Tapas Bar Crawl was just slightly more popular than the Montserrat excursion and the Old Town walking tour. 

If you would like information on upcoming DOMAINfest events, visit DOMAINfest.com for the latest updates on their show calendar.

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

Michael Mann to Offer Advice on How to Dominate Your Marketplace in Upcoming Free Webinar 

On Friday I told you about a free Sedo webinar coming up Thursday, June 23 (at 2pm U.S. Eastern time) that will cover the top 5 dos and don'ts in domain negotiations. Today I got 

Michael Mann  

word  that domain industry pioneer Michael Mann, who co-founded BuyDomains (and later sold the company to NameMedia) will also be presenting a free webinar on the same day - one that will provide tips on "How to Dominate Your Marketplace."

Mann (who has been featured in two DN Journal Cover Stories - one of the first we ever did back in 2003 and another in 2007 after he sold BuyDomains and founded his next venture, WashingtonVC - will start his webinar at 1pm (U.S. Eastern time) on June 23. With Sedo's 2pm event following shortly after Mann's ends, that sets up a rare webinar double-header for those looking for sound advice to improve their businesses. 

The synopsis for Mann's webinar says, "If you’re the owner of a small business who is struggling to

outpace your competition, entrepreneur Mike Mann has tips for staying on top of your industry as technology changes. Even if you’re with a larger company, surviving in today’s marketplace is tough unless you understand and take advantage of what technology has to offer." The synopsis also says you will learn how to:

  • Globalize

  • Use data wisely

  • Control intellectual property

  • Harness the power of the Internet

  • Buy effective domain names

  • Optimize your website

  • Find what you need online 

You can reserve your free seat for the 30-minute session by registering here

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

Free Sedo Webinar to Present the Top 5 Domain Negotiation Dos and Don'ts + Marc Ostrofsky's Appearance on The View Sends Book Sales Soaring

Sedo will be presenting a new free webinar on Thursday, June 23 at 2pm (U.S. Eastern time) that will tell you about the top 5 dos and don'ts in domain negotiations. The one-hour session will also provide tips on domain pricing and tools and well as advice on other topics.

If you register for your seat in the webinar now Sedo will also provide you with a free


white paper on how to boost sales. Then when you join the session on June 23 you'll be given a chance to win a free domain consultation. Sounds like a good deal all the way around and you certainly can't beat the price!

Elsewhere, as you would expect, Marc Ostrofsky's impressive appearance on ABC-TV talk show The View yesterday (June 9) sent sales of his best selling new book Get Rich Click! into the stratosphere. After the show the book rocketed to #3 among all books sold on Amazon! It also hit the top spot in many business categories. 

I noticed today that Ostrofsky's book is also getting very good customer reviews on Amazon, giving him a lofty 4.5 star rating out of a possible 5.

Ostrofsky's appearance went so well the show's producers have asked him to come back in 6-8 weeks to give viewers more tips on how to make money on the Internet.  If you missed the telecast you can still the full episode on ABC's website (Ostrofsky's appearance is in the final 10 minutes of the show).

Marc Ostrosky (in blue sweater) appearing on ABC-TV talk show The View June 9, 2011.

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

Marc Ostrofsky Put Domain Names in The National Spotlight on ABC-TV's "The View" Today: Here is Our Review

As I told you yesterday domain industry veteran and newly published author Marc Ostrofsky was scheduled to be on ABC-TV's hit show The View today (Thursday, June 9). Ostrofsky was invited to talk with the show's five famous female co-hosts (Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Sherri Shepherd, and Elisabeth Hasselbeck) about his best selling book Get Rich Click! that teaches people how to make money on the Internet. Today's show also featured Neal Patrick Harris and Ice T but they saved the best for last by bringing Marc out for an excellent five-minute segment near the end of the hour. 

Get Rich Click! Author Marc Ostrofsky on ABC-TV's The View today (June 9, 2011)
(L to R in the photo above): Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Marc Ostrofsky, 
Sherri Shepherd, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Barbara Walters)

The first words out of Marc's mouth were that "he made his fortune with domain names." That's our boy! :-)  Ostrofsky noted that he bought Business.com for $150,000 and sold it for $7.5 million to earn a place in the Guinness Book for World Records in 1999 for what was the biggest domain sale on record. He went on to explain what generic domain names are and why they are valuable as ecommerce platforms, citing his own CuffLinks.com and Blinds.com as examples. 

Marc Ostrofsky

Ostrosky also talked about how to make money with no starting capital by running product ads, collecting payments and  then buying the product to ship after the money comes in. I'm sure that caught the attention of thousands of viewers who dream of running a home-based business and gave Get Rich Click! sales an immediate boost.

Other subjects Marc covered included affiliate marketing and how to use social media to build client lists for your business. I thought the funniest moment on the show came when Marc informed Whoopi Goldberg that someone in Australia owned her domain name. Whoopi immediately replied, "No, they don't!" Marc just smiled rather than belabor the point, but sorry Whoopi, yes they do. Held under WhoIs Privacy in Australia WhoopiGoldberg.com  is a parked page.

A lot of people wilt on a big stage when the red light goes on and they realize millions of people are  watching, but Ostrofosky was calm, cool and collected, looking and sounding his very best. He came off as being completely comfortable as he clearly explained one point after another as the co-hosts bombarded him with rapid fire questions. I thought he did a terrific job. 

The co-hosts were clearly interested in what he had to say and the studio audience was happy to hear they would all be given copies of Get Rich Click! to take home. It went so well that Ostrofsky said he had already been invited to come back in 6-8 weeks for another segment. That made what was already a home run, a grand slam home run for both Marc and the industry at large. If you missed the telecast you can still the full episode on ABC's website (Ostrofsky's appearance is in the final 10 minutes of the show).

One other note today - as I write this, the DOMAINfest Europe conference is winding down in Barcelona, Spain with a farewell dinner party. In a point of special interest the organizers announced a new plan for the show's live domain auction that had to be cancelled yesterday (June 8) because of technical difficulties. Instead of a live auction, the domains are being offered in an online auction that is running now and will continue until it concludes on  

·         Wednesday, June 15 at 3:15pm U.S. Eastern time. SnapNames and Moniker will also be conducting an extended online auction for additional seller-submitted domains the will begin shortly and run to Wednesday, June 22 at 3:15pm (Eastern). 

(Posted June 9, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

Marc Ostrofsky Will be on National TV Thursday (June 9) Presenting His View On How to Make Money on the Internet 

Domain industry pioneer and author of the new best selling book Get Rich Click!, Marc Ostrofsky, will be featured on ABC-TV's morning talk show The View tomorrow (Thursday, June 9) at 11am (U.S. Eastern time).  His book, years in the making, has been a big hit, landing 

at #1 at several leading booksellers including Amazon.com and Barnes & Nobles as well as on the New York Times best sellers list. 

Ostrofsky, whose resume includes selling Business.com in a $7.5 million transaction that was the highest on record at the time (1999), currently runs a portfolio of Internet companies that reportedly generate over $75 million in annual sales. The roster includes Blinds.com, CuffLinks.com, SummerCamps.com, eTickets.com, MutualFunds.com, Photographer.com, Consulting.com,TechToys.com, BeautyProducts.com, Bachelor.com aming others. 

Having a dyed in the wool domain investor/developer like Marc featured on national TV (and writing about domains in a best selling book), can't help but bring increased recognition of the key role domain names play in Internet commerce.


Marc Ostrofsky
Author of Get Rich Click!

Ostrofsky will actually be the fourth domain industry figure to be seen on national TV this year, but the first to be on the tube talking about how to make money on the Internet. In March, Domain Holdings Group Co-Founder John Ferber was featured in an episode of ABC's Secret Millionaire series about generous philanthropists. A couple of weeks ago David Sams was spotted in the VIP audience for the final episode of Oprah Winfrey's legendary talk show (Sams was part of the original production team that launched the Oprah Winfrey Show back in 1986) and last week Braden Pollock of LegalBrandDomains.com was seen answering questions on the Dr. Phil  Show during an episode featuring his fiancée Lisa Bloom (the author of a hot new book - Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World).

Having all of these domainers suddenly appearing on TV I can't seem to get the  theme song from The Jeffersons out of my head - we're Moving On Up! 

One other note - the Moniker/SnapNames live domain auction that was supposed to be held today at the DOMAINfest Europe conference in Barcelona, Spain had to be cancelled due to technical difficulties that would have made it impossible for online bidders to participate. Show organizers from Oversee.net plan to reschedule the auction as a web only event on a date still to be announced.

(Posted June 8, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

DOMAINFest Europe Gets Underway - Latonas.com and Podcast.com Re-Launch With New Business Plans and Zappy Zapolin Goes Big Again With Huge.com

The 2011 DOMAINfest Europe conference got underway today in Barcelona, Spain with a 4pm (local time) cocktail reception in the Exhibition Hall at the show venue - The Pullman Barcelona Skipper Hotel. That four-hour icebreaker ran until 8pm. The conference continues with a full day of business tomorrow capped by Moniker's Live Premium Domain Name

 Auction that is scheduled to begin at 4pm local time Wednesday (in the U.S. that will be 10am Eastern time/7am Pacific). Today the show's organizers, Oversee.net, announced that one of the top names in the auction. Data.com, has been withdrawn after they were able to broker a private sale of that name at a price described as  "significantly" higher than the $1.5 million auction reserve.  


The conference closes Thursday (June 9) with a full slate of relationship-building excursions during the day and a farewell dinner party at night. I did not make the trip to Barcelona but have made arrangements to get some photos and highlights from Spain for a show wrap-up article that will be posted in this column after the conference concludes.  

Rick Latona

Elsewhere, two industry companies have announced major site re-launches and another well-known figure has debuted a new site positioned to cash in on the Daily Deal boom. 

On the re-launch front Rick Latona revealed a new direction for his company's Latonas.com auction platform. The site previously focused on selling domain names but Latona has decided to cast a much wider net and offer all kinds of web properties that come with a positive cash flow. Latona said, "The term web property we are loosely defining as a digital asset that resides in cyberspace such as a website, domain, Facebook fan page, Twitter account, YouTube channel, email marketing lists, mobile and tablet applications." 

Latona indicated the reason for the change is that is has become much harder to make significant income as a domain broker because fewer high value domain sales are being made than was the case before the recession started in late 2008.

In another major revamp, Domain Holdings Group in conjunction with DomainCapital.com announced the re-launch of Podcast.com. The site's new business model will allow podcast producers to advertise their programs through paid placements

Domain Holdings CEO Jason Boshoff said, "Podcast.com approached us with the challenge of better monetizing their traffic while simultaneously enhancing the user experience. The paid placement platform we developed offers podcasters of all sizes the opportunity to gain visibility and increase their listener base for targeted traffic.”  Podcast hosts wishing to advertise their show will have access to various sponsored sections across a site and the home page offers a prominent rotating billboard giving sponsored podcasts static visibility to nearly 250,000 unique monthly visitors.

Sean Sullivan, Director of Tier 1 Domain Development for Domain Holdings, added "By leveling the playing field, smaller podcasts can pay for premium placement at an affordable price. The re-launch is only the start, and we will continue to roll out new products and services to enhance the user experience and our partner relationships.”

While Podcast.com and Latonas.com were re-launching, domain industry pioneer Mike "Zappy" Zapolin rolled out his latest in a long string of websites developed on the foundation of a memorable generic domain name. This time it is Huge.com, a Miami-based site focused on finding "deals for dudes" -  discount offers that guys will love. 

In announcing the launch, Zapolin said the deals they are finding for men range from extreme adventures like driving a race car or sky diving to deals on car stereos, cross fit/MMA training and discounts to the hottest clubs in Miami. 

Zapolin explained the focus on men by noting, "Just like the dating space that was dominated by large players like Match.com and eHarmony, the next wave of winners focused on the niches, like JDate and ChristianSingles." He said zeroing in on deals for guys also made the selection of offers a lot easier. "We just think about what we would like to do, where we like to go, and we get those specific deals - and our customers love it!"

Zapolin added, "Our deal team is overwhelmed with businesses who want to tap into our unique audience. Our job is to pick the most exciting opportunities and fight for the best prices. We're already backlogged on deals for the next few months, and the offerings keep getting cooler and cooler."

Miami residents have seen the Huge.com billboards around the city, most notably 

Mike "Zappy" Zapolin

on Interstate 395 heading into South Beach, and on 826 as they drive their morning commute. Zapolin said the marketing effort has produced a very pleasant surprise. "Huge.com is an impossible-to-forget brand that we originally thought would become known to every guy in Miami. As it turns out, 50% of our customers are women buying really cool gifts for their guys," Zapolin said

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

Another Coup for .CO: Oakland A's & Raiders Stadium Renamed O.co Coliseum + Sole Men Begin Barefoot Walk to Raise Money for Homeless Children

.CO's phenomenal first year series of successes continued today when Overstock.com announced the company is renaming itself O.co, to take advantage of the one-letter domain name the company purchased from the .CO Registry for $350,000 last summer. One of the 

most exciting parts of the company's re-branding, in terms of giving the .co extension more recognition among the general public, is that the Major League Baseball and NFL football stadium used by the Oakland A's and the Oakland Raiders will change its name to the O.co Coliseum

In April 2011, Overstock.com (a company with over $1 billion in revenue last year) obtained the stadium naming rights for six years in a deal with the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority. The change from Overstock.com Coliseum to O.co Coliseum begins tomorrow night (June 7) when U2 will be playing a concert at the stadium. 

Juan Diego Calle, CEO of .CO Internet SAS (operator of the .CO Registry) said, "Overstock.com is clearly at the forefront of digital marketing and their decision to use a .CO domain in such a big way, underscores their willingness to lead the market and to disrupt the status quo. With the exponential growth of mobile commerce, where shaving milliseconds means gaining a strategic competitive advantage, customers around the world can now reach the company's products and services quickly and securely by simply typing O.co - the shortest possible URL in the world."

It has now been said many times that .CO has "written the book" on how to successfully market a new domain extension. It is still early in the game for them, but what they have accomplished in less than a year of general availability, including hitting 1 million registrations and being featured in a GoDaddy Super Bowl ad, has set the bar extremely high for all new registry operators that follow.

The Indonesian Sole Men: Robert Epstone 
and Beat Schmid de Gruneck (right)

One other note today - UK domainer Robert Epstone and fellow Rotarian Beat Schmid de Gruneck, who both maintain residences in Bali,  began a 535 kilometer (over 330 miles) barefoot walk in Indonesia today in an effort to raise funds to support accredited agencies and projects for homeless and underprivileged children in that country.

Known as the Indonesian Sole Men, Epstone (the Rotary Club of Bali Seminyak’s Rotarian of the Year) and Schmid de Gruneck expect the journey, supported by the local Rotary Club, to take approximately 30 days. Their mission is to help some of the more than 232,000 homeless children in Indonesia (over 167,000 children there reportedly die before their fifth birthday through ill health or preventable diseases). Over time, the two men hope to walk barefoot around the world in an effort to hit a $1 million fundraising goal.

You can learn more about their efforts in this ITV feature about them on YouTube, as well as at their website, Solemen.org, where you will also find complete information on how to make donations.

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

New Wave of Domain Monetization Companies Seek to Cash in on Dissatisfaction With Reduced Payouts at Current Parking Providers

It's no secret that PPC earnings have fallen off a cliff the past couple of years, leaving a lot of domain owners ready and willing to pull up stakes and move on - if they only had somewhere to go.  With the parking revenue declines affecting all of the current players that rely on Google or 

Yahoo (now Bing) as their upstream provider, there haven't been a lot of options. However, any time there is a problem, sooner or later some ambitious entrepreneur or new company will come along and promise a solution to that problem. That's what we are seeing in the domain monetization space with Frank Schilling's rollout of InternetTraffic.com last month and, just this week, Media Breakway's debut of TheParkingPlace.com

While InternetTraffic.com relies on a Google feed like many others, Schilling had earned very warm early reviews by, apparently, simply giving his select clients a considerably higher share of the revenue (you need to have a very high quality portfolio to be accepted at InternetTraffic). TheParkingPlace is taking a different approach, welcoming all comers while generating their revenue through a mix of monetization options.

Scott Richter
CEO, Media Breakway LLC

Scott Richter, the CEO of TheParkingPlace.com's parent, Media Breakaway, told us more about how his company differs from others in the monetization space. "TheParkingPlace.com is operating on a different revenue model than current parking companies. They concentrate on PPC while we utilize a combination of CPA, CPC and CPM offers," Richter said. "We also accept all types of domains including top-level, premium and adult. There are no bans on domains."

"One other thing that differentiates us from other companies is that we are able to monetize 100% of existing traffic, including all international. We have a broad range of offers for 100's of countries and landing pages are translated and optimized for each individual country giving our clients an even larger increase in their previous revenue. By enhancing the user experience, this model has proven especially successful with domains that

are currently generating a $20 RPM or lower, increasing their revenue by up to 400%," Richter said.

With a focus on optimization we asked Richter how much of a role the client has to play in the optimization process. He said, "Clients do not have to do anything to optimize their domains.  TheParkingPlace.com has a dedicated optimization team that manages the client's domains and monitors them around-the-clock."

Of course, a handful of existing companies already have had alternate monetization platforms in place for some time, using methods that range from mini-site development to utilizing new 

upstream providers that sidestep the search engine monopoly. Last August I wrote about my positive experience with NameMedia's SmartName stores that use a Shopping.com feed to create ecommerce and informational 

sites. I am still pleased with their storefront solution for product domains and continue to use them and add additional domains that are appropriate for that approach. In the current environment (which the newcomers may change), one size does not fit all. 

With that in mind, I have also been moving some domains that get decent traffic but are not making money via PPC to my own landing pages to emphasize sales rather than monetization. Domain sales have always been a much higher source of revenue for me than parking, so if names make little or nothing parked, I am better off using that traffic for a detailed sales presentation of my own (rather than a one liner, like "This domain may be for sale" on a parking page with ad links that don't convert).

I also continue to use traditional parking companies for other domains that still mange to do well parked or for which there is currently no better option. The byword now seems to be experimentation. Everyone is seeking a better solution. For most, the ideal solution would be one that can be applied to all domains, with a minimum of elbow grease required (that is because the high number of domains in most portfolios make individual optimization by the user a very time consuming process). TheParkingPlace says that description fits them. Time will tell and when a new solution does prove to cover all the bases and produce noticeably higher payouts in the process we will be seeing a new market leader. Though some 

have given up on them, that leader could even come from the old guard. I have a hard time imagining them standing around with their hands in the pockets while newcomers eat their lunch but business history is littered with the bodies of companies that did not successfully adapt to customer demand.

(Posted June 3, 2012) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

CO-lossal Achievement: 1 Million .CO Domains Registered in Less Than a Year

Though the .CO Registry staged its global launch less than a year ago (in July 2010) it has already hit the 1 million registrations mark. Official word came from the Miami-based registry 


Juan Diego Calle
CEO, .CO Internet S.A.S.
(Administrator of the .CO Registry)

today. .CO Internet CEO Juan Calle said, “Entrepreneurs and innovative businesses around the globe are adopting .CO web addresses at an unprecedented pace, way beyond my initial expectations. To hit this milestone in less than a year is a great testament to the hard work and dedication of our team – and especially to the foresight of all of those who believed in .CO from the very beginning.  From our retail and business partners; to the trademark and domain communities; to all the people, businesses and brands who are building their futures on .CO – we owe you a million thanks!”  

Individuals, organizations and businesses in more than 200 countries have registered .CO web addresses. 50% of .CO registrations have come from North America with Europe accounting for approximately 25%. The .CO Registry expects the rapid growth curve for .CO to continue over the next three to five years, with the greatest opportunities coming from the key developing regions of Asia and Latin America.   

The .CO team has done a remarkable marketing job with the extension (complete with an ad during this year's Super Bowl telecast). That effort will continue with the release of  a series of short films called “Under the Bulb,” that will premier live at a private event to be held on June 9,

2011 during Internet Week in New York City. The registry said "Under the Bulb tells the stories of the people behind the growth of .CO.  Each inspiring two-minute film captures life from the time the big “light-bulb moment” first strikes – through the time their ideas are brought to life."  

Lori Anne Wardi, Director of Global Communications of the .CO Registry, said “From startup to Super Bowl in seven months flat, we are a company of entrepreneurs. Under the Bulb is our way of honoring the fact that behind each of these one million domain registrations, are one million singular ideas with the potential to change the world.” 

Lori Anne Wardi
.CO Director of Global Communications 

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

Attempt to Silence Prominent ICANN Critic George Kirikos Fails as Legal Proceeding Filed Against Him By Former ICANN Ombudsmen Frank Fowlie is Withdrawn

If you are a domain owner odds are you owe George Kirikos a thank you. The Toronto, Canada based domain industry veteran has probably been the single most vigilant individual in our space when it comes to keeping an eye on ICANN and sounding the alarm when the oversight body is about to take any action that treats domain registrants unfairly. 

As accurately noted on his website, Kirikos was a leader in opposing and helping to derail VeriSign's SiteFinder program. It was also his analysis of ICANN's flawed contacts that led to a major public outcry against potential unrestricted price increases for domain names by registry operators. Many of the concerns he has expressed over the years about ICANN's lack of accountability, questionable policies and myriad other issues have reached the ears of politicians in Washington, D.C. who now express many of the same reservations.  

As you might expect, some at ICANN have not been pleased with Kirikos continually holding their feet to the fire, with the organization's former ombudsman Frank Fowlie being a 


prime example. In an attempt to silence Kirikos, Fowlie went so far as to file what appeared to be an ill-founded human rights complaint against Kirikos at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario in February 2011. Wrong move

There is nothing Kirikos takes more seriously than free speech and he immediately fought back with the help of his Torys law firm attorneys. On a page at his website that details the entire affair, Kirikos reported Tuesday (May 31) that Fowlie had withdrawn his complaint. Kirikos said, "I considered this matter to be entirely frivolous and totally devoid of merit. Indeed, Mr. Fowlie withdrew the case before my formal response to the HRTO was even filed, after he was advised by my great attorneys, Andrew Bernstein and Yael Bienenstock, that we would be filing to dismiss the matter and that there would be no mediation. In particular, I'd like to note for the record that I did not agree to settle the matter with Mr. Fowlie. Free speech rights are highly protected in Canada, and I will always vigorously defend my constitutional rights."

Kirikos also noted that this was not the first time Mr. Fowlie has unsuccessfully filed complaints against others. One highly publicized case involved an embarrassing peccadillo between Fowlie and Air Canada. He struck out in that attempt as well with first, second and third rulings all going against him. Kirikos uncovered another complaint that Fowlie had filed against the non-profit Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC). That one was also withdrawn.

Kirikos concluded, "I shall continue to comment on ICANN-related matters, and other matters of public interest, despite this outrageous attempt to censor me by former ICANN Ombudsman Frank Fowlie." I for one am glad that Kirikos will continue to "keep an eye on the store." It is often thankless and tedious work (which is why few will take it on) but as history has shown, Kirikos's diligence has paid big dividends for all of us. 

One other note today - Frank Schilling's new domain monetization service at InternetTraffic.com has been the subject of a lot of discussion since it was unveiled last month. Many who have been accepted on the platform are reporting significant revenue gains. If you are among the many who would like to hear more about InternetTraffic and hear it straight from the horse's mouth, Michael Cyger has just posted an in-depth video interview with Frank at DomainSherpa.com (audio and print versions of the interview are also available). Check it out if you want to know what the buzz surrounding the new service is all about.

(Posted June 1, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

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